Starring: Dan Lauria, Sara Barbieri and Tyler Bocock
Directed by: Wes Hurley
Running time: 1 hr 37 mins
Potato (Hersh Powers) is a little Soviet-era boy in love with American movies. He enjoys these films so much that, when his mother Lena (Barbieri) is being beaten by one of her boyfriends, he forms his hands into a viewfinder and watches the incident unfold as if it was on the big screen. An odd boy, Potato accepts his mother’s current, abusive boyfriend because he has a color television…much nicer then their old black and white model. Still, he has very few friends. Unless, that is, you count Jesus Christ (Jonathan Bennett), who drops by often. It is a very oppressive society that portrays anything different as evil. Among the presumed evils – homosexuality. Potato is taught that everyone in the West is a homosexual. Except Freddie Mercury, who is much too talented. Wanting to be free of the chains of their country, Potato and his mother are overjoyed when she is chosen by a man in America as a mail order bride. Soon things will be different in the glorious USA. Right?
An unusual film, based on the life of writer/director Hurley (who was born in Russia), “Potato Dreams of America” is almost two different films. Where the Russian act is very bleak visually, it is filled with some great humor. Yet when the setting moves to America, things begin to get quite serious. It’s also unusual in that the main characters are portrayed by different actors during the second act. Potato is now played by Tyler Bocock while Lena is now portrayed by Marya Sea Kaminski. All four actors embrace their characters, as does Dan Lauria, the American husband with secrets of his own.
Hurley’s script is quite funny, especially in the first act, where Potato and Lena do their best to tolerate those who are intolerable among them. And while the film is not rated, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the second act deals with some very adult subject matter, so be advised. That being said, “Potato Dreams of America” is a charming film that deserves an audience.
When I asked to speak with Leslie Broecker I was told we’d get along as she was a fellow “theater nerd.” What an understatement. The President of Broadway Across America Midwest, Ms. Broecker lives and breathes theater. When we spoke she had just spent a whirlwind week in New York City, seeing EIGHT Broadway shows in seven days. Thank goodness for matinee’s.
Michael Smith: First off, please tell our readers what you do, how long you’ve been doing it and how I can apply for your job when you decide to retire?
Leslie Broecker: (laughs) Absolutely you can! I’ve been here 35-years. I started in the marketing department but I’ve loved theater my whole life. Really my passion has been in radio and television production, especially radio. And so I worked with the local Broadway series in Louisville (Kentucky) on some of their radio buys. That’s how the local company hired me as their marketing director. The company became so successful that it grew into Cincinnati, and then Columbus and Indianapolis. Ultimately our partner, which was Pace Theatrical Group, purchased our company and that is how Kansas City became part of my responsibilities as well.
MS: How do you go about choosing what shows go to which city? Is it just a national tour of certain shows or do you pick specific shows for specific cities?
LB: The tours are tailor made for each city. It’s a jigsaw puzzle of what shows are available, what dates are available in the theaters and then trying to marry those. We are very reliant on our neighbors and friends that present in other cities in order to make routing reasonable and responsible. We need to have decent jump cities that are not too far apart. We’re all tied together. Most of our shows close on Sunday night. Then they have to break down, move and be ready to go by curtain time on Tuesday. It’s all very calculated. That’s the unsexy part of it. The other way we choose shows is that we survey our subscribers and single-ticket buyers and group clients and see what’s on their list. What do they want to see? We not only survey about shows that are current and will go out on the road, but also about shows that are in development so we can have a voice in what is created for the future three or four or five years down the road.
MS: I was in the film marketing and promotions business for 20-years and had to deal with not only first run theatres but second run and discount houses. If a show is currently on Broadway, is there a time limit before it can tour?
LB: That’s a great question. There’s not. But I think the comparable analysis might be that when a show goes on the road, they first thing they want to do is play in markets that can sustain it for a long period of time. So many shows that come off Broadway will go and sit in Chicago or Boston or L.A. or even the Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.) Then they begin to look at the next markets. Where can they play a few weeks instead of several months? That includes cities like Cincinnati, Ft. Lauderdale, Denver. Markets that can support the shows for two weeks. And where Kansas City fits in is where most cities are, a one-week grouping. The way you stand in the pecking order is that shows want to play where they will be successful. People love theater in Kansas City, and we can do many week’s of shows. Kansa City usually lands on the first or second year of a tour going out, which is really great. Other cities, like Indianapolis, are on the third or fourth year of a tour. Kansas City is way up there for getting in line for the best shows as fast as they come out.
