New Orleans On My Mind: JazzFest Beckons

Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Ruminations | No Comments »

jazzfest2It happened again last night.

I was presented with the need, the opportunity — the pleasure, actually — to explain why the New Orleans JazzFest isn’t just about jazz in the sense most people might think.

I was at a meeting I regularly attend on Tuesday nights, and a subject came up, which caused me to weigh in with an example centered around my upcoming sojourn, an annual trek, to the Crescent City for JazzFest. After the meeting, I was asked, “I didn’t know you liked jazz so much.”

It’s far from the first time, since this will be my 28th experience with my favorite thing to do in life, and I tend to proselytize more than a bit about it. My usual spiel kicked in.

“It’s not all jazz, that’s just what it’s called. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fair actually. Yes, there’s a tent with jazz as you would consider it. But also the Economy Hall tent, just featuring traditional New Orleans jazz, which most call Dixieland. And there’s a Blues Tent. And a Gospel Tent. And the Congo Square Stage, featuring Third World music, R & B, Hip Hop, Bounce, Soul and Funk. And the Fais Do Do Stage, where there’s Cajun and bluegrass and zydeco and folk and rockabilly. Read the rest of this entry »


Film Review: “Draft Day”

Posted: April 14th, 2014 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

movieWell, it’s to his credit, that Kevin Costner has found a comfortable niche in his profession.

He’s the go to guy for sports films.

He’s done good too. “Bull Durham” is arguably a masterpiece. “Tin Cup” stands as the second best golf movie ever. (#1??? “Caddyshack.” Duh.)

And here we have a far more entertaining than one could possibly expect film about the events on National Football League draft day.

Trust me, you’ve seen a lot worse.

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Film Review: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Posted: March 31st, 2014 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

movieBecause of that little basketball game Friday night, I wasn’t sure how’d I feel Saturday morning for my gig with James on FPK 91.9.

So I pre-scripted a film review, just to cover myself, and protect my listeners.

Which all worked out. My team lost. But, the film is worth considering. And James and I went at it as usual.

Here’s the review, and the usual palaver.

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Film Review: “Bad Words”

Posted: March 31st, 2014 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

movieI present herewith empirical evidence that I have not — contrary to popular misconception — spent every waking hour of recent weeks, watching college basketball.

There are films worth seeing, and I, as your reviewer in residence, do so. Which allows you to have some perspective before heading to the cineplex.

Today’s film is most interesting, the directing debut of Jason Bateman, titled “Bad Words.”

It is a black comedy of the darkest sort. And worthy of your consideration. For further observations, listen up:

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Film Review: “The Art of the Steal”

Posted: March 18th, 2014 | Filed under: Ruminations | No Comments »

movieIf you are like me, life shall be pretty much wall to wall basketball for the next several weeks.

That said, even I take a break from hoops.

As I did yesterday, when I headed to Village 8 to view this entertaining heist flick.

“The Art of the Steal” features Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon and Terrence Stamp. It’s a sufficiently pleasant diversion, worthy of your consideration.

For more details:

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Culture Rant: Missing Plane Mystery Solved

Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Filed under: Politics, Ruminations | No Comments »

historyI actually put down the clicker, got up from my recliner and stepped away from Championship Week long enough to do my regular Saturday radio gig on FPK 91.9 with the estimable James Bickers.

And, having cracked the mystery about the missing Malaysian airliner, I shared the answer with those who were tuned in.

Because we didn’t cut off communication, as happened aboard the jet, my man Brad Yost has fashioned the podcast, so you can learn what’s up with that darned missing plane, even if you didn’t tune in Saturday.

Is that a deal or what?

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Cultural Rant: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted: March 11th, 2014 | Filed under: Culture, Sports | No Comments »

bballGiven that I have a website specifically dedicated to my endearment to the world of sports, I rarely spend time on Saturday mornings with James, broaching a subject within that realm.

Then again, this isn’t just anytime of the annum on the sports calendar.

In my town, which is the basketball watchingest town in all the land — a verifiable claim — it’s time for the Big Dance. AKA to points hither and yon as the NCAA basketball tournament. Which is preceded by a week of regional conference conclaves, known as Championship Week.

So last Saturday’s Culture Maven Rant extolled the virtues of this glorious time of year for all us hoopaholics.

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Film Review: “Like Father, Like Son”

Posted: March 11th, 2014 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

movieAmong parents’ worst nightmares, one must suppose, would be to learn that a child is not really theirs, but was switched at birth in the hospital with that of another couple.

It is that plot situation that is the core of the Cannes award-winning film, “Like Father, Like Son.”

It’s an intriguing family drama.

I found myself drawn in, not only for the plot, but also to observe how the situation affects the two families.

For more in depth analysis, please listen.

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Film Review Podcast: “The Wind Rises”

Posted: March 7th, 2014 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

movieDespite the spate of animated films that hit the theaters these days, I don’t see a lot of them. (But I will plug yet again, “The Lego Movie,” which is boffo.)

I am told that Hayao Miyazaki is the master of the craft.

His latest film, his visually stunning, farewell effort, is “The Wind Rises.”

For an in depth review, listen up:

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Culture Podcast: Movies To See

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 | Filed under: Cinema | No Comments »

movieThis little input on last year’s films, of course, was on air before the Oscars.

My shtick with James on FPK 91.9 is on Saturday mornings, which, according to the calendars adhered to by most of our listeners, comes before Sunday.

But these podcast thingies don’t get posted until Monday, because that’s when our production magician Brad Yost comes in, waves his wand and sends me the HTML to post here. I know, more info than you want.

My point is this: It’s still worth a listen. I talk films, but not Oscar predictions. Films not nominated that are worth your attention.

Oh, just listen already.

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Film Review Podcast: “About Last Night”

Posted: February 27th, 2014 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

movieApparently some Hollywoodland moguls with less creativity than even sense decided to remake David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” once again as a movie.

The first featured Demi Moore and Rob Lowe. This one, Kevin Hart and Regina Hall.

There’s no new insight on the vagaries of romance, but there are some tender moments, and lots of funny scenes when Hart and Hall have at it verbally.

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The Nature of Friendship: Harold Ramis, Bill Murray & The Homily of James Brown

Posted: February 26th, 2014 | Filed under: Ruminations | 1 Comment »

shakehandsIn concert, James Brown often had a disarming yet charming propensity to go off on verbal riffs in the middle of a tune, which rhythmic asides had nothing to do with the subject of the song.

Soulful pontifications, you might even call them.

Once, at a Louisville Gardens gig, he arrived at this admonition/ aphorism: “Shake the hand of your best friend/ Tomorrow he may be gone.”

Shake the hand of your best friend, tomorrow he may be gone. He repeated the mantra over and over again.

The Godfather Knows Best.

I’ve thought of that a good deal in the last few days in the aftermath of the passing of comedic genius Harold Ramis. A good number of the remembrances have led with or include quotations from his long time cinematic partner in crime, Bill Murray. Most from “Caddyshack.” Read the rest of this entry »