Monday, March 26, 2012

Ken Reid's Shirt Tales Show

Photo via
We all know that a picture tells a thousand words, but what about a t-shirt? Boston comedian Ken Reid proves that there's some unique and funny stories behind every t-shirt he's owned. If you grew up during the 70s and 80s and live in the Boston area then you may want to check out Ken's upcoming one man show, "Shirt Tales", at the Cambridge YMCA Theater on May 19 at 7:30 PM. During this multi-media show, Ken will tell humorous, bittersweet and occasionally bizarre tales from his life, using his personal t-shirt collection as a gateway into his own personal timeline. Tickets are $15, include a limited edition t-shirt, and can be purchased here.

Ken's shows have a strong pop culture theme to them; check out this hilarious clip from an earlier show of his that he conceived and performed, called "Very Special Episode" where he dissects an episode of Mr. Belvedere that focused on AIDS: 

Ken has opened for Patton Oswalt and Eugene Mirman and toured with Bob Saget and Todd Barry. Earlier in his career he also belonged to a punk band that played with the Dropkick Murphies. He's also a long-time reader of Go Retro, so I am more than happy to pass along the info about his show! So if you're going to be in town and you're looking for something fun and unique that's also retro, check it out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whatever Happened to The Hollywood Hunk?

What I'm about to say is probably going to come across as superficial. It might even piss some people off. But here goes: what in holy heck has happened to Hollywood's leading men? I thought of this for the 100th time the other night, while I was watching the Star Wars trilogy and drooling over Han Solo. You see, my puberty and teenage fantasies were often fortified by watching manly men--not boys--grace the silver screen. Men like Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner (three of my big movie crushes right there), Clint Eastwood, Patrick Swayze, Robert De Niro, Paul Newman (older by this point but still sexy), Al Pacino, Richard Gere, Michael Biehn (Terminator), Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson (long before we knew he was a racist fucknut), Alan Rickman, Burt Reynolds and countless other hotties. It was a great time to be a teenage girl, and movie machismo was freely overflowing. I'm not even counting the action stars that enjoyed fame in the 80s (mainly because I personally didn't find them attractive, although I did have a friend who loved Arnold Schwarzenegger. And let's face it, Ah-nold WAS a man.)

Not to mention ever since movies made that epic jump from silent to talkies, men who were men in the traditional sense of the word set many movie fans' hearts racing. I'm sure your mother or grandmother crushed on Robert Redford, Marlon Brando, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Sidney Potier, George Peppard, Cary Grant, and Rock Hudson (the last two being so sexy and masculine we never questioned their sexuality) just to name a few.

Now don't get me wrong--I love the "average guy" actors, too. My favorite actor and absolute biggest celebrity crush is Kevin Spacey. To me he's the male equivalent of the girl next door. He may not be every woman's idea of a hunk, but I think he's sexy and funny as hell and exudes class. He's a grown up man. And I can also appreciate men like John O'Reilly, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones. They're great actors. 

But when it comes to the names who are often headlining today's biggest movies, I find myself scratching my head. Something is seriously missing. In my opinion they can't even come close--both on the hottie meter and talent indicator--to the greats who came before them. Who am I talking about? Shia Labeouf, Ashton Kucher (his remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was the worst piece of crap I've ever seen) Tobey Maguire, Robert Pattinson, Jason Segal, Seth Rogan (c'mon, were we really supposed to believe that Katherine Heigel banged him in Knocked Up, drunk or not?), Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Black, Ryan Reynolds, or just about anyone else that People magazine or Access Hollywood tries to tell me is sexy. I'm sure that off screen, some of these guys are nice guys (Segal worked with The Muppets, after all) but I still feel compelled to clear something up that is probably going to get their fans' panties in a huge wad: most of these guys are not men, they're boys. To me the majority of them seem rather immature, scruffy, dweeby (in a bad way), overweight or a combination of any of those qualities. And what's really surprising to me is that women my age adore some of them. Middle aged moms make up a big portion of the Twilight fan demographic, despite the fact that Robert Pattinson apparently hates to wash himself and stinks worse than Pig Pen. Yuck. Funny, but even when I was a teen, I never paid attention to the actors of the time who were teens themselves. Why would I have wanted a picture of the Karate Kid hanging in my locker, when I could have had Indiana Jones? (No offense to Ralph Macchio; he's a good guy.)

Personally, I'm hard pressed to name any A list actor off the top of my head who is a. American, b. under the age of 35 and c. sexy/manly. Most of the guys that I find appealing are imports from other countries (Russell Crowe before he got fat, and Gerald Butler) or mainly television actors--Jon Hamm and Josh Lucas (The Firm, which sadly, I think was just canceled) or both--Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey), Damian Lewis, and Jason Isaacs (Awake.) For a while we had Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio (none of which I found sexy but at least they were somewhat manly) and George Clooney, but as he advances into middle age, who from young Hollywood can possibly take his place? 

