Now On Your Virtual Doorstep…

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chaplin newsletter

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog may have noticed that recently I put up a new website link at the top of the blogroll over there on the lower left hand side of the page.

That’s a link to the shiny new Arts Express Newsletters archive. As you may be aware, every month we’ve been putting out a full color newsletter filled with interviews, scripts, essays, photos, and more. It’s a kind of companion to the Arts Express radio program. We offer a continuing subscription to the newsletter for free as an email attachment to those who drop us a line at artsexpresslist@gmail.com and put the word “subscribe” in the subject line (Try it and see!)

Recently, we were requested to create an archive of past newsletters which we’re glad to do. By clicking on this link or the picture above, you’ll be taken to the archive of past newsletters, where you can access any of the individual issues.

So now there are two ways to get your monthly Arts Express Newsletter fix: either rushed to you by email on the first of each month, or by accessing past issues at the archive.

Monk In Quarantine

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This one is strictly for the Monk nerds. If you’re not a fan, I’m afraid it won’t mean much. But if you are familiar with the show–then I think you’ll be delighted and may LOL a few times as I did. My favorite part: the dishwasher.

There aren’t many television shows that I watch, but come Thursdays, you’re likely to find me sitting, watching hour after hour of Monk re-runs that are thoughtfully played from 11am-8pm, non-stop, each Thursday on one of my local TV stations.

The premise of the show, that of a detective with severe OCD doesn’t necessarily sound very appealing, but the writing for the show is really strong, and the way the cast, especially Tony Shalhoub, wrings comedy, mystery and pathos out of each episode is always enjoyable for me to watch.

Thanks to YouTuber Peacock

 

Poster Boy

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mixed magic Jerry Zolten

A while back, I posted about the Buster Keaton short, “Mixed Magic”.

I recently had a pleasant email exchange with noted author and producer Jerry Zolten who told me that he had picked up a one-sheet poster for the Keaton short from a collector who ran an appliance store. The collector had been deeded a bunch of movie posters by the daughter of a movie house owner who didn’t know what to do with the extra posters lying around, so she gave them to him.

Jerry kindly gave me permission to display the poster here.

Jerry is a very interesting guy, and in addition to teaching university courses on stand-up comedy and the roots of rock ‘n’ roll he produced a remarkable audio documentary about the music and radio of the Vietnam War. It’s so difficult to capture the true spirit of a former time, but if you were alive at the time, this will give you flashbacks:

http://atimetoheal.wpsu.org/soundtrack/

I highly recommend you take a listen.

Stamped: The Remix

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In 2016 Ibram X. Kendi wrote an acclaimed book called Stamped from the Beginning, The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Now that book has been adapted by Kendi and Jason Reynolds in what they call a remix for young audiences.

You can listen to my interview with Ibram Kendi and Jason Reynolds as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI 99.5FM NYC, WBAI.org, and Pacifica stations across the country by clicking on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen.

“That Joke is Dumb–I’m Aware Of That”

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When I watch videos of Mitch Hedberg I’m amazed. His appearances are always precarious—you sort of know that he would never succeed at anything else, and you feel like there’s no way this guy is going to make it through the set, but somehow he does. He’s like a clueless guy from the audience who grabs a flaming torch from the circus fire-eater and manages not to get burned. But I am grateful that he did, because his off-kilter humor really makes me laugh.

Thanks to YouTuber 0Bathgate66

The Deep End: Radical Writers of The 30s

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During the Great Depression an editor for the NY Times wrote: “We do have to convince millions of our young people that we have not yet come to a social doomsday, and that there is something better for them to do than jump off the deep end ” Well, that was written not in 2020, but in 1936, but it still seems quite applicable for our times.

Jason Boog  is the author of a new book published by OR books called The Deep End, and I spoke with him about radical poets and novelists of the 30s, and what we can learn from them in an age of pandemic.

You can listen to my interview with Jason Boog as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI 99.5FM NYC, WBAI.org, and Pacifica stations across the country by clicking on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen.

Lucky To Be Me

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Tony Yazbeck singing, and dancing on location, the Comden-Green-Bernstein standard from On The Town.

Aside from Yazbeck’s winning performance, if you’re a New Yorker, you’ll have fun identifying the locations.

Thanks to YouTuber On The Town on Broadway

350 Years Of Punch And Judy

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A post on the Genii Forum by expert children’s magician and puppeteer Quentin Reynolds led me to start viewing dozens of Punch and Judy videos.

While the scripts differ in their particulars and added topical jokes, there are some basic puppets and plotlines: Punch, always with his distinctive voice and his slapstick; Judy, his wife, and their baby; a crocodile; a policeman; often a monkey or clown. Today’s offerings are much tamer than those you can see in black and white videos of the 1950s, but they all depend on gross physical humor to get the children viewing it shouting, clapping , and cheering.

If after viewing the above, you’d like an inside view, I highly recommend that you watch the amazing Quentin Reynolds perform Punch and Judy with no puppets, and no stage, just his bare hands, here.

Thanks to YouTuber Tommy B entertainments