Concert Review: Reel Big Fish “Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour”

“Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour”
Reel Big Fish, Masked Intruder, Stacked Like Pancakes
Monday, November 14th 2016
The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Punk-Ska veterans Reel Big Fish brought the first leg of their “Turn Off the Radio 20th Anniversary Tour” to Ithaca, NY on November 14th where they performed to a near capacity crowd. The tour which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the bands monumental 1996 release “Turn the Radio Off” also featured Madison, Wisconsin pop-punk band Masked Intruder and Stacked Like Pancakes a 7 piece Ska-Rock band from Baltimore Maryland. All three bands were at the top of their game this evening which was packed with plenty of energy and fun for the college town crowd.

You never know what you are going to get with Monday night show performances. Questions like will the band be into it? Or, what will the crowd be like? Began to flood my mind as I made my way to the small lake side venue for a night of reliving my teenage years. Both of these were answered almost immediately as I could tell by the looks of the parking lot that I was going to be in for something special. Things kicked off promptly at 7pm with Stacked Like Pancakes taking the stage first. The group wasted no time at all launching in to their energetic performance which was a mixture of Ska infused rock which ignited the dance floor almost instantly. The groups 30/40 minute set was highlighted by a spot on big band infused rendition of the classic Blink 182 song “Dammit” which was unlike any other version of that song I have heard. Taking the stage next would be the masked hoodlums known as Masked Intruder. The group who’s sound is reminiscent of early Ramones with a twist seemed to be having some issues with the venues PA system at first as the vocals were getting lost in the overall mix however after a song or two everything came together and the band settled in as they poked fun at the crowd and themselves while delivering their unique high energy brand of punk rock. Having first been made of aware of this band this summer during the Warped tour is was great to be able to catch them again in a smaller setting where they seemed to be at home. Reel Big Fish would follow to close out the night by performing the entire “Turn Off the Radio” album from front to back. They even included the albums hidden track “I’m Cool” complete with a brief break before starting back in to close out the night. Though the group with the exception of front-man Aaron Barrett are different from the band that played on the album the latest incarnation of the Reel Big Fish sounded just as good if not better than the album they were celebrating making for a great overall concert experience.

When a band that has been around as long as Reel Big Fish has it’s great no matter what to be able to still them live. When it really becomes special is when all the bands on the bill bring their A game which was definitely the case in Ithaca, NY on November 14th. I highly recommend catching this tour when it resumes in February. Though it will feature a different lineup I feel pretty confident in saying that it will surely be just as good of a concert experience making a show you won’t want to miss.

Reel Big Fish Setlist:
1.) I Want Your Girlfriend to Be My Girlfriend Too
2.) The Kids Don’t Like It
3.) Another F.U. Song
4.) Your Guts (I Hate’Em)
5.) Sell Out
6.) Trendy
7.) Join the Club
8.) She Has a Girlfriend Now
9.) Snoop Dogg, Baby
10.) 241
13.) Skatanic
14.) All I Want Is More
15.) Nothin’
16.) Say “Ten”
17.) I’ll Never Be
18.) Alternative, Baby
19.) The Impression That I Get (Mighty Mighty Bosstones Cover)
20.) Beer
Encore:
21.) I’m Cool
22.) Everyone Else Is an Asshole
23.) Where Have You Been
24.) Take On Me (A-Ha Cover)

Greg Bell talks about working with Sirius/XM on Radio Classics

It was called “the theater of the mind.” Back before television families would huddle around their radio and listen to such popular shows as “Gunsmoke” or “Burns and Allen.” I still have fond memories as a young boy going to bed on Sunday nights and listening to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, drifting off to sleep while picturing the program’s action in my head.

I bought a Sirius/XM radio for my car because I love to listen to the music of the 1970s. But more often than not you’ll find me tooling down the road listening to a great old radio drama on Channel 148, hosted by Greg Bell. I recently had the opportunity to ask Greg some questions about his interest in Classic Radio and why it’s still so popular 50 years after the last program aired.

