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Tuesday, Dec 12, 2006

In the what-he-said dept, we have this great article from Adage by Simon Dumenco: FCC Chairman Martin? It’s Time for You to Resign.  While the whole article is quotable, there’s this great two paragraph passage to make the case for Martin’s uselessness:


“What’s driving the FCC’s censorious crusade? An extreme, faith-based view of governing that’s being championed by underqualified FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who got this job thanks to a resume that includes serving on Bush’s 2000 Florida recount team and working for Monica Lewinsky fetishist Ken Starr.


Martin has pumped up his case for a morals crisis in American broadcasting by allowing the use of fraudulent complaints to shape the FCC’s great crusade. We’re talking about just another form of un-American ballot-box stuffing: quasi-automated complaint e-mails about “indecency” that are invariably generated by a handful of religious organizations that whip their members into click-and-send frenzies, usually with few of the members ever having witnessed any (supposed) broadcast offense. “


And then this nice tie-in to the rest of a failed administration’s policies:


“Like Donald Rumsfeld before him, Kevin Martin has stubbornly and willfully relied on faulty intelligence that does not reflect reality outside of a certain hermetically sealed bubble. Martin and his ultra-conservative religious allies would have us believe that they’ve found the moral equivalent of WMDs on our airwaves: an epidemic of foulness that necessitates the FCC’s invasion of American living rooms to protect us from broadcast evildoers.”


Amen.  Someone call the Pulitzer committee!


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Tuesday, Dec 12, 2006

Frank Sinatra - Sinatra: Vegas [Rhino - $79.98]


Here’s the ideal gift for the martini set, or anyone who just loves the classic American songbook.  Rhino offers up four CDs and one DVD of sizzling, swinging Frank Sinatra live Las Vegas sessions.  He may have been a New Jersey boy, but Vegas was his home away from home in the later stages of his career.  Sinatra’s live sessions are the recordings where his perfect vocal phrasing really erupts into all-out swinging nirvana.  The usual suspects are here—“Come Fly with Me”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, “Witchcraft”, “The Lady Is a Tramp”—on these five sets ranging from 1961 to 1987.  The Chairman of the Board virtually takes Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” off the market for other singers with his delicious, syncopated vocals and Count Basie’s banging orchestration.  The set comes complete with a 60-page, full color book and two show poster reproductions.  Hang the posters above the home bar, but make sure those are gin martinis for this music, buddy.  Save the vodka for another night out. [Amazon]



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Tuesday, Dec 12, 2006

It’s the Gravity’s Rainbow of ‘60s British science fiction series, an utterly compelling and completely baffling exercise in puzzle box plotting and sly social commentary. Co-created by its star, the elegant Englishmen Patrick McGoohan, as a critical response to all the action oriented espionage brought about by a certain 007, it was only supposed to last seven episodes. But ITC executive Sir Lew Grade demanded a full season, and a compromise was reached. Oddly enough, after only 13 installments, Grade cancelled the series, and then reluctantly allowed an additional four episodes to finish up the storylines. Still talked about nearly 40 years later, this finely crafted conundrum is wildly inventive and intelligent. Now collected in one complete box set, you too can get lost in this excellent episodic experiment. [Amazon]



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Tuesday, Dec 12, 2006

Four CDs worth of rockabilly both familiar and obscure, Rockin’ Bones doesn’t attempt to become a history lesson. It doesn’t try to answer the hotly contested question of who gave birth to rockabilly. Yet, Rockin’ Bones succeeds as a portrayal of rockabilly—born in the American South and typified by supercharged electric guitar, drums, and slap-back bass—as a moment frozen in time. The genre fell out of favor before it could be truly co-opted and corrupted beyond repair, but not before it could be filled with colorful characters and fly-by-night labels. From the cover’s homage to pulp novels, complete with leather jackets, switchblades, and a dangerous girl who practically licks her lips at the thought of blood, to the song selection, Rockin’ Bones revels in rockabilly’s popular image as dangerous stuff.  [Amazon]


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Tuesday, Dec 12, 2006

For many fright fans, Famous Monsters of Filmland and its maverick overseer, Forrest J. Ackerman literally created the post-modern fright flick movement. A few of his so-called “students”—Dennis Muren, Mark McGee, David Allen and Jim Danforth—were so inspired by the publication that they made something called The Equinox… a Journey in the Supernatural. Like most homemade movies, it showed locally in a few out of the way places, and that was it. Yet, there was soon another version of Equinox on the market—a 1970 b-picture revamp of the footage these determined fans shot. Criterion, in clear acknowledgment of the DIY domain of modern digital moviemaking, releases a comprehensive DVD package that presents both versions. It’s a perfect illustration of how the business’s desire for a dollar can crush even the most earnest cinephiles’ creative dreams.  [Amazon]


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