Friday, December 28, 2007



Edited by Steve Knopper Visible Ink Press, 1998

Do you crave lounge music? Do you need to know all there is about lounge music? Then this is the tome you need. It's the A to Z of swingers, cocktail lounge heroes, torch singers, and all those modern bands inspired by lounge.

This massive resource (just under 600 pages) is meant to be a guide for all your lounge CD buying needs. They list each performer and which discs to get, which to stay away from, and which to search out. They also have a handy guide to tell you who these artists were influenced by and who are influenced by them.

Of course they have listings on the bigggies--Esquivel, Martin Denny (who actually wrote the book's forward), Les Baxter, Frankie, Dino, Sammy and the like, but it also has a few listing that will surprise you -- Alex Chilton, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Isaac Hayes to name a few.

In the back of the book, they have guides on the best lounge-esque movies, radio stations that feature cocktail music (more than a little out of date since the books publication in 1998), websites, record labels, record producers, band members, and books and magazines.

If you even wanted to drench yourself in lounge culture, this would be the perfect diving board. One nice added plus--the book contains an Capitol Records Ultra-Lounge sampler.

A more updated version covering such contemporaries as Michael Buble, Renee Olstead, Chris Botti, Diana Krall, et. al. would be nice, but this is a vast resource for lounge fans and well worth seeking out.


Tonight (Friday - December 28th) is the BIG night at The Grand Harmony Palace in Chinatown (NYC) featuring an early New Year's Bash with THE BATTLE OF THE BIG BANDS.

George Gee and the Jump, Jivin' Wailers vs. Michael Arenella and the Dreamland Orchestra. Check it out at !!





Early or Late Show: $100 / Entire Evening: $150Early: 8:30pm-Party, 9:15pm-ConcertLate: 10:30pm-Party, 11:15pm-Concert(wine, champagne, coffee, snacks and sweets) TO RESERVE TICKETS: ON-LINE from the SJO site: click herePHONE : 310-271-9039Tickets held at door on New Year's Eve.

Seats pre-assigned as reservations are received.Payment: (Must include phone number & choice of show) By Visa, MC, or Amex (5% service charge applicable),* Everything in excess of $25 per ticket is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.

(and tax deductible too)

Thursday, December 27, 2007



Info courtesy has had a slew of news lately on new spy TV titles coming to DVD early next year!

First, and most excitingly, hey reveal Image Entertainment plan to re-release the classic Robert Culp/Bill Cosby series I Spy in newly-remastered season sets on April 29, 2008!

All three seasons will come out the same day, each very reasonably priced at just $19.98. So hold off and don't shell out $80 for those old, out of print boxes from Amazon sellers!

I Spy was originally issued very early on in the TV-on-DVD game, and episodes were released in single-disc themed collections (generally by location, but sometimes by director like "The Robert Culp Collection Vols. 1 and 2," to which the star/director contributed commentaries). These were soon bundled up into three box sets (Vols. 1-3), but ended up in a random order and not by season.

Interestingly, these old Image boxset releases were the very first DVDs ever to utilise the "slimline" packaging which has now become common with boxsets. Unfortunately, they still hadn't figured out that you can actually fit two discs to one slim case, so now those old sets that were once impressively compact actually stand out on the shelf as being rather bulky. No word on how the new season sets will be packaged, but I would guess it will be more economical.

The site also reports the tantalizing revelation
that America's own leather-clad answer to Emma Peel and Cathy Gale, Honey West, is at long last headed to Region 1 DVD!

West was technically a private detective and not a spy, but the show took a lot of cues from The Avengers -- and not just in the wardrobe department! One of the best episodes found Honey battling some evil robotized toys, the very sort of plot Steed and friends foiled on a regular basis.

Others, of course -- as with any Cold War adventure series -- featured more traditional espionage plots as well. Honey West lasted for one season of thirty episodes. They're currently available on a Region 2 set in England, but will land Stateside sometime next year courtesy of VCI Entertainment.



A mystery hero like no other. With the most dangerous weapon of all! Los Angeles, the 1930's. The city of angels. Attracting beautiful people from all over the world with it's glitz and glamour. But just beneath the surface is a city stinking of corruption with criminal bosses and politicians squeezing the life out of the city.

Crusading politician Owen Patrick is coldly assassinated by his enemies. Leaving behind his wife and daughter. Stunned and enraged by the murder of her father, beautiful socialite Ellen Patrick becomes determined to bring her father's killers to justice... at any cost.