MS: When Ellen (McDonald, my local rep) and I spoke about this interview she said you were kind of a theatre nerd. You are so much more so I have a couple questions. What was the first show you saw?
LB: “Hello, Dolly.”
MS: With Carol Channing?
LB: No, that was a local production. My first Broadway show was “Barnum,” with a then unknown Glenn Close and Jim Dale. How about you?
MS: My first show, that I wasn’t a part of, was “A Chorus Line,” which I saw here in Kansas City with a then unknown Bebe Neuwirth as Cassie.
LB: You just gave me goosebumps.
MS: My first Broadway show was “42nd Street,” with Jerry Orbach.
LB: That was a pretty good starting point, definitely.
MS: What is your favorite show, if you can have one?
LB: That’s like having to pick between your children. I will say that the first show I worked on was “Hello, Dolly” and that made such an imprint. I was able to present “Hello, Dolly” eight or ten times with Carol Channing and we became friends. That’s my favorite show. The book is incredible, the music…there’s not a bad number. Well, maybe “Ribbons Down Your Back” is a little slow (now THAT’S a theatre nerd!) but the show is awesome. And then to be friends with Carol….we spent many times together beyond “Dolly.” I brought her in a couple of times to do some fund raisers and things in the second half of her life, which was amazing.
MS: I’m guessing the answer is “no,” but is there a show you’ve wanted to see but never have?
LB: Hmmmmm….no I can’t think of one. Oh wait! There’s a show by Kander and Ebb called “70, Girls, 70.” I’ve seen a lot of community productions but I’d love to cast it on Broadway. (NOTE: “70, Girls, 70” premiered on Broadway in 1971 and ran for 35 performances. It was revived in London in 1991, where it played for several months. However, there has never been a Broadway revival. Until now?
MS: In the last 10-years, there have been countless musicals based on popular films. Why do you think that is?
LB: I think it’s similar to films being based on books. There’s a following. Producing on Broadway is incredibly risky and I think the foundation of a successful film gives a safe jumping off point. I wish there could be 20 new musicals and 20 new plays a year, but creativity comes in little spurts. If you’re lucky you’re blessed with a Sondheim, who could spit out a lot of those. But it’s tough to come up with that success. I’m no wiz on why that is but my guess would be that it’s a little bit safer ground. I mean a show like “Hadestown,” the Tony Award winning musical, is hugely popular on Broadway but not many people know about it outside New York. It may take a couple of years on the road for people to really discover how great a show it is.
MS: Finally, any hints at what may be coming our way next season?
LB: We’re actually just starting on next season. We will be hopeful and looking for shows like “Frozen” or “Moulin Rouge.” This year’s Tony Awards will help decide what shows are recognized and could do a tour. One show I’d really like to do there is “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
MS: With Richard Thomas?
LB: Yes. You know, there’s a cool casting twist in the show. I can’t remember her name, but the little girl who played Scout in the film….
MS: Mary Badham
LS: …there you go. She’s in this production. She’s the nasty, racist neighbor…
MS: Miss Dubose?
LB: …yes. You’re good.
MS: It’s my favorite novel ever.
LB: I’m working hard to get that as well. The pipeline is full.
MS: Great to hear. Maybe you’ll bring “ROCKY” to town.
LB: Yeahhhhh, I don’t think that’s gonna happen.
MS: I guess I’ll wait for the local dinner theater production.
Get ready for a bigger, badder and 1,000,000% more quirkier experience!
SANTA CLARA, Calif., (Oct. 3, 2019) – Leading developer and publisher of anime video games, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. today announced that MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE® 2 will be coming to the Americas for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch™, and PC via STEAM®. MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2 is an anime-action fighting game based off the popular Shonen Jump series and is the second video game developed under the MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE title.
In MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2, the original cast members from MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE will be joined by a new cast of characters, such as Yakuza captain Kai Chisaki, U.A. High School third-year students Mirio Togata, Tamaki Amajiki, and Nejire Hado of “The Big 3”, and Class 1-A’s Mina Ashido and Minoru Mineta. New stages and stories from the anime series will also be included in MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2 along with improved gameplay, giving players a more robust MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE experience.
“MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2 allows fans to live the anime and experience iconic anime moments through battle as their favorite characters”said Randy Le, Brand Manager at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “Fans will love MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE 2 as it takes the dynamic action and intense battles of MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE to a brand-new level!”
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., part of BANDAI NAMCO Holdings Inc., is a leading global publisher and developer of interactive entertainment for all major video game consoles, iOS, Android, and online platforms. The company is known for creating and publishing many of the industry’s top video game franchises including PAC-MAN®, GALAGA®, TEKKEN®, SOULCALIBUR®, and ACE COMBAT®. BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. is the premier publisher in the Western hemisphere for anime based video games including NARUTO SHIPPUDEN™, DRAGON BALL Z®, and ONE PIECE®. More information about the company and its products can be found at http://www.bandainamcoent.com or www.facebook.com/BandaiNamcoUS.
Special Guests Trivium and In Flames Will Join Summer and Fall Legs
Tickets Go on Sale to General Public Starting Friday, February 14 at Livenation.com
Two of the biggest bands in heavy metal – Megadeth and LAMB OF GOD – will be joining forces on a co-headline tour across North America this year, presented by SiriusXM. And to add to the firepower of this already formidable tour, Trivium and In Flames are joining, making this THE must-see heavy music package of the year. Tickets will go on general sale Friday, February 14 from livenation.com
Megadeth, fueled by Dave Mustaine’s triumphant return to the stage following his diagnosis and recovery of throat cancer, will embark on their first North American tour since 2017. Speaking on the epic announcement, Megadeth’s leader and frontman, Dave Mustaine says, “Hello me! I’m back again, better than ever and coming to a town near you with Lamb of God, Trivium and In Flames. If you want high octane metal madness this is the tour for you.
“LAMB OF GOD released their first new music in five years last week with the single “Checkmate.” The track is the first to be released from the band’s self-titled eighth studio album, due out May 8, which is one of the most anticipated and important metal records of the year. Commenting on their upcoming co-headline run, Mark Morton, lead guitarist of LAMB OF GOD, adds, “The world has never needed heavy more than it does today and top to bottom, this tour delivers! LAMB OF GOD has toured with and been friends with all of these bands for years, but for all of us to be on the same bill is something extra special. Come early and stay late. This is THE metal tour of the year.”
Trivium’s Matt Heafy adds, “We are happy to be a part of the biggest real metal tour of the year. This tour is the main event and represents heavy metal and the culture that goes with it.“
With In Flames singer, Anders Fridén stating, “We were honored to be asked to join this package. We were actually supposed to take this summer off, but of course we couldn’t say no. After playing shows with all of these guys for years, 2020 is going to feel like a kick ass reunion. See you on the road, Jesterheads!”
Produced by Live Nation, this epic 55-city tour will stretch across summer and fall, kicking off June 12 in Bristow, VA, and hit every region of the U.S. before wrapping November 13in Reno, NV. Multiple Canadian shows are scheduled as well. See full itinerary below.
Tickets and VIP packages for all four artists go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, February 14 at 10 a.m. local time at LiveNation.com. Citi is the official presale credit card of the tour.
As such, Citi cardmembers will have access to purchase presale tickets & VIP packages beginning Tuesday, February 11 at 10 a.m. local time until Thursday, February 13 at 10 p.m. local time through Citi Entertainment®. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.
