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 by Mike Smith

Looking Ahead To MegaCon: Mark Waid....Retiring Without the Ring....Movies....The Grammys
 by Brandon Jones

Masters of Horror Servers Issues....Congrats To Rod Stewart....Last Week For Rondo Voting....Next Week
 by Matt Drinnenberg

The Grammys....Four Favorite Words....Awards Time....Tear-Jerkers....Passing On....Oscar Night....Jaws: The Story, Part 6
 by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
    Number 256  (Vol. 6, No. 7). This edition is for the week of February 14--20, 2005.

100,000 hits!!!  2:30AM, February 21, 2005. And guess who visitor #100,000 was? ME. I'm rarely awake for every other zero-number turnover, but I was this time. Please believe me, it was legit. Hey, I had it coming. --Nolan

Big Week

  • The Grammys
  • Death of Sister Lucia
  • 10 Years Without Dr. Paul Bearer
  • Coffeehouse Film Review for February
  • At last: The Ray Dennis Steckler Interview!
  • That The Grammys and I parted ways some time ago must come across as so ironic for a former rock musician as myself, yet it makes perfect sense if you can possibly sympathize with my feelings on the direction music has taken over the last, say, ten to fifteen years. It's like this: if you don't like rap, pack your bags and go home.

    Of course, Terence would beg to differ as he has found dozens of alt-rock bands to his liking, and he's right that I haven't been looking in the right places. Music Television is (generally) no place to find breakthrough acts.

    That said, I decided to sample a little of what the Grammys had to offer and came away with the following:

    Ray Charles was the big winner with "Genius Loves Company" garnering 8 awards. Alicia Keys earned four awards while Usher took home three and Kanye West netted two.

    Green Day's "American Idiot" affects me on so many levels, 'cuz, well, I normally like Green Day anyway, and as usual, they're right about everything. Neat video, love the green splooge at the end.

    "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers was pretty good, only it sounded like a cut off an '80s hit compilation album, particularly because of the singer.

    Normally I'm not a country fan, but I found I liked Loretta Lynn's "Portland, Oregon" WAY better than I would've thought. I learned later the young man who played the catchy guitar riff and sang some of the verses in the song (and the video) turned out to be Jack White of The White Stripes, no doubt what made the whole affair more appealing to me. Even later I learned from a web search that White produced Loretta's whole album "Van Lear Rose" from which this track was taken. Geez, I need to talk to Terence more, I'm so behind in behind-the-scenes stuff like this.

    Speaking of country, the Tim McGraw video for "Live Like You Were Dying" I award some points for the white-on-white-in-a-white-space approach (I suppose to convey the afterlife, but not sappily so). I know it's been done before, but, I dunno, in this context seemed progressive for country.

    The surprise for me personally was Hoobastank's "The Reason", a band I'm barely cognizant of (well like all of them), but this cut/video stuck with me for a while which is a big compliment from me.

    "Take Me Out" by Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand was attractive in a quirky, retro kind of way. They sound familiar, can't quite place the influence, but they seem WAY retro, like early '70s, mixed with a tinge of original British invasion sensibility.

    As a P.S. I'll say while I've never been a fan of Michael Jackson, I find I've always been a push-over for his sister Janet Jackson, I don't know why. "Just a Little While" is no exception.

    The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Talked Movies and Became the Mixed-Up Ray Dennis Steckler Interview! As a P.P.S. I'm not discussing any rap/hip-hop/gangsta noise or sappy love ballads because I simply hate them all.

    Now that I'm done venting, here are the actual big winners. I was surprised and not a little amused to find categories for "Best Packaging" (Wilco) and "Best Album Notes" (Loren Schoenberg for Woody Herman and His Orchestra). This, to me, is splitting hairs on award-giving.

