Fitzpatrix

My Bizarre Adventures

“If we’re going to be damned…”

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They said it wouldn’t last (and if you’ve seen some of the first season episodes, you’d believe that sentiment). They said it couldn’t overshadow its predecessor (even though some of the same creators that worked on the original series were involved in the production). Despite the fuss from certain hardcore fans and the somewhat lukewarm critical response, when Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted on this date in 1987 with the episode “Encounter at Farpoint”, it was an instant ratings smash that not only introduced a crop of new fans to the Star Trek phenomenon, but also gave longtime Trekkies new stories and characters to enjoy…or, at least during the first couple of seasons, tolerate.

In 1988, amid the show’s wave of success, a Seattle independent filmmaker and science fiction fan, Ryan K. Johnson, released his satirical tribute to TNG entitled Star Trek: The Pepsi Generation. Johnson’s 15-minute short film is a near-perfect encapsulation of what didn’t work in the show’s early years, from the cranky Captain Picard, the tiresome antics of Wesley Crusher and the occasional rehashing of plots from the original show. The Pepsi Generation serves as a effective reminder of the growing pains that TNG went through before becoming one of the most beloved sci-fi programs on television.

Credit: RyanKJohnson

“…With my wits, without hatin’, without being bitter, without being mean.”

Thank you for the inspiration, Dick Gregory.

Credit to visionaryproject.

They Don’t Call It Tragic-Con

The four days of the San Diego Comic-Con are almost upon us, so with that in mind, let’s take a look back at Comic Book: The Movie, a 2004 mockumetary filmed on location at the 2002 Comic-Con. Starring and directed by Mark Hamill (you know, that clown from that space movie), the comedy features interviews with geek culture bigwigs such as Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell and Kevin Smith, as well as the talents of several prolific voice actors including Billy West, Jess Harnell and Tom Kenny. Although it’s a little choppy, I recommend it just for the novelty of seeing top-notch voice actors plying their craft in a live-action production.

Here’s my favorite deleted scene with Harnell and West performing a lovely song called “Four Color World” to a group of Comic-Con attendees.

Credit: thedvdupdate

“Charm, Talent, Looks, and a Fantastic Voice”

Thanks for the memories, Adam West.

Thanks to filmnoir2019 for the video.

Modal Node to Joy

In May of 1977, an innovative motion picture was released that forever altered the way we understand and create films. It depicted a fast-paced, fantastical adventure that has fueled many imaginations and taught many important life lessons. Of course, I refer to the Hal Needham opus, Smokey and the Bandit! Just kidding, you know what I’m talking about.

There’s no denying the immediate impact that Star Wars has made on the pop cultural landscape, especially in the franchise’s early years. A wide variety of products were made to capitalize on the film’s widespread popularity, ranging from exciting new stories based on the universe, like the early Marvel comics and Brian Daley’s Han Solo Adventures (which I highly recommend), to other movies and shows that took their cues from George Lucas’s modern-day space serial. Even John Williams’s iconic orchestral score became in vogue, with Meco’s various disco remixes of the leitmotifs from the films being the most famous example.

One of the more obscure tributes to Williams’s work on the films is double bassist Ron Carter‘s 1980 album, Empire Jazz, an easy listening homage to the then-recent music of The Empire Strikes Back, including the themes for Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Leia/Han romance motif. Here is my personal favorite track on the album, the underrated theme of Cloud City kingpin and Rebel general, Lando Calrissian.

Thanks to Andy Lindemann for finding this album.

The Worst We Can Find (La-La-La)

To commemorate the Netflix revival of the groundbreaking comedy series and showcase of the world’s most famous horror hosts, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (*twang*), let’s take a look back at a 1996 segment that aired before WWF WrestleMania XII that was the wrestling promotion’s strange answer to the MST3K phenomenon, featuring the riffing stylings of Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Here’s the culmination of their goofy Billionaire Ted parody skits: the Huckster vs. the Nacho Man!

Credit: http://www.dailymotion.com/idimegra

“Johnny? Let’s Be Good!”

Thanks for the inspiration, Chuck Berry.

Credit: Clément Monterastelli

Triumph of Love by Walter Mosley

With Black History Month drawing to a close, I wanted to share this moving lecture from one of my favorite black novelists, Walter Mosley.

A Cursory Antiquity of Temporal Lengths

Today is the 75th anniversary of the famed English physicist Stephen Hawking! Best known for his groundbreaking cosmology book, A Brief History of Time, as well as his numerous appearances in pop cultural institutions like Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Simpsons, perhaps the strangest homage to the scientist came in the form of A Brief History of Rhyme, a 2004 album produced by web developer and nerdcore hip hop artist Ken Lawrence under the alias of MC Hawking. Here’s a music video for my favorite track from the album, “What We Need More of is Science”.

Star Claus: A Yule Hope

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Let’s celebrate the release of the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, during this 2016 holiday season in the most synergistic way possible. Have a listen to the B-side of Bobby Helms’ hit single and modern Yuletide standard “Jingle Bell Rock”, a cosmic Christmas carol entitled “Captain Santa Claus (and His Reindeer Space Patrol)”.