I think there is one major trend driving the influx of young 'uns into leading movie roles: Hollywood just isn't making as many intelligent dramatic films as they used to. Hence, there's fewer demand for mature male actors who can fill a serious leading role. There seems to have been a shift during the past few years to movies that are based on teen book series (the Twilight series and now, The Hunger Games) and dumb and revolting comedies, which means the schlubby funny guys are headlining movies. And yet...I look back on the SNL guys I grew up with like Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd and still think there were way more attractive, masculine, and funnier than the likes of Jon Heder. 

If this is the direction that Hollywood is headed, then the future of the classic film hunk seems to be in serious danger. Please don't tell me to suck it up, that this is a sign of the times, that these guys are more realistic to what we see in real life, to get used to it, etc. because I won't hear of it--for nearly a century we had classy, sexy movie men and in the course of a decade they seemed to have all but disappeared.  

Ladies, do you agree?

And hey my male readers--what say you about women in movies? Do you think there's anyone out there today who can compare to the actresses of past decades or have you had enough as well? 

Friday, March 09, 2012

Three Ads Too Good Not to Share -- Products for Guys

These three advertisements come courtesy of my friend Greg over at UMRK Radio. Be sure to check out his swingin' podcasts and live shows--three hours chock-full of groovy hits from the 50s through the 80s (with a focus usually on the 60s) and nonstop fun! But first be sure to check out these three vintage ads chock-full of hilarity:

I like to call this ad "The Downside of Being a 70s Anchorman." This guy has a full hair of head that would make even Rob Burgandy jealous. The ad is even congratulating him, pointing out that he has way more hair than he did a year ago. A whole year? Does it take that long to achieve this length? But as the ad reminds us, being a guy with longer hair is not all it's cracked up to be. It's a high maintenance look--according to the copy, you have to wash it more and dry it right, or "the whole look falls apart." In other words, you have to care for your hair like a woman. I have a better idea: how about just going for the Telly Savales and calling it a day? 

If you have hair like the first guy but you're still a total dweeb with the ladies, then this Jethro Tull t-shirt is guaranteed to improve your game! Yeah, forget about The Beatles (even though the dude wearing the t-shirt looks like John Lennon during the Sgt. Pepper period), The Stones, and Jim Morrison. Chicks apparently get turned on by Jethro Tull. It must be something to do with the fact that this group featured a flute in many of their songs...which ironically, is an instrument that Ron Burgandy is quite acquainted with. Want proof? The girl IS HUMPING HIS LEG. If that's not persuasive marketing, than I don't know what is. There is a major problem, however. Considering that this was an ad to win a t-shirt, once it's ripped like the one on the fellow above, it's gone forever...and so is your player game. 

If the lush locks and a Jethro Tull tee still aren't helping you, then how about just putting it all out there by flat-out asking women to kiss you? Better yet, let your tie do the talking with this glow-in-the-dark number that does double wardrobe duty for you--a "smart" tie by day that becomes a stupid one at night! You know it's a bad sign when a company is giving away an item: "Send no money! Free trial offer!" They're going to need the money to offset the lawsuits from losers who wore this tie looking for nooky but ended up with a shiner instead.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

RIP Davy Jones

Photo via Imprint
I'll be honest--I'm not a huge Monkees fan, but after seeing the outpouring of tributes to Davy Jones on Facebook and Twitter last week, I wish I were. The Monkees were not the greatest 60s band of all time by all means; instead, they are considered the first true manufactured boy band, a group put together to capitalize on The Beatles' fame and make some money. But what became apparent to me after the passing of Davy Jones at the age of 66 is that all of them were extremely likeable and approachable by fans. People posted pictures of them meeting Jones; women said that they felt like a part of their childhood had just died along with him. For many girls growing up during the 60s, Jones was their first true celebrity crush (and I'm sure many of them envied Marcia Brady for getting to meet their idol.) Even The Beatles admired them and invited them to a party around the time of Sgt. Pepper's success, and said they only had the utmost respect for the band.

Most Monkees fans know that The Beatles were responsible for changing the direction of Jones' career early in his life. His background was in acting, having starred in a British soap called Coronation Street starting at the age of 14. On February 9, 1964 he made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show as The Artful Dodger in the Broadway stage production of Oliver!. It was the same evening that also featured The Beatles' first Sullivan appearance. Jones watched them from backstage and said later of the experience, "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that." He also trained to be a jockey while in his teens, and loved horses and horse racing. 

For people of my generation, The Monkees enjoyed a surge in popularity years after they had disbanded and their show was canceled, when MTV ran a Monkees TV show marathon during the 80s. I can remember female classmates of mine in the 7th grade who were fans of the show, proving that good music and innocence carries from decade to decade.

Shortly after his death, the other members of the Monkees publicly expressed their sentiments. Guitarist Michael Nesmith stated that Jones's "spirit and soul live well in my heart among all the lovely people", bassist Peter Tork said, "Adios to the Manchester Cowboy", and drummer/singer Micky Dolenz said, "He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart".

I think that pretty much sums up the way all Davy Jones fans feel about the man--rest in peace. 

My favorite Monkees song is A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You which was the second song Neil Diamond wrote that was recorded by the band (the first one being, of course, I'm A Believer.) 


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