Megadeth and LAMB OF GOD NORTH AMERICAN tour dates:
6/12 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
6/13 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
6/14 – Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheater
6/16 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
6/17 – Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
6/18 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
6/20 – Holmdel, MA @ PNC Bank Arts Center
6/21 – Boston, MA @ Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion
6/23 – Syracuse, NY @ St. Joseph’s Heath Amphitheater at Lakeview
6/24 – Providence, RI @ Bold Point Lake Amphitheater
6/28 – Burgettstown, PA @ S&T Bank Music Park*
6/29 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
7/1 – Detroit, NI @ DTE Energy Music Theater
7/2 – Mount Pleasant, MI @ Soaring Eagle Casino Amphitheatre
7/3 – Indianapolis, IN @ Ruoff Music Center
7/5 – Atlanta, GA @ Ameris Music Center
7/7 – Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion
7/8 – Cleveland, OH @Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
7/10 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL
7/11 – Sgt. Louis, MO @ Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – St. Louis, MO*
7/12 – Nashville, TN @ Nashville Municipal Auditorium
7/14 – Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP*
7/16 – Austin, TX @ Germania Insurance Amphitheater
7/17 – Houston, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
7/18 – Irving, TX @The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory+
7/20 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater
7/21- Phoenix, AZ @ Isleta Amphitheater
7/23 – Irvine, CA @ FivePoint Amphitheatre
7/25 – Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
7/26 – Portland, OR @ Moda Center
7/29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
7/30 – Pocatello, ID @ Portneuf Health Trust Amphitheatre
8/1 – Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion
10/2 – West Palm Beach, CA @ iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
10/6 – Birmingham, AL @ Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
10/7 – New Orleans, LA @ UNO Lakefront Arena
10/9 – Corpus Christi, TX @ American Bank Center Arena
10/11 – El Paso, TX @ Don Haskins Center
10/14 – Springfield, MO @ JOH Arena
10/16 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
10/21 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
10/23 – Huntington, WV @ Mountain Heath Arena
10/24 – Bethlehem, PA @ The Wind Creek Event Center
10/27 – Quebec City, QC @ Centre Videotron
10/28 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell
10/30 – St, Paul, MN @ Armory
10/3 – Green Bay, WI @ Resch Center*
11/2 – Omaha, NE @ Baxter Arena
11/3 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
The hotly anticipated rock event of the year returns, as Brit Floyd brings the music of Pink Floyd to life once again with its lavish new stage show, ‘Pink Floyd Immersion World Tour 2017’. The spectacle of a Pink Floyd concert experience is truly recaptured in high-definition sound, and with a stunning million dollar light show and state of the art video design.
As well as performing the favorite moments from The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall and The Division Bell, Brit Floyd will also pay special tribute to the Animals album, in its 40th anniversary year, with a show stopping rendition of ‘Dogs’, as well as a host of other Pink Floyd musical gems. The Brit Floyd show has truly become a phenomenon, widely regarded as the world’s greatest live tribute to Pink Floyd. Faithfully recreating the scale and pomp of the final 1994 Division Bell tour, complete with circle screen and multiple moving light design, lasers, inflatables and theatrics, a Brit Floyd show really is as close as fans will ever get to experiencing the magnificence of a Pink Floyd show live. More than a tribute, it’s as good as they say. Believe the hype and don’t miss it! The new ‘Pink Floyd Immersion’ show promises to be Brit Floyd’s most ambitious and best production yet.
Wed 1 Nov Johnstown PA Cambria War Memorial Arena
Thu 2 Nov Shippensburg PA Luhrs Performing Arts Center
Fri 3 Nov Atlantic City NJ The Event Center at Borgata
Sat 4 Nov Hamilton ON First Ontario Concert Hall
Mon 6 Nov London ON RBC Theatre at Budweiser Gardens
Tue 7 Nov Wilkes-Barre PA Kirby Center
Wed 8 Nov Providence RI VETS
Fri 10 Nov New Brunswick NJ State Theatre
Sat 11 Nov Manchester NH Verizon Arena
Sun 12 Nov Huntington NY Paramount Theatre
Mon 13 Nov Lynn MA Memorial Auditorium
Tue 14 Nov Reading PA Santander Performing Arts Center
Thu 16 Nov Charlotte NC Ovens Auditorium
Sat 18 Nov Augusta GA The Bell Auditorium
Sun 19 Nov Orlando FL Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Mon 20 Nov Tallahassee The Pavilion at The Centre of Tallahassee
Tue 21 Nov Knoxville TN Tennessee Theatre
Fri 24 Nov Tulsa OK Brady Theatre
Sat 25 Nov Pueblo CO Memorial Hall
Sun 26 Nov Casper WY Events Center
Tue 28 Nov Regina Conexus Arts Centre
Wed 29 Nov Calgary AB Jack Singer Concert Hall
Thu 30 Nov Edmonton AB Winspear Centre
Sat 2 Dec Kamloops BC Sandman Centre
Sun 3 Dec Prince George BC CN Centre
Tue 5 Dec Vancouver BC Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Wed 6 Dec Bellingham WA Mount Baker Theatre
Thu 7 Dec Spokane WA Fox Theatre
Sat 9 Dec Yakima WA The Capitol Theatre
Sun 10 Dec Boise ID Morrison Center
Mon 11 Dec Eugene OR Hult Center
America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”
Author: Corey Taylor
Da Capo Press
Hardcover 256 pages
Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars
In America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World”, Slipknot/Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor directs his signature combination of humor and outrage at today’s America, sparing no one along the way. Taylor doesn’t shy away from thorny issues as he draws a brutally honest portrait of his country, outlining the good, the bad, the unflattering and the patriotic. Whether it’s politics or social media, race or pop culture, religion or reality TV, “America 51” digs deep into the roots of contemporary America.
