Saturday, November 29, 2008

Somebody's been watching too many Ratt videos on VH1 Classic

Separated at birth?*

Separated at birth?
The Guitar star Saffron Burrows... and that chick at the end of Ratt's "Way Cool Jr." video?

---------------

* "Thanks for driving us back to town."

"No problem, we was headed there anyway to pick up the new
Spy magazine."

"I'm sorry, they don't publish that anymore."

"The world I grew up in is gone."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Secret Identities will feature my comic book writing debut

It's a shame that the most popular Asian superhero in any medium right now is Heroes' increasingly tiresome comic relief Hiro Nakamura, who should have evolved into a sword-wielding badass but hasn't really changed much since the beginning of that goddamn show. To quote DISGRASIAN, 'Dude. Why are you talking like a castrato? You can bend time... Lose the accent and stop giggling like a little girl losing a tickle fight.'About a year ago on this blog, I said, "I've become involved in a very exciting project for 2008 that I don't want to really go into detail about on this blog until the time is right to go into detail about it."

Now that the project is near completion, I can disclose what it is.

It's J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. I was Zoe Saldana's bra fitter. My first day on the job, I had a drooling problem I eventually learned to overcome.

Okay, I'll stop playing. The project is actually the forthcoming New Press graphic novel Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, and I contributed a short story called "Sampler."

Secret Identities' complete star-studded lineup of writers and artists is listed here. The graphic novel is set to hit stores this spring.

It's the illest idea for a graphic novel: an anthology of stories about Asian American superheroes, ranging from humorous tales to more serious ones with connections to Asian American historical events. Can you name one single current Asian American comic book superhero? Well, there's the Atom, Amadeus Cho, Nico from Runaways and Jubilee from the X-Men (does she still appear in the X-titles?)--and that's about all I know. Secret Identities will change that by introducing dozens of new Asian American heroes.

When I first heard about this unprecedented project, I was determined to become a part of it. I pitched three story ideas to the Secret Identities editors. Two of the pitches centered on Pinoy characters, and one focused on a Korean American heroine. The editors went with the one about the Korean girl, and that's what will appear in Secret Identities, with art provided by the talented Erwin Haya.

More details about "Sampler" and Secret Identities will be posted on this blog as the anthology's street date approaches.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A funny, (somewhat) Thanksgiving-related post

This Thanksgiving dinner looks so good this family's gonna be letting out a bunch of Paul Falsones afterward.
Every time I pass some gas (silently) after Thanksgiving dinner, I'm reminded of the 1998 TeeVee.net blog post "When Bad Actors Happen to Good Shows" by Philip Michaels, which unfortunately disappeared from TeeVee.net's archives. (The post can be seen in its entirety here. Good lookin' out, Wayback Machine.)

So I'm posting excerpts from this scathing TeeVee.net jab at both the writing during the later seasons of one of my favorite '90s shows, Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-99), and Jon Seda, who was in his element as a cast member on Taye Diggs' too-short-lived legal drama Kevin Hill (2004-05) but was a terrible, out-of-place addition to the Homicide cast.

When Bad Actors Happen To Good Shows
by Philip Michaels - March 27, 1998

It happens every Thanksgiving or Easter or Christmas. All the relatives get together at my parents' humble little cottage for a big old family dinner. My mom spends 12 hours in the kitchen. We all put on our Sunday finery. And then, once the potatoes have been mashed and the corn has been buttered and the cranberries have been lovingly removed from the can and stirred up to make them look like they were fresh, we all sit down as a family to have a civilized, pleasant meal.

And we give it our best, just like Frasier's David Hyde Pierce exhorts us to do in those "The More You Know" commercials on NBC. The fine china sparkles. The conversation is spirited. The ham is succulent. And love -- honest-to-goodness family love -- is heavy in the air.

Which is about when, towards the end of the meal, my dad lets out an eardrum-busting, picture-rattling fart.

