VariousArtists’ Six Easter Movie Recommendations

EasterMovieCollageBLOG

Originally published on Open Salon April 21, 2011.

A high holy holiday for the religious and a sweets-filled, extra-long weekend off of work for us atheists, agnostics and those of other faiths, Easter is ultimately a celebratory occasion for all. It’s a time for the ritualistic anthropomorphism of bunnies (please, no Shannon Tweed jokes) and to stuff your face with oft-waxy chocolate. And once the sugar rush turns into a sugar crash, you will probably be taking some downtime on the sofa in front of the telly.

But what if the obligatory re-airings of The Ten Commandments, The Robe or Jesus of Nazareth are not your cup of tea? Prithee, what shall thou watch?

For those applicable souls, I have selected six alternative, possibly Easter-related recommended viewing suggestions. Read the rest of this entry »

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VA’s BEST OF 2015: GREAT TUNES FROM A ROTTEN YEAR

VA's Best of 2015 Great Tunes From A Rotten Year

(Graphic by VA)

My year-end recap is appearing late, just as it usually did back on Open Salon.  But I see this as a victory that I am even getting this up online as my blogging has largely been in deep freeze since the shuttering of Open Salon—which housed the former flagship (and much more widely read) version of this blog—in March 2015.

OS shutting down is but just one fabaroony event of many that helped make 2015 a particularly rotten, rotten year for me (and I had thought 2012 was a bad one…).  Mind you, last year seemed like a less than fine one around the world as well as for a high proportion of people I know, for seemingly a variety of reasons.  That’s the nature of life, sometimes, so I guess I’m not an outlier in that regard.  Misery and company, etc. etc.

Enough of the Deborah Downer … On the plus side, there was lots of terrific tuneage and related media to lift the spirits.  And so, without further adieu, here are 15 foci from 15: the soundtrack highlights to one crappadoodles set of twelve months, starting with … Read the rest of this entry »


5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010

5x5 Best of 2010 variousartists

NOTE TO READERS: Owing to the March 2015 closure of OpenSalon.com — which was my primary publishing platform, where I initiated this blog and concert series project, and was where most of my pieces were accessed — I need to plug up a few blog-holes (i.e., post-up here a clutch of early Open Salon blog entries that I never transferred to this cyberabode).  This post is one of those orphaned Ghosts of Blogging Past that needs a re-debut.

In advance of my Best of 2015 recap (appearing shortly), here is my first year-end music entry from February 2011: 5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010.   While I am republishing the list as I saw it at that time, I’ve reconsidered some of my choices in the interim.  Here’s how I would rank 2010 now from a 2016 perspective: Read the rest of this entry »


VA’s Best of 2014: Fave Music, Media and Re/Discoveries From The Century’s Inaugural Teen Year

variousartists best of 2014 graphicVA Best of 2014 A&M

(Top Photo montage/doctoring by VA — original photos taken at the downtown Bank St. location of Compact Music here in Ottawa and at Chez Various: Click on photo to see full size image.  Below: This and all other labels on the page doctored by VA from my personal vinyl bounty).

After a relatively-weak-year-for-albums 2013, 2014 should have been the antidote for me: seemingly almost every currently working artist that I listen to released a new album while many of my favourite legacy acts put out compilations, archive sets or deluxe reissues.

And in many ways, 2014 was an antidote. Read the rest of this entry »


VariousArtists’ 13 Halloween Viewing Recommendations

VA13HalloweenViewing(Graphic and pumpkins by VA.  Stills grabbed from web and videos from YouTube)

VA’s 13 Viewing Possibilities for the Halloween Season

Here is another VA seasonal viewing guide for you, dear readers, following my Easter and Xmas recommendations.  And, as with those previous lists, I am taking my own idiosyncratic liberties as to what could be seen as relevant to the festival of candy’n’costumes. Read the rest of this entry »


185. In The Flesh: Blondie, July 10, 2014 (& their mid-70s birth)

Ottawa Bluesfest 2014 Blondie wristband variousartists

Blondie’s 40th and Ottawa Bluesfest’s 20th

185. In The Flesh: Blondie, Ottawa Bluesfest, LeBreton Flats, Ontario, Thursday July 10, 2014.  Approx. $50

I first encountered Blondie in the pages of NYC-based Rock Scene magazine in the summer of 1975.  It was a single page feature, appearing less than a year after the group’s formation and first shows at CBGBs.  Blondie had begun by opening for the also-nascent Ramones who had similarly been popping up in recent Rock Scene issues.  Indeed, most of the mid-70s NYC underground first came to my attention via RS.

Retrospectively, I now see what an odd, prescient publication it was on a few fronts.

Read the rest of this entry »


VariousArtists’ 12 Days of Christmas Viewing (Xmas #7)

VariousArtists xmas viewing tv image

NOTE: Image repairs underway (images linked over to my opensalon.com page disappeared when the site closed).  Eventually all images will be restored.  Thanks for your visual patience.  YOURS, THE MANAGEMENT

My final of three new Xmas entries for this year, following my pieces on Xmas Advertising from LIFE Nov. 30 1959 and on how I discovered the truth about Santa Claus.

Turn on, tune in, and drop … onto the sofa in front of that TV: the annual Clausfest is upon us on a midnight clear, meaning that it’s time once again to celebrate the season via reconnecting with the annual viewing of beloved Christmas TV specials or movies.

Read the rest of this entry »