Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gogol Bordello Announces World Tour

One of my favorite bands these days is the Russian emigre punk group Gogol Bordello which is alas not playing at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC, this summer.

But, they will be at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Col., on May 28 so perhaps my sister can check them out.....hmm, somehow I think she's more comfortable at a Sarah Palin 2012 Tupperware fundraiser (neither my sister or I are Republicans. In fact, she helped talk me out of my surreal political confusion two years ago.)

Gogol Bordello fans in Santa Cruz, Calif., can check them out on May 22. They will also be in Chicago on May 31 and in Baltimore on June 4.

For their full 'road trip,' which includes a show in Turku, Finland, go to gogolbordello.com

True Confessions Quiz (6 of 11)

One aspect of living in a small town in North Carolina when you are not a small-town person yourself is that there are voids which need to be filled as I don't a) go to church b) go to car races c) go to pig roasts or d) hang out in redneck bars

Hence, I now actually subsribe to five different magazines at a time when most people are cancelling their's.

I am going to compose a list of eight magazines here, and there are three of them which I don't subsribe. Guess which three they are, and I'll send you send a bumper sticker from the town I live in!

A) Film Comment

B) Mad (pictured)

C) Reader's Digest

D) Oxford American

E) New Republic

F) Rolling Stone

G) Interview

H) Legs

UPDATE (April 1): And, we have a winner! My sister Lale Lovell of Boulder, Col., guessed which magazines I don't subscribe to. They are: Mad, Reader's Digest and Legs. The later is an adult magazine that cartoon artist R. Crumb perports to read. Perhaps, he has more spare time than I do! Lale will be getting a gift in the mail soon.....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Leonard Nimoy

Today marks Leonard Nimoy's 78th birthday. Assuredly, there are other roles he has played bsides Mr. Spock, but.......well, we can't think of any. There was that western, but........yeah, I can't remember the title either.

A lot of celebrities are having birthdays today including Keira Knightley (24), Jennifer Grey (49), Martin Short (59), Diana Ross (65) and Alan Arkin (75).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So Much for West Virginia

My friend Haywood Graves of Danville, Va., urged me to create a massive ten NCAA brackets last week.

I decided to do something creative and choose as many champions as I could.

Alas, one of my 8 projected champions- the West Virginia University Mountaineers, who were a six-seed, were bumped by Dayton in the first round.

But, my other 7 teams are alive and well and that's what really counts!

The Rude Discovery

A few days ago when my mother came to visit me in Mount Airy, NC (not where I actually reside), she informed me that she had discovered a note I had written in the guest bedroom.

The note, as it turns out, was a random list of things I could do to improve my life, which is at times a bit out of sink.

The number one item on the list was: "I need to be more independent of my domineering mother."

I felt tremendously guilty of the note even though mom said she was 'not mad at me.'

When she went back to Virginia, I gave her a call and said: "You are not a domineering mother in Joan Crawford sense, but you have some Queen Elizabeth tendencies that _" and before I could finish, she interupted by saying:

"You bet I do!"

I guess the lesson to this story is simply_ don't leave notes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quote of the Week- Dean Smith

"If you treat every situation as a life-and-death matter, you'll die a lot of times."

The University of North Carolina Tarheels, who are now coached Roy Williams, will face Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 from Memphis. The game tips off at 9:57 p.m.(EDT).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cinema of the Week- Esquire Theatre in Cincy (10 of 21)

The historic Esquire Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio, is showing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at midnight this Saturday night. To date, my cousin Shannon Sturgis of St. Louis has seen the film 899 times (or more).

It's a travesty to think that this glorious place was actually converted into a Wendy's restaurant.

The theatre is located at 320 Ludlow Avenue, and on Wednesdays, they offer dinner and a movie for $6.75.

I would write more but (yikes!), I have a class to teach in less than an hour!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation- Alex English

We are actually concluding one of our long-running blog series with this entry dedicated to former NBA star Alex English (pictured here) who gave a rather good performance in the 1987 sleeper film "Amazing Grace and Chuck."

In this series, we look at how many degrees of separation a given actor is removed from Kevin Bacon with the help of The Oracle of Bacon web site.

We choose English_ well, because it is basketball season! But, to my mind, his performance in "Amazing Grace and Chuck" may be the best performance by a basketball player/actor with the exception of Ray Allen, who was in the Spike Lee film "He Got Game."

English primarily played for the Denver Nuggets and he lead the NBA in scoring in 1983. The Nugget star was still an active player when he starred in the respectable independent film. He also played for the University of South Carolina from 1972-76.

English was in the Whoopi Goldberg vehicle "Eddie" (1996) with Frank Langella who played Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon" (2008) which also co-starred Kevin Bacon. Thus, English is two degrees removed from Bacon.

Well, we never got around to seeing how many degrees of separation Kevin Bacon was from my friend Charles Cullen, a cult actor/filmmaker from Roanoke, Va. But, I will mention that one of his films is actually entitled "The Day the Whole F--k--g World Blew Up."