Mike Smith: Where did you develop your interest in the radio programs of the past?
Greg Bell: As I was born in the 1960s, I was too young to have listened to these shows when they originally played. What is often called “The Golden Age Of Radio” wrapped up in 1962, when CBS, the last network still playing weekly radio theater, ended that with the final episodes of “Suspense” and “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.” Personally I was always a fan of classic media, old films, TV shows and radio. I grew up listening to the revival radio shows including Himan Brown’s “CBS Radio Mystery Theater” in the 1970s and The Elliott Lewis led “Sears Radio Theater” in the late 70s and early 80s. And later I listened to “When Radio Was” during the Art Fleming and Stan Freberg era. The entire reason the XM (now Sirius XM) RadioClassics channel was created was to introduce all these wonderful shows to a whole new audience, who like myself, were not around when they originally aired. Great storytelling is truly timeless, and these shows prove that.

MS: How did the gig at Sirius come about?
GB: In December of 2001, I was hired at XM Satellite Radio in DC for the now-defunct USA Today channel (basically a radio version of the newspaper.) In the summer of 2002, they launched two new spoken word channels, Sonic Theater and RadioClassics. I was hired to run the classic radio channel, and was able to draw on my knowledge of classic films and television to also host the channel. XM merged with Sirius in 2008, and I was retained as the host of RadioClassics. And then following the retirement of Stan Freberg in 2006, I took over as the host of the syndicated series “When Radio Was” airing on approximately 200 radio stations across North America.

MS: You’ve hosted several radio themed cruises. What all do they entail?
GB: What a blast! We are currently preparing for the Fourth Annual Radio Spirits sponsored sea cruise: www.cruisingwithgregbell.com The first three were tremendous successes. While at sea we re-create both classic and original radio plays live on stage with the fans as the actors as well as handling the sound effects also created live. We also have old time radio trivia, show discussions, listening parties, gift bags, and perhaps most importantly it’s a place where I lot of folks, from all over the nation, who love the same stuff (classic radio theater) can meet.

MS: What are some of your favorite radio programs?
GB: Only way to answer that is to break it down by genre:

Comedies: Jack Benny is the king, but for great chemistry and timeless humor; my favorite is “The Phil Harris & Alice Faye Program.” Harris and Elliott Lewis as his pal, Frankie Remley were Cramden and Norton before the “Honeymooners” came along.

The top thriller and mystery series: For me they are “Suspense” and “The Whistler.” Both had tremendous storytelling and featured different themes each week, so it might be a murder mystery one week, science fiction the next and so on.

Police dramas: “Dragnet” was a radio show first and is very well done, but I also recommend “Broadway Is My Beat” (follows NYPD detective Danny Clover) and “The Lineup.”

The Westerns; sure everyone remembers “The Lone Ranger,” “Hopalong Cassidy” and “Red Ryder,” and they are entertaining but were targeted for younger listeners. So my favorites are “The Six-Shooter” (with Jimmy Stewart), “Fort Laramie” (featuring future “Perry Mason” star Raymond Burr) and “Gunsmoke.” Radio’s “Gunsmoke” which debuted three years before the TV version, is easily the best of the bunch. With a whole different cast (William Conrad was the voice of Marshall Dillon) “Gunsmoke” was much more than a western. The writers tackled issues of the 1950s like racism, xenophobia, domestic abuse, etc while setting the stories in the late 19th Century American West.

MS: Why do you think the medium is still popular?
GB: As I said earlier, great storytelling is truly timeless!

MS: With the popularity of satellite radio growing, do you think that radio dramas/comedies could return? Maybe “Screen Directors Playhouse presents ‘Jaws’?”
GB: It’s already here; there are tons of modern radio theater groups all over the country performing both classic and original scripts, so it’s truly alive and well.

MS: Do you have any new programs coming to the channel this year?
GB: There will always be series that our exclusive content provider, Radio Spirits, is able to get legal broadcasting rights to air and/or have digitally restored and prepped for satellite radio, plus they periodically supply us with more “new to the channel” episodes from series we currently feature.

