Friday, May 30, 2008

“The Foot Fist Way" Part of Danny McBride's Summer Tripleheader

Comedian Danny McBride is going to have a great summer. He's gone from having only one acting role in a movie to being in three of the summer's most anticipated comedies: “The Foot Fist Way,” (opening today), “Pineapple Express,” and “Tropic Thunder.”

"Pineapple Express," of course, is the latest comedy from the comedy success machine of Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen (who serves as both actor and screenwriter for this film). Apatow, of course, is the producer or director of such successful and popular comedies as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up," "Superbad." and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

The Los Angeles Times offers a profile of McBride, telling how he went from night clerk at the Burbank Holiday Inn to sharing the bill with some of today's biggest and most established comedy names, including Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller. It talks about his knack for playing bumbing, awkward characters, which in this summer's movies involves McBride being beaten up, blown up, and tied up to a chair, among other things.

But if moviegoers like McBride as much as film festival audiences and his fellow actors do, it's going to be a very happy (and lucrative) summer for Danny McBride.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Sex and the City" Movie Unleashed Upon the World

The "Sex and the City" movie has had its New York premiere, and now it's ready to be released to the world at large. And naturally, HBO wants to help get you in the spirit of things. If you can't remember where Carrie and the gang were at last time you saw them, when the TV show ended, don't worry. HBO has a Web site to bring you back to where you left off with the girls.

Besides telling you about the weddings, hookups, and other situations the girls were involved in, it lets you relive some of the highlights of the shows. You'll find links to Carrie's most outrageous outfits, Samantha whipping the boys at a fetish restaurant into shape, Charlotte breaking the rules, and Miranda deciding whether to date the sandwich-board guy.

And, of course, plenty of fashion photos from all four ladies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Earle Hagen Dies; Composer of "Andy Griffith" Theme and Other Classic TV Themes

You may not know the name of Earle Hagen, but if you've seen classic TV shows from the late 1960s you'll recognized the songs he wrote. Earle Hagen, who died at age 88 the other day, was the composer of some of the most memorable TV theme songs of all time.

Perhaps the best known is the whistling intro to "The Andy Griffith Show" (which he whistled himself), but Earle Hagen composed music for more than 3,000 TV episodes, pilots, and made-for-TV movies. Among those are themes for a number of iconic shows, including "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "I Spy," "That Girl," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," "The Mod Squad" and "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer."

Hagen was a big-band trombone player before his TV career, though, playing with top names including Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. And he wrote the longtime jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne."

You can learn much more about the work and life of the prolific composer Earle Hagen at "The Best of All Worlds," a fan site dedicated to Hagen.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Podcast is Back (and So is Frank Black)

After a nearly one year silence, the podcast is back with new episodes. With one host in the U.S. and the other traveling throughout Asia (and perhaps elsewhere), I guess it wasn't possible to produce the podcast, and the podcast's return, 4/1/08's "The Fools are Back," was itself a cross-continental collaboration between the two hosts, Dean and Brian. A second return podcast, "The Lost Podcast," came out on 5/14.

Frank Black himself has been busy as well (a new child has arrived in the Frank Black/Black Francis/Charles Thompson family), but Black has been working on new music as well. The new podcasts delve into this music, including the new album SVN FNGRS. These two podcasts also include some live performances and tracks from a project involving Frank Black and his wife Violet.

If you like The Pixies or Frank Black/Black Francis in any of his various musical projects, you'll definitely want to check out the Web site and podcast to catch up with his latest recordings and live shows.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Follow the Adventures of iCarly in Free Podcasts

For fans of the highly popular TV show "iCarly" on Nickelodeon, the show features a series of free podcasts featuring Carly, Sam, Freddie, and the rest of the iCarly gang.

If you've got a teen or tween in your family, you may already be familiar with iCarly: it's a TV show that features two girls, Carly and Sam, who create a Web show to express themselves. The free iCarly podcasts feature the show's characters in extended adventures, and also let viewers step into the iCarly set with a look at how the program is put together, insight into the actors who play Carly and other characters, and more. There are even a few full-length episodes of iCarly that you can download for free. [UPDATE, Jan. 2012: if the above link doesn't have the podcasts you're looking for, try this link for downloading iCarly podcasts in iTunes.]

To download the free iCarly podcasts or view them online, go to the link above and click on the iCarly logo near the top of the screen.

In the free iCarly podcasts Miranda Cosgrove (Carly) shows how to make a "spit take" ... Jennette McCurdy (Sam) tries to meet a tongue-twisting challenge ... and much more.

If you or a family member enjoy watching iCarly on Nickelodeon, you'll want to see the cast behind the scenes in the free iCarly podcasts.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Los Campesinos! Opens its U.S. Tour at Maxwell's

The hugely popular Welsh pop-punk band Los Campesinos! opened what it said was its "first proper U.S. tour" at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ Wednesday night. The seven-piece group managed to fit all its personnel and gear on the small Maxwell's stage and ripped through a brisk 55-minute set of tunes from its EP and its new full-length, "Hold on Now, Youngster."

