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KSR’s take on recent non sports related happenings

Funkhouser Presents the Kentucky Deadcast: Episode 13

What a wild and wacky weekend. We started off with the Cayts winning their first two games of the tournament, then we got to witness the exit of our favorite teams to hate, the Cards and the Blue Devils. Then without trying to be the story, KSR became the story. As usual, all of this is brought to you in the most ridiculous possible manner.
Having watched so much basketball we’re hearing shoes squeak in our sleep, Brad and Josh return to discuss this weeks episode of The Walking Dead “The Other Side.” If you heard that loud sigh coming from the air Sunday night, that was just the boys sucking it up as we had to watch Sasha and Rosita have a girl road trip for half the episode. Other topics discussed this week are:
– The scene between Maggie and Daryl that we’ve been waiting for
– Who is it with the crossbow waiting for Rosita at the end?
– The craziness that was the “Coache’s Wife” controversy
– The second breakdown of Josh’s bracket of characters

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbayor via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “The Other Side”

The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “The Other Side”

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What a crazy weekend, am I right? The NCAA tournament was pretty much chalk, especially in UK’s bracket. And then Sunday happened. Holy Gamecocks Batman! Did not see that coming. Also didn’t see Drew being a guest on Inside Edition or being mentioned in People magazine. It’s nuts Matt said to him earlier “let’s not make KSR the story”, and then of course became the story. Call it the KSR curse or whatever it is, there wasn’t a lot of fun until Sunday and most of Monday. Now why am I writing about something you’ve already read and heard about ad nauseam? Well…

Welcome to the episode I was dreading. I was looking forward to the Rosita and Sasha buddy cop road trip as much as I was having my gallbladder removed (which didn’t end well). When two of my least favorite characters take up almost half the screen time, it’s hard to watch. Plus there is basketball going on so the temptation to flip over was strong. But my will power was strong and I fought through it. There were some tidbits throughout “The Other Side” that made it tolerable, so let’s talk about who we need to talk about. I’ll save worst for last.

Xander Berkeley as Gregory - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Gregory

This may have been Xander Berkeley’s best work so far. This episode shows more range to the character since he was introduced. He was given every opportunity to rat out Maggie, Sasha, and Daryl. But some reason he didn’t and I’m not sure why. He sees that his people are taking to Maggie as their true leader and all he worries about is where he’ll get his next drink. He also protested the loss of Dr. Carson, even if it was feebly. I’m not sure what angle they’re playing with here, but Gregory is still a threat to the good guys going forward.

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Simon

Is it wrong I love this Savior so much? If loving him is wrong I don’t want to be right. His facial expressions and then explication of his facial expressions was golden. Taking away the Hilltop’s doctor sucked, but he did it with wit and a smile. His conversation with Gregory behind the trailer was tense and not tense at the same time. If Simon wasn’t so devoted to Negan he could easily be my favorite character on the show, but since he’s doing the devil’s work he has to take a backseat for now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rooting for the bad guys to win, but I am rooting for Simon to get more screen time.

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Maggie and Daryl

I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since Glenn was killed. We all knew Daryl blames himself for Glenn’s death, but haven’t seen how deeply it cuts him. After Maggie stops him from killing the Savior in the cellar, the conversation finally takes place. When Maggie makes Daryl look at her the tears start flowing down his face and he admits it is his fault for Glenn dying. Maggie won’t hear it, telling him it’s not, and Glenn wouldn’t want him to blame himself. For a moment that could’ve been played many different ways, this was done wonderfully. Strong work by Norman Reedus here. Maybe his best scene ever, even better than when he had to put Merle down. Lauren Cohen also did strong work.

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Rosita and Sasha

Ugh. Ok let’s hold on and power through this together. While still working on their plan to take out Negan, the Saviors show up at Hilltop which forces them to flee and begin ahead of Rick’s schedule. The road trip was a quiet affair with little talking (thank God for the small things in life). Once they reach the Sanctuary, there is a convenient sniper position across the way. After scoping out the place the girls decide now is a good time to clear the air between them, because where else could they have done this? After the typical bonding takes place, they realize that to take Negan out means they have to go in. After being spurned by Eugene, Sasha makes her way inside the fence and shuts Rosita out. We knew they both had a death wish, so to see it start is a move in the right direction. At least the buddy road trip is over. Maybe Sasha can actually take out Negan?
Some good stuff from Jesus and Eugene as well, just in smaller samples. Enid had a couple of scenes as well, but I’m beginning to love her like I love Carl (which isn’t very much).

I feel like we’re almost about to get some goooooood stuff in these last two episodes of the season. The teaser for next week shows the main gang going to visit the Oceansiders, and I have no idea what’s going to happen. This fringe group has no reference in the comics so anything that comes from them is totally unexpected. Look for our Kentucky Deadcast coming out later this week. Josh and I have our second bracket breakdown of characters. And who knows, we may end up on Inside Edition as well. Until then, ta ta.


Could We Ever Learn To Love A Beauty And The Beast Remake?

Could We Ever Learn To Love A Beauty And The Beast Remake?

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Bonjour!

If you don’t read this intro like a group of provincial townspeople then you aren’t the target audience for the newest adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.  Beauty and the Beast (1991) is an all-time classic.  Who can forget the saucy French maid/duster, Belle’s eccentric father, Gaston’s raw egg-eating ways and Mrs. Pott’s beautiful warble when she sings “tale as old as time.”  There is so much to love.  The newer version adds its own flavor to the story.  While it was lovely to look at old friends in a different light, there are some problems that need to be addressed.  Here’s a rundown of what worked well and what didn’t.  

Belle’s Backstory: Upgrade

The newer adaptation takes a small detour to address what happened to Belle’s mother.  Initially, the time spent dwelling on her backstory seemed unnecessary.  Now, Belle has a magical map that will let her travel anywhere in the world.   Once she is able to picture in her “mind’s eye” where she would like to escape, she we be transported there instantly. The magic map was a “wait, what?” moment, but the ends justified the means.  For Belle, the map provides the answers to the question her father has failed to answer, what happened to her mother?   The map also seemed like a call back to Emma Watson’s Harry Potter days with Marauder’s Map.  If the Beast dragged out an invisibility cloak I was prepared to riot.

