Saturday, November 22, 2008

VEGAS, BABY!

VEGAS, BABY!

BISH'S BEAT IS TRANSFERRING JURISDICTION TO LAS VEGAS UNTIL THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK, SO THINGS WILL BE A LITTLE QUIET AROUND HERE.

LET'S SEE, WE DON'T DRINK, WE DON'T SMOKE, WE DON'T GAMBLE - WHAT THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO DO IN VEGAS?


OH, YEAH, HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS, HANG OUT WITH EACH OTHER, EAT GOOD FOOD, CHECK OUT THE LOUNGE SCENE, AND GO TO SHOWS, SHOWS, SHOWS! WAHOO, PARTY!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROBERT VAUGHN!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROBERT VAUGHN!

THE ORIGINAL MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. IS 76 TODAY! HIS CURRENT AUTOBIOGRAPHY, A FORTUNATE LIFE, IS GREAT!




VAMPIRE KILLERS TV!

VAMPIRE KILLERS TV!

Curt Purcell over at
Groovy Age of Horror tips us to this new web-based show:

www.vampirekillers.tv

I have to say it's pretty good. The first episode is a nice tease for us to access the series. Fans of this sort of Beautiful Lesbian Vampires sub-genre abound, so I am sure the creators will have plenty of traffic as long as the sex equals the gore quotient.

I love the way the promo image above looks like an ad for America's Next Top Model.

LUAU RESTAURANT RETURNS TO BEVERLY HILLS!

LUAU RESTAURANT RETURNS TO BEVERLY HILLS!

In April of 2007, Beverly Hills, California, lost its beloved Trader Vic’s. Now a little over a year later, a restauranteur is resurrecting another famous tiki hotspot from the area’s past, Luau. At first blush, I can’t decide if I like that parts that have stayed the same more than those that have been updated.

The drink menu is coming back in classic style and correctly mixed with the assistance of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, who is known for cracking the codes used by secretive bartenders who were rightfully protective of their recipes.

Everything else has been brought into the post-modern era: the food menu is new and the interiors are wonderful mix of primitive and upscale. The excesses of the old style of interior design have been swept away and replaced by new ones, including a chandelier made of 33 pufferfish!

LUAU IS OPEN NOW.

369 N. Bedford Drive (off Brighton Way), Beverly Hills
(310) 274-0090

A TIP OF THE TIKI TORCHES TO TIKI TALK
WHAT YOUR HEIGHT SAYS ABOUT YOU!

What Mine Says About Me:

You are a gifted communicator, and you understand other people well.You are compassionate and empathetic. You feel other's pain a little too easily.Because of your open heart and open mind, many people admire and adore you.You are classy and well mannered. You have the art of charm mastered.You are about as tall as the average Dutch man.

TO SEE WHAT YOUR HEIGHT SAYS ABOUT YOU CLICK HERE

NEW TIKI BAR TO OPEN IN VEGAS THIS DECEMBER!

NEW TIKI BAR TO OPEN IN VEGAS THIS DECEMBER!

Sin City is about to get a new tiki bar — if it can live up to the promise of its press release, it’s going to be a great one. Frankie’s Tiki Room is going to have all the traditional elements that modern tikifiles long for: original tropical drinks with souvineer mugs and tiki statues galore.

The bar’s menu boasts to have fifteen original exotic drinks and five classic drinks, including a Mai Tai, Lapu Lapu, Navy Grog, Pikake and the Zombie. All drinks will cost $8. Eight drinks will have a souvineer mug available, at either $15 for the mug or $20 for a mug and the drink.

The interior will feature tikis and decor by the world’s top carvers, including Bamboo Ben, Bosko, Crazy Al Evans, and Leroy Schmaltz.

Is it December yet?

1712 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV

Visit the offical site,
www.frankiestikiroom.com

A TIP OF THE TIKI TORCHES TO TIKI TALK

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3!

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3!

After taking two bullets for my wife earlier in the month (going to concerts for Hall & Oates – who sleepwalked through their performance, had no interaction with the audience, played lousy new arrangements of their ‘80s & ‘90s hits, and lost Daryl Hall’s high register notes to the sands of time – and Davey Jones of the Monkees – if you're too young to remember the Monkees, you're too young to be reading this blog – who actually put on an entertaining show at 64 years old), she still got me to escort her and one of her girlfriends to see High School Musical 3.

In a Disney, junior high school girl kind of way, it wasn’t bad – lousy lip singing (the sound system in the theatre where we saw it was particularly out of balance), inspired choreography, and a lot of earnest, sweet, and chaste talent. It wasn’t much different than the first two made-for-television movies, but why mess with something that works.

