Sunday, August 31, 2008

Worst Movie Viewing Experience. Ever.

People suck. If you are like me and love movies, and enjoy watching good movies under comfortable circumstances, then I do recommend to NEVER attend a screening at LA's Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I've somehow managed to avoid these very popular screenings over the years, but friends have always told me how much fun it is to watch movies outdoors, under the stars with a bunch of other movie fans. Well, they didn't tell me that I was going to be surrounded by assholes the entire two hours. 
The film that finally got me to attend a graveyard screening was Nicholas Roeg's masterpiece DON'T LOOK NOW. I've been wanting to see this film forever - and I'm glad I finally did - only I wish it was in a entirely different place and time. What's my beef, you might ask with the audience at the cemetery? Oh, I don't know...where should I start?

1) People who think they're watching TV in their living - so they talk at normal voice levels about things that have nothing to do with the film they are supposed to be watching. Drunken dickheads.
2) People who feel the need to stand up and slowly navigate through the crowd blocking the screen, repeatedly. The same dozen or so people kept getting up and walking around. Morons.
3) Chain Smoking idiots. Almost everyone around me had either a cigarette–or even worse–a cigar lit at all times. Fucking gross. Don't choke, bastards.
4) The family of 8 that arrived HALFWAY THROUGH THE FILM and decided to plop down right next to us and talk and smoke. Did I mention they were all FAT!
5) People who laugh constantly at anything that happens onscreen - whether it's funny or not. Nothing in DON'T LOOK NOW was funny. Nothing.
6) People who just had take phone calls or text their asshole friends during the film.
"Carly, oh my god, you did what? Oh, it's okay, I'm only at the movies, I can talk..."
7) The idiot woman who came back from the porta-potty and stood right in front of me for like 2 minutes before I yelled at her to "sit the fuck down".
8) Did I mention we had to pay $10 each for this bullshit?Well, anyway DESPITE all this - I did absolutely love the film, even if my friends didn't as much. I loook forward to seeing it again one day in peace.

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "awww..."

Wonder if a little tyke named Barack Obama ever listened to this? 

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Sonseed" First Fruit - The Album

Thanks to my friend Rev. Ricky, I now have (temporarily) in my hands the "Sonseed" album called "First Fruit"! I have to say, the cover is AMAZING! I could not have created a better logo for the band if I tried.Finally, I am now able to confirm certain assumptions that I've had about the band and dismiss others. They are from Brooklyn, NY and they appear to be 90% Italian –therefore one can assume that they are NOT a Christian ska band, but a CATHOLIC pop band!Our lead singer is named Sal Polichetti.Our organist is named Patricia Costagliola, and she also produced the album!Our background vocalists, formerly known as "Inez" and "Crabby Cathy" are Melody M. Sorrentino and Anne Lessing (not confirmed who's who)."Sleepy" looks like he may be "Brother" John Wieners."Groovy Guy" could be Jimmy Archer or Joe Ciccone. (There are more names listed on the album than performers in the video)Guitarist is Frank "Alleluia" Franco.
And lastly, the elusive drummer is probably Nicky Sciarra.
If any body has any further information on these people, let me know!!! Now, my next mission, which I have chosen to accept is to find out where they are now! Oh, PS - Rev. Ricky thinks "Salvation Army" and "Punch & Judaism" wre two other acts that appeared on the show after "Sonseed". I'll buy that.

Friday, August 29, 2008

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "Huh?"

Even more perplexing than the secretary set and Cindy's William's role in The Killing Kind, comes this most unusual item: the official LAVERNE & SHIRLEY Tiger Claw Pendant! Now, I don't profess to be an expert on the show, but I did watch just about every episode of the series–and I don't recall a Tiger Claw Pendant ever being a plot point. I could be wrong, but I do recall Boo Boo Kitty (pictured here), Milk & Pepsi and Scooter Pies–but was ever there an episode where the girls mistakenly steal an antique Indian Tiger Claw Pendant and then have to sneak back into the museum at night to return it? It's possible, but highly doubtful. Maybe one of the duo wore a Tiger Claw Pendant as a "good luck charm"? I don't know...once again, maybe. But it's no Greg Brady tiki necklace. I just think it's really weird to sell this to kids as if it was an actual item that had anything to do with Miss DeFazio or Miss Feeney. I guess a little girl (or boy) could wear it while playing with the freaky secretary set that Harmony Toys also sold. Harmony Toys - I think their slogan was  "making toys that have nothing to do with anything."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Search of "Sonseed" - Day 4

