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  • Southern Happenings

    southern happenings Jun 7, 2024 Southern Happenings: Meet The Gosh Darn Dangs The Gosh Darn Dangs bring the Hammond community together with their soulful tunes. Read More Apr 24, 2024 Southern Happenings: Kriss Russ, JAYD3D!, and Coma Nights at the Howlin Wolf New Orleans, LA April 20, 2024 Read More Mar 29, 2024 Eclipse Fest: A Convergence of Creativity Eclipse Fest will take place on June 15, 2024, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Read More Jan 30, 2024 Eric Johanson: A Distinctive Blues Musician with an Intoxicating Sound NOLA blues musician Eric Johanson takes his distinctive, intoxicating sound on the road, kicking off his “Don’t Hold Back” tour in North Alabama. Read More Jan 25, 2024 Chill Fest 2024 Music and Arts Festival Chill Fest 2024 unquestionably lives up to its name and is an incredible opportunity to hear local music and support the community’s young musicians. Read More Oct 27, 2023 Originally Huntsville: Monthly Music Event Originally Huntsville celebrates live music by showcasing local North Alabama talent in a monthly music concert series with a benevolent cause. Read More Oct 24, 2023 Throttle Fest 2023: Southern Happenings Huntsville’s Throttle Fest 2023 is a small version of a music festival, but it’s more like a family reunion with live music. Read More Jul 11, 2023 RAD Fest: A Lafayette Festival for Those Who Rock Get ready to rock around Downtown Lafayette on August 19, 2023 Read More May 18, 2023 Festival of Litha Returns to Downtown Florence in June Coming together to celebrate the summer solstice Read More May 8, 2023 Asheville Keeps it Weird with the Return of ABSFest Leave your inhibitions at the door Read More Feb 25, 2023 Punk Music Festival to Benefit Local Non-Profits that Work with At-Risk Youth and Children of Child Abuse/Neglect P.A.C.A. Read More

  • Southern Happenings: Meet The Gosh Darn Dangs

    < Back Southern Happenings: Meet The Gosh Darn Dangs Rian Nickels Jun 7, 2024 Share The Gosh Darn Dangs bring the Hammond community together with their soulful tunes. Take a stroll with me as I look back on my magical evening of May 10th, 2024, when I had the pleasure of experiencing The Gosh Darn Dangs , a beloved local band from Louisiana, busking on the vibrant streets of Downtown Hammond. I want to take a moment to introduce the (at the time members) of the band: Leading the way was Mike, the band's founder and charismatic lead vocalist, who occasionally added a soulful touch with his harmonica. Lexy added a unique charm to the group, whose enchanting harp melodies and vocals provided a delicate and captivating layer to their sound. Keeping the rhythm steady and dynamic was Tim, the talented drummer whose beats infused the performance with energy and drive. Rounding out the ensemble was Jake, the bassist whose deep grooves and harmonious vocals added depth and richness to the band's musical tapestry. Completing the lineup was Kris, the skilled guitarist whose riffs and vocals added a powerful and harmonious vibe to their performance. Credit: Rian Nickels The adventure began at PJ's Coffee , located at the bustling corner of West Thomas Street and North Magnolia Street. Here, the band gathered for some last-minute instrument tuning and practice. Watching them prepare for their performance felt like a rare privilege, a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their world of music. With instruments finely tuned and spirits high, we set off down West Thomas Street, searching for the perfect spot to share their music. The lively atmosphere of downtown Hammond, with its charming streets and buzzing nightlife, provided the ideal backdrop. The anticipation grew with every step as the band and their followers sought the perfect place to set up and play. Credit: Rian Nickels When they reached their first stop, the sidewalk outside the beloved local bar Benny's Place , they had to change their plans out of charming respect for the skillful jazz players performing across the street at Mariner's Inn . Undeterred, they continued their stroll through the brightly lit streets until we arrived at the heart of Hammond's latest addition, Railroad Park . The city center was the perfect place to begin truly. Equipped with a well-lit stage, bench seating, and ample room for people to gather, it offered an ideal setting for the performance. Here, the band launched into their melancholic tunes, including " Going 100mph in a 30mph Zone ," a poignant song about the trials and tribulations of youth and the journey toward adulthood. The atmosphere was warm and cozy, but after a complete set, they only got a few passersby, so they returned to Hammond's busy sidewalks! Credit: Rian Nickels As we walked from the Railroad Park to our next destination, The Gosh Darn Dangs did a cover of “ Scott Pilgrim vs. My GPA ” by Midwest Emo band Mom Jeans . The harmonies bounced and echoed off the tall downtown buildings until they landed across from a locally cherished bar, The Red White and Brew . The calming riffs and strums drew the attention of the bar patrons, even from across the busy street. After incredibly relatable songs like “ I’m Not Gonna Die Today ,” the band started to build an audience of late-night strollers and bargoers. Credit: Rian Nickels As each song ended, the intimate audience cheered. When asked about the origins of the song “ I’m Not Gonna Die Today ”, lead vocalist Mike Spoon said, “ Writing this song was a turning point for me. Getting it out in music form helped me understand myself better and set me on the path to having a better attitude about things. It's a journey I am still taking. So, in a way, this isn't a sad song. It's kind of like the dark cloud just under the silver lining. We all must go through it in our way. ” Credit: Rian Nickels The contrast between live music in a dedicated venue and busking on the streets is profound, rooted in the unique connection fostered between musicians and their audience. While a venue encapsulates sound within walls and confines emotions to a designated space, the experience of street performances allows emotions to ripple through the open air, touching everyone in its path. That night, The Gosh Darn Dangs’ music brought a piece of the community of Downtown Hammond together to enjoy a night of soulful tunes, and it reminded me that our time on Earth is limited, so we need to experience all there is out there just once. To learn more about the The Gosh Darn Dangs , just hit one of the links below. Facebook The Gosh Darn Dangs (@thegoshdarndangs) • Instagram photos and videos *cover photo by Rian Nickels Rian Haynsworth Rian Nickels is a total music junkie. Do you have a show you’d like her to review? Hit us up at . Previous Next

