Friday, August 20, 2010

My 800th Post!

Number 800. Hard to believe it, it seems like yesterday when I started this little distraction. Let's celebrate with a little contest.
Whoever can name all these awesome George Barris TV cars will get a copy of HBO's big penis dramedy HUNG Season One on DVD. What goes together better than Dougsploitation, crazy cars and big dicks? Good luck, readers!
UPDATE: We have a winner! The lovely and talented J.P. Johnson of Lexington, KY - the world's hottest librarian since Yvonne Craig starred as Barbara Gordon and the man behind the smart and sexy NSFW blog This and That. How appropriate that Mr. Johnson won HUNG! Here's J.P.'s answers:
1. Stutz Bearcat
2. Munster Coach
3. Beverly Hill Billies Hot Rod
4. Bugaloo Buggy
5. Green Horney (is that a typo?)
6. MonkeeMobile
7. THE Batmobile
Congrats JP!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mari Wilson: A Dougsploitation Diva

It's taken me almost 30 years, but this Sunday night I get to see the great Mari Wilson perform LIVE and IN PERSON at the Magic Castle in Hollywood! In honor of this momentous occasion, I proudly re-present a blog post from last September all about the talented Ms. Wilson. Enjoy!
Having already taken an extensive look at my favorite "divas of color" for Black History Month in February, I've decided to blog about some of my other favorite women singers. Some of them you may have heard of, but some of them may be new to you. I can guarantee there won't be any of the expected choices, because I prefer gals who are a bit off the beaten track. Let's start with the great Mari Wilson!

One of my all-time favorite singers, Mari (born Mari MacMillan Ramsey Wilson), is a stylish English singer who's initial sound and appearance were heavily influenced by early 1960s pop music.

Her back-up band was called the Wilsations and included future pop star Julia Fordham. Her clean, precise and soulful delivery of lyrics and her eloquent phrasing makes Ms. Wilson stand out far from the pack, with or without her signature beehive.
Mari scored six UK hit retro-pop singles in the early 1980s, including her biggest hit, "Just What I Always Wanted" in 1982. In 1983 she scored a top 30 hit with a gorgeous cover of the Julie London classic "Cry Me a River".

Both tracks were included on the essential Showpeople album, which also became a top 30 hit in the UK. Standout tracks include "Ecstacy" and an amazing cover of "Are You There (With Another Girl)?" I swear, it will make you ask, "Dionne who?"An EP featuring a kick-ass version of the Motown hit "Ain't That Peculiar" followed in 1984.
In 1985 Mari performed the beautiful title song "Would You Dance with a Stranger?" for the acclaimed film DANCE WITH A STRANGER, starring Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett.
Miranda's version of the song appears alongside Mari's on the soundtrack album.

In 1991, Mari released The Rhythm Romance, a wonderfully arranged mix of new, contemporary songs and lush Jazz standards.

Tracks included "No Moon at All," Lee Hazelwood's "This Town," the Gershwin classic "Someone to Watch Over Me," Rogers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine" and the Lennon/McCartney ballad "And I Love Him".The following year, two compilation discs appeared titled Beat the Beat and Just What I've Always Wanted.
In 2000, Mari returned and sang the theme song to the hit British TV sitcom COUPLING.

"Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" had been recorded in the 1960s by Doris Day and became popular again due to its use in the Baz Luhrman film STRICTLY BALLROOM and a rockin' remake by the band Cake. Mari's flawless version is right up their with Doris' in my opinion.
In 2005 a new album entitled Dolled Up was released with disco-tinged "The Love Thing" being the outstanding track along with the cover of Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light". Another new album, Emotional Glamour was released in October 2008, and featured "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" and 10 great original tunes including "Hits and Misses" and the hysterical and sassy "Forever Young."So, if you are a fan of great female singers from Doris to Julie to Dusty Springfield to Karen Carpenter to Annie Lennox, give Mari a spin - you will not be disappointed. Visit Mari online.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Day at the Beach, A Night at the Lagoon

