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Glam & Glitter Christmas

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 24, 2008 10:15am | Post a Comment

 

I'm not
sure what it is about Glam Rock and Christmas but I've always appreciated how many contributions to the Christmas song canon have big drums, fuzzy sax and '50s via the '70s Yuletide vibes.


My vote for the best Glam Rock Christmas song goes, hands down, to Slade with their never-tiresome-no-matter-how-many-times-you-hear-it classic, the misspelling free "Merry Xmas everybody."



 

Sadly, there's no proper footage of T. Rex's "Christmas bop" but you can just imagine Marc and Gloria Jones frolicking in the... snow.


 

No doubt eager to cash in on the success of Wizzard and Slade's Christmas successes, the less-inspired but still enjoyable Mud give us this Showaddywaddy-esque version of "Lonely this Christmas."



Even before Gary Glitter got himself in all sorts of inexcusable scandals, he was always extremely creepy with his blink-punctuated stare and heaving and hoing hairy barrel chest. But what's been forgotten by many is that the Glitter Band were an ace band. Check out "Another Rock 'n' Roll Christmas" for further proof.



Here's Marc Bolan, again with the Christmas music, this time in Elvis (or Mud) fashion.



Who's that at the door? Oh, it's that leper messiah, Ziggy Stardust! Come in and, I don't know, let's sing 'Little Drummer Boy,' yeah?"



T. Rex again. This time with a fried sounding Christmas number sort of in the Space Rock vein.


 
Wizzard with "I wish it could be Christmas everyday." I like that Roy Wood opted for a Father Frost look, and not Santa... but making that kid kiss him on the cheek probably scarred 'em deep.


Yeah, so Marc Bolan was Jewish. But here he is again, the biggest champion of T. Rexmas.


And then there's this! Embedding was disabled by request, although I doubt many people want to put this absolute monstrosity on their blogs. I got all Nicholas Cage in 8mm as a bunch of artists (is this ever a good idea) got together to turn one of Lou Reed's best songs into a bloated, horrific black hole where no real emotions can escape. And there are several Glam rockers on board. Watch at your own risk!!!

Mimes in music and film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 8, 2008 09:12pm | Post a Comment

Last year for Halloween I was Bip the Clown, a famous creation of the then recently passed master of mime, Marcel Marceau. I thought it would be good to go an entire day without talking, yet it seemed to arouse violent annoyance in as many people as liked it.


 
I think it made me realize that I like mime, especially when it's darker and scarier... as in the mimetic acting of German Expressionist silent film... as well as comedians like Buster Keaton, Harry Langdon, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, who were all essentially mimes. And, come to think of it, so was Cesar the somnambulist in Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari... whom I was for Halloween a while ago, come to think of it.


Mime has its roots in ancient Greece but most conventions of modern mime were developed by the Bohemian mime, Jean-Gaspard Deburau, who adapted aspects of the commedia dell'arte for nineteenth century French actors. His most famous character was Pierrot, the moonstruck, dumb romantic in white face and poofy threads. He was portrayed in Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du Paradis.


In the 1920s, Étienne Decroux created a highly original take on mime, focusing on statuary poses, a technique known as corporeal mime.


 
Jacques Tati worked, not surprisingly, as a mime. As a director, he mimed out his actors' movements.




Lindsay Kemp
was raised in Yorkshire, an area whose green moors and dales have earned it the nickname "God's Own Country." At Bradford Arts College he studied with famous Austrian dancer Hilde Holger and even more famous mime, Marcel Marceau. His take on mime was experimental, nightmarishly creepy, psychedelia and Butoh-informed and part of that whole anarchic, vaugely-sinister, druggy whimsy that seems to be evident in so much late '60s/early-'70s British stuff from the final scene of Blow-Up to The Prisoner. He had a small role in the druggily whimsical The Wicker Man as well as Velvet Goldmine and others. His troupe employed David Bowie and Kate Bush.

David Bowie


Peter Gabriel
is an admitted fan of Kemp and Marceau and, especially in Genesis, he was a mimetic performer with a stock of mime-ish characters. 



Steve Harley
, in Cockney Rebel, frequently incorporated aspects of mime into his performances. And he always chewed gum, it seems.


Jobriath
was obviously informed by mime, mentioning Pierrot numerous times and striking mime-like poses in pictures. He seems a bit nervous here, but there isn't that much footage of him performing and he seems to get a little more comfortable and mime like as it goes on.


Renato Zero
, hailing from the home of the commedia dell'arte, has clearly a been inspired by mime.


Klaus Nomi
's look, his movements and performance all have a distinct air of mime about them.


