Thursday, December 31, 2009

Five favorite expanded or limited-edition score albums of 2009

Are you Team Charger or Team Mustang?
Manigong Bagong Taon. This is the only year-end list I will do because I hate doing these year-end things. Selections from all five of the following CDs can be heard during "Assorted Fistful" on the Fistful of Soundtracks channel.

Dennis Dun as Wang Chi in Big Trouble in Little China
5. Big Trouble in Little China (La-La Land)
The cheesy end title song, in which director/composer John Carpenter does his own singing, hasn't aged as well as the rest of Carpenter's score or the movie itself, which remains subversive for giving its Asian American characters a chance to shine as the heroes of the piece for once in a genre that still doesn't care for Asian American protagonists (and no, Jackie Chan doesn't count as an Asian American lead, shitbird).

4. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (La-La Land)
La-La Land followed up the long-overdue Batman: The Animated Series box set with an expanded version of the score from the show's 1993 feature-length spinoff. Before Christopher Nolan came along, the Bruce Timm incarnation of Batman was the definitive screen take on the Dark Knight. Batman: The Animated Series was also beautifully scored by the late Shirley Walker, who provided music for Phantasm that's both powerful and playful (the choir is actually singing backwards pronunciations of the names of Phantasm crew members and orchestrators).

3. The Split (Film Score Monthly)
I was on a Donald E. Westlake kick during the summer because of the release of Darwyn Cooke's adaptation of The Hunter and the debut--in any format--of an unknown and very sampleworthy Quincy Jones score to a forgotten 1968 Jim Brown flick based on The Seventh. Say the following five words--"caper movie score by Q"--and I'm there, baby.

2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Film Score Monthly)
One cool thing about FSM's reissue of the Khan score is that it gives listeners the option of hearing the film's end title music without Leonard Nimoy's voiceover, an element of the 1982 Atlantic release that annoyed those who prefer not to hear dialogue during score albums. Also, it's nice to finally have the complete score. Somewhere, Ricardo Montalban's smiling.(*)

(*) I hate that Flanders-esque catchphrase from Fantasy Island. It's mostly because a former co-worker I couldn't stand liked to say "Smiles, everyone, smiles" a lot.

Jacqueline Bisset as April O'Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1. Bullitt (Film Score Monthly)
FSM also stands for Fulla Surprises, Man. Sometimes, I won't visit the FSM site for weeks, and I'll miss announcements like the debut release of Lalo Schifrin's Bullitt score as it was heard in the film (Schifrin's 1968 and 2000 re-recordings of his score, one of which is included on the CD, are both decent, but I always preferred the way the score originally sounded in the film). I didn't know about FSM's Bullitt CD until a couple of weeks ago and immediately snapped it up. The Bullitt score is my second favorite Schifrin film score after Enter the Dragon. The main theme has been covered so often that it's a shame the original rendition hasn't been available on CD until now.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Look at This F*cking Hipster entry bears a stunning resemblance to a couple of my Palace strips

Nearly a year ago, I drew a pair of Palace strips in which Daryl snarks about his hipster co-worker Renfrew and his new ride.

The Palace: Photographed in Single-Panelvision 70, Chapter 3 by Jimmy J. Aquino
The Palace: Photographed in Single-Panelvision 70, Chapter 4 by Jimmy J. Aquino
Last week, I clicked to Look at This F*cking Hipster--stand-up Joe Mande's entertaining blog-turned-upcoming book that collects photos of hipsters committing all sorts of crimes against fashion--and was particularly amused by the December 10 entry for some reason.

Hey, it's Renfrew!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Palace: Death to Skinny Jeans, Chapter 5

The Palace: Death to Skinny Jeans, Chapter 5 by Jimmy J. Aquino

Memorable quotes from commentary tracks #5

'You know what you see/You see a bad mutha.'
James Brown died three years ago today on the day when Santa Claus goes straight to the ghetto (as he once sang), so below is a very lengthy excerpt about the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business from writer/director Larry Cohen's highly entertaining commentrak for MGM's 2001 DVD release of Black Caesar.

When Public Enemies came out on DVD earlier this month, I arranged my Netflix queue so that I could be treated to a festival of gangster flicks I always wanted to watch but kept putting off watching: Public Enemies, Hoodlum, American Gangster and Black Caesar. During the Black Caesar commentrak, Cohen told an interesting story I'd never heard or read before about the Godfather of Soul's short-lived side job as film scorer. Brown's stint resulted in a terrific soundtrack that's been frequently sampled by rappers like Ice-T, Das EFX, Nas and Jin and frequently streamed by me on the Fistful of Soundtracks channel.

'Hey yo, check it out, man, I got Black Caesar at the crib, man. Y'all wanna go check that out?'
"The first choice to do the music was Stevie Wonder, so I was told that we were going to run the movie for Stevie Wonder in the rough cut. I thought, 'Well, how was this guy gonna watch a movie?' But he came in with an entourage and sat in the projection room, and they ran the movie, and he listened to the movie, and then he asked some questions afterwards, and I thought we had a shot at getting Stevie Won... All he asked me was what my birth sign was. He was interested in what sign of the zodiac I was. I think he thought it was too violent for him. James Brown didn't have that trouble.

"But James had never scored a picture before, and it was interesting that this was his first job as a composer for a motion picture, and we went over the whole project with him and his manager Charles Bobbit, and I think Bobbit is with Michael Jackson today. So we gave him a 16mm or 35mm black-and-white dupe of the movie so they could have the movie. This was way before videocassettes. So he had a copy of the movie. We gave him the timing sheets of each scene, and James went off to do the music. Of course, motion picture makers are more at the mercy of composers than anybody because by the time you hear the music, it's already been recorded, it's done and the money's been spent, and if you don't like it, there really isn't too much you can do except go have the music done over again and spend your money twice.

"So James' music sounded great when he came in. He'd written some terrific songs like 'Pay the Cost to Be Boss' and 'Your Mama's Dead' and 'Down and Out in New York City,' which was actually written by Barry De Vorzon, but James recorded it. The only problem was that when James brought the music in, if it was a four-minute scene, James wrote seven minutes of music. Or if it was a three-minute scene, James wrote five minutes of music. Or if it was an eight-minute scene, he wrote 11 or 12 minutes of music. So I called Bobbit up. I said, 'Charles, this doesn't make any sense. It's too much music.' He says, 'Well, the man gave you more than enough.' They didn't have any cognizance that the songs, the music's supposed to fit the length of the sequence...

