Dec. 13th, 2016

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
I made a decision when I decided to do this "connections" Music Advent theme that I was going to let myself wander a little out of my comfort zone, if that's where the connections took me. So far I've sort of wandered back and forth, into my usual kinds of things (like 80s New Wave) and back out of it again. You'll see that happen again here.

So I ended up the last entry with Joe Jackson - late 70s but wandering into a New Wave sort of vibe. I was in college in the late 70s, and while there was nothing especially avant-garde about my tastes then, I do think this isn't the only place in my album collection where those sort of influences were creeping in. This song is also from 1979 but to be fair I don't think I knew it until later.

(The connection here is that Joe Jackson later did a song for an XTC tribute album.)

Did anybody know that the three surviving members of The Monkees released a new album this year? I have to admit that I did not. I do actually like their old stuff, though - I'm old enough to remember when their show was originally on, but I was a kid and I didn't understand what the heck was going on with it then. (I looked at it much later and thought, "It's a take-off on A Hard Days' Night" but did I know that when they were huge and I was 7? Heck no.) I learned a better appreciation for them later by watching reruns, seriously. (Nick at Night, maybe? I'm not sure.) Don't mock me, Last Train to Clarksville is a good song.

This is also a surprisingly not-bad song. It was written by Andy Partridge of XTC, which is how I got to this in the first place. I didn't try to listen to more of the album but there were some other well-known songwriters involved so there may be some more "hey, not bad!" moments in there. Also Micky Dolenz' voice sounds quite good for a 70-year-old man.

While I was looking up The Monkees, I saw something about how Don Kirshner was their producer early on - he was the one who wouldn't let them play their own instruments. If you know anything about the history there, that's a pretty well-known argument that went on. Kirshner was eventually fired so The Monkees won that one. But the main reason I know Don Kirshner's name at all was (like a lot of people Of A Certain Age, I think) from Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, which was on all through the 70s. (Also because Paul Shaffer used to mock him roundly on early SNL.) So I went looking for clips, and there are a lot of them on YouTube; they all have these same annoying white titles across them regarding the licensing. (But it could be worse, at least they let them put them up on YouTube at all, I suppose!) Anyway, I ended up with very early Jackson Browne:

This is "Looking Into You" off of his first self-titled album (the one everybody used to call "Saturate Before Using" because it says that on the cover).

I had all of Jackson Browne's early albums, back in the late 70s, and I also had and loved Karla Bonoff's albums. So, fortunately just in time to keep this from being an all-white-men entry, we have a later (80s) Bonoff song, her only big commercial hit. (She is better known as a songwriter, now, really; she wrote several of Linda Ronstadt's songs and some for Bonnie Raitt and others.)

Honestly I had forgotten that this song was hers at all. I actually meant to post a different song, but this is not a terrible song, just sort of middle-of-the-road. And Jackson Browne and Karla Bonoff were moving in the same circles at around the same time, so I imagine that you could connect them up in a number of different ways, but the way I followed was through the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Jackson Browne was a member, very early on (which I didn't know at all) and Bonoff recorded a song with them much later. (I flirted around with using a song of NGDB's and couldn't come up with anything I was too crazy about!)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy quote - death star)
Some movie and movie-related(-ish) stuff, starting with the Rogue One tickets. I'm excited about this and apparently so is Rob - at least, when the trailer came on for it the other day, he looked over at me and said, "Next week?" "Next week, yeah," I said. I didn't buy the tickets a month ahead like I did with The Force Awakens, but we've got them now and I'm excited. This is Christmas, to me. They did de-embargo the reviews today, apparently, because it went from "no reviews" last night on Rotten Tomatoes to 83% today, so yay. If it'd been 30% like Suicide Squad I would probably have gone anyway, but I'm glad it's not.

I know I've talked about this several times, but the movie theater we go to is a bit atypical (or maybe it just seems that way to me). It's Premiere Cinemas, a small chain. They own theaters in Texas and a few other places around the South. They started in this area, I think, because they used to just have a handful of theaters, including the one in my hometown, which I notice is not listed any more (so that probably means they sold it somewhere along the line). They've built some theaters from scratch in places that were "underserved" for movies (including Galveston, which for quite a few years didn't have a movie theater at all) and in our general area they also have the "dollar theater," which is on the freeway right next to the big Cinemark. We go to the dollar one a good bit (I forget, I think the tickets are actually about $2 except on certain weekdays that are cheaper) but mostly for first-run movies, we go to the one that's in the next town over from us. I started to say it's a small-town theater, but that's actually not true - in fact it's in one of those fast-growing suburbs that's coming up on 100,000 residents or so. Still, it's like a small-town theater: it's in a strip center, it's hardly ever terribly crowded like the Cinemark is, and it's cheaper. Even for things like The Force Awakens, we did have to stand and wait for a few minutes for that one, but nothing like the chaos I've experienced at other theaters. So I'm expecting to get into Rogue One without much trouble, too. It's about equidistant for us to go to the Cinemark or to go in the opposite direction to the Premiere, but the only time we go to the Cinemark these days is if we want to see something that's not showing at Premiere. (The Cinemark has 18 screens to this particular Premiere location's six.)

I've been playing Squirrel Girl in Marvel Heroes and I was amused to see a Squirrel Girl reference in today's Questionable Content. I wasn't sure I would like playing SG but I do. For one thing, there are a few heroes that I can't play because the things they say (each character has a limited number of these and so you end up hearing them a lot) annoy me so much I can't stand it. (The #1 example there is Invisible Woman, who's basically a nagging mother, in a really obnoxious way.) But Squirrel Girl's comments still just seem funny to me, where IW's are clearly intended to be funny but are actually funny maybe once, and then not at all after that. Squirrel Girl is also massively overpowered, as befits somebody who's supposed to have beaten both Doctor Doom and Thanos, and that also makes her pretty fun. Plus, y'know, massed squirrel attacks are just sort of inherently funny, and I'm surprised at how much I continue to think so even after a couple of weeks of it.

And then I haven't mentioned that we went to see Dr Strange again last weekend. It was my third time and Rob's second - I think that he liked it better the second time because he knew what to expect. As I think I discussed previously - yup - Marvel Heroes taught me plenty of background on the doctor - and the Wand of Watoomb and the Mindless Ones and other assorted Strange trivia - so that was never an issue for me. I still enjoyed the heck out of it, myself. (Rob is kind of hard to read, even for me, sometimes, have you figured that out?)

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