The year is flying by so quickly -- it is already February! I don't know about you, but I'm not really ready for January to be over yet. I feel like I say that every month! There have been some great new releases this last month and there are so many exciting things coming up soon. I will tell you all about them later. I just saw the amazing Pee-Wee Herman Show this last week. I highly recommend it if you can get down there to see it! It really is worth it! I hope that they decide to take the show to Broadway or at least get it up to San Francisco. Pee Wee has tons of fans up in the Bay and I am sure that they would love to see it. I know that I would be dying for it to come up there if I still lived up in SF. The show really was all that I could have hoped for and so much more. I got the chance to meet him a couple of years ago when he did an instore at Amoeba in San Francisco and it was fun, but this was really so much better than just meeting him. I also saw him do a live interview a couple years back. Nothing can really compare to this stage show though. I envy the people that got to see the live show back in the 80's at the Roxy, but like most of my generation, I grew up watching the show... or at least spent my 20's watching the show on VHS and DVD. It is hard to even explain the brilliance of Pee Wee unless you are actually a fan. It is just an amazing hilarious show! Pee-Wee's Playhouse was a kids show but also an adult show meant for grown up kids. It works on both levels, and there's really not much else out there like that. I can't bear to watch most things meant for kids. But the humor in PWP can be understood by both kids and adults. It has something for everyone.
This live show is much more like The Pee-Wee Herman Show DVD than the actual TV show. It is basically a more adult stage show version of the TV Show. I was mad at Paul Reubens for weeks after they moved the show from the Fonda to Club Nokia. I already had my tickets and was upset that I had to buy new ones. We got refunded for the initial tickets of course, but I still didn't want to bother with getting tickets all over again. But I forgave him eventually and realized I would be really mad at myself if I missed this show. And after seeing it, I am really glad that they moved it to Club Nokia. It just made more sense to have a nicer permanent stage set up. The whole thing was fantastic and really professional. I can't imagine it being nearly as good at the Fonda.
He was able to get Lynne Marie Stewart and John Paragon from the original cast to join him for this production. They played Miss Yvonne and Jambi the Genie. I was hoping for a surprise like Edie McClurg or S. Epatha Merkerson but it didn't happen. I also figured there was no way that Laurence Fishburne would be reprising his role as Cowboy Curtis. But it really didn't matter. Paul Reubens was amazing. He is obviously a bit older but it was really amazing how it felt just like the old show. The set really was fantastic and I just couldn't even believe it after the curtain first opened. All the puppets were perfect. Conky and Chairy were two of my favorite characters and they were both perfection. It really did feel like the old show! The highlight was probably Jambi. He had all the best lines. The show was already a weird make believe show that felt like it was made in an older time that never really existed so it doesn't feel out of date. Pee-Wee is timeless! I was really hoping for an old Penny cartoon when it came time to show the cartoon but instead they showed one of those old weird cartoons that they also used to show on the original show. It was a great cartoon about a evil pin man that tries to pop all the balloons in balloon land.
Here is a Penny cartoon for you to enjoy with me....
I seriously can't stop thinking about how great it was. I hope that they plan on putting a taped version out on DVD or at least airing it on HBO or something. The songs were great too! He does a duet with Chairy that really broke my heart. I think I will be going back and watching the Playhouse DVDs the next couple of weeks and I already watched Pee-Wee's Big Adventure this weekend. I love that movie more than anything but I always forget just how good and brilliant it really is until I watch it again. I highly recommend watching it again. You will not be disappointed. And Vol. 1 and 2 of the TV show are both super cheap now and so great! So get out to the show if you can or enjoy some DVDs of the show. A new movie will hopefully be coming to theaters soon, and if you are lucky, the stage show will be coming to a city near you! If you are in the LA Area, you can enter here to win free tickets from Amoeba to see Pee Wee's show on Feb 4th!
And just in case you forgot how awesome Pee Wee is...here is the opening credits from the original show Pee-Wee's Playhouse....
On to music: There have been some great little releases in January. I highly recommend the new 7" by The Broken Bells. It is the new project of James Mercer from The Shins and the dude from Dangermouse. It really just sounds like a Shins song but I think I might actually like it better than those Shins. The album comes out March 9th. The new album from The Magnetic Fields came out last week. I have not really been a fan of the last couple of albums that they have done but this reminds me more of their older stuff. It is weird and fun and you will like it. Teen Dream by Beach House also came out last week. I have never really been a fan until now. I really fell in love with them this time around. I just never really gave them the time that they deserved. This is their third album but their first for Sub Pop. It really is a fantastic record. The singer is one of those singers that I seriously thought could be a man or woman. She has one of those deep Marianne Faithfull kind of voices. It is just one of those perfect pop albums that is hard to describe. You just have to check it out for yourself. Not exactly what I would expect to hear if I lived in a house on the beach, but then again, I have never really lived in a house on the beach. I guess it could be the music for a beach house up north though. But for sure not Malibu or San Diego. Here is a track for you to check out.
Listen to "Silver Soul" by Beach House...
Out a couple of weeks ago was the debut album from my new favorite band, Surfer Blood. The album is called Astro Coast. Surfer Blood is kind of the perfect name for this band. I am bit surprised that nobody had already claimed that name. They are youngsters from Florida, but much like Beach House, the name can be a bit deceiving. This is not pop music. It is not an indie rock version of The Beach Boys but even so, it is not difficult to love this album. The songs are for sure catchy and it reminds me a bit of one of my other recent favorites, The Drums. You should really check out The Drums if you haven't yet. While Surfer Blood may be closer to a young Modest Mouse or Built to Spill. The Drums end up sounding more like a happier version of the Magnetic Fields but they do have similarities. I really can't stop listening to this Drums album. It is so fantastic. Not for everyone I guess though -- it has some new wave sounds in it for sure. Check out these bands right now and make up your mind for yourself.
listen to "Harmonix" by Surfer Blood...
listen to "I Felt Stupid" by The Drums (If you don't love this song then I just don't understand you)...
Another pleasant surprise for the end of January is the new Charlotte Gainsbourg album. It is called Irm. There is no getting around the fact that she is talented and has beautiful voice. You, of course, know who her father is. But you really should give her a try -- her albums before were good as well, and for this one, I really think Beck was a nice match for her. He worked on this new album with her. I like this album more than I have liked the last couple of Beck albums and it sounds better than you might expect. There are some fantastic songs on here and I am only hearing it for the second time as I write this but I already have my favorites on the album. I am glad the year is starting out great with some great albums! There is also the new album by Vampire Weekend if you like that kind of thing.
check out "Heaven Can Wait" by Charlotte Gainsbourg...
also out 1/12...
Heartland by Final Fantasy
The Road Original Film Score
Contra by Vampire Weekend
also out 1/19...
Crazy Heart Soundtrack
In This Light & On This Evening by The Editors
Real Life Is No Cool by Lindstrom & Christabelle
Transference by Spoon
Astro Coast by Surfer Blood
also out 1/26...
Teen Dream by Beach House
Irm by Charlotte Gainbourg
Dream Get Together by Citay
To Realize by Clipd Beaks
There is Love in You by Four Tet
Romance is Boring by Los Campesinos!
Realism by Magnetic Fields
Calcination of Scout Niblett by Scout Niblett
2 by Retribution Gospel Choir