The Songs: Downgrade

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On the right a visual representation of the songs from the 1991 version of the movie. On the left side, a visual representation of the song “Evermore.”

In 2013, the Internet became obsessed with the “botched Jesus fresco.”  An 81-year old artist attempted to “freshen up” her old church’s depiction of Christ.  The results were catastrophically poor.  The original was natural, worn and well-loved.  The new iteration was pudgy and smudged.  Josh Groban’s “Evermore” is the blurry Jesus of the Beauty and the Beast fresco.  

With all due respect to Groban, he is hilariously perfect on Twitter, but “Evermore” is off.  The song narrates the Beast’s thoughts and feelings. The lyrics are literal.  As he watches Belle runaway to her father, he sings “Even as she fades from view/She will still inspire me/Be a part of everything I do.”  At the theater, I actually winced at the mention of the word “love” in the song. Like comedians using curse words as a crutch in their act, leaning on the word “love” to give your love song meaning is cheap. “Evermore” is disappointing for that reason. There’s something there that wasn’t there before.   That something is telling the audience what they should feel and not let them figure it out on their own.

Gaston: Lateral Move

In the adaptation, Gaston has leveled up his evil villain game.  Instead of being just burly and dull-witted, he is now legitimately evil.  Gaston has upped the stakes of the Disney game.  He is no longer just an obstacle to overcome but is now an actual threat.  The intentional change tells us about where the writers were attempting to steer their ship.  The 2017 version is determined to give the characters more depth, both literally and figuratively.  Even though Gaston has more clear motivation, he still is the worst.  I forgot how much I enjoy the three nitwits who constantly fawn over his crossfit-like lifestyle.  

Stray Observations:

-I don’t understand the tucked in skirt look.  I know her pantaloons were cute and all, but why highlight them so much?

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Really?

-The “controversial relationship” was about five seconds of screen time.  I was more concerned with Belle falling in love with a beast and her pantaloons showing all the time.

-”Be our guest” was equal parts stupendously impressive and somewhat disappointing.  The song was almost completely CGI.  I wanted to see some Cirque du Soleil type of a situation.

-The castle is made up almost entirely of stairs.

-Yes, Angela Lansbury is still alive.


Berry B. Good

Berry B. Good

Chuck Berry

Just minutes after the above picture was taken, Chuck Berry came out onto that stage and began one of the most memorable nights I’ve had in my near 31 years.  This was back in 2010 and also happened to be Berry’s 84th birthday.  I expected the legend to come out, play a few songs, tell a few stories, and then wrap it up.  After all, he turned 84 that day and surely he wouldn’t be the same duck-walking, riff playing, non-stop performer like I’d seen in so many documentaries and old YouTube clips.  I was never happier to be wrong.  Berry came out in a shiny bright red shirt and signature captain’s hat and spent over an hour on stage putting on a show I’ll never forget.

Whether you know it or not, you are a Chuck Berry fan.  I don’t say that as a means to force fandom on you, but if you like any of the most popular groups/artists from the last 60 years then you are, at least indirectly, a Chuck Berry fan.  Berry is widely known as the “Father of Rock and Roll” and for good reason.  Berry was widely cited as an influence for artists such as Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, and so many more. Quite frankly, had Chuck Berry never laid down his signature riffs or told so many great stories in his songs then there’s no telling how the course of rock and roll would’ve been altered.

In addition to his impact on music he also left a huge mark on visual media as well.  His music has been in iconic moments in film, most notably through Marty McFly’s performance in Back to the Future and the dance scene from Pulp Fiction.  I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention the appearance of his song “School Day” on the classic album The Simpsons Sing the Blues.  The use of his music was appropriate not only because Berry’s songs were catchy, but his songs told great stories.  “Johnny B. Goode” and “You Never Can Tell” were the two songs in the mentioned movies, respectively, and are perfect examples of superb story telling through music.  My personal favorite Berry track is the song “Nadine” which tells the story of a guy pursuing his love interest, Nadine.  As he winds through the lyrics he paints such a strong visual image it takes little imagination to see the events as they unfold in the song.

When Berry took the Duck Room stage that night in 2010 I was pumped, but also mildly disappointed because my phone died shortly after I took that picture of the stage.  I wanted to document the experience so I could revisit that night whenever I looked at the pictures.  That night was when I became a fervent believer that a live show should be experienced in the moment and not through a camera lens.  The Duck Room was filled to capacity that night, with a whopping 340 people.  The room was small and the intimate setting was perfect as Berry interacted with the crowd, sharing stories and taking requests.  He even cracked jokes with a Chicago Cubs superfan (the Duck Room is in the Blueberry Hill restaurant in St. Louis by the way).

The pinnacle of the night was seeing him play.  As he launched into his set list he turned the clock back and I was transported to another time.  When he started “Johnny B. Goode” I felt like I was at the Enchantment under the Sea dance in 1955.  He broke into a modified duck-walk and the crowd feeling it.  He continued to play song after song touching on many of his hits including “My Ding-a-ling” which I’m sure Ryan Lemond would’ve loudly sang along with the rest of us.

Chuck Berry won’t go down as the greatest guitarist of all time and he may not be the greatest writer of all time, though there is a strong case to be made for this.  I also know that Berry wasn’t a saint.  He was the father of rock and roll so of course he wasn’t a saint.  Regardless, there will never be another Chuck Berry.  A very brief look at his accomplishments include: first ever inductee into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, inspiration for Elvis and The Beatles (among others), and had his music sent into space on the 1977 launch of the Voyager spacecraft.  For me though, I’ll always remember the swagger he had when he was on that stage in St. Louis.  As he prepared to play his final song he invited every female in the crowd to join him on stage.  Every woman that could get on that stage from age 18-75 was singing and dancing while Chuck played.  Chuck Berry didn’t put on a concert that night, he threw a party and I got to go.  The Duck Room won’t be quite the same without you, but I have no doubt that Heaven is reelin’ and rockin’ now.  Thanks Chuck.