Donning a distinctive white dress and a black domino mask, she becomes The Domino Lady, one of the sexiest - and most elusive - crime fighters of all time!

The Domino Lady, created by mysterious author "Lars Anderson", has been the subject of much speculation and admiration by authors and artists for more than seventy years. Now, decades after the last Domino Lady story last saw print, Moonstone Books is proud to present nine, all-new tales of one of the world's first female masked crime fighters. A woman who knew what her power as a woman was and how to use it.



There will be surprise guests and great music for your listening and dancing pleasure!!This event is also the OC version of The Wiseguys CD Release Party. The last one was sold out too, and over a hundred people were turned away. For this House of Blues show, be sure and arrive early.You have a lot of great choices for entertainment, and The Wiseguys want to thank you in advance for choosing to spend your evening with them!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007



John Sayles has always been one of my favorite independent film makers. A number of seasons agon, he also created one of my favorite television series, Shannon’s Deal. His vision while not always clear, is always unique. And when he gets the mix of clear and unique just right, as he often does, the result is thought provoking dynamite.

January will see the releas of Sayle’s latest independent effort, Honeydripper: a blues-fuled feature set in 1950’s rural Alambama, during the cotton harvest, with an all-star cast including Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Stacy Keach, Mary Steenburgen, Yaya DaCosta and Sean Patrick Thomas. Such notable musicians as Keb’ Mo’ and Dr. Mable John are featured. The film also introduces a major new talent, Gary Clark Jr. who makes his electrifying film debut as Sonny. provdes this review:

It's a make-or-break weekend for the Honeydripper Lounge and its owner, piano player Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis. Deep in debt to the liquor man, the chicken man, and the landlord, Tyrone is desperate to lure the young cotton pickers and local Army base recruits into his juke joint, away from Touissant’s, the rival joint across the way.

After laying off his regular talent, blues singer Bertha Mae, Tyrone announces to his sidekick Maceo that he has hired the famous electric guitar player, Guitar Sam, for a special one night only gig: pack em in and save the club.

Sayles’ 16th film is a wonder of beautifully observant cinema, a sneakily magical immersion in a lost place and time where an about-to-go-under juke joint might just be the unlikely stage for the birth of a whole new kind of music.

Danny Glover (Barnyard) runs the Honeydripper, and he’s losing his customers to the more hopping place catty-corner across the crossroads. That the intersection of these two dirt paths in the middle of nowhere could support two such establishments seems improbable anyway, but there’s a kind of fairy-tale enchantment shimmering just under the surface of everything happening here, from the spectre who plays a mean blues guitar who hovers in the background to how the fusebox at the Honeydripper seems to blow out -- or not -- at the most auspicious -- or not -- of moments.

It’s possible we’re not in Alabama at all but actually in some corner of heaven where the tunes are kickin’ and won’t let you not get up and bop. Like a slow Southern drawl or a lazy blues riff, this sharp and salty tease of a flick builds to a climax so understated, for all the noise on its facade, that its depth and comic wisdom only become apparent as you turn it over in your mind later. Which you will: this is a scrumptiously unforgettable film, one you’ll be unable to resist revisiting in your head to unknot all its lusciously devious charms.

Sayles is loquacious when talking about the film:

“A lot of ink has been spilled by music writers about what deserves to be considered the ‘first rock and roll song’. I’ve always felt that the beginning of any new spirit or style in the world- in sports, art, religion, politics- makes for an interesting story. Who jumps aboard the new thing right away and who decides, no thanks, I’m sticking with what I know? What is the cost when you make either decision?

“Honeydripper takes place in the little crossroads town of Harmony, Alabama, in 1950. Blues singers still sit outside the drugstores, playing for pennies, the jukebox has room for big bands, jump combos like Louis Jordan’s, country and proto-rockabilly stars like Hank Williams, Perry Como style crooners and perky novelty songs, while gospel is the most commonly listened-to live music. But technology is about to intrude. The guitar player, relegated to sideman on the bandstand, is about to plug his ax in. And once the guitar can wail and slide with the same volume as the horns or piano– watch out.