The whole High School Musical phenomenon is simply a modern version of Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland, “Let’s put on a show,” entertainment. Against everything else out there pushing the envelope of taste and sexuality, I say more power to ‘em!

THE CAT'S MEOW - DOUBLE DOSE!




LA'S TONGA HUT CELEBRATES 50 YEARS!

LA'S TONGA HUT CELEBRATES 50 YEARS!

THERE’S A NICE STORY IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES ABOUT THE REBIRTH OF THE TONGA HUT, WHICH IS OFFICIALLY LA’S OLDEST OPERATING TIKI BAR. AFTER TIKI WENT OUT OF FASHION, SPORTS MEMORABILIA WAS NAILED ON TOP OF THE TROPICAL DECOR AND THE EXOTIC DRINK MENU WAS SADLY KILLED.

HOWEVER, NEW OWNERS ANA REYES AND JEREMY FLEENER HAVE BEGUN THE PROCESS OF RESTORING THE BAR TO ITS ORIGINAL TIKIFIED CONDITION, WHICH NOW INCLUDES A MENU OF 16 TROPICALS.

TO READ THE FULL STORY
CLICK HERE

A tip of the tiki torch to TIKI TALK

COCKTAIL NATION #51!

COCKTAIL NATION #51!

Thanks to the cad.net Koop Kooper and we are talking to David Backler from the Melbourne Tiki Bar and Lounge.....an interesting article about Sinatra from 66.....a stack of events on to check out plus the very best lounge and exotica...don't forget too that the Koop meister is now on facebook so drop me a line and add me as a friend to keep up with the show along with the crazy goings on in the penthouse.....plus I also upload some pictures of albums I pick up whilst thrifting my way through Sydneys charity stores.




Moonrays-Shot in the Dark
Martini Kings-Bongo Mambo
Martin Denny—Jungle Flower
Cherry Poppin Daddies-Come Back To Me
Love Jones-Lil Black Book
Pharoah Sanders-Moonrays
Jack Costanzo—Blue Prelude
Waitiki-Hana Maui
Astrud Gilberto-So Nice
Jackie Gleason- A Man and a Woman
Billy May-The Late Late show
Jonah Jones-Its a Good Day
Royal Crown Revue-Deadly Nightcall
Chris Connor-Moonlight in Vermont


MELBOUNE'S TIKI BAR & LOUNGE

Tiki Bar & Lounge is Melbourne’s only classic tiki bar, which happens to be located in a dance studio!

Don’t be taken aback though — Kevin, the head bartender, knows how to mix drinks the right way, with fresh ingredients and attention to detail. When the space isn’t offering cabaret shows or dance classes along with the cocktails, the bar plays a selection of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman tunes over the stereo — something very hard to find in today’s exotica-unfriendly world.

Friday, November 21, 2008

EBERT ON TWILIGHT!

EBERT ON TWILIGHT!

AS USUAL TOGER EBERT PIERCES TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER IN HIS REVIEW OF THE TEENAGE VAMPIRE FLICK TWILIGHT(AND IN THE PROCESS TEACHES ME A NEW WORD) . . .

Come on now, what is Twilight really about? It's about a teenage boy trying to practice abstinence, and how, in the heat of the moment, it's really, really hard. And about a girl who wants to go all the way with him, and doesn't care what might happen. He's so beautiful she would do anything for him. She is the embodiment of the sentiment, "I'd die for you." She is, like many adolescents, a thanatophile.

(Thanatophile: a person facinated with death.)

TO READ EBERT'S FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE

THE SPY WARES OF A REAL-LIFE Q!

THE SPY WARES OF A REAL-LIFE Q!

Like 007’s Q, Ralph Osterhout has designed ingenious devices for the military and intelligence use, as well as for movies (including Bond flicks) and TV shows. Here are some of his greatest gadget “hits.”

Pen Point

Q and his clever spy gadgets have been as much a part of James Bond films as beautiful women and cool cars. Even though the actor playing 007 has changed many times over the years, Desmond Llewelyn’s portrayal of Q from 1963 to 1999 remained constant, as did his supplying MI6 with everything from an underwater jet pack with explosive-tipped spear guns in "Thunderball" to a remote control surveillance robot that transmitted audio and video in "A View to a Kill."

Meet Ralph Osterhout. This real-life Q has spent more than three decades creating gadgets used by the intelligence and military communities as well as average consumers, as with the Tekna Pen Pointer pictured above. If a laser watch is too conspicuous and arouses suspicion, this pen pointer can serve a similar purpose. It can be attached to a rifle and its miniature focusing mechanism used as an aiming device. And the titanium housing makes for an elegant way for a dashing Bondlike agent to sign the check after dinner with a gal pal.

