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Lost and Found: ‘Black Books’

Lost and Found: ‘Black Books’

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In this Funkhouser installment, I rummage through a hodgepodge of television shows and films, some of which are so obscure, you might be discovering them for the first time, others, simply forgotten about, several possibly mothballed and finally a few that just vanished into the ether altogether.  This is Lost and Found: Episode 7.

Sadly, independently owned bookstores are becoming a rarity.  Every year it seems, a handful of antiquarians close the books on their businesses, leaving behind an orphaned hodgepodge of yellowed, mildewed, thrifty paperbacks, and dusty, but treasured leather-bound classics.  Over my life, I’ve spent a lot of time in such places—not so much reading or buying anything, but mainly piddling and poking around.  This practice is one of the many reasons to blame for their demise, I suppose.  However, it’s good to see that in the age of Amazon and Goliath-type businesses, a few booksellers remain defiant. Stores like these have certain unmistakable and common qualities about them.  Navigating their maze-like shelves can be treacherous: you have to be mindful not to bump into the assorted stacks of titles and periodicals, rising like stalagmites, from above the creaky, well-worn, wooden floors, that bend and yield under your weight with every step.  There’s more often than not, a bell tied to the front door to alert the proprietor of customers, typically a lethargic or deceased dog or cat laying around, withered plants, empty bottles, strategically placed cobwebs, and a handful of dead insects lining the hazy glass windows.  But it’s always their eccentric owners, who are the real gems and give the stores so much of their character.

Bernard Black is one such owner.

Black Books is an out-of-print, but classic nonetheless, British television sitcom, originally airing in the U.K. from 2000 to 2004.  Until now, I was unfamiliar with its existence, but forced indoors, away from the dreary and cold-weather this weekend, I found the series almost by accident—all eighteen episodes—streaming on Netflix, and I binge-watched it in its entirety.  Don’t judge a book, or show rather, by its cover—believe me, the show’s dark, pessimistic tone coupled with the mundane, sometimes outlandish storylines are deceptively funny.  Not surprising the show has everything you’d expect from a British comedy: loads of sarcasm, sardonic put-downs, subtle tongue-in-cheek humor, and enough double entendres, you’ll catch yourself laughing at the most inopportune times, long after it’s over.

Set in London, Black Books, centers around Irishman Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), an unkept, anti-social, chain-smoking, nihilistic, drunkard, and proprietor of said bookstore.  Like many of his real-life counterparts, he’s a likable louse, but quite vexing, most notably in his indifference on whether or not he sells anything at all.  Often hungover, he’s callous and rude towards customers and his help—you wonder how he stays in business at all.  His only on again/off again employee is Manny Bianco (played deftly by comedian, Bill Bailey) a genuinely talented, good-natured, but lovable dolt, who serves as shopkeeper, primary salesperson, and chief whipping boy for Black.  Rounding out the cast is Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Grieg) a neurotic, shrill, obsessive man-eater, former one-night-stand, and long time friend of Black’s, who runs a chotsky shop next to the bookstore.  Together, their adventures, akin to Seinfeld, border on a show about nothing, but that narrative works, because one can only imagine the bizarre turn of events and goings-on that happen within the walls of a bookstore, and between the ears of the uniquely peculiar proprietors.  Although the show features a laugh track, you’ll find yourself grinning and snickering at the dialogue, which is smart and bitingly clever, as well as each character’s uniquely habitual mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, quirks and tics.  I would recommend watching S1:E1 but after that, it’s up to you.  If binge-watching it from start to end (S3:E18) is your thing, have at it. But if that doesn’t suit you, then take your time, meander around—maybe viewing the series à la carte will hook you.  Whatever.

Black Books, much like the remarkable one-of-a-kind bookstores and the flaky owners that inspired it, is something you’ll have to experience for yourself.

“ALL RIGHT, THE SHOP IS CLOSED.  EVERYBODY GET OUT!!”

Black Books is rated TV-PG.

 


The Greatest Sports Movies Ever

This post is an ode to Mike Pence.  The Vice President and former Indiana Governor is busy traveling around the Pacific.  During a flight between Indonesia and Australia, Pence informed Air Force 2’s press pool they will be watching Hoosiers, “the greatest sports movie ever made.”

Even though I’ve never seen Hoosiers (shame on me, I know), I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to share with you a list of the greatest sports movies ever created.  You’ll quickly notice this list is the objective, undeniable truth.

1. Friday Night Lights
2. Caddyshack
3. Sandlot
4. Space Jam
5. Remember the Titans
6. Major League
7. Rudy
8. Varsity Blues
9. Hoop Dreams
10. Talladega Nights
11. The Karate Kid
12. The Waterboy
13. The Fighter
14. Field of Dreams
15. The Replacements

Feel free to call men an idiot in the comment section for omitting Rocky.  I don’t care what you say because at the end of the day, “I’m the best around, nothing’s going to ever keep me down.”

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The Weekend Media Forecast

The Weekend Media Forecast

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(Written for Funkhouser by Brad Morris)

Welcome to this weekends Media Weekend Forecast. Once again I, Brad Morris, am here to bring you the comings and goings of what to look forward to on the big screen, and little one as well. This week looks family friendly, and you’re going to need it with the ACTUAL weather looking kind of crappy for the next three days. So lets peruse around and see what looks good, shall we?

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Netflix: Secret Life Of Pets

Why To Watch: From the same people that created Despicable Me, this movie was funnier than I thought it would be. Of course we’ve been mesmerized with everything Disney and Pixar have given us over the years. So for Illumination Entertainment to expand beyond Gru and his minions, this was a make or break film. They definitely make it. With enough humor to keep both the kiddos happy and parents from falling asleep, this is a sweet kids movie. Also pay close attention to the cat, Chloe, who steals the show. Not that she would care, she’s a cat. Have fun with this one.
Why Not To Watch: It’s a cartoon. You hate the laughter of children. You have no children.

