Monday, March 31, 2008

R&B Singer Sean Levert Dies At 39

Sean Levert (center), along with brother Gerald (left) and Marc Gordon

Sean Levert, one-third of the R&B trio LeVert and son of Eddie Levert of the O'Jays, died late Sunday night at the age of 39. Sean fell ill while serving a jail term for failing to pay child support. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died about an hour later. Sean reportedly was suffering from high blood pressure and had been hallucinating in jail. According to the coroner, an autopsy is scheduled. Sean's death comes less than two years after that of older brother Gerald (the lead singer of Levert and a successful solo artist as well) who died in 2006 at age 40 of an accidental mix of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

As a member of LeVert (along with Gerald and childhood friend Marc Gordon) Sean enjoyed several hits on the R&B and pop charts. These include "Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop (Goes My Mind)", "Casanova", "My Forever Love", and "Just Coolin". As late as 2007, there were plans to reunite LeVert with Dwight Thompson of the Rude Boys replacing Gerald.

To lose one child is hard enough, but losing two in such a short timespan is a pain that I can't even imagine. My heart goes out to Eddie Levert and the rest of his family.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Final Results of the Mariah vs. Hannah/Miley Poll

Sweet niblets! It was a landslide as over 80% of you felt that the new CD by teen sensation Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus would sell more in its first week of wide release than that of grizzled veteran Mariah Carey.

As many of you do, I have a feeling that the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus train shows no signs of stopping and will result in her first week sells trumping those of Mariah. Having said that, a Mariah upset wouldn't be a total surprise to me. After all, her last CD (2005's The Emancipation of Mimi) was certified multi-platinum by the RIAA and her current single (Touch My Body) is doing quite well on the charts.

Here are the final results:

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus- 85%
Mariah Carey- 14%

In case you are curious and want a glimpse of Montanamania, here is the video to "The Best of Both Worlds".

The Movie Quotes Meme

Beth (whose blog is titled A Cup of Coffey) tagged me for this Movie Quote Meme.

1. Below are quotes from 15 of my favorite movies.
2. Without consulting Google,, or any other search engines, see if you can correctly identify the movies that contained these quotes
3. I'll post the movie titles (along with name of the first person to correctly respond) as they’re correctly identified.
4. Normally I ask that you send your answers to me via email. For this one you can just post your responses in the comments section.

Following each quote is the character who said it, the perfomer who played the role, and the movie title. Also included are the names of the people who correctly identified the quote.

1. When you're slapped you'll take it and like it. Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart), The Maltese Falcon. Answered by Pjazzy

2. He ain't in the box because of the joke played on him. He back-sassed a free man. They got their rules. We ain't got nothin' to do with that. Would probably have happened to him sooner or later anyway, a complainer like him. He gotta learn the rules the same as anybody else. Dragline (George Kennedy), Cool Hand Luke. Answered by Pjazzy and Jay

3. You wanna boycott someone? You ought to start with the goddamn barber that fucked up your head. Sweet Dick Willie (Robin Harris), Do the Right Thing. Answered by Pjazzy

4. Come out here and kick ol' Sarge's ass. Come on, geechie. You don't want the Sarge to grow old waitin' for you. Sgt. Vernon Waters (Adolph Caesar), A Soldier's Story. Answered by Pjazzy

5. You know, there's a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of 'em just cheat on you. Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), Clerks. Answered by Pjazzy and Jay

6. Yeah? Oh, I'm gonna have a block for you to bust, too, baby, so you better bring a whole lotta hammer. Beth Foster (Denise Nicholas), Let's Do It Again. Answered by Pjazzy

7. The hell I don't. LISTEN KID. I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes. Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Airplane. Answered by Pjazzy and Jay

8. I want all of you to take a good look at this slovenly, sloppy boy - as an example of how NOT to dress. If you look like THIS in the morning, find some other clothes to wear. Self-respect permeates every aspect of your existence. If you don't have respect for yourself, you're not gonna get it from anyone else. Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman), Lean On Me. Answered by Pjazzy and Jay