And that's the cue for everything to go to Hell. My sister starts crying and my brother-in-law just sadly shakes his head and my mother screams at my father and then demands to know why I haven't gotten married before she hastily adds that she'll still love me even if I move to West Hollywood with a hair stylist named Brad, which is about the time that she runs from the room bawling about how nobody has any time for her.

Which is my dad's cue to fart again.

My point -- other than the fact that any psychologist out there who just read those last few paragraphs is probably thinking, "Hello, grant money!" -- is that it only takes one small mishap to take something wonderfully sublime and absent-mindedly flush it down the crapper. That's true of anything, whether we're talking about disaster-plagued family get-togethers or once-phenomenal television programs.

And that brings me to Homicide...

Because this post is about the declining years of Homicide, this shot is taken from the opening titles from those later years. The awesome original titles for Homicide were created by Arlington Road director Mark Pellington. The shot of a barking dog behind a chain-link fence brilliantly established the inner-city Balto setting. In season 5, NBC replaced Pellington's titles with a flashier, X-Files-inspired opening by Imaginary Forces. The overproduced titles helped usher in the show's decline.
... Jon Seda is the fart at my Thanksgiving dinner.

Seda's Falsone embodies every tough-as-nails-cop-with-a-heart-of-gold cliche that's ever graced the boob tube, right down to his Mott Street accent and emphatic hand gestures. It's almost as if Falsone was airlifted into Homicide straight out of NYPD Blue or Brooklyn South. You expect to see Nicholas Turturro burst on to the Homicide set, demanding that Jon Seda give him his identity back...

Bad enough that the Falsone character is trite. But stack him up against the other cops on Homicide with all their quirks and complexities, and Falsone assumes all the full-bodied richness of a cardboard cutout. Braugher's Pembleton visibly wrestles with his demons and doubts every week. Secor's Bayliss has spent each of the show's six seasons struggling to find happiness that always seems to be out of reach. Even Munch's sarcastic veneer is just his way of shielding himself from the unending horror of poking over one dead body after another.

And Falsone? Well, Falsone keeps muttering about how much he loves his kid...

Falsone the showkiller.
Bad Actors have doomed Good Shows in the past, they're laying waste to them in the present, and they will continue to wreak their havoc in the future unless America's couch potatoes stay eternally vigilant. Even now, in the seedy back offices of Hollywood, powerful producers and dissolute agents are conspiring in secret to ruin your favorite TV programs. Jamie Farr as an FBI agent on X-Files. William Shatner as a brilliant Army defense attorney on JAG. Shannen Doherty as Rachel's long-lost sister on Friends.

And do you really want to be responsible for that?

Act now. Make angry phone calls to TV producers. Write long, polemical letters to corpulent network executives. March down to their offices and give long-winded speeches until building security guards are forced to break out the pepper spray. Whatever you do, let the TV Powers That Be know you won't tolerate Bad Actors lousing up Good Shows, no matter how much Jamie Farr needs the work.

Otherwise, when my old man farts at your Thanksgiving dinner, you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New trailer proves movie version of '70s cartoon show Star Trek doesn't look promising

The original Star Trek's opening title card.
By special guest blogger Sonny Gautier

One of my favorite TV shows is the Saturday morning cartoon Star Trek, which NBC first broadcast in 1973. It aired right after Hanna-Barbera's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids cartoon and followed the adventures of Captain Kirk and the crew of a "starship" called the U.S.S. Enterprise. Their mission was to explore outer space. Along the way, the crew would butt heads with evil Klingon commanders, Orion pirates and dangerous energy cloud monsters.

Captain Kirk tussles with an Orion pirate.
The captain was bad. I dug that episode when he fought that turkey from the Orion pirate ship over a shipment of medicine for a sick Mr. Spock, his pointy-eared first officer from the planet Vulcan.