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What Your NCAA Tournament Team Says About You

What Your NCAA Tournament Team Says About You

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Villanova: My dad owns a boat.
Kansas: My dad owns a truck.
North Carolina: My dad owns part of a Bojangles franchise.
Gonzaga: I love the regular season. The tournament, not so much.
Kentucky: I stand to win a steak from somebody, one way or another.
Arizona: My yard includes more than four varieties of cactus.
Duke: I think Grayson Allen is fine.
Louisville: I only have eight minutes left to get my free soft cooler with three lap dances.
Oregon: I have a one-hitter in my pocket right now.
Florida State: I found a snake in my pool this morning.
UCLA: I played a cop in at least three student films.
Baylor: I have never traveled outside of a 400 mile radius of Waco, nor do I wish to.
Butler: I used my parents’ credit card to buy Alabama Shakes tickets.
Florida: I have a tan-line on my eyes.
West Virginia: There is an adult superstore within five miles of my home.
Purdue: It was a real adjustment moving to the big city of West Lafayette.
Virginia: I spent some time last night removing a Fireball stain from my Sperrys with a  toothbrush.
Minnesota: I only own one pair of swim trunks and I don’t know where they are.
South Carolina: My perfect date is a hibachi restaurant and two tickets to Dixie Stampede.
Notre Dame: I didn’t really go to Notre Dame but have spent $7,000 on merchandise.
Iowa State: I wear boots with a suit to funerals.
SMU: Which soccer team my son plays on is way too important to me.
Cincinnati: I smoke at the zoo.
Maryland: Last week I accidentally left my Uggs at a Planet Fitness.
Creighton: I get all the perks of being Catholic without any of the job connections in Chicago or Boston.
Michigan: I once killed a bird with a snowball.
Dayton: I’ll go to Ruby Tuesdays, but only if we go to the nice one.
Wisconsin: I don’t care which Ruby Tuesdays we go to.
Miami: Last night I tried to fight a bathroom attendant.
Arkansas: I will pay top dollar for scaled Luke Bryan tickets.
Northwestern: I’m easily the third-or-fourth-best guy on my improv comedy team.
Vanderbilt: Someday I hope to make out with a robot.
Saint Mary’s: I’m religious but, you know, “California religious.”
Seton Hall: My friends from high school sell steroids to my current friends.
Michigan State: I have a foot tattoo and spend several weekends each summer on a houseboat.
Virginia Tech: I still have a scar from a hazing incident.
Oklahoma State: My tractor racing record is 16-4.
Wichita State: I unironically own a pair of overalls.
Marquette: I consider myself to be among the coolest people in Milwaukee.
VCU: These are my “going out” chukka boots. There’s a difference.
Xavier: Stop asking me if I’ve met Bill Murray.
Providence: I would like to give you a kiss. Please sign here…and here…and initial here.
Wake Forest: I’m 36 years old and still have my fraternity paddle hanging on the wall. In the living room.
Rhode Island: I can give you turn-by-turn directions to at least eight Dunkin’ Donuts right now.
Southern Cal: Five of my last six meals have been fish tacos.
Kansas State: I’m going to get drunk at the mall food court if you want to come with.
Nevada: You want meth? I can probably get you meth.
Middle Tennessee: The back of my truck has an anti-Hillary Clinton slogan spelled out in mailbox letter decals.
UNC Wilmington: Let’s get high and do skateboard tricks.
Princeton: I wear a sweater and button-down to bars.
Bucknell: I have a dog in my purse right now and am on my way to a “Moms’ Yoga” class.
East Tennessee State: I have missed classes or work to hunt.
Vermont: I know the difference between good sorghum and bad sorghum.
Winthrop: I starred in my high school’s production of Grease and my hometown loved it.
New Mexico State: Take off your cowboy hat and get into this hug circle, buddy.
Florida Gulf Coast: My other job is selling pirate-themed beach towels outside the Harris Teeter.
Kent State: I’ve been soaking these gummi bears in vodka for nine hours.
Iona: I have changed my “look” to impress a barista.
Northern Kentucky: My favorite restaurant is Chipotle.
Troy: Would you like to buy some boiled peanuts or fireworks?
Texas Southern: I drive a motorcycle and listen to Flo Rida.
South Dakota State: My favorite movie is Val Kilmer’s “Thunderheart.”
Jacksonville State: I use the phrase “Dirty South” colloquially at least once a day.
North Dakota: You are literally the first human being I’ve seen all day.


Funkhouser’s Brad Morris Debriefs Last Saturday’s Lexington Comic-Con

Funkhouser’s Brad Morris Debriefs Last Saturday’s Lexington Comic-Con

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(The following feature is guest written by Brad Morris.)

I’ve only been writing for KSR for a few months now and I can say that it’s been a blast so far. Visiting the UK Hockey team was a blast to my younger days, doing movie reviews on paper (well iPad) instead of just in my head, and talking/podcasting about The Walking Dead has been right up my geeky alley. So when my editor gave me the green light to cover this years Lexington Comic and Toy Convention, I was happier than Forrest Gump and a box full of chocolates. It may have had something to do with the fact that everyone else from KSR, save Freddie Maggard and I, were all in Nashville for the SEC tournament. But who the hell cares! I watched most of the games on TV for free, and I had some cool as hell moments on the convention floor.

I started out on Friday by being let in a little bit earlier than the paying customers, where I was immediately met by the first cosplay, that’s “costume play” for normal people, character. And I knew it was going to be a good weekend, because that first cosplay character was a perfect Negan from The Walking Dead. I could go over how he was dressed, but what’s the point. He had every detail down. If you look up Negan and see his picture online you’ll know of what I speak. I spoke to Negan for a minute before he placed me on my knees and pretended to bash my brains in. To protect my secret identity I won’t be posting the picture. Plus it’ll just make my wife roll her eyes harder.