9. I'd hate to take a bite outta you. You're a cookie full of arsenic. J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster), Sweet Smell of Success. Answered by Pjazzy

10. The governor of Louisiana gave me this. Madame Tinkertoy's House of Blue Lights, corner of Bourbon and Toulouse, New Orleans, Louisiana. Now, this is supposed to be the finest whorehouse in the south. These ain't no pork chops! These are U.S. PRIME! George Hanson (Jack Nicholson), Easy Rider. Answered by Pjazzy and Jay

11. Football season is over, Veronica. Kurt and Ram had nothing left to offer the school except for date rapes and AIDS jokes. Jason Dean (Christian Slater), Heathers. Answered by Pjazzy and Beckeye

12. Whatever! But Sidney, she has a home. A house, with a rec room. You know what time it is! Go downstairs in that basement, sofa bed, pow! You're in there! Peter "Play" Martin (Christopher "Play" Martin), House Party. Answered by Pjazzy

13. Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! John "Bluto" Blutarsky (John Belushi), Animal House. Answered by Pjazzy, Beckeye, and Jay

14. Now, get this! We ain't partners. We ain't brothers. And we ain't friends. I'm puttin' you down and keepin' you down until Ganz is locked up or dead. And if Ganz gets away, you're gonna be sorry YOU ever MET me! Jack Cates (Nick Nolte), 48 Hours. Answered by Pjazzy and Jay

15. WHAT YOU'RE HIRED FOR, is to help us... does that seem clear to you? TO HELP US, not to... FUCK-US-UP... to help those who are going out there to try to earn a living... You fairy. You company man. Ricky Roma (Al Pacino), Glengarry Glen Ross. Answered by Pjazzy and Jay

I Received the Thinking Blogger's Award

Earlier this month, I received the Thinking Blogger Award from Pop Art Diva. It's quite an honor and I want to thank her for the kudos. Speaking of Kudos, I could really go for some of those right now.

Anyway, back to the Thinking Blogger's Award. The participation rules are as follows:
  1. If you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think
  2. Link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme
  3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’.
I am going to tag the following quintet as the blogs that make me think and keep me interested and inspired:

Book Mama

Life Is RANTastic!

Riley Central

Traces of A Stream

What Would Thembi Do

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Mariah Carey vs. Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Poll... Thank You.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spin City On Hiatus Until April 12th

Since Kettering University will be closed for spring break, Spin City will be off the air during that time as well. My show will return on Saturday, April 12th from 4-7 pm. Thanks for listening.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Actor Richard Widmark Dies At 93

Earlier this week, actor Richard Widmark died after a long illness at the age of 93. One of the things that I liked about Richard Widmark was that he didn't mind playing villains. In his film debut (1947's "Kiss of Death"), he played psychopathic thug Tommy Udo, one of the most memorable villains in movie history. The role earned him his only Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Even when he played good guys, his characters usually had an edge that made them stand out. My favorite performance by Widmark is in the 1953 suspense drama "A Pickup On South Street". In it he played Skip McCoy; a pickpocket who gets tangled up with Communists after unwittingly stealing a pocketbook that contains microfilm.

Fans of classic TV may remember Richard Widmark from his guest appearance as himself in a 1955 episode of "I Love Lucy". Titled "The Tour", the plot involved Lucy and Ethel taking a bus tour of star's homes in Beverly Hills. After getting off the bus to pick a grapefruit from Widmark's tree, Lucy winds up in his backyard... then inside his house... and eventually under a bearskin rug in his trophy room!

On Friday April 4th, TCM will pay tribute to Widmark with a block of 3 films starting at 8 pm EST. Unfortunately, TCM doesn't have access to many of the films made by 20th Century Fox (the studio where Widmark was under contract from 1947-1954 and did some of his best work). For details on the 3 film salute and an overview of Richard Widmark's career, click here.