  • Nick's Corner: Playlist Picks for June 7th

    < Back Nick's Corner: Playlist Picks for June 7th Nick Cline Jun 7, 2024 Share New music sure to get your pulse going! The world of music is vast and extravagant; you never know what is out there locally and nationally. This will be the first in a weekly run of articles that tackle bringing local and national acts, both in the indie and major label scenes, into the same conversation. This conversation is vital to building the scenes from around the country. Five weekly songs will act as a list of recommendations to listen to and give exposure. Every song will be followed by mini-reviews, which will guide and support the tracks. 1 Pieces by We All Perish Click to listen Deets about the track : Pieces by We All Perish is a superb mix of metalcore and modern-day influences from across multiple rock bands and sub-genres. Right from the start, this track hits you right in the face with a solid, hard-hitting rhythm section that tackles great with the down-tuned riffs. As soon as the vocals kick in, the music creates this sonic bond that creates an epic and larger-than-life sound. The pre-chorus releases a building tension when the vocals come out on the chorus. The more the song progresses, the more the musicianship shines because the intense bond between lyrics, music, and vocals is felt with every passing second of the track. This is one of the most solid picks for your daily playlist in the local scene. It would be welcomed amongst some of the best major label bands, and they are located right in your backyard of Louisiana. 2 Toe by The Posts Click to listen Deets about the track : Groove and psychedelics are at the forefront of The Posts' track. Toe is a mix of funky rhythms, 90s-era vocals, and an overall sense of modernity with a flair of the psychedelic era from the 1960s to the present. All across the board, Toe brings the listener into a world of sonic synchronicity, mellowed-out vocals, and rhythm that could get into a new dimension. This track's production is top-notch. For lovers of Jefferson Airplane , The Who , and Pink Floyd , it will prove a dynamic and loved addition to your everyday playlist. No matter what period of music you prefer, The Posts will offer something for you, and Toe is only one of many examples to dig into. 3 F*ck My Life Up Again by Marcus King Click to listen Deets about the track : The beauty of this track is matched by the upset of the whole project. The melodies and lyricism collide to create this melancholy overarching tone. Heartache is felt in every line sung and every note played. The tension between anger and sadness is felt in the production, vocal tones, and music itself. The production and mixing are a testament to the lightning in a bottle caught between Rick Rubin and Marcus King's creative minds. This track will be a welcome addition to just about anybody looking for a song filled with heartache, soul, and feeling understood in a dark time. 4 Take a Bow by Mammoth WVH Click to listen Deets about the track : Take A Bow is a track executed with just the right amount of musical talent, emotionally charged lyricism, and powerful vocals. It is set to an emotional standard because it is one of Wolfgang Van Halen 's many testaments to his late father, Eddie Van Halen . It becomes a tornado of pounding riffs and steady driving rhythm while, at the same time, becoming a true standard of Wolfgang's love of his family's legacy. This track would be a great addition to a playlist for anybody who enjoys early Van Halen and modern hard rock. There is something for all levels of rock enthusiasts, and the love and passion for music and its legacy shared by all band members are unmatched. 5 Sun Goes Down by The Main Squeeze Click to listen Deets about the track : Sun Goes Down is an almost ten-minute powerhouse of a song off The Main Squeezes album, "To Be Determined…." It starts with a soulful synth that sets the tone for the guitar and another instrument to follow suit. The masterful tone and style of the guitar player make the song cry before the vocals even start on the track. The Instrumental progresses to the almost three-minute mark, which marks the time the vocals come into play. The bond between melodies and rhythm builds a soulful psychedelic epic that builds intensity as the song progresses. The chorus is a conjoined wall of vocals and powerful music. Once the vocals are over, the song returns to its instrumental basis and goes into a screaming guitar solo. The guitar is reminiscent of how Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb strikes you as the outro solo soars into the mix. This would be a soulful slot into your daily playlist. It hits all the spots of soul, rock n roll, psychedelic, gospel, and so much more, all wrapped into one package. Nick Cline is the powerhouse behind the Louisiana-based band, Phantum Sun , and loves checking out new music. Got something you think he'd like? Email us at . Previous Next

  • Nick's Corner

    Nick's Corner: Playlist Picks Jun 7, 2024 Nick's Corner: Playlist Picks for June 7th New music sure to get your pulse going! Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More