The 4th book from singer turned best-selling author Corey Taylor titled America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside “The Greatest Country in the World” is easily the brashest in your face collection of rants from the out spoken front-man. Having struggled my way through Taylor’s last two literary offerings l was a touch apprehensive about subjecting myself to another 256 pages of rambling. However being a long time fan of both Slipknot and Stone Sour I was willing to still give this book a shot. Within the first several chapters I could see that this book was going to be just like the others as Taylor becomes so wrapped up in his thoughts that he quickly loses site of the actual. I found this to very distracting and despite Taylor’s off the wall comedic jabs at society and his take on the current political climate there were just too many thoughts going on at one time causing the book to come off as very unorganized and poorly edited.
If you liked Corey’s previous three books then there is no doubt in my mind that “America 51” will fit right in with your collection as by now you have become a custom to the author’s chaotic style. However, if you are looking for this to be your first exposure to Corey Taylor outside of his music then you may want to hold up and check out some of his earlier works first.
“Live North America 2016”
Gary Clarke Jr.
Our score: 3 out of 5 stars
To coincide with Gary Clarke’s guest appearances during Eric Clapton’s 50th anniversary shows at Madison Square Garden and at The Forum in Los Angeles in mid March comes the guitarists latest live recording titled “Live North America 2016”. The album is being released via Warner Bros. Records and includes all new and unreleased live recordings from Clark’s 2016 tour which was in support of his acclaimed 2015 release “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”.
Live recordings can often be hit or miss. Despite the recent advances in digital recording the main brunt of the work still falls on the artists to put forth a worthwhile performance. In the case of the latest Gary Clark Jr. album “Live North America 2016” is mostly all hits. Clark’s performance throughout the albums 12 tracks captures the listener’s attentions and holds it close. Tracks like the soulful “The Healing” and “Down to Ride” showcase Clark’s talents as both a player and vocalist while songs such as “When My Train Pulls In” and “Numb” capture a grittier side of Clark’s musical pallet.
Though I found the albums overall mix to be a touch off at certain points you have to know going in to a live album that there are going to be some audio short comings as there are multiple factors that come in to play with this type of set up some of which are not favorable for recording. However what is consistant across the albums 70 plus minute run time is the musicianship shown by Clark and his band. Each of the twelve performances that make up this album is sure to have something for every listener out there making it worth checking out.
2.) The Healing
3.) Our Love
4.) Cold Blooded
5.) When My Train Pulls In
6.) Down to Ride
7.) You Saved Me
8.) Shake (feat. Leon Bridges with Jeff Dazey)
10.) Honest I Do
11.) My Baby’s Gone
Trapt, Saving Abel, Saliva, Alien Ant Farm, Crazy Town, Tantric, 12 Stones
Friday, September 16th 2016
Tag’s Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY
Our Score: 2 out of 5 Stars
Trapt, Saliva, Saving Abel, Alien Ant Farm, Crazy Town, Tantric and 12 Stones all made their way to the quaint town of Big Flats, NY on September 16th as part of the “Make America Rock” tour. Despite the tour package boasting some of the biggest artist of the early 2000nds the night came up short making for a rather dull concert experience.
Taking the stage first was the group 12 Stones. The group probably had one of if not thee toughest spot on the bill as concert goers were still filing into the spacious outdoor venue and also waiting in line for their choice of tasty beverages so, needless to say the attention at this time was focused elsewhere. Despite these obstacles that band still appeared to give their all and should be commended for their efforts. Next up was the group Tantric whose song “Breakdown” dominated the airwaves in 2001 and still receives regular play to this day. The groups set seemed to be plagued by technical difficulties making vocalist Hugo Ferreira hard to hear almost the entire set. Luckily the technical setbacks did little to kill the crowds growing momentum though and the group forged ahead with their 5 song set. Crazy Town would be up next and surprisingly I thought had the best set of the night. Not only did the group display a tremendous amount of energy but they also appeared extremely well rehearsed which made their set undoubtedly my favorite of the night.
