Wednesday, October 01, 2014

THE ANNOTATED JOE DON BAKER


Recently I've been revisiting old episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  It's kind of a weird experience to be watching some of these episodes for the first time in ages (decades, in some cases).  When I moved into my first apartment, me and my roommates would watch the show obsessively.  At the time you couldn't get Comedy Central on Mankato cable, so we had to track down a friend with a Twin Cities connection who also just happened to be obsessed with MST3K.  Staying true to our promise to "Keep circulating the tapes", we'd make dupes of the already bad copies and watch them over and over.  


I still have those old tapes, and I can't bring myself to get rid of them.  They probably aren't even watchable at this point, but the memory of that first discovery is too strong!  I even have them all on DVD now, but I still cling to those tapes.  Damn my pack rat ways.

The other day I stumbled across an old Joel-era TV special I had never seen before.  It's called This Is MST3K, and it features fans and show folks geeking out about the show.  The thing I love about this show is just how much it celebrates the fans.  They're the ones that glommed onto the show and did what they could to spread the gospel of "riffing".  They kept circulating the tapes, and the show grew and grew.  Here we are, a decade or so after it left the air, and folks still reference the show as a comedic touchstone.


As it turns out, there must be some kind of MST3K mojo floating around, because Shout Factory (the folks that have been doing such a stellar job of releasing the episodes) just posted episode 512 on Youtube.  You probably know it better as "MITCHELL" starring Joe Don Baker, Linda Evans, Martin Balsam, and John Saxton.  You might also remember it as the final episode that featured show creator Joel Hodgson.

As far as MST3K episodes go, Mitchell is easily top five.  Most likely top two, if you're battling between it and "Manos: The Hands Of Fate".  Honestly, it's one hell of a send off for Joel, as everybody is firing on all cylinders.  The jokes are fast and furious, and the interstitial skits are great.  It makes the farewell that much more bittersweet, even though it's pretty damn perfect.

When folks watch the show they probably aren't even thinking about just how relentless the jokes are, but that's what makes this particular Youtube posting so notable.  Shout Factory has take this episode and annotated the jokes!  As you watch the show, notes for each joke pop up on the screen.  It's like Pop Up Videos for super geeks.  Even though you might already know the references, it's still exciting to see the notes, because it really emphasizes just how many jokes they crammed into each episode.  Hardly a moment passes without a note popping up.  It's pretty cool.

So here's Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 512.  Turn down the lights.

Shyboy

JEFF GOLDBLUM IS THIS GENERATION'S JEFF GOLDBLUM!


Jeff Goldblum has been a quirky actor.  His Goldblum-iness is so distinct that the second he walks on the screen you know what to expect and yet you have no idea what to expect.  You just know that what you're about to see is going to be something that only Goldblum can deliver.  It seems like lately he's REALLY embraced his Goldblum-ness, and branched out into more comedic venues that emphasize that.  Witness this Portlandia sketch:



The most recent comedic turn for Jeff Goldblum is in a commercial, of all things, for lighbulbs.  For GE.  Directed by Tim and Eric.  You gotta give GE props for for hiring folks like this to promote their product.  It makes you looks past their hand in more sinister offerings (no it doesn't).  But the commercial is very very funny.



GOLDBLUM!

Shyboy

PRINCE! LIVE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!


Prince just put out two new albums, you guys!  Have you heard them yet?  I haven't yet, but I'm curious.  Always curious about anything that Prince does.  Let me know what you think.  Anyway, last night (09/30/2014) Prince had a FREE record release party at Paisley Park, and of course I couldn't go.  It was streamed online, though, and luckily it is going to be streaming until about 10 p.m. tonight (10/01/2014).  It's Prince and 3rd Eye Girl tearing up the joint, and by all accounts their shows have been amazing.  Plus, it's Prince playing heavy guitar, which is my favorite Prince.

Follow this link to see Prince live!