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Next I walked to the main convention floor. Now this was a nerds paradise. Comic book booths followed by vendors with custom gear. Everything from Harley Quinn scrunchies to Battlestar Galactica window stickers (yes I bought one). I almost bought Tyler Thompson a Game of Thrones window decal that said “I drink, and I know things”. I spoke to several vendors during the three day weekend. People came from as far away as Florida to peddle their wares. And for a select few it’s their full time job. They go home Monday thru Thursday, convention for the weekend, rinse and repeat. That’s a hard way to make a living, however they all talked about the love they had for the people they sell to and meet.

Around the perimeter of the convention floor is where they had honored guests lined up at tables. For a nominal price you could get a signed picture, autograph, or selfie. I’m going to confess, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of actors that have portrayed Power Rangers. I’m a dork, but even that escapes my nerdiness. But to each his own. I started looking for anyone involved with zombies. And I was delighted to not only find one, I got to talk with them.

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Malcolm Goodwin is on the CW series “iZombie”, a unique take on the zombie genre. Malcolm plays Detective Clive Babineaux, a straight up cop, who starts to solve crimes with the help of his medical examiner/psychic/really an undead zombie who can remember victims last moments by eating a piece of their brains, Olivia Moore. Think of “The Mentalist” meets “Night of the Living Dead”. Malcolm is very personable to speak with. We discussed his show and the insane schedule they keep. One episode takes 8 days to film, with weekends off. That means if they finish an episode on Wednesday, he has to go home and start memorizing his lines for the next episode that night. Craziness. We also touched on his move from movies to TV. He’s been in everything from American Gangster, to different Law and Orders, and of course different CSIs. What made me going from liking him as an actor to a genuinely great person wasn’t on Friday. It was on Sunday when I was walking with my oldest daughter, wearing a different shirt. As we passed his table he caught a glance at me and waved, yelled out to me, and waved me over. A quick conversation of “Hey man! How’s your weekend been? This has been a blast here!”, and I was convinced that this was a dude I could hangout and have a beer with. Great guy and I hope to buy him that beer next year.

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The other cool encounter I had on Friday was with Brian O’Halloran of “Clerks” fame. I don’t even know if he was supposed to be there. I knew his director for that movie, Kevin Smith, is a New Jersey Devils hockey fan. I was going to use my New York Rangers jacket as a talking point to talk smack, but was delighted it went the complete opposite way. As it turns out Brian is not like his friend Kevin and is a huge Rangers fan himself! He’s a season ticket holder which I am extremely jealous of, but not living near Madison Square Garden kinda kills it for me anyway. And with the starting point of us both having the same sports fandom, we talked Rangers hockey for 20 minutes. Next year I’ll wear my Mike Richter jersey and shout my fandom louder. I’m also happy to report that he and a few of his convention buddies made it home safe to New Jersey by driving 18 hours in a rental vehicle after their flights got cancelled out of Bluegrass Airport due to the snowstorm pounding the Northeast.

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The last encounter on Friday was definitely the coolest. I got to have Louisville author Tony Acree tape a special edition of the Kentucky Deadcast. We did the taping in a little back room that was quiet for the most part. If Michael Rooker hadn’t been yucking it up a few tables away the audio would’ve been flawless, but the best laid plans. Tony’s a fantastic guy to meet and talk with. He puts you at ease right away and feels like you’ve been friends for years instead of someone you’ve just met. He also happens to be a diehard UK fan and has season tickets. I look forward to continuing that new friendship in the future. If you haven’t already, check out his Victor McCain novels, starting with “The Hand of God”.

Now the last 2 days were more personal for me. I was able to take both my daughters with me one at a time. Saturday happened to be my youngest’s birthday, and she was thrilled by seeing Yondu himself at Michael Rooker’s Q and A session. She screamed “Harley Quinn” more times than I can count with all the cosplay it got this year. Sunday my oldest was in Star Wars heaven.

This is why I wanted to do the convention and write about it. The Lexington Comic Con truly has something for everyone. Zombies, Star Wars, Power Rangers, and even for the old school wrestling fans. I mean when Ric Flair walks by yelling “WOO” and then you bump into Jake “The Snake” Roberts, you get to see that there is a little bit of geek in all of us. I know a majority of you would’ve loved to have been in Nashville with the rest of the KSR crew and BBN, but I believe I got the better end of the deal. I can’t wait until next years convention and I urge you to mark it on your calendar now. Who knows? You might even meet Boba Fett like I did.

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Funkhouser Presents The Kentucky Deadcast: Episode 12

Boy do we have a treat for you today. The special two part edition of the Deadcast has arrived. Author Tony Acree joins Brad for a great conversation about his work, his love of The Walking Dead, and his favorite characters. The second half of the Deadcast, Brad and Josh talk about “Bury Me Here”. Topics discussed are:

– Morgan and his storyline improving from the comic
– Carol back in the saddle ready to fight
– The beginning of TWD bracket of least likely to survive if these were real life people

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbayor via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Bury Me Here”

Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Bury Me Here”

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(The following recap is written by Funkhouser features writer Brad Morris.)

Sometimes The Walking Dead can be brutal. Seasons can drag on with episode after episode of talking and filler that brings us to the brink of boredom. Someone being introduced to the show can never catch on because of the many plot lines that are being threaded throughout a particular season. One must go back to the very beginning and catch all the way up before understanding the full impact of a persons actions. If the casual viewer tuned in last night they saw an episode that was tense, but may have dismissed it as just another show. Fortunately for us that have watched from the very beginning, last night was filled with not just good storytelling, but emotions that have lingered since the series beginning. So let’s explore the characters that made this episode better than it should have been at this point in the season.

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Morgan

I could fill a small book with just the dealings of Morgan. We must give credit to the show’s writers, especially Scott M Gimple, for the direction of Morgan’s journey on the show. While his comic book counter part had the same roots, Morgan has been transformed by the writers and Lennie James acting abilities. The emotions Lennie portrayed were on full display in “Bury Me Here”.

Morgan was lost in his mind after the death of his son Duane. First he protected his town, as seen in “Clear”, and then he wandered into the wilderness. When he was captured by the Cheesemaker, Morgan was healed in body, soul, and mind. Upon finding Rick in Alexandria, Morgan had stuck to his new code of no killing. His philosophy of “if you injure your opponent, you injure yourself” was always placed on a slippery slope. He’s only killed 2 people since he started this practice, one out of necessity to save Carol. The other was last night out of pure rage.