"I had to take all those long cues and cut them down to fit the scenes that they were in, and we cut the scenes pretty well and made them work. We had to slide the music forward, slide the music back, have some dissolves and segues, but we managed to make the music fit the picture, and American International was so delighted that they went and hired James Brown to do another picture for them. When he did Slaughter's Rip-Off, they went into shock 'cause he delivered the same kind of music, only they weren't equipped to do what I did, which is make it work. They just got infuriated with James Brown and told him that they'd never work with him again, and then when I wanted to make the second Black Caesar picture, Hell Up in Harlem, AIP would not let me hire James Brown to do the music. They said, 'He screwed us on Slaughter's Rip-Off, and we'll never work for him again.' I said, 'He screwed us on Black Caesar, but I made it work, and there's no reason why we can't make it work again 'cause James will give us a great score.'

"So I went back to Bobbit, and I said, 'Mr. Bobbit, the only way American International would consider letting James do the music is if he did it on spec--if he went out, wrote the music and recorded it himself at his own expense and gave us the tapes--and if they like the music, they'll use the music. If they don't like the music, it belongs to you.' And a day later, I got a call from Bobbit. He said, 'The man accepts the challenge! James will write the music and record it as his own expense and bring it to you.' And he did. Unbelievable. Big name like him. And I played the music. It sounded pretty good to me. But I took it to AIP. They said, 'Oh no no no. We got a deal with Motown to do the music on this picture, and Motown's gonna supply us with some big-name artists, and we don't wanna work with James Brown again, and we don't care for the music anyway.' So I had to go back to Bobbit and say, 'Charles, I'm sorry, but AIP has rejected it, and there's nothing I can do about it. This is one area where they're insisting to have their way.' And he said, 'No hard feelings. We'll do what we can with this music.'

Lil' Chris Brown"And he put the music out as an album, and it was James Brown's most successful album. It was called The Payback, and that music is used over and over again in movies today. It was in a movie called Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels. It was used as music on the TV series New York Undercover. And it's some of James Brown's most famous cuts, and it should have been in Hell Up in Harlem. Kinda breaks my heart. But that was my James Brown story."

--Black Caesar writer/director Larry Cohen

Related links:
-The Deuce's Black Caesar soundtrack page
-Cohen's recent Trailers from Hell commentrak for the Black Caesar trailer
-World of Hurt webcomic creator Jay Potts' witty Black Caesar liveblog ("The kid playing a young Tommy Gibbs... looks a bit too much like Chris Brown for me to root for him wholeheartedly.")

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"On, Donner! On, Blitzen! On, Chuy! On, Tavo! C'mon, Becto!": 10 current favorite Christmas tracks

Alyson Hannigan was looking very Dr. Girlfriend-ish when Harvey Fierstein redubbed her voice in How I Met Your Mother's recent smoking addiction episode.
The following is inspired by a holiday music meme I first saw posted by Matt on Scrubbles.net. Like Matt said in his list, some of us require a bit of acid in our eggnog (or in our DVD players--my favorite holiday movie is The Ref, the film where Kevin Spacey memorably tells his evil mom he'll get her a cross for Christmas so that whenever she feels unappreciated for her sacrifices, she can climb on up and nail herself to it).

10. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, "Fairytale of New York"
Now that's my idea of the perfect Pasko song. The cover version with Dr. Girlfriend as Shane MacGowan and the Monarch as MacColl is hilariously fooked up.

9. OutKast, "Player's Ball"
Andre 3000 and Big Boi's very first single was originally a Yuletide joint, in which the Player's Ball happens on Christmas Day instead of "all day e'ryday." The Christmas Day line is removed from the Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik version, but most of the other holiday references remain ("Ain't no chiminies in the ghetto/So I won't be hangin' my socks on no tip").

8. Darlene Love, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
I first heard this tune during the opening credits of Gremlins. I've grown fond of "Baby Please Come Home" because of Love's annual performance of the Phil Spector-produced standard on Letterman's Christmas shows.

7. Donny Hathaway, "This Christmas"
Everyone from Patti LaBelle to woman-beating douches have covered "This Christmas," but Hathaway's 1970 original will always be the best version. It's mostly because of the thunderous percussion and them funky horns. Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times published a terrific article that contains interesting tidbits about the Chicago native's classic recording, like its unlikely ties to film music (the song's bridge was inspired by Elmer Bernstein's Magnificent Seven theme!).

6. Booker T. & the MGs, "Merry Christmas Baby"
Atlantic's 1991 Soul Christmas compilation is my favorite holiday CD, thanks to the inclusion of "This Christmas," Clarence Carter's "Back Door Santa" and the sizzling Booker T. & the MGs cover of singer Charles Brown's 1947 standard, which was featured in David Sedaris' classic 1992 NPR reading of The Santaland Diaries.

5. Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Skating"
This is the only track on the list that's from a film or TV score. My favorite tune from the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack is neither "Christmas Time Is Here" nor "Linus and Lucy." It's the underappreciated "Skating." Guaraldi once said, "I don't think I'm a great piano player." Nah, during "Skating," Guaraldi was a great piano player.

4. The Waitresses, "Christmas Wrapping"
Like in "This Christmas," the horn section sounds so tight during "Christmas Wrapping."

3. Cheech & Chong, "Santa Claus and His Old Lady"
Donde esta Santa Cleese? Another enjoyable Christmas track involving a Latino comedian is Horatio Sanz's "I Wish It Was Christmas Today," which was covered earlier this week by Julian Casablancas and the Roots.

2. Patton Oswalt, "My Christmas Memory"
I lose it every time I hear Oswalt's impression of a slowed-down David Seville from "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)."

God, MTV sucks so much now. I miss that '80s MTV Christmas graphic that was animated by the late Keith Haring to the sounds of 'Christmas in Hollis.'
1. Run-DMC, "Christmas in Hollis"
Jam Master Jay's killer "Back Door Santa" sample is a reason why millions of us continue to exclaim "Goddamn, that DJ made my day!" long after his death.