  • Reviews on the Real

    reviews on the real Jun 6, 2024 Reviews on the Real: JAELYN Journey into cosmic malevolence with JAELYN's latest single Read More Apr 24, 2024 From Blue Ridge to California: The Musical Journey of Nick Sabia Nick Sabia’s new release “Back East” is a peaceful trek through nature. Read More Jan 26, 2024 Dark Miles Releases Debut Single, "Your Heart is an Empty Street" “Your Heart is an Empty Street” is a soul-stirring narrative unveiling a poignant expedition through pain on a journey of transformation and resilience. Read More Jan 5, 2024 Last Legs: New Wave Americana for a New Era Last Legs' new single “Tara” is rooted in the real experience of American youth with stories of love, loss, and desperation that pull at your heartstrings. Read More Nov 7, 2023 alltheprettythings: A Soul-Baring Alt-Rock Anthem “Chin Up, Kid” is a refreshing take on introspection, combining the emotional intensity of alt-rock with the edginess of 90’s punk and grunge. Read More Nov 3, 2023 What Will Be: Slow Down “Slow Down” by Manchester-based band What Will Be serves as an alt-rock anthem for post-pandemic healing and is a testament to the beauty of human creativity. Read More Oct 27, 2023 Juan Blak's Interpretation of Tina Turner's "One of the Living": A Powerful Metal Metamorphosis Juan Blak’s version of “One of the Living” mesmerizes with outstanding vocals that evolve into an eargasmic blend of metal and industrial rock. Read More Jul 3, 2023 Sugarfuzz: Feel Good Rock The music of Sugarfuzz is full of pop melodies and catchy hooks Read More Jun 21, 2023 Last Giant: Captivating and Catchy Last Giant's music is nostalgic and fresh Read More Jun 2, 2023 Kevin Dorin: A Soulful Traveling Renaissance Man Kevin’s music is a hybrid of blues, rock, and pure Americana Read More May 30, 2023 Nicholas Johnson: The Shape of Americana to Come Nicholas Johnson’s music is soulful and nostalgic Read More May 30, 2023 Hawthorne Oachs: A Free-Spirited Young Artist Full of Beautiful Harmonies Hawthorne Oachs brings deep awareness to everyday life Read More

  • Laid-Back Louisiana Southern Rock

    Laid-Back Louisiana Southern Rock < Back Laid-Back Louisiana Southern Rock Keeley Brooks Oct 19, 2022 Share Dale Harris Music Who doesn’t love some good ole Southern rock music? Creedence, Skynyrd, ZZ Top, The Charlie Daniels Band … The Allman Brothers. Legends. And while all of these groups are surely amongst favorites in the classic rock community, I’m here to tell you about a new favorite Southern rock artist (and band) you just don’t know yet. Meet Dale Harris – singer, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and all-around awesome guy. What makes him unique is his multi-faceted ability to do pretty much anything, but relative to this article, I’ll clarify and add musically . In addition to playing lead in his band, the Dale Harris Band, he’s also a multi-instrumentalist, playing the rhythm guitar and drum set, and a singer/songwriter, who tries not to limit himself to just one style. “When I’m writing songs, I try to write music in as many genres as possible so as not to pigeon hole myself,” said Harris. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dale has been playing music pretty much his whole life. His father was a carpenter who exposed him, “to people from all walks of life.” In fact, it was one of his father’s concrete finishers, who ran the band at his local church, gave Harris his first snare drum. “I fell in love with music and learned musicianship from watching those concrete finishers play gospel music after work and on Sundays,” he said, with the reflections of those days shining in his eyes. Dale began guitar lessons at six years old, then started drum lessons with Lyman Mulkey as a teenager. After high school, Harris found himself playing in various local bands over the years, like The Black Box, Loverseed, The Invisible Men, The Roebucks, The Jazz Souls, and The Florida Street Blowhards. Though he writes mainly Southern rock songs, Harris is inspired by the swamp pop, jazz, soul, and gospel genres. Taught by his father at a young age to read chord charts and play folk, country, and gospel songs on guitar, Dale credits The Charlie Daniels band with inspiring him to become a musician. “My first source of inspiration came from the Charlie Daniels Band. When I heard ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia,’ well, it was the first time I heard someone just straight getting down on an instrument. It was my first example of trading solos. After that, I knew I wanted to become a musician; so, I did.” Harris also credits Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, and Dr. John with being major influences on his music, which is ripe with laid-back style that paints a smooth surface over rough terrain and consists of topics like heartbreak, hoodlums, and home repair. Currently he stays busy writing and recording music with his band, the Dale Harris Band. Harris leads the group on vocals, rhythm guitar, and drums, on occasion. Glenn Harris, his brother, plays lead guitar, and long-time co-writer Denvil Snyder plays bass. Personally, one of my favorite tunes is “I Woke Up.” From those laid-back, catchy guitar licks to the buttery smooth vocals that ooze out of Harris when he sings, the songs aspects and focus just pull you in sip by sip. It’s catchy, it’s rockin’, and it’s just a damn good song. And speaking of good songs, you should also check out “Dag Nabbit,” which, according to Dale, was inspired by watching Saturday morning cartoons. For more on that story, you’ll have to go to one of his shows and ask him the deets yourself! “Yeah, that one tends to be “the hit” amongst the kids,” Harris laughed. At the moment, he is in the process of recording demos for an upcoming album, and he currently has an EP available on Spotify and most streaming platforms. As far as upcoming shows, you can see the Dale Harris Band live at any of the below-listed shows, and be sure to catch him Halloween weekend doin’ his thang live at Phil Brady’s. Oct 29 Phil Brady’s, Baton Rouge Nov 12 Oyster Bar, St. Francisville Dec 1 La Davina Café, Baton Rouge New Year’s The Hilton Downtown, Baton Rouge *(with The Florida Street Blowhards) For further information on Dale Harris and the Dale Harris Band, and to stay up to date on live performances and album releases, visit . *photos provided by Dale Harris Previous Next

