Saturday, February 10, 2018

Previewing Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars

There was a time in my life had you asked me who my favorite artist was, I would have told you Eric Clapton. We spend most of our first decade on this planet basically listening to whatever the radio told us to listen to or just what your parents do. Then comes the time when you discover that there was actually music released before you were born and even stuff, good stuff being released that did not even get radio airplay.

This time for me just so happened to coincide with a career resurgence of Eric Clapton whose Tears in Heaven was his first top five single since the seventies and first in my lifetime. That was quickly followed by his installment of MTV Unplugged which most would consider one of the top two episodes ever (other people can argue if Nirvana’s was better) which would sweep that year’s Grammy’s and introduce a whole new generation to what most would consider one of the top two guitarist of all time (though some may argue Jimmy Hendrix).

Now at seventy-two, hopefully it is time for another generation to discover the greatness of Clapton even though you rarely even hear a guitar on pop radio today unless it is a quick sample. For those looking for a quick recap of his life and career, look no further than Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, an expansive look at the guitarist career. Or really, his sixties career as over half of the two plus hour documentary focuses on that time in his career.

And that decade is jam packed of action as Clapton bounced around from band to band. Clapton was a fickle musical, spending two years with The Yardbirds, John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, three years with Cream, two years with Blind Faith, and two years with Derek and The Dominos, before finally going solo in 1970. But his solo work is mostly just an alcoholic haze and really the music during the seventies and eighties basically just get a one minute montage treatment.

This is my biggest complaint of the documentary. Slowhand, one of the greatest album ever made is barely mention other that hoe Clapton does not like listening song from that era because he can tell just how drunk he was while listening to those songs. The quick montage through this time comes to an abrupt end with the birth of his first child Connor whose tragic death at four inspired Tear in Heaven. But after all the Grammy’s were won, we get another quick montage to modern day. For a two hour and eighteen minute more time could have been spent from the seventies to now. Still Life in 12 Bars is a good primer on the artist life and would a look for music fans of all ages. And for those youngsters not that familiar with his work, I would recommend starting with The Cream of Clapton and his Unplugged album and go from there.

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars premieres tonight on Showtime at 9:00.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Around the Tubes: 2/9/2018

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Michael W. Smith, Epic Warrior Women, Cleopatra, Family Feud, and the SAG Awards.

- Michael W. Smith is excited to release his new album “A Million Lights” next Friday February 16th, followed by the release of his highly anticipated live worship album “Surrounded” the following Friday February 23rd. In support of both albums Michael will kick off a North American headlining tour on March 8th, followed by a tour of Israel and another 40-date North American tour this fall. Compassion International, a child-advocacy ministry for which Michael has sponsored over 70,000 children from Third-World-Countries, will present the U.S. tour.

- Smithsonian Channel celebrates Women’s History Month with two new series featuring the real-life stories of women who are symbols of empowerment, independence and strength. Epic Warrior Women exposes history’s most iconic female fighters from the Roman Empire to Central Asia and West Africa. Each extraordinary tale of blood, sacrifice and endurance centers on the life of one young female warrior caught up in the bloody struggles of her time. Epic Warrior Women premieres on Monday, March 19 at 8:00. Cleopatra examines the life of Egypt’s most famous ruler, the sole woman of her time to rule alone. It is a story of survival, political acumen, seduction and notoriety, revealing the reasons her name still resonates today. Cleopatra premieres Monday, March 5 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- Survey says: love! Forget flowers and chocolate, enjoy your Valentine's Day with Game Show Network's marathon of romance-themed Family Feud episodes from 5 to 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 14.

- SAG Awards® Executive Producer Kathy Connell yesterday announced the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® ceremony will be held on Sunday, January 27, 2019. The Silver Anniversary celebration of the previous year’s outstanding film and television performances will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS at 8:00.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Previewing Homeland: Season Seven

One thing that struck me during the “previous on Homeland” segment that starts the season premiere is Dar Adal telling the president-elect, “Don’t go to war with your national security establishment, it’s a war you won’t win.” One would think the show went with a women president to coincide with real world events that ended up not coming to pass, they were surprisingly accurate at predicting the future in other ways. They even had a Russian troll farm last season long before social media giants were brought before congressional hearings.

But once the “elect” designation was dropped from the fictional character’s title at the end of last season, President Keane arrested two hundred government officials in connection to her assassination attempt including Saul Berenson. And at the start of the new season, the president is jailing journalists for leaking news and appearing at tribunals advocating death for those that conspired against her.

Carrie, of course, starts the season listening to experimental jazz while exercising heavily. Losing her advisor title to the president-elect on account of arresting her old mentor, Carrie is back in DC living with her sister again in a now full house with her brother-in-law who still works for the government, their teenage daughter activist (who thankfully is not as mopey as Dana Brody), and of course an every growing Frannie is still around.