The Palace: Death to Skinny Jeans, Chapter 3

The Palace: Death to Skinny Jeans, Chapter 3 by Jimmy J. Aquino

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Palace: Death to Skinny Jeans begins Monday and concludes December 28

A sneak peek at The Palace: Death to Skinny Jeans, Chapter 4As with all other arcs of the Palace webcomic, which I've written and illustrated from time to time since 2008, I'll be posting one strip per day for an entire week. I wanted to post the latest arc last week, but I had to make a last-minute change to a script for one particular strip. I scrapped that strip's original sight gag because the subject of that gag--Skids, half of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's pair of Amos n' Andybots--was just too difficult for me to recreate in pencil and ink. Thanks a lot, Transformers sequel character designers, for making your bots so damn difficult to draw.

(I miss the Boondocks comic strip so much. I wonder how Aaron McGruder would have immediately reacted to Skids and Mudflap. And I wonder if he'll reference them in the Boondocks animated series' forthcoming third season.)

So because of that last-minute change, The Palace's new arc will unfold this Christmas Week, even though the arc isn't exactly Christmassy. But it references some of the most infamous moments involving America's favorite pastime of insulting Asian Americans, race, pop music and fashion in the past year, so I guess it is a good time to post the arc because many of the sites I click to are currently posting their year-end (or in the cases of The A.V. Club and The Playlist, decade-end) wrap-ups.

During this arc, I realized I draw best when I'm hearing music in the background. My computer is broken, and my iPod Nano appears to be on its last legs, so I've had to flip XM's alt-rock, hip-hop and R&B stations on while drawing the latest arc. "Empire State of Mind" does wonders for my illustrator's block. Now that's what I call a banger.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AFOS: "Four-Star Playlist" tracks

Airing today at 10am and 3pm on A Fistful of Soundtracks is the Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series episode "Four-Star Playlist" (WEB83) from January 1-7, 2007. Each track during WEB83 received at one time or another a four-star rating or higher from Live365.com listeners. I had a bad cold when I recorded WEB83. I sounded like Peter Brady.

The instrumental bed during WEB83's opening segment is "Who Got Da Props" by Black Moon.

The members of the girl group 702 are Pootie Tang's dillie daimes.1. Duran Duran, "A View to a Kill," The Best of James Bond: 30th Anniversary Limited Edition, EMI
2. James Horner, "Main Title," Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, GNP/Crescendo
3. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, "Vespertilio," Batman Begins, Warner Sunset/Warner Home Video
4. Ennio Morricone featuring Christy, "Deep Down" (from Danger: Diabolik), Canto Morricone: The Ennio Morricone Songbook, Vol. 1, Bear Family
5. 702, "Pootie Tangin'," Pootie Tang, Hollywood
6. Jerry Goldsmith, "Old Bagdad," The 13th Warrior, Varèse Sarabande
7. Bill Conti, "Going the Distance," Rocky, EMI
8. Michael Giacchino, "'Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall,'" Mission: Impossible III, Varèse Sarabande
9. Marilyn Manson, "Resident Evil Main Title Theme," Resident Evil, Roadrunner/UMG Soundtracks
10. Bear McCreary, "Battle on the Asteroid," Battlestar Galactica: Season One, La-La Land
11. Lyle Lanley & Cast, "The Monorail Song," The Simpsons: Songs in the Key of Springfield, Rhino
12. John Barry, "Gumbold's Safe," On Her Majesty's Secret Service, EMI/Capitol
13. Ennio Morricone, "Magic and Ecstasy" (from Exorcist II: The Heretic), A Fistful of Film Music: The Ennio Morricone Anthology, Rhino
14. BC Smith featuring Ulali, "Forgive Our Fathers Suite featuring Wahjeeleh-Yihm," Smoke Signals, TVT Soundtrax

Reruns of AFOS: The Series air Wednesdays at 10am and 3pm. To listen to the station during either of those time slots (or right now), press the play icon on the blue widget below the "About me" mini-bio on this blog.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

AFOS: "Zero Churn" playlist

An ancient Z Channel graphic
Airing next Wednesday at 10am and 3pm on A Fistful of Soundtracks is the Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series episode "Zero Churn" (WEB69) from November 28-December 4, 2005.

All the tracks during "Zero Churn" come from soundtracks to movies that aired on L.A.'s beloved Z Channel in the '70s and '80s (examples include Nashville, The Harder They Come and the much-maligned Heaven's Gate). The ep's title refers to the Z Channel's "zero churn rate," a fancy business term that means subscribers never cancelled the service.

I never heard of the Z Channel--which was a really interesting and ahead-of-its-time cable channel--until I Netflixed the critically acclaimed Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession documentary by both IFC and director Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands. My favorite parts of A Magnificent Obsession are the segments about Z Channel fare like Le Magnifique, Laura Antonelli's Mogliamante and Something of Value (interviewee F.X. Feeney, who wrote movie reviews for the listings guide that the channel mailed to its subscribers, does a funny impression of Winston Churchill's appearance in the prologue for Something of Value). And though Quentin Tarantino should really consider switching to decaf, he tells an amusing story in the middle of the doc about watching a tape of a Z Channel presentation of Mogliamante.

In 2005, I thought an AFOS: The Series ep based on A Magnificent Obsession would be a cool idea because the playlist would be eclectic, just like the channel itself was back in the day.

'A poem, by Henry Gibson.'
1. Nino Rota, "La Strada," Fellini & Rota: I Film, Le Musiche--Movies & Music, CAM
2. Jean Constantin, "Générique et Car de Police" (from The 400 Blows), Cannes Film Festival: 50th Anniversary Album, Milan
3. Giovanni Fusco, "Titoli" (from L'Avventura), I Film di Antonioni, Le Musiche di Fusco, CAM
4. The City of Prague Philharmonic, "The Bomb Run" (from Dr. Strangelove), Dr. Strangelove... Music from the Films of Stanley Kubrick, Silva Screen
5. The City of Prague Philharmonic, "Train Montage" (from The Wild Bunch), Cinema Century: A Musical Celebration of 100 Years of Cinema, Silva Screen
6. Bob Dylan, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid), Movie Music: The Definitive Performances, Columbia/Epic/Legacy
7. Jerry Fielding, "On the Road" (from Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia/The Killer Elite, Intrada
8. Pino Donaggio, "Tema di Clayton" (from Amore piombo e furore, a.k.a. China 9, Liberty 37), Spaghetti Westerns, Volume One, DRG
9. Jimmy Cliff, "The Harder They Come," The Harder They Come, Island
10. Henry Gibson, "200 Years," Nashville, MCA Nashville
11. David Mansfield, "Overture," Heaven's Gate, Rykodisc
12. Ennio Morricone with Gheorghe Zamfir & Edda Dell'Orso, "Cockeye's Song" (from Once Upon a Time in America), The Ennio Morricone Anthology: A Fistful of Film Music, Rhino
13. Piero Piccioni, "La Bella Signora" (from Tutto a posto e niente in ordine, a.k.a. All Screwed Up), (Italian Girls Like) Ear-Catching Melodies, Dagored
14. Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle, "Introduction/Puttin' on the Ritz," Young Frankenstein, One Way
15. Jerry Goldsmith, "Love Theme from Chinatown (End Title)," Chinatown, Varèse Sarabande

Count me as a Heaven's Gate hater, but God, the overture by Mansfield is such a beautiful piece of music.

