Mark Fertig on Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters


Once one learns that film scholar/blogger Mark Fertig has authored Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters, a new Fantagraphics coffee table book, there is only one logical option. Interview him about it. Enjoy Fertig discuss the book and much more about film noir. I wish all my interviews were this content rich. Speaking of content, when discussing certain films, Fertig was kind enough to share links to his blog, Where Danger Lives, please be sure to click on all the links for even more great reading.

Tim O’Shea: You dedicated the book to your late mother. Did she live long enough to know you became a film scholar?

Mark Fertig: Unfortunately my mom passed away when I was still in my twenties; at the time I was slogging it out as an adjunct graphic design professor. However she remains the driving force behind my interest in classic films. Anyone who has ever cultivated a passion for old movies can tell you that it’s difficult to find others out there with the same interests. For me, that person was my mother. We spent countless hours watching dusty VHS tapes and discussing everyone from Alan Ladd to Zasu Pitts. Remember Mia Farrow in those last few moments of The Purple Rose of Cairo? That was my mom.

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Eleanor Whitmore on The Mastersons’ Good Luck Charm & August 7 Concert at Eddie’s Attic

The Masterson: Good Luck Charm

The Masterson: Good Luck Charm

I first saw The Mastersons play on the Cayamo cruise in 2011. When I found out that the Austin, Texas-based musical duo of Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore were appearing August 7 at Eddie’s Attic (at 7:30 PM), I reached out to Whitmore for a quick email interview to help spread the word. We discuss the new album, Good Luck Charm, which was released by the husband-wife team in June (and is available on iTunes, Vinyl or your local record store), as well as the advantages of playing a legendary cozy venue like Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia.

Tim O’Shea: How much do you enjoy getting to play more intimate venues like Eddie’s Attic (as opposed to the larger venues you play when opening for or playing with Steve Earle)?

Eleanor Whitmore: It’s easier to connect with your audience when they’re close around you. It’s a lot of fun to play places like Eddie’s Attic because you can interact with the crowd more, but there is a certain challenge to winning over a bigger audience in a large venue and we like doing that too.

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From Music Vault: Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles [circa 1971]

This week I found out that Music Vault has uploaded to YouTube what it describes as “the greatest selection of exclusive live performances from legendary artists and your new favorite bands. Our new videos and playlists are hand-curated and added daily from the largest live music collection in the world.”

Over the next few days and weeks I will start sharing some of my favorite finds at the blog.

First up? Aretha Franklin feat. Ray Charles – Spirit In The Dark
Recorded Live: 3/7/1971 – Fillmore West (San Francisco, CA)

This video is an education for someone like me–who has never seen her perform live. I never realize that Franklin did any kind of dancing. It is a delight to see that aspect.

Then around the 6:30 mark the crowd goes crazy, as Franklin is joined onstage by Charles.

Watch and enjoy.

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Playing House: I Love When Shows Post Bloopers

If you have not checked out the new USA Network comedy, Playing House, you are missing out. Here’s a snippet from the series’ official bio page: “Childhood best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham, Best Friends Forever) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair, Best Friends Forever) have shared countless adventures growing up together in the charming town of Pinebrook, CT. Now, Maggie and Emma are in store for one of their biggest adventures—raising a baby.”

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Quotes You Have To Love: Mistook Fire for A Fog Machine

From a Yahoo story about a fire at a wedding, I love this justice of the peace quote:

I just finished pronouncing the young couple husband and wife when we started the recessional, walked out followed by the groom’s people and bridesmaids, then we looked up, and I thought it was fog from a fog machine. It was kind of nice and then I took a closer look and there was a smell to it that didn’t smell like a fog machine.

Because everyone uses a fog machine at a wedding, of course.

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Captured Sound: Processional Hymn on Uilleann Pipes

I rarely do things like this. But I attended a funeral/celebration of life today–and I noticed there were going to be bagpipes played for the processional hymn.

I contacted a friend who was not there (before the service began) and offered to tape it for him. Here it is. Out of respect for the family, I am opting not to identify them on the blog. My friend noted when he listened to my recording that the bagpipes were uilleann pipes (the national bagpipe of Ireland, apparently). Apt for two days before St. Patrick’s Day.

I must emphasize it is an amateur recording effort on my part. Enjoy.

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New Johnny Carson-Related Podcast Well Worth Your Time

CarsonPodcast

As a late night talk show junkie it was a delight to find out from Pop Candy that podcaster Mark Malkoff is tracking down contemporaries of Johnny Carson for a new show called The Carson Podcast.

In addition to sharing their memories of Carson, the subjects often (and understandably) delve into their own careers, which makes for a whole even more enjoyable layer of entertainment than I ever expected.

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Kudos to Amtrak for Supporting the Arts

Amtrak-01-800x482

I am sure some folks will be annoyed that a struggling government enterprise  like Amtrak has announced its plans to host an expanded #AmtrakResidency for writers. (Thanks to Tom Feister for making me aware of this.) For my taxpayer money, I love to see it used in this nontraditional manner.

To quote Amtrak:

#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015.  A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.

Residencies will be anywhere from 2-5 days, with exceptions for special projects.”

Here’s hoping it is so successful that, as my pal Feister has suggested, they offer a similar program for artists.

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I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down: Different Versions

When I was a kid in the 1980s, I was introduced to I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down through Paul Young’s cover of it. Back then I had no idea it was originally performed by Ann Peebles.

So for your consideration, here is the original (well a 1989 performance by Peebles of her 1970s song); a cover by Graham Parker and the Rumour; and finally Paul Young’s version (a horrible Top of the Pops lip synch performance).

As she co-wrote it, I think Peebles is the default winner–but I have always been partial to Young’s version. As I get older, my appreciation of Graham Parker’s version increases however; particularly as the 1980s Young version becomes increasingly dated with every passing year.

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How Did I Miss This? Fallon’s Last 12:30 Show Featured Muppets

The description says it all: “Jimmy & the Muppets perform The Weight by the Band for the last waltz of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

Animal as Levon Helm makes perfect sense, honestly.

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