When Morgan realizes that Richard is to blame for Benjamin’s death, his old demons of blaming himself for Duane’s death resurface. The rage within him is seen with a great sequence of flashbacks to “Clear”, his son, and Benjamin. I fully expected him to completely lose his mind again. However, upon killing Richard with his bare hands, Morgan is able to provide a smoke screen to the Saviors that all is well with their agreement, which gives the Kingdom safety for a bit longer. Morgan has entered a new crisis of character, and Carol gives him the same guidance that she needed. So he has taken her place at the house near the Kingdom, so that Morgan can “Go, or not go”. And at the end of the episode, Morgan has decided to stay at the house to sort through his issues. But the whole ordeal has definitely changed the mind of…

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King Ezekiel

King Ezekiel says more with his face this episode than anything he’s done on the show so far. He wants to keep his people safe, plain and simple. The deal he has with the Saviors is unique because it never comes to his gates. All dealings and offerings are in a location away from the Kingdom.

Seeing Benjamin killed hurts Ezekiel to his core. He watched Ben’s father die, he’s seen Ben die, and now he must care for his younger brother. And while Richard may have been complicit in Ben’s death, it was a Savior that pulled the trigger. Having spoken with Rick, talking to Daryl, and becoming close with Carol, it appears Ezekiel has seen that the need to raise arms with his brethren to defend his people and make the world a better place has finally come to pass. The look he gives Carol at the end shows he is resigned to the fact that they must fight the Saviors.

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Richard

Welcome to Richard’s last appearance on these recaps. The pain of losing his family and not doing anything to prevent it, placed him on the path to protect the Kingdom. His plan to make the Saviors fight was very well planned, as he fully expected to die at the exchange. But the best laid plans always seem to go off script. I guess you could say his plan worked in the end, as he died and Ezekiel has decided to fight. But the cost was too high with the death of Benjamin.

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Carol

Carol is one smart cookie. Even smarter than the ones she bakes. The restless dreams she has make her realize that something terrible has happened between Negan and Rick. When Morgan tells her of Abraham and Glenn’s death, and that everything Alexandria does now is for Negan , she snaps back into “Attack Carol”. The sly way she takes out several walkers with a road sign was fantastic, and it’ll be interesting to see how she can help Ezekiel in preparing for the war to come. I’ve missed Carol being a bad ass character and I’m happy to see the fire within her burn bright again.

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We could also talk about poor Benjamin, but he was always a character set up on the chess board to be knocked down at the correct time. However it is the first instance in quite awhile that I was looking forward to more from him, so the show has returned a little bit back too the saying of “no one is safe”. I’m glad for that return.

Let’s be clear about one thing. The lead up to the war with Negan was going to have pitfalls along the way. I was cringing that they would be difficult to watch. Last nights episode was very well done and I hope it continues for the rest of the season. Until next week’s show, Go Cats and ta ta.


This is Us Season Finale Bingo Board!

This is Us Season Finale Bingo Board!

This is us BINGO

*So many spoilers!*

Tonight, we get to have another FUN-eral.  The season finale of This is Us is setting up to show exactly how Jack Pearson, the world’s most flawless Dad, dies. It has been a long time in the making.  As an audience, we’ve made it through the realization that Rebecca Pearson is now Mrs. Miguel.  We’ve lived through the trauma of the discovery that Jack now lives in an urn on Kate’s mantel and we barely made it back from the trip to Memphis.

This is Us is relentless.

But we watch it anyway.

To make the finale less of a bitter pill to swallow, it’s best to remember what we love about the Pearsons and not all the ugly crying that they have caused. So we might as well roll all the windows down, crank up the music, grow out that fro and play a little bingo because once 9:00 rolls around, it’s going to get real dusty around here.


Review:  ‘Buddy Thunderstruck’ is Netflix’s Newest High-Octane Animated Series

Review: ‘Buddy Thunderstruck’ is Netflix’s Newest High-Octane Animated Series

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Let’s face it friends, I’m a sucker for animation.  So naturally, when Buddy Thunderstruck, a new series geared for kids and possibly older, let’s say fortyish kids-at-heart, hit Netflix on Friday, March 10th, I knew what I was doing Saturday morning.  You guessed it—filing my taxes!  Don’t get me wrong, I love cartoons, but avoiding costly fines and even possible jail time, takes precedence, after making coffee, walking the dogs, and checking Twitter.  However, once the unpleasantries of paperwork and procrastination were behind me, I began to binge-watch the entire series.

In many ways, Buddy Thunderstruck is an extremely appealing show even for viewers who aren’t necessarily fans of the animation genre.  How’s that you ask?  Two words:  Talladega Nights.  If you’re looking for an animated show which combines the sheer goofiness of that movie, with the trucker, “tire-squealin’, fish-tailin’ gear-grindin” buddy-duo antics of Smokey and the Bandit or The Dukes of Hazzard, along with a style that is visually reminiscent of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, then this show’s definitely for you—and probably even your kids.  Yee-Haw!  The series is brought to you by American Greetings Entertainment and is the brainchild of Ryan Wiesbrock, who’s behind other animated shows such as:  Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Holly Hobbie and Friends and Packages from Planet X.  Now before you hit the brakes, keep in mind that Thunderstruck is the result of a collaboration along with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, lauded for the award-winning stop motion satirical sketch comedy series Robot Chicken.