Shyboy

and so it begins..................WELCOME TO OCTOBER


Can you feel the chill in the air? Notice how dark it gets by 7 pm? October is here, Halloween is right around the bend, and we are Happy Campers here in Shuffle Function land! I will be posting daily during the month of October to ensure that we all "feel the Halloween" and your Halloween requests for the show are welcomed all month long, so don't forget to call, text or e-mail us with your creepy, spooky song choices. Today I would like to tackle a song that has existed in one form or another for centuries, but I've just come to know and love in the last few months. The song has several names, The Bloody Miller, Berkshire Tragedy, and last but not least, Knoxville Girl. The clip below features The Wilburn Brothers. This was the first time I heard the song, and I could not get over the fact that they dedicated the song to "all the Knoxville girls out there". Have a listen to see what I mean - it's not exactly a song I would ever want dedicated to me or to anyone really.



Did you catch those lyrics?

“She fell down on her bended knees,
For mercy she did cry,
‘Oh Willie dear don't kill me here,
I'm unprepared to die’,

“She never spoke another word,
I only beat her more,
Until the ground around me,
Within her blood did pour.”



That is dark dark stuff. Prior to this, we are told of a love affair that involves Sunday visits and overnight stays. Then during a seemingly innocent stroll Willie picks up a big stick and starts to beat his love to death. This random act of violence, explosive and over the top is what makes this song so frightening to me. Sure, ghost stories and the paranormal make for a good scare, but I am always able to dismiss them to some extent because the likelihood of being in a situation like that is next to nothing. What are the odds that I will come face to face with a ghost that tells me to "Get Out!"? Zero. But I do go for walks, and sometimes I am accompanied by friends or significant others. What are the odds that I get clubbed to death while I beg for mercy? Well they are still pretty low, but it makes it easier for me to imagine. This murder ballad also has the advantage of having been based on a true story (That Old Chestnut!). I think you should hear the song again. The clip below is from 2007 with Charlie Louvin (of The Louvin "Satan Is Real" Brothers) and Bonnie "Prince" Billy.



The song originally got it's start in the late 1600's in the town of Oxford, and over the years it has been transformed into versions all featuring towns with the letter "X" in them, Wexford, Lexington and Knoxville.The story has varied very little over the years. Two people fall in love, spend a night together and from this a pregnancy is born. Under pressure to wed the man explodes in violent rage and kills his girl in cold blood. He is later caught, though he tries to explain away all the gore on his clothes coming from a bloody nose. He is sent to the gallows for the crime he committed, and leaves us with final message before passing on to the great beyond, "I still love her". The location of the crime may change, but the song remains the same.



There are so many versions of this song out there - from Nick Cave to Appalachian Jug Bands to Country Western crooners - and while looking through the you tube clips I came across this gem. You have now had two opportunities to hear this song, and at the very least you saw the lyrics I printed above. This is just really dark horrific subject matters that gives me the shivers as a 46 year old. So concerning the clip above, what kind of bells have to be going off in your head when you think to yourself "I want to reenact this song with my daughter and then post it on you tube!".  I have to think they are tubular bells (see what I did there?).


If you'd like to read more about the role of ancient murder ballads in the American songbook, I suggest you pick up a copy of Greil Marcus's The Old Weird America. In a few weeks the latest version of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series is going to be hitting the market and it is all about The Basement Tapes. Don't expect to learn one thing about those recordings from Greil Marcus's book, even though that is clearly what it promises to be about. But you will learn about songs like Knoxville Girl and the role of "folk music" in his music, so just stick with it.

Alright, one Countdown To Halloween Blogpost done! See you tomorrow with another!

Shelley

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NEW PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON TRAILER!


Alright Hollywood - you had Tim and I with just the words 'Paul Thomas Anderson'. After hearing that a new film was in the works by Anderson based on Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice I went right out and read it. It is a funny hard boiled hippy-dippy mystery filled with more oddball characters than you can shake a stick at. Few directors could take on a story like this, but I have total faith in Paul Thomas Anderson attention to details. I will admit an initial dislike of his choice of Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role. He was fresh from his stint in The Master and I just couldn't see him pulling off this role. But now that I have watched the trailer I've changed my mind. He is perfect as Doc. So here you go, the trailer from the man who brought you Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Magnolia and more!



