James Booker collected nicknames like some people collect vinyl. The New Orleans piano great has been called (by himself or by others) The Piano Prince, The Ivory Emperor, the Black Liberace, and the Bayou Maharajah. Filmmaker Lily Keber went with the latter, Bayou Maharajah, as the title of her documentary, now being released on home video.
Documentaries about alternative religious belief systems are always a dicey watch, especially if the religion being examined doesn’t jibe with your own or sounds totally off the wall. The temptation to snicker or outright mock the people who believe this crazy stuff is always there. But religion is such a personal thing; laughing at someone about what they believe just feels disrespectful.
This week was part February, part March, and jam-packed with pop culture.
Twitter recently vowed to fight harassment online. Naturally racist and misogynist trolls were outraged, which is hilarious considering their constant whining about “social justice warriors” being outraged on Twitter. Here is an excellent report on the whys and wherefores of this new announcement and whether or not it stands a chance of being successful.
Speaking of controversy, did you know that a straight Christian man posed as gay for a year and then wrote a book about it? It’s pretty illuminating.
If you haven’t been paying attention, our own Tyler Hodg has been faithfully recapping every episode of the new Fuller House series on Netflix. So far, the show has been wildly uneven, but might finally get it right around episode 10. Too bad there are only three more to go…
Also in TV news, Lucha Underground picks itself up after a not-so-great episode from last week (though Sachin warns that we shouldn’t mention Sexy Star vs. Kobra Moon ever again), Outsiders still refuses to develop some of its characters for some reason, and The Walking Dead introduces a new insufferable character named Gregory. Oh, and (spoiler alert) Rick kills someone. Again. (Can’t take that guy anywhere.)
If you’re looking for some old movies you might have missed, Jeffery’s here to help. Check out the new Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1 collection from Arrow or The Bees from Vinegar Syndrome, which includes not only bees but also John Saxon.
Everyone’s been talking about Deadpool lately, but why? As Laury reports, it might just be the comic book movie that will change the game. It got her to become a Ryan Reynolds fan, after all. Wrestling aficionados will be interested in new documentary The Sheik, which Jeffery notes that at times feels more scripted than your average wrestling match.
New music this week gets reviewed by Melissa. It includes the self-referentially titled but ultimately disappointing Music To Listen To Music To from La Sera and the much more enjoyable Poison & Medicine from Marc Stone, who hails from New York but has a shockingly good grasp on New Orleans and the blues.
It’s 2016 and that might mean a new Lana Del Rey album is in the near future. But what if you’re still not sick of listening to Honeymoon yet? Matt Craven explains why it might be her secret masterpiece.
Perhaps the only kind of music more divisive than LDR or rap is country. You might be a country music fan if you like even one of these 16 tunes.
What happened this week on Today In Pop Culture? The Bermuda Triangle, The National Anthem, King Kong, The Salem Witch Trials, and how Leap Year fits into the space-time continnum.
Normally, when you hear about someone who started with nothing, made it big, then lost it all to drugs and general bad behavior, it’s some Hollywood starlet or Tom Sizemore. This is not the case with The Sheik, a documentary about one of the most famous professional wrestlers of all time, The Iron Sheik.
A Brilliant Young Mind, sadly changed from its far-superior UK title, X + Y, is a film that shows how much a fairly overdone concept can be elevated with outstanding performances, very thoughtful casting, and an intriguing directorial vision. It’s not the most innovative piece in the world, but for the kind of sentimental comfort food it’s aiming to be, it’s satisfying and even moving. Should you watch this movie? I think you should.
Think about something you hate, or try to remember something that made so little of an impression on you that recalling details about that thing is difficult or impossible. The shocking truth is that thing is someone else’s favorite thing in the whole wide world. It could be a song, a book, a movie; it doesn’t matter. Somewhere out there, someone’s thinking of that thing you despise with a fondness you will never understand.
By Tim Murr
Many movies have attempted to capture the coming of age journey, of misfits finding their path and rising to their true potential or becoming the hero they were always meant to be. Deathgasm proves that most of these movies are utter bullshit.
Welcome to Episode 4 of The Official Popshifter Podcast. This one is titled “Texas Gators, Violent Pornography, and Tales from the Pit.”
Already, you should be enticed. It’s another fascinating discussion of American pop culture with Less Lee and X! Please enjoy. Preferably with a nice glass of cold Bosco.
Blu-Ray Review: The Beast (from Dirge Magazine)
By Tim Murr
“Eight terrifying films from Mexico’s top horror directors.” México Bárbaro (or Barbarous Mexico in English) almost lives up to its own tag line with four excellent and compelling shorts, one really good one, and three that you couldn’t pay me to say something nice about. Still, the good to bad ratio makes this anthology better than the first V/H/S, in my opinion.
By Tim Murr
Everything I’ve watched or read about The Clash either ends with Mick Jones getting fired or just briefly mentions The Clash 2.0, where Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon pressed on with three new members and recorded the poorly received Cut The Crap. No cuts from the album were released on any boxset/collection. No overview was written about it in the big The Clash coffee table book from 2008. Strummer basically disowned it, as did most Clash fans. And deservedly so, it’s a bad album.