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Courtesy of Netflix

The series—consisting of 12 (twenty-three part) episodes—takes place in Greasepit, a small town inhabited by anthropomorphic talking animals including:  boars, horses, bunnies, chickens, jackalopes, weasels, raccoons, and zealots—the racing type.  It centers around the exploits of the titular character, Buddy Thunderstruck, an uber-cool, fair-haired, snaggletoothed, semi-truck racing dog and his grease monkey, Darnell, a pompadour-haired albino ferret.  Buddy’s personality and characteristics seem like a mélange somewhere between Richard Rawlings of Fast N’ Loud fame and Middlesboro’s own Lee Majors The Fall Guy, with the voice akin to Jungle Recon from Action Figure Therapy, minus the sexual overtones and foul language.  That is unless you consider the oft-repeated phrase, “fart nugget” a bad word.  In some respects, I can relate to Buddy. We’re both extremely competitive, we both love chicken wings, and the only thing we hate more than losing, is smooth jazz.  Concededly though, I’m not much of an armchair enthusiast when it comes to motorsports—I couldn’t identify a carburetor from an alternator.  Hell, I cant even change the oil in my own car, but I do know clever and witty writing when I see it, and Thunderstruck’s is courtesy of Tom Krajewski.  Although at first, the show was a bit of a bumpy ride in terms of some redundancies in both character development and initial setup, the show eventually clicked with me around the second half of the first episode, and from there “I knew there was no turning back (thunder).”

Apart from the painstaking process of stop motion animation, which took nearly two years to complete, what initially drew me to the series was its overall look.  Shot in 1080i, the series is aesthetically cinematic—with real depth of field, creating blurred backgrounds juxtaposed with foregrounds that are both warm, softly-filtered and incredibly sharp.  Allowing viewers to experience uniquely constructed, textured environments and settings, with such visual acuity that even the smallest of details can be discerned—from the real cottony puffs which bellow from the truck’s exhaust pipes, down to the woolen faces and woven, felty, stitched clothes of its characters.

Despite being a fast-paced, yet delightfully funny and handsomely handcrafted show, Buddy Thunderstruck isn’t without its flaws, which are minor, but exist nonetheless.  Can we talk about all the catchphrases, like “Kaboom”?  Branding is important and necessary to anchor a character and thus endear them and the show into the hearts and minds of audiences.  However, there’s a fine line between usefulness and overkill.  See Shaggy’s “Zoinks” or “Snarf” from Thundercats as evidence.  Even Bart’s “Eat my shorts” and “Don’t have a cow man” eventually wore out it’s welcome on The Simpsons.  Likewise, if the series gets picked up for a second season—which I really hope it does—I personally would like to see more unexpected and surreal, and even absurd moments permeate the show just like the brief parody of Office Space as seen in episode 5: “Moneybags and His Monster”.  Regardless, the show overall is smile-inducing by being endearingly stupid—thus deserving of attention.  One that’s safe for all ages.  I’m glad I watched it—maybe you and possibly your kids will be too.

Buddy Thunderstruck is rated TV-PG


A Study Of Feud’s Opening Credits

A Study Of Feud’s Opening Credits

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Feud, FX’s newest Ryan Murphy creation, debuted this Sunday.  Feud chronicles the legendary battles between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. The plot is centered on the difficulties of making What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with two divas steering the ship.    The show casts two real life divas to play the pair, Susan Sarandon (Davis) and Jessica Lange (Crawford.) The costumes, arching eyebrows and elaborate sets can be overwhelming, so much so that your brain feels like a bowl of fish aspic.  In a series that is meticulously obsessed with the look of the 1960s, the opening credits set the tone for the series.  You can see it for yourself here:

Hopefully, you are picking up on the Hitchcockian vibes.  The opening credits also set the tone for the what the show will represent (as it should!) but it can also be a tool we use to predict what Feud has in store for the audience as well.

The Feud…Obviously.

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Unlike today’s feuds between celebs like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry the rancor between Crawford and Davis was strategically fought and fascinating. Olivia de Havilland, played by Catherine Zeta Jones, states, “Feuds are never about hate. They are about pain.” The first five minutes of the series completely spoils the plot.  These women don’t hate each other.   They are just in pain and are making their rival suffer because of it. The sentiment is sad.  The result is an interesting TV show with fabulous dresses and too much cigarette smoke.  

Women as Puppets

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The re-up of the feud of “biblical proportions” has launched 1,000 think-pieces about the role of women in the movies.  Feud has already been deemed an “important show” and rightfully so.  It is necessary and good for people to be reminded of what women were perceived to be in the past and to remind us all of the perceptions we still face today.  The image of the movie producer literally pulling the strings of their careers is not as archaic as some of the other throwbacks from the show (voice recorders, landlines, aspic jelly, calling your maid “mamacita,” etc.) Hopefully, the show will inspire creators to imagine more diverse stories to tell.

Nostalgia

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Just go ahead and prepare a space in your head for the “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy” earworm. Feud is obsessed with making the audience relive all of their favorite/disturbing memories from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?  I look forward to seeing the frightening face of the Baby Jane Murder doll, pet birds dressed as dinner, Blanche dressed all in black at the beach and all of my other favorite parts of the film.  The whole show is one big homage to the plastic covered couches and fancy daytime hats of the 60s.

Award Drama

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Go ahead and engrave Susan Sarandon’s Emmy for Feud.  I’m in love with her as Bette Davis. In the final scene of the pilot, she carries herself like just like Davis would.  Her makeup looks like it has been applied and reapplied for weeks.  Her eyes are like Bette Davis eyes, but with the soul of a demented child.  She so good I’m not entirely sure she’s acting.  Someone should check on Jessica Lange and see how she is handling it.

Whether you are #TeamJoan or #TeamBette hopefully we can all agree on this, Feud is a fun, campy romp that might mess around and make the world a better place.


Lyrical Analysis: “Green Lights”- Lorde

Lyrical Analysis: “Green Lights”- Lorde

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Ladies and gentlemen the wait is over!  After a nearly four year hiatus since her debut album Heroine, Lorde has reappeared on the music scene with her single “Green Lights” from the upcoming album Melodrama.  Typically I don’t geek over new music, especially that of the pop variety; however, I have made renewed commitment to trying out new music and giving different genres a shot.  In fact, if you haven’t checked out Matt Mahone’s post The Jazz Conundrum I highly recommend it, as well as the new Thundercat album.  Having said all that I freely admit that I have been somewhat anxiously awaiting Lorde’s new music.  Thanks to NBA 2K15 I became a fan of her song “Team” and I eventually discovered “Royals” which I also liked a lot.  In a world dominated by Taylor Swift at the time the musical stylings of Lorde was a welcome respite.  When “Green Light” was released last week I naturally gave it a listen, or three, and came to the conclusion that it was ok.  It didn’t strike the same chord with me as the other two songs, which is fine since I’m certain her target demographic isn’t 30 year old males.  As I listened to the song the story told by the lyrics seemed hauntingly familiar so I decided to perform a lyrical analysis to determine the source of the familiarity.  What I discovered may blow your mind.

