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Thursday, Dec 14, 2006

3 Faces of Danzig [Spencer Gifts, Hot Topic, comic book/specialty stores and Chaser website - $75 each]


For those very bad boys and girls who just love their ‘Evil Elvis’, their horrorpunk goth metal legend Glenn Danzig, here is a tender offering: dolls.  That’s right; soft (squeezable) vinyl Danzig dolls.  The spirit of daddy Danzig is captured here in these three 10” dolls, representing various incarnations over his prolific, broad, nearly 30-year singer/songwriter career: Danzig with no shirt on, but wearing that big-ass belt buckle and the instantly-recognizable upside-down cross medallion (from the album, Lucifuge); his Samhain stage (from Initium), covered in icky fake blood, and Misfit, looking pretty evil but at least not topless, but wearing a skull and crossbones t-shirt (from Walk Among Us).  In these latter two dolls, you get that oh-so-cool Devilock do, too.  Lest one feel overcome with Ozzy Osborne-like emotion when cuddling a Danzig and feel compelled to bite… beware: these dolls pose a choking hazard.


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Thursday, Dec 14, 2006

La Dolce Vita: Deluxe Collector’s Set [Koch Lorber - $79.98]


Though he made many fine films prior to 1960 (including Oscar nominated efforts like La Strada and I Vitteloni) Federico Fellini became an international superstar with the release of this jaundiced take on the jet set. Intoxicating in its visual finesse, and masterful in its message about the meaning of life, critics have long considered it one of the maestro’s most magnificent efforts. Long unavailable on DVD, a recent two disc release from Koch Lorber offered up a wonderfully sound technical package. Now, in this Deluxe Edition revamp, we are treated to sensational supplemental material and scholarly considerations that confirm Fellini’s status as one of cinema’s most important figures. All intellectualizing aside, this is still one of the best motion pictures of all time. [Amazon]


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Thursday, Dec 14, 2006

The Pretenders – Pirate Radio Box Set [Rhino - $56.00]


Hardly “middle of the road”; decades after their debut in the late ‘70s, the Pretenders’ sound carries nary a fleck of, “yeah, they were good, then”, been-sitting-on-the-shelf dust.  The best of this band’s work, and the transitions life demands of it, is captured in this collection of 81 tracks and 19 videos, and it’s so well crafted, so rock era-defying, it could very well shake your shelf ‘til it comes crashing down.  Chrissie Hynde, with her sweet, slow vibrato that has a touch of rough grain in it, may be the best rock vocalist for generations.  Her timing and expression is such that she could step into virtually any music genre and belt it out.  Indeed, Hynde could stand alongside the likes of great country singers like Patty Loveless and Tricia Yearwood and hold her own—she’s that good.


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Thursday, Dec 14, 2006

The Addams Family: Volume 1 [MGM - $29.98]


It goes without saying that The Addams Family is a product of its time. Viewed some 40 years later, the show is nothing short of luminous. It is superbly cast, brilliantly acted, and rebellious to a fault. What was weird and eccentric in 1964 is now nice and normal, the family’s main mantra of individualism and being true to oneself a coveted current cultural directive. It is easy to see what ‘60s audiences eventually dismissed about this wonderfully inventive comedy. The Addamses were radicals, rocking the boat of suburban conformity with their love of all things dark and dour. Thanks to MGM, and their initial DVD offering of the original black and white episodes, we can experience just how immensely entertaining this sadly underrated series actually is.


 


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Thursday, Dec 14, 2006

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan [Penguin - $26.95]


It’s not clear which would be a less appealing digestive aid after Christmas dinner: Pollan’s account of the industrial food production system lurking behind a McDonald’s value meal, or his subsequent account of hunting a pig for his dinner. But after the roast beef and the last of the candy canes, Pollan’s ability to translate the science of nutrition and agriculture into narrative will provoke well into the New Year.


 


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