It should come as no surprise that Osterhout also parlayed his ingenuity for combining intrigue with gadgets into producing props for movies, including two Bond flicks (naturally) and blockbusters like "Jurassic Park" and "Jaws," and that he’s also designed cool toys for tots.

With the latest Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," set for release soon, here are 19 of Osterhout’s greatest “hits.” As Q often told Bond, “Now pay attention, 007.”

Water Pistol

Bond often finds himself in hot water – and we’re not just talking about the hot-tub scenes in "A View to a Kill" and "Never Say Never Again." So the S-Tron stainless steel Beretta 92SB-F pistol equipped with a waterproof sighting system can come in handy. The single module that fits on the gun includes an infrared and visible-wavelength laser sight and flashlight that are waterproof to 300 feet.

TO SEE ALL 20 ITEMS CLICK HERE

THE CAT'S MEOW!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE PRIME ROLL BY EUGENE IZZY!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE PRIME ROLL BY EUGENE IZZY!

In anticipation of my first trip to Chicago earlier this year, I dug out my copy of The Prime Roll by the intense and tragic Eugene Izzy, the master of all things Chicago. It was as good the second time around as the first.

Izzy’s suicide/accident/murder (left hanging by a rope from the flagpole outside his 14th story Chicago office) deprived us of a writer whose understanding of both east coast cops and crooks was as sharp and incisive as any writer before or since.

The first half of The Prime Roll is set in Chicago before transferring the action to Atlantic City. There Izzy turns his piercing vision to the east coast gambling scene with the same understanding of grifter humanity he works on his Chicago characters.

“Is there some problem?” Lano said, and the smiling pit boss assured him there was not. They were just waiting for the photographer in case he hit his eleventh blackjack, so they could have a nice picture to hang on the wall for other hopeful gambler’s to drool over.

The pit boss smiled, and Lano told him, “forget the picture. Let the woman deal.” The pit boss was about to say something smart, Lano could tell, when he looked up. His expression changed, and he said, “Good evening, Mr. O’Shea, Mr. Lynch.”

Lano didn’t bother to even turn on his stool, never took his eyes from the pit boss. He said softly, “you can change dealers, you can shuffle new decks, you can wait for picture-takers, and you can wait for hell to freeze over, because mister, my next hand is a blackjack and nothing’s gonna stop it from coming.” He turned now, stared hard at Brian O’Shea – that was him all right, the son of a bitch from last night – before saying, “Tell the woman to deal, please,” and heard O’Shea say, “Well, you heard the man, honey, deal them cards.” Lano admired the guy, about to lose a million and sounding like a cheerleader for him.

The dealer stepped back into her spot and a roar went up from the crowd as the other bettors around the table demurred, didn’t bet. The they fell silent as the game began. It was Lano and the dealer, the gambler on a roll against the house and the first card she dealt to Lano was the king of spades and then she dealt her first card down. When she slipped his second card from the shoe, Lano said, “Come to me,” softly but with emotion, now clenching a fist and holding it up and shouting, “YEAH!” as she dealt him the ace of hearts and the casino went mad.”

– The Prime Roll

Chicago gambler Juliano – Lano – Branka is on a lucky streak, a once-in-a-lifetime prime roll with all the breaks going his way. But Lano defies Mafia big shot Tough Tony, and Lano's uncle, Artie the Arm, sends Lano to Atlantic City until Artie can settle Tony's hash with capo di capi Mad Mike.

Top Atlantic City mobster Angelo Briari is suspiciously cordial to Lano, who fears a setup, possibly for the rub-out of an A.C. union head. Meanwhile, the murdered union chief's brother, a police detective from Ohio, blows into town bent on vengeance.

Eugene Izzy knew his Chicago, he knew his mobsters, he knew his cops. He knew how to tell a story. Check him out and get your hardboiled freak on.

PAPERBACK ART WORK REVEALED FOR DEVIL MAY CARE!

PAPERBACK ART WORK REVEALED FOR DEVIL MAY CARE!

CommanderBond.net has landed the cover artwork for the US mass market paperback edition of Sebastian Faulks’ one-off James Bond novel, Devil May Care.

The cover is similar in style to that of the
UK paperback, which was revealed last month.

The mass market edition of Devil May Care will hit shelves in the US on 19 May, 2009. Artwork for the US trade paperback may vary.

