A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 5: A Very Heavy Metal (and Punk Rock!) Holiday

Aww yeah..bust out yer devil horns, shit's gettin loud for this episode! I couldn't bear to think of playing standard holiday music for you, so I dug deep into my rocker chick past to bring you some tasty licks from my heavy metal and punk rock stacks of wax. Air guitar!

This first track, Fast As A Shark off the Restless and Wild album by Accept has tickled my funny bone since 1986 when I heard it for the first time. See, I'm a big lover of polar opposites and dichotomy, and well, this track has both in spades. And what better way to wake everyone up than with a little needle scratching...and not the kind that goes with Hip Hop.

Ramping up the hilarity, we quickly went into Christmas with the Devil by Spinal Tap. Shown below are both sides of the picture disc which is also hilarious.

Keeping the metal energy high, but with a twist, we went into Symphonic Metal versions of two classic holiday tracks by Orion's Reign. This Greek metal band are new to me, and I highly recommend checking them out! 

Orion's Reign
Now it's time for books...it was difficult to narrow the choices down to just a small selection of favorites. I wouldn't go as far as to call this a gift guide for the metal/punk book lovers on your holiday gift-giving lists, but make of it what you will...

Here are two of my absolute favorite books EVER, and I really mean that. First is And I Don't Want To Live This Life by Deborah Spungen. This is of course the tumultuous true life story of Nancy Spungen, which I blogged about in this post. I said it before, and I'll say it again, even if you only have a casual interest in Sid & Nancy, you will be so taken in by her mother's heart-wrenching account of life with (and without) Nancy. Powerful stuff. 

Then you can lighten the mood with this true telling of life on the road with Alice Cooper in Billion Dollar Baby by Bob Greene. An absolutely fantastic read (and fantastically RARE!), this is truly a special gift for the fellow Alice fiends out there.

 From here we move on to the Punk Rock section of the podcast. Where my Ramones heads at? Got a couple of great ones for you here. Dee Dee Ramone wrote a "novel" called Chelsea Horror Hotel which probably has a lot more truth than fiction in it. Then if you're digging the non-fiction vibe I'm throwin' down you can check out Hey, Ho, Let's Go; The Story of The Ramones by Everett True.

Following that is one of my most favorite rock autobiographies; Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs by John Lydon. It's exactly what you would expect coming from the famed lead singer of the Sex Pistols, but much, much more.

Lastly, if you want a thorough account of the first days of Punk seen through the eyes of rock journalist Legs McNeil, you MUST pick up Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk it will not disappoint. Shown here (from left to right) are the brand new 20th Anniversary edition and the first (UK) edition respectively. Don't be a tosser, grab one and go!

Let's get back to the music now, with a little-known "holiday" track from The White Stripes called Candy Cane Children from 2010 (see last photo). Moving right on with the Triple Track of this episode with Joey Ramone's Spirit In My House, then perhaps a couple of "mainstream" holiday tunes with Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) and The Kink's Father Christmas rounding us out. Both of these tracks are available on an unusual Christmas compilation called Little Steven's Christmas a Go-Go CD.

Two kickass rockumentaries I mentioned are It Might Get Loud and Under Great White Northern Lights on DVD. Both feature Jack White for those White Stripes lovin' friends.

Lastly, I felt Fear's Lee Ving would tie everything up nicely with his one-two punch 45 of Another Christmas Beer and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, proving even crusty ol' Punk Rock dudes can also sing a sweet melody.

I really hope you've enjoyed this off-the-beaten-path Holiday excursion, I had a blast putting it together. Hopefully you heard something "new to you" or just fist-pumped along to an old favorite. Join me on Christmas day proper for episode 6...what ever will it be about? Stay tuned, and thanks so much for listening! 

Book/Film Comparison: Somewhere In Time: Time Travel and Lost Love

Having just immersed myself in both the book and the film Somewhere In Time, I felt it was absolutely necessary to dedicate a post to them both. Incidentally, the original title for the book is Bid Time Return by the masterful Richard Matheson. The was changed for the film to make it more accessible, although I prefer the original (of course, don't I always??). However, I'm happy to report that Matheson also wrote the screenplay, which is why it translates so well to the big screen.