Below is the most famous scene from "Kiss of Death". His retribution against the wheelchair-bound woman still makes me cringe.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #38: TV Themes Performed by the Stars Themselves

Thirteen TV Themes Performed by the Stars Themselves

Below are 13 instances of stars pulling double duty in front of the camera and behind the mic. Some of the performers actually had singing experience before becoming TV stars, others not so much. If different from the show name, the song title is included.

Note: I purposely left off performers who appeared in music-based series such as "The Monkees" and "The Partridge Family"

1. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor (Green Acres)

2. Brandy (Moesha)

3. Nell Carter (Gimme A Break)

4. Greg Evigan (B.J. and the Bear)... in addition to this one, Evigan also sang the theme to another show in which he starred... the awful sitcom "My Two Dads". I can't believe I used to watch that crap!

5. Marla Gibbs (227)- "There's No Place Like Home"

6. Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)- "Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs"

7. Linda Lavin (Alice)- "There's a New Girl in Town"

8. Lee Majors (The Fall Guy)- "The Unknown Stuntman"; Does anyone else remember when Lee performed the theme song on an episode of "Solid Gold"?

9. Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton (All In the Family)- "Those Were the Days"; Believe it or not, Carroll and Jean's performance of the theme song hit the Billboard Hot 100 (peaking at #43 in 1971)

10. Queen Latifah (Living Single)

11. Della Reese (Touched By An Angel)- "Walk With You"

12. Holly Robinson (21 Jump Street)- According to Wikipedia, two of Robinson's co-stars (Peter DeLuise and some guy named Johnny Depp) also chimed in with the word "Jump" in the song.

13. Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

Leave your link in comments so that others can visit you.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The A-Team Movie Scheduled To Hit the Big Screen in 2009

After being in development hell for almost 10 years, the big screen version of "The A-Team" looks like it may finally be coming to theaters in 2009. Based on the hit NBC series that ran from 1983-1987 and starred George Peppard (Capt. John "Hannibal" Smith), Mr. T (B.A. "Bad Attitude" Baracus), Dirk Benedict (Templeton "Faceman" Peck), and Dwight Schultz ("Howling Mad" Murdock) , the film version will be directed by Oscar nominee John Singleton.

Although a cast has not yet been announced, Singleton hopes to get Woody Harrelson for the role of zany chopper pilot "Howling Mad" Murdock. Expressing interest in the role of ace mechanic and all-around "Mr. Fix It" B.A. Baracus is none other than Ice Cube. Cube told that he would even sport the Mohawk look if given the role.

I personally think that Woody and Ice Cube would be perfect in those roles. To fill the role of "Hannibal" Smith (master of disguise and leader of the A-Team), I think that Bruce Willis or Kurt Russell would be ideal. In the role of ladies' man Templeton "Faceman" Peck, I can picture someone like Luke Wilson or Matthew McConaughey. If they decide to include the character of reporter Amy Allen (played by Melinda Culea in the TV version), Sarah Michelle Gellar would fit the bill. The film version of "The A-Team" is scheduled to hit theaters in June 2009.

If you were the casting director, who would pick to star in the film version of "The A-Team"?

Below is the opening credits sequence of the original series:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Top 5 on Friday: Cover Songs and Covers Albums

From Music Memoirs:

Due to the damn snowstorm, I got home later than normal on Friday evening and thus couldn't get this posted until the wee hours.

Here are 5 interesting covers in my CD collection.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by Lesley Gore- The "It's My Party" girl tackles a song made famous by "The Thunder from Down Under" and does a credible job.

Dust In the Wind by Eric Benet- from his 1999 CD "A Day In the Life", Halle's ex adds some flavor to his version. Toto, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Eleanor Rigby by Aretha Franklin- featuring her superb piano work and vocals, Lady Soul put her spin on The Beatles' classic in 1969.

Positively 4th Street by Simply Red- The British band recorded the Bob Dylan tune for their 2003 release "Home". I picked up a free copy from where I work and listened to it without looking at the track listing. It wasn't until Mick Hucknall sang "You got a lot of nerve...", that I realized what song it was.

