Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ulysses sings "Secret Agent Man" on America's Got Talent

My man Ulysses sang "Secret Agent Man" on America's Got Talent last night and will be heading to New York for the big show. He had made it to the Las Vegas round on the strength of his faithful rendition of the theme from "Love Boat" in Tampa. As in the first round, Howard Stern is not convinced that Ulysses is a million-dollar act, while Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne are sold. Sharon in particular seems to love the concept of a guy who comes out on stage "like Yogi Bear with that great voice." Here's why Ulysses should win America's Got Talent:
  • He is mellow.
  • He seems really sweet.
  • He plays hand bells.
  • He made it in Tampa on the strength of "The Love Boat."
  • He is nicely chubby.
  • C'mon, "Secret Agent Man"! This guy's a genius.

Always remember Tampa. "The Love Boat." Ulysses.

I would also be happy if 10-year-old Sebastian and the El Charro de Oro Mariachi Band made it all the way. They're heading to New York so chances are good. I've got family from Jalisco and I lived in Guadalajara for a few months, so you know I've been listening to some mariachi music over the years. Individuals who are not situated in Western Mexico can find mariachi bands throughout urban areas in the southwestern United States. And now on network television.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Get on board the funky train ride!

That's right. Funk music and trains—no one knows for sure what the connection is, but it's a strong one, or as we say in Spanglish: muy fuerte. If you're funky, if you like trains, you're in luck because you're going on a funky train ride RIGHT NOW.

Gap Band - Party Train. Is this the greatest music video of all time? Featuring a Gap Band heavy down beat and a Venice Beach dance-off of epic proportions, with muscle men, little kids, Boogaloo Shrimp, dancing cop, endless popping and breaking, and Charlie Wilson in a Speedo. It is truly a party, but no train.

Heatwave - The Groove Line. This is one of the best songs of the disco era. When I was a youngster, Heatwave was one of my faves. They still are. They had Dayton, Ohio-bred soul, a ridiculously strong work ethic, and secret-weapon songwriter Rod Temperton on board. Heatwave disbanded under tragic circumstances, but their spirit never wavered.

Did this start it all? The Soul Train theme from 1973 with its animated chugga-chugga train streaming soulful vibes from its steam funnel. RIP, Don Cornelius. Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doooo!

James Brown - Yes, I am ready for the Night Train. Damn!

Of course, I can't leave out Little Eva's Locomotion. A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Job - a short film featuring Supreme Dicks and my lunatic mind

Back in the early 90s, I made short films and this is one of them. The strangely haunting experimental band, Supreme Dicks, were open to me using one of their songs "The Language You Learnt" from their cool album Working Man's Dick and so here it is. (And now I'm going to get lots of porn-y spam, but what can you do? Supreme Dicks were named pre-Internet usage.)

The title character is played by my husband. And I have a cameo as a middle-manager, but don't read anything into our relationship based on this film. It was truly the result of my many temp jobs over the years and was filmed at an actual temp-job site. But know this: Reader, I married him.

Monday, June 18, 2012

This is a loquat post

Welcome to the second installment of cooking with Captive Wild Woman. Last time we learned how to make popcorn. Today, something a bit more exotic: brandied loquats. Trying to keep it interesting around here. Let's take a look inside the CWW kitchen and see what's happening with loquats!

Oh my! This year's loquats are a lovely apricot color and I try to pick as many as possible before the birds and squirrels (and probably rats—yecch) get them all. I've been eating loquats like gangbusters, but the abundance this year (thanks to less rain? more compost? I don't know?) has been overwhelming. Over at Cafe Liz is a recipe for brandied loquats. Alcoholic loquats, swimming in their own self-made sugary liquor-juice. I'll give that a try.

Peel a bunch of loquats. Put them in a glass container and cover them with sugar. Put in a dark, cool storage area for 2-3 months. The sugars and loquat juice ferment (I guess), creating alcoholic fruits. I'll take a look in several weeks and see what I've wrought. Hopefully this IKEA glass jar will be sufficiently sealed for the process. Ever notice how IKEA products are not exactly lock-tight?

I know what the majority of you are thinking: what the hell is a loquat? It's a fruit that is most likely native to Japan, although it grows extensively throughout China and in Mediterranean climates as well. Here's our loquat tree in the back yard. I lived in our rental for more than a year before a helpful person on the Internet helped me identify it.

