Television

Monday, July 28, 2014

On TV This Week: Prince Mongo on "American Pickers"

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

From left: Frank Fritz, Prince Mongo Hodges, and Mike Wolfe
  • Greg Akers
  • From left: Frank Fritz, Prince Mongo Hodges, and Mike Wolfe

The moment we've all been waiting for is upon us: This week we will finally get to see Memphis weirdo Prince Mongo on the History Channel's hit TV show American Pickers.

From the show's home page: "Eccentric Prince Mongo answers to an other-worldly power and commands Mike and Frank to buy, but refuses to quote them any prices ... "

The episode is titled "Alien vs. Picker".

The Memphis Flyer encountered the experience live when Frank and Mike were in Memphis back in March.

You can see Prince Mongo in all his rubber chicken glory on American Pickers, the following scheduled times:

Premier: Wednesday, July 30, 8 p.m.
Thursday, July 31, Midnight
Wednesday, August 6, 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Andrew Garfield as Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Andrew Garfield, the star of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend. In one skit, a mock of a celebrity episode of Family Feud, Garfield acts as Justin Timberlake, Memphis' beloved BFF who is no stranger to SNL. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When "American Pickers" Met Prince Mongo

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe of American Pickers talk to Prince Mongo (center)
  • Greg Akers
  • Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe of "American Pickers" talk to Prince Mongo (center)
Yesterday afternoon, the leads of History Channel's phenomenally successful show American Pickers were in downtown Memphis. The tall, thin, sarcastic Mike Wolfe and the shorter, rounder, more subtly funny Frank Fritz are a kind of Abbott and Costello of antiques. Never mind that the show, appearing on the channel it does, necessarily equivocates history with material possessions (forgivable, because there is some social history value to considering what past generations considered valuable) or that it led to an immense rise in copycat shows piggybacking on American Pickers' success (unforgivable, because Pawn Stars).

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Existential Horror Of The Winter Olympics

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 8:48 PM

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The universe is a vast, uncaring place built on a foundation of random meaninglessness overlaid by a thin veneer of order that gives us insignificant humans an illusion of hope. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Winter Olympics.

Consider Hannah Kearney, U.S. women’s mogul skiing gold medalist in 2010, returning to defend her medal run on the second night of the Sochi games. On her final run, the 27-year-old national hero’s balance faltered for a microsecond while slamming into a snow mound at 50 miles per hour. She recovered with superhuman grace and strength, crossing the finish line with poles triumphantly upraised. She came in third, less than a point behind a pair of Canadian sisters, Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe. Dry-eyed, she told an interviewer moments later that her career had ended in that microsecond.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oscars 2014: Best Picture Predictions 2.0

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 3:53 PM

12 Years a Slave: actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and director Steve McQueen
  • 12 Years a Slave: actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and director Steve McQueen

If you don't think "The Oscars nominations will be announced tomorrow morning" is the best English sentence you could possibly read today, then get the hell out of here.

Everybody else: The Oscars nominations will be announced tomorrow morning! (!!!!!)

Rejoice.

Back in August I predicted what the Best Picture category would look like.

2014 Best Picture Oscar Nominee Predictions 2.0 (In order of certainty):
12 Years a Slave
Gravity
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Saving Mr. Banks
Nebraska
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Dallas Buyers Club

Other three I can't pull the trigger on:
Philomena
Blue Jasmine
August: Osage County

Note that the Academy could nominate between 5 and 10 films for Best Picture.

The nominations will be announced Thursday, January 16, at 7:38 a.m. on ABC.

UPDATE: The Academy only went nine deep in the category. (Which is stupid; since the awards are just another marketing tool for movies, maximize the exposure you can provide.)

I missed on Inside Llewyn Davis and Saving Mr. Banks, and Philomena made it in when I thought it wouldn't. I had it ranked 11th.

The Oscars air Sunday, March 2nd, on ABC. (Squee!)

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Complete 1977 Johnny Cash Christmas Special Featuring Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins

Posted By on Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Elvis had only been gone for three months when a second Million Dollar Quartet, helmed by Johnny Cash, formed to honor him with a rendition of the gospel song "This Train." Cash's fantastic Christmas special aired Nov. 30, 1977 and featured Sun Studio notables Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison as well as longtime Cash sidemen Marshall Grant and W.S. Holland.

