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Showing posts from December, 2006

Get Crazy (1983)

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I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and will have a Happy New Year as well.

Last night, I watched a movie that I enjoy watching on or around the New Year's holiday. Get Crazy is a hilarious cult film from 1983. It's a wacky farce about attempts to stage a New Year's Eve Concert at an arena called the Saturn Theater. That fictional venue is based on the Fillmore East, where director Allan Arkush was once employed. Arkush is best known for directing the 1979 cult film Rock 'N' Roll High School. Get Crazy has the same energy and free-spiritedness as that movie, but for my money, it is far more inspired and amusing. It is a fast-paced series of cartoonish vignettes which are both sharp and funny.

Daniel Stern stars as the arena's stage manager, who is scrambling to get the venue ready for the event. Ed Begley Jr. and former pop idols Bobby Sherman and Fabian play villains who want to sabotage the Saturn, even if they have to blow it up in mid-concert. That may give…

Goodbye, Tower Records

The Tower Records store in my area has closed its doors. It happened on Wednesday night. A friend of mine was there on the last day, and informed me that it was the last day. Today, I walked past it during my Christmas shopping errands, and the once bright and colorful store was in complete darkness.

The writing was on the wall, of course. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2004, but said its stores would remain open. In early October of this year, the announcement was made that Tower Records had been sold to a company that was going to liquidate it. Days later, the going-out-of-business sales began. I remember going in my local Tower in mid-October and stocking up on several CDs at 20% off. The next time I went, I purchased three more CDs at 40% off. The next time, CDs were being sold at 60% off -- but I could no longer find more titles that interested me. My friend told me that everything was being sold at 80% off on the final day, but he was only able to find three CDs and one DVD …

John Hiatt - Live at the Hiatt

The folks at Hip-O Select have issued a 5000-CD limited edition of Live at the Hiatt, a recording of an October 1993 John Hiatt concert in London. Hiatt was backed by the Guilty Dogs, the alt-rock trio who played on his 1993 studio album Perfectly Good Guitar. Live at the Hiatt was originally available only as a promotional giveaway item connected with that album. Information is here:

http://www.hip-oselect.com/scr.public.product.asp?product_id=9F1B71B5-AB67-415A-B2C4-9B0E27E02431&cat_id=42029550-8DEE-4E9C-B712-5F1511256DD9

For Hiatt-philes like myself, it's good to have the disc commercially available while the supply lasts. Still, a lot has happened since 1993. At that time, there was no such thing as a live album from Hiatt. But since then, two have been commercially released: Hiatt Comes Alive at Budokan in 1994, and Live From Austin TX in 2005. And -- get this -- both of those albums were also recorded in 1993 with the same band. Therefore, Hiatt's casual fans will prob…

Al Jardine, Family and Friends

Do you remember when, several years ago, former Beach Boys member Alan Jardine assembled a touring band called Beach Boys Family and Friends, but was forced to change the name after Mike Love took legal action against him? It was later known as Al Jardine, Family and Friends as a result of that feud. Besides Jardine, the band included his two sons Matt and Adam, Brian Wilson's two daughters Carnie and Wendy (both from Wilson Phillips), and nine instrumentalists, some of whom had previously played with the Beach Boys road band. A November 1999 performance was captured on an independently released CD called Live In Las Vegas. It was released in 2002, but it is already out of print (indie CDs tend to get discontinued fairly quickly). I recently added a review of the album to my Beach Boys page:

http://rarebird9.net/beachboys.html

Purists may object to the CD's existence, but they shouldn't. Jardine and his ensemble did the Beach Boys legacy proud with this disc.

Lou Reed "Coney Island Baby" reissue

Just recently I picked up the CD reissue of Lou Reed's 1976 album Coney Island Baby, which was released this past September. This was a face-saving album for Reed, recorded shortly after his notorious 1975 double-album Metal Machine Music successfully pissed off nearly everyone within earshot. It's one of the best albums Reed made during the '70's. It's surprisingly down-to-earth, which was a big change not only from Metal Machine Music, but also from Reed's cartoonish glam-rock period in the earlier '70's. Coney Island Baby was Reed's warmest and most civilized solo album up to that point, picking up where his self-titled 1972 debut had left off before he detoured into Transformer-era self-indulgence. The title track, "Crazy Feeling", and "A Gift" showed a new and surprising sensitivity. If you prefer Reed's dark side, "Kicks" is an unsettling song sung from the point of view of a psycho who kills for thrills. Velv…