Now this is most definitely not the first time I had heard of, or seen the film. I've no doubt watched it at least a dozen times throughout the previous years. But this is the first time I had read the book, devouring it in a scant two days. At first, I didn't care for the choppy sentences, or the way Richard (our hero and main character) 'spoke'. Perhaps my seeing the film first so many times clouded my judgement there, I'm not sure. And there are several elements I didn't care for in the book, but I won't cloud your opinions with spoilers here.

Two fascinating things happened during this two-day immersion of book and film:

  • It rekindled my lifelong interest in time travel
  • It rekindled my admiration of Christopher Reeve, and what he brought to the role coming immediately off of Superman. 
Time travel has always interested me, and perhaps science will catch up with it someday. They now say that time travel to the future is possible, but not to the past. Hmm... All of our selfish desires aside, going back to the past would indeed be a wondrous, and most likely dangerous feat. One that we mere humans at our current stage of evolution could not begin to handle properly.

Christopher Reeve portrays Richard flawlessly. I found myself conducting a sort of character study of 'Richard', noting the changes he goes through after just the first sight of the photograph of Elise. These changes are subtle, yet significant, and differ slightly from those in the book. The sincerity with which Christopher plays Richard is so genuine, so believable, and very touching. The same can absolutely be said for Jane Seymour, as Elise. No one else could have played her so beautifully, and a lot has to be said for she and Christopher's chemistry--one that would last many years after the film. She has named one of her sons after him.

So for those who are rolling their eyes, scoffing at this 'gushy love story', let me enlighten you to a few things. It was a string of men who believed in this story so much and got it made into film. Everyone who worked on the film did so for less pay than they were accustomed to getting, for sheer love of the project. In fact, the music, which was so essential to the story line, was done by John Barry (Goldfinger, Midnight Cowboy, Dances with Wolves just to name a few) as a favor to Jane, his dear friend. A testament to the power of this 'gushy love story' had over many people.

Obviously, I cannot recommend the book and the film highly enough. Both are expertly executed, and make for great storytelling. The one thing I will say is perhaps to read the book and then see the film, if you have not already seen it. Heart wrenching, beautiful and an interesting idea of time travel and lost love. Don't forget to watch the wonderful documentary on the special features of the DVD. It will help give you a true sense of what it was like to make a film of this nature, in this time period. Just lovely.

Book Review: Less Than Zero & Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Less Than Zero Bret Easton Ellis
 Going in to Less Than Zero, I was not even aware that there was a sequel. But I had of course seen the 1987 film, and was really looking forward to reading the original story. I was not prepared, initially, for the melancholy tone of the book. But at around 100 pages in, I began to relish it. The tone and writing style reminded me of The Bell Jar, along with its easy to read format.

If you've only seen the film Less Than Zero, not much will be spoiled for you plot wise, as it's nothing like the book. Perhaps the overall mood is the same, and the film is beautifully shot. But you're in for an almost completely different story within the book. When I finished it, I wanted to know what happens to Clay after college, and was not left wondering long, having read shortly afterwards that there was indeed a sequel called Imperial Bedrooms. Read on...

Imperial Bedrooms Bret Easton EllisI did not have high hopes for Imperial Bedrooms, as I was left with a rather flat feeling after reading Less Than Zero. I understood what was different about Bret Easton Ellis' writing style, for it to have been so well received in 1985, but I just didn't find it that impressive. So going in to Imperial Bedrooms, I just thought I'll find out what happens to Clay, and it will be a quick read. The book is set (in real time) 25 years after the end of Less Than Zero.

A quick read indeed. I was able to finish it within 24 hours. Quite a feat for me, as I'm a busy lady and tend to be a bit of a slow reader. The first half of the book absolutely flew by, and I inhaled the first 100 pages in nothing flat. 25 years makes a good writer even better, at least one would hope, and this is certainly the case for B.E.E.

The second half of the book did not fare so well for me, I found it tedious and drawn out. The 'murder mystery' plot line running through it had become wearisome. Perhaps this is because Imperial Bedrooms was at first just a short story, later fleshed out to novella length. It shows. But that's just my non-expert opinion. That being said, I enjoyed it more than Less Than Zero, but I seem to be in the minority in that opinion. So read it for yourself and see which camp you're in.