To my knowledge, he has never been in a film with Kevin Bacon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Here is My Final Four

I am picking Michigan State, Missouri, Pitt and Arizona State in the Final Four.

For those reading my other blog "The Daily Vampire," you may have noticed that my Final Four picks there are slightly different.

Here I am going to project that my alma mater Radford University will beat the number one-seeded UNC Tarheels in the first round and put the whole tournament in a tail spin.

I do hate to leave the ACC out of the Final Four. Since I live in North Carolina, this would be considered a cardinal sin, but hey I'm not Catholic! So, why worry about cardinal sins???!!!

Oh, I am actually picking Pitt to win it all, but I prefer the look of the Michigan State mascot.

Happy Birthday, Lale Lovell

I wanted to wish my sister Lale Lovell a happy 35th birthday today. Celebrity birthdays for today include Rob Lowe, Patrick Duffy, Kurt Russell and Gary Sinise.

I hope she got my Britney Spears' Greatest Hits cd in the mail.........

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time to Put the Tarheels to Bed

I wonder if many people who go to a certain ACC school in Durham, NC, are familiar with Radford University in Radford, Va., about 20 miles from Virginia Tech.

Well, come Thursday, Duke University fans will know about the Highlanders as my alma mater Radford University faces the top-seeded University of North Carolina Tarheels at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tip-off time is 2:50 p.m.

I plan to post entries about the Radford University team and the game until that time.

But, if you are not a sports fan.....don't fret.... we will return to 'our regular programming' come Friday.

No 16-seed has ever beaten a number one seed.

But, high school friend Mike Ferris, who went East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., did see his school take then top-seeded Oklahoma to overtime and just last week the ninth-seeded Baylor Bears beat top-seeded Kansas in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.

So, anything is possible.........perhaps, it's a good thing I don't live in Chapel Hill though if the Highlanders win the game, I may have to go down to Talulla's (a Turkish restaurant/night club in Chapel Hill) and have myself a shot of raki!*

*- that's the Turkish equivalent of ouzo.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Know Your Mayors (5 of 12)

Cory Booker is the 36th mayor of Newark, NJ.

A recent guest on "Real Time with Bill Maher," Booker was born on April 27, 1969.

He first ran for mayor in 2002 against long-time incumbent Sharpe James. The race was the subject of the highly acclaimed documentary film "Street Fight." James won the election, but Booker came close enough to be a future contender.

Booker won the 2006 mayoral election over Ronald Rice with a whopping 72 percent of the vote.

The Newark mayor is the son of civil rights activists Cary and Carolyn Booker who were among the first black executives at IBM.

Booker went to Stanford University, where he played football for the Cardinal. He later studied at Oxford University in England.

He was initially elected to Newark City Council in 1998.

Booker started the activist organization Newark Now in 2003 in the wake of his political setback. He is a personal friend of President Barack Obama and former New York Giants football player Tiki Barber.

The mayor is a vegetarian who does not drink or smoke.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quote of the Week- R. Crumb

Even though I'm not an artist, I identify with this statement all too well:

"I felt so painfully isolated that I vowed I would get revenge on the world by becoming a famous cartoonist," R. Crumb

We R the Champions!

My alma mater Radford University in Radford, Va., won the Big South Tournament yesterday by defeating the visiting VMI Keydets from Lexington, Va., 108-94 in a game that was televised nationally on ESPN2.

Kudos to head coach Brad Greenburg, asst. coach Ali Ton, and the players: Art Parakhowski (league mvp), Amir Johnson, Kenny Thomas, Joey Lynch-Flohr and Phillip Martin.

The image here is of the retired RU mascot Rowdy Red.

All of us are proud to be Highlanders and we wish the team the best of luck in the NCAA Tournament.

I just hope we don't have to play Duke in the first round like we did for our last NCAA tournament ten years ago!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation (Anna Magnani, entry 10 of 11)

If she were alive today, the amazing Italian actress Anna Magnani who Oscared for "The Rose Tattoo" (1955) would be 101 as she was born on March 7, 1908.

In her honor, we have selected her as our choice for the Six Degrees of Separation today. There is only one more entry left in this series, and then we will move on to other things.

Magnani is three degrees removed from Kevin Bacon. She was in "The Fugitive Kind" (1960) with Maureen Stapleton who was in "Cocoon" (1985) with Rance Howard who was with Bacon in "Frost/Nixon" (2008).

Bacon is currently starring in HBO's film "Taking Chance."

"Frost/Nixon" can be seen at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Va. It is my current choice for film of the year.

Friday, March 6, 2009

An Actual Bumper Sticker I Saw in Troutville, Va.

The bumper sticker was on the back of some beat-up old car that was puke green (and, in need of a paint job). The vehicle was driven by a disgruntled Vietnam vet with all sorts of POW/MIA nonsense too.

