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Now in our eleventh calendar year!

PCR #559 (Vol. 11, No. 50). This edition is for the week of December 6--12, 2010.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Cold and windy here in the midwest. Missing that 60 degree December weather in Tampa believe me. Shall we begin?

"The Tourist"  by Mike Smith
John Lennon Remembered  by ED Tucker
Lady Snowblood (1973)  by Jason Fetters
Rocking Rick .... Passing On .... And So It Begins .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith


Last night my wife and I took in the musical stylings of Rick Springfield, she for the first time while I was celebrating the big 1 0. A staple of 80s radio, Springfield has continued to record and draw packed houses (1200 plus last night).

What makes Springfield such a special performer, in my opinion, is that he really appreciates his fans. I've gone to concerts where there is very little interaction between performer and fans, where the set list is followed to the letter and there is no room for improvisation. Last night the show began with a salute to Christmas, including having a tree brought out on stage. Unfortunately, the tree was only lit in one section and a new one was eventually found. Until then, Rick and the band had fun. At one point of the show he asked one of the crew to up the level of his mike, only to turn and see the crew member he was looking for, along with his bassist, trying to get the lights on the tree to work. He also pulled out a harmonica and led the audience in the Beatles' "Love Me Do," as well as solo on a searing version of Jimi Hendrix' "Fire." Even though he is often dismissed as "bubble gum" music, Springfield has always been an underrated guitarist and he showed his chops on that song.

As for fan interraction, there was the usual part in the middle of "Don't Talk to Strangers" where he enlists members of the audience to sing with him. The highlight was when he pulled a little ten year old boy on stage with him and had him sing along. Certainly a great moment the boy will remember forever. But the highlight came during "Human Touch" where he not only reached into the audience in the front rows (we had sweet seats in the third row) but then hopped into the audience and worked the entire auditorium, climbing railings and "touching" as many fans as he could. A great show, as always, with some new memories for the fans to take home.


Back before the days of VHS tapes and the Internet, pornographic films were, well, films. Decent plots, fairly good acting and, of course, sex. One of the more successful leading men was John Leslie. Leslie died this week at the age of 65 after suffering a heart attack at his home outside San Francisco. Leslie appeared in over 250 adult films as an actor and went on to become a successful director in the genre.


The short list of Oscar nominees for several categories have been released. Eligible for Best Documentary:

“Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer”
“Enemies of the People”
“Exit through the Gift Shop”
“Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould”
“Inside Job”
“The Lottery”
“Precious Life”
“Quest for Honor”
“This Way of Life”
“The Tillman Story”
“Waiting for ‘Superman'”
“Waste Land”
“William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe”

In the Best Animated Feature category:

“Alpha and Omega”
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
“Despicable Me”
“The Dreams of Jinsha”
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“Idiots and Angels”
“The Illusionist”
“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”
“My Dog Tulip”
“Shrek Forever After”
“Summer Wars”
“Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”
“Toy Story 3”

Oddly, no mention of "Yogi Bear," which I saw this past weekend and found pretty enjoyable. Much better then the "Owl" movie.

Living in Oz - Rick Springfield

The War of the Worlds - Jeff Wayne

Since I just raved about the Rick Springfield concert I thought I'd pull one of his discs off the shelf this week.

The follow-up to the successful "Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet," "Living In Oz" shows Springfield getting back to his roots of guitar driven rock and roll. The title tune, among others, highlights his guitar skills. The album spawned two hit singles: "Affair of the Heart," which hit number nine on the charts and earned Springfield a Grammy nomination for Best Male Rock Performance and "Human Touch," which peaked at number eighteen.

Here's a look at "Living In Oz," performed live:


After not making the cut for the Halloween issue I thought I'd highlight one of, in my opinion, the greatest combination of music and spoken word ever put on disc, Jeff Waynes's version of the classic story "War of the Worlds." Featuring the performances of Richard Burton, Justin Haywood, David Essex and others, the album would go on to spawn everything from a video game to a touring production, which is currently appearing in England. A DVD of the entire show, taped at Wembley Stadium in 2006, is also available.

Here's a look at the beginning of the show, featuring a computer enhanced Burton:


Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. "Mike's Rant" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.