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Hulu: Disney Movies

Why To Watch: There is a plethora of old Disney movies that are available on Hulu. Want some high seas adventure? Muppet Treasure Island. Classic fairytale? Princess and The Frog. How about a holiday movie? The Nightmare Before Christmas takes care of two. Looking for a regal tale of Greek legend? Hercules, Hercules, Hercules! And my choice, which is in the musical category? Newsies, starring a tween Christian Bale. Basically the opposite of Netflix, this is the tried and true movie studio we’ve loved over the years.
Why Not To Watch: You hate pirates. Have no time for fairytales when the world is as bleak as it is now. Don’t celebrate the holidays. And musicals? Don’t get me started.

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TV: Silicon Valley (HBO)

Why To Watch: Of course we’re all waiting for Game of Thrones to return. However that’s still three months away. While we wait for the brooding of Jon Snow, how about a few laughs? Silicon Valley is a clever look at the California tech industry. Self deprecating humor and a stellar cast, led by Thomas Middleditch, has found its way into my weekly viewing. I’m sure that this season will be hurt by not following GOT, but with VEEP returning as well, there’s nothing better to catch on a Sunday night.
Why Not To Watch: You are technically illiterate. The humor escapes you. And worst of all, you don’t have HBO.

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Movies: Born In China

Why To Watch: I told you it was family friendly this week! While the promos have focused on cute and cuddly Panda bears, you and the children will also be treated to snub nosed monkeys and snow leopards. It follows these different species for one full year in the wild. It always amazes me that people actually go out and film this. What patience they must have to wait for those perfect moments captured on film. The American version is narrated by John Krasinski of The Office fame.
Why Not To Watch: Just looking at animals makes you think of how much they must smell. This is the USA and I don’t want no Chinese propaganda movie in my country! Wait, are those monkeys?

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Sports: Cubs vs Reds

Why To Watch: It’s the first time this season the Cubbies come to Cincinnati. Coming off their first World Series victory in 1,293 years, the Cubs bandwagon is still so full the wheels are about to fall off. Myself being a Reds fan, it’s nice to see the team has gotten off to a good start to the season. When you aren’t expecting much from them in the first place, any growth is good. The Reds are still a couple of years away from contending, but this is still an early season battle for first place in the division. So lets not raise the flag and instead hear #ATOBTTR.
Why Not To Watch: Baseball.

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While that is all for the forecast, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that what I’ll be watching was a part of last weekends forecast. The NHL playoffs are starting to really impress. With Tyler Thompson’s Predators taking down the mighty Blackhawks, hockey has been on KSR almost everyday this week. Don’t take it at face value! Playoff hockey is addictive. Don’t believe me? Look up tony x on twitter. Dude stumbled onto a game last year and is hooked and hilarious, although NSFW. Myself, I’ll be watch my New York Rangers trying to finish off the Canadiens in game 6 Saturday evening after an amazing OT victory last night (Mikachu, I choose you!).

With that shameless plug, I’ll sign off for this week. This has been your Mediaologist Brad Morris.


It’s Time for the KSR Stakes!

It’s Time for the KSR Stakes!

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Well, it’s time. This weekend, as you all know, is the prestigious KSR Stakes Race, which always takes place two weekends before the Kentucky Derby. Last year, of course, saw an exciting finish wherein three-year old colt Minardi Delight, ridden by award-winning* jockey Raul Esteban Schneider, took the purse in the final moments of the race. This year promises to be a similarly exciting field, and those looking to wager on the race this weekend should know a little about its entrants. So today, we’re going to Handicap the KSR Stakes for you and hope this will help give you a little insight. Good luck!

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1.  General Ulis (3-1). The clear favorite in today’s field, General Ulis is a strong choice especially if it rains, which is expected over the weekend. He won handily at Wilkes-Barre two weeks ago in a torrential downpour, so consider him a valid contender in inclement weather.

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2. Crean’s Folly (5-1). If you recall the Paducah Turf Classic in March, you’ll recall that Crean’s Folly led by nearly fourteen lengths before jumping the fence; he was secured later after a lengthy police chase on Kentucky Route 348. Don’t hold that against him, though. I still think if he can be contained he stands a good shot against this field despite worrying early reports hint he may have diarrhea from some bad hay.

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3. Wordunrelatedwordanotherword. (6-1). Remember last summer when John Calipari made the mysterious statement that he was “planning to visit a recruit that wasn’t a person, but is instead a horse?” Many believe this Wordunrelatedwordanotherword was the recruit in question. It didn’t work out, because it is a horse, but this colt’s speed continues to raise eyebrows, forehead wrinkles and worrisome facial moles across the industry right now. Consider him if planning an ultrafecta square wager.
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4. Exclamation! (9-1) A horse that could make a surprise trip to the winner’s circle is Exclamation!, but only if jockey Clem Yarnall can wean him off his current binge-watching of Narcos. Consider him a real threat on the inside in sunny weather but, as this seasoned four year-old suffers from devastating seasonal affective disorder, rain makes him very sad. Should things get gloomy this weekend, call off the dogs.**

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5. Last Place Finish (13-1). It’s not just an unfortunate name; Last Place Finish has done just that in his last twelve races and is currently in a full-hindquarters body cast after falling into a hole in the track at the Santa Velveeta Cup in late February. Still, we like his odds, as well as the heartwarming story of the terrified seven year-old who is unwillingly lashed to him in each race — there’s not a greater tale of friendship against the odds in the industry right now.

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6. Brent Stevens. (19-1). Brent Stevens is technically a centaur, which is half-man and half-horse. He was fathered by Zeus when Zeus spilled his seed upon the ground in ancient Cyprus. His people beat Thessalian hero Caeneus to death with rocks and tree branches. He’s great on a dry track and would be a good inclusion in a Megafecta Oval.

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7. Trotty (22-1). I’m going to be honest, Trotty is a real dick. He’s fast and agile but his personality really makes you not want to wager on him. I mean, I can’t believe he treated Susan like that. She deserves better, after all she’s been through. Can you believe he did that? Who does he think he is? Seriously, screw Trotty. I hope he loses.