    Album of the Year: "Genius Loves Company," Ray Charles and various artists.
    Record of the Year: "Here We Go Again," Ray Charles and Norah Jones.
    Song of the Year: "Daughters," John Mayer.
    Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Vertigo," U2.
    Country Album: "Van Lear Rose," Loretta Lynn.
    Rap Album: "The College Dropout," Kanye West.
    R&B Album: "The Diary of Alicia Keys," Alicia Keys.
    New Artist: Maroon 5.
    Rock Album: "American Idiot," Green Day.
    Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Heaven," Los Lonely Boys.
    Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Call My Name," Prince.
    Spoken Word Album for Children: "The Train They Call The City of New Orleans," Tom Chapin.
    Spoken Word Album: "My Life," Bill Clinton.
    Comedy Album: "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents ... America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction," Jon Stewart and the Cast of "The Daily Show."
    Musical Show Album: "Wicked."
    Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Garden State," Various Artists.
    Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Howard Shore, composer.
    Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Into the West," Annie Lennox, Howard Shore and Fran Walsh, songwriters, track from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
    Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Sunrise," Norah Jones.
    Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Daughters," John Mayer.
    Pop Collaboration With Vocals: "Here We Go Again," Ray Charles and Norah Jones.
    Pop Instrumental Performance: "11th Commandment," Ben Harper.
    Pop Instrumental Album: "Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar," Various Artists.
    Pop Vocal Album: "Genius Loves Company," Ray Charles and Various Artists.
    Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "Stardust ... The Great American Songbook Volume III," Rod Stewart.
    Dance Recording: "Toxic," Britney Spears.
    Electronic/Dance Album: "Kish Kash," Basement Jaxx.
    Alternative Music Album: "A Ghost Is Born," Wilco.
    Solo Rock Vocal Performance: "Code of Silence," Bruce Springsteen.
    Hard Rock Performance: "Slither," Velvet Revolver.
    Metal Performance: "Whiplash," Motorhead.
    Rock Instrumental Performance: "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," Brian Wilson.
    Rock Song: "Vertigo," Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen (U2).

    Sister Lucia Dead at 97
    Who is Sister Lucia? Admittedly this may be one for Catholics only (or former Catholics like myself who, shall we say, still follow Catholic gossip). She is quite a historical figure. She is the last surviving one of the three children who witnessed the "Miracle of Fatima", Portugal. As legend has it, May 13, 1917, young Lucia de Santos and her brother and sister Francisco and Jacinta saw The Virgin Mary floating near an olive tree. Mary conversed with the children over several days. The children managed to excite the small village to come out to the grotto to see the Virgin for themselves, which reportedly, some did. During the final apparition, the sun did a spectacular dance of some sort and the show was over.

    But not before the Virgin entrusted the children with three prophecies. The first two have already been revealed by the Vatican as having to do with World Wars I & II. The third prophecy has never been revealed to the public, although it has been passed down from Pope to Pope, all of whom found it too horrific (or politically hot) to disclose. When young Lucia came of age she entered the sisterhood as a cloistered nun and was sworn to an oath of silence/secrecy.

    Pope Paul II has credited the Fatima Virgin with saving his life when he was shot in the early '80s. He and Sister Lucia met several times and traveled to the site of the visions.

    Sometime in the last few years a book author's claimed he knew the final secret of Fatima; to my knowledge this was the only time Sister Lucia was publicly consulted---she said he was partially right. However, she was not released from her oath by the Vatican. She took the seret of Fatima to the grave with her. Now, we may never know. Sister Maria Lucia died last Sunday at age 97.

    Dr. Paul Bearer Anniversary
    My friends, the late great Dick Bennick, aka, Dr. Paul Bearer, the host of Creature Feature, died ten years ago this week, February 18th, 1995. We're all saddened to commemorate this occasion, yet feel celebratory for what he contributed. PCR special feature writer ED Tucker has written a commemorative piece for this occasion. --Nolan

    By ED Tucker

    It’s hard to believe that February 18, 2005 will mark the tenth anniversary of America’s longest running horror show host. Creature Feature is still so fresh in my mind that it seems like it has only been a few weeks since I last watched it (thanks to the miracle of video tape it probably was). Thankfully we now have the permanent Creature Feature database on Crazedfanboy.com to remind us of how much fun and entertainment Dr. Paul Bearer brought into our lives and as it continues to grow, I’ve begun to realize just how amazing a time it was. By now almost everyone reading this webzine knows of my great admiration for Dr. Paul Bearer, so I thought I would turn this brief tribute over to a couple of fresh voices.

