Posts Tagged ‘kevin egan’

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Tipper Gore to be Inducted into Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame

January 22, 2009

kevinby Kevin Egan • Operation Itch Contributing Writer   header 

 see more posts in Humor  more  in Arts & Culture      read all posts by Kevin Egan

 

CLEVELAND (AP)-In what might be the most controversial news in the world of rock ‘n’ roll since the passing of Elvis Presley, it was announced today that Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President, Al Gore, is to be inducted in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, causing both praise and outrage from rock ‘n’ roll fanatics throughout the world.

Gore, 60, besides being known as the wife of the former vice president, had also made a name for herself back in the Eighties by leading a group composed mostly of Washington wives called, The Parent’s Music Resource Center (or The P.M.R.C., as it was more infamously known).  The P.M.R.C.’s main task was to force the music industry to label  each record it released, in the same manner films were rated by the MPAA, particularly those that included “explicit lyrics.”

In response to many of the rock videos Gore had watched as part of her research with the P.M.R.C., she had once publicly cried, “The images frightened my children!  They frightened me!  I am frightened!  Way frightened!  The graphic sex and the violence were too much for us to handle.”         

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Eventually, a Senate-hearing on the “dangers” of rock music was held and artists including Frank Zappa, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and legendary folk artist, John Denver, came to the defense of the first amendment rights of the artists in question.  It was later decided that each record company would “voluntarily” label albums if they felt they might cause a disturbance in certain communities.  Still, once the smoke had cleared, Tipper Gore had become a full-blown enemy of the rock world.   

Ironically, years later, after her husband and Bill Clinton had won the 1992 presidential election, The Gore’s made an appearance on MTV, the very channel they had once accused of perpetrating “pornography,” thanking all the young people that had supported them in their campaign.  Those that remembered the Tipper Gore of the 1980’s were shocked and somewhat perplexed by the appearance.
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The Fifteenth Round, A Bucket of Tears and Losing a Home

January 16, 2009

kevinby Kevin Egan • Operation Itch Contributing Writer   header 

 more  in Arts & Culture      read all posts by Kevin Egan
 

I promised myself when Dennis asked me to contribute to Operation Itch that I wouldn’t write about politics, considering almost everything on the site is political in nature.  I also can not express myself politically as well as people like Dennis so I usually write about what I know best: music and film.  I do, however, plan to take this next week to let out my final gasps of frustration at what has happened over the last eight years.  I just want to get in a few more final jabs before the bell rings, ending the fifteen round.  I’m well aware that nothing I write will cause the knockout I wish it would.  Obviously, my opponents are too powerful to be punished for their sins but like Rocky Balboa in the original Rocky film, after he realizes he can’t beat Apollo Creed, I just want to know I went the distance and I did my best and got a good few shots in before the end of the fight.  Although, the truth be told, the damage done over the last eight years will be echoing throughout the world for years to come, much like the brain damage Rocky suffered after going the distance against Apollo.

 Okay.  That being said…

 I was a lone man, sunk in the middle of my couch, crying like a child.  President-elect Obama was on the television accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.  Although, there were parts of his speech that were moving, I was not crying because I was touched by what he had said.  I was well aware that he was a politician, an expert on rhetoric, knowing just what buttons to push to tug at our hearts and minds.  It was an historic nomination but that was not what brought me to tears. 

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Shotgun Party: The Finest Trio This Side of The Rio Grande

January 7, 2009

kevinby Kevin Egan • Operation Itch Contributing Writer   header 

 more  in Arts & Culture      read all posts by Kevin Egan
 

“Shotgun Party is definitely in many ways a crossover band,” says Jenny Parrott, lead singer and songwriter for the Austin-based trio.  “Most of our music is written by me and I love soul, R & B, vintage jazz, country and Bjork.  Chris, the bass player, is a huge bebop & Beatles fan and Katy is a classically trained violinist whose life was changed by bluegrass.  We all add very different and hopefully complimentary things to our sound.  It is hard to put an accurate name on this type of sound but we often get away with ’swing,’ ‘pop’ or ‘country.’”

click for the Shotgun Party myspace page

click for the Shotgun Party myspace page

Regardless of what name you assign to their sound, their music definitely “swings.” 

Chris Chrepp’s upright bass and Jenny Parrott’s steady strumming on the guitar provide the perfect driving rhythm for Parrott’s playful melodies, Crepp’s and Katy Rose Cox’s impressively tight harmonies and Cox’s extraordinary fiddle playing.  The end result is a combination that can put a smile on the face of even the most miserable of curmudgeons.   

In fact, it was that combination that helped the band land a residency one of Austin’s most legendary venues, The Continental Club.  It was after a CD release party that went extremely well that the band began playing The Continental on a consistent basis, eventually landing them the prestigious spot at Happy Hour. 

 You’d be hard pressed to find a better staff than the one at the Continental Club,” says Parrott.  “They treat musicians very well there.  I don’t know many clubs where the owners book the shows, come out to see the bands play and spend time at their own club.  It seems very hands on.  And of course, the caliber of the music at that club is awesome.” 

