Amoeblog

out this week, 8/2 & 8/9: Tig Notaro...the next great female comic...

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 18, 2011 12:15pm | Post a Comment
I have been a huge fan of strong female comedians since I can remember. My first memory is probably of Joan Rivers on the Muppet Show or in The Muppets Take Manhattan. If you have not yet seen her recent documentary A Piece of Work, you must do so right now. Amazing stuff.

I can't remember a time when I didn't love Bea Arthur. I was too young to watch Maude, but I was instantly in love with The Golden Girls. I think I honestly just wanted them all to be my grandmothers. How awesome would it be to go to Miami for the weekend to stay with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia. I am sure this was not every kids dream. But it was mine. I didn't have some Harold and Maude type fantasy. I was gay after all. But I just wanted to hang out. Talk about current events. Make fun of celebrities or people in general. I loved that sarcastic and humorous outlook on life. And The Golden Girls might have been the first show that I remember to feature gay characters. There were other shows of course. But not many. Dorothy's old friend visits and turns out to be lesbian and falls in love with Rose. Blanche's brother visits and comes out to her in his golden years. And of course the very first episode features a gay housekeeper. My favorite character was of course Dorothy, played by the amazing Bea Arthur. If there is one celebrity I could go back in time to hang out with or have dinner with, It would probably be Bea Arthur. She was hilarious and sarcastic. But also brutally honest and warm and sincere. She loved her friends and her family more than anything. But she understood a good joke and could never be mad at anyone for too long. She was sort of my role model. And she also got me in love with the female comic. Gay guys have always flocked to the female comic. There just are not that many out gay male comedians. At least there weren't in the '80s and '90s. So these comics were all we had to relate too. And honestly, they were a whole lot better than any of the gay male comics that I had seen or heard about. Female comics were sort of outsiders just like the gays.  Bea Arthur probably opened the doors for a lot of these women. At least the TV comic. There would probably be no Roseanne without Bea Arthur. I seriously can't imagine my life with either one of them.

What Bea Arthur did for the TV female comic, Joan Rivers did for the stand up comic. Joan Rivers was also brutally honest. Like Sophia on The Golden Girls, she never held back. She said what was on her mind. I don't think there could be a Kathy Griffin, Janeane Garofalo, Wanda Sykes, Sandra Bernhard, Margaret Cho, or Sarah Silverman without Joan RIvers.

There are obviously different styles of female stand up comedians. Most of the good ones end up with their own sitcom or talk show, which is sort of the goal -- a stable job that doesn't involve the crazy kind of travel needed to be a stand up comic. Sarah Silverman ended up creating one of the most brilliant shows ever. The Sarah Silverman Show, unfortunately, didn't last long enough. But she and Brian Posehn together is magic. Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell ended up with two of the most successful daytime talk shows. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar ended up hosting The View. Joy Behar also has a nighttime news show. While I am not a huge fan of The View, I am a huge fan of the comedy of both Whoopi and Joy. Whoopi Goldberg has been in some of my favorite movies...at least some of my favorites of the '80s. She gave us Jumpin' Jack Flash in 1986, and Burglar and Fatal Beauty in 1987. Ghost in 1990. Sister Act in 1992.

Ellen DeGeneres was the star of a very successful sitcom and now that Oprah has left us, Ellen probably has the most successful daytime talk show. I was never really a fan of Kathy Griffin until her reality show started. I just didn't really know much about her, and I was not about to watch some sitcom starring Brooke Shields. But how can you not love somebody who is such a supporter of the gays? And so hilarious. I was hooked after the first time I saw her perform. Going back much further, I do have faint memories of Phyllis Diller -- probably from Scooby Doo or The Mad Monster Party -- but I did always love her. She got her start at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, so how can I not love that? I was also obsessed with Lily Tomlin. Two of my other favorite movies as a kid were 9 to 5 and The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Lily Tomlin was another stand up comedian that I just somehow related to.