    First up is “Our Man in Tampa Now Transplanted to Nashville for some Ungodly Reason”, David Polk:

    My memories of Dr. Paul Bearer?  I remember when he first was on Channel 44 in 1973!  It was cool to watch him and the really bad movies he had!  That is where I got the love of bad films from!  In the mid 70's his show ran for 3 hours on Saturdays with 2 movies and the 1939 Buck Rogers serial between films.  There also was his singing at the piano with Tom Leher songs like “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” and my personal favorite-“I Hold You Hand in Mine”!  Great stuff!    Then in the early to mid 80's the” brilliant" people at Channel 44 got a lousy package of films. It was no fault of Dr. Paul Bearer, but he had to do his best to get through them. One that I vividly remember was an Italian Mobster film posing as a horror film!  Then in 1991 I had the distinct pleasure and honor of meeting this local legend at his home in Lake Wales with the hearse in the driveway!!  We spent around 3 hours interviewing and talking with him.  He was a gracious gentleman and very funny with a dry wit!  I want to thank Ed Tucker again for that experience!  When Dr. Paul Bearer passed on in 1995 Channel 44 gave him just 30 minutes for a tribute. It should have been at least a 2 hour event, considering that he was on the station for 20 years!!  Thank you!   David Polk

    Next is Dan Tuchman, also an ex-resident of Tampa, founder of the North Florida Science Fiction and Fantasy Society and coordinator of the 1991 tribute and presentation that resulted in “The Lost Interview of Dr. Paul Bearer”.

    The things I remember most about Dr. Paul Bearer were his cheesy sets and his corny lines about the products he made up for the show. I loved his tag line when he was going to start the movies and he would say “now here’s a really horrible old movie” and they would cut to the beginning credits! Thanks to Dr. Paul Bearer, I have some wonderful childhood memories of not only some great monster movies but also his pre, during, and post show skits. My favorite memory of Dr. Paul Bearer would have to be the 1991 Creature Feature tribute at the Necronomicon convention. We handled the entire event ourselves and I was the one who actually presented him with the plaque. – Dan Tuchman.

    I have to agree with David and Dan, those were some great times and the afternoon I spent with Dick Bennick is something I will never forget. If anyone doubts the long reaching appeal of the Creature Feature program, I only have to remind them of a recent event when several of my friends from college met up in Jacksonville. We had planned a Saturday night out on the town but then one of them saw Dr. Paul Bearer’s costume framed on my wall. He grew up in Orlando and immediately recognized what is was from the show. The wave of nostalgia it brought back to him was incredible and sparked a flood of memories. The next thing I knew, we were ordering pizza and watching “Destroy All Monsters”! Thank you Dr. Paul Bearer, you may not be with us any longer but you will never be forgotten!

    Editor's note: click the small image of the proclamation at left to see a larger image of the document that declared a "Dr. Paul Bearer" day by the City of Tampa! --N

    Left, Jereme Badger, a popular actor who I missed last month, drops in.
    L-R, Paul Guzzo, 17-year-old Ben Waller ("Edward & Amelia"), yours truly.
    L-R, Icon's Simon Lynx, Pati White, and yours truly enjoy a respite at the Coffeehouse.
    USF Academic advisor Rodrick Colbert with me after the movies.
    L-R, Robert Elfstrom, Judith Welles, yours truly, and Marisa Welles. Some charming folks I met at last week's gathering.
    Walter Romeo described these as "hippy paintings". Apparently a traveling band stopped by to paint these on the spot!
    L-R, Simon Lynx, Craig Leitschuh (Lie-chew) , Chris Woods and Zach Short trade quips after the show.
    Romeo Coffeehouse Film Series Review for February

    Once again, last minute transportation changes (i.e., couldn't get a hold of Gus) meant I had to impose on Chris and Simon of Icon Film Studios to come pick me up on the way to the Coffeehouse. But, good friends they are, they came through once again. Riding with us was Zach Short, a musician who goes by TZIMISCE (pronounced ZIM-EE-CE).