Look at all these dreamy loquats! Here's the best way to eat one: pluck, wash, peel, slice in half to get rid of the weird multiple pits in the middle (four to five pits sometimes), then devour. Tastes like a cross between an apricot and a plum. Really delish. High in fiber, vitamin A, and apparently has sedative qualities if you eat enough of them. Chinese herbalists use the leaves for medicinal tea. Apparently the fruit makes a damn fine crumble as well. But don't eat a pit. It contains cyanide! That makes the loquat an exciting culinary experience, I think you'll agree. More loquat recipes here.

After 30 minutes, things started liquefying. My Mom's bringing over another big glass jar tomorrow so I'll start a new batch. This is like home-brewing for very lazy people. I'll report back in a few months, hopefully while in a sedated, alcoholic stupor.

Update: I waited three months and sure enough, my IKEA jar was not sealed tight enough and those loquats looked brown and yucky. Out they went! Luckily my Mom had lent me a better jar so the second batch, I let sit a while longer in the cupboard.

At four months, I gave them a try. The top layer of fruit browned and was mushy—out they went! The second layer was attractive and definitely brandied. The whole thing smelled like a dessert bar. The loquats were kind of on the squishy side. I still had to eat around the multiple pits too, so that got kind of messy. Resealing the jar and waiting another month resulted in another browned top layer that had to be tossed. And ultimately, I decided the texture of my loquats was not to my liking. I just like 'em fresh I guess. And sweet liquors aren't my favorites either.

So, if you ever find yourself with hundreds of loquats and you like sugary alcoholic treats, give this a try, but try to weigh down your top layer with something, like a metal weight (which I didn't have), because the air will get to them and ruin their firmness. This year my tree hardly produced any fruit and what was there got eaten by creatures, so I'll just be snacking. If I get a bumper crop again, I'll try a crumble. Until then...keep on loquating.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Barbara Manning's long-lost music videos - found

Long, long ago, back in the early 90s, I was making films for fun and very little profit. Well, I don't think I ever made a profit, but I definitely broke even on these two, thanks to Matador Records' big-time budgets of $300 each (thanks to the record label public-relations model of old). These were a lot of fun to make and I had much help from friends who have stuck with filmmaking, some of whom are so legit, their film jobs come with health plans.

Barbara Manning is a singer/songwriter, who graced the streets of San Francisco for many years, making it an even better city than ever before. She lives in another part of California now, but her presence is still felt in the foggy byways of the City by the Bay. And she could really play baseball too, while wearing a dress and smiling the whole time. I miss you Barbara.

Dock Ellis is from the EP "Baseball Trilogy." Barbara's band, The S.F. Seals, were named after the old-timey minor-league team. Dock Ellis was a unique player who pitched a no-hitter while tripping on acid. He later co-authored with poet-laureate, Donald Hall, the book In the Country of Baseball, about his time in the Major League. After retiring from baseball, he worked as a drug counselor. Sadly, he died in 2008 at age 63.

Barbara's song Still? is a haunting tune from the S.F. Seals album "Nowhere." Featuring scenes from the Manning Manor as well as from the long-gone Master Links miniature golf course in my hometown of Concord, California. I think every music video should focus on either a baseball player on acid or a game of miniature golf. That's my winning combination.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adventure Time animated gif extravaganza

Cartoons set in post-apocalyptic worlds full of magic, wizardry, surrealism, humor, heroism and imaginative excess are not exactly a dime a dozen. That's why Cartoon Network's Adventure Time is such a welcome addition to children's programming. Excellent voice casting, character development and bizarre storylines give adults the entertainment they crave while providing kids with the fairytale adventure elements they need to develop into sound citizens. It's not for everyone, but if you've read anything on this blog and enjoyed it, you will most likely be a fan of Adventure Time.

And now: Adventure Time animated gifs.

Finn doing his "I'm a buff baby" song and dance.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There's lots of dancing on Adventure Time. Especially when Jake the magically stretchy dog and his video game playing unit, Beemo, get going.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A dancing bug.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A group shot featuring Lumpy Space Princess (LSP) and Cinnamon Bun. LSP is voiced by Adventure Time creator Pen Ward in a guttural valley-girl accent and she is probably the brattiest, most selfish teen in the history of television. Yes, even worse than Julie of Friday Night Lights. Actually, she's kind of like Julie if Julie had a guttural valley-girl accent.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There's also a lot of excitement in this show. Look at the excitement.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It's hard to pick, but I think my favorite character is Jake. Being magical and mellow, he's rarely upset by the peculiar goings-on in the Land of Ooo. But occasionally even Jake gets overwhelmed.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