  • Feast Upon This

    Feast Upon This Nov 13, 2023 Reasons to See Napoleon: Feast Upon This If you're on the fence about it, check out these top 5 reasons to see "Napoleon". Read More Oct 22, 2023 20+ Halloween Films to Watch This Season: Feast Upon This With Halloween 2023 right around the corner, Mixed Alternative got together to recommend some of our favorite Halloween movies! Read More Oct 18, 2023 28 Days Later: Feast Upon This 28 Days Later is one of the best zombie movies ever made, having popularized the fast zombie craze of modern-day cinema and terrified moviegoers around the world with its horrific scenario. Read More Oct 13, 2023 Strays: Feast Upon This Strays is a sweet, hysterical, raunchy comedy featuring potty-mouthed dogs in one of the best animal movies ever made. Read More Sep 28, 2023 Clay Pigeons: Feast Upon This Clay Pigeons is a cult-classic dark comedy about small-town appearances, serial killers, and sexual betrayal that is just as funny as it is grim. Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More

  • More Adaptations from THE Horror Master

    < Back More Adaptations from THE Horror Master Keeley Brooks Mar 3, 2023 Share Stephen King Movies Releasing in 2023 Even if you’re not a horror fan, you still love Stephen King. You know you do. The past few decades have seen numerous books and short stories from the famous author, and film and television adaptations are a-plenty. This year (and likely next year) is no exception with a handful of adaptations coming your way. Here’s what’s dropping in 2023 and what’s up next on the Stephen King entertainment agenda. Children of the Corn – I’ll never forget the first time I first saw the original Children of the Corn movie and was scarred for life. It was 1985, and I was eight years old. We kids definitely shouldn’t have been watching it, but we did the second our parents left the room. See, we were visiting relatives, who just so happened to live and work at the Angola State Prison. So, on those grounds late at night in the bedroom of a work trailer is where the creepy kids from the corn made their appearance in my life. The 1984 version sees a young couple trapped in a remote town with no adults because a gang of creepy-ass kids has killed them all. The remake hits theaters Friday, March 3, 2023 , and it will have an 18-day theatrical window before releasing on Shudder March 21 . The story reportedly does take some liberties. Here, we get to see a town fall as “He Who Walks” uses a little girl named Eden to satisfy the evil entity’s bloodlust and turn the town’s youngest residents into murderous little nightmares. No doubt it’ll be just as terrifying as the original. The Boogeyman - The first adaptation of King’s 1978 short story from the Night Shift collection is about a teenage girl and her little sister, who find themselves plagued by a sadistic presence in their house after their mother dies. They must get their grieving father to pay attention before it’s too late. In the original story, we follow a man grieving the deaths (murders) of his three kids. While their deaths were all different, they all took place in the children’s respective bedrooms, each having shouted, “The Boogeyman,” before they met their fates. The film hits theaters June 2, 2023 , then is supposed to hit Hulu soon after. Salem’s Lot - This gem has also been adapted to a movie and is expected to hit theaters April 21, 2023 , but it’s already been pushed back from Sept. 2022, so don’t hold all your breath just yet. Nonetheless, it’ll be anticipated when it does arrive, especially with director James Wan ( Saw franchise). It is rumored to remain faithful to the book, which if you’re unfamiliar is about a writer who returns to the town of Jerusalem’s Lot in Maine only to discover that the residents are all being turned into vampires. Stars Lewis Pullman ( Outer Range ), Spencer Treat Clark ( Glass, Unbreakble ), and Alfre Woodard ( See ). Pet Semetary – Though the 2019 version of Pet Sematary wasn’t well received with critics, a prequel movie was greenlit in 2021. It’s intended to continue digging into the mythology of the small town of Ludlow, the strange rituals, the Wendigo, the cemetery, and character Jud’s life. We’ve been seeing the dead re-animate for over a decade now with all the zombie and undead adaptations, but none of those are as scary as seeing Gage come back to life just to kill his mother and run around with a creepy giggle and his father's scalpel terrifying everybody to death. And the cat, Church—we can’t forget about him. After all, he is the reason Jud learns of the power of the pet cemetery. It’s planned to be released later this year to stream as a Paramount+ original movie. From A Buick 8 – Based on King’s novel published in 2002, this is the second story to feature a supernatural car, the first one being the unforgettable "Christine." The adaptation has been in development for years. Back in 2005, George A. Romero was announced as the director, then two years later he was replaced with Tobe Hopper ( Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise). By 2009, the project came to halt, then in 2019 was announced to be in development again. No details have been revealed since, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon – Published in 1999, the story follows a nine-year-old girl as she finds herself lost in the woods on what she thought would be another normal day hiking with her mom and brother. She fantasizes about her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon, rescuing her. Originally, a film adaptation of "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon " was to be directed by George A. Romero, but plans fell through in 2005. The project was revived in 2019, and in late 2020, Lynne Ramsay ( You Were Never Really Here ) was announced as director. Let’s hope we get some updates soon! ALSO (you didn’t really think that was it, did you?), Deadline recently revealed in an exclusive that Warner Bros. has acquired King’s 2021 crime thriller bestseller “Billy Summers” to adapt into a feature film produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way. Bad Robot have also adapted other King works like Lisey’s Story (Apple TV Plus), Castle Rock (Hulu), and 11.22.63 , also on Hulu. It was originally intended to be a limited series, but the big screen won out instead. Writing the screenplay are Ed Zwick ( Blood Diamond ) and Marshall Herskovitz, who co-wrote The Last Samurai with Zwick, and it is rumored that Leo will play the title character, but that is yet to be confirmed. The plot synopsis reads: Billy Summers is a hitman who is looking to retire and takes on last highly lucrative job to feather his nest. The job requires him to embed himself in a quiet town, where he pretends to be an aspiring writer (he actually pours himself into the prose). He sets up in an office with a direct view of where hitman Joel Allen will be delivered to face trial for shooting two men during a poker game. Allen also has committed enough murders for some high-level mobsters to be scared the gunman will incriminate his former employers to lessen his sentence. Summers, a meticulous craftsman, become more and more cynical about the mobsters who’ve hired him, and his skepticism is well warranted as things go awry following the job’s completion. *On a side note, if you haven’t watched Castle Rock , I urge you to roll on over to Hulu and check it out. While the two-season series isn’t based on any specific one of King’s works, it does share themes, characters, and most notably its name with one of the central locations found throughout the legendary author’s career. Season 1 tells the story of Henry Deaver, a death row attorney who returns home to Maine for the first time in years when a mysterious inmate at the local prison, Shawshank, specifically requests Henry as his lawyer. Several narratives unravel from there, including a troubled individual with apparent telepathic abilities, the shocking death of one of Castle Rock’s most prominent characters, and some pretty disturbing developments for Henry as he uncovers more and more about his past—like the time he vanished as a child. Season 2 is a chilling must-see! Instead of continuing on with the same characters and original cast, the series pivots and centers its story on Annie Wilkes, the infamously psychotic, murderous nurse from King’s 1987 psychological thriller novel “Misery” and 1990 film adaptation of the same name. In Castle Rock , we are introduced to Annie Wilkes pre-Paul Sheldon days, so it’s sort of a modern-day prequel. Lizzie Caplan ( Masters of Sex ) delivers a sharp, tense, and breathless performance as Wilkes navigates her life and career, and so much is revealed along that way that when it ends, it’ll leave you wanting more and most likely compel you to turn around and watch Misery again. And , just in case you missed its release back in September, don't forget to check out the Stephen King documentary King on Screen, which examines cinematic adaptations of the iconic author's works. With King's stamp of approval, it gives audiences an intimate sit-down with different directors who've all adapted the writer's works for the screen, looking at the movies and shows that have brought his stories to life, both the hits and the flops. Among those sitting down for interviews are Mike Garris (ABC's The Stand ), Mike Flanagan ( Gerald's Game , Doctor Sleep ), Frank Darabont ( The Shawshank Redemption , The Green Mile ), and director and special effects makeup titan Greg Nicotero ( Creepshow , Misery ), to name a few. Alright, kiddos, that's all for now, but stay tuned for more adaptations from THE original horror master ... and no doubt his son, Joe Hill. You know we'll be keeping you updated. Questions or comments? Email the author at . Previous Next

