Monthly Archives: March 2013

Because It’s Friday and I’m Still Underwater

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Musical Interludes — Jonny Lang

One more!

Jonny Lang learned how to play the guitar at age 12. At age 14, he was touring with a blues band as lead singer and musician. At age 15, he had a record deal with A&M. At age 16, he had a hit record, “Lie to Me.” At age twenty, he was starring in the movie Blues Brother 2000. He has recorded and toured with everyone from B.B. King to Cyndi Lauper. In 2006, he won a Grammy. He’s reached his early thirties now, but he still looks like he’s 19 at most. He’s going to be participating in Eric Clapton’s charity guitar blues fest at Madison Square Garden in April.

I’d love to go see him live some day. Obviously, his guitar playing is brilliant but what I’ve always loved is his singing — a haunted rusty voice that really shouldn’t have been coming out of a teenage boy. So here’s “Lie to Me” and then a later single of his, called “Red Light,” which has a cute video and I like the song a lot.

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Musical Interludes — Oren Lavie

Emerging is being difficult, so more music videos! This one comes from Israel playwright and musician Oren Lavie, off of his first album The Other Side of the Sea. The single is “Her Morning Elegance” which I really like and the music video he did for it is quite amazing and got a Grammy nomination several years ago.  Also included is an audio only video of his single “A Dream Within a Dream,” which I like. Lavie also got an orchestral song “Dance Round the Memory Tree” onto the soundtrack of the movie Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. “Her Morning Elegance” though is more New York jazzy in style with Lavie’s whispery voice. The hard working actress in the video is Israel model Shir Shomron.


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Musical Interludes — Walk Off The Earth

Ontario, Canadian band Walk Off The Earth signed with Columbia Records last year and is now coming out with their new album R.E.V.O. in a few weeks. WOTE play nearly every instrument and can turn almost anything into an instrument, and they have a lot of fun with their videos. Here’s the first single off the album, “Red Hands,” which I like a lot and which is getting a lot of airplay in the North; the official video and then a bonus video version where they spoof their cover video of Goyte‘s “Somebody I Used To Know,” in which all five of them used one guitar to play the song, by playing “Red Hands” all together on a giant guitar they found in a pawn shop. And just because it’s a fun one, I’m throwing in the video of their cover of “Little Houses” by Malvina Reynolds.


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Scuba Diver photo by Adam Laverty

So I’ve been down in the depths and now coming upwards, how about you?

Things that have happened recently:

1) The Oscars, which I did not watch on the grounds that I never remember who won the year before anyway, though I’ve seen some clips. Show host Seth McFarlane, ordered to bring in the young male viewers, satirized sexists by using incredibly sexist humor, which mostly just made him look sexist,  (when he wasn’t forced to pay tribute to musicals because the Oscar show producers wanted to put on a Chicago number because they also produced that movie and apparently were annoyed they didn’t get to go onstage when the film won the Oscar years ago.)  So in a year in which women rocked the house, we got “We Saw Your Boobs” as the Oscar musical opener,  and jokes that George Clooney was waiting on a 9-year-old black girl to grow a tad older for sex as the definitive commentary. I am choosing to view this as a sign of the trickle effect. The females may have scared Hollywood just a little bit there, as they emerge as a more powerful force in the industry.

2) Random House has apparently launched several e-book only imprints (Random House is owned by Bertelsmann.) Contracts for these imprints have been coming to light, and they are a cross between a vanity press and a scam artist. The contracts offer no advances against royalties, which isn’t an enormous surprise as bigger publishers have been running various no advance “experiments” for years, looking for ways to get out of that particular business arrangement. The bigger surprise is that there doesn’t seem to be any royalties to base an advance on. The publisher’s contract seeks payment from the author for production costs, marketing costs, editorial services, cover art, etc. — all the things that publishers are suppose to be putting up as the partner in a licensing deal, while demanding well and above the usual licensing rights of a standard publishing contract. The model appears to be borrowed from the more predatory side of the music industry, an industry that has actual money and that has to produce actual varied physical products and placement services, not just an e-file as with e-books.  The goal seems to be to horn in on Amazon’s various turfs. Now, Amazon hasn’t exactly been a friend to new authors. They take way too big a cut of the profits for doing little for self-publishers, they charge for various services, and their contract is vaguely worded enough to give them something of a rights grab. But even Amazon didn’t conceive of pulling this sort of operation on new, desperate authors who don’t understand the weird business of book publishing.  So the author groups are very upset. Tune in here for what’s happening from the SFWA on that.  If this is the new business model that’s going to emerge more widely, then yes, publishers are sending themselves out of business.

3) My t.v. show Grimm finally came back on the air, to finish out its second season, after being taken off for three months by the stupid NBC network. The show got a special debut for several episodes on Monday nights, but that was not a permanent change, as I’d thought, and it’s remained on Fridays, at 9:00 p.m. in North America. The last episode back in November was the first installment of a two and a half parter, leaving us with a cliffhanger. SPOILERS: The break left us with the magical, deadly romance spell ensorcelling Nick’s amnesiac ex-girlfriend Juliet and Nick’s police boss  Cpt. Renard, who is a Wessen illegitimate prince involved in various schemes including an alliance with a Wessen rebellion force, and the discovery of that problem by the rest of the gang, which was rather hard on poor Nick. A showdown emerged, back at the big bad wolf’s ivy covered cottage where the show originally started off, leading to a big new plot direction for the series going into their back half and another cliffhanger for the episode ending  involving counterspells and political intrigue with the European royals. All in all, it was a satisfying if soapy return for the gang, with some great comic moments, the full return of Rosalee, and the chance of Juliet being brought finally into the fold of knowledge and even getting her memory of Nick back. The actors playing Juliet and Renard had great fun playing psycho steamy and we got to meet a new type of Wessen — an owl one — who was a locksmith.  Claire Coffee also did beautifully as scheming, de-powered Wessen sorceress Adalind.

The episode did very well in the ratings, pulling a number one position for its slot in the desired demographic and doing better than its last mid-season return despite the longer break. So loyal fans stuck it out and came back to watch. Since NBC has been having shows end or tank all over the place and they need to have something on Friday nights, here’s hoping Grimm will get a renewal for a third season and they will really get to rock out. If you want to jump in, again, they do lay things out for you and mostly it’s a police procedural show, so next week’s episode on March 15, “Natural Born Wessen,” which finishes off the big storyline and starts a new crime problem — bank robberies —  would be a good one to dive into. If the show gets a third season, then I’ll recap blog that one.

We’ll see if I make it to the surface for spring!

“Face Off” mid-season return



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