This film doesn't come out until December, so I suggest you pick up a copy of Inherent Vice and enjoy the hell out of yourself! Look under the P's in the fiction department of your favorite local book store - it's the book with neon, sunsets and surf boards on it.

Shelley

Sunday, September 28, 2014

OCTOBER GRIND-FU: THE FINAL GRIND-FU OF 2014!



GRIND-FU CINEMA PRESENTS
THE FINAL GRIND-FU OF 2014

Sam Raimi's
DRAG ME TO HELL
and
Adam Wingard's
YOU'RE NEXT

Saturday, October 25th @ 7pm
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
Minnesota State University, Mankato

FREE TERROR! FREE MAYHEM! FREE SUSPENSE!
FREE CAKE!  Because they all want cake...

 Oh my dear sweet lord... It seems like only yesterday that this Grind-Fu season began, and now the final one is upon us!  We've shown so many films this year that have been on our bucket list, and it has been a real honor to share them with Grind-Fu audiences.  Once again, you have been some of the best audiences we have ever seen films with, and we thank you for that from the bottom of our clogged cinema loving hearts.

The next Grind-Fu is on October 25th, and October means one thing to the Grind-Fu crew:  HALLOWEEN.  It's all about the chills, thrills, and terror!  It's also about cake.  Cake?  CAKE!



Long time Grind-Fu attendees know that we go all out for the October Grind-Fu, both to celebrate another successful season as well as to celebrate our favorite creepy holiday.  That means treats for you guys.  More specifically, it means stunning horror cake from our resident cake artist Amber.



Amber has won awards and international acclaim for the masterful things she can do with cake, and for good reason:  They're friggin' incredible!  Look at some of these previous masterpieces she has constructed.  It's a shame they had to be eaten, but dammit... THEY'RE DELICIOUS!

Herschell Gordon Lewis Triple Feature

Zombie Double Feature

Suspiria/Seven Double Feature (this is Gwyneth Paltrow's head)

Bigfoot Double Feature

The Exorcist/The Shining Double Feature

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil/Cabin In The Woods Double Feature

WOW.  I'm stunned by her work, but I'm also reminded of just how stellar our Halloween Grind-Fu's have been.  If only we had thought of cake for our first October Grind-Fu, featuring an Ed Wood triple feature!  What would Amber have come up with for that?  THE MIND BOGGLES!

Which brings me to that other pesky feature of Grind-Fu Cinema:  THE CINEMA!  We have another great year ending double bill lined up for yo, that's gonna make you jump out of your seat.  Are you ready for it?  I'm gonna tell you about it anyway.


DRAG ME TO HELL - Directed by Sam Raimi (2009)

Sam Raimi has become a major league film maker over his 35 year in film.  He's helmed massive blockbusters and some amazing small films, but he got his start in the world of uber low budget horror with a little film called EVIL DEADEvil Dead is a relentless terror ride, filled with insane gore and violence, and it still manages to terrify its fans after their millionth re-watch of it.

After three amazing Evil Dead films, Raimi moved on to other genres, but fans still begged for his return to horror.  Finally, in 2009, it happened.  Drag Me To Hell is filled with all the trademarks of classic Sam Raimi horror:  Gore, violence, hyper kinetic directing, and dark humor.  It's a film that makes you laugh while you're jumping out of your seat, and it's a blast to watch.  In particular, Drag Me To Hell is a blast to watch with an audience like you'll get at Grind-Fu Cinema.





YOU'RE NEXT - Directed by Adam Wingard (2013)

When You're Next was in theaters I was going to pass on it.  It looked like it would be just another snuff porn film, making up for its lack of real creativity by going over board with gore and shock.  Boy, was I wrong.  You're Next takes the slasher film and knocks it on its ass.  In a genre that can be ridiculously predictable, this film caught me off guard.  At every turn it had a new surprise, and it had twists that I never saw coming.  It's also really funny.