The anti-Obama bumper sticker had a Soviet sickle and hammer, and read: "Comrade Obama. USSA."

I will say I think this man probably calls himself a patriot, but what he really is, is a hypocrite. If he really respects our freedoms, as another one of his stickers indicated, he should respect the choice of the American people. Unlike Bush, Obama was clearly chosen by the people, including his state of Virginia.

This man also has no idea what a socialist is. He needs to go to the nearest public library and read a book about Marxism- that is if he is not illiterate to begin with.

I was also humored to see that he had a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on his car.

Perhaps, he didn't get the memo, but his side lost!

First Line of a Novel (7 of 11) Moby Dick

There aren't many people I know who openly profess to reading books that we were supposed to read as seniors in high school.

My friend Tom Angleberger, who is a "Roanoke Times" columnist, is one of these noble folks, and we would dedicate this entry to him but he actually prefers Charles Dickens over Herman Melville.

Nevertheless, we are going with "Moby Dick" as our choice for the first line of a novel this week.

I must admit to never reading the book (though I do have a comic book version), but I did check out the film version (poster is pictured here) from the Radford City Library when I was going to Radford University all those years ago. It is vintage John Huston.

Here is the first line of the novel:

"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago- never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."

Interestingly enough, the entire book is available in online form through Princeton University.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cinema of the Week (9 of 21) Warner Theatre in Morgantown, WVa

This week we focus on another historic movie theatre, and for the third week in a row, we choose a cinema from a college town.

The Warner Theatre in Morgantown, WVa, is an art deco style cinema that was opened by Warner Brothers in 1931.

The three-screen theatre at 147 High Street, which is currently showing "Milk" and "Gran Torino," was built with an exquisite architectural design.

The Warner will be screening a midnight show of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" on March 21.

I have to wonder if my cousin Shanon Sturgis, who is a rocky horror fanatic, might venture from St.Louis to take it in!

Songs of Our Youth (11 of 11)

"Big Money" by Rush!

This concludes the series which has also run on The Daily Vampire.

The basketball player pictured is LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I have to dedicate this entry to my friend Leigh Anne Keatts who would probably follow Rush from town to town if she could!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Facebook Friend of the Week- Jan Bonde

Of the 1,033 Facebook friends I have, there are four who happen to also have March 4th birthdays.

As it happens, I don't know a single one of those people personally!

But, I've decided to choose one of them as my Facebook Friend of the Week.

Jan Bonde lives in Vipperod, Denmark. He was born on this date in 1966, which makes him 43 years old. Jan is single.

He has 960 Facebook friends.

Jan also likes Barack Obama, Bob Marley and Mafia Wars.

I would say Happy Birthday in Danish, but I only speak Turkish and Norwegian:)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Know Your Mayors (4 of 12)

Today, we profile Washington, DC's mayor Adrien Fenty.

He was born on Dec. 6, 1970.

Fenty began his term on Jan. 2, 2007. He is the youngest person ever to hold the mayor's office.

He was raised in the DC neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, and he graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School.

Fenty has twins and a third child with lawyer Michelle Cross.

He got his start in politics by interning for Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio).

Fenty ran for city council in 2000. He was noted for outstanding constituent services.

He is a member of The Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.

Fenty, who was an early supporter of Barack Obama, also has a thing for BlackBerrys. He has three of them.

The DC Mayor is also known for sporting his signature black fedora.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quote of the Week- Larry Bird

We thought this was pretty interesting:

"But it is a black man's game and it will be forever."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cinema of the Week- (8 of 21)- The Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Va.

I have a sneaking suspicion that one of these right-wing talk show hosts who spew venom and hatred as they foam at the mouth is secretly ashamed of his suppressed homosexuality as San Francisco council member Dan White was back in the day.

Of course, White, who was played by Josh Brolin in the film "Milk," is an infamous figure now since he gunned down activist Harvey Milk and the mayor of San Francisco some 30 years ago. After getting an all-too-brief sentence, White ended up taking his own life.

"Milk," which features an Academy-award winning performance from Sean Penn in the title role, is now playing at the Lyric Theatre located at 135 College Avenue in Blacksburg, Va.

Along with Virginia Tech athletics, the Lyric is one of more positive aspects of Hokie Town which has been coming to terms with the horrific mass shooting that happened there in April of 2007.

In addition to independent films, foreign flicks and documentaries, the Lyric is also a venue for musicians.

Acts that have performed there include the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Doc Watson, Eddie from Ohio, and Lady Blacksmith.

Starting on Friday, the Lyric shows "Frost/Nixon," which I recently named my favorite film of 2008.

Six Degrees of Separation (Don Ho, Entry 9 of 11)

Today, we look at the two degrees of separation between Kevin Bacon and lounge singer extraordinaire Don Ho.

The Hawaiian crooner was in "Joe's Apartment" (1996) with Salvatore Paul Piro who was in "Sleepers" (1996) with Bacon!