I have also always loved the female comedians of Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the best comedians that show has ever seen. They now star in two of the best sitcoms on television, 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation. Kristen Wiig is one of the funniest people to ever exist and one of the main reasons to still watch SNL. She is already a movie star; please watch Bridesmaids if you have not seen it! I also see a TV show in Kristen Wiig's future, but maybe not for another ten years. SNL has also give us the brilliant Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Jane Curtain, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, Cheri Oteri, Nora Dunn, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Janeane Garofalo and Sarah Silverman may have not had the most successful careers on SNL, but they were both cast members that just happened to go to do amazing things afterwards. Some actresses went on to better things and some did not, but they have all done amazing comedic work at some point in their life.

Continue reading...

(In which you might enjoy a fever.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 9, 2009 03:02pm | Post a Comment

The American shad or Atlantic shad, Alosa sapidissima, is a species of anadromous fish in family Clupeidae of order Clupeiformes.
It is the State Fish of Connecticut, enjoys foreign films and candle-lit dinners for two.


Not that long ago, a customer came into Amoeba Music Hollywood and approached me sheepishly. She uttered that accustomed customer opening line:

“I’m looking for a song… I don’t know the name of it, or who did it…”

If Amoeba Music employees had a dime for every time we heard that sentence, our bosses could dispense with payroll and we’d all live comfortably (hint, hint, Gov. Schwarzenegger).

Oftentimes, we Amoebites will know what the human’s looking for. That’s because we’re mostly socially awkward music geeks who’ve traded in awesome housing and reasonable hair-styles for choice, Italian soundtrack LP’s and an ability to name-that-tune of obscure mouth-harp blues artists.

The song the woman was looking for was “Fever,” which has been covered by many artists, though most famously by the great Peggy Lee


“Fever” was written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell and published in 1956. At first the songwriters had little success with the song, until they decided to re-write it using words and music. These proved to be the magic ingredients, and soon people took interest. It first became a hit for the (unfortunately named) Little Willie John...


For a while, it was taken under consideration that “Fever” should replace the notoriously difficult to sing “Star Spangled Banner” as the National Anthem of the United States, but as “they” who were considering it only numbered two and spent most their time sleeping under a bridge, drinking from storm-pipes, and screaming “Go back to toyland, Eisenhower!” at airplanes, the idea gained little merit.

What follows here is a sampling of the many versions of “Fever” that exist. You can almost certainly find one that suits you, regardless of your taste. And then, once we’ve all found a cover of the song we each like, we can finally come together as one people and… well… I dunno… listen to the song, I guess.

Can I get an amen?!







































out today 3/18...she & him...the teenagers...

Posted by Brad Schelden, March 18, 2008 10:33pm | Post a Comment

This is one of those weeks that I look forward to. There are tons of great albums out today. Not everybody is going to like all these albums, but there are seriously tons of records out today that make me happy. It makes me happy to still work in a record store. It reminds me of those days before I worked in a record store when I would go out searching for those new albums. It is much easier to find out about albums these days. It was all about the magazines back then and also just trusting your local record store to promote the good albums. It was also all about getting and giving recommendations to all your friends. That is sort of what I think I'm doing with my blog. I just get so excited sometimes to talk about all the things that I love and make me happy. Back when I was just a slightly obsessive record shopper, it seems like there would be nothing out for weeks and then all of a sudden there would be like 10 albums out on one day and I would need to buy them all. Today is one of those days.

This album has totally grown on me in the last couple of days -- I really didn't think that I was going to like it, but I am just suddenly in love with it. I can't control it. The album is called Volume One by the new band She & Him. Also known as Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. I am a sort of big fan of her work with her other career as an actress, but I had no idea how addictive this album would be. It sort of sounds like a mix of some Neko Case and Loretta Lynn with M. Ward playing along. I am also a big fan of the biopic docudrama, music biography type of movie, and two of the movies I am looking forward to are the Janis Joplin story and the Dusty Springfield story. I was also excited about the Etta James movie but I am not really sure how I feel about Beyonce playing Etta. But Kristin Chenoweth as Dusty is perfect, and Zooey as Janis is also perfect.