Spock, Kid Spock and a tiger about to go tiger.
The Vulcan soul brother was an even badder dude than Kirk. He could read minds and he was always calm and cool like another hero of mine, John Shaft. When Spock traveled back in time to his childhood on his homeworld, he took down a wild Vulcan tiger by pinching it in the neck, which was some sort of mystical Vulcan ass-whupping move. That was bad. With moves like that, Spock will never die!

Lt. Uhura, holdin' it down on the switchboard.
I also dug how the ship had a black crewmember manning the switchboard. I especially liked when Lt. Uhura got to be captain for a whole story because all the men from the Enterprise were captured by an all-female planet. Black folks don't often get such high positions of power on TV like Uhura did in that Star Trek episode.

Lt. Uhura, holdin' it down as landing party leader.
So because I'm a fan of this forgotten cartoon, I was ecstatic about Paramount Pictures' upcoming major motion picture based on Star Trek.

That is until I saw the preview for it.

The movie doesn't look quite right. It doesn't look like the Star Trek I remember.

Kid Spock.
First of all, who cares about what Kirk and Spock were like as kids? The cartoon already showed us that Spock had a hard life as a mutt on Vulcan. His mama was human, his dad was Vulcan and the other Vulcan kids wanted to beat his ass. Why do we have to be told again how Spock came up? What else do we need to know, man? Can we just cut to the chase and see what the title says they're supposed to be doing, which is exploring space?

New Kirk.
Kirk looks too young to be captain. He looks more like a cadet. And what the hell happened to his Orange Kool-Aid-colored hair?

Jimmy told me that there's this TV show called Pimp My Ride, in which a bunch of people soup up your rickety old car. Looks like they've pimped Kirk's ride.
The new Enterprise is too fast a ship now! In the animated show, the Enterprise was never that fast! This will take some getting used to.

Spock loses his shit.
Why is Spock trying to pimp-slap Kirk? He never pimp-slapped anybody in the cartoon.

Damn, Uhura!
One thing I dig about the preview is Uhura. She looks outta sight! Uhura was the finest sister on Saturday morning TV since Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. Because Star Trek was a Saturday morning cartoon, I never got to see her in a bra. Now I finally get to. Right on!

Another thing they never allowed on the NBC cartoon: intense ship-to-ship warfare.
Another thing I like is the brief footage of starships at war. The cartoon was never that intense and it never had so many things blow up. Man, I never saw so many ships attack each other like that!

This week's special guest director on Star Trek: Ingmar Bergman. Note: I wrote this alt tag--Jimmy A.
There's not a lot of face-to-face dialogue in the preview. In the cartoon, everyone talked to each other all the time and did it real close to the camera. Real close. And only their eyes and mouths moved.

Arex and M'Ress, two characters from the original show who got bamboozled by this J.J. Abrams guy.
Where's the orange skinny dude with three arms? Where's the alien cat lady? Where are those forcefield belts that the Enterprise crew wore whenever they walked out into space? It's not Star Trek without them.

C'mon, J.J. Abrams! How could you forget the forcefield belts? That's as important to Star Trek as the transporter room or the Enterprise. Without the Enterprise, Star Trek ain't nothing.
Often, a preview isn't really helpful in telling you if the flick is any good or not (that Superfly T.N.T. preview didn't prepare me for how much of a letdown that movie was), so I guess I'll reserve judgment until I see the entire Star Trek movie, which comes out this May. I hope it lives up to the cartoon.

----------

Me again, Sonny Gautier.Sonny Gautier is a new Fistful of Soundtracks listener from Bed-Stuy and he offered to review the new Star Trek trailer for my blog. Due to brain damage caused by exposure to too many Sid and Marty Krofft shows, a then-adolescent Sonny lapsed into a coma in 1974 and didn't wake up until last month, which means he missed the 10 Star Trek feature films and four Trek live-action spinoff shows that followed the cartoon. Because Sonny's only taste of Trek was the Saturday morning version before he slipped into his coma, he didn't know Trek originated as a live-action show until I pointed it out to him via e-mail a couple of hours ago. Because he doesn't want to be laughed at for his mistakes, Sonny has demanded that I remove his post. Yeah right, like I'm gonna remove it. This shit's too funny.