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8. Handsome Tom (43-1). In perhaps the most shocking turn of events, it’s worth noting that Handsome Tom was a 2-1 favorite three days ago before he broke from his stall and got into Kaylee’s birthday party food. Owner Edmund Halter-Topp is confident that his trainers can work some of the extra pounds off by Sunday and it’s an around-the-clock situation, but not looking good. Check in again on race day.

 

*2014 Grammys, Best Sound Mixing for a General Reference Audiobook.
**Please, as stated in club rules, do not allow your dogs to attack the horses.

 


Funkhouser’s Guide To Record Store Day 2017

Funkhouser’s Guide To Record Store Day 2017

Record Store Day

This article was co-compiled and co-written by Richmond Bramblet & Matthew Mahone

Get ready to lay down some fresh vinyl, as the 10th Annual Record Store Day takes place this Saturday, April 22nd. Record Store Day, while a day for new albums to be dropped into the hands of awaiting music enthusiasts, is really about the record stores, who have been carrying the torch of keeping vinyl alive.

There are some incredible albums that are being released on Record Store Day. There will be two David Bowie albums released: Cracked Actor (Live, Los Angeles, ’74) and BOWPROMO, a reproduction of one of Bowie’s earliest demo promos. There will be multiple special 12″ Maxi-Singles from Prince, as well as a 7″ picture disc of Little Red Corvette. There will also be a release of “Like A Drunk In A Midnight Choir – Record Store Day Celebrates The Music Of Leonard Cohen,” a tribute album that has a host of artists covering Cohen’s best, with proceeds going to Pablove, which strives to fight childhood cancer. This is just a taste of some of the Record Store Day exclusives, with many other special albums being released from store to store.

We have compiled a list of local record stores in Kentucky and Cincinnati, as well as the great events that they will have going on to celebrate this awesome day of music.


Lexington

WUKY (91.3 FM) 

UK’s flagship public radio station is hosting their 5th Annual Vintage Vinyl Sale at the Lexington Habitat for Humanity ReStore located at 451 Southland Drive.  Admission is free and open to the public open on Saturday from 10am – 7pm.  Sales benefit the station, so why not pick up some vinyl and write it off on your taxes.

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CD Central

Lexington’s oldest independently owned record store, CD Central has been serving Central KY, and me, for over 22 years.  Located in the heart of UK’s campus at 377 S. Limestone, Steve and his crew stock new and used vinyl and CDs for commercial and local artists, as well as new record players and vintage audio equipment.  They’ll be celebrating their 10th Annual Record Store Day and they usually go all out, complete with door prizes, special releases, live performances, and also food—this year courtesy of The Gastro Gnomes Food Truck.  Buy local! Hours are from 9am – 8pm, but get there early.

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POPS Resale

Whatever it is, there’s a good chance POPS Resale has what you’re looking for.  Since 1996 POPS has carried a massive collection of new and used vinyl, audio equipment and various stereoania, as well as vintage clothes and random oddities.  Break your stylus?  POPS probably has the replacement.  Don’t be deceived though, what appears as a small storefront, is actually 6000 sq. ft. of stuff.  POPS will have tons of releases and sales during Record Store Day.  Located at 1423 Leestown Road (Suite B) POPS will open an hour early at 10am on Record Store Day, with the first 10 people through the door earning a free POPS tote.

The Album

The Album is Lexington’s only hip-hop record store, which has been serving the Lexington area for over 11 years.  Opening at 8am on Record Store Day, The Album will have all of your needs for your record-buying fix, not only with hip-hop, but all other genres and all the limited releases you could ask for.

HopCat-Lexington

HopCat-Lexington, located on Short and Broadway is a woodwork filled pub that boasts Kentucky’s largest craft beer selection on 100 taps.  They also have their local 20 taps which features some of the best beer that Kentucky has to offer.  For Record Store Day 2017, HopCat is going to reward you for going to your local record store and making a purchase.  If you go to any local record store on Saturday and buy something, go to HopCat-Lexington and show your receipt to earn yourself a free order of Crack Fries (named one of the top-10 fries in the US by Food Network Magazine).


Louisville

Matt Anthony

Matt Anthony’s Record Shop

If you find yourself in Louisville and you’re in need of a vinyl fix, Matt Anthony’s might be your new favorite place.  While the selection is sometimes limited, they carry a lot of 45’s, including new and collectible vinyl.  It’s a gem of a store, quaint and welcoming.  Matt Anthony’s is located at 2354 Frankfort Ave and will be open from 12pm – 7pm on Record Store Day.  From 4-7 Matt Anthony’s Record Shop will be hosting a Record Store Day Block Party, with all of the exclusive releases and special offers that you would expect on RSD, but also you can party outside with a host of local vinyl DJ’s.  The DJs include Matt Anthony, JP Source, John Penn Browning, Woody, and Kim Sorise.  Also, there’s a chance to win tickets to the Thunder Lounge at Thunder over Louisville.

Better Days Records

A Louisville institution since 1982.  Better Days has two brick and mortars, one located in the Highlands at 1765 Bardstown Rd and the other at 2600 W. Broadway.  The death of ear–X–tacy left a big void in the record store world, but Better Days continues to carry the torch with helpful customer service, paired with a tremendous selection of new and used music in all genres, as well as new and used stereo/audio equipment.  Better Days will be open from 8am-10pm for Record Store Day.  As in years past, the vaults will be opened and private goodies from The Benman’s stash will be for sale, including LPs, 45s, 12″ singles, cassettes and CDs, all lovingly prepared just for you.