NEW HARDBOILED COMIC STRIP!

NEW HARDBOILED COMIC STRIP!

Tony Chavira has a new an online P.I./noir comedy comic strip on which he's been collaborating for the last few months. It’s all about the adventures of the suave, confident, powerful, and inept Tuna Carpaccio P.I.

TO CHECK IT OUT CLICK HERE

BOND-WARE!

BOND-WARE!

LICENSING.BIZ TIPS US TO A SIGNATURE RANGE OF BOND BARWARE, GLASSWARE AND COCKTAIL SETS . . .


Gift firm Groovy UK has inked a deal to create a new signature range of high-end barware, glassware and cocktail sets, inspired by the James Bond entertainment franchise.

The range will be launched in December, with the crystal glasses and barware being limited to a selective group of retailers in each country and available for 007 fans through a dedicated e-commerce site.

"I'm thrilled to be working with Danjaq on producing such a special range of signature barware," said Martin Butler, MD of Groovy UK. "The quality, design and presentation on the limited range embodies everything James Bond represents - intelligence, sophistication and confidence."

"As part of our ongoing licence strategy, we strive to bring unique equities to Groovy and James Bond provides an unparalleled partnership opportunity," added Kirsty Pollard, brand manager at Groovy. "What man or woman wouldn't want to have a drink with 007?"

Michael Tavares, licensing director at Danjaq, added: "This was the perfect collaboration for two companies that focus on innovation and quality. We're excited to be partnering with Groovy to create a signature limited range of James Bond inspired barware."

THE BEAST ON A&E!

THE BEAST ON A&E!

A&E has scheduled a January premiere date for the Patrick Swayze vehicle The Beast.

The action drama, which followed The Cleaner in A&E's latest round of original scripted development, will have its first airing on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 in the 10 p.m. ET hour.

Created by William Rotko and Vincent Angell and executive produced by Allan Loeb (New Amsterdam), "The Beast" stars Swayze as an unorthodox FBI agent who has to train a rookie partner (Travis Tarzan Fimmel) in his very particular methodology.

TV veteran Michael Dinner directed the pilot.

The show's A&E predecessor The Cleaner has already been renewed for a second season.

Swayze was cast in The Beast, which has a 13-episode order, before being diagnosed with cancer in March. A&E picked the series up after doctors determined the "Dirty Dancing" star would be able to work through his treatment.

THE CAT'S MEOW!


BEAT TO A PULP!

BEAT TO A PULP!

DAVID CRANMER GIVES US THE LOW DOWN ON HIS NEW HARDBOILD E-ZINE . . .

After a little urging, I decided to put together an e-zine, rounding up some help from Patti Abbott, Sandra Seamans, Glenn Gray, Albert Tucher, Anonymous-9, Terrie Farley Moran, Clare Toohey, and many others who have graciously agreed to contribute stories.

Like some of the old pulps that featured a detective story on the heels of a western and a high seas adventure, I’d like to see BEAT to a PULP follow in those footsteps, running the gamut of storytelling, a smorgasbord of short story fiction at its best, though the emphasis will be on hard boiled.

I plan to set a 1,500 word limit but, let’s face it, if Stephen King sent me a 10,000 word romance between Hungarian acrobats, I’d publish it. As a matter of fact, Patti’s story is set to kick off our e-zine with a mini-masterpiece that clocks in around 4,000 words.

Expect a debut of December 15. I will keep you posted on the progress.

If you have a story you would like to submit, please send it to: btapzine@live.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BBC COMMISSIONS MORE GENTLY EPISODES!

BBC COMMISSIONS MORE GENTLY EPISODES!

FROM THE EURO CRIME BLOG:

The BBC has commissioned four new George Gently dramas to air next year.

Based on Alan Hunter's Inspector Gently book series, the new films will focus on veteran Scotland Yard detective George Gently (Martin Shaw) and his partner John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) as they solve crimes in '60s Northumberland.

Peter Flannery and Mick Ford will co-write the four instalments.

"The joy of writing the Gently stories lies in the period and the place," said Flannery. "The place because it's where I grew up; the period for the same reason, plus it gives me a chance to write about a country on the cusp of change.

"Each issue I look at at the heart of a crime - abortion, sexuality, youth gangs, child abuse, race, terrorism - was seen differently in the early '60s compared to today. As L. P. Hartley said, 'The past is another country. They do things differently there'."

THE BBC SAYS:

Britain, 1964: a time when the line between the police and criminals has become increasingly blurred; when the proliferation of drugs is about to change the face of policing forever; when Britain's youth stand on the brink of a social and sexual revolution.