“In the movie Gary Clark Jr., a guitar prodigy out of Austin, plays Sonny Blake, conjuring up the spirit of Ike Turner, T Bone Walker, Johnny Watson and countless others who pushed the music forward when they got electrified, and Danny Glover plays Pinetop Purvis, an itinerant boogie-woogie piano player who has made his stand by buying the Honeydripper Lounge and presenting the music he’s absorbed in his own life, up-to-the-moment or not. He is haunted by his past and resistant to the future, and suddenly this good-looking kid rolls into town carrying a guitar with no hole in it—

“There is tension and harmony in almost every song, and wars are fought within music without a word being uttered. One of these battles for dominance that was waged in the early 50’s was between the guitar and the piano. Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis did their best to hold the stage, but when Chuck Berry started blasting piano chords on his guitar and duck- walking across the stage (Jerry Lee did his best, but the piano is not a mobile instrument) the course of popular music was set. Even the honking saxophone, raunchy soul of rhythm and blues, faded to a support role, or in white rock, disappeared almost entirely.

“I’ve heard inner city hoop players and jazz musicians use the same phrase to describe the rules of entry to their world- ‘If you can play, you can stay.’ Electrified blues bands in Chicago were known to literally play their competitors off the stage, taking over their gigs. In HONEYDRIPPER Pinetop Purvis has to decide whether the new music is a threat or a life-saving opportunity. Tension, harmony, potential violence- put some rhythm in it and it’s drama. It’s rock and roll.”

Visit the film’s website:



Obituary By Jeff Overley

Jeanne Carmen, a longtime Orange County resident who earned stardom as a bombshell pinup, trick-shot golfer and "Queen of the B Movies," has died. She was 77.

Carmen succumbed to lymphoma at her Turtle Ridge home on Thursday, according to her son, Brandon James.

"It was very peaceful – she just went to sleep," James said. "I was holding her hand when it happened."

As word of his mother's death spreads, James said he's had to screen phone calls to manage a flood of inquiries from admirers still familiar with the pinnacle of Carmen's career in the '50s and '60s.

"I've been getting calls all night from fans, total strangers, wanting me to confirm stuff," James said.

Jeanne Laverne Carmen was born Aug. 4, 1930 in Paragould, Ark., where she picked cotton with her family before running away at 13 with dreams of the silver screen.

"I was just a little country girl that wanted to be a movie star," Carmen said in a 1996 interview with The Register.

Her platinum blonde hair and hourglass build (36-26-36 measurements) landed her an off-Broadway job as a burlesque dancer, a gig she parlayed into photo shoots for then-risqué girlie magazines and roles in a wealth of bawdy, low-budget flicks that won her the title of "Queen of the B Movies."

"To put it mildly, the films were short on plot, engaging dialogue, or acting that would ever be confused with the work of an Olivier or Hepburn. They were, however, long on whatever sexual content the producers could get past censors at the time," according to "And Then Tiger Told the Shark," a collection of golfing stories that summarizes Carmen's unlikely career as a trick-shot golfer.

In 1949, while modeling golf clothes, Carmen famously discovered an uncanny knack for the links that evolved into a traveling show. According to "And Then Tiger Told the Shark," the show involved Carmen hitting a flagstick from 150 yards out with amazing regularity and teeing up golf balls in the mouths of brave volunteer spectators.

"Ultimately, when you take away all the people she dated and all the people she knew, that is the most unique thing," James said of his mother's golfing prowess.

But, as he suggests, it wasn't the only thing. Before making it big, she ran off to Las Vegas with a mobster named Johnny Roselli, and during her heyday on the silver screen, Carmen reportedly had hot-and-heavy flings with the likes of Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

"I wasn't there, but it sounds like a great time," James said, laughing.

Carmen also said she became a close confidant of Marilyn Monroe, though many bloggers have disputed the claim. When Monroe died in 1962, her death was ruled a suicide, a finding Carmen said she found dubious. She was "told to leave town," and fearing for her own life, Carmen moved to Arizona and left the limelight behind for good, James said.

She moved to Orange County in 1978 and spent the next three decades in Laguna Hills and Newport Beach before recently moving to Irvine, James said.

During that time, the fame she relinquished occasionally came calling, as she was profiled by The Golf Channel and the E! True Hollywood Story, which immortalized her as a "hick beauty queen" whose life played out "like a pulp paperback."

She also apparently continued to mingle with the uppermost echelons of society - her Web site,, has links to photos with such titles as "Jeanne and Donald Trump," "Jeanne and Rob Zombie" and "Jeanne and President Aznar of Spain."

Her son has written a biography, and a Hollywood biopic is reportedly in the works, with starlets such as Scarlett Johansson and Kate Bosworth rumored to be in line to play the lead role.

For all the glitz and glamour she tasted, the thrice-divorced Carmen found the most joy in raising her three children, James said.

"She loved us more than anybody and that brought her more happiness than anything in the world, more happiness than fame or magazine covers or anything like that," he said.