Cincinnati

Everybody’s Records and CD’s

Everybody’s Records is located at 6106 Montgomery Road, in the Pleasant Ridge/Norwood area of Cincinnati.  The store has a large selection of both new and used vinyl as well as CDs.  Everybody’s Records will be open 11-9 on Saturday, with some of Cincinnati’s most reputable musicians playing at the store including Lemon Sky, Go Go Buffalo, Dead Man String Band, and Xzela.  Everybody’s Records will also be raffling off a new Audio-Technica turntable, which you can only enter to win at the store on Saturday.

Slow Jam

Shake It Records

Shake It Records is located in Northside, and has a huge blowout planned for Record Store Day 2017.  The store will be open from 8am-11 pm, with 400 new releases coming out that day.  One of the highlights of the day will be Rhinegeist brewery’s limited release, Slow Jam being on tap in the store.  This is Rhinegeist’s third collaboration brew with Shake It, which will be available at other locations in Northside after its release at the store.  Shake it will also have exclusive vinyl releases from Wussy and The Tillers & Frontier Folk Nebraska.  At 7pm, there will be free in-store performances by Frontier Folk Nebraska and Dawg Yawp.  You’ll also receive 10% off with a donation of any canned good.

Sugarcube Records

Sugarcube Records is located at 422 West 6th Street in Covington, Kentucky.  Unfortunately, Sugarcube is closing its doors this summer, but until that happens, owner Craig Baker is going to keep buying and selling vinyl for all the lovers of music in the Northern Kentucky area.  While Sugarcube won’t have any of the Record Store Day titles, they will be having special deals including: $4 off All new LPs, $10 Shirts, $3 Used Single CDs, and the usual $1-$3 discount vinyl will be 4 for $1.


If you are a record store in Kentucky or in the NKY/Cincinnati area and are holding a Record Store Day event, please contact us on Twitter or Facebook and we would be happy to add you to the above list!


Stuff in Kentucky You Should Know About but Probably Don’t: White Reaper’s “The World’s Best American Band”

Stuff in Kentucky You Should Know About but Probably Don’t: White Reaper’s “The World’s Best American Band”

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Kentucky has much more to offer than just thoroughbreds, bourbon, and basketball. This state is filled with multitudes of great things that are flying just below the radar. In the upcoming weeks, I hope to expose some of the little known treasures our state has to offer in a very originally named series called Stuff In Kentucky You Should Know About but Probably Don’t. Today is episode one.

Things that are great deserve to be recognized and the Louisville based band, White Reaper, is great, actually they’re the best. No literally, the name of their latest album is The World’s Best American Band. Certainly, a bold claim to make and while they’re definitely opening themselves up to scrutiny with such a daring title, I love their fire. I also love their music.

Before I begin, I’ll start by saying I got paid $0 to write this article, their new album was so good I felt obligated to share it on this platform.

After listening to The World’s Best American Band in its entirety I was confounded on how to describe the band’s sound. This album is retro. It grabs all the best parts of music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and combines them with bands own unique modern flair. I think it’s generally unfair to describe a new band by comparing their sound to an older, more well known, band’s sound but it’s fun so I’m going to do it anyway.

This album sounds like Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC all chopped up in a soup with a nice modern punk rock stock. It is seriously awesome. The track list is as follows:

  1. The World’s Best American Band
  2. Judy French
  3. Eagle Beach
  4. Little Silver Cross
  5. The Stack
  6. Party Next Door
  7. Cyrstal Pistol
  8. Tell Me
  9. Daisies
  10. Another Day

I highly recommend checking this album out along with the rest of White Reaper’s music. You can find them on all of the major music platforms (iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, etc). They are a prime example of the great, young musical talent Kentucky has been producing for quite some time now. Nowhere do they display this talent more than with their new album The Next Great American Band.

They also just recently released their tour dates in case you’re in town for a show.

If you’re interested in the Kentucky music scene, then this band is a great place to start. They’re unique and raw sound is a refreshing break from the over produced radio garbage we’ve become so accustomed to. They just flat out rock, man. They’ll make you one proud Kentuckian, without a doubt.


Assessing HGTV’s Newly Renovated Flip Or Flop Vegas

Assessing HGTV’s Newly Renovated Flip Or Flop Vegas

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HGTV’s Flip or Flop is getting a big makeover. The original Flip or Flop starred Tarek and Christina El Moussa as they renovated houses in California neighborhoods.  Their divorce put a major change in the show’s chemistry and after taping only five episodes of their seventh season, HGTV is offering another Flip or Flop option. Flip or Flop Vegas is now the newly renovated version of Flip or Flop, the original.  Flip or Flop 2.0 has all the same notes, but with Aubrey Marunde playing the part of Christina and Bristol as the new wide-shouldered handy man.  Translation: It is literally the same, one top-heavy blonde and one slightly too aggressive man.

There’s not much difference between the OG Flip or Flop and Flip or Flop Vegas.  As it turns out, the same things that are frustrating on the west coast are still frustrating in the desert.  Bristol, the burly Mr. Fixit, also enjoys demo day. (He’s stealing Chip’s Fixer Upper catchphrase and that’s not OK.)  As a MMA fighter, Bristol gets lots of screen time as he kicks through doors, windows and walls.  Bristol makes me uncomfortable.  He’s just too jacked up all the time.  At one point, he explains, “Since Aubrey is a realtor, we can legally enter as long as it doesn’t have a condemned sign posted.” Bristol is constantly ready to enter homes and demolish them immediately.

Bristol Marunde is the HGTV version of the Kool-aid man.

Also, the HGTV-ness of the whole show is painful.  Aubrey and Bristol are extremely guilty of generating random estimates for the price of renovations. More than any other show, their guesstimations seems more flippant and uninformed.  Oh a new garage door, that’s $1,000.  A new kitchen is $8,500. I’m not sure where they are getting these prices.  It’s like me guessing how many jellybeans are in a jar.  I don’t know, but I’m pretty confident in my estimation.

Another trope is the way hosts describe the houses.  I can’t roll my eyes hard enough when they describe rooms as having a “cottage glam” feel or trying to achieve a “woodsy elegance” look.  Although I speak fluent HGTV, I’m aware of how obnoxious it sounds.  I’m convinced that there is no rhyme or reason to how they create their design inspiration catchphrases. I think they use the buyer’s birthdays and plug them into the chart below to generate their design aesthetic.