Inspector George Gently is one of the few good men at Scotland Yard, his sense of public duty an increasingly rare commodity in a police force where corruption is rife and unchecked.

But his relentless pursuit of notorious gangsters such as Joe Webster (Phil Davis, Bleak House) leads to the murder of Gently's beloved wife Isabella, a killing arranged by Webster himself in an act of revenge upon Gently.

When a grieving Gently learns of the murder of a young biker, Johnny Lister (Christian Cooke, Where The Heart Is), who was part of a Northumberland drugs ring, it has all the hallmarks of a Webster operation and he insists on being given the case, deciding it will be his last...

In Northumberland, George takes on the headstrong young Detective Sergeant Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, The Street), who is convinced that the prime suspect for Johnny Lister's murder is Ricky Deeming (Richard Armitage, Robin Hood), the charismatic leader of the Defenders biker gang.

But as the case grows ever more complex, Gently must decide if Bacchus can be trusted – hot-tempered and ambitious, could he too be drawn to the corrupt road taken by so many of his contemporaries? Or can Gently keep Bacchus's integrity intact?

As the case reaches its violent climax, Gently begins to feel that his brand of policing is needed now more than ever – and perhaps he is not ready to call this his last case after all...

ROCKY #64 ON PREMIER'ES TOP 100 CHARACTER LIST!

ROCKY #64 ON PREMIERE'S TOP 100 CHARACTER LIST!

FROM HEMINGWAY'S LOUNGE COMES THIS NEWS:

When I saw that Premiere was going to list what they believed to be the 100 greatest characters of all time, I was excited to see where they would place Rocky Balboa, one of my favorite - IF NOT FAVORITE -- screen characters of all time. Lo and behold, he was number 64.

64. Rocky Balboa Played by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (1976, dir. John G. Avildsen) and five later filmsThe year was 1976, and after so much cynical, Watergate-era fare at the cinema, bicentennial America craved something exhilarating. That jolt came in the form of a streetwise southpaw boxer named Rocky Balboa. When the reigning champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), plucks the sometimes painfully slow and raw Rocky from bad-side-of-Philly obscurity by challenging him to a world-class fight, it’s time for our hero to step up—and prove once and for all that he’s not “just another bum from the neighborhood.” His triumph comes from going the distance—and getting the (unlikely) girl, a super-shy librarian whose name makes up half of the movie’s most repeated mantra: “Yo, Adrian.” Defining Moment: Rocky runs through the streets in the early morning. As the energetic theme song climaxes, he races up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and turns around to face the city, fists high in the air, victorious. (MGM DVD)

TO SEE PREMIERE'S ENTIRE LIST CLICK HERE

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN ON YOUTUBE!

MAGNIFICENT SEVEN ON YOUTUBE!

MSNBC REPORTS:


YouTube, the largest video-sharing website, will show full-length television shows and films from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's archives in its latest step to boost advertising revenue by adding professional programing, the company told Reuters on Sunday.

The site, owned by Google Inc, plans to make the announcement about the new partnership on Monday.

MGM Studios will kick off the partnership by posting episodes of its decade-old "American Gladiators" program to YouTube on one channel.

On another channel, MGM will post full-length action films like "Bulletproof Monk" and "The Magnificent Seven" and clips from popular movies like "Legally Blonde." These will be free to watch, with ads running alongside the video.

ROBERT VAUGHN ON BLOOMBERG!

GEORGE CHESBRO, R.I.P.

GEORGE CHESBRO, R.I.P.

I'M SADDENED BY CHESBRO'S PASSING. HE WAS ONE OF THE MOST IMAGINATIVE MYSTERY WRITERS IN THE GENRE. IT WAS JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO I COVERED HIS EXTRODINARY NOVEL, SHADOW OF A BROKEN MAN, IN MY FRIDAY FORGOTTEN BOOKS POST.


HERE'S THE WORD FROM CHESBRO'S DANGEROUS DWARF WEBSITE WEBMASTER . . .

I am very sad to report that George Chesbro died this morning after an illness.

Like all of you, I am a huge fan of George’s work. My friendship with him began in 1999 when I sent him a letter describing the fan website that I had created for his work. He liked what I’d done, and over the next couple of months, the fan site was transformed into Dangerous Dwarf, the official George C. Chesbro website.

I’ve very much enjoyed my friendship with George and [his wife] Robin over the years, and I will miss being able to correspond with him.I'm sure Mongo and Garth will miss him, too.

Hunter (Goatley)

TO READ A FURTHER APPRECIATION CLICK HERE

TO READ MY CHESBRO FORGOTTEN BOOKS POST CLICK HERE

DOG DAYS!