Oh...one more thing...the event which occurs within the last 10 pages or so put me off my food. Perhaps that's just my sensitive nature, but you have been warned.

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 4: Dark Fantasy

Ok, this episode basically wrote itself. All I needed to do was figure out the order, and just how much of the Legend soundtrack I was gonna play. The format once again slightly changes with this episode, but I think it came out fairly well. So let's check out all the goodies within this episode...

Clearly, this needs no intro, I just wanted an excuse to show that gloriously iconic album cover featuring Mr. Tim Curry in full Darkness regalia. Part of me is happy that my copy is warped to shit, meaning I will never be able to sell it because of its current condition. However, you can purchase the vinyl or CD format, or even the film on Streaming or Download or Blu-Ray from these hotlinks provided.

This soundtrack, to me, is perfect. It instills the same feelings I had the very first time I heard it, way back in 1985. Truly magical.

Choosing the books to talk about in this episode was a no-brainer. I knew exactly which ones to choose, and not just because the Fantasy section of my personal library is quite limited. 

First up is honestly my favorite book ever, Are All the Giants Dead? by Mary Norton and illustrated by the infamous Brian Froud. A magical fairy tale about fairy tales for kids and adults alike. 

Next is the ONLY 9-volume series I have ever read, or probably will ever read. This is the Witches of Eileanan series (or Dragonclaw in the UK) by the very prolific Kate Forsyth. The commitment is truly daunting, but worth every.single.minute of your life. Below are the original 6 volumes in the series, followed by the additional 3, an offshoot, called Rhiannon's Ride.

Then I went into my love affair of Neil Gaiman the writer, but more importantly, the man. He has been a source of pure inspiration for me not only as a writer, but as a reader as well.

It was a real pleasure to be able to play a couple of spoken word tracks from An Evening with Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer. If you're a fan of either, I highly recommend picking it up. A double live album full of all kinds of treasures.

Even though I am an ardent fan of Neil's for the person he is, more than for his writings, I especially enjoy his short story collections, of which there are several. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is added because it's probably my favorite novel of Neil's.

HONORABLE MENTION: Unfortunately, I failed to include this little book into Neil's section. It is the written form of his 'Make Good Art' commencement speech given at the University of the Arts Philadelphia 2012 graduating class. 

...and because it is just that good, here's the actual speech from the man himself. It doesn't matter which form of art you work within, his words will put a fire in your belly to get out there and DO IT, whatever IT is.

With that, there's another episode in the can. I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. Please stay tuned for episode 5 due to air on Dec. 11th. Thanks for listening!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 3: Retro Sci-Fi

Let's get spacey! Episode 3 of A Shadowed Path podcast has us rocketing backward....or is that forward...in time for a retro Sci-Fi audio experience. Off we go!

The first and third tracks come from this hilariously awesome album, part dialogue, part music, all awesome. RIP Mr. Spock, surely you've found another planet that is far more logical to inhabit. Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space has just been reissued on vinyl too!

From there I discussed a bit about I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. A few months ago, I posted a more in-depth review of this fantastic book, it's no wonder it's a classic. Fair warning, it's dark, and some might say a bit depressing. But hey, that's life, and it's well worth the read.

Then I talked a little about Harlan Ellison, who is without a doubt one of the most interesting writers of our time. Below is just a bit of my personal collection, but if you want to begin a collection of your own, these titles are available on the website.

Moving on, we went into The Terminator soundtrack, one from the expanded score, and one from the original soundtrack. Good stuff there, both albums are essential.

Since the new Blade Runner just came out, I thought I'd revisit the original and drool over Rutger Hauer a bit. And if you haven't read his autobiography, this is what it looks like and I highly recommend picking it up.

Finishing off the episode, I thought the New American Orchestra's version of Vangelis' Blade Runner theme (ending) was a great way to send us off to the stars. I hope you've enjoyed our little trip into space. Until next time...