  • Chillin’ Out, Maxin’, Relaxin’, All Cool: Celebrating Cannabis Culture with Cinema

    < Back Chillin’ Out, Maxin’, Relaxin’, All Cool: Celebrating Cannabis Culture with Cinema Keeley Brooks Apr 20, 2023 Share Select Stoner Movies in Honor of 420 ‘Tis a beautiful day in the neighborhood, my friends. It’s sunny out, the week’s almost over, and—oh yeah!—it’s 420! Holla! That means it’s the perfect time to chill out at home, be cool, and indulge in one or several of some of the best stoner movies ever made. While there are multiple versions about the theories and origins of 420 being the California penal code or police radio code for marijuana, they’re actually not true. According to the History Channel , it all began with a group of students in California in the 1970s and centered around a treasure hunt in 1971 involving five high school kids who created a ritual for getting high. The Waldos, as the group was called, learned of a Coast Guard member who had planted a cannabis plant and could no longer tend to the crop. So, provided with a treasure map—perhaps by the plant’s owner, but we don’t know for sure—the group met at the Louis Pasteur statue outside their high school once a week to conduct a search for the plant. Their meeting time? 4:20 p.m. Apparently these kids were athletes, so they had to meet after practice. Then, allegedly, the Waldos would pile into a car, burn some leaf, and scour the Point Reyes Forest for the illustrious plant. One of the original members of the Waldos, Steve Capper , told the Huffington Post , “We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis, and we eventually dropped the Louis.” While the Waldos never did score their free bud, they instead stumbled upon something much bigger and longer lasting by coining the term 420, which has allowed teens across the globe to rap with their friends about smoking pot without their parents or teachers knowing what they mean. As far as how the term spread internationally, that seems to have everything to do with the Grateful Dead. Capper told Huffington Post that members of the Waldos had open access and many connections to the band, because one of the Waldos’ father managed the Dead’s real estate, and another Waldos member had a brother who was good friends with Dead bassist Phil Lesh. Capper explains, “There was a place called Winterland, and we’d always be backstage running around or on stage and, of course, we’re using those phrases. When somebody passes a joint or something, ‘Hey, 420.’ So, it started spreading through that community.” However it originated and spread across the world, we are grateful (no pun intended). And in honor of that gratitude, today (and perhaps through the whole weekend) we celebrate 420, and in my world, well, that's none of your business. Here are some of my favorites stoner movies worth revisiting or checking out. The Big Lebowski (1998) – This Coen Bros. cult classic is certainly my favorite stoner flick, and it should be at least in your top three. Jeff Bridges stars as The Dude, a grown man in Los Angeles named Jeff Lebowski who desires nothing more out of life than taking it easy, smoking his Js, and bowling. When his identity is confused with that of local millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski, aka The Big Lebowski, The Dude’s world begins to unravel, and he’s pulled into a web of comedic intrigue and shenanigans that only the Coen Bros. could weave. The shenanigans kick off right from the get-go with The Dude being roughed up in his own home, having his head shoved in the toilet, then having to watch his precious rug get peed on. The nerve! Now, The Dude’s on a mission to get his rug replaced. After a bowling game with his sidekicks, Vietnam war vet Walter Sobchak (John Goodman, The Conners ) and the sweet, empathetic Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi, Fargo ), The Dude tracks down The Big Lebowski and soon finds himself as “the bag man” responsible for handing off a ransom in hopes of kidnappers returning The Big Lebowski’s porn-star wife, Bunny (Tara Reid, American Pie ). The Dude is very easy-going and being embroiled in this situation upsets his chi. It’s in that juxtaposition that the film is hysterical on multiple levels. Plus, it stars John Turturro ( Severance ) as Dude’s bowling rival, Jesus, and Julianne Moore ( Boogie Nights ) as Maude Lebowski, The Dude’s lady friend and a feminist avant-garde visual artist, as well as the protagonist daughter of The Big Lebowski. I could write all day about this movie and its characters, plot, and subplots, but I’ll just let you watch it for yourself and soak up all those Coen Bros. nuggets of dialogue. You’re welcome. Dazed and Confused (1993) – Some of the most famous Matthew McConaughey movie quotes on the planet originate here, and this one is a must-see, especially since it’s McConaughey’s first role. “Say, man. You got a joint?” he asks a young high school kid on the way to an end-of-school party. When the kid says no, McConaughey’s character smiles and with such coolness says back, “It’d be a whole lot cooler if you did.” It’ll make you both melt and laugh. Littered with quotable dialogue, this film by director Richard Linklater ( Everybody Wants Some ) features an ensemble cast of authentic American high school archetypes and exploits them during an afternoon on the last school day of the year in May 1976 that’s spent hazing younger students, searching for good times, avoiding any authority at all costs, and dreaming of the future. You’ll see Parker Posey ( Lost in Space ), Ben Affleck ( Gone Girl ), Milla Jovovich ( Resident Evil movies), Adam Goldberg ( The Equalizer tv show), Joey Lauren Adams ( Big Daddy ), and Cole Hauser ( Yellowstone ), to name a few. Friday (1995) – This stoner comedy film franchise was created by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh, and when it hit theaters, it HIT! Taking place in South Central Los Angeles, the series follows the exploits of perpetually unemployed