Kate Bush


 

Marillion's Fish seemed fairly mime-informed... and perhaps owed a little to Peter Gabriel.

I think that part of the reason mimes are so broadly detested is that most people who practice it are just sidewalk performers in whiteface trying to get paid for doing charades. Plus it's just sort of a comedy cliché, like midgets biting peoples legs. Shakes the Clown certainly addressed it, as has Reno 911 and millions of struggling comedians and bloggers.


 
More postive portrayals of mimes do exist in film. Consider:

Hildur and the Magician (1969), Le Monde Etait Plein De Couleurs (1973) and Sueño de Noche de Verano (1984)

Guitar Hero World Tour & video game timeline

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 21, 2008 06:48pm | Post a Comment
Guitar Games



The first installment in the Guitar Hero series was released in 2005. The developers at Harmonix were obviously inspired by 1998’s Konami’s GuitarFreaks, in which players also use a guitar-shaped controller with colored fret buttons on the neck and a pick lever to score points playing along to rock music. That game never took off on the level of Guitar Hero though, partly because GuitarFreaks required players to shred along to the likes of Mutsuhiko Izumi, 桜井 敏郎,  小野秀幸, 前田尚紀 and Jimmy Weckl (né ジミー・ウェックル), who composed songs especially for the game. Guitar Hero's innovation was including 47 AOR songs by the likes of the Ramones, Deep Purple, umlaut-abusers Blue Öyster Cult and Motörhead -- songs that, whatever you think of them, are seared into your brain if you've ever drank a Mountain Dew, rode in a Z-28, watched a television commercial or shopped at Amoeba. That means even if you've heard "More Than a Feeling" 603,501 times more than you ever wanted, you'll have no problem playing along.



In 2006, RedOctane (the manufacturers of the guitar controllers) was purchased by Activision and Harmonix was bought by MTV. In 2007 Harmonix released, through Electronic Arts, Rock Band -- basically an expanded version of Guitar Hero which added other instruments, another innovation inspired by Konami’s games of the previous decade which followed up GuitarFreaks with DrumFreaks and KeyboardFreaks.

Continue reading...

Titan in Fact and Fiction

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 3, 2008 11:58pm | Post a Comment


TITAN


Titan was discovered in 1655 by Dutchman Christiaan Huygens. It orbits Saturn. Huygens named it Luna Saturni. When more moons were discovered, it was re-named Saturn II, then IV, then VI, which stuck as the official title, even though there are at least 19 moons in closer orbit of Saturn. It's also been referred to as "Saturn's ordinary satellite," but Titan is anything but ordinary.

 


Titan is the only body in the solar system, aside from Earth, with stable liquid bodies at its surface* and a dense atmosphere. Its landscape is relatively smooth, although there are mountains. As on Earth, the air is primarily composed of Nitrogen. Methane and Ethane clouds produce rain, wind and weather that give it seasons. It also has subsurface oceans*.

Embedded video from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology


 

The name Titan was chosen by John Herschel in 1847. The Titans, according to the Greek Religion and its adherents, were the former rulers of Greece during the Golden Age. The leader, Kronos, feared that his offspring would attempt to overthrow him, just as he had his father. To prevent this, he ate his children, except Zeus, who was saved and ultimately did overthrow the Titans and banish them to Tartarus.

Huygens's landing site on Titan

With such a mysterious, aesthetically Earth-like world hidden by a hazy atmosphere, Titan has attracted its fair share of speculation about its possible nature. Many films, television series and video games have been set there and are available at Amoeba for your own investigations...

 

Doctor Who - "The Invisible Enemy"



Transformers G1 - "The God Gambit"



Space Patrol (UK) - "The Glowing Eggs of Titan"


Creature (The Titan Find)



The Puppet Masters



Star Trek: The Next Generation
- "Chain of Command"



Gattaca



Starhunter


Star Trek
(2009)



Eureka
(season 3 and 4 opening)



Oblivion


TITAN IN VIDEO AND COMPUTER GAMES


  

   


TITAN IN SONG


  
*maybe

*****

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Glitter Rock -- The red-headed stepchild of a red-headed stepchild

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 26, 2008 12:03pm | Post a Comment
If you find Glam too brainy, too challenging, too confusing, then perhaps you're what the press used to refer to as a Glitter Kid! These bands didn't take their cues from the androgynous, artistic pretensions of David Bowie, Bretty Smiley, Cockney Rebel, Doctors of Madness or Jobriath. They looked to the big, stomping beats and refined stupidity of T. Rex and sliced away everything til there was just a skeleton.
Enjoy!

Kenny


Slik


The Osmonds


The Glitter Band


Mud


The Sweet


Alvin Stardust

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