The first song on the album is close to perfect. "Sentimental Heart" is one of those songs that is just a perfect little tragic sort of pop song. It is almost a little too cute-- but her voice and the arrangement make a fantastic little song that really got me hooked on the album. I only had to listen to it twice before I was addicted to She & Him. They also cover "You've Really Got A Hold On Me," the 1962 song by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. The song has been covered a bunch by everyone from Cher to Cyndi Lauper.  The version that I am most familiar with is the version heard on an episode of Roseanne. Bonnie Bramlett of Delaney & Bonnie played one of Roseanne's coworkers at the diner she worked at in the mall. Her name on the show was Bonnie. She sang the song in a little backyard picnic scene and the whole cast is just in shock when she starts singing the song. She totally blows them away with her rendition of the song. I really love those scenes in sitcoms that stand out because they don't really fit. The whole album by She & Him is really great. They also cover "I Should Have Known Better" by the Beatles.

My other favorite new band of the moment is The Teenagers. Their debut album comes out today. It is called Reality Check. I feel like I say this a lot, but I really can't get enough of it-- like Jack Penate last month. And like Jens Lekman last year. I really love this record. It sound nothing like those guys. It is more close to Franz Ferdinand or maybe Jamie T. Brilliant and fun. They are from France and this is their first album. A lot of the album is sort of like spoken word and slow singing. It reminds me of times of the great album out last year by No Bra, just much more accessible. It has the fun of a record like the first Arctic Monkeys or Franz Ferdinand. It even reminds me a bit of The Klaxons from last year. The album is the first really great dancey pop album of the year. I just hope their new fans find them. I know they are out there. The band deserves to be popular just for making such a fun album. It is not meant to be a serious rock album. It is made for good times. There are also great albums out by Crystal Castles, Be Your Own Pet, and The Kills. There really is a lot to choose from today. Also some excellent deluxe sort of reissues from Mission Of Burma, and a reissue of one of my old favorites Replicas by Gary Numan. And I am excited to hear the new project by Jarboe and Justin K. Broadrick from Jesu and Godflesh. I have not heard it yet but I am sure that it will be fantastic.  A very exciting day it is.


 
also out today...





"Get Awkward" by Be Your Own Pet











"Only as the Day Is Long" by Sera Cahoone











"Turning Dragon" by Clark











"Crystal Castles" by Crystal Castles











"Trouble in Dreams" by Destroyer











"A Mad & Beautiful Telling" by Devotchka











"Sixes & Sevens" by Adam Green











"J2" by Jarboe & Justin K. Broadrick











"Midnight Boom" by The Kills











"Horrible Truth" reissue by Mission of Burma











"Signals, Calls & Marches" reissue by Mission of Burma











"VS." reissue by Mission of Burma











"Yael Naim" by Yael Naim











"Stainless Style" by Neon Neon











"Replicas 2008 Tour Edition" by Gary Numan & the Tubeway Army











"Beat Pyramid" by These New Puritans











"Paralyzed" by Witch

(In which Job hero worships.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 29, 2007 02:48pm | Post a Comment
I just received my copy of Playboy Magazine in the mail. Stoked!

No, no… don’t get all shocked. I’m not a subscriber. Who can afford magazine subscriptions? Not me. And if I could afford a magazine subscription, I would choose National Geographic over Playboy. I mean, National G gets you way more pix of naked women for your money.

Before you start second guessing that you clicked on the right blog, I’ll explain myself. While I’m known to ogle a pretty gal now and again, the reason for my purchase is for one woman in particular: Sandra Bernhard. 

You just reacted one of three ways:

1.) You groaned a little. You don’t understand why this woman is famous; you don’t “get” her stand-up comedy and your knowledge of her is mostly confined to vague recollections of shenanigans with Madonna and, oh yeah, she was that lesbian character on “Roseanne.” You fall into the category of person we’ll term “Plebeian.”