Alien Ant Farm was next on the bill and put on a performance that sort of had people scratching their heads. The bands front man Dryden Mitchell awkwardly milled about the stage while his band mates remained relatively immobile. Even during the bands hit cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” the band seemed less than interested in being there making their 7 song set list about 7 songs too long. The latest incarnation of Saliva which now consists of Wayne Swinny, Paul Crosby, Bobby Amaru and Brad Stewart would be up next and easily had the second best set of the night. Despite having a soft spot for the bands original line up the current bands configuration did a solid job as they blasted thorough their list of hit songs which included “Always” and of course “Click Click Boom” which closed out the nights set. Mississippi natives Saving Abel would be up next and put on a performance that sort of followed suit with the evening as it came of flat and at times a bit forced. Vocalist Scott Austin’s attempts to be the “crazed front man” were pretty lame and did little to entice the crowd who by this point of the night were running on fumes. However they did come alive briefly for the bands performance of the hit song “Addicted”. Trapt would close out the night this evening which in my mind was a bit questionable however, it was what it was and away the band went with a set that was just as flat as the previous bands performance. Of course the crowd appreciated hearing “Head Strong” but other than that both the band and the remaining crowd seemed to force themselves through the remaining moments of the night.
When a lineup of bands that all had their fair share of hits and exposure join together for a tour after having been away from the public eye for some time you would hope that each of the bands come out swinging and with their best feet forward. Sadly that was not the case for the “Make America Rock Again” tour. Despite solid performances from Crazy Town and Saliva the remaining 5 act seemed to do little for the medium sized audience who ventured to Big Flats making me wonder if everyone had gotten their money’s worth. I can’t say I would be down for checking out another show however if you want to throw caution to the wind and a little cash as well the tour will be out on the road through mid October for you to check out.
Icons of cult cinema, Terrance Zdunich (Repo! The Genetic Opera) and Saar Hendelman (The Devil’s Carnival franchise) pull the trigger on a new, twisted musical world, American Murder Song. Combining stop motion animation and moving daguerreotype portraits, American Murder Song features a rogues gallery of original murder ballads set in early nineteenth century America. The genre-defying duo invite you to Follow The Mark, if’n you’re brave. For tunes and updates: http:///www.AmericanMurderSong.com.
Starring: Jacob Motsinger, Christopher Alice and Kristi Engleman
Directed by: Christopher Showerman
Running time: 1 hour 41 mins
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!
Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Marvel Press
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
I wish I had a book like this when I was a kid. “The Avengers Storybook Collection” is a must have for any parent with young boys or even young fan girls for that matter! There is nothing like getting ready a story filled with heroism, adventure and action just before going to slip. These stories are fun, exciting and feature some of our favorite Marvel superheroes. Even though, my daughter is a little young for this one, she still loves it and already came name every character on the cover!
Official Premise: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Falcon are Earth’s Mightiest Marvels-the Avengers! Join them as they work together to battle against sinister Super Villains such as Ultron, Thanos, the Masters of Evil,and more, to keep the Earth safe. Featuring 20 explosive stories of good vs. evil. Avengers assemble!
Let’s hope that this Storybook Collection is the first of many. There are literally an infinite collection of characters that they can include in future collections. This one has 20 stories included with all of the favorites like Iron Man and Captain America but I would love to be able to introduce my daughter to some of the lesser known characters as well. They could even do a female superhero only book OOHHHH OOHHHH or even better a villains only book. Who wouldn’t want to read a new story featuring everyone’s favorite Avenger villain, Loki! Fingers crossed!
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.
Actors: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Run Time: 136 minutes
Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars
Is there simply any stopping Marvel at this point? “Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is the latest film in the Cinematic Universe that Marvel is building, all so well! The film is really well done. It follows the events of “Captain America: The First Avenger” and of course “The Avengers”. There are tons of Easter eggs hidden throughout the film. It is well-paced and takes a very important stand in Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Evans is great as always. Scarlett Johansson gets some more screen time and a chance to chat as Black Widow…but when is that solo movie going to be announced. I have to say I think that Anthony Mackie steals the show as Falcon for sure. I wanted more of him. Sebastian Stan, played the Winter Soldier, signed a nine picture deal with Marvel/Disney, so are going to be seeing a lot more of him. Can’t wait to see how this all comes together now in “The Avengers 2”.