Craig Davidson (Ice Cube), who—along with his friends and relatives—is thrust into various issues that happen to occur on a random Friday. There’s so much about this movie that is worthy, but I must mention it doesn’t just feature but stars a very young and absolutely hysterical Chris Tucker ( Rush Hour series), who plays a character named Smokey. “I know ya don’t smoke weed, I know this,” he tells Craig (Ice Cube). “But I’m gonna get you high today cause it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, and you ain’t got shit to do.” That line sums up the entirety of the movie, which plays out with two friends hangin’ out all day on a Friday, making jokes, and observing the ongoings in their neighborhood whilst adding in their commentary. Tucker did not appear in either sequel, which perhaps is why they weren’t as well received as Friday was, but nonetheless: This one is also a must see and is another one of my top three favorites. As Smokey says, “Weed is from the earth. God put this here for me and you. Take advantage, man, take advantage.” I hope wherever you are today, even though it’s Thursday, you can “take advantage” in honor of Smokey. Also stars Tommy Lister Jr. ( Jackie Brown ), Nia Long ( Big Momma’s House ), Regina King ( Jerry Maguire ), and Bernie Mac, among many other recognizable faces. Pineapple Express (2008) – Written by Seth Rogen ( Knocked Up, Superbad ) and Judd Apatow ( Old School ), this comedy is about a lazy stoner and process server (Rogen) who winds up being the sole witness to a murder by an evil drug lord (Gary Cole, Office Space ) and a corrupt cop (Rosie Perez, White Men Can’t Jump ). Now marked for death, the stoner does what probably any stoner would do: He runs right to his dealer (James Franco, 127 Hours ) to hide and ends up dragging him and his supplier (Danny McBride, The Righteous Gemstones ) on a hilarious weed-fueled adventure. What ensues next will have your face hurting from laughing so hard. Also stars Craig Robinson ( Hot Tub Time Machine ), Ed Begley Jr. ( Young Sheldon ), Joe Lo Truglio ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine ), and Amber Heard ( Aquaman ). Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) – Man, what a classic. When Korean-American office worker Harold (John Cho, The Grudge ) puts off his work responsibilities and decides to smoke up instead with his Indian-American homie Kumar (Kal Penn, Smile ), together they create one of the absolute best product placements in movie history after they start craving those yummy little burgers from White Castle. On the way there, of course, shenanigans unfold and they run into Neil Patrick Harris ( How I Met Your Mother ), who plays a womanizing version of himself that is so outrageous, you’ll have to back the scene up and rewatch it again. Harold and Kumar also find themselves riding a cheetah through the woods and we get a montage featuring a life-sized anthropomorphic bag of weed. Now tell me, what would you do? Mmm hmm, that’s what I thought! The film is quite the entertaining ride, yes, but it also magnifies the issues of racial prejudice existing even to this day in our country. Super Troopers (2001) – Over-enthusiastic but under-stimulated Vermont State Troopers raise pure hell on the highway, keeping motorists anxiously watching their rear-view mirrors. They’re avid pranksters with a knack for f**king everything up and are always looking for action. One way they do that is by engaging in an ongoing feud with local cops over whose junk, er, manhood is the biggest. When they are faced with the government wanting to shut them down, the “Super Troopers” find themselves precariously and hilariously speeding towards calamity as they try to out-do the local police department by solving a crime and avoiding extinction. Stars Jay Chandrasekhar ( Beerfest ), Kevin Heffernan ( Tacoma FD ), Steve Lemme ( Club Dread ), Paul Soter ( Tacoma FD ), and Erik Stolhanske ( Beerfest ), Brian Cox ( Succession ), and the famous comic Jim Gaffigan. Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke (1978) – Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are, without a doubt, the grandfathers of weed comedies. The two starred together for the first time in this flick, which sees them accidentally transport a van made of marijuana from Mexico to the United States, with narcotics officers hot on their trail. Cheech and Chong go together like movies and popcorn, so it’s no surprise their easy-going camaraderie drives the movie as viewers are led on a hazy trip from one location to another, avoiding repercussions from their actions. You don’t have to be a fan of stoner comedies to enjoy this one, but it is important to note that this flick pretty much paved the way for others in the genre. It’s a classic and a must see, as well as a worthy addition to your queue. Grandma’s Boy (2006) – I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of this movie when it came out, but upon a second and third go at it, I changed my mind. The plot centers on video-game tester Alex (Allen Covert, The Wedding Singer ) and the work and life circumstances that lead him to the point of having to move in with his grandma, played by Doris Roberts ( Everybody Loves Raymond ), and her friends, played by popular tv actress Shirley Jones and Shirley Knight ( Paul Blart, Mall Cop ). From there, the movie just becomes a laugh-out-loud series of embarrassing yet hysterical moments. Also stars Peter Dante ( The Waterboy ), Kevin Nealon ( Weeds, The Wedding Singer ), Nick Swardson ( Reno 911!: Miami ), and Linda Cardellini ( Avengers: Age of Ultron ). Other stoner flicks to check out: Your Highness (enjoy the "glorious herbs" scene!) Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Half Baked How High This is the End American Ultra Smiley Face Road Trip Keeley Brooks is a big ole movies, television, and streaming nerd with an uncontrollable urge to write about everything she watches. Even if it sucks. Email her at . Previous Next