Reruns of AFOS: The Series air Wednesdays at 10am and 3pm. To listen to the station during either of those time slots (or right now), press the play icon on the blue widget below the "About me" mini-bio on this blog.

A new addition to "Assorted Fistful": George Shaw

J-ok'el is not about Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel. Although that would have been interesting.
I wish A Fistful of Soundtracks had more Asian American listeners. On my station, I stream a lot of '70s scores that Asian American beatheads would get a kick out of (as a longtime beathead, it's impossible to resist the themes from say, for example, the original Assault on Precinct 13 or Superfly, which are in rotation on AFOS of course). I think I know why film and TV score music doesn't appeal to many Asian American listeners, besides the fact that it can be an acquired taste for listeners of any color. It's because there are barely any Asian American film composers for listeners like the folks from the Boston Progress Radio crowd to follow and support in the same way they follow the API hip-hop, spoken word and indie pop artists who get airplay on BPR.

The world of American film and TV music is a very white world. So it's always wonderful news for us aspiring writers or filmmakers of color (who want to see more diversity behind the scenes) whenever an up-and-coming film composer of color comes along, and he's really good at it. George Shaw is one such composer, so I've added some of his score cues to "Assorted Fistful" rotation. I've only seen one feature film George wrote score music for (the James Kyson Lee rom-com Asian Stories), but I've heard his cues from low-budget thrillers like J-ok'el and Marcus and enjoyed those pieces. "J-ok'el" and "The Search" from J-ok'el and the Black Christmas-esque Marcus cue "Carol of Death" can now be heard during "Assorted Fistful" on AFOS.

I can count on one hand all the Asian American film music heads who are active on the blogosphere. There's me... and George. He's such a huge John Williams fan that he made a brief shout-out to Williams' Superman: The Movie score during a moment when an actor referenced the Superman character in J-ok'el.

There are a few things I regret about my absence from BANANA (I'm glad I'm not the only blogger who thinks the event name makes little sense--that's like if a panel of African American bloggers called their event "HOUSENEGRO"(*)--or maybe Lac Su and Steve Nguyen were being wry). One of those things is not getting to meet George face-to-face. I'm sure we would have talked about politics (we share the same political views) and film music. Here's George discussing the craft of film music:



(*) "Banana" is slang for an Asian American Uncle/Auntie Tom, and none of the panelists who were there are Michelle Malkin-style Toms.

I bet George will someday overtake Gary Chang as the most prominent Asian American film composer. He's that talented.

"Sampler" went through several different titles before I finally settled on "Sampler"

A panel from 'Sampler' by Jimmy J. Aquino and Erwin Haya

Here's something I recently found in an old laptop I temporarily used in 2007, back when Secret Identities was searching for writers and artists. It's a list of title ideas I came up with for the Secret Identities treatment that became "Sampler":

"The Dry Cleaner's Daughter"
"Thanks Would Be Nice"
"If Only They Knew"
"Uncredited"
"Unappreciated"
"Cleaner"
"Stain Removal"
"Toucher"
"One Power at a Time"
"Not Just Another"

I'm glad I didn't go with the craptastic "Toucher" or "Cleaner." People would have confused my story with The Cleaner, the recently cancelled Benjamin Bratt/Grace Park show about rehab. "One Power at a Time" sounds like it involves Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips and a way-too-shouty Bonnie Franklin.

My beef

AfterSCRUBS
Scrubs was one of my favorite shows for its first few seasons on NBC. You gotta love a show that gave us an episode like the tokenism-mocking "My Fifteen Minutes" or "My Screw Up" and had the balls to pull off 916-CALL-TURK (when I dialed up that number, I got Bill Lawrence himself and then during another call, "Nervous Guy"). During its first season on ABC (which actually produced Scrubs since its 2001 debut on NBC and was so pleased with its ratings last year that it ordered another season), Scrubs experienced a creative resurgence. Denise (Eliza Coupe), a.k.a. "Jo" (because her butchiness reminded J.D. of Jo from The Facts of Life), is a great addition to the show.

While I'm somewhat glad to see the slightly rebooted Scrubs back on the air, I wish the show delayed J.D.'s return. "My Finale" was such a perfect farewell to Zach Braff and J.D. that seeing Braff immediately again as a lead (but not the lead due to the emphasis on the new medical school setting) undermines that episode. I wouldn't have minded a Scrubs (or as I like to call it, AfterSCRUBS) with Donald Faison as the lead because he's such a funny presence as Turk and because that would have slightly fixed my major problem with AfterSCRUBS so far: the lack of diversity.

'Yay, I'm so white!'
I always enjoyed seeing the likes of Charles Rahi Chun, Lela Lee and a pre-Heroes Masi Oka pop up on Scrubs. Last season, Sacred Heart had three Indian interns. That was especially cool to see. I know Aziz Ansari is a busy man (and Tom on Parks and Recreation is a far more interesting douchey character than Ed), but they couldn't bring back Sunny, the Indian girl who wasn't afraid of the Janitor and made out with Jo to mock J.D. and Turk's guy love? I liked her despite her eternal perkiness. The Sacred Heart med school is all-white now? Sacred Heart Hospital wasn't this white. Yeah, I know there were Asian extras at the school, but c'mon, man.

And after all these years of medical shows, I have yet to see a Filipino nurse or doctor as a regular (the Filipina receptionist from Elliott Gould's E/R--"Stay back of the white line!"--doesn't count). We fucking run Kaiser, so why the hell are we missing from these shows?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

AFOS: "Collabs" playlist

Tim Burton and Danny Elfman
Airing this Wednesday at 10am and 3pm on A Fistful of Soundtracks is the Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series episode "Collabs" (WEB43) from June 28-July 4, 2004.