J.J. Abrams, don't let me down.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"AFOS A-Go-Go" 11/18/08-11/24/08 playlist

Daniel Craig's stick shift lessons have paid off.
1. David Arnold, "Time to Get Out," Quantum of Solace, J
2. David Arnold, "Somebody Wants to Kill You," Quantum of Solace, J
3. Edwin Astley, "High Wire," Secret Agent, Razor & Tie
4. Laurie Johnson Orchestra, "Theme from The Avengers," Top TV Themes, Castle
5. John Barry, "The Ipcress File (Main Title Theme)," Mission Accomplished: Themes For Spies & Cops, Hip-O
6. Jerry Goldsmith, "First Season Main Title," The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Film Score Monthly
7. Irving Szathmary, "Get Smart," NBC: A Soundtrack of Must See TV, TVT
8. Jerry Goldsmith, "Mince and Cook Until Tender" (from In Like Flint), Jerry Goldsmith at 20th Century Fox, Varèse Sarabande
9. Cyril Stapleton, "Theme from Department S," Top TV Themes, Castle
10. Laurie Johnson, "Jason King Theme," The Sound Gallery Volume Two, Scamp
11. George S. Clinton, "Hit & Run/Heroic Austin" (from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery & The Spy Who Shagged Me, RCA Victor
12. Michael Giacchino, "On the Train," Alias: Season Two, Varèse Sarabande
13. Isaac Hayes, "Give It to Me" (from Truck Turner), MGM Soul Cinema Volume 1, Beyond/MGM Music
14. Charles Bernstein, "Laying the Trap" (from Gator), Do You Pick Your Feet in Poughkeepsie?, Paul Nice
15. David Arnold, "Pursuit at Port Au Prince," Quantum of Solace, J
16. Ennio Morricone, "Svolta Definitiva" (from Citta Violenta), More Mondo Morricone, Colosseum
17. Chops, "Chinese School," Ping Pong Playa, Lakeshore
18. Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Thanksgiving Theme" (from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving), Charlie Brown's Holiday Hits, Fantasy

"AFOS A-Go-Go" airs every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in November (except the week of Thanksgiving) on the Fistful of Soundtracks channel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"AFOS A-Go-Go" 11/11/08-11/17/08 playlist

'I'm just watching the new Jeopardy! and a man missed a Bible question because he did not know what Deuteronomy was...'
1. John Williams, "The Patriot," The Patriot, Hollywood*
2. Ennio Morricone, "The Untouchables (End Title)" (from The Untouchables), The Ennio Morricone Anthology: A Fistful of Film Music, Rhino
3. Tangerine Dream, "Love on a Real Train (Risky Business)" (from Risky Business), Rare Requests, Vol. III, Liquid 8
4. Klymaxx, "Man Size Love (7" Version)" (from Running Scared), Klymaxx: Greatest Hits, MCA
5. James Newton Howard, "Stairway Chase," The Fugitive, Elektra
6. Hans Zimmer, "Like a Dog Chasing Cars," The Dark Knight, Warner Sunset/Warner Bros.
7. Seatbelts, "Mushroom Hunting," Cowboy Bebop: Blue, Victor
8. Robert Rodriguez, "The Grindhouse Blues," Grindhouse: Planet Terror, Varèse Sarabande
9. Ron Grainer, "The Omega Man/Where Have All the People Gone," The Omega Man 2.0 Unlimited, Retrograde/Film Score Monthly
10. Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, "Max Attacks," Max Payne, Lakeshore
11. Ayako Udagawa, "Just Beyond the Time" (from New Dominion Tank Police), The Best of Anime, Rhino
12. Danny Elfman, "The Little Things," Wanted, Lakeshore
13. Jerry Goldsmith, "The Horns of Hell," The 13th Warrior, Varèse Sarabande
14. Keisa Brown, "Five on the Black Hand Side" (from Five on the Black Hand Side), MGM Soul Cinema Volume 2, Beyond/MGM Music

* Score cues from The Patriot and Remember the Titans were played at President-Elect Obama's victory speech in Grant Park. The theme from The Patriot was also used as the opening title theme for Jack & Bobby, a 2004-2005 WB drama about the boyhood years of a future American president.

