Kevin's blog

Sherlock Holmes on Screen

The DVD cover for The Sherlock Holmes Feature Film Collection, starring Jeremy Brett.

My first introduction to Sherlock Holmes came from my oldest brother, who became somewhat of a fanatic for a time, reading (and rereading) the fifty-six short stories and four novels. Me, I was more likely to watch any of the numerous movie adaptations that have been made over the years, and make no mistake, there have been many.

A Healthy Fear of the Water

The DVD cover for the film All Is Lost.

Once, in my early teens, I nearly drowned. It’s no wonder that inherently dangerous water-set situations still give me the creeps. The film industry, always conscious that audiences are attracted to what they fear, has used water effectively as an antagonist in scores of movies over the years. Here are a few of the notable ones.

Outlaw Country: A Movement that Combined the Old with the New

The cover art for the album Wanted! The Outlaws.

Outlaw country arose in the seventies as a reaction to what had been occurring in Nashville during the previous decade. The "Nashville sound" had smoothed all the edges off honky-tonk – removing much of what had made it traditional country – in order to appeal to a wider, pop audience. Waylon and Willie and the boys (and a few girls, too) reclaimed honky-tonk, but also reenvisioned it in the process.

College Rock… and the Context of 1980s College Radio That Created It

Cover of the B-52's self-titled debut album.

What do you call music that has been lumped together, but isn’t unified by similar rhythms, instrumentation, subject matter, or geographic origin? Back in the eighties to early-nineties, we called it college rock. It had no major defining characteristic, other than the obvious: if a song or artist was played almost exclusively on college stations, then it was college rock. For a while, that bond was more than enough!

“Listen, and Understand. That Terminator Is Out There... And It Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, until You Are Dead!"

Cover art for the DVD of The Terminator.

In 1984, one of the last things that I thought would ever happen was for former body-builder Arnold Schwarzenegger to star in great movie. So convinced was I that it would never happen, that when it actually did, I almost didn't bother seeing it. The movie, of course, was The Terminator, which was also the first of many successes for filmmaker James Cameron.

Going It Alone: One-Man Bands of Various Stripes

Cover art for the Paul McCartney album McCartney II.

Several things might come to mind when hearing the term "one-man band." It could be a raucous circus act, a performer who uses looping technology to build complex, but cohesive songs on stage, or a musician who sings all the vocal parts and plays all the instruments on a recording. In recent decades, an added wrinkle has occurred as some of these multi-talented musicians have even donned band names to obscure their solo identities!

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