Not surprisingly Carrie has not gotten an office job or even gotten back into private security like she did when the show went to Germany, she is instead trying to get her friend, and those unjustly jailed, out of prison. We are also still following the Alex Jones conspiracy peddler from last season who is now on the run from the Keane administration but still manages to record a show six days a week. And to give you a sense of how much time has passed from last season, he does say it has been fifty-two days of the resistance.

And being Homeland, there are plenty of twists and turns to be had even in the first episode. Someone gets a surprising job offer as a National Security Advisor and some dies (I think). Oh, and Max is back. Now if only we get one of Carrie’s crazy boards and go off her meds and we will have a classic Homeland season. Auntie Carrie is already off to a decent start.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 2/4/2018

Shameless: Usually all the progress the Gallagher’s made during the season goes doen the drain in the season finale. Except last season Fiona bought an apartment in an up and coming neighborhood and things actually looked to be turning around, at least for her. So I figured the fall was coming this season when she got sued and her options were to basically give them the building or sell it, spend the money and declare bankruptcy. But she managed to keep the building as the final credits ran. Granted the rest of the clan are back in dire straits: Lip lost love yet somehow gained a dependent, Ian is off the prison, Debbie has three less toes than she started the season with, Carl just angered his wife by leaving, and Frank got screwed by a child and had to hide in a Port-a-Potty which is up there with amputating toes in a kitchen and digging up your ex-wife. But hey, Svetlana got ger sugar daddy. I am not sure why Kev and Vee made so much a deal out of the pre-nup, dude in the diaper cannot possibly have much time left. And getting him to die by narural causes will be undoubtedly be a storyline next season.

The Chi: I hate when shows get cute like that. The thing is when they dole out information like that, I actually figured out the kid was the one that shot Ronnie pretty early on. The only question was why and how.

Supergirl: I believe this was the first time Saturn Girl was absent from an episode since she arrive and she was sorely missed. They need to make her a main castmember (really she can replace Lena who still cannot seem to decide which accent she wants to use) or just give her and the Legion their own show.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: Oh wow, the British kittie has claws. I was beginning to think they were going to step in at some point the more violent she got, but they just kept on letting her play dirty.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: Well that was nice of Cal to save Eddie, you would fear that Cal was dark enough to leave him down there so he could take over the movement. But why was I too soon for Vera and her mother for Eddie to become a martyr? I take it that moment will come in the finale.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

The X-Files: Just when I thought we were getting some monster of the week based on the Slender Man case, the person behind the monster ended up being Scully’s son. But did he know that Scully was his mother? He gave her the dream of his house. But I kind of want to know the backstory. No, not of the powers, but how he landed two chicks? And why have them attack each other? Wasn’t it to draw Scully there? Then why run when she showed up and the other agents killed each other? Again the mythology episodes are the most confusing. But I guess we got an answer to was the season finale episode was: it was a vision the son planted in Scully’s head… I think.
You can download The X-Files on iTunes.

Knightfall: So what exactly did Landry’s mother say to the Pope to keep him from being burned from the stake? My initial thoughts were they are a descendant of Jesus (which would make the Judas / Jesus spat at his trial a bit of foreshadowing). Back at the castle, interesting that the king still call’s the Queen’s unborn child his, I guess he will get a male heir anyway he can.
You can download Knightfall on iTunes.

The Good Place: Mmmm, that was interesting, not quite, oh snap, they are really in the Bad Place interesting, but still makes me very interesting in where season two goes. Is season three just going to be redo’s. Sure I guess the first three episodes can be how the others find each other (please save Jason for last because that has to be great). But then what are the other nine episodes?

I was also surprised after the episode aired that there was debate of what was going on. To me it was obviously a simulation of what would have happened had they not died. But apparently there are people who thought they were actually placed back in time and they are living real life again.
You can download The Good Place on iTunes.

Blindspot: So the guy who “killed” Jane’s kid adopted dad is the guy Roman is hanging around. So he is just using Jane and the task force to bring down his niece’s enemies? But really my favorite part of the episode was the end when they were talking about going on an Olympic break and it ends with the actor who plays Kurt in a thick Australian accent saying, “Go U.S.A.” Really? I know Australia does not have a huge Winter Olympics presence, but that was a bit silly.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Well, I just more confused. I was under the impression that the timeline they are in was one where they never travel to the future but there was YoYo as a Kree slave taking about knowing she had traveled back in time. But I am not entirely sure how that happened. Am I just wrong and maybe the seer who told May that she was raised by May was seeing a different timeline? And why exactly was Fitz left behind originally. Also weird the pre credits scene was in the future and did not tease what happens next.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.