Ayako Udagawa
New Dominion Tank Police soundtrack vocalist Ayako Udagawa

---------------

"AFOS A-Go-Go" airs every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in November (except the week of Thanksgiving) on the Fistful of Soundtracks channel.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Funniest description of Ang Lee's Hulk ever

The other night, I picked up an issue of Stop Smiling because it contains an interesting article by Michael A. Gonzales about the life of Cotton Comes to Harlem author Chester Himes, and while on the train, I chuckled over reviewer Justin Stewart's jab at the 2003 version of Hulk that starred a badly miscast Eric Bana, taken from the magazine's Web-only review of Louis Leterrier's Incredible Hulk reboot:

"... Lee shouldn't do pop; his attempts to 'enliven' the material and make it more like a comic book with screen panels and visible page breaks was the cinematic equivalent of Karl Rove dancing."

True dat.

Alright, Ang, we get it. It's a comic book movie. Now where the hell's the fun?

Colin Mochrie is a hilarious improvver, but he lost points with me when he encouraged Rove to channel his inner krumper.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thanks, Gov. Palin, for months of laughter. Now go back to Alaska.

Yes we did.
America, you can stop crouching in the fetal position now.

"AFOS A-Go-Go" 11/04/08-11/10/08 playlist

R.I.P. Audrey II1. Neal Hefti, "The Odd Couple," The Odd Couple, Dot
2. Neal Hefti, "Man Chases Man," The Odd Couple, Dot
3. Neal Hefti, "Batman Theme," Batman, Film Score Monthly
4. Royal Scottish National Orchestra, "Batman (T.V. Theme)," The Batman Trilogy, Varèse Sarabande
5. The Four Tops, "Are You Man Enough?," Shaft in Africa, Hip-O Select/Geffen
6. Levi Stubbs and Chorus, "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space," Little Shop of Horrors, Geffen
7. Ben Taylor, "Dolemite," Dolemite: Special Edition, R N P Muzak
8. W.G. Snuffy Walden, "West Wing Main Title," Music by W.G. Snuffy Walden, Windham Hill
9. W.G. Snuffy Walden, "West Wing Suite," Music by W.G. Snuffy Walden, Windham Hill
10. Sean Callery, "Palmer's Theme" (from 24 episode #118), 24, Varèse Sarabande
11. Bear McCreary featuring Raya Yarbrough, "A Distant Sadness" (from the Battlestar Galactica episode "Occupation"), Battlestar Galactica: Season 3, La-La Land
12. Jerry Goldsmith, "Welcome Aboard, Sir," Air Force One, Varèse Sarabande
13. Brian Tyler, "Ready or Not," Finishing the Game, Brian Tyler
14. Bernard Purdie, "Hap'nin," Lialeh, Light in the Attic
15. Stan Ridgway and Stewart Copeland, "Don't Box Me In," Rumble Fish, A&M
16. Jeff Beal, "Riding Off, Appaloosa End Credits," Appaloosa, Lakeshore
17. Jerry Goldsmith, "Lost in the Wild" (from The Edge), Jerry Goldsmith at 20th Century Fox, Varèse Sarabande
18. Neal Hefti, "End Title," The Odd Couple, Dot

"AFOS A-Go-Go" airs every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday in November (except the week of Thanksgiving) on the Fistful of Soundtracks channel.