2.) You got all excited and an exclamation of “Yes!” echoed in your brain … urr… unless you’re French, in which case it would have been “Oui!” - or “Iya!” if you’re Papua New Guinean, which, if my research polls on who is reading my blog suggests, you are. I really should learn Tok Pisin…

Oh, Sandra Bernhard. Right. Okay. The second category of person is the one in which I fall; that is, a fan. We’ll term this sort of person “Rad.”

3.) You have no idea who Sandra Bernhard is. We’ll call this category of folk “Linda Hamilton” (not to be confused with the actress who starred in the Terminator films).

My first encounter with Miss Bernhard was at age 17. My friend Salem and I were alone in the enormous house which my Mom and Step-dad could afford for about six months, thanks to a brief cash flow yielded by a Pyramid-scheme.

I don’t remember how it came in to our possession, but we had a VHS copy of Bernhard’s “Without You I’m Nothing,” a film version of her one-woman show. I was probably stoned; I usually was at that age, and even if I wasn’t, being 17 is pretty psychedelic.

Salem and I popped in the video (“Have we got a video? YES, WE HAVE A VIDEO!!!”) and sat transfixed for the next 89 minutes as Miss Bernhard blew our f-wording minds.


Crazy on you: Miss Bernhard live... very, very live.

It’s not that it was laugh-out-loud hilarious, though it often was – it was something deeper and altogether special. This woman was creating a world and speaking a language that was hers entirely, and if we didn’t understand, that didn't seem her concern. Her wit and heart were uncompromised, pure, and complex; some kind of impossible cross between Joan Rivers and Marcel Proust.

Continue reading...

roseanne is still funny

Posted by Brad Schelden, April 15, 2007 02:32pm | Post a Comment
Roseanne is one of those shows that remains hilarious after all these years. Some shows, ALF as an example, were hilarious when they first aired, but they do not hold up years later. Believe me, cause I have tried. But Roseanne managed to create a show that was still hilarious 7 years into it. Season 7 originally aired in 1994 and 1995. The show lasted 9 seasons. It still remained a great show for one more season. However, it was season 9 after they won the lottery that the show went down hill quickly. Roseanne was hilarious because it dealt with real situations. It was a real family dealing with real situations.  They just happened to use a whole lot of sarcasm and humour to get through the day. Season 7 begins with Roseanne becoming pregnant, which she was in real life. In this season, Darlene gets a new boyfriend while David remains at the Connor house. Jackie and Fred have problems and split up. Becky and Mark move out, again. My favorite episode is when some elderly nudists move in next door. Roseanne and Dan can't stop peeping and are eventually confronted by their neighbors. This is also the season where Beverly is arrested for drunk driving.

Laurie Metcalf is really underrated as an actress. She is again amazing in this season. Estelle Parson as Bev and Sara Gilbert as Darlene are also great additions to the cast. The season is filled with guest stars. Sharon Stone as the Landlord of Becky and Mark's trailer park. Traci Lords as a new Lunch Box employee. Danny Masterson stars as Darlene's new boyfriend Jimmy. And Shelley Winters is as amazing as ever as Bev's mom. Martin Mull and Sandra Bernhard also return as the co-owners of the Lunch Box. This season also included an episode with the famous TV moms of the old family shows. Also a dream episode with the cast of Gilligan's Island. The cover art for these DVDs often have horrible pictures of John Goodman on them. It seems the designer of these boxes is not a big John Goodman fan. However, this season box seems to have a more accurate picture of John on the cover. The great thing about these season boxes is that they contain the original uncut episode. The episodes you see on Nick at Nite are cut down to fit in more commercials. So there are new little bits that you may not remember added back into the episodes.  Seriously, this show is timeless. It cracks me up every time I put it on. It also brings me back to a time when sitcoms were still funny.