The instrumental bed that plays during WEB43's opening segment is "Bolero" by Jazzelicious, from the Masterworks Reworked CD. I first heard the Jazzelicious cover of Maurice Ravel's "Bolero" during an episode of Nip/Tuck--back when the show was actually watchable--and I dug it so much I wanted to use it as a bed. The Jazzelicious track can also be heard during "The F Zone" on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on AFOS.

You're about to get sleepy... and dizzy... and pukey.
1. The Paramount Studio Orchestra, "Prelude and Rooftop," Vertigo, Varèse Sarabande
2. Nino Rota, "La Dolce Vita," Fellini & Rota: I Film, Le Musiche--Movies & Music, CAM
3. Ennio Morricone with Franco De Gemini and "The Modern Singers" of Alessandroni, "Man with a Harmonica," Once Upon a Time in the West, RCA
4. Henry Mancini, "Main Title from The Pink Panther Strikes Again," The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Rykodisc
5. Jerry Goldsmith, "Car Trouble," Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Varèse Sarabande
6. Carter Burwell, "Way Out There" (from Raising Arizona), Varèse Sarabande: A 25th Anniversary Celebration, Varèse Sarabande
7. Joe Hisaishi, "The Legend of Ashitaka," Princess Mononoke, Milan
8. Danny Elfman, "The Growing Montage," Big Fish, Sony Classical/Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax
9. Danny Elfman, "Main Titles" (from Beetlejuice), Music for a Darkened Theatre: Film & Television Music--Volume One, MCA
10. Angelo Badalamenti, "Twin Peaks Theme (Instrumental)," Twin Peaks, Warner Bros.
11. Howard Shore, "Finale" (from The Fly), Varèse Sarabande: A 25th Anniversary Celebration, Varèse Sarabande
12. Terence Blanchard, "Fruit of Islam," Malcolm X: Original Motion Picture Score, 40 Acres and a Mule Musicworks/Columbia
13. Cliff Martinez, "Mr. and Mrs. Cliff," King of the Hill, Varèse Sarabande
14. John Williams, "End Titles," Raiders of the Lost Ark, DCC Compact Classics
15. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, "End title," Henry V, EMI

The composer/director partnerships that were spotlighted in this ep are: Bernard Herrmann/Alfred Hitchcock; Nino Rota/Federico Fellini; Ennio Morricone/Sergio Leone; Henry Mancini/Blake Edwards; Jerry Goldsmith/Joe Dante; Carter Burwell/the Coen Brothers; Joe Hisaishi/Hayao Miyazaki; Danny Elfman/Tim Burton; Angelo Badalamenti/David Lynch; Howard Shore/David Cronenberg; Terence Blanchard/Spike Lee; Cliff Martinez/Steven Soderbergh; John Williams/Steven Spielberg; and Patrick Doyle/Kenneth Branagh.

Reruns of AFOS: The Series air Wednesdays at 10am and 3pm. To listen to the station during either of those time slots (or right now), press the play icon on the blue widget below the "About me" mini-bio on this blog.

The why of fly: Michael A. Gonzales' "Gangster Boogie" details the making of the Superfly soundtrack

If you still got 8-tracks lying around the house, you might be a Pinoy.
(Photo source: Michael A. Gonzales)
I got my first taste of the late Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack when I watched a tape of a faded-looking print of the 1972 blaxploitation flick in either 1996 or 1997. Three elements of the movie stood out for me: the late Ron O'Neal's Shakespearean performance as a coke dealer who wants to quit the game, Sheila Frazier's nice body during the bathtub love scene and Mayfield's exceptional original songs, which are more insightful than the screenplay itself (Elvis Mitchell noted that "Mayfield's score rebels against the movie's insidious mythologizing of Priest"). Any piece of music Mayfield wrote or produced for movies just plain sizzles, whether it's any of the tunes in Superfly, the Let's Do It Again theme he produced for the Staple Singers or the Claudine theme "On and On" by Gladys Knight & the Pips.

Superfly fan Michael A. Gonzales has written what has to be the definitive chronicle of the making of the Superfly soundtrack, "Gangster Boogie," the must-read cover story in the latest issue of Wax Poetics magazine (what an issue it is: Mayfield! David Holmes! Roc Raida! Do the Right Thing! Black Dynamite! Funkdafied '70s European library music!). The Superfly soundtrack's influence on R&B and hip-hop shows no signs of waning (I didn't notice "Little Child Runnin' Wild" was sampled in Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" until it was pointed out by The-Breaks.com).

Freddie's dead. So are oversized headlight covers.

What makes Michael's piece stand out from other writings I've read about the 1972 soundtrack is that it doesn't neglect the importance of the sidemen and arrangers who helped Mayfield craft the soundtrack. Michael has said he wanted to avoid writing about Superfly through the lens of the auteur theory like other writings about classic albums he's read, hence the substantial interviews with Superfly guitarists Craig McMullen and Phil Upchurch and arranger Johnny Pate, who composed a terrific instrumental score for Shaft in Africa after Superfly.

"Gangster Boogie" also sheds light on the tensions between rock musicians and traditional film scorers that arise from projects like Superfly. I wasn't aware of Mayfield's lawsuit against his former friend Pate, who claimed he was solely responsible for writing Superfly's "Junkie Chase" and "Think" instrumental cues. It's one of many juicy tidbits in a fly article about the flyest of '70s movie soundtracks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

You're such a blockhead, Charlie Brown Christmas liner notes guy: Robert Wilonsky chats about the classic special's soundtrack

Hey ya, Charlie Brown!
My year-long postings of past or long-buried writing conclude with a partial transcript of a chat with Dallas Observer pop culture editor and HDNet Ultimate Trailer Show host Robert Wilonsky from a 1998 Christmas episode of the college radio incarnation of A Fistful of Soundtracks.

That year, Wilonsky wrote an Observer article that revealed some little-known background info about the Vince Guaraldi Trio's pitch-perfect music from the classic animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas (for instance, he said "the album isn't the soundtrack to the special. Actually, it's the other way around: The record was cut before the cartoon was made"). So I called Wilonsky up and had him discuss on AFOS why he loves the Guaraldi tunes from the 1965 special, which airs on ABC on Tuesday, December 8 (President Obama's address about Afghanistan pre-empted ABC's originally scheduled December 1 airing).