  • Barbie: Film Review

    < Back Barbie: Film Review C.G. Smith Aug 7, 2023 Share Barbie sees success with its all-star cast and its underlying message for women everywhere Rating: 3.5 out of 5 duck lips of approval My wife and I don’t usually go out to see movies anymore, but she had been hearing about the Barbie movie from co-workers for a few days, so we bought tickets and went to the Broad Theater in New Orleans, Louisiana, to see it. The Saturday matinee was nearly full of adults of all ages, and a few families with young girls. The trailers rolled, and I finished my hot dog as a few latecomers filed into the last seats near the front of the theater. The movie began with a nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey for the intro sequence, and it was a grin-worthy moment for me. I was quickly pulled into the Kool-Aid as an oversized Margot Robbie ( Suicide Squad ), dressed as the original Barbie, towered above little girls playing with their ordinary dolls. Director Greta Gerwig ( Lady Bird ) showed right away that she was going to have fun with the film as little girls destroyed their baby dolls in homage to this new doll, Barbie. There were enjoyably wonderful supporting performances, and it was amusing to see some amazing actors having a good time with the roles they landed. Will Ferrell ( Old School ) as the Mattel CEO was silly, his presence perhaps a statement on how even a complete man-child can rise to the top of a company in a patriarchy, and Rhea Perlman ( Cheers ) as Barbie creator Ruth Handler was a high point for me. Michael Cera ( Superbad ) gave the discontinued Allan doll some life and a bit of comedic relief as the bony best friend of Barbie’s buff male counterparts, and Kate McKinnon ( Office Christmas Party ) was fabulous as Weird Barbie. Kate McKinnon as Weird Barbie The plot centers on Barbie suddenly facing an existential crisis because of how someone in the real world is imagining her. We learn Weird Barbie is weird because she’s been played with too “hard,” and now Stereotypical Barbie’s perfect existence is suddenly threatened by flat feet, celluloid, and thoughts of impending death. Weird Barbie tells Stereotypical Barbie that to fix the situation, she must travel to the real world and find the person who is causing these changes in her. In the process, a stowaway Ken is introduced to the patriarchy, which he quickly adopts, albeit a bit clumsily, as he has always felt like he had no purpose without Barbie. I felt the whole Real World vs Barbie Land plot was an unexpected but overused way to tell the story. It was never really fleshed out as to how these two places could co-exist but nonetheless gave a way to merge the make-believe world with the reality of today. My favorite scene was when America Ferrera ( Superstore ) goes off about how impossible it is to be a woman in society in a monologue on the double standards of being a woman. This unlocks the answer the Barbies have been searching for to regain control of Barbie Land from the Kens, who have taken it over. Ryan Gosling ( La La Land ) does a great job as Ken, and the film doesn't make it a foregone conclusion that he and Barbie belong together, but rather that they should learn to know and love themselves without the confines of any pre-conceived gender roles or biases. Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken I will say that my wife, who was the catalyst for this outing, was not as impressed with the movie as I was. I find that often when something is talked about, and then built up in our minds, it's very hard to actually shine once it is experienced. Stephen King's The Stand (2020), for instance, has and probably never will live up to the movie I have created in my head. Overall, I felt Barbie was a fun, interesting movie and, although skewed towards adults, was not vulgar or too grown up for maturing children. Barbie seems to have a good time with the franchise while also projecting the power of finding and being yourself for Barbies and Kens alike. I doubt you'll not enjoy your time with this one if you go in with an open mind. Barbie also stars Issa Rae ( Insecure ), Kingsley Ben-Adir ( Secret Invasion ), John Cena ( Peacemaker ), and Simu Liu ( Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) . Questions or comments? Email the editor at . Previous Next