Carmen is survived by James; two daughters, Melinda Belli and Kellee Jade Campo; and three grandchildren. Services will be private.



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Monday, December 24, 2007





by Max Decharne
Broadway Books, 2000


If you are going to be part of hip culture, you are going to have to know the lexicon. You'll have to be able to tell the difference between "hep" and "hip." You'll have to know the various ways "cool" can be used in a sentence. And you'll have to be able to decipher phrases such as: "Give me an intro to this snake and I'll hitch up the reindeers for you."

Basically, if you don't know the hip language you will be taken for a square. And no self-respecting swinger wants that. For those who need to brush-up on their hipster slang, this is the book for you. Max Decharne has gone through his collection of pulp paperbacks, old jazz records, and juvenile delinquent and noir movies to compile the entries featured here. It gives you cool cat words for all occasions--whether you're ready to "ball that jack," "going to fist city," or even "upping some real crazy riffs."

Straight From the Fridge covers slang from the early days of swing to the late days of the Rat Pack. This era, more than any other, defined cool the world over.

Hipster slang, as Decharne proves, is still alive and well today. What is most surprising things about this book is the number of terms that are still in wide use today. Decharne says that he hopes to put out future updates of this book and that the hipster dictionary will become a huge tome of swinger slang.



Wailing on guitar, Brian Setzer and his blissful big band tear into festive fare and some revamped classics for their sixth annual Christmas Extravaganza.

Ex-Stray Cats main man Brian Setzer has found life after rockabilly by stepping forward into the past. He and his dazzling big band rip the roots of swing, jazz and early rock 'n' roll with a punky verve whose sheer joy is nigh irresistible.
On Friday, the first of two sold-out nights of the sixth annual Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Extravaganza at Gibson Amphitheatre, the nattily dressed guitarist-singer delivered a wildly eclectic party, leading his brass-heavy ensemble in a rocked-up compendium of classic cuts from several eras in decades past, plus a sprinkling of Christmas standards tricked out in appropriately swingin' settings provided by Les Brown's longtime arranger, Frank Comstock.

This was an old-fashioned Really Big Show on a garishly beautiful stage strewn with Christmas trees, giant wrapped gifts, a golden arch that framed vintage video clips (hot rods, sock hops, dancing Santas) and a glimmering jukebox center stage, visually linking the varied retro musical styles that Setzer stirred and served with such tasteful expertise.

A warmly kitschy-ironic vibe pervaded as the 17-member orchestra -- in their fuchsia and tiger-stripe jackets -- tore into wild and woolly versions of holiday fare including God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Sleigh Ride and a gorgeously vocal-harmonized Angels We Have Heard on High later encoring with a head-spinningly clever arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite.

Throughout, so-cool Mr. Setzer strutted and strolled the stage, conducting the band with neat swerves of his trademark orange Gibson hollow-body guitar. Making with the small talk and funny chitchat, Setzer proved not just a likable master of ceremonies but also a bona fide scholar of swing, jazz, rockabilly, rock 'n' roll and even classical styles. His fleet-fingered guitar solos and jazzy comping referenced Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King and a klezmerized version of Beethoven's Für Elise, as well as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Flight of the Bumblebee.

Setzer tipped a hat to his former bandmates on Stray Cat Strut (segueing neatly into You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch) and Rock This Town, egging on the band in cracklingly hot runs through Jump Jive 'an Wail (Lois Prima would be swinging in his grave), Dig That Crazy Santa Claus, Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, a ferociously funky Fishnet Stockings and a way suave combination of (Get your Kicks on) Route 66 and Nelson Riddle’s seminal Route 66 theme.

Setzer's big band -- which has just been nominated for a Grammy in the best classical crossover album category for Wolfgang's Big Night Out -- is a well-lubricated energy machine, with sterling trumpet and sax soloists and a great pounding drive supplied by pompadoured drummer Tony Pia and stand-up bassist John Hattan, the last two of whom joined Setzer mid-set for a considerably rawer and tougher front-of-stage trio set that allowed Setzer room to stretch his considerable guitar chops. The studious and virtuosic way he presented the material kept this show well clear of Sha Na Na territory.

The opening act Dibbs Preston and The Detonators (Preston’s new band after twenty years with the rockabilly based Rockats) purveyed a super-tight, sassy batch of rockabilly and roots rock 'n' roll that included singer Dibbs Preston bravely tackling Roy Orbison's octave-leaping In Dreams in spite of obviously strained vocal cords. The band made up for it with extra helpings of good-humored vigor and wickedly good instrumental work.