My pop culture summer, part 1

Well folks, the eve of summer is upon us. To my mind, it has already passed. How was yours? Mine…wasn’t terriffic. I am looking forward to a new season and am determined to make fall fun. But whatever else I can say about the summer, I have to admit, it was pretty kick ass in terms of pop culture. I saw 4 shows (3 musicals, 1 play); saw my boys play in Chicago; discovered some new bands and podcasts; read great books; went to a great film festival; and even had time to watch (or re watch) some TV. So it wasn’t all bad.

Below is the first installment of my best of summer pop culture picks. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

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The best thing you’re not listening to

People of the Internet: After you read this, get thee to Itunes and subscribe.

I recently discovered the best podcast currently running in cyberspace: The Tobolowsky Files, starring the man himself, Stephen Tobolowsky.

Who?

You know him. He played Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day (so I’m told; truth be told, I can’t stand that movie and only saw it once); Sammy in Momento; Hugo Jerry on Deadwood; Bob Bishop the gold man on Heros; and most recently, Sandy Ryerson on Glee. In other words, he is the ultimate “Hey! It’s that guy!” guy.

On the Tobolowsky Files, he tells stories from his life. I know this does not sound engaging, but trust me, it is. Tobolowksy, it turns out, has not only had a fascinating life, but is also a gifted writer and storyteller. I was hooked from episode one, and he had me crying by episode two. My only complaint is that the podcast just started in November, so there are only about 18 episodes so far. I got through the first 11 fairly quick, and have had to force myself to ration the rest out.

Not much else can be said about the show; it really speaks for itself. If you enjoy hearing interesting stories (and who doesn’t?) check out The Tobolowsky Files. It’s in real danger of knocking This American Life out of first place for my favorite podcast. And for those of you who know about my undying love for Ira Glass, well, that’s really saying something.

You can listen to all shows directly here, or subscribe to it on Itunes.

You’re welcome, Internet.

K-E-L-L-Y: The best musical moments on TV

Lists, lists, we got yer lists here!

I don’t know why I am constantly making up pointless lists about TV in my head. That’s just me.  And yes, I’ve done it again. After the Glee album was released a few weeks ago, I started thinking about my favorite Glee moments, which led to thinking about my favorite TV musical moments. That led to me making a list of said favorites, which brings us here.

Before I begin, a few things: First, I’ve not seen every show out there. These are just some of my favorite moments. I know, for instance, that Ally McBeal was chock-full of musical performances. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it. Ditto for the first four seasons of American Idol. Second, by musical moments, I do not mean montages. I mean characters actually singing, or music being used effectively in a scene. (But there are a few exceptions for truly outstanding montages that could not be ignored.) Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a musical montage. But the list is long enough already; if I included every musical montage I loved, I’d be writing this entry forever.

Ready? Okay, here we go, in no particular order. Continue reading

Glee soundtrack, Volume I

As you may or may not know, I am not usually one for spoilers. While I don’t mind knowing who is going to guest star on How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory, I REALLY don’t want to know what’s happening next on Dexter or Friday Night Lights, or who’s getting kicked off Project Runway.

Similarly, I have enjoyed all the surprises of Glee so far this season. This includes both plot lines (Rachel and Puck? Brilliant!) and the songs they perform. While I knew that Kristen Chenoweth was going to be on the show at some point, I didn’t know when, and seeing her show up and sing a dueling pianos version of “Maybe This Time” with Rachel was a major thrill.

With that in mind – today the first volume of the Glee soundtrack was released, and so of COURSE I went to get it on my lunch break. I figured that it would just have the songs from the first half of the season – i.e. what we’ve already seen. It did – along with two extras that I assume we’ll hear sometime this month. While I’m disappointed about being a little spoiled, the tracks are so good, they pretty much make up for ruining the surprise.

SPOILERS BELOW ON THE LAST TWO TRACKS!!! Continue reading