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breakin the law 1

breakin the lawwww

DUN DUN

 

breakin the law 2

 

coollogo_com-303133847

breakin the law 3

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I was perusing the history of singer Meat Loaf on Wikipedia, as any American is wont to do, and was surprised by the myriad facts I did not know about the man/force of nature. First, the greatest mystery:

Meatloaf Fun Fact 6

And yes, the ‘Talk’ page on Meat Loaf is as lively as the man’s performances.

 

Meatloaf fun fact 1

So Meat Loaf’s son-in-law is Scott Ian from Anthrax. Also it’s not mentioned here, but her full name is Pearl Aday, which means Meat Loaf’s full name is MEAT LOAF ADAY, as in HAVE A MEAT LOAF A-DAY.

 

meatloaf fun fact 3

‘Butt-smellers’ is an insult so juvenile it’s actually cute.

 

Meatloaf fun fact 2

Long before Saturday Night Live dragged this double entendre to full-skit length, Meat Loaf played it straight (and with last name Devine no less) in what must have been a particularly ridiculous episode of The Outer Limits. That show gets a bad rap as ‘lesser Twilight Zone’ but the 90s reboot had solid scripts and excellent guest spots, of which I’m sure Meat Loaf was one.

 

meatloaf fun fact 7

WHUUUUUT.

 

Meatloaf fun fact 9

Oh, very well:

 

meatloaf fun fact 10

Of course. OF COURSE. I’m pretty sure wherever Meat Loaf walks there are sparks, explosions, and sudden influxes of fog/motorcycle riding indoors.

 

meatloaf fun fact 8

The suicide threat must have been kept under wraps at the time it happened – there’s no NY Post articles on it from the time and if there was even a hint of a leak the pun-possibilities would have been too rich to resist slapping it all over the paper.

 

meatloaf fun fact 5

Meat Loaf doesn’t have TIME for fillin’ out forms.

 

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THIS JUST MADE MY WEEK:

 

And as added bonus, please enjoy this Michael-Bay-directed music video of Meat Loaf’s ‘Rock n’ Roll Dreams Come Through’, starring Angelina Jolie and Meat Loaf as the singing fortune-teller/hobo.

Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through

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keyzoom

standy-guys

This seems like something Tim and Eric copy the look of exactly.

 

mime babe

If you guessed this might be a still from a French 80s music video, you are both stereotyping and absolutely correct.

 

magazine-dancy

Magazine-dancy-dance

That guy is not even trying to pretend he’s playing the guitar. At one point he magically plays a synth flamenco riff by slapping the top strings.

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Last Halloween was a strange one. With everyone still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, people suffered desperate cabin fever while not being able to really go anywhere. Many events had been planned, including several all-cover shows at local music venues, but most places were shut down, and no one was sure if any events were still on. In some places the power still wasn’t on.

Several friends were slated to play back-to-back all-cover shows, first at Glasslands, then around the corner at Death By Audio. For the unfamiliar, all-cover Halloween shows are a delightful recent tradition, whereby all bands playing are strictly covering another well-known band’s songs, usually dressed up as & behaving like that band. The Misfits are a wildly popular choice here, though most can’t get the Lodi accent right. My friends were playing as…I’m not actually sure what name they went under that night, but they were a Go-Gos cover band and batted around The Go-Guys, Go-Guhs and We Got The Meat(ewwww). Other Glassland bands covered The Cramps, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, and oddly, Witchfinder General (didn’t think they were popular enough to warrant a cover band, but then life can be full of pleasant surprises). It was a crammed roster full of bands. Death By Audio had a showcase of just 4 bands doing full sets of songs, including a gender-switched Joy Division that worked despite initial doubts about female vocals hitting the low range (and unfortunately she couldn’t resist wearing a noose tie, which was expected but still tacky), and a MOST excellent Ramones who got EVERYTHING right, including a) announcing ‘Thanks, we’re The Ramones’ between every song, b) Dee-Dee in a half-shirt, c) no one making eye contact with any other member but glaring straight ahead. Genius. Both shows became insanely packed once word got out they were happening, and to Brooklyn’s credit, 95% of attendees had decent costumes (and no, a lone mask or glitter bowler hat does not a costume make. Fake cat ears + tail with a sexy dress is also debatable as to whether it’s a costume or a cry for help).