 

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Flip or Flop Vegas has it’s own little hook.  Bristol and Aubrey are wild.  As they walk through the house to make random cost estimates, they mark walls with a can of spray paint.  This seems pretty reckless.  Instead of a modern, glass board like Joanna Gaines or a computer generated image of the space (complete with couches spinning into place) like the Property Brothers, the Marundes tag the place like a bunch of vagrants. The pink aerosol cans are excessive.  Hopefully, the future season’s budget will allow for them to have more than $3.99 (I made that amount up!) for their “design plan segment.”  Their walls are starting to look like the sides of a passing train.

Graffiti wall aside, their finished product is a solid B-. Shiplap doesn’t belong on houses in Vegas, but I’ll let it slide just this one time.  Viewers watch to see the transformation.  Viewers don’t watch for the tips.  And thankfully so, here are some of the gems that Bristol and Aubrey share:

-Tip: Have an expert look at broken items in your home

-Tip: Purchase items on clearance to keep your budget low

-Tip: When staging a home spend most of your time fluffing the pillows

Overall, Flip or Flop Vegas achieves what it sets out to do: provide mindless entertainment for people who enjoy looking at houses. Regardless of Aubrey’s shifty eyes or Bristol’s Maserati, there’s still a lot to enjoy. There’s nothing like watching someone shop via face time or create a “Vegas Farmhouse” feel that makes you feel content with your own shabby chic ranch on the corner.


Funkhouser Presents: F-Town

Funkhouser Presents: F-Town

F Town

S-Town, the latest binge-worthy podcast, presented by the creators of This American Life and Serial is spreading across the nation like kudzu. Today our panel examines the emotionally earnest, yet bizarrely mesmerizing series.

—What initially sucked everyone into the series? An emoji? Really?

—That voice sounds strangely familiar! Get acquainted with the eccentric John B. McLemore, who’s at the center of it all.

—Question marks the spot. Just where’s all buried treasure?

—How does one pay for a Coke with a gold bar exactly?

—Lying, tattooing, and nipple-piercings, oh my!

—Who do you trust?

—An ethical and moral dilemma about the series.

Guests include: Matthew Mahone, Chris Tomlin, Richmond Bramblet, Megan Suttles, and Brad Morris.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


'Mystery Science Theater 3000' starring Joel Mchale, Jonah Ray, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, Mary Jo Pehl, Hampton Yount, Baron Vaughn,  Rebecca Hanson, Tim Blaney, Elliot Kalan. Directed by Joel Hodgson & Rob Cohen.  Photo by Darren Michaels, SMPSP

The Funkhouser Weekend Media Forecast

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(The following is written by Funkhouser contributor Brad Morris)

Welcome to another Media Weekend Forecast. I’m your mediaologist Brad Morris. While this weekend looks to be amazing weather wise, some of you will be unfortunately stuck inside for various reasons. Young ones need to be bottle fed, people have to work from home, so why not try out some of the options in the media forecast.

This week we look at a series that is coming to an end, a series that has miraculously returned because of a passionate fan base, and the start to two of the four major professional sports leagues playoffs. So no matter who you root for (Let’s Go Rangers!) or what your tv pleasures are, I believe I’ve found enough material for you to devour this weekend.

'Mystery Science Theater 3000' starring Joel Mchale, Jonah Ray, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, Mary Jo Pehl, Hampton Yount, Baron Vaughn, Rebecca Hanson, Tim Blaney, Elliot Kalan. Directed by Joel Hodgson & Rob Cohen. Photo by Darren Michaels, SMPSP

Netflix: Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K)

Why To Watch: For anyone that stayed up late during weekend nights in the 1990’s, mostly late teens and early twenty something’s, MST3K was a great way to get through a night of studying while watching the old Comedy Channel. The premise of the show was an evil scientist has trapped a test subject onto the “Spaceship of Love” trying to find his breaking point by forcing him to watch awful movies. While being forced to watch, the subject has robot friends to help him watch, Crow, Gypsy, and Tom Servo. I got hooked on the original show when the subject was forced to watch “Manos Hands of Fate”.
Look, the premise is silly enough for school children, but the adult style humor is a great escape. Watching these people rail against these movies are the things we’ve all done with our own friends while watching an equally horrible movie, or maybe even a good one. So pop some kernels of corn and make fun of the movie with the new host Jonah and his robot friends.
Why Not To Watch: You yourself are Kinga Forrestter, master of Moon Base 13, or her dim witted sidekick Max. You enjoy trying to see what Jonah will do when his mind reaches his breaking point. And you hate bubbles.

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Hulu: Black Sails Seasons 1-3

Why To Watch: For those of us that don’t have a subscription to the Starz network, this show has been unavailable to us. Now that the show has entered its fourth, and final, season Hulu has brought us the first three seasons to watch. A prequel to the book by Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”. Set on the island of New Providence, this tale of the high seas follows Captain Flint and his crew of pirates, the daughter of the islands leader Eleanor Guthrie, and John Silver (before he added the Long). I’m only two episodes in and this is strangely similar in its early tones to Game of Thrones. That guy dies a bloody death, boobs, a good guy tries to get away with doing a bad thing, more boobs, we see evil people that we strangely like, and more boobs. I’ll stay for the action and plot for at least the first season, waiting to see how all the moving parts fit together before leading into “Treasure Island”.
Why Not To Watch: You read that awful book in high school and didn’t like it after you were forced to read it for junior English class. The blood and graphic nudity is to much to handle for the faint of heart. You hate pirates and water.