This is a film that has the full on Grind-Fu seal of approval, gang.  If you like horror that actually does its job and then some, then You're Next is the film you want to see.



We really hope you guys join us for the October Grind-Fu Cinema!  It's gonna be so much fun, AND IT IS COMPLETELY FREE!  AND THERE IS CAKE!  What will Amber's cake be this year?  We won't know until that night, so bring your friends, some snacks, and an appetite for cake and terror, as we end this Grind-Fu Season in style!

Shyboy

I'm the new boy in town! Where can I go?


Thursday, September 25, 2014

GRIND-FU CINEMA: THE START TIMES!


Grind-Fu Cinema presents
WARREN OATES in

Monte Hellman's 
TWO LANE BLACKTOP
and
Sam Peckinpah's
BRING ME THE HEAD OF
ALFREDO GARCIA

Saturday, September  27th @ 7:00pm
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
Minnesota State University, Mankato

FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE!FREE!

The September Grind-Fu double bill lets us check another lineup off our cinematic bucket list!  We've been dreaming of this one for a while, and now it's finally happening.  We're dedicating an evening of film to Warren Oates, featuring two of his most legendary roles.  First on the bill is Monte Hellman's counter culture classic Two Lane Blacktop...




The movie follows two gear heads (Dennis Wilson and James Taylor) as they travel Route 66.  Along the way the encounter Warren Oates, and a rivalry develops.  The film is very minimalist, with limited dialogue, yet it presents a captivating portrait of lost and lonely characters out on the road.  It has become a classic road film, and was included for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2012.  

TWO LANE BLACKTOP STARTS AT SEVEN P.M.!

Next up is Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia...


They say there's no such thing as bad publicity.  United Artists milked that idea by incorporating the negative reaction that Alfredo Garcia generated into its advertising campaign.  Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is dark, violent, gruesome, and nihilistic.  Warren Oates' desperate and haunted portrayal of Bennie has been seen as more than a little autobiographical on Sam Peckinpah's part.  Peckinpah was known for his drink and his penchant for violence, and Oates' character has all of that and more.

But back to the advertising campaign...


Critical reaction was extremely negative, and the film was a major flop.  The performance of Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia essentially ruined Sam Peckinpah's career.  Despite this, the film has become a cult classic.  Roger Ebert gave it five stars and said:

I think I can feel Sam Peckinpah's heart beating and head pounding in every frame in ''Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia'' (1974), a film he made during a period of alcoholic fear and trembling.... I sense that the emotional weather on the set seeped onto the screen, haunting it with a buried level of passion. If there is anything to the auteur theory, then ''Alfredo Garcia'' is the most autobiographical film Peckinpah ever made.

If it truly is an autobiographical film, then Sam Peckinpah was one F'd up dude.



I feel like I haven't fully expressed just how violent this film is.  SPOILER ALERT FOR THE GREY!  Here's a YouTube clip that will get that point across.



BRING ME THE HEAD OF 
ALFREDO GARCIA
STARTS AT NINE P.M.!

It's gonna be a provocative evening of movies this September, and we hope you guys will join us!  Remember, Grind-Fu Cinema is TOTALLY FREE!  Bring your friends, bring some snacks, and join us for a night of Warren Oates classics!


I'm The New Boy In Town!  Where Can I Go?


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MUSTACHE IN YOUR FACE IN YOUR EAR!


This morning we played my new favorite song:  Mustache In Your Face by the band Pretty.  You can find it on the brand new Numero Group compilation Local Customs: Cavern Sound, which should be hitting stores any day now.  What can I say?  It's another triumph for Numero Group.  The song is also available on their 2x45 of Pretty that has been available for a while.  Realizing this, I now have to own it.  If the other three songs are as great as Mustache In Your Face is, then I'll soon have four favorite new songs.

The track was recorded at Cavern Sound, a recording studio in Independence, Missouri, that was in an actual cave.  Crazy, huh?  Maybe it was the environment they were recorded in, but the songs on the new Local Customs collection are remarkable.  You'll probably hear all of them on the show eventually.  More likely, you'll hear Mustache In Your Face until you can't stand it anymore.