 And although Cox is the only original Texan out of the three (Parrott hails from the Northeast and Crepps from San Diego), they are all equally immersed in and dedicated to Austin’s flourishing music scene.  They only have kind words to say about their fellow musicians, as well as their fellow citizens. 

 I enjoy the quality of musicianship here.” Crepps says.  “I also love the camaraderie amongst musicians.   There’s not a lot of animosity.  From my experiences there’s a general interest in what the other bands are doing.”

 Cox adds, “People here in Austin love to dance, eat good food, swim and laugh.  There is no place else like Austin.”

 

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SNL, PALIN & THE END OF JOKES

October 20, 2008

by Kevin Egan

Recently, for a very brief moment, one had the feeling that Saturday Night Live, after years of catering to the mainstream, had once again strayed away, regenerating the controversial balls they had lost years and years ago.  Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin was not only hysterically funny on a comedic level, it was satirically accurate, in regards to the Vice Presidential candidate’s ignorance of the issues, refusal to speak with the press, and condescending manner in which she addresses the “average American.”  It was a satirical indictment of what is very, very wrong with the McCain/Palin ticket.  Anyone in this country with half of a brain cheered the portrayal, since we all felt the McCain/Palin ticket were taking us for fools.  It also articulated a frustration many of us had been feeling since 2000, when the most inarticulate and most grammatically incorrect President in the history of our country seized control of our nation, driving its future into ruins.  Although over the past eight years, SNL rarely criticized, mocked or satirized the Bush Administration, it seemed as if they finally were once again taking an anti-establishment stance, by taking legitimate comedic jabs at the most unqualified and frightfully conservative Vice Presidential candidate this country has ever known.

But that was then.  By now, SNL has already had Palin appear on the show, doing her own comedy routine, “responding” to Tina Fey’s portrayal, alongside the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels.  Her appearance on the show, no doubt, will show what a “good sport” she is and how she can take any criticism that comes her way, including the most accurate interpretations of her patronizing of “Joe Six Pack.”  SNL, as they have always done since the mid-eighties, have once again played it “safe,” by bringing in the brunt of the joke and allowing them to respond in their own charming way.  Although they have been selling themselves for over twenty years as “cutting-edge,” the truth is, the last thing they would ever want to do is upset the powers that be.  And in case that happens to be McCain and Palin down the line, it must have seemed like a good idea to soften the accuracy of the joke by allowing Palin proper response time.   No doubt, the fact that NBC is owned by General-Electric had something to do with this.

 The problem here is not only political (which it is, and we’ll get to that), or economical (which it also is, TV=money), but it lies in the most fundamental aspects of good comedy that have been betrayed by Lorne Michaels, servant to the establishment and killer of all things funny.  From a comedic standpoint, there was no need to bring Palin in to “respond” to Fey’s portrayal.  The joke had been executed effectively and that should have been that.  Time to move on to the next zinger. I don’t remember Gerald Ford being brought onto the show a week after Chevy Chase portrayed him as a clumsy, imbalanced goofball.  Nor was Mr. Rogers ever brought on the show to challenge Eddie Murphy’s  hilarious version of Roger’s program, set in the ghetto, “Mr.Robinson’s Neighborhood.”  To bring in MR. Rogers himself would have been going for the cheap laugh, stealing away the effects of the social satire that Murphy was articulating.    

Palin’s presence was an insult to Fey’s spot-on, and more than truthful, performance, which should earn her an Emmy, if the gods above are just and fair.  Bringing Palin on the show was the equivalent of the chicken returning to the scene of the crime to justify “why he crossed the road.”  Pointless.  Senseless.  And most importantly, not funny.

Politically speaking, obviously, Michaels cowardly chose to not “take a stand,” so he did what was fair and brought Palin in to make light of the entire affair, again, weakening Fey’s indictment of a campaign that is ruthlessly crafty in their approach to politics.  The problem is, and this also brings us back to the fundamentals of comedy: a joke always takes a side.  It has to.  Otherwise, it’s not funny.  There has to be a victim.  Jokes are never fair and never polite.  There is always a subject addressed in the joke and that subject is always ridiculed.  That is the point of jokes.  Groucho Marx never came out at the end of a Marx Brothers movie and apologized to Margaret Dumont for mocking her throughout the film.  To do so would’ve robbed us of all the laughs he generated by ribbing her from all angles.  Abbott never apologized to Costello and Charlie Brown never kicked that football.  If it had been any other way, we never would’ve watched. 

 What Michaels did, by allowing Palin on the show, was apologize for the hilariously wonderful examination of Palin’s posture, presentation, and inabilities by Tina Fey. Michaels should have stood behind the joke and should have stood behind Fey.  What he had done was an insult to Fey and her abilities as a comedian.  He took back every laugh we enjoyed, as we relished in the fact that we were lucky enough to have someone as bright as Tina Fey to bring to light the stupidity, the patronizing tone, and the frightfully effective touches of the Sarah Palin character.

Kevin Egan is a writer and musician living in Austin, TX