2013 was a watershed moment for disaster films. While many folks were updating their anti-Zombie kits some of us were shopping for chain saws in case the absolute worst-case came to be – a Sharknado. This terrifying premise is exactly what it sounds like – a huge Oz-level tornado sucks up sharks (and only sharks) from the sea and throws them at large municipalities and at a few people specifically. The movies aren’t comedies per se, but play it straight with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
In the opening installment, the main character, Fin, appropriately, is on a mission to save his estranged wife and daughter during the height of this cloudburst of cartilaginous killers using the best tool at hand – a chain saw. By the end, Fin has saved his family and sawed a swath through Los Angeles’ aquatic infestation.
But wait! There’s more! Five more monsoons of man-eaters!
Sharknado 2: The Second One takes us to New York where Fin’s now-safe wife April (Tara Reed) is promoting her new book about surviving a deluge of toothy torpedoes. Little do our heroes know that weather systems WILL follow you across the country when thwarted to taunt you a second time.
Some decades back, our local PBS station would run several British shows on Friday nights. For many Americans this was their first exposure to classic UK fare and, for me, solidified my love of British humour. (See what I did there?) Here are a few of the shows that grabbed our attention and found their place in America’s heart.
Fawlty Towers – Basil Fawlty is having a bad day. Every day at Fawlty Towers is a bad day for Basil, especially if his “little piranha fish” wife Sybil has anything to do with it. Easily frustrated, Basil’s constantly trying to ‘raise the tone’ of their hotel, set on the so-called ‘English Riviera’ in South-West England.
The brainchild of main character John Cleese, who plays Basil, the show was inspired by a hotelier that ran a hotel where the members of Monty Python were staying at in Torquay, Devon, whom Cleese described as “the rudest man I’ve ever come across in my life”. The man’s antics included tossing Eric Idle’s briefcase out a window “in case it contained a bomb” and viewed his guests as a “colossal inconvenience” according to Michael Palin. Continue reading “A trio of British comedies”
Let’s face it…many a music snob would declare the 1980s as the worst decade in music, while others would put ’80s music in the “so bad it’s good” category. A flurry of recent titles chronicle the highlights, and occasional lowlights, of the decade’s most influential artists.
For me and my high school friends, heavy metal ruled, starting with my first concert: Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet tour in 1984 at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. In Nöthin’ but A Good Time, you can explore all things metal – from the heyday of hair bands (confession: I’ve seen both Whitesnake and Skid Row in concert) to the edgier Guns N’ Roses, before heavy metal gave way to grunge in the ’90s. Spanning hard rock classics (Ratt’s “Round & Round”) and obligatory metal ballad (Poison’s “Every Rose Has it’s Thorn”), authors Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock take readers on a wild ride. Continue reading “To the Max: ’80s Music in Books”
The ninth annual Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF) takes place from March 4 to March 14 and showcases feature-length and short format films by and about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across North America, with an emphasis on filmmakers from the Pacific Northwest.
In March, the Seattle Art Museum will host a timely exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle. Best known for his work The Migration Series, Lawrence set his sight on the American Revolution creating a series of 30 painted panels between 1954 and 1956, focusing on historical events occurring from 1775 to 1817. It is interesting to note that Lawrence developed this series during another time of struggle and strife in the country, the Civil Rights era.
The Seattle Art Museum’s show will reunite these works for the first time since 1958.
For some artists, their work is to create visual narratives. Through their work they provide their singular perspective on historical events. Such is the work of Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence brings us to key moments of a history centuries away that, yet, links to the present.