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Network TV: Saturday Night Live

Why To Watch: This week’s host is none other than SNL alum Jimmy Fallon, with musical guest Harry Styles. The ratings boom SNL has enjoyed the last few weeks has been mostly due to Alec Baldwin’s spot on impersonation of Donald Trump, but just as funny has been Melissa McCarthy’s spot impersonation of Sean Spicer. With Spicer’s poor choice of words this week, Trump dropping the MOAB, and Jimmy Fallon’s fantastic track record of shows he hosts, this should be a highlight of the season. Whether Harry Styles does anything for you or not, a late night snack will be in order, and a box of tissues ready in case you laugh until you cry.
Why Not To Watch: You stopped watching SNL when Bill Murray left the show. Or Mike Myers. Or Will Ferrell. Or Kristen Wiig. Or ………….

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Movies: Gifted

Why To Watch: I could have told you the most obvious movie to go see, Fate of The Furious, but I don’t see the point of that style of movie except to get cars going fast and doing ridiculous stunts. Gifted on the other hand looks to be a sweet story that people can actually feel something. It revolves around 7 year old Mary, who on the first day of school shows a genius level mind when it comes to math. Her uncle Frank has been caring for her since she was 6 months old after her mothers death and doesn’t want Mary to have anything more than a normal upbringing and childhood. Mary’s grandmother has other plans when she learns of Mary’s gift and fights Frank for custody of the child, and to also force her into a life of mathematics even at her early age. So fast cars vs. a sweet and smart little girl at the center of a custody battle. I would stick with the genius level Mary.
Why Not To Watch: You Want Fast Cars!!!! And Explosions!!!! And Dwayne Johnson Saying Something Cool!!!! And Jason Statham Saying Something Badass Back At Him!!!!!

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Sports: NHL and NBA Playoffs

Why To Watch: The regular seasons are over with and it’s time for the big boys to make their money. On the hardwood, we have the Warriors trying to take back what should have been theirs last year, and the Cavs trying to repeat. Standing in the way are 14 other teams, with the Spurs and Rockets threats in the West, and the Celtics and Raptors beasts in the East. One thing to remember about Lebron’s Cavs is that every time his team has been a number 2 seed, they’ve reached the NBA Finals. So don’t count on the Cavs recent struggles to take them down.
In the NHL, usual suspects are betting threats to take home Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Blackhawks, Penguins, Capitals, and Ducks hope to return to the finals. Strong teams like the Blue Jackets, Wild, Predators, and Rangers (LGR!), look to crash the party. I will say this, nothing beats when a team wins the Cup and skates around the ice, holding it above their heads with every last bit of strength they have after such a grueling and long regular season and playoffs.
Why Not To Watch: Let’s face it, your going to watch at least one of these games this weekend. You won’t be able to go to a restaurant without seeing a game on. And they’ll be waiting for you after you mow the yard and want to kick back and drink a cold one.

That about sums up the Media Weekend Forecast. Last weekend I hope you enjoyed the start of Spring viewings that have been offered, and I feel that this weekend is even better. So get the popcorn ready, ice down that six pack of PBR, and claim your spot on the couch. Until next week, I’m your Mediaologist Brad Morris.


The Entertation Index: April 9-14

The Entertation Index: April 9-14

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Each week KSR’s Funkhouser features the best of pop culture. The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.


Apple Park — Tech giant Apple plans to start moving employees into its new “Apple Park” in Cupertino this week, which has remained somewhat mysterious until this Minecraft expert got a hold of some footage and rebuilt the facility in the program. It’s pretty impressive, and should be noted that while the developer has put 413 hours of work into the project, he’s still put zero hours into having a girlfriend.
Link: As We Wait for Apple to Finish the Real Thing, Here’s a Minecraft Video of Apple Park

Bathing Suit, Bring Your — Don’t look now, but Holland just upped the ante for American bottom-feeding with a new reality show entitled “Bring Your Bathing Suit,” which sees Dutch semi-celebrities trying to guess whether displayed women contestants have real or fake breasts, and which are pregnant with child or simply slightly overweight. The program is expected to test through the roofs with the coveted “awful people” demographic.
Link: Dutch TV Channel Makes Game Out of Asking Women if They’re “Fat or Pregnant.”

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Ludacris — Rapper Ludacris baited critics this week with his new video for the tune “Vitamin D,” which features the hip-hopper sporting ridiculous CGI abs. Much has been made, with no true conclusion, but The Verge maintains this is sort of Ludacris’ thing, and he knows exactly what he’s doing. Thoughts?
Link: Ludacris’ CGI Abs are a Joke the Rapper Has Been Making for Over a Decade

 Pratt, Spencer — Ex-The Hills stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt announced to the press that they’re expecting their first child, due sometime this fall. “I was going to wait and surprise him,” said Montag, “but I knew when he saw the locust plague and the rivers turning to blood he’d know right away.”
Link: Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag Expecting Their First Baby 

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Murphy, Charlie — Reliable Chappelle’s Show player Charlie Murphy succumbed to leukemia earlier this week, prompting tributes to him from news outlets and celebrities far and near — including former boss and friend Dave Chappelle, who joined singer John Mayer (who also once appeared on Chappelle’s program) to talk about the actor.
Link: Dave Chappelle and John Mayer Pay Tribute to Charlie Murphy

O’Reilly, Bill — Fox News Anchor Bill O’Reilly, who just happens to be facing many allegations of sexual harassment, told viewers this week that he’d be taking some time off for a “pre-planned vacation” for some “R&R.” He added, “It’s so nice of my employer to be sending me away on what promises to be a great holiday, and though I don’t know where I’m going yet, they told me to pack a warm coat. Also, I don’t know when my plane ticket back is. They haven’t sent me that yet, weirdly.”
Link: Bill O’Reilly Announces He’s Taking a Vacation Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal

Perry, Katy — Grammy-nominated singer Katy Perry, featured in this month’s Vogue magazine, openly discusses her conservative Christian upbringing, her family and her thoughts on the past election. Perry also states she “came out of the womb asking questions,” understandably the first being OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS THING I JUST CAME OUT OF.
Link: Katy Perry Says She Came Out of the Womb Asking Questions


13 REASONS WHY

The Thirteen Things I’ll Remember From 13 Reasons Why

*Spoilers ahead!*

The novel 13 Reasons Why will always have a special place in my heart.  It is the only book that I can consistently get teenagers to read. I was worried that when Netflix paired with Selena Gomez to make a series based off of the novel by Jay Asher, that it would have an afternoon-special-kind-of-feel.  Luckily, the adaptation wasn’t cheesy.  If anything, it was way too real.  From the book, I will always remember the awkward hot tub scene and my eternal hatred for Bryce Walker. The Netflix series will be just as memorable, but for 13 different reasons.  