For a list of the weekly shows, click here http://www.siriusxm.com/radioclassics/weeklyschedule

Film Review “Radio America”

Starring: Jacob Motsinger, Christopher Alice and Kristi Engleman
Directed by: Christopher Showerman
Not Rated
Running time: 1 hour 41 mins
ShorrisFilm

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

The time is the 1970s. Instead of heading right to school, we find young David and Eric hanging out near the broadcast antenna of the local radio station. With their transistor tuned in, David tries to follow along, picking out the notes on his weathered guitar. Some days the duo becomes a trio, joined by their fellow truant Jane. As they dream of the future they dream of it one filled with music.

20 years later, David (Alice) and Eric (Motsinger) and still playing music, this time serenading the cows on the dairy farm they work on. They’ve become an accomplished couple of musicians, writing their own songs and continuing to dream. Eric dreams of making the big time, while all David wants is to have his music heard. His motto: “when they start paying you for it stops being fun.” Eric would like to play a gig for someone other than the cows but David refuses to be in a cover band. Jane (Engleman) talks them into entering an original song in a local “Battle of the Bands,” which first off requires them to actually form a band. With a drummer added to the mix, and the cool band name “Rockness Monster,” they play the gig. They don’t win but they catch the ear of a record exec who tells them he can make their dreams come true. But he doesn’t tell them at one cost.

Written by first time director Showerman, “Radio America” is a film that tells the familiar message of doing what you want because you WANT to, not because you have too. Like Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” (or even Tom Hanks’ “That Thing You Do”) it features a lead character who would rather play HIS music for a few people than sell out to play packed stadiums. However, like “Famous’” Russell Hammond, “Radio America’s” David, despite his trepidations, does begin to enjoy the good life. When the band’s first single begins to sell, they embark on a tour opening for a band drawing 20,000 fans a night. Soon David and Eric find themselves living the rock and roll lifestyle, from hotel rooms full of groupies to spending a night in jail for a little hijinx. David and Jane have started a relationship but that is quickly tossed away thanks to the spoils of the road. Meanwhile, Eric has become insufferable, going so far as to invite a young woman calling in to a radio program to “dress slutty and come on down” for a visit. Is this the end of “Monster” (their new, shorter name)?

The cast is strong here, with Christopher Alice giving David the quiet innocence of a true artist, making art because he likes it. As things progress we see him fighting, and eventually losing, that innocence. Which is ironic because all he wanted to do was play music. As Eric, Motsinger gets to act out more. The band’s front man, he becomes the face of Monster, for better or worse. Left behind is Jane, who follows their exploits on the road from her small town bank job. Also turning in solid work is Read MacGuirtose as English Joe, the band’s tour manager and director Showerman himself, who excels as the record executive that signs and guides the band.

The original songs, many of them written by and co-performed by Mr. Showerman, are also well done. It can really take a lot away from a film when the same song is featured several times on screen. If it’s not a good song it takes you out of the film. The songs here, most notably the title track, are bona fide rockers. Surely a soundtrack CD is on its way!

Indican Pictures Aquires “Radio America” for Distribution

Indican Pictures, a major distributor of independently made films, has announced their latest acquisition, the musical-drama “Radio America.”

Written and directed by Chris Showerman and produced by Showerman and Clint Morris under their Showerman label, “Radio America” tells the story of two farm boys who dream of escaping their rural roots to achieve fame and fortune as rock stars.

“If Indican were the stage, and we were musicians, we couldn’t ask for a better stage to present our act. With their passion, knowledge, and skill, they are undoubtedly the right distributor to bring “Radio America” to the masses”, says Morris.

“Radio America” will be released later this year.

Blu-ray Review “Radio Days (1987)”

Starring: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Danny Aiello, Jeff Daniels, Wallace Shawn, Seth Green
Director: Woody Allen
Distributed by: Twilight Time
Run Time: 88 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: July 8, 2014

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

A few years back I became very much obsessed with music from the 30’s and 40’s. I am a huge fan of Woody Allen but I have to admit, I have never seen this film prior to this release. It packs a wonderful cast including Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Danny Aiello, Jeff Daniels, Wallace Shawn, Seth Green with Woody Allen narrating. I literally was watching this film speechless during certain points just completely in love. The music, the acting, the writing. Woody Allen never lets you down. A must have if you are a fan of Woody Allen, no question.