While Los Angles has been experiencing it's most un-seasonably cool summer ever, I recently watched three summery flicks to remind me what a fun Summer should be like. First up, the original PIRANHA (1978, directed by Joe Dante).
This JAWS-inspired aquatic concoction from producer Roger Corman and writer John (RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS 7) Sayles stars Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Dick Miller, Barbara Steele, Belinda Balaski, Melody Thomas Scott and Paul Bartel. Is anyone else disturbed by a movie with a lot of blood in the water starring somebody named Menzies?
The film is a hoot, with all the requisite elements - skinny dipping teens, misguided military scientists, a water-skiing explosion and, of course, the upcoming summer camp swimming marathon that provides plenty of opportunities for the mutated, cold-water dwelling piranhas to gnaw at their victims. With the all-star 3D remake about to hit theaters, I'd highly recommend the original, newly re-released by Shout! Factory.
Meanwhile, from the diverse selection of The Warner Archive Collection comes ZUMA BEACH (1978, directed by Lee H. Katzin). This silly NBC movie-of-the-week (from a group of writers including John Carpenter!) tries to be your typical  R-rated sex romp except all the sex is cut out. Suzanne stars as a pop singer who tries to get away from it all to pen her new album, but ends up becoming entwined in the lives of a bunch of teenage beach bums (including future stars Michael Biehn, Rosanna Arquette, P.J. Soles, Tanya Roberts and Timothy Hutton). Peppered with corny dialogue, sitcom-ish situations and a soundtrack of Beach Boys knockoffs, ZUMA climaxes with a big sandcastle-building scene. How will it end??? Who cares, this cotton candy confection is as deep as a bucket of sand. One interesting note is that there's a non-judgmental and quite instructional scene detailing how to roll a joint!  On network TV, people!  Ah, the 70's....before Nancy Reagan took all the fun outta drugs.
So roll yourself a joint and return to Roger Corman territory with HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980, directed by Barbara Peeters), which is the best of the trio. Starring Doug McClure, Ann Turkel and Vic Morrow, this is another re-imagining of JAWS, this time by way of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, that re-casts the creature as a species of swamp-dwelling mutated salmon/rapists.  Yes, they're surfacing to breed with human ladies, who show their boobies and everything.  And things explode.  And, like always, the big annual carnival is only days away!!! It's a lot of icky inter-species horror fun, and the 30th Anniversary Special Edition DVD is out now via Shout! Factory.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thank God It's Friday the 13th

Here's a fun & funky Friday flashback!
My other half recently told me that in addition to chocolate bunnies, his parents gave actual Easter presents every year. In the late 70s, one of his gifts was the THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY soundtrack album - which he still has and sometimes forces me to listen to (today, for example, all THREE discs). In celebration of that odd holiday memory, we watched the movie version of the album as well.
I first saw THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY at a drive-in in New Jersey when I was about 14. Everyone was hoping for another SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. I remember thinking back then that the film was more like an episode of THE LOVE BOAT instead of an actual movie. Except THE LOVE BOAT usually had more plot and bigger name actors. I was a very wise 14 year old.

When a film starts with the Columbia logo lady disco dancing, you know you're in for a "good" time. While not as cool as the Wilma Flintstone version of the Columbia logo (from THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE) - this is pretty cool.As the credits roll, and the theme song blares, we see a montage of "getting ready scenes" that would make my friend Brett's head explodes (he LOVES movies with "getting ready scenes" - like ROLLER BOOGIE, for example). As all our characters are preparing for their night out we see that Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger are among the cast...and Donna Summer (who gets special billing) as Nicole! Let's see if I can accurately report on what actually does happen in this film.

We see wacky dental assistant named Jackie who takes a deep inhale of nitrous oxide and puts on a pink wig - eventually dressing like a whorish clown for her drug-infused night out. It's interesting how the film is very non judgemental in her recreational use of drugs, but the poster makes her sound like she's a refugee from VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

We see Donna (in her first "acting" role) as she begs a shopkeeper to stay open because she wants to buy a special dress - presumably to wear for her big night out at the disco.
We see two awkward high school girls (Frannie & Jeannie) stumbling off a bus in platform shoes - and we learn that they want to win the big dance contest so they can buy KISS tickets (the film was co-produced by Casablanca Records).  Jeannie is played by Terri Nunn, who later went on to greater fame as the lead singer of Berlin.

We see a married yuppie couple (Dave & Sue) celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary - only he's an uptight cpa and wants her to go home and play with his wooden pepper mill, but she wants to go to the disco and really let loose.

We see two JAPs - Maddy, who spills a cola all over her flat chest and Jennifer (Debra Winger) who sponges it up with a burger! (No photo available)

We see two kinda gay-ish nerds (Carl & Ken) smoking pot as they drive to the disco. Carl is played by songwriter Paul Jabara.  Ken is wearing a yellow sweater.