Reason #1: It’s Darker Than The Book

Q: What’s darker than a book about teen suicide.  A: A Netflix series about teen suicide.  The movie takes what is already a tangled plot and makes it even more convoluted and dark.  Now, there is a lawsuit, gun violence and more graphic scenes of sexual abuse.  13 Reasons Why, the series, will automatically conjure up a bigger sense of sadness than the book ever did.  

Reason #2: Jeff Atkins Deserved Better

tmg-article_default_mobileI feel strongly about a lot of things in 13 Reasons Why, but the one that I feel the most strongly about is that Jeff Atkins Deserved Better.  Jeff’s role is more prominent in the series. He helps Clay find the confidence to talk to Hannah.  He is the only person that seems to standup to peer pressure and he has goals! Jeff planned on taking his baseball talents and two big earrings to college.  His death had me shook. I literally yelled, “Not Hot Jeff” when it was revealed. Jeff Atkins deserved better, but 13 Reasons reminds us that it is not about what you deserve, it is all about what you are dealt.

Reason #3: The Music

When TV shows deem songs “good” they are usually garbage. “The Night We Met” is the exception that proves the rule. Lord Huron’s ballad will always take me back to the blue-lit gym when Clay and Hannah dance for the first time.  The song is haunting.  It has the perfect rhythm for a slow dance.  The odd cadence of the lyrics when he sings, “I’ve had all and then most of you/Some and now none of you” fits Clay’s situation perfectly. The breakup song will help heartbroken teens heal for years to come.

Reason #4: THOSE BANDAIDS

13-reasons-why-trailer-2017-billoard-1548_0The only way to differentiate between flashbacks and the present is by using Clay’s ever-changing bandages as a guidepost.  At one point, I feared that his sore would ooze like the egg in the Geico commercials.  Between Clay’s wounds and Hannah’s haircut, the audience had many identifiers to help them navigate the plot.   

 

 

Reason #5: WHO LET SHERRI IN? (And other inconsistencies with the novel)

In the book, Sherri is actually named Jenny.  For some reason, this change bothers me more than any of the other inconsistencies.    At some point during the beginning of the series, I just quit comparing the book to the series.  It is its own entity. There were just some things that bothered me more than others. Tyler’s secret weapons stash and the new FML motto were a few of the other changes that were hard to stomach, but renaming Jenny was the most baffling.

Reason #6: Skye looks 30

She’s a 25 year old playing a high school student. Skye is played by Sosie Bacon, the daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.  It’s weird. Having twenty year olds play high schoolers isn’t anything new, but Skye’s maturity just seems egregious.  

Reason #7. Stay Golden Tony-boy

tony ponyTony is everywhere.  He’s beating people up under bridges.  He’s stopping by Clay’s for breakfast.  He is at Hannah’s parent’s store. He is  a stage five clinger and it’s annoying. I will always remember Tony, looking like an Outsider and fear that he is watching me outside my window right now. 

 

Reason #8. Kate Walsh’s Tears

In case you didn’t know Kate Walsh is the GOAT at crying.  Her eyes spent most of the series lined with red, watery smudges.  Walsh has also mastered the art of sitting and looking sad.  Her training as Dr. Addison Montgomery was exactly what she needed to play the weepy, determined mother of Hannah Baker.

Reason #9: The New Clay Jensen  

In the novel, Clay is too good.  He is characterized as being the guy that always does the right thing.  The series makes an intentional choice to have Clay screw up.  Clay loses all of his innocence when he turns on Tyler Down. Also, Clay becomes more assertive when he tapes Bryce’s confession.  There is even more of a change from Clay in the beginning of the book to the end.  The Netflix Clay seems more believable and real than the paperback version of Clay. 

Reason #10: Nail Polish

Blue nail polish will always remind me of Hannah Baker and everything she went through.

Reason #11: This Was A Binging Marathon

Binging a series is meant to be like  a light snack. There is nothing light and snackable about 13 Reasons Why.  The content is heavy and the story is expanded.  At times, it was frustrating to watch Clay floundering about trying to understand what Hannah was going through when he literally had the answers waiting on him in her tapes.  Netflix tends to let its creators expand and elaborate, therefore the finished product wasn’t a small bite-sized piece of pop culture to digest.

Reason #12:  Hannah’s Bathtub scene

The series made the choice to change the way Hannah kills herself.  In the book she “took a bunch of pills.”  In the series, viewers actually see her cut herself with a razor taken from her father’s store.  The scene is brutal.  It made my heart ache for all of the people who struggle with self harm.  I’m embarrassed to say how ignorant I was of how violent this act of self-harm is.  13 Reasons gave me a visual that will help me understand the impulses people who self harm have.

Reason #13:  2nd season?

Even though the first season was so long, there are still a few stories that need closure.  I look forward to finding out if Bryce goes to jail for his crimes.  I want Tyler to get help.  I want to know why Justin has to have Vodka to travel.  I want Alex to be ok.  Usually, I am a big proponent of stories with defined endings, but this might be the exception that proves the rule.   Hopefully, in the future, I’ll have 13 more reasons to remember from season two of this memorable show. 