Five years after our interview, Wilonsky recorded an NPR segment about Guaraldi's music and the special itself, which he described in his segment as "the perfect Christmas gift, a show that is part Bible lesson, part jazz solo, part psychotherapy."

Vince Guaraldi is kind of Duke Silver-ish in this photo.
Robert Wilonsky: For 30 years, they've listed the wrong personnel on the records for A Boy Named Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas and the Vince Guaraldi Greatest Hits records... Fred Marshall was very unhappy to find 30 years after he made this record that he never got credit for actually playing on the thing... His daughter, whom I've put in my piece, went to a record store to buy the record A Charlie Brown Christmas that her dad played on. She had always had the vinyl version, which never had the listing of personnel. She bought the CD, which said "Colin Bailey: drums, Monty Budwig: bass, Vince Guaraldi: piano," couldn't believe her dad wasn't on the record, took the record back to the record store, said "I'm not gonna buy these records till you fix the credits." He told her dad he wasn't on the record. Dad called Fantasy Records, said "Why the hell am I not on the record?" The label guy got kind of upset because he wondered where he'd been for 30 years if he was upset about the incorrect personnel listing and went about to figure out if they were wrong all these years.

Jimmy J. Aquino: You also say in your article that the soundtrack album is not really a soundtrack.

RW: Right. Both A Boy Named Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas were actually recorded before the Charlie Brown Christmas special was even filmed. What happened was Vince Guaraldi had been approached by Lee Mendelson... He had asked Vince about doing this music for a documentary that was going to be sold to a network--maybe CBS--about Charles Schulz and Peanuts. So they went in the studio and did this music. Something happened, and the documentary never aired. I'm not quite sure what happened. I don't think anybody really knows at this point. Time has erased a lot of memories. But they had this great record, so Vince released it as Jazz Impressions of a Boy Named Charlie Brown, which was what it was called originally.

Around the same time in 1962-63, they also went in to do the Christmas record because Vince had kids that were around the age of Charlie Brown and the characters in Peanuts, and he thought it'd be nice to do a jazz record because he liked the music so much and he liked what he had done and he liked the sound the trio had. He also thought there weren't any Christmas records out there for kids and adults. They were all a little cheesy, a little melodramatic for him, and him being a cool jazz pianist and having played with Cal Tjader and all these guys, that was his metier to do a cool jazz Christmas record. So he did it, and Mendelson liked it so much that he figured they'd maybe go out and get a sponsor like Coca-Cola, which I believe is who ended up sponsoring the show...

When they actually decided to do the Christmas special, Vince Guaraldi had to go to Los Angeles to record cues or shorter versions of the songs he was intending to use on the Christmas special, so he rounded up Monty Budwig and Colin Bailey, who were in his band in the early 1960s and had since moved to Los Angeles, and had them re-record shorter versions of what Jerry Granelli the drummer and Fred Marshall the bass player had done earlier around the time of A Charlie Brown Christmas. But for some reason, Fantasy just thought it was Colin and Monty playing on both those records and not Jerry and Fred...

JJA: How come A Charlie Brown Christmas is so special to you?

Film critic and large-headed bald man Robert WilonskyRW: I remember as a kid all those Claymation episodes--Rudolph and The Year Santa Didn't Come or whatever it was called. I remember thinking, "God, these are kind of silly, but Charlie Brown was a kid, he's your age..." I didn't realize that later in life, I would become a large-headed bald man myself, much like Charlie Brown, so perhaps there were some subliminal messages in there...

One thing I always loved about it as well was the fact that I didn't realize this until later, but I got to be a jazz fan when I was real young, like 12 or 13, which in Texas, is not an easy thing to do. You're either a country or Southern rock fan. You're not a jazz fan. There was a public radio station here that played jazz at night. I used to love it. One day, Vince's music came on, and I'll never forget it. It was A Charlie Brown Christmas... I was a teenager, and it made me just fall in love with it all over again. I fell in love with it this time around for the music because it was so pretty, it was so melancholy and kind of restive. I listen to it 24 or 25 times a day during the holidays sometimes because it just permeates the air like a good smell... It's just this great thing to have around, whether it's for nostalgic purposes sometimes or whether it's for musical purposes because it's just a beautiful, perfect record. It's not overwrought like all these other Christmas records. It's not sentimental. It's just perfect.

The Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series rerun schedule for the next five months

Meraviglioso sounds like the name of that skin disorder Michael Jackson suffered from.December 2: "Collabs" (WEB43) This episode of AFOS: The Series centers on classic composer/director partnerships (Bernard Herrmann/Alfred Hitchcock, Nino Rota/Federico Fellini, Danny Elfman/Tim Burton). From the week of June 28-July 4, 2004.

December 9: "Zero Churn" (WEB69) Selections from scores to movies that aired on L.A.'s legendary Z Channel, the subject of the 2004 documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession. From the week of November 28-December 4, 2005.

December 16: "Four-Star Playlist" (WEB83) All the tracks during this ep were given four or more stars by Live365 listeners. From the week of January 1-7, 2007.

December 23: "Yule Log" (WEB71) Music from holiday-related movies and Christmas TV specials. From the week of December 19-25, 2005.

December 30: "Sleazy Listening Revisited" (WEB84) This ep rehashes all the tracks from the 2003 AFOS: The Series ep "Sleazy Listening" (WEB27), which focused on groovetastic scores composed for B-movies and sex comedies during the '60s and '70s. From the week of February 12-18, 2007.

January 6: "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster" (WEB85) Original themes from films and shows about gangsters (The Departed, Deadwood). From the week of February 19-25, 2007.

January 13: "We Want Sleazy" (WEB86) This sequel to the 2003 "Sleazy Listening" ep features selections from the scores to The Liquidator, The Hanged Man, Ocean's Twelve and "poliziotteschi" movies (High Crime, Violent Naples). From the week of February 19-25, 2007.

January 20: "Kids Come Running for the Rich Taste of Samples" (WEB87) Blaxploitation-era theme tunes that have been sampled by hip-hop artists (Shaft in Africa, Black Belt Jones). From the week of February 26-March 4, 2007.

January 27: "Bad Things Come in Threes (Alright, Maybe Not Always)" (WEB88) Selections from scores to movies that are threequels (Ocean's Thirteen, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). From the week of June 18-24, 2007.

