Friday, June 29, 2007

Whiskey's multimedia extravaganza

From my new iPod to dvd box sets to talk radio...

What's on Whiskey's iPod?

K and the kids gave me an iPod for Father's Day. It was quite the unexpected gift (especially for, ahem, a "Hallmark Holiday") . I hadn't necessarily felt like I needed one or even wanted one. But I guess K felt sorry for me when she saw me fumbling around with all my cd's, and probably thought it was time for my music collection to join me in the 21st century. So I've been busily installing music on it... so far, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Bob Wills are all heavily represented, as are dozens of "alt-country" artists ranging from the Asylum Street Spankers to Townes Van Zandt. I'm beginning to see the appeal of this technology... I can put it on "shuffle" and it's just like listening to the Range, only with no annoying banter between Dallas Wayne and Gail Lightfoot, and with better reception. I'll let you know when I finish converting my collection... it's gonna take a while.

remember the Kids in the Hall ?

For a few years in the mid-1990s ('93 to about '97 or so), I became hooked on the Kids in the Hall, a Lorne Michaels-produced comedy series that aired on Comedy Central. KITH has drawn comparisons to some of Monty Python's material (except that the KITH are Canadian, not British) and Saturday Night Live. They produced 5 seasons of material between 1988 and 1994, which are now available for purchase as dvd box sets (which is definitely a good thing, since Comedy Central no longer airs them). I recently picked up the box set of season 5. The skits run the gamut from hilarious to inane to bizarre and everywhere in between. Recurring themes include dating and sexuality, gay humor, and events and politics in the workplace. A favorite pastime of all five KITH was performing skits dressed in drag.... once you're familiar with the performers and their personalities, it's hard not to burst out laughing at the mere sight of one of them dressed as a woman. Some skits are better than others, and some fans and critics would argue that the KITH were running out of steam and ideas by the time the fifth season rolled around, but there's no denying that there's still some great stuff on these dvd's. Do yourself a favor and check these out. Whether it's Kevin McDonald attempting to evade a "grizzly" in a gay bar, Mark McKinney as the "Chicken Lady", or David Foley as a chronic ear-bleeder, if these don't elicit side-splitting laughter, then you're probably seriously humor-impaired. Need a sample (albeit one from an earlier season -- not Season 5)? Allow me to direct you to one of several KITH clips on youtube, this one being "Business Suit Trappers". Pure brilliance! I've got the season 3 box set on order; I'll post a short review of it later.

The return of Phil Hendrie

A couple weeks ago, I noticed on the Phil Hendrie Show website that Phil would be going back on the air on June 25. He's only been off the airwaves for about a year, after he pulled the plug on his previous show to pursue "other opportunities" in movies and on tv.

For those unfamiliar with Hendrie's previous radio work, I'll attempt to explain it. Hendrie hosted a talk show with purported "guests" who made outrageous claims or proposals, argued with and insulted callers, and became increasingly belligerent as the show went on. Of course, it was all a joke -- the guests were characters voiced by Hendrie himself, who spoke through a telephone handset to perform his guests' parts in the conversation. Listeners who were "in on the joke" could tune in nightly to hear unsuspecting callers argue with Phil's fake guests about topics ranging from racism to frivolous lawsuits to national security. (Jay Santos, a spokesman for a vigilante group called the Citizens Auxiliary Police, once advocated performing body cavity searches on young kids at amusement parks). It was some of the funniest and most unique radio I've ever heard. I listened mostly on the internet, since none of our local stations carried his shows. But I occasionally caught a staticky broadcast from some faraway AM station during a road trip. Those shows always made those late-night or early-morning miles go by a little faster.

Phil's new show is carried by Talk Radio Network affiliates, which don't include any stations in the D-FW market, but I was able to find a Las Vegas affiliate that offered live streaming. I know it's early in the going, but if what I heard Thursday night was any indication, his new show is going to be a real bore. He wasn't doing any character bits, just a few odd voices here and there as part of one of his monologues. Surprisingly enough (to me), he was taking serious phone calls from callers on real-world topics... in other words, it sounded more or less like any other talk show. Hopefully things will improve, and it will eventually transition into something more like his old show. I'd sure hate to see someone with Hendrie's talents and sense of humor become just another boring voice in talk radio.

Tuning back in to Mark Davis

Speaking of radio, I caught a few minutes of WBAP's Mark Davis on Friday morning. I began listening to Mark in 1995 when I first moved to Ft. Worth, and I've always admired his skills as a communicator. I agree with some, but not all of his political views. Politics aside, Mark is at his most entertaining when he's discussing pop cultural issues or local sports, or just shooting the proverbial sh** with his production team on the air. Unfortunately, political discussions comprise an ever-expanding percentage of his show, and quite frankly, they bore me to tears. So I don't listen to his show all that much anymore. But I'd listen to him critique movies, review concerts, and criticize Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys all day long.

Once in a while, he and his producer and technician will clown around like they did today when they played a game called "Firecracker, Drug, or Fish?" Mark would throw out a term like "Party Popper" or "Kentucky Blue" and Jeff and Sean had to guess whether it was the name of a fireworks product, a slang term for a street drug, or a kind of fish. The catch: there may have been more than one correct answer for some of the terms. It's kind of funny to think that this tomfoolery occupied at least a 10-minute segment of morning airtime on one of the state's most listened-to stations. But it's that kind of entertainment that still makes it worthwhile to flip over to the AM dial every so often. Mark's local show airs on WBAP (820 AM) from 9 to 11 am weekdays. WBAP also airs the first hour of his national show from 11 to noon. Check it out sometime if you get a chance.

Clear Channel airs the Gourds

One last radio tidbit -- I heard a Gourds song on KZPS this morning... first time I've heard them on the new "Lone Star 92.5". I still occasionally hear them on KHYI (usually "El Paso" or "Hallelujah Shine"). KZPS was playing one of their newer songs from the "Heavy Ornamentals" album. KZPS spins some good stuff, but they really need to add some Chris Knight and Hayes Carll to their playlists, whenever the Clear Channel executives decide to approve them. It wouldn't kill them to play some Ray Wylie Hubbard, either.


np: King of the Hill rerun

Labels: , , , , , ,


Blogger AAdriver said...

Thanks for reminding me of how funny KITH was and is. It's been too long since I've seen an episode; I'll have to find some clips on Youtube or check out Net-flix.
Keep pushing the tall gears.

11:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home