Cash's special also showcases the talents of Roy Clark, The Statler Brothers, and June Carter Cash. If you like your Christmas with a Memphis twist, this one's worth a click through.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Meme Alert: Dana from Homeland/College GameDay

Posted By on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Nov. Memphis magazine
  • Nov. Memphis magazine
Sing All Kinds has a meme alert involving Dana from Homeland (played wonderfully by Morgan Saylor).

Many people hate Dana. It's a thing. I actually like her, but just not on Homeland. Spin her off. Let her get into hijinks that don't involve national security — or that do, but don't have anything to do with Carrie and Saul. I'd love to watch Dana try to date boys in the insular, inside the Beltway District of Columbia. What happens when Dana dates the Muslim son of the Iranian ambassador? How does her Mom feel about that? I'd watch that.

Until then, we'll just have to amuse ourselves with Dana memes. Interestingly, her image is finding purchase in the pop cultural Zeitgeist ancillary to college football.

I wrote the cover story (plug, plug) in the November Memphis magazine, on the Grove scene in Oxford, Mississippi, during football season.

A sharp-eyed reader — Flyer Managing Editor Susan Ellis — noticed something odd on the Memphis magazine cover, and paired it with a Tweet she saw last weekend.

It appears Dana is on the cover of Memphis magazine. Play Where's Waldo? and see if you can find her, or just take a gander below:

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Judge Mathis Stars in a New Show on BET

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 3:54 PM

The Mathis Project airs tonight at 9 p.m. on BET
  • "The Mathis Project" airs tonight at 9 p.m. on BET
TV's Judge Greg Mathis, of Memphis, stars in a new show tonight on BET.

From a release from the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission:

BET’s new docu-series, The Mathis Project, premieres tonight at 9 p.m. The production, an effort by BET and TV’s Judge Greg Mathis, filmed some episodes in Memphis and was assisted by the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission.

As described by BET, “Judge Mathis unites local volunteers and law enforcement to gather information that has the potential to solve the case — and get community members to do what, for some, is unthinkable: reveal what they know. Mathis’ investigative skills will bring these cases to a close by exposing the truth that witnesses, anonymous tipsters and ‘word on the street’ sources have kept hidden for years.”

The no-nonsense retired judge is well known for his NBC reality court show, Judge Mathis, which began its 15th season in September.

Earlier this year, Fox13’s Les Smith did a piece on the filming of the show. His story is here.

As Judge Mathis says, “Last year, more than 6,000 African Americans were victims of homicide. More than 2,000 of those homicides are still unsolved. We’re going to reopen some of those cold cases and go into some of our toughest neighborhoods to see what I can do to help solve them. It’s time for things to change from the ground up.”

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Phish and D Wash Sr. on "The Line"

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 10:59 AM

A follow up to our post on Phish's song about Darius Washington Jr.

“Darius Washington Jr.'s story was incredibly moving to all of us in Phish,” Trey Anastasio wrote in an email to the Flyer. Anastasio is the lead singer of the jam band Phish, which should in all probability have exactly nothing to do with Tiger hoops. But this is Memphis. Things get weird.

At a Halloween show in Atlantic City, Phish played a song called “The Line.” The song is about Washington's infamous free throw attempts against Louisville in the 2005 C-USA tournament. The song is also about overcoming adversity. Darius Jr.’s Twitter handle is @Mr_Adversity. Following the emotional loss on national television, Washington’s father, Darius Sr., refused to let his son wallow in self-pity and led him on a walk up and down Beale Street to face the fans and to revel in their support.

We reached Darius Jr. by Twitter. He is playing basketball for Olin Edirne Basket, a Turkish team, and deferred questions to his dad. We spoke to Darius Sr. by phone yesterday.

Explaining Phish to Darius Sr. is not what one expects to do on a music-writing gig. But, again, this is Memphis. Initially confused by the news, the Washingtons have developed a sense of humor and perspective on the song, the event, and what it means to people.

“Is he a famous country singer?” Darius Sr. asked. “I don’t know them.”

Phish is somewhat famous for being a jam band, primarily a touring act that invests less time in the studio and in pursuing radio success than in playing live shows for its dedicated fans. It’s not for everybody.