February 3: "I'll Kill You and Recommend to God That He Put His Foot in Your Ass" (WEB89) A batch of score cues from obscure spaghetti westerns like Viva Django and Life Is Tough, Eh Providence? (The ep's title is a play on the title of the 1968 spaghetti western I'll Kill You and Recommend You to God, a.k.a. Dead for a Dollar). From the week of June 18-24, 2007.

February 10: "Around the World in 60 Minutes" (WEB90) Selections from scores to movies that were shot all over the globe (The Bourne Ultimatum, Dhoom 2). From the week of July 30-August 5, 2007.

February 17: "The Wonderful World of Covers" (WEB91) Film and TV theme covers from around the world, including a '60s instrumental rock-style take on the Get Carter theme from Finland and a funkdafied cover of Beyoncé's Austin Powers tune "Work It Out" from the U.K. From the week of July 30-August 5, 2007.

February 24: "Funk in the Trunk" (WEB92) Selections from funkdafied scores to movies like Superbad, Superfly and The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion. From the week of April 7-13, 2008.

March 3: "All This Has Happened Before" (WEB93) The most memorable season finale cues from Battlestar Galactica, as well as selections from scores to other remakes that outstripped their predecessors like Galactica did (Casino Royale, Buffy). From the week of April 14-20, 2008.

March 10: "Galloping Around the Cosmos" (WEB94) Music from the original series era of the '80s and '90s Star Trek feature films. From the week of April 21-27, 2008.

March 17: "Bottomless Party" (WEB95) Selections from scores that were written for comedies (Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, The Simpsons Movie, Stripes). From the week of April 21-27, 2008.

March 24: "The Inmates Are Taking Over the Asylum" (WEB96) Selections from scores to films that were distributed by United Artists (which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2009). From the week of April 28-May 4, 2008.

March 31: "A Better Class of Criminal" (WEB97) Villain themes from the Batman feature films (five of the six animated Batman features are excluded because they weren't theatrical releases and the Joel Schumacher movies are excluded because they suck). From the week of October 6-12, 2008.

April 7: "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives" (WEB98) Selections from scores to monster movies, including cues from Byeong Woo Lee's score to The Host and the iTunes single release of Michael Giacchino's "Roar!," the closing credits theme from Cloverfield. From the week of October 13-19, 2008.

April 14: "Spirit of '99" (WEB99) The penultimate ep of AFOS: The Series consists of selections from scores to the most noteworthy and inventive films of the year 1999 (Election, Fight Club). From the week of December 15-21, 2008.

April 21: "Dance Into the Fire" (WEB100) The final ep of AFOS: The Series contains all 22 official 007 opening title themes in chronological order, from the Dr. No instrumental theme to Quantum of Solace's "Another Way to Die." From the week of December 29, 2008-January 4, 2009.

April 28: "Super Groover Mama Dalai Lama" (WEB09) The rerun cycle goes all the way back to "Super Groover," the earliest of the AFOS: The Series eps that doesn't make me cringe. WEB09 features 10 original opening theme songs that are either quirky, out-of-place or incomprehensible. From the week of April 21-27, 2003.

Reruns of AFOS: The Series air Wednesdays at 10am and 3pm. To listen to the station during either of those time slots (or right now), press the play icon on the blue widget below the "About me" mini-bio on this blog.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"You happy now, bitch?": 100 great quotes from The Wire

'Fuck!' 'Fuck.'
This sweet 10-minute montage of classic and uncensored (and therefore, NSFW) lines from all five seasons of my favorite TV series of all time is strictly for Wire fans only. Everyone else should skip this montage because it makes no sense without prior viewing of the episodes the clips were culled from, and it contains spoilers.

I wish the montage included a clip from Bunny's speech to the troops during "All Due Respect" ("There's never been a paper bag for drugs. Until now."), but it does include one of my favorite exchanges in the entire series--Omar pwns the Barksdale crew's slimy lawyer while being cross-examined by him in court. The scene boils down the series' primary theme of broken institutions so well in that terse manner that was such a trademark of The Wire:
Levy: You are amoral, are you not? You are feeding off the violence and the despair of the drug trade. You're stealing from those who themselves are stealing the lifeblood from our city. You are a parasite who leeches off...

Omar: Just like you, mang.

Levy: ... the culture of drugs... Excuse me? What?

Omar: I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game though, right?


Reason to Dig Aziz Ansari #2: Earlier this year, he amusingly pretended to tweet to (or retweet) characters from The Wire as if they were on Twitter.

[Via Entertainment Weekly]

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Fistful of Soundtracks glossary of terms I've used on this blog that not everyone understands

The Palace: In the Shadow of the Bat, Chapter 2, 'Hush'

Back-announcement: A terrestrial radio term for the moment when the DJ identifies a song's title and performer.

Boutique division: The art-house movie division of a Hollywood studio, like Universal's Focus Features subsidiary or Fox Searchlight Pictures. In The Palace, a character complains about "lame releases that the studios or their boutique divisions always think will attract female moviegoers during opening weekends like TDK's."

ChunyChune: A tune that's amazing. Pronounced "choon." Has nothing to do with the Latina nurse on ER. Her name is pronounced "choo-nee."

Diegetic: An adjective that describes any piece of music that characters in a film or TV show are performing live or blasting from a radio. Score music is non-diegetic.

Janky: An adjective from the streets that Michael Steele hasn't co-opted yet in his cringe-inducing attempts to relate to hip-hop heads like myself and recruit African Americans into the GOP. Steele is like that dad on Modern Family whose idea of hip is High School Musical.

Komiks: Comic books from the Philippines.

Ligyrophobic: Afraid of loud sounds like balloon pops. See Munn, Olivia.



Motif: A fancy way of saying "theme."

Podcast: A downloadable pre-recorded radio show, intended for playback on an iPod or an mp3 player, although it can also be played on a computer. The Fistful of Soundtracks channel has been erroneously referred to as a podcast by some bloggers. AFOS isn't downloadable, so it's not a podcast.