Verse 1:

I do my makeup in somebody else’s car
We order different drinks at the same bars

I know about what you did and I wanna scream the truth
She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar

The song’s opening verse clearly refers to the singer being burned with lies from a former lover.  So far this is not unlike most other pop songs, but I continued to dig deeper.

Refrain:

Those great whites, they have big teeth
Hope they bite you
Thought you said that you would always be in love
But you’re not in love no more
Did it frighten you
How we kissed when we danced on the light up floor?
On the light up floor

The beginning of the refrain made me wonder if perhaps she was referring to the book version of Jaws, wherein Chief Brody’s wife, Ellen, has an affair with the scientist Matt Hooper.  Further analysis disproved this theory, but I still assume Lorde is a fan of Jaws because she seems to be a woman of decent taste.  The key to unlocking this story, however, was the repeated reference to the “light up floor”.

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Pre-Chorus:

But I hear sounds in my mind
Brand new sounds in my mind

But honey I’ll be seein’ you ‘ever I go
But honey I’ll be seein’ you down every road
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it

We see here a persistent longing for the lover who has spurned the singer with their lies and deceit.  It appears the longing comes from a sad internal desire to hear and see the former love.  What if I told you these senses were not triggered by an internal longing, but an external catalyst?

Chorus:

‘Cause honey I’ll come get my things, but I can’t let go
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it
Oh, I wish I could get my things and just let go
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it

The chorus is all about waiting for the “green light”, which clearly means to go ahead or to continue.  This lyric is actually pretty cut and dry methinks.

Refrain:

All those rumors, they have big teeth
Hope they bite you
Thought you said that you would always be in love
But you’re not in love no more

Did it frighten you
How we kissed when we danced on the light up floor?
On the light up floor

I skipped verse two because it only had two lines which didn’t fit into my conspiracy theory so I chose not to include it in this analysis.  The second refrain is similar to the first except that “great whites” is changed to “rumors”.  Perhaps the “great whites” are in fact white lies instead of sharks, and the rumors are related to those lies.  This is when the light bulb struck and was enhanced by the second reference to the light up floor.

The remaining choruses and pre-choruses are repeats of the above.  Piecing together my observational evidence I have concluded that this is the story of a woman who had relationship with a man.  Despite the nefarious doings of the man, the woman continued to long for him.  The “brand new sounds” and “I’ll be seein’ you down every road” are because she has given birth to his child.  The “rumors” are that the child is his and the “lies” are his denials of being the fatherhood.  All this brings us to the most electrifying piece of evidence…the light up floor.  Clearly the subject of this song is none other than the legendary Billie Jean herself!

It all fits.  “She’s just a girl, who thinks that I am the one” references the rumors and “the kid is not my son” is the lie.  The lyric “His [the baby’s] eyes were like mine” from “Billie Jean” verifies that the singer of “Green Light” would in fact “see you down every road” of the child’s life.  Then of course there’s the oft-repeated reference to the light-up floor:

The evidence is overwhelming.  It’s been 35 years since the original release of Billie Jean, but we finally have the companion piece which explains the other side of the story.  Thank you Lorde for bringing us the conclusion to this tale of love, betrayal, and life.


The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Say Yes”

The Walking Dead Episode Recap: “Say Yes”

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The following feature is guest-written for Funkhouser by writer Brad Morris.

Hello again my friends. It’s been a honor to have you following me down the path of The Walking Dead this season. I must apologize for not checking in the last couple of weeks, but sometimes life gets in the way. Now that things are back to normal for me, I can dive in again fellow Walkers and discuss what happened last night on The Walking Dead. Although, was it really TWD? Or a rom-com set in the apocalypse? Let’s talk about Rick and Michonne’s excellent adventure shall we? With a side trip to Rositaville.

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Rick

How are you sleeping these days? Good I hope. Rick not so much. We find Rick out on a supply run with his mistress of the sword, looking for guns and food. We learn by the end of the episode that Rick has been thinking about the past. All of the good and bad, but mostly about the decisions he’s made along the way that have lead to his friends and families deaths. He specifically mentions Glenn, and how he knew him from the beginning and his inability to keep him alive. We often see Rick make bad decisions, but we never get to see how much weight he carries on his shoulders. This was a great episode to show us just how he’s affected by the carnage. On a side note, I’m loving the dynamic he has with the leader of the Scavengers, Jadis. They have a quirky way of negotiating between them, and I’m looking forward to more banter back and forth. As for Rick and his sleeping problems, I think they’ve put to ease by his main squeeze…

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Michonne

What a great episode for Danai Gurira. We saw such a range of emotion from her this week. Laughing it up, smiling slyly at her bae, losing her composure, and whack off Walker heads. And to be courted over a chili with mac and cheese MRE? Priceless. Michonne seems to be the one doing ok, what with romps in the sack everyday, killing Walkers like swinging a stick in a field, and finding a huge cache of food and guns. Letting your guard down, we find out just how much means to her when it briefly looks like HE has become dinner. At least with Rick’s reemergence, we see that she has the ability to feel something other than dread in this sick world. And she even had her boyfriend take her on a date to the carnival! Several parts of the show make me smile. Seeing Michonne smile is near the top of the list.

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Rosita

Our Latino fox has still got a bug up her ass about killing Negan. Like two days ago. This has not been fun for me to watch because it has driven her character into being so one note, I groan when I see her on screen. Her conversations with Tara and Father Gabriel hammered this point home. At least there may be an end to this soon, because her conversation with Sasha has her pointed down the path to hell finally. If I was a betting man, I’d say by the end of the season we won’t have to worry about her anymore. Speaking of Tara…

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Tara

Tara has discovered the perfect person to talk to about her dilemma with the Oceansiders, Judith. Who better to bounce ideas off of than a toddler? They can be brutally honest and wise beyond their years. Judith’s response to Tara was to say nothing, which I think eased Tara into knowing she must tell Rick about the place she visited. Oh wise sage Judith, tell us more of your wisdom!