“If the people that sit there and listen to this — if they don’t follow sports and don’t know that this took place — what are they thinking? What’s going through the fans minds?,” Washington Sr. wondered.

“It really spoke to me on a personal level, because I've gone through some difficult moments in public, too,” Anastasio wrote. “I'm sure most people have, in one way or another. Those tough moments can ultimately become gifts though.”

The Washingtons were not immediately sure of the musicians’ motives when they heard about the song on CBS Sports.

“We had to sort through and figure out which rout to take. I’ve got rap artists — people that could have just blasted him out,” Washington Sr. said. “I had a lot of scenarios going through my head about how I would respond if it was something that I felt that he was trying to pour salt on a wound or something like that. Maybe I can get one of my rap guys to rap something about it.”

But the awesome possibility of a musical standoff between Phish and the Washingtons was quashed as Darius’ Sr. again demonstrated the character that led him and his son out onto Beale to face the music.

“They show it on ESPN,” Washington said. “They talk about it on March Madness and at the beginning of the year. It’s been following us forever. But it’s not a bad thing, though. There’s something that people fail to realize. Yeah, that was a history making moment, but we got up off the floor and we’re still doing what we do.”

Anastasio was among those moved by the display of family, character, and civic goodwill that went on display.

“You learn a lot about what's really important in life when
something like that happens,” Anastasio wrote.

“This is the question I pose to people,” Washington said. “If he would have just walked off the court after missing those free throws and sat on the bench like it was nothing, then people have said, damn that kid didn’t even care. But being that he is so passionate — and he hated to lose — that was the main issue. That wasn’t a national championship game. That was a freaking conference game to get into the big dance. That should show the world the passion he has for winning. The kid was always and still is a winner. He’s not a kid anymore, he’s a man. He did that in rec league. If he missed a shot, it bothered him. To this day, that’s how it stands,” Washington said.

In an even more conciliatory gesture, Washington laid the groundwork for what could become Phish’s masterpiece.

“If he decides to do a video, tell him to call us.”

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Breaking Bad: Last Predictions for the Last Season

Posted By on Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Breaking Bad/AMC
  • Breaking Bad/AMC
I've done this once already. Most of my theories have been disproven — many of them in the very first episode of the season.

But that doesn't mean I'm not conceited enough to think that, once again, I've got this whole thing figured out. What's the end game for Breaking Bad? Don't ready further unless you want to know exactly how it will* unfold.

*probably won't

Spoilers if you aren't 100% current on episodes:

Continue reading »

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Flyer (and Valerie June) Does Letterman

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM

As you may have heard, Memphis-bred singer-songwriter Valerie June made her national television debut last night on The Late Show with David Letterman. And the Flyer was there with her, sort of.

This morning, we received this photo from Mark Kates, the manager for another Memphis-connected act, MGMT. (Yes, even MGMT has a manager.)

Valerie June outside Late Show with David Letterman studios.
  • Courtesy of Mark Kates.
  • Valerie June outside Late Show with David Letterman studios.

Kates was apparently on hand prepping for MGMT's own Letterman appearance tonight and ran into June and, we're presuming, her mother outside the studio, where they were happy to show off June's Flyer cover from last week.

If you missed June's Letterman appearance, here is is, while it lasts:

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Session Notes: Patrick Dodd Trio at Ardent

Posted By on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Beale Street mainstay and contender for TV’s The Voice Patrick Dodd is back in Memphis and recording tracks for a new EP of thematic songs at Ardent Studios. The dreadlocked blues guitar phenom is looking to explore a smaller form than the traditional album as an outlet for his trio and his meal ticket: his voice.

With his new burst of TV-derived notoriety, Dodd could easily have upped the ante with a full album and a larger-format band. But he seems confident and content to move in the opposite direction. Asked why he isn’t going for bigger things, Dodd looks at his career with a sense of humor born of relentless gigging on Beale and throughout the region.

“Everybody wants to get paid,” he joked, going on to mimic the lines he must have heard a million times. “It’ll be good exposure. I know you’re only 40.”

Patrick Dodd relaxes after nailing his overdubs.
  • Joe Boone
  • Patrick Dodd relaxes after nailing his overdubs.

But in all seriousness, his band is in a better place than before his run on the popular NBC primetime singing contest in which he sang a convincing “Walking in Memphis” before his elimination.