Terrestrial radio: 1. The opposite of Internet radio. 2. A dying medium that's caused listeners to flee, thanks to corporate control, annoying and racist morning personalities and umpteenth airings of "Freebird."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Asian action filmmakers: Nobody does it better

Mad men

I finally saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen via Netflix last week because I wasn't interested in watching it in the theater, where I would have been subjected to Devastator's testicles and the close-up of John Turturro's naked asscheeks in IMAX. Michael Bay's six-hour orgy of military hardware porn, incomprehensible action sequences, overdesigned CG characters and unfunny gags about dogs and black people makes both the mediocre first live-action Transformers film and 2009's other Hasbro-inspired blockbuster, the equally mediocre G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, look like Shakespeare. (Film Freak Central's Walter Chaw put it best when he said Revenge of the Fallen, which includes an inane swipe at Obama, is "so last administration.") Revenge of the Fallen was so unentertaining and racist I had to seek relief in a Johnnie To flick, even though it's a film To only co-directed (with Wai Ka-Fai, whom To generously credited as being the primary mastermind): 2007's Mad Detective, which made its American TV premiere during the Sundance Channel's "Asia Extreme" block last weekend.

The incredibly prolific To, who often directs two or three films per year, is my current favorite action filmmaker. Like most other Asian action filmmakers, To shoots action coherently, favors stillness over fast-cutting and hyperactive camerawork and makes me invested in the characters in his set pieces. He's the anti-Michael Bay. When I'm watching a To action sequence, I know I'm not going to be ever saying to myself the following words like I did during any of the live-action Transformers movies' robot fights: "Hold up. Is that supposed to be his foot or his elbow?" To is more consistent than John Woo (whose latest joint Red Cliff I'm looking forward to seeing because many reviewers have said it's his best work since Face/Off) and as skilled at tackling various genres as Howard Hawks was. Unlike Woo, To hasn't made the jump to Hollywood. I'm glad he has stayed put in Hong Kong because the Hollywood suits would most likely attempt to dilute To's work, tinker with his preference for long takes and dark, understated humor and throw him off his game.

Satires about cops and criminals manipulating the media have been a tired genre (Natural Born Killers, 15 Minutes), but To's Breaking News, from its amazing single-take opening shootout to its beautifully drawn characters (especially during the dinner cooking sequence), made the genre interesting again. Just when I thought I was out of the gangster genre after the demise of The Sopranos, To's Election movies pulled me back in. My favorite To flick, The Mission, a tersely written actioner about a group of bored and bickering Triad bodyguards, and its unofficial sequel Exiled are what the Mission: Impossible feature films should have been in the first place: great ensemble pieces in the mold of Seven Samurai, The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen.

Even when To isn't working in total action mode, like in the cerebral Mad Detective, where the gunplay doesn't erupt until the end of the movie, the result is a more exciting film than the tepid, bloated and uninvolving Revenge of the Fallen.

Lens flare porn

I don't want to give too much of Mad Detective away for those who have never heard of it because the movie, which I highly recommend, is best enjoyed by knowing very little about it in advance like I did. All I can say is it's about a Hong Kong police detective (Andy On) who partners up with a mentally ill ex-profiler (Lau Ching Wan) to track down a missing cop. Lethal Weapon-esque hijinks do not ensue. Mad Detective is more reminiscent of small-screen whodunit procedurals like Life, the American version of Touching Evil, Monk and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, where the genius detective also happens to be a bit of a nutcase. But in Mad Detective, ex-Inspector Bun, who keeps his shirts buttoned all the way to the top like Monk, is even more batshit crazy than the heroes of those procedurals. The way Mad Detective visualizes Bun's powers of observation is the film's cleverest touch and a great example of why Asian action directors like To continually surpass their testicle joke-loving American counterparts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trailers from hell (yeah)

How shagadelic.A Tumblrer recommends listening to A Fistful of Soundtracks if you need to get your screenwriting mojo back. His favorite part of my channel is the movie trailer clips I've inserted into the "Assorted Fistful" block:
The coolest thing is that every now and then it plays a random old movie trailer. I just heard one for an old kung-fu flick. It sounds like the ones you’d hear on an old VHS tape before the feature presentation.
There's a reason why I included trailer clips during "Assorted Fistful." Four years ago, the names of the tracks during "Assorted Fistful" weren't being posted on iTunes Radio's ticker for some inexplicable reason, which made the block a difficult listening experience for iTunes listeners who wanted to know the track names. So to help those folks out, I started attaching audio clips of trailers or radio/TV spots to tracks from the movies that were promoted in those trailers or spots because I didn't want to go through the trouble of switching on both my mic and GoldWave and recording a back-announcement for every single track.

First, I experimented with attaching the vintage radio spots for Black Caesar and Foxy Brown to the themes from those movies and liked how the old ads sounded as intros (any old ad or trailer that features the voice of either the late, great Adolph Caesar or the equally late and great Percy Rodrigues is always fun to listen to). Then shortly thereafter, the Batman Begins soundtrack came out, and I was looking for an effective and ominous way to announce "This next track is from the Batman Begins score" without having to say those words. I found it in an audio clip of the Batman Begins TV spot that consisted solely of the bat swarm graphics from the film's opening titles and thought that was an even niftier intro than the blaxploitation radio ads, so from then on, I attached trailer or promo clips to almost every single "Assorted Fistful" track (in another example, each score cue from Battlestar Galactica seasons two, three and four that's in rotation during "Assorted Fistful" opens with the TV spot for the Galactica episode from which the cue was taken from).

Here are two trailers that can be heard during "Assorted Fistful"--the trailers for two of my favorite flicks, the original Assault on Precinct 13...



... and Heat. I like the Hugh Morgan-voiceovered Heat trailer so much that I didn't shorten it for broadcast (unlike other trailers I've shortened because either they don't translate well to radio or they're too lengthy), so the trailer airs in its entirety before the Kronos Quartet's Heat suite begins. The trailer includes a couple of deleted scenes, which are a bit of a treat for Heat fans like myself (footage of De Niro's crew at what appears to be a dinner celebration and additional dialogue between De Niro and Jeremy Piven):



In June 2007, iTunes finally got its act together and started posting my channel's track names in the ticker, so I was thinking of getting rid of the trailer clips, but because listeners have told me they always enjoy hearing those clips, I haven't removed them. (I'm surprised AFOS listeners enjoy the trailer clips because people on the Film Score Monthly boards always complain about the movie dialogue clips that XM's Cinemagic channel intersperses between tracks.)

However, one listener once wanted me to get rid of the Black Caesar radio spot because he was offended by the clip of Fred Williamson referring to himself as a "jungle bunny"--and this listener was clearly a white guy. Listena please. I'm not going to censor or remove something from my channel just because one listener can't stomach it. That's such a stupid request. I hate censorship in any form.