Unchained Melody by Vito and the Salutations- recorded in 1963 (8 years after the first version and 2 years before The Righteous Brothers' rendition), Vito & the Salutations did it in an uptempo doo-wop style that makes it almost unrecognizable. I love it!

5 covers albums that I own:

"Chartbusters Go Pop" by Elton John- Back in the days before compilations featuring the original artists became available, budget-priced albums of hit songs by nameless 'soundalike' performers were the norm. Before hitting it big as a solo performer, Elton John recorded this album of hits from 1969/1970. Included are his takes on Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In the Sky", CCR's "Up Around the Bend", Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed Delivered", and Nina Simone's "To Be Young Gifted and Black". It's worth it just to hear Elton sing "To be young, gifted and black. Is where it's at".

"Here No Evil: A Tribute to the Monkees" by various artists- This 1992 CD features tunes made famous by Mike, Micky, Davy, and Peter. Highlights include "Circle Sky" by The Diggers, "You Told Me" by Multi-Color House, and "Let's Dance On" by The Doll Squad.

Policia: A Tribute to the Police- Released in 2005, this CD features artists such as Fall Out Boy (Roxanne), Limbeck (So Lonely), and Underoath (Wrapped Around Your Finger) doing songs made famous by Sting and the boys.

Rock Swings by Paul Anka- Recorded in 2005, the former teen idol goes Sinatra with renditions of tunes first done by Survivor (Eye of the Tiger), Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit), and The Cure (Lovecats) just to name a few.

Saturday Morning Cartoon's Greatest Hits by various artists- This 1995 CD features some of the top alternative acts of the day doing songs from 60s and 70s kidvid. Some of the highlights are "The Tra La La Song" by Liz Phair with Material Issue, "Go Speed Racer Go" by Sponge, "Josie and the Pussycats" by Juliana Hatfield & Tanya Donnelly, and "Spiderman" by The Ramones.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Top 5 Songs From the 1960s

The Mistress of the Dark, a frequent commenter here and the author of her own blog A Little Night Music, puts together music-related memes 3 times a week at Music Memoirs. Although I am a week late, her meme from last Friday finally inspired me to take part. For last Friday's meme, she asks participants to name their top 5 songs from the 1960s. Because it's so hard to narrow it down to 5 songs, that probably made this meme even more intriguing to me. Below are my top 5 songs of the 1960s this week. I say that because if you were to ask me next week, I would have a different list.

Although I won't be tagging anyone, feel free to participate by posting your top 5 in the comments section. If you are a blogger and want to post your top 5 on your own blog, just leave a note in the comments section so that others can visit you.

1. (Loneliness Made Me Realize) It's You That I Need (1967) by The Temptations- Featuring the "sandpaper and honey" lead vocals of David Ruffin, this uptempo tune also allows the other four Tempts their moment to shine.

2. Do You Believe In Magic (1965) by The Lovin' Spoonful- If ever I need an emotional lift, I can put on this song and all becomes right with the world.

3. Nobody But Me (1962) by The Isley Brothers- A hit 6 years later for The Human Beinz, this original version is 2 minutes and 16 seconds of awesome call & response rock and soul.

4. If I Needed Someone (1965) by The Beatles- This Byrdsy gem courtesy of so-called "quiet Beatle" George Harrison showed that Lennon & McCartney weren't the only capable songwriters within the Fab Four.

5. Baby, I Love You (1963) by The Ronettes- Complete with hand claps, fine musicianship and the pleading lead vocals of Ronnie Bennett, this is a prime example of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" production style.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Hogan's Heroes" co-star Ivan Dixon Dies At the Age of 76

Ivan Dixon, with Diana Sands, in a scene from a 1967 episode of "The Fugitive"

Ivan Dixon, perhaps best known for his role as Sgt. James Kinchloe in the long-running sitcom "Hogan's Heroes", has died at the age of 76. According to his daughter, Dixon died Sunday after a hemorrhage. He had also been suffering from kidney failure.