The shows went well, everyone had a damn fine Halloween with plenty of treats to make up for Nature’s vicious trick, and that seemed to be that. But having practiced all those songs for so long it seemed a shame not to do anything with it. So my friends went ahead and released a full cassette, available here. And then they had a bunch of footage left over from the photo shoot for the cassette, and it seemed a shame not to do anything with it, which is how I ended up editing a music video out of it for them.

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Spring, with its blandly pleasant weather and verdant life sprouting everywhere in a showy riot of color, is the perfect time of year to turn to the bleak novel where Man and Nature try to out-brood each other in prose form,  Wuthering Heights.

The novel is a strange work- a tale of thwarted revenge and unhappiness stretching across generations told two steps removed from most characters involved. ‘Strange’ and ‘power’ are the two words used most frequently in early critical reviews; in contrast to the era’s florid novels of innocent women threatened, Wuthering Heights’ stark brutality, the ambiguous morals of its characters and their sad fates made for difficult reading. Of course, the same holds true for the modern age- adaptations of the novel tend to lop off the second half’s complex interweaving of families and relationships in favor of focusing on the first half’s tragic romance. That the novel’s been adapted so many times is bizarre in itself – why take the trouble to squish an unusual story into a more conventional format, not once but over and over again?

It could be the story’s raw power, attested to even by its major critics, but my theory as to why there’s over 12 film versions of Wuthering Heights, not to mention several adaptations to stage, is that the roles of Heathcliff and Cathy are actor catnip. Compare them to the juiciest stage roles for gents and ladies – Hamlet and Lady Macbeth. For the gents, you have free leave to be a melancholy jerk under the guise of SERIOUS SADNESS (dead dad on one side, thwarted love/dead lover on the other), and for the ladies you get to be absolutely un-ladylike (grab for power/raw nature), then play at being a lady but with lots of guilt and anguish,  then SUPERNATURAL STUFF (specifically: ghooooooosts)! Scene-chewy goodness all around- plenty of spots to soliloquize about GRAND EMOTIONS and DEEPLY FELT PASSIONS and how those lesser losers just don’t understand ANY OF IT, GOD. Again, Wuthering Heights adaptations focus not on the fallout of actions upon the next generation, but on the doomed romance of Heathcliff and Cathy who doom their own romance instead of an outside force ripping them apart. Or maybe Culture ripped them apart; this isn’t English 102 and that’s not the point.

The point is much like Doctor Who or James Bond, Heathcliff is the rare character whose facets shine through the variety of actors taking on the role. A special award for Hat Trick goes to Timothy Dalton, who played James Bond, Heathcliff and not technically The Doctor but Lord President of all Time Lords so, close enough. The role’s also been played by Laurence Olivier, Ian McShane, Ralph Finnes and….Cliff Richard. Yes, the English Elvis, the Young One himself, wrote and starred in Heathcliff, a musical retelling of Wuthering Heights presented as ‘evidence’ to the audience for YOU to decide what kind of man Heathcliff really is.

 

Picture 1

Either I’m grossly misremembering video capability from 1997 (the year ‘Titanic’ and ‘The 5th Element’ came out) or the choice to have this staging look like a Lifetime movie from 1986 was intentional.

 

Greater Baptist Wuthering Heights Death Announcement

Did I say Lifetime movie? I mean Sunday morning public access worship hour.

The music is….let’s just put it this way, there’s a lot of synth keyboard. And not the good German kind, I mean the kind backing Christian-themed R&B from the early 90s. Cliff is certainly earnest as Heathcliff, but I kept getting distracted by his facial hair and sartorial choices.

....so many lapels...

(so many lapels…)

The same goes for the entire production – much like the Broadway staging of ‘Phantom of the Opera’, a lot of the story’s horror and power are lost through the very medium chosen to deliver it- bombastic stage musical. It’s paradoxical that music, which has the ability to reach emotion more readily and directly than other mediums, combined with live theater’s visceral presence and the depth of  written word results in a maudlin, campy mess nearly every time. Could it be compromise made between the three mediums cancels out the strengths of each, leaving only weak middle ground to tread? Possibly the ‘language’ of staged musicals could be cheesy, with music demanding high energy to correlate with high emotion, making ridiculous what the theater/written word would get across with quiet strength. The parts could be inherently at odds. Then again I love Judas’ death scene in ‘J.C. Superstar’, so the synthesis can be done well.

broooooood

This really looks like a fade-in from a Christian music video.

The entire production is available to watch on YouTube, but all you really need to see are the first 20 seconds of this:

I don’t believe the intent was to sound like Don Cornelius, but that is definitely the effect.

Brood on, devil incarnate/misunderstood man.

Picture 5

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