    Unfortunately, there were only three short features to see this night, so not much to review. (Apparently Chris grabbed the wrong tape on his way out---one was supposed to be an episode of "Scream @ The Wall" a Pinellas Public Access show. Woops).

    First up was an impressive debut shot on 16mm by seventeen-year-old(!) Ben Waller. He's the youngest filmmaker I've ever seen at the Romeo meetings. He goes to school in Tampa and is a very smart and personable young man. His B&W silent super-short film, "Edward and Amelia", was very stylish, but a little confusing in its short 5 or 6 minute run. Not sure what the plot was, but I LOVED the camera work! Hey, he completed a film at 17, that's something! Ben's got a bright future ahead of him.

    Next up, Tracy Fitzgerald's "Play Animation" featured two action-figure toys in combat. Nicely-animated for all its 30 seconds or so of screen time!

    Finally, the main feature was the official premiere of Icon's "SEVER". Also seen last month, this was a slightly tweaked version. A lonely man is given a gift by a mysterious stranger: a magic box from which he can escape his lonely prison and capture the girl of his dreams. Is he living this for real or is it all just an illusion? Starring Jereme Badger as the man and Natali Ragan as the Dream Girl with jazzy 3-D special effects by Icon's Jorge Gimenez. Highly recommended.

    Extremely notable is an announcement regarding Walter Romeo's expansion. Be it hereby known the existence of Romeo's Cherry Street Studios, 3701 W. Cherry St. in Tampa FL. This is open to all filmmakers who need indoor space for their productions. Film & video production, computers/graphic design, sculpting, painting/drawing, the works! For more information call 813-495-4649!

    About the Ray Dennis Steckler Interview     by ED Tucker

    The article being posted this week on Crazedfanboy.com could have almost been titled “The Lost Ray Dennis Steckler Interview”! I met with Ray Steckler, face to face, for the second time in April of 2004. The interview I conducted then was combined with earlier ones and was intended as the first of a two-part PCR exclusive feature called “Velveeta Las Vegas”. While Ray was in the middle of approving the finished piece, he suffered a major coronary episode that left him hospitalized for several weeks. Ray was literally in the middle of recording the commentary track for the DVD of “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies” when he was rushed to the hospital and if you listen to the track you can tell the changes in his voice from before and after the attack. I kept in touch with Ray after he was released from the hospital and we continually discussed the interview but it had to take a back seat to both his recovery and several other projects he had in the works. During this time, I completed the second part of the feature, an interview with cult movie legend Ted V. Mikels, and released it first. Finally now after close to a year, the interview, which I consider to be one of the most comprehensive ever published on Mr. Steckler, is ready to face the world with Ray’s blessing. Please note that after the completion of this article, Media Blasters released several more of Ray’s films on DVD including “Strange Creatures”, “Blood Shack”, “The Thrill Killers”, and “The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher”. Every one of these titles is a must have for any fan of cult films and the feature length commentaries by Ray are the worth the retail price alone. Also, pay close attention at the end of the interview for a special offer, exclusively for PCR readers, and some previews of possible coming attractions. Enjoy!

    Birthday wishes. Among other important and notable facts I forgot about (or was uninformed of) earlier in the week, Happy Birthday to Andy Lalino who turned 38 Thursday, February 17th!

    More Birthday wishes. I will no doubt forget this, too, next week what with MegaCon closing, so I'd better say it now, Happy Birthday to Will Moriaty who will turn...gulp...50 next Thursday, February 24th.

    Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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    "Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2005 by Brandon Jones      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
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