Official Premise: Writer-director Woody Allen’s tenderly nostalgic, joyously funny Radio Days (1987) is a vignette-packed memory piece about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s, obsessed with the music, entertainment, and news of the wide world brought into every household via the magic of radio. A young Allen surrogate (played by a teeny red-headed Seth Green) lives with his parents (the wonderful Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker) and extended family in the wind-swept Rockaway neighborhood, their daily routines spiced by the glamour, excitement, thrills, and even occasional doses of grim reality coming to them over the airwaves.

This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. This film is delivered with a looks good with its 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono also works perfect with the dialogue and the music. Oh the music is so fantastic with some amazing songs from the 30’s and 40’s that intertwine so well with the film.
In terms of special features, besides some trailers, there is only an Isolated Music and Effects Track includes, which is a bit of a letdown. Nonetheless, Twilight Time has been releasing some great Allen films over the last year and change, so I hope that they are planning on continuing this.

Orlando Shakespeare Theater Turns up the Holiday Cheer with “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”


Theater captures the spirit of Frank Capra’s cinematic classic

Orlando, FL – Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF warms Central Florida audiences with the holiday cheer of Joe Landry’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast and directed by Florida Rep’s founding Producing Artistic Director, Robert Cacioppo, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play begins December 4 and runs through December 29, 2013 at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. Tickets ($17-$40) may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (407) 447-1700 or online at http://orlandoshakes.org.

Inspired by Frank Capra’s beloved American film, Orlando Shakes’ It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play includes a five-member ensemble that brings to life a dozen familiar characters performed in the style of a 1940s live radio broadcast. Complete with commercial jingles and man-made sound effects, audiences will fall in love all over again with the selfless George Bailey and the gentle angel who saves his life on Christmas Eve. A holiday classic suitable for the entire family!

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a joy for audiences young and old,” said Director Robert Cacioppo. “I am thrilled that Orlando Shakes’ Artistic Director Jim Helsinger offered me the opportunity to revisit this play with a truly wonderful cast.”

Cacioppo, who previously directed the production at Florida Rep in 2011, will be recreating his elaborate pre-show prologue in Orlando. Prior to the performance, theatergoers will take part in a holiday sing-along amongst busy telegram boys, popcorn girls, and 1940’s paparazzi. ”I urge Orlando audiences to show up early, because that’s when the fun begins!”Cacioppo said.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play features actors Brad DePlanche, David Edwards, Duke Lafoon, Suzanne O’Donnell, and Piper Rae Patterson. Secondary performers include Anachebe Asomugha, Sophie Bell, Bridgette Hoover, Chris Metz, Alexander Ross Neal, Jeffrey Todd Parrott, and Seth Wallen. The creative team includes Scenic Designer Richard Crowell, Costume Designer Mel Barger, Lighting Designer Mary Heffernan, and Sound Designer Britt Sandusky.

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION AND RELATED EVENTS

PRE-SHOW CHAT
Join us in the Patron’s Room on December 6 at 6:45 p.m. for a brief, informative discussion with the director and members of the artistic team about the creative process.

OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Directly following the show on December 6, audience members are invited to celebrate with the cast, crew, designers, and Orlando Shakes staff at the Opening Night Party. The party begins after the show (approx. 10 p.m.) and everyone is invited. No RSVP necessary.

PLAYSHOP
School-age children can participate in a fun and creative camp during select Orlando Shakespeare Theater performances. Led by Orlando Shakes Actor/Educators, theatergoers’ children ages 5 to 12 will enjoy supervised arts and crafts, play educational games, and maybe even learn a song or dance. For It’s a Wonderful Life, the service is available to all ticket buyers on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 2 p.m. for just $15 per child. Advance registration is required. Call the Box Office at (407) 447-1700 for tickets and information.

THURSDAY TALK BACK
Stay after the performance on Thursday, December 19 for an informal Q & A with the cast and members of the design team.

ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE INFORMATION
Preview Dates: December 4 & 5 at 7:30 p.m. ($18)
Opening Date: December 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Senior Matinees: December 11 & 18 at 2 p.m. ($17)
$20 Under 30: December 13 at 7:30 p.m. ($20)

TICKET INFORMATION

DATES AND PRICES
Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. – all seats $35, $30, $20
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. – all seats $40, $35, $30

DISCOUNTS
Group Sales: 20% off groups of 10+
Student Rush: $12 – 30 minutes prior to show w/ valid student ID
Military/Student Price: $10 off single ticket prices
Single and Season Tickets are available by calling (407) 447-1700, online at http://www.orlandoshakes.org, or in person at the Box Office located inside the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 East Rollins Street in Orlando’s Loch Haven Cultural Park.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is made possible through the generous support of Holland & Knight, LLP, Raymond James Financial, and Florida Hospital. Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF is supported by United Arts of Central Florida with funds from the United Arts collaborative campaign and by State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council.

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PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT

Publicity photos feature actors Brad DePlanche, Suzanne O’Donnell, and Piper Rae Patterson. Photos by Landon St. Gordon.

ABOUT ORLANDO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

Now celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season, Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF has grown into one of the region’s most acclaimed Equity theaters producing classic, contemporary, and children’s plays. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and Managing Director PJ Albert, Orlando Shakespeare Theater continues to provide an innovative world-class theatrical experience to its patrons, while showcasing William Shakespeare’s legacy as the cornerstone of the company. Through PlayFest and Harriett’s New Play Series, Orlando Shakespeare Theater has garnered national recognition for the development of over 100 new works within the past 10 years. Orlando Shakes also provides immersive educational programming serving Central Florida schools and the local community at large.

Twitter: @orlandoshakes or http://www.twitter.com/orlandoshakes
Instagram: @orlandoshakes or http://www.instagram.com/orlandoshakes
Facebook: “Orlando Shakes” or http://www.facebook.com/orlandoshakes

“MovieMike” on the radio in KC this Friday

Media Mikes own Mike Smith will be a guest critic this Friday on the “Central Standard” radio program in Kansas City. The show, airing on KCUR-FM – 89.3, will take a look at some of the films that have opened in the last month and begins at 10:00 a.m. CST.

Mike will join show regulars Russ Simmons and Loey Lockerby as they discuss such recent films as RUSH, PRISONERS and MACHETE KILLS.

Listeners outside the Kansas City area can listen on-line at: http://kcur.org/programs/central-standard

Media Mikes Heads to Radio in Kansas City and Florida

With the overwhelming success of the weekly “Behind the Mikes” Podcast, it’s only fitting that Media Mikes now represent themselves over the airwaves. This week listeners in Kansas City will get a chance to hear “Movie” Mike Smith as he discusses current and future trends in movie-going on the KMBZ Business Channel (1660 AM). He will appear on The Kansas City Power Lunch program, hosted by Krista Klaus, beginning at 11:45 a.m. (CST) this coming Wednesday, July 3rd.

On Saturday morning, July 6th, he’ll be heard on the inaugural broadcast of Dispatch Radio, which will be broadcast on the following stations in Central Florida: WTAN 1340 AM, WDCF 1350 AM and WZHR 1400 AM in the Clearwater, Lakeland, Zephyrhills and greater Tampa Bay area on the Tan Talk Radio Network. The program begins at 8:00 a.m. (EST). Smith will be a regular contributor to the program, offering reviews and commentary on new film releases.

Media Mikes on the Radio 2/9/12 on “The Walt Bodine Show”

This Week on The Walt Bodine Show
Movie Critics: New Releases
Friday, February 10th, 2012

10:00 – 11:00 AM CST

Russ Simmons and the Movie Critics join Walt Bodine for a look at recent movie releases.

GUESTS:
Russ Simmons, co-host, KKFI, Fox 4 News
Mike Smith, MediaMikes.com

Call Walt’s LIVE Listener Line:
(816) 235-2888 or e-mail andrea@kcur.org

You can also listen online at http://www.kcur.org/programs/waltbodineshow