As I continue to gather clues as to who the elusive members of "Sonseed" really are (as opposed to the fake bios I've invented for them - see below), I received an email from Larry at Vinyl Rehab:
"...i don't know anything about them except i think they are from brooklyn ny. the album is white with a plant beginning to grow"

Hmm...Brooklyn? I guess it makes sense since the lead singer is named "Sal," a very Brooklyn-esque name. Wait a minute - Brooklyn??? - that's where I was born!!! What if this quest to find out more about "Sonseed" is also where I find out something about myself? This is where, if this was a movie trailer, the announcer would mention "the triumph of the human spirit". Wow...I hope I'm not becoming "born again"...but what if it's my destiny to not only track down "Sonseed, " but to join them in their crusade??? Imagine me...a member of a groovy Christian ska band..Um, no way. Anyways, Larry also sent me the track listing for the album:
"BORN OF THE FLESH" - sounds like a horror film!
"ANOTHER KIND OF LOVE SONG" - didn't Prince write this?
"JESUS IS A FRIEND OF MINE" - YAY! The classic! And all along I've been calling it "Jesus is My Friend". 
"THE GOSPEL SHIP" - A Disney theme park ride?
"SONSEED" - wow, a song about themselves! Like when "Le Chic" recorded "The Freak"
"THE OPENED DOOR" - sounds spooky
"SAIL ON" - a sequel to "Come Sail Away"?
"OH HAPPY DAY" - another classic
"GETTIN' BACK" - Is this their rap song? opposed to "gettin' front"?
"AND THE FATHER WILL DANCE" - wasn't this on FOX last season?
"SAY YES" - "Yes!!!!!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cracking the "Sonseed Code" - Day 3

As my obsession with "Sonseed" continues, I realize a major clue that has been in front of my eyes for 25 years(!) -could it be that the song "Jesus is My Friend" (video posted below) is from an album called "Salvation Army" on a label called Punch & Judaism?Seems odd for a Christian band. Also - I just noticed the menorah in the background - could this be from a non-denominational religious TV show? I no idea that something like that even existed! I need to know more about this show and the jovial, yet creepy host.Okay, back to analyzing the members of "Sonseed". Here's a shot of "Olive the Organist." (She on the left - playing the organ)Sadly, Olive never gets a close-up, except we do see her hands during the start of the song with the "Sonseed" type imposed over them, making her iconographic.Next up is the woman I like to call "Cathy Crabby" since she looks really pissed about something. My guess is that either "Groovy Guy" or "Sleepy" has bad b.o. and she is annoyed that she got stuck between them. At least she gets a close-up. Not like the poor Gary Guitar: This guy is hardest working member of the band, but because the camera is so in love with lead singer Sal, the bass guy never stands a chance. He does earn points for wearing snazzy grey shoes- or are they socks? And finally, the least remembered and seen band member, the Dave the Drummer. This poor dude is barely seen because, once again sexy Sal steals the limelight. I guess he's lucky to be near Sal since that's the only way we can even catch a glimpse of his Seth Rogan style "jew fro".

Monday, August 25, 2008

...About "Sonseed" - Day 2

It appears that "Sonseed" - the band behind the soon-to-be web phenom "Jesus is My Friend" (see post below) - had a whole album called "First Fruit" and a website called Vinyl Rehab is selling it! While I wait for my album to arrive, I've gotten some requests for larger images of the incredibly captivating "Sonseed" members.Let's start with the Lead Singer - the host calls him "Sal" - I call him the Christian Donny Osmond. You just know he's a sinner. He's pretty dreamy, and as Ann Magnuson once declared about him, "his skin is flawless." ZAP!I like to call this woman "Inez," because she reminds me of the lovely woman named Inez who works for my vet. One day I will get up the nerve to ask Inez if she was ever in a Christian ska band.This is the "Groovy Guy". Kinda like Kenny Loggins meets Jim Henson, without Jimmy Messina or Kermit to drag him down.This is "Sleepy." quiet or you'll wake him. More to come.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Jesus is My Friend" by "Sonseed"