Funkhouser Presents the Kentucky Deadcast: Season Eight Finale

Welcome to the season finale of the Kentucky Deadcast. For all the ups and downs the first half of the season had, the back half fixed most of the problems. When building up to an explosive season 8, this season ended on a high note. The Battle for Alexandria was the first of many conflicts to come. In this episode of the Deadcast, Brad and Josh discuss what has happened and what is to come. Topics include:
– Sasha’s decision to end her own life
– Negan’s reaction to Shiva
-The Scavenger’s turncoat motives
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Part ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, Part Art Film:  ‘Legion’ Raises the Stakes for Comic-to-TV Shows

Part ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, Part Art Film: ‘Legion’ Raises the Stakes for Comic-to-TV Shows

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Simply labeling Legion as merely another comicbook turned television program would not only be oversimplifying the series, but also doing it a great disservice.  Yet it’s that very same misnomer that served as the underlying reason I had out-and-out forsaken the show—until now.

When the series premiered on FX in February, admittedly I was apprehensive about binging on yet another comic-to-tv show only to be disappointed.  Honestly, too many superhero shows are unwatchable and downright daft.  Therefore, Legion was temporarily shelved to “fritter and waste the hours in another off-hand way.”  I’m not a comic wonk, so I knew little to nothing about the character, but it was obvious that the show had connections to the Marvel multiverse—as evidenced by the not-so-subtle addition of the X-Men “Ⓧ” within the title.  Despite the malaise of skepticism, I finally watched the series last week.  Within the first moments, it was abundantly clear that Legion had less in common with its superhero series contemporaries and more so with Pink Floyd’s progressive-rock album The Dark Side of the Moon and the surreal drama Twin Peaks.

Legion wastes no time introducing us to our charming, but troubled protagonist David Haller, played by Dan Stevens.  Through a series of layered flashbacks, viewers witness firsthand David’s earliest memories, including the moment he began hearing the voices inside his head.  Eventually David—diagnosed with what is believed to be dissociative identity disorder—is hospitalized in a psychiatric facility where he is visited by his sister.  After a bizarre encounter with an ethereal young woman suffering from haphephobia, David learns that he may not be schizophrenic after all, but rather a mutant with powerful and uncanny psychic abilities such as telekinesis and telepathy—like his father, Charles Xavier, aka Professor X.  Now wait, is that true?  Unfortunately, David (among others) proves to be an unreliable narrator throughout the series, making Legion a mind-bending, time-traveling, non-linear, prism-like narrative that will have audiences questioning what’s reality and what’s simply psychosis.

There’s many reasons why Dark Side of the Moon, a nearly 45 year old artifact, remains influential, but for me it comes down to this—it’s a beautifully dreamlike album, that’s open to interpretation.  Its sum is greater than its parts and each time I encounter it, I discover new and subtle, oftentimes previously unheard nuances, that makes it even more enjoyable.  Legion is like that.  They’re both monumental endeavors, conceptual and heady, yet spellbinding.  Taking participants on a dizzying ride, which at times feels like an out-of-body-experience, and just when you believe you’re on to something, an unexpected turn, an abrupt drop, and then—it’s over.  Each explores a new layer in the dawning awareness, the heartbeat, the tolling bells and bellowing sounds of mental illness, featured throughout its characters—possibly multiple inside one—who, just like in the real world, are often scared themselves, and misunderstood, maligned and marginalized by society.  Mental illness, once, and probably still considered taboo, especially on tv, is at the forefront of the show and it’s depicted in a way that’s not only empathetic and genuine, but also relatable—a looking glass into the mind and a reflection of human nature.  Surfacing all the internal conflicts and personal struggles, the incessant an opposing voices clambering for our attention—the anxieties, pleasure, guilt, insecurities, sadness, mania, fears, vulnerabilities and doubts—we all experience to some degree.  To whom should we/do we listen to?  So, is David/Legion an all-powerful mutant, one who can use multiple personalities to warp reality as we know it?  Or simply a guy who’s suffering some form of mental illness and in need of his medication? Perhaps they’re one in the same.  Are there actually nefarious and shadowy forces out to get him, or is David’s biggest enemy himself and his own internal demons?  Is any of this even really happening?

Legion is arresting in another way—it’s aesthetically gorgeous: Kubrickian in its cinematography, and calculating and fervent in its attention to detail.  Characters are juxtaposed against environments that reflect their reality, such as: long and empty labyrinthian interiors, or lush and dense forests, confined spaces, or celestial, out-of-this-world ones.  Similarly, settings are often divided somehow, reflecting the schisms mirroring David’s bifurcated mind.  Likewise, the series relies heavily on color theory, using warm colors (red, orange, yellow) to communicate the physiological reactions to anger, fear and impending hostility, and cool colors (blues and greens) evoking more relaxed and safe feelings of human consciousness.  It’s Lynchian and surreal during some of the most mundane moments.

Finally, the series features a stellar cast including Stevens, but also great performances from: Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) as Lenny Busker, Katie Aselton (The League) as Amy Heller, Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) as Oliver Bird, and Rachel Keller (Fargo) as Syd Barrett.  That last name should ring a bell if you’ve been following along.  Writer Noah Hawley is often lauded for turning Fargo, the 1996 Coen brothers classic and brilliant film in its own right, into an award-winning television series.  He’s done the same for Legion, receiving high praise for making David/Legion not only a compelling character and series as a whole, but also one that stands out in a well-established and highly successful Marvel franchise.  Legion is a groundbreaking series.  Yin yang, trippy television at its best, and certainly a difficult act to follow.

If you want to have your mind-blown, after you’ve finished watching Legion in its entirety, do the following:
Start Legion: Chapter 1, without any commercial interruptions.
Mute the sound.
Once the title screen of LEGIⓍN appears, shortly before it fades to black. (Timing is everything)
Begin playing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.
Breathe” should sync up with the rain/voices scene in the early montage, and “Money” later on when David is with his doctor. (Watch his eyes and mannerisms)

Now, I’m not suggesting that any of this actually works, but I’m not going to say that it doesn’t either. You’ll have to experience it for yourself.

Enjoy!

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Legion is rated TV-MA