Official Premise: From the Studio that brought you the greatest Super Hero movie of all time, “Marvel’s The Avengers”, comes “Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, the global phenomenon that teams Captain America (Chris Evans) with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a new ally, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), in a fight for the future of mankind. Following the cataclysmic events in New York with the Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the entire world at risk. As the conspiracy deepens and it’s no longer clear whom to trust, Captain America, Black Widow and the Falcon must join forces to overthrow their insidious enemy’s most mysterious and powerful weapon yet – the Winter Soldier.
Disney/Marvel Studios deliver easily one of the best Blu-rays this year. The 1080p transfer is absolutely perfect and just visually amazing. I was disappointed not seeing it in 3D but in 2D it was just so impressive still. Same goes for the very epic DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, which delivers an amazing experience. The film is very action packed and this works extremely well. Special features are good but not outstanding. There is a audio commentary track with Directors Anthony & Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, which is very extensive. “On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America’s Battlegrounds” takes a look into the production. “On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check!” focuses on Falcon. Steve Rogers’ Notebook looks into the film’s differences in various international versions of the film. Lastly there are a few deleted, extended scenes and gag reel included.
“Annihilate America Tour 2014”
Doyle, Ashylus, The Isotopes
Date: Friday, August 15th 2014
Venue: Montage Music Hall, Rochester, NY
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Former Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein kicked off his “Annihilate America Tour” at the intimate Montage Music Hall in Rochester, NY on August 15th and despite several last minute set backs which included being stranded in New Jersey the night before and the band’s drummer quitting several days prior the band simply named “Doyle” proved that nothing was going to stop them from hitting the road in support of their debut release “Abominator” and pulverizing the masses.
Tension was certainly in the air for the tours opening night as band and crew members scurried about the venue after a late arrival due to Doyle and company experiencing last minute transportation issues. Combine that with the group’s drummer Dr. Chud leaving the band only a few short days before and any lesser band would have called it quits even before starting. Thankfully that wasn’t the case. Kicking off the night was Rochester’s own The Isotopes. The 4 piece instrumental act took to the stage donning horn rimmed glasses, green ties and pocket protectors flanked by an impressive light show complete with two lovely go-go dancers. Equally impressive to the bands stage show was their tight sound which seemed to mix 60’s surf music with Iron Maiden like solos and pure punk rock energy.
Though the crowd was still filing in through the venue doors it did little to sway the bands presentation. Up next was the direct support act for the tour Ashylus Hailing from the Pacific Northwest the 5 piece metal-core band quickly elevated the rooms growing excitement as they blasted through songs of their album “Leave Your Mark” which was released earlier this year. After the bands powerful 30 minute set headliners Doyle would take the stage to close out the night. The band consisting of Cancerslug vocalist Alex Story, Bassist Left Hand Graham, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein and the bands newest member drummer Anthony “Tiny” Biuso.
The band took the stage basked in a red and green glow as Doyle’s signature guitar tone blasted through the towering stack of speakers which flanked both sides of the stage. Before you could blink the band launched in to “Abominator” the title track off the group’s debut album. Doyle pummeled is guitar repeatedly as singer Alex Story belted out lyrics with a guttural growl. The bands set was a perfect mixture of new songs like “Valley of Shadows” and “Headhunter” to Misfits classics such as “Hybrid Moment” and “Where Eagles Dare” and “Last Caress”.
Though the band still had a few kinks to work out as working in a new drummer just days before a tour requires quite a few adjustments however a few small bumps in the road didn’t stop the band from delivering a blistering set that left peoples jaws on the floor from just the sheer impact of the bands volume. Doyle and company proved that they are hell bent on domination and If the same power they brought to the tours opening night continues throughout the rest of the tour then nothing will stand in their way.
Doyle Set List
2.) Learn to Bleed
3.) Valley of Shadows
4.) Where Eagles Dare
5.) Cemetery Sex
7.) Hybrid Moment
9.) Love Like Murder
10.) Last Caress
11.) Die Die My Darling
12.) Hope Hell is Warm
Brian Kevin is a writer who contributes to magazines, websites travel guidebooks. He is also the associate editor at Down East magazine and the author of “The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America”. Media Mikes had the chance to chat with Brian about his journey through South America and how Hunter S. Thompson inspired it.