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Well that about sums up our character panel this week. We did see that the Scavengers are going all Veruca Salt on Rick. That want more guns and they want them now! To end with my write up, I’d like to invite you this weekend to check out the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention. It runs from Friday to Sunday at the Rupp Arena Convention Center. Amoung the guests announced so far are the Nature Boy Ric Flair, Diamond Dallas Page, and Lee Majors. But for us TWD fans, we’ve got Father Gabriel, Seth Gilliam. Robin Lord Taylor, who’s appeared in only two episodes, but left a lasting impression before heading over to Gotham as the Penquin. And last but not least, Merle will be in the house! Michael Rooker, who has been in so many movies and TV shows, it’d take hours to go over all his characters. We will also be doing a special edition of the Kentucky Deadcast this weekend with Louisville author Tony Acree, whose Victor McCain novels have found a large following, with his foray into the world of demons, God, and a hot chick with a sword. I hope all is well with you. Until next time, ta ta…

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The Jazz Conundrum or Now That’s What I Call Jazz!  Three Genre-Bending Artists You Should Be Listening To (You Dig?)

The Jazz Conundrum or Now That’s What I Call Jazz! Three Genre-Bending Artists You Should Be Listening To (You Dig?)

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As music goes, I have a confession to make—I really don’t get jazz.  It’s not like I don’t have an open-mind. I want to like it.  I’m hip, I’m down.  Objection!  Your honor, motion to strike that from the record. Sustained.  Apart from bro-country and the deathrock genre and everything ever recorded by Maroon 5, I listen to, enjoy, and own just about every kind of music imaginable—hardly any of it’s jazz.  There’s just something about the genre that takes so much mental energy, and any attempt to get deep in the cut causes me to lurch around like Elaine Benes, furiously trying to keep rhythm, and more than I’d like to admit, I just end up stopping the song dead in its tracks.

That was until 2015, when rapper Kendrick Lamar changed all that.  Maybe not the dancing part, but the album was certainly eye-opening nonetheless.

To Pimp a Butterfly was released in 2015 and upon hearing it, I was immediately rapt, struck by the fact that it was such a powerful and at times poignant record.  Complete with stinging lyrics and themes which explored contemporary societal, cultural, and political issues, it’s a damning account coupled with a dynamite sound.  On the surface, Butterfly is often labeled as a hip hop album.  That’s a bit misleading.  While it has customary spoken word cadence of rap, the album incorporates elements of funk, electronic music, and soul, and has been described as “an ambitious avant-garde-jazz-rap statement.”  An amalgam of musical styles, the kind of genre-bending music is at the nucleus of what appealed to me most, and it’s the conduit that led me on a year-long journey where I discovered three phenomenal artists whose contributions to the album gave it so much flavor, panache, or jazz—if that’s what you call it.

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington whose string and horn arrangements are featured on Butterfly is one such artist.  To put it bluntly—he’s cosmically dope.  Complete with a dashiki and Jordan’s, Washington is one of the most accomplished jazz artists the genre has seen in decades.  Sorry Miles.  His aptly-titled, critically-acclaimed first album Epic was released in 2015, and it’s something to behold.  Featuring a 10 piece band, a 32 piece orchestra section, the record clocks in a bit just shy of 3 hours long.  It’s sure to appeal to both jazzophiles as well as those of us who need a more modern reintroduction to the genre.

Steven Ellison, the visionary.  Under the guise of Flying Lotus, his beats are hard to escape once they seep into your consciousness.  In addition to being a musician in his own right, Ellison is an animator, filmmaker, collaborator, and producer—one of twenty on Lamar’s aforementioned award-winning album. If you’re still scratching your head wondering if you’ve heard his auditory concoctions, there’s a good chance you have.  Gamers in particular—for which I’m not—might recognize his bumper music courtesy of FlyLo FM, a radio station in Grand Theft Auto V.  Or possibly you’ve seen him as the DJ on Comedy Central’s, Why? With Hannibal Buress.  Impressively, his record label Brainfeeder, is a repository for more or less thirty artists—including Washington—who are at the vanguard of the alt-electro-dank-jazz-funk-fusion-hip hop movement.  If that’s even a thing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ While Flying Lotus’ music is oft-classified as electronic, the thread of jazz permeates throughout, and it’s this remarkably fresh and layered sound that can be heard on his 5th studio album You’re Dead, which was released in 2014.

Which brings me to Thundercat, aka Stephen Bruner, bass guitarist virtuoso, and former member of Suicidal Tendencies, whose album Drunk released in February, may be my newest audio obsession.  In fact, in the past week, I’ve purchased everything he’s ever made.  Drunk, produced by Flying Lotus, is a sonic gateway drug for sure.  An eccentric and surprisingly lighthearted (courtesy of some juvenile humor, meowing, and musing lyrics) album which features Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell and Wiz Khalifa, as well as some surprises, namely legendary and soulful white dudes—Kenny “Danger Zone” Loggins and my own personal favorite, Doobie Bro., Michael “Sweet Freedom” McDonald on the song “Show You the Way”.  What more could you want fam?  Thundercat’s falsetto voice coupled with his trifurcated velvety noise is immediately mesmerizing.  Imagine if Stevie Wonder and Pat Metheny had a baby—the result, a fusion of a multitude of genres including jazz. And somewhere between 70’s R&B, akin to The Brothers Johnson, with bass licks straight from P-Funk, layered with the shear psychedelia of The Vampires’ Sound Incorporation.  Thundercat, just like Sturgill Simpson, can’t be categorized and they both are deconstructing, reimagining and reinterpreting a long, storied and sometimes misunderstood—and therefore, neglected—genre of music.

Washington sums it up, “the funny thing is, you’ve probably been into jazz all along, you just didn’t know it!”  So if loving jazz is wrong, then….well…you know the rest.  Listen for yourself!