We see a young, dashing Jeff Goldblum as Tony DiMarco, the owner of The Zoo - a real ladies man with a snazzy sportscar. His Christmas colored suit looks like a Joker costume. Note: Because the club is named The Zoo, a guy in a gorilla suit runs the elevator! Zany!

There's all sorts of silly parking lot chaos outside the Zoo disco, resulting in Tony's precious car taking a few hits - while inside we meet DJ Bobby Speed - who's all psyched because tonight's show is being broadcast live on the radio. Donna sneaks in to see him, and begs him to play her record tonight. He tells her the Commodores (featuring Lionel Ritchie) are tonight's big attraction, not her.

Meanwhile, the high school girls keep getting denied entrance again & again while nerdy Carl declares that the Zoo is "like Disneyland with tits" and then he and Ken put on lip gloss to attract chicks. Huh? Then a guy is shown in drag shaving his chest in the mens' room, but he later gets rejected by dragaphobic Ken.

We soon meet a mismatched computer date couple: a fat trash-collecting asshole named Gus and a pathetic tall bookworm named Shirley. He wants nothing to do with her, but she can't stop clinging to him. At this point I realize that this is LA - but everyone has thick New Yawk accents!

Showing up next is Marv Gomez the Leatherman. Don't ask. The high school girls latch on to Marv and beg him to help them get into the club, so he sneaks them in through the men's room window. Only a Leatherman would think of that!

At some point Donna barges into the booth and starts singing "Love to Love Ya Baby" over the mike and pisses off DJ Bobby. Meanwhile, some roadie dude named Floyd is lost with the Commodores' instruments - and he eventually gets pulled over by the cops, twice - and is accused of stealing the instruments - so he has to demonstrate each one, twice. Racial profiling at its worst.

Some sleazy guy comes onto klutzy Jennifer, but she rejects him. Then Maddy keeps cockblocking her. (Does that word work here? I guess...) The married couple argue and decide go their own ways at the club: Sue gets romanced by Tony, who plans on fucking her, while Jackie the Hygienist Junkie gets Dave to pop pills with her.After striking out with some gals, Leatherman gives Carl & Ken a lesson in how to be gay with a ridiculous dance number in the parking lot.Something happens that makes Bobby the DJ says "the N word" and the he finally gets security to drag Donna away. Shocking!

Back to our blinddate mismatch couple: Shirley is following Gus around. Calls her an "old maid" - then she punches him - and he falls for her. Awww...just like THE LOVE BOAT!

Sue notices that her husband is having a good time and reacts by calling Jackie "a hippie!" Now she wants to go home and Dave doesn't! Tony wants her to stay too–so he can have his filthy way with her! Besides, he has a bet with DJ Bobby that he'll land her!

High school girl Frannie enters dance contest - and somehow suddenly Donna starts singing "Last Dance" over the music, noise & yelling. The DJ likes it - of course - and Donna brings down the house.

The Commodores finally perform when their instruments show up. After Carl gets locked in a stairwell, Debra Winger and Ken hook up. Everybody is doing poppers and dancing. Then the most unorganized dance contest begins. Who's judging? Who's hosting? Gays with tambourines (not Carl & Ken) get disqualified first. What's up with that?Dave (renamed "Babbakazoo" by Jackie) is now high as a kite and he swings across the club on a Tarzan vine - Frannie wins the dance competition and a giant trophy! She declares that "We're Disco Queens Now!" and then she and Jeannie join Marv at another disco for the 1AM dance contest.The married couple reunites, while out in the parking lot, Tony's sportscar self-destructs. As Jennifer and Ken share the last dance, Donna comes back to the booth to fuck the DJ. The end. Can I go home now???

Does any of this make sense? It's all just a silly excuse to have a three-LP soundtrack. I just wonder why no one ever turned it into a weekly TV series. Imagine the possibilities....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Man's Magazine

One has to wonder does this cover illustration goes with "the great search for sexual adjustment" or  perhaps "Poison in Your Pork?".Either way, it's clear what audience this magazine was marketed to–ME.

Bobby Finds a New Buddy

Bobby's new redhead friend wears sweater vests tucked into his slacks. He tempts Bobby with "Come over to my house and let me show you something. I have more fun than a circus," but what  he's really pushing is a book called Boy's Fun Book.
"Wow! I'm going to send for a copy today. It's just what I've been wishing for!"