THE CAT'S MEOW!


(PULP) STORIES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE BOOK CLUB!

(PULP) STORIES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE BOOK CLUB!

Critics mostly consider L. Ron Hubbard to have been a competent pulp writer, but never in the top tier of his contemporaries. You wouldn’t know it, however, by the pull-out-all-the-stops approach to the republication of Hubbard’s 150 pulse pounding pulp tales packed into 80 beautifully bound books and matching full cast audio CDs.

With no mention of Dianetics or Scientology, Hubbard’s true, yet controversial heritage, those who control Hubbard’s estate have gone to great lengths to launch Hubbard’s pulp stories back into the market place.

After the current five title release (each from a different genre), titles will be available at bookstores at the rate of one new title a month. The pulp era tales are also being shilled as part of the Stories From The Golden Age Book Club (SFTGABC). Club members will get one book or audio CD tale (or both) per month for the cost of $9.95 each (postage paid).

Of course, the SFTGABC is restricted strictly to L. Ron Hubbard titles. Not necessarily a bad thing, but a little deceiving.

To promote their product, the SFTGABC, has put out a whole issue of their connected ASI magazine as a bookstore giveaway. It’s actually a very nice product, with lots of information on Hubbard’s pulp career and the publications and audio performances produced by the SFTGABC.

I have to say I really like the format of the books and have picked up a couple of the first five releases. The stories are almost as good as the dynamic covers – actually better than I expected – and I’ll probably try a couple more. I doubt I’ll sign up for the full one a month book club, preferring to pick and choose my titles.

I’ve also picked up one of the tales in audio CDs and am looking forward to listening to the hyped performance.

I’m always a little squeamish about stuff connected to Hubbard, but this series does not appear to be tainted by Hubbard’s end game philosophy (except for where any profits may end up) and is very promising for pulp fans.

TO VISIT THE SFTGABC WEB SITE CLICK HERE

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TALES OF ZORRO!

TALES OF ZORRO!

OVER AT BOOKGASM, RODD LOTT HAS A GOOD REVIEW OF THE NEW ZORRO SHORT STORY COLLECTION FROM MOONSTONE . . .

Spanish culture’s No. 1 superhero returns in TALES OF ZORRO, the first anthology of short fiction ever published of Johnston McCulley’s creation. Published by Moonstone — primarily a purveyor of comics — the collection pays tribute to the character’s roots with the 17 stories remaining true to its pulpy roots and adhering to continuity, under the watchful eye of editor Richard Dean Starr.

Jeff Mariotte gets things moving in the right spirit with “Mission Gold,” in which Zorro is accused of stealing the church’s precious metals, yet innocents are tortured to determine his whereabouts. And where injustice is committed, you can bet Zorro will turn up to right wrongs. He does.

TO READ THE FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE

BOOK HUMOR!


THE CAT'S MEOW!


THE CAT'S MEOW!

BAMBOO LOUNGE CHRISTMAS PARTY!


Monday, November 17, 2008

ED BRUBAKER'S CRIMINAL!

ED BRUBAKER'S CRIMINAL!

IS THERE A REASON WHY YOU AREN'T WAITING BREATHLESSLY FOR EVERY ISSUE OF THIS PERFECT NOIR CRIME STORY COMIC TO APPEAR AT YOUR LOCAL COMIC OR BOOK STORE?

THIS IS THE REAL DEAL AND SHOULDN'T BE MISSED. THE FIRST THREE STORYLINES ARE NOW COLLECTED AS GRAPHIC NOVELS -- DON'T MISS 'EM!

Navigating through a world of smoky barrooms and double-crosses to present tales of heists, murders and cons, CRIMINAL is determined to be different than any other book on the shelves today.

Brubaker promises every kind of crime story under the sun. "One of my intentions with this series was to create a book that could handle any and every story I wanted to tell. The cast of the book is a loose-knit gang of crooks - a pickpocket, a hit-man, and a crooked cop, for starters - who each take center stage at different times. This way I can do a heist story, follow that with a revenge drama, and then a prison breakout, all while using the same characters. And as each story unfolds, the mysterious past that connects these characters is revealed, so readers can watch the puzzle of their twisted history being put together."


QOS -- EBERT DIDN'T LIKE IT EITHER!

QOS - EBERT DIDN'T LIKE IT EITHER!

ROGER EBERT IS MY FAVORITE FILM CRITIC. I DON'T ALWAYS AGREE WITH HIM, BUT IN THIS CASE I DO AND HE SAYS IT FAR BETTER THAN ME . . .