Mike Gencarelli: When did you first find the work of Hunter S. Thompson? Brian Kevin: I came to Thompson via Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas back in 1998, which I think is true of a lot of people my age (I’m 34). In the book, I describe the film as kind of a dorm room standard during the late ’90s, when I was a college student, and I’ve since praised it in other forums (http://goo.gl/kL3jl2) as really one of the more faithful literary adaptations in recent cinema. So that kind of piqued my interest in Thompson’s work — who the fuck is this guy? what could this possibly look like on the page? — and I spent the next couple years catching up on the Thompson canon.
MG: Tell us what made you decided to take this yearlong journey across South America? BK: I’d read enough to know that Thompson had spent this year abroad in the early 1960s, reporting on Cold War issues from South America, and it occurred to me this must have been a pretty pivotal time in the life of a writer I admired. But for all the unauthorized biographies and oral histories and documentaries and other materials out there about Thompson’s life and work (particularly after his death in 2005), his year as a foreign correspondent hardly warranted a mention. I was curious enough to dig through a couple of microfiche archives and unearth the articles he wrote from South America, most of which hadn’t seen the light of day for fifty years. The more I looked into it, the more I admired Thompson’s gall for just up and hitting the road, trying to will himself a writing career. I had kind of gone a safer route — some entry-level magazine jobs, then grad school — and I was feeling like it hadn’t gotten me anywhere. Around the same time I was digging up Thompson’s forgotten South American reportage, I suddenly found myself divorced, functionally unemployed, and sitting on a mountain of student loan debt. So I did the only rational thing and traded in a bunch of frequent fliers miles for a ticket to Colombia to follow the Thompson Trail.
MG: What was it like to revisit the places where HST lived and worked? BK: A lot of people see the title of the book and kind of assume I was carousing my way across the continent in some kind of wanna-be-gonzo fog, but I actually couldn’t be less interested in that. To me, it was all fieldwork — I wanted to revisit the topics that Thompson wrote about for the National Observer fifty years ago and, in the process, get some insight into what he learned in South America that shaped him as a writer and a human being. For all his later gonzo persona, Thompson at 24 was whip smart and super disciplined about understanding the forces shaping Latin America during the Cold War. So traveling in his footsteps meant giving myself a crash course in Latin American history, culture, politics, and ecology. And yeah, that fieldwork sometimes involved drinking heavily with miners, capsizing a boat in Colombia, and patronizing a Paraguayan brothel (sort of), but it really was all in the name of education.
MG: What did you find was the most interesting find of your exploration of twenty-first-century South American culture, politics, and ecology? BK: Well, the surprising thing was the extent to which the issues that Thompson reported on fifty years ago are still very much shaping the continent. Thompson wrote about Peru’s struggles to overcome a powerful political oligarchy, for example, and that’s still very much the story of Peruvian politics today. He wrote about Brazil as this sleeping giant shackled by inflation, and fifty years later, that’s still arguably the biggest economic story playing out in South America. He more or less predicted the rise of the FARC in Colombia and the ascendancy of cambas in eastern Bolivia and a bunch of other story lines that are still unraveling in 2014. In a nutshell, the interesting thing in country after country was how present the ghosts of the Cold War still are — and that made Thompson’s ghost feel very present as well.
MG: Do you feel that you yourself have changed after this exploration? BK: You know, I reflect on this a little in the book, and the answer is tricky. A lot of the book ends up being about travel itself — about the reasons people give themselves for picking up stakes and about their expectations of what they’ll come home with. Often, this includes some kind of transformation. People want to come home changed in some profound way, and I’m not convinced this isn’t kind of a bullshit goalpost. My time on the Thompson Trail gave me an education, which is really what we should be after anyway.
MG: What do you think it takes to be a “gonzo journalist” in today’s world? BK: I think this is a term that starts and ends with Thompson. I don’t think “gonzo journalism” is a form or a genre that a writer can just opt into. It’s one specific writer’s style — Thompson’s — and while it can certainly be imitated, the results are almost uniformly shitty. But I do think that the best nonfiction writers working today approach their subjects with the same fearlessness and unorthodoxy and humor and personal investment that were all critical components of “gonzo.”
MG: Do you have a follow up planned for “The Footloose American”? BK: Yeah, there are a couple of projects in the hopper. One is a deep profile of this globetrotting, nineteenth-century Forrest Gump-type character who destroyed everything he touched, and the other is a sort of a combination road trip tale and education expose. I realize both of these sound a bit weird and cryptic, but you’ll just have to take my word that they’re fun and interesting, and I’ll be all for saying more when they’re a little farther along.