“It absolutely helped,” said Landon Moore, Dodd’s bassist who with drummer Harry Peel rounds out the trio. “But I’m glad to be doing what we were doing before he left.”

What the trio does is provide a solid blues-rock foundation for Dodd’s gutsy, powerful voice. Dodd was recording a few overdubs and made quick work of them; his Paul Rogers-like voice needing very little fuss from engineer Jeff Powell.

Powell, longtime Ardent veteran, is a major proponent of the shorter-form approach and sees more clients opting to focus on fewer songs with more preparation beforehand. The trio was in the studio for one long day cutting two Dodd originals: “End of the Line” and “I’m Gone.”

“The one-day thing works if the band is ready to go. We’ll mix this tonight,” Powell said.

The songs mark a major development in Dodd’s songwriting and arranging since his last full-length recording, Future Blues. The new material has a wider breadth due to rolling chord changes that add harmonic richness to the recordings. Dodd hopes to a series of five-song concept recordings that are thematically woven together with lyrics and artwork. “I’m Gone” will serve as a single for the first new collection, which, at this pace, could be ready to go in as little as six weeks.

www.patrickdoddtrio.bandcamp.com

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Valerie June to Perform on David Letterman, NPR's “Tiny Desk Concerts.”

Posted By on Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 8:13 AM

June_cover.jpg
This week's Flyer cover subject, Valerie June, has booked two high-profile performance slots in the wake of the Tuesday release of her debut album, Pushin' Against a Stone.

June will make her network television debut next Wednesday night, August 21st, on The Late Show with David Letterman. According to June, she'll perform her first single from Pushin' Against a Stone, “Workin' Woman Blues,” with a full band — two guitars, bass, drums, fiddle, and trumpet. June's Humboldt, Tennessee-based parents will fly in for the performance. It'll be their own New York City debut.

Before Letterman, June will perform in Washington, D.C. on Monday, August 19th as part of National Public Radio's popular “Tiny Desk Concert” series. June will perform solo for NPR.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Breaking Bad: Last Season Predictions

Posted By on Fri, Aug 9, 2013 at 5:02 PM

bb.png
Back in the day, I wrote a set of predictions on the eve of the final season of Lost. I got about 1 of 11 of the predictions right.

I haven't been as excited and wrapped up in a final season since then until now, with Breaking Bad. The last season — or, more correctly, the last half of the last season — begins airing this Sunday on AMC.

In advance, here are my predictions for what will happen with Breaking Bad. Oh, spoiler alert.

Most everybody dies on Breaking Bad. Here is the order in which they will die, as the season unfolds:

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mad Men: Season Six Recap

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM

madmen.jpg
The sixth season finale of Mad Men aired Sunday night. If you're like me, you engorge yourself on each episode of Mad Men. You huff it, snort it, smoke it, mainline it, drop it, pop the lid and swallow it, inject it between your toes.

If you're like me, you watch each episode (or at least choice scenes) multiple times — schedule permitting — discuss it with anyone who will lend an ear, develop wild and complex theories, and read every episode recap online you can. (Here I'd like to publicly acknowledge the work and thought of Todd VanDerWerff on Onion A.V. Club and Matt Zoller Seitz on Vulture, upon whose shoulders this post pretends.)

In April, on my Twitter account (@gregakers) and at the behest of Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn (@flinnshady, #FF), I named my top 10 TV dramas since 2000. In a Flyer post some other time I'll name them and elaborate, but, spoiler alert, my #1 show on the list is Mad Men.

Upon naming Mad Men my top show, I said:

Five-tool TV show. Looks great, acted great, written great, entertaining about matters of import.

It has changed what I have come to want from the TV, film, and books I consume. I now value thought over plot, character over narrative.

Nothing "happened" in that episode of MAD MEN? I don't care. Peggy made this face about something Don said? MORE PLEASE.

The glacial though constant jockeying for position, reflective of changing social dynamics, true then and now. That's the show I want to watch.

That was after episode 1 of season 6. How do I feel now that the season has reached its terminus, and with but one final season to go before Mad Men rides off into the sunset? Same.

(Hereupon, I declare Mad Men Total Spoiler Alert status for this post and also presume if you're reading you know what the show's about. I'm not going to define a "mad man.")

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