I've had an amazing homemade VHS tape of a Christian Ska band named "Sonseed" performing "Jesus is My Friend" for about 25 years now. I've shown to to hundreds of my friends, I've entered it into Dennis Hensley's HOME VIDEO GONG SHOW (Where it was unfairly "gonged" by Go-Go Jane Wiedlin), and I've spent countless hours analyzing it and the odd, yet endearing assortment of performers known as "Sonseed". For years I've searched the internet far & wide for information about "Sonseed" and the song-to no avail. Finally, I lent the tape to my good friend Peleg Top who converted it to digital. Alleluia! So, at last, presenting the internet premiere of "Jesus is My Friend"! Spread the word! Warning: This video is highly addictive! PS...If you have any info on "Sonseed", let me know!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My 100th Post

For my 100th post, I thought it would be fun to do something special. At first I looked up today's date in history to see if something cool happened 100 years ago today. Other than it being the 100th birthday of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, nothing really jumped out at me. So then I decided to approach this was a "very special episode" of DOUGSPLOITATION where I look back at the past 100 posts and recall my favorites, etc. Maybe I'll do that for my One Year Anniversary Special (coming on September 19).Browsing through my previous posts made me think about all the stuff I love. So I decided to list my FAVORITE 100 THINGS. After a slow start, and a quick visit to my dvd, cd and book collections - the names and titles came flying at me. In fact, it was hard to decide who or what to leave off. For instance, rather than list MULHOLLAND DRIVE and BLUE VELVET, I grouped them as "David Lynch Films". In one case I've listed the director (Russ Meyer) separate from the film (FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL KILL) because that film has profoundly effected me, but his others are also great. Also, rather than list out every MGM Musical that I love, I decided to group 'em, much like DC Comics. Some musical acts that I actually love didn't make the list (sorry Cyndi, Aretha, Eurthymics, Blondie, kd lang) to make room for lesser-known artists that I feel need more exposure. Some TV shows that I currently watch are already listed on my DVR list, so there's no need to repeat them here. And then there's the "classics" that would normally make any gay pop culture list (Babs, Bette, Madonna, Cher, Lucy, THE WIZARD OF OZ - ugh). Well, you ain't gonna find them here. Judy and Liza may have snuck in, but there's where I draw the line. Maybe I'll work on my "other 100 favorite things" for Post # 200, but it would probably not include those aforementioned divas.

One last note: the ranking order is random to an extent, but I tried to group my all-time faves near the top of the list.

So here it FAVORITE 100 THINGS...

100. Brenda Starr, Reporter
99. The Andrew Sisters
98. Kathy Mattea
97. Harry Nilsson
96. Cassandra Wilson
95. Amy Rigby
94. Holly Cole
93. Alison Moyet
92. Cheryl Wheeler's "Driving Home" cd
91. Schoolhouse Rock
90. Barbie
89. Phranc
88. Dianne Reeves
87. Lulu
86. Logan's Run
85. Loretta Lynn
84. Down with Love
83. The Apple
82. Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
81. Strictly Ballroom
79. Tammy Wynette
78. Shock Treatment
77. Pink Lady & Jeff
76. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
75. Nancy & Sluggo
74. Siouxsie & the Banshees
73. Strangers With Candy
72. Showgirls
71. Claudine Longet
70. Billie Holiday
69. Mommie Dearest
68. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
67. Pet Clark
66. Sandie Shaw
65. Golden Books
64. Neko Case
63. Doris Day
62. Tales of the City
61. Dinah Washington
60. Sandra Bernhard
59. Nina Simone
58. 9 to 5
57. Nancy Sinatra
56. Maude
55. Etta James
54. Airplane!
53. David Lynch Films
52. Mari Wilson
51. Mr. Show
50. Sid & Marty Krofft
49. Air (French Band)
48. Degrassi (old school)
47. Kirsty MacColl
46. Goldfrapp
45. MGM Musicals
44. Absolutely Fabulous
43. Captain Marvel/Shazam/Isis
42. The League of Gentleman
41. Dusty Springfield
40. Alfred Hitchcock Films
39. Julie London
38. Peggy Lee
37. Liza Minnelli
36. The Dixie Chicks
35. Pedro Almodovar Films
34. Shirley Bassey
33. Another World
32. Mame
31. Gypsy
30. Hanna-Barbera Cartoons
29. Ethel Merman
28. ABBA
27. The Free Design
26. Russ Meyer Films
25. Rankin-Bass TV Specials
24. Bette Davis
23. Power Girl
22. Dolly Parton
21. Judy Garland
20. Disneyland
19. old TV game shows
18. The Carpenters
17. The Carol Burnett Show
16. DC Comics
15. The Electric Light Orchestra
14. The Justice Society of America
13. Halloween (the holiday)
12. Something Weird Video/exploitation films
11. John Waters Films
10. TV Guide
9. Wonder Woman
8. The Odd Couple
7. Ann Magnuson
6. Joan Crawford/her films
5. Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill
4. Fawlty Towers
3. Mary Tyler Moore Show
2. Xanadu
1. Christmas (the holiday)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "Huh?"