But not for long.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Princess Bubblegum rules the Candy Kingdom and she's made of gum. She's a force of good but her scientific experiments have led to...problems, like zombiefication and mind-reading would-be totalitarian creatures.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Everyone's favorite 1000-year-old vampire queen, Marceline.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Finn is a 13-year-old boy who lives for heroic adventures. And sparkles.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Finn explains the general rule of thumb when dealing with the Candy Kingdom citizens.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A clip entitled Stomachs are Weird. They sure are.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Fabulous Divas Pay Tribute to Fabulous Divas

These young divas pay tribute to their inspirational elder divas, and how!

Erykah Badu pays tribute to Diana Ross - Love Hangover. Ross is like, oh wow. Same here—wow, this is hawt.

Fantasia Barrino pays tribute to Patti LaBelle - Lady Marmalade. Now this is how you pay tribute. The intensity of Fantasia's feelings for Miss Patti are tangible throughout this performance. She is not messing around.

Beyonce pays tribute to everyone but especially Tina Turner - Proud Mary, featuring Tina Turner! There's video of Beyonce singing this solo while Tina sits in a balcony, looking down upon the stage like the royalty she is. But hell, if you get a chance to see Tina in action, take it. Look how she moves (even with this lousy camerawork). Forever fierce.

Everybody pays tribute to Aretha Franklin at the 53rd GRAMMY Awards. Featuring Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride and Yolanda Adams. It takes a super group to pay proper tribute to the Queen of Soul. Kudos.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

It isn't a Diamond Jubilee until Grace Jones shows up with a Hula Hoop

Grace Jones, looking fabulous at 64, Hula Hoops her way through Slave to the Rhythm for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee concert. Wow, I just noticed there's a string section. That's fancy schmancy! Grace really knows how to focus your attention on stage.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Hipster's Guide to Shopping at JCPenney

That's right—you're a hipster with some disposable income and you want to support JCPenney (or JCP as they're known currently), right? WHAT? This isn't an alternative universe, although it may feel that way to you, dear hipster.

JCPenney is in the process of making themselves seem like a more relevant shopping destination. To this end, they hired Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson. Good plan, yes? Except along came One Million Moms who claimed they would boycott JCPenney for hiring a gay spokesperson. This falls under their ignorant bigoted bully platform. JCPenney responded that they stand by their decision to hire Ellen, which makes sense because Ellen is a very good spokesperson, on many levels.

This week, JCPenney went a step further, releasing a gay dad ad for Father's Day, featuring two dads and their kids. One Million Moms are now protesting like the legion of shitheads they are, saying they are disturbed by JCP's lack of Biblical values by promoting sin in their ad. I'll tell you what's a sin in advertising: most all of it. But two dads frolicking among their JCPenney goods with their cute children does not fall under this sweeping generalization. In fact, the two-dad ad makes me want to do something to make the world a better place. It makes me want to shop at JCPenney.

And I know you do too, if only to support their openly pro-humanity marketing campaign. But what to buy? Most of you (I'm guessing) haven't stepped inside a JCPenney in decades (their last quarterly earnings back me up). What are we going to get?


You like dogs. Dogs and micro-brew. Here's a visual representation of both, together, for your wall.

Doggie micro-brew wall decor

You like owls. You need a lamp. Why not combine your two interests in one item? You'll need to swap out that blah lampshade, but I'm sure your impeccable taste will lead you to make daring choices with that.

Owl lamp

Say, the gang's on their way over and they're clamoring for smoothies! What're you going to do? Get a Rocket Power Blender I guess. What color will you choose? The gang is counting on you!

A wee colorful blender

Now the gang wants burgers! Whip out this adorable apple-green mini-grill. Some party, huh?

Li'l grill

Is that a brightly colored floral dress I see?

Crazy-ass dress

WAIT! Is that a COLOR-BLOCK dress?! GIVE IT.

I can't actually wear color-block—makes me look wide. But YOU are a skinny hipster so have at it.

GUYS! It's 99 degrees outside. Better put on your beanie. This Pantera one will do just fine.

I have no words

Demonstrate your ongoing man-child status with this Super Mario baseball cap. A real Princess Peach magnet.

Hey Mario head!
A store is only as hip as its graphic-T collection. I think you'll agree, Kool Aid T-shirt fits the bill. Only $7 for the month of June for those on a tight T-shirt budget.

Hey Kool Aid! That's YOU