OK, I'll say it. Never again. Don't ever let this happen again to James Bond. "Quantum of Solace" is his 22nd film and he will survive it, but for the 23rd it is necessary to go back to the drawing board and redesign from the ground up. Please understand: James Bond is not an action hero! He is too good for that. He is an attitude. Violence for him is an annoyance. He exists for the foreplay and the cigarette. He rarely encounters a truly evil villain. More often a comic opera buffoon with hired goons in matching jump suits.

TO READ THE REST OF EBERTS REVIEW CLICK HERE

WHAT WE DROVE IN THE '50s & '60s!

WHAT WE DROVE IN THE '50s & '60s!

TO CHECK IT OUT

THE ODD COUPLE @ THE JAZZ BAKERY!


HARDCORE HARDBOILED!

HARDCORE HARDBOILED!

BRUCE GROSSMAN HAS A GREAT REVIEW OF THE NEW ANTHOLOGY, HARDCORE HARDBOILED, FROM THE FOLKS WHO PUT TOGETHER THE ON-LINE MAGAZINE THUG LIT . . .

As the cover states, HARDCORE HARDBOILED is a collection of some of the top new writers in the genre of neo-noir, presented by online fiction mag ThugLit. I can safely say this collection has made me fans of everyone involved, but even that does not give it the praise it deserves. Not only does it feature some BOOKGASM favorites in Sean Chercover, Ken Bruen and Duane Swierczynski, but it also has a variety of new talent to which this book will give greater exposure.

Here are some bullet points that really make a case for this collection for our readers:• Four stories either mention or use Johnny Cash as a key part to their plots.• Two stories deal with a new breed of vampires.• One story has an old crime boss playing MARIO KART.• One story deals with the world of monkey fighting.

These are stories that not only deliver with a punch, but with barbed wire wrapped around those fists. Edited by Todd Robinson, HARDCORE HARDBOILED opens with “Ten Dimes” by Mike Toomey, which relates a story of how the old-timers deserve nothing but respect, even when dead. Bruen’s “Brant Bites Back” is one of the two vampire tales, dealing with a cop who doesn’t believe what he saw, with some unexpected consequences; the other tale is “The All-Night Dentist” by Vincent Kovar.

TO READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW CLICK HERE

HOW DID THEY TALK HIM INTO THIS?

HOW DID THEY TALK HIM INTO THIS?

THERE ARE SOME PHOTOS THAT SHOULD NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY, BUT CINEMA RETRO STILL TREATED US TO THIS PIC OF SEAN CONNERY IN THE LEAD ROLE FOR ZARDOZ (IN WHICH HE REPLACED BURT REYNOLDS - WHO IS PROBABLY STILL BLESSING HIS LUCK TODAY) STRUTTING HIS STUFF IN WHAT LOOKS LIKE A RED DEPENDS DIAPER!
TO THINK HE GAVE UP JAMES BOND FOR THIS . . .SHEEESH!

QUANTUM OF SOLACE -- REVIEW (AND IT AIN'T PRETTY)!

QUANTUM OF SOLACE – REVIEW (AND IT AIN'T PRETTY)!

Anticipation was high for the new James Bond film with the awkward title, Quantum of Solace (QoS) to rival the excellence of 2006’s Casino Royale – the franchise reviving film and debut of Daniel Craig as Bond.

Unfortunately, as much as I hate to say it, because I really wanted to like this film, QoS sucked!

After two years of teased expectation, the blockbusting, record shattering, box office returns for debut weekends around the world prove QoS was the most anticipated Bond film ever. However, while it is not a bad film – in an obnoxious, totally forgettable, summer blockbuster kind of way – as a follow-up to Casino Royale, it pretty much a complete misstep from start to finish.

Yes, it is still a Bond film. Daniel Craig proves he owns his Double O designation. Not since Sean Connery has an actor so fully embodied Bond. Judi Dench as M again makes you forget anybody else ever had the role. The opening action scene is a doozy (if completely incomprehensible), and the other loosely – very loosely – connected action scenes are competent if forgettable. But, while many of the Bond elements are somewhat in place, the final film is far less than the sum of its parts.

Let’s start with the QoS theme created and performed by Jack White (leader of the band White Stripes) and R&B/jazz diva Alicia Keyes – what were they thinking? This has to be the weakest, most forgettable Bond theme ever. It’s so bad, I almost wish Amy Winehouse had stayed out of rehab long enough to get the gig. Whatever she sang (or slurred) couldn’t possibly be any worse than the tuneless and meaningless cacophony devised by White and Keyes.