  • Bingeworthy

    Bingeworthy Oct 10, 2023 Star Trek Lower Decks: Bingeworthy Lower Decks is arguably the best show of Star Trek’s modern era and is a love letter to the franchise that reminds fans not to take it too seriously. Read More Sep 25, 2023 Sons of Anarchy: Bingeworthy Sons of Anarchy is one hell of a binge-worthy ride depicting an outlaw motorcycle club as an analogy for human transformation. Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More ​ ​ ​ Read More

  • For a Good Time, Call

    For a Good Time, Call < Back For a Good Time, Call Keeley Brooks Oct 25, 2022 Share Big in the 90s The 90s are remembered (and missed!) for so many reasons—one of the main ones being that the decade was important in music history. When grunge, hip-hop, alternative rock, and industrial rock emerged, so too did hordes of fans. These genres gave us so much good music that produced a slew of hits still making crowds go wild. One band having fun with that is New Orleans-based ultimate 90s cover band Big in the 90s. With a repertoire of pop music, grunge, R&B, and alternative, their set list includes everything from Britney to Brit-pop (Hello PULP! Anybody? No?), Gin Blossoms to Ginuwine, and everything else in between. Big in the 90s is Jonathan Pretus on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Stephen Turner on lead guitar and backing vocals, Joe Bourgeois on bass and backing vocals, and Kyle Melancon on drums and backing vocals. Occasionally you’ll hear Melancon and Turner on lead vocals as well. Singer Jonathan Pretus and drummer Kyle Melancon both spent time in New Orleans-based bands that actually WERE big in the 90s. Pretus was guitarist for Cowboy Mouth, and Melancon was drummer for Dash Rip Rock and Imagination Movers. Bassist Joe Bourgeois was in MyNameIsJohnMichael, Stephen Turner was guitarist in EPIC, and for years, Turner, Bourgeois, and Pretus were part of the acclaimed rock band The Breton Sound. During that time, the guys kept hearing the same thing from record labels, management, and radio programmers, “You guys are great. You’d have been big in the 90s.” So, after 8 years in The Breton Sound, around 2019, the guys “put the brakes on” the band but didn’t want to stop playing music. Recognizing that all their musical roads intersected somewhere in the 90s, it seemed like a natural progression to start a band playing the eclectic 90s songs they loved and grew up with. “We could just play music for fun and not worry about the business aspects that being in an aspiring band brought,” said Pretus. “The name came about because with The Breton Sound, we were told multiple times by a variety of labels, radio programmers, and industry-type folks that they loved what we were doing but [that we’d have been big in the 90s]. So, [the band name] came from that, and we all agreed it was going to be the name almost as quickly as we agreed to start the band.” The guys also say that each show is like filling a six-disc changer with all your old mix CDs and hitting shuffle. Every song in their set is a classic that’ll provoke you at some point to squeal, “This is my JAM!” to your girlfriends and boyfriends, I guarantee it. Hell, even the band themselves have songs that make them squeal. They aren’t shy about it. Here’s what the guys had to say when asked about favorites of their own: JP : My favorites are usually “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger or anything by Oasis. KM : My favorite 90s song is probably “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals. It’s just a perfectly crafted song. I hope to put that in our set one day. As far as songs we currently play, my favorite has to be “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. [It’s definitely] one of the most fun songs to play on drums, ever. ST : My favorites are “Larger Than Life” by Backstreet Boys, “Sweater Song” by Weezer, and “No Scrubs” by TLC. MAM: So, then, I have to know if there are any songs that take it a step further and make everyone lose their shit? JP : Our set’s pretty banger-heavy, [so] there’s a lot of shit-losing throughout the night! “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind always crushes. KM : I never would’ve thought that it would’ve had this kind of staying power when it came out but “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit sends people into an absolute frenzy. It’s bananas. I don’t quite understand it, but I absolutely love it. ST : For me, “Pony” by Ginuwine. It’s hilarious. Especially when Jonathan uses his prop pony on a stick. MAM: Shut up! Are you serious? You’re right: That is hilarious. Is there a video of this somewhere out there? ST : There absolutely is. Readers, click PLAY below, and enjoy the giggles . Big in the 90s bring these and many other songs to life, faithfully and with the energy of a top-notch live show from seasoned performers who’ve played stages of all sizes, to crowds of all sizes, all over the country. While Big in the 90s is based in New Orleans, they aren’t limited to playing in the city. The guys are branching out beyond the NOLA area and often play in Baton Rouge, but they have spent the past year kind of “cautiously cementing” themselves in their home market. “COVID is so unpredictable, and we never know what’ll happen with cancellation due to it,” said the band. They hope to branch out through the Gulf South region in the New Year. While there are no albums for Big in the 90s, their collective work as The Breton Sound and Kyle’s work with Dash Rip Rock and Imagination Movers are readily available. There are, however, plenty of opportunities to catch them live for the rest of this year. Be sure to check their website frequently for additions and updates, too. Nov. 12 St. Rita Fall Fest, Harahan, LA Nov. 18 English Turn Country Club, New Orleans, LA Nov. 25 The Broadside, New Orleans, LA *featuring strings quarter Electric Yat Quartet Dec. 17 Zony Mash Beer Project, New Orleans, LA To squeal about a song to the guys, or for booking and further information, visit them online at . Facebook /biginthe90s Instagram @biginthe90sband Twitter @biginthe90sband *photos courtesy of Big in the 90s Previous Next

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