The group's members, who met while student at Cardiff University in Cardiff, Wales, have built a big following in the U.S. over just the last year or so. They received a sometimes raucous welcome at Maxwell's, with many fans clearly familiar with the band's tunes and singing along.

You can download tunes from the band as well as a podcast at their Web site above.

Perhaps the only punk band featuring both a violin and a xylophone, Los Campesinos! continues its tour in the New York area with dates in Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You can find the band's complete tour schedule at their MySpace page.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blackberry Bold (Blackberry 9000) Reviews - The Gushing Has Begun

Research in Motion introduced the much-anticipated Blackberry 9000 smartphone on Sunday, along with a new name for the gadget: the Blackberry Bold. And the early reports on the Blackberry Bold are very positive.

Cnet gushes about it, praising the bold screen (which gives the Blackberry Bold its name) in particular.

The Cnet article mentions that bought a Blackberry Bold on eBay and gave a review.

PC Magazine also gives a hands-on review, saying right up front, "The new BlackBerry handset is intriguing, but the real news is RIM's new, much faster platform."

You can find techincal details in these reviews, or check out RIM's official Blackberry Bold home page.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

2008 Webby Awards Winner Announced

The winners of the 2008 Webby awards have been announced, recognizing the best work being done on Web site content and design. You can find all the Webby winners here, but here's a quick recap of the categories that Podcast Party readers will be likely interested in. In some categories I've also listed the People's Voice winner.

BROADBAND: Full Episode Player -

CELEBRITY/FAN: Annie Lennox Official Website -


MOVIE AND FILM: Simpsons Movie -

MUSIC: BBC Radio 1 Meet the DJs -

PODCASTS: - (People's Voice Winner: The Onion -

RADIO: BBC World Service channel site - (People's Voice Winner: AccuTunes (from AccuRadio) -

I have to admit, I'd never heard of TED, the winner in the Podcast category. Apparently it produces conferences about business and environment issues. And AccuTunes I have heard of, but don't know much about. Being a big music fan, I'll have to check that one out.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Latin Music Legends On Screen, In Person at Tribeca

Multimillion-selling Latin/pop crossover star Gloria Estefan pays tribute to her native Cuba in her latest album "90 Millas," which features a who's-who of Cuban and other Latino music stars from different generations. Her husband, producer extraordinaire Emilio Estefan, made a low-budget documentary of the making of the album, and it received a special screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The screening of "90 Miles: The Documentary" was special because it was followed by a unique panel discussion about Latin music and the recording industry featuring the Estefans and some of the Latin stars featured in the movie, including groundbreaking Mexican guitarist Jose Feliciano, legendary Dominican composer and bandleader Johnny Pacheco, and Cuban trumpet player Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros. (Also featured on Estefan's "90 Millas" CD are Israel Lopez Cachao, Arturo Sandoval, Carlos Santana, percussionist Sheila E., and young Latin hip-hop artist Pit Bull.)

The panel discussion was a very interesting look at the history and evolution of Latin music, touching on issues ranging from the African roots of Latin music and the strong connections between Cuban and Puerto Rican music to acceptance of Latin music in the mainstream music industry to what the artists thought of the decline of big music companies and the rise of Internet-based digital music.

Considering the collection of Latin stars past and present aligned on the stage, and the advanced age of Pacheco and Armenteros, this was truly a discussion that won't be seen again.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Emmanuel Jal: From Child Soldier to Worldwide Rap Star

American rappers often detail the hardships of guns and drugs in the 'hood, but their stories pale in comparison to that of Emmanuel Jal. Jale grew up in southern Sudan (a country in the news for the genocide in Darfur), and was at one time a child soldier. When he and more than 350 children left on a boat to escape the fighting, the overloaded boat sank, and Jal was one of just 50 survivors.

The journey of Emmanuel Jal from child soldier to a rapper who now uses his words to help heal the wounds of war is movingly told in the film "War Child," which on Saturday won the Cadillac Award - Audience Choice Winner at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. Jal was present at some of the screenings of "War Child," and even rapped a cappella at the first screening, which was the film's North American premiere.

(The TFF has been consuming much of my time over the last week and a half, but I'll be making up for that by posting about some of the films, especially music-related ones, that were screened at the Festival.)

"War Child" director received $25,000 for winning the Cadillac Award. You can learn more about the film at its Web site,, and learn about the charity Jal has set up to fund education for children in Sudan.

Jal's music has been featured in movies including the documentary "God Grew Tired of Us" and the feature "Blood Diamond," as well as several episodes of the TV show "E.R."