While Vick Flick (007 Theme) and Shirley Bassie (Goldfinger etc.) may be considered irrelevant by the current generation, their prior work on Bond themes is the standard by which every new theme will be judged – QoS just doesn’t measure up. Is the current crop of singers and songwriters so lightweight that a Bond theme is totally beyond their range?

And what was with the washed out colors used in the on screen titles. The shifting sand dunes of female forms was an intriguing idea, but almost lost against the bland color scheme. Everything about the titles was muted – James Bond lite – and like the QoS theme song, were non-representative of anything in the film. There was no WOW factor of any kind.

Is this important? You bet. Each of these ingredients needs to be strong, bold, and vibrant. The theme needs to be a driving force, which can both stand alone and act as a defining feature of the film it represents – think Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, even Moonraker. Those were true Bond themes. The QoS theme is nothing more than a mish-mash, fatal collision, of heavy metal, rap, and R&B with an uneven backbeat and lyrics pulled from a fortune cookie.

I have to reserve my biggest complaint for QoS director Marc Forster. What kind of an action film track record does this guy have to make anyone think he could direct a Bond film? None! Okay, his past films have been quality dramas, but how does directing Finding Nerverland qualify you to direct a Bond film? Please, just kill me now and put me out of my misery.

In QoS, Forster has produced a film without warmth, heart, or humor. QoS is a naked blade – honed and deadly, but essentially functional and cold.

Forster’s biggest sin, however, is borrowing – specifically borrowing from the Bourne films. Since when do Bond films borrow from anyone? Other films are supposed to borrow from the Bond franchise, not the other way around.

And it’s not like Forster borrowed something good from the Bourne films (like a coherent story). Forster should be vilified not just for borrowing, but for what he borrowed – the frenetic action scenes, edited with spit second cuts and fractionally increased film speed, which are meant to place the audience in the middle of the action.

Even in the Bourne films, this technique has been overused to the point of overkill. The action scenes in QoS are cut so fast the audience is completely lost as to what is happening on the screen.

In Casino Royale, the opening foot chase was an amazing set piece of flashy non-stop action. Every movement and stunt was seamless, smooth, thrilling, and unbelievably believable.

By contrast, the rooftop, tile shattering, foot chase in QoS is edited so quickly and poorly there is no way to follow the action, appreciate the stunts, or connect each scene one to the other. Editing done in this manner leaves many in the audience lost at best and bored at worst.

Now let’s talk about Dominic Greene.

Who?

Exactly my point. Greene has to be the blandest most lilly white, lilly-livered, mamby-pamby, excuse of all time for a Bond villain - a petulant child not worth a heavy hitter like Bond’s attention. Greene doesn’t even register when compared to the likes of Dr. No, Goldfinger, Bloefeld, or even lesser villains such as Odd Job or Jaws.

Beside trying to control the world’s water supply by using lots of pipe and desert hot spots – oh, my, an evil utility company – is Greene even a threat? What does he have to stop anyone taking their water back after they figure out what he’s doing – a paper contract? Give me a break!

Finally, let’s get to the finale. Okay, there’s this huge rectangular hotel built in the middle of the Bolivian desert. An ugly squat box, which has a lot of vacancies because why would anyone want to stay in a shoebox in the middle of the dessert with the blazing heat, wind storms, and no amenities of any kind? This was perhaps the most awful misstep of all. Who cares? There just isn’t any reason for this place to exist.

What happened to the lairs of the great Bond villains like the volcano in You Only Live Twice, Moonraker’s space station, OHMSS’s Piz Gloria, or Dr. No’s island? Where is the fantastical– that touch of larger-than-lifeness in music, art direction, characters, and settings, which make Bond, well, Bond.

QoS is functional, passable, entertainment. It is a Bond film. It is not a great Bond film. And it certainly isn’t the Bond film it should have been.

THE CAT'S MEOW!


NEW MERIDIAN ARTICLE!

NEW MERIDIAN ARTICLE!

FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED, I HAD A NEW ARTICLE PUBLISHED TODAY IN THE FAITH BASED MERIDIAN MAGAZINE.

TO READ IT CLICK HERE

Sunday, November 16, 2008

INFINITY BOOKCASE!

INFINITY BOOKCASE!

IN 2005, DUTCH CONCEPTUAL ARTIST JOB KOELEWIJN CREATED THIS BOOKSHELF IN THE FORM OF A LEMNISCARTE, OR FIGURE 8, SYMBOLIZING THE INFINITE NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE INFINITE POWER OF BOOKS.