Okay, everybody knows Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney both worked in the Shotz Brewery, until the sixth season when they moved to Burbank and took jobs at Bardwell's Department Store. In the final season, when Shirley got married and left, Laverne began working in an aerospace testing facility.
They why, pray tell, would Harmony Toys market a LAVERNE & SHIRLEY Secretary set? I don't think they were ever employed as office workers, but I could be wrong. Even then,  why...oh why would each item in this "set" be of a different scale? It looks like there's a yellow princess phone and clipboard  that are relatively in the same proportion, but then there's a book & trophy case that looks much smaller and a ruler and calculator that are absolutely huge compared to everything else. I guess one could argue that the ruler needed to be a certain size to avoid choking, but unless the calculator really worked (which it clearly doesn't) , why would it need to be so large? Also - they didn't have calculators during the late 1950s, early 1960s when the show was set! These things bother me. In fact what bothers me most are the two items I cannot identify. The white plastic object with red buttons looks like another phone, or answering machine - which are also NOT period accurate and the other white item looks like a dirty cigarette or a rolled up dollar bill (for sniffing coke?)! Basically what we have here is a bunch of plastic crap left over from other toys that they decided to package and sell as a LAVERENE & SHIRLEY playset. I'm not amused.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fonzie for President

Dozens of die-hard HAPPY DAYS fans lined the Milwaukee River on Tuesday to cheer the unveiling of a bronze statue of The Fonz. Henry Winkler was there, joined by Tom Bosley, Marion Ross and the show's creator Garry Marshall, along with Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams from the spin-off LAVERNE & SHIRLEY. This reminds me of the time a ten year old named Doug wrote Mr. Winkler a fan letter, and all he got back was a order form from "Thumbs Up Productions" for a Fonzie t-shirt. Very sad.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Barbies Gone Wild

Recently, a religious group named "Christian Voice" called for a boycott of Barbie because Mattel is releasing a Black Canary Barbie (priced at $39.95 and aimed at adult Barbie collectors) claiming that the dolls is "filth.” Never mind that the doll is wearing a costume that the DC Comics character has been wearing since the 1940s, and that Barbie has worn Bob Mackie outfits since the 1980s - they don't have a prayer.I wonder how long it will take them to call for a boycott of the new Priscilla Presley Barbie - after all, Ms. Presley is divorced...and a member of the Church of Scientology!The Ken & Barbie dolls are wearing replicas of the outfits that The King and his princess wore on their wedding day in Las Vegas in 1967. The Elvis Ken is clad in a black paisley-print tuxedo, while Priscilla's is wearing a white chiffon gown with a tiara and veil. I wish they were wearing these outfits instead:In the non-toy world Elvis and Priscilla separated on February 23, 1972 and divorced on October 9, 1973, agreeing to share custody of their daughter Lisa Marie (Jackson). They remained good friends until the day of Elvis' death on August 16, 1977. "I WISH that he knew what Scientology was before he died," Priscilla Presley said recently, adding that the church's staunch anti-drug policies could have "helped Elvis a lot" in fighting his addiction to prescription drugs. 

Elvis was once quoted as saying about Scientologists, "Fuck those people! There's no way I'll ever get involved with that son-of-a-bitchin' group. All they want is my money." What would Elvis do?

Lady Cop

She's a lady! She's a cop! She's LADY COP!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Laurie Partridge Trilogy

"For Girls Only," "Susan Dey's Secrets on Boys, Beauty & Popularity" and "Cooking, Cleaning & Falling in Love". Where is the smart, sexy, liberated Laurie Partridge when we need her today???

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You can lose your mind...