Dixon began his career in the late 1950s, appearing on Broadway in 1957's "The Cave Dwellers" and in playwright Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking 1959 drama of black life, "A Raisin in the Sun." In the latter, he played a Nigerian student visiting the United States, a role he repeated in the 1961 film version. He also starred in the 1964 drama "Nothing But A Man" (a film that has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry). Some of his other film credits include "Something of Value", "A Patch of Blue", and "Car Wash".

Although Dixon guest starred on such TV series as "The Twilight Zone", "I Spy", "Love, American Style", "Ironside", "The Mod Squad", and "The Name of the Game", it was his role on "Hogan's Heroes" that brought him the greatest fame. As Sgt. Kinchloe, Dixon was the team's level-headed communications officer who was also adept at imitating German officers on the phone or radio. During his time on "Hogan's Heroes", Dixon also starred in the 1967 CBS Playhouse drama, "The Final War of Olly Winter," about a veteran of World War II and Korea who decided that Vietnam would be his final war. The role brought Dixon an Emmy nomination for best single performance by an actor.

After leaving "Hogan's Heroes" in 1970, Dixon mainly focused on working behind the camera. Along with directing films such as "Trouble Man" and "The Spook Who Sat by the Door", he also helmed episodes of several TV series. These include "The Bill Cosby Show", "Julia", "The Waltons", "The Rockford Files", "Magnum P.I.", "The A-Team", and "Quantum Leap".

Dixon is survived by his wife of 53 years, a son, and a daughter.

Thursday Thirteen #37: 50-Plus and Fabulous

Thirteen Women Who Are 50-plus and Fabulous

In honor of National Women's History Month, I decided to spotlight 13 lovely ladies past the half century mark. One of my favorite lines from the 1950 film "Sunset Blvd." is when Joe Gillis says to Norma Desmond "There's nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you're trying to be twenty-five." The baker's dozen of beautiful women below demonstrate that aging can still be done gracefully. Since this is the Thursday Thirteen, the following list of ladies is nowhere near complete. Having said that, feel free to share in the comments section which women you would put on your own list of 50-plus and fabulous.

1. Joan Allen (born in 1956): Actress (Face/Off, Pleasantville, The Notebook)

2. Sonia Braga (born in 1950): Actress (several movies and guest shots on such series as The Cosby Show, Sex and the City, and Ghost Whisperer)

3. Julie Christie (born in 1941): Oscar winning actress for "Darling" and co-star of such films as "Dr. Zhivago", "Shampoo", and "Afterglow"

4. Natalie Cole (born in 1950): Grammy-winning singer and actress ("I'll Fly Away", "Touched By An Angel", "Grey's Anatomy", etc.)

5. Ann Curry (born in 1956): News anchor for Today and host of Dateline NBC

6. Jane Fonda (born in 1937): Oscar-winning actress ("Klute" and "Coming Home"), activist, and author

7. Pam Grier (born in 1949): Blaxploitation film icon ("Sheba Baby", "Foxy Brown", and "Coffy") and co-star of "The L Word"

8. Emmylou Harris (born in 1947): Grammy winning singer/songwriter and guitarist

9. Lena Horne (born in 1917): Award-winning singer and actress ("Stormy Weather", "Cabin In the Sky", "The Wiz")

10. Susan Lucci (born in 1946): Award-winning actress (best known for playing Erica Kane on the ABC soap "All My Children")

11. Nichelle Nichols (born in 1932): Actress best known for her role as Lt. (later Commander) Uhura on the TV series "Star Trek" and its subsequent movie sequels.

12. France Nuyen (born in 1939): Actress ("Star Trek", "Charlie's Angels", and The Joy Luck Club")

13. Nancy Wilson (born in 1937): Award-winning song stylist and actress ("Police Story", "Moesha", and "The Parkers")

Leave your link in comments so that others can visit you.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Remarketing tags may not be associated with personally identifiable information or placed on pages related to sensitive categories. See more information and instructions on how to setup the tag on: --------------------------------------------------->