Here's a cool promo that Numero Group put together for the Cavern Sounds collection.  It features actual footage of the studio from back in the day.


And here's friggin' Mustache In Your Face!


Shyboy

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

KELLEY FREAKIN' STOLTZ, YOU GUYS! KELLEY FREAKIN' STOLTZ!


It has been a radio love affair with the music of Kelley Stoltz since virtually day one on the Shuffle Function Morning Show.  We received an early EP from him and from that moment on he was in permanent rotation.  Each KS release is spun breathlessly, but only because we've just spent ten minutes preaching a sermon about the pop genius of Kelley Stoltz.  We love him so much that he was the soundtrack to the exhausting drive back from The Replacements show a few weeks back.

By the way, did you know that The Replacements got back together?  I worry that we haven't spoken of this enough, and that only a handful of you are tired of hearing about it.

Anyway, Kelley Stoltz had a birthday this past Sunday, which gave us yet another reason to dig into his catalog.  Then Shelley found a great clip that's kind of a "day in the life of Kelley Stoltz" thing, and it just got the ball rolling again.

I guess mostly I'm concerned that you don't know about Kelley Stoltz.  I worry that we haven't spoken of him enough, and that only a handful of you are tired of hearing about him.  We'll do our best to change that.

Shyboy












Monday, September 22, 2014

GRIND-FU CINEMA THIS SATURDAY! FOR FREE!


Grind-Fu Cinema presents
WARREN OATES in

Monte Hellman's 
TWO LANE BLACKTOP
and
Sam Peckinpah's
BRING ME THE HEAD OF
ALFREDO GARCIA

Saturday, September  27th @ 7:00pm
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
Minnesota State University, Mankato

FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE!FREE!

The September Grind-Fu double bill lets us check another lineup off our cinematic bucket list!  We've been dreaming of this one for a while, and now it's finally happening.  We're dedicating an evening of film to Warren Oates, featuring two of his most legendary roles.  First on the bill is Monte Hellman's counter culture classic Two Lane Blacktop...




The movie follows two gear heads (Dennis Wilson and James Taylor) as they travel Route 66.  Along the way the encounter Warren Oates, and a rivalry develops.  The film is very minimalist, with limited dialogue, yet it presents a captivating portrait of lost and lonely characters out on the road.  It has become a classic road film, and was included for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2012.  

Next up is Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia...


They say there's no such thing as bad publicity.  United Artists milked that idea by incorporating the negative reaction that Alfredo Garcia generated into its advertising campaign.  Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is dark, violent, gruesome, and nihilistic.  Warren Oates' desperate and haunted portrayal of Bennie has been seen as more than a little autobiographical on Sam Peckinpah's part.  Peckinpah was known for his drink and his penchant for violence, and Oates' character has all of that and more.

But back to the advertising campaign...


Critical reaction was extremely negative, and the film was a major flop.  The performance of Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia essentially ruined Sam Peckinpah's career.  Despite this, the film has become a cult classic.  Roger Ebert gave it five stars and said:

I think I can feel Sam Peckinpah's heart beating and head pounding in every frame in ''Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia'' (1974), a film he made during a period of alcoholic fear and trembling.... I sense that the emotional weather on the set seeped onto the screen, haunting it with a buried level of passion. If there is anything to the auteur theory, then ''Alfredo Garcia'' is the most autobiographical film Peckinpah ever made.

If it truly is an autobiographical film, then Sam Peckinpah was one F'd up dude.



I feel like I haven't fully expressed just how violent this film is.  SPOILER ALERT FOR THE GREY!  Here's a YouTube clip that will get that point across.



It's gonna be a provocative evening of movies this September, and we hope you guys will join us!  Remember, Grind-Fu Cinema is TOTALLY FREE!  Bring your friends, bring some snacks, and join us for a night of Warren Oates classics!


I'm The New Boy In Town!  Where Can I Go?