Patty Lane (Patty Duke) was a normal American teen living in Brooklyn Heights, New York, who loved typically American things like ice cream, sleepovers and safe-looking boys. In the first episode, of THE PATTY DUKE SHOW, Patty's trampy "identical cousin" Cathy Lane (also played by Duke) arrives in the USA from Scotland to live with Patty and her family. That's where the comedy lies. (The uncanny physical resemblance that Patty and Cathy Lane share is explained by their dads being identical twin brothers- right!).

Okay, so what are Patty and Cathy up to in this here book based on their hit TV show? Hmmm..."The Adventure of the Chinese Junk"...oh it must be about that time Cathy convinced Patty to buy some cheap imported heroin from the Chinese exchange student at Brooklyn Heights High School! You see, Fred Yao smuggled heroin on military transport flights from Hong Kong for eventual distribution on the East Coast. Heroin (diacetylmorphine) is a semi-synthetic opioid synthesized from morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy. As with other opiates, heroin is used mainly as a recreational drug. One of the most common methods of heroin use is via intravenous injection (typically known as "shooting up"). One would surmise, by it's title that this book chronicles Patty's early addition and harrowing downward spiral into homelessness, overdose and eventual withdrawal. While Patty is in rehab, Cathy poses as her, turning her life upside down–resulting in pregnancy via Patty's boyfriend, Richard Harrison. Meanwhile, Patty's father, Martin, managing editor of a the New York Chronicle, struggles to maintain his sanity while the lives of the two girls tumble out of control. It all ends up on a sunny note, as Fred Yao is deported, Patty is declared "clean" by the family doctor and Cathy's miscarriage (after tumbling down the Lane house staircase) puts things back in order! What an adventure!
"Meet Cathy who's scored most everywhere, from Afghanistan to Vietnam; But Patty's only seen the sights a girl can see from illegal fights - what a crazy pair! But they're cousins, identical cousins all the way; one pair of matching headlights, different as straight and gay. Where Cathy adores a dutch oven, a Donkey Punch, and a tuna melt; our Patty loves to shoot the smack, black tar makes her lose her shit - what D-N-A! But they're cousins, identical cousins and you'll find they cry alike, they speak alike, at times they even freak alike. You can lose your mind ... when cousins are two of a kind!"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tattoo You

Did diminutive FANTASY ISLAND star Hervé Villechaize actually record a version of Annie Lennox's "Why" accompanied by a motley crew of young runaways? If so, WHY???

The Return of EXTRANO!

This week DC Comics released a trade-paper collection of Steve Englehart & Joe Staton's MILLENNIUM, an 8-part miniseries from 20 years ago. The original series, which ran in weekly installments for 8 weeks, was a grand attempt to introduce a diverse new superteam into the DC Universe.In the well-intended series, a group of individuals were chosen by The Guardians of The Universe (the little blue guys from GREEN LANTERN) to advance to the next step of human evolution. The team, dubbed THE NEW GUARDIANS featured characters from across the globe including a flamboyant, possibly alcoholic and suicidal young man from Peru named Gregorio De La Vega. Gregorio was possibly the most offensively stereotypical of the bunch, which also included a Chinese woman, an English girl, a Japanese man, an Aboriginal woman and three previously existing characters: The villain named The Floronic Man, Tom ('Pie Face') Kalmaku from GREEN LANTERN and fan-favorite Harbinger, who survived CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS only to be sadly sacrificed years later in the new Supergirl origin in the mostly horrendous SUPERMAN/BATMAN series.Gregorio was transformed into Extrano - translated from Spanish meaning "strange" - which I guess makes him DC's gay version of Marvel's Dr. Strange. Extrano's powers were magical, performing "tricks," levitating and firing energy blasts from his (limp) wrists. He was also comic relief. When the NEW GUARDIANS were awarded their own monthly title, Extrano acquired a crystal skull which not only beefed up his powers, but butched him up a bit too. Unfortunately, one of the team's foes was a vampire with HIV which attacked several members including Extrano, who lated tested positive for HIV. So much for comic relief. He has not been seen since the title was cancelled, though fellow HIV positive teammate Jet has recently returned in the pages of GREEN LANTERN as the leader of the Global Guardians. Gay fanboys have a love/hate relationship with Extrano. We love that there was finally a queer superhero, but hated that he was so nelly and cliched. But ultimately, his existence paved the way for many more openly gay and lesbian heroes and villains in the DCU and beyond. My hope is that Extrano's still out there somewhere in the DCU being "strange" and some smart writer will tell the rest of his story. Paging Marc Andreyko!