New Favorite Podcasts List Part 2

Now that I've been aware of the podcasting world for almost a whole year now (did you read in part 1 that I'm sometimes late to the party?) I thought I should write a part 2 list of some of the podcasts I've been regularly listening to, and a few I've just found.

Speaking of just being found, it puzzles and saddens me that these podcasts should be so difficult to find in the first place. I guess that's because there are so damn many of them, you gotta wade through the high seas of mediocrity to find the good stuff. And I feel podcasters shouldn't have to rely on 5 star reviews just to be found. But I digress...

Here now is the continuing (and always changing) list of podcasts I'm listening to and enjoying. Hopefully you will find a few that you will enjoy as well...

Shockwaves is the podcast for Blumhouse Productions which I'm sure I don't need to explain. And even though I'm not normally a fan of a multiple host 'cast where everyone winds up talking at the same time, or over each other, but everyone is knowledgeable and have very similar tastes to mine, so I can overlook that. Rob G in particular, who also co-hosts Two Dudes Talking with Tony Giles of The Damn Fine Network, knows a lot about a lot and he has great insight into plot lines and such.

Mysterious Radio is another interesting paranormal podcast, K-Town is a great host and she has very interesting guests on talking about all things strange and unusual. The push to get new subscribers is a bit tedious, but I fully understand why they need to do it.

Wondery has a great collection of podcasts, Inside Psycho and Inside The Exorcist are two of them. Fascinating behind-the-scenes info and details of the authors from story inception through completion and beyond. Great stuff.

Just recently, I found a couple of fantastic Goth podcasts. I was surprised to find so many of them. These were found through Stitcher, but are available on iTunes, Google Play and the like as well. The Requiem hits every major goth/light industrial vein straight to my heart, Looking forward to catching up on all the previous episodes!

GothCast is another all-talk podcast I just stumbled upon. Here again, knowledge is king, and I find myself agreeing with most everything discussed. I like the no BS format, and the guys are extremely knowledgeable for someone (seemingly) so young. Give 'em a listen!

Keep checking back for updates to this podcast list, I'm always searching for new ones, and unearthing older ones. Stay tuned!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 2: Halloween Hootenanny

The veil is getting quite thin now kiddies, our beloved Halloween is almost upon us and so is the latest episode of my new podcast A Shadowed Path. This episode of course had to reflect the holiday, as well as give you tasty treats to savor. Listen here:

Starting us off was another track from the excellent Halloween Hootenanny compilation album, a spoken word piece from none other than John Zacherley, horror host extraordinaire. Another track completes the episode in a gloriously ghoulish fashion. Hunt down the album on CD or the rarer vinyl edition, and you'll be happy you did.

I couldn't call myself a Halloween aficionado without playing John Carpenter's theme from Halloween, but with a twist.. This EP is called Zombie Zombie Plays John Carpenter and features remixes of several JC tracks, guaranteed to get yer booty shakin...

Then came a little bit of Halloween silliness from 2005 called "Do They Know It's Halloween?" an obvious jab at a similarly named holiday track from the 80's--which I actually have a huge soft spot for, so shut up. A rare-ish find on vinyl, and features multiple versions according to taste.

Next began the Written Word segment, featuring the trailer from 1976's The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. I have loved this movie for years, as twisted as that might be. And the original novel the movie is based on is a super treat as well. Tea, anyone?

Then I talked about the surprisingly great Sleepy Hollow novelization, and (poorly) read aloud a spooky poem from the darling Poems Bewitched & Haunted book you see on the end there.

Now we really start heading to the Darkside with this classic theme kicking off The Spoken Word segment, where I mention my three favorite Tales from the Darkside Halloween-themed episodes...

...and of course the outro, which is just as delightfully scary...

Moving on to my FAVORITE clip of the episode, taken from 1979's When A Stranger Calls, proving that films watched as a child can STILL scare the crap out of you.

If the film doesn't scare you enough, maybe the soundtrack will...

Alrighty, enough scary stuff. Lightening things up with a little classic Rocky Horror...

Ok, ok...I know you wanna see the clip too..

Then I snuck in a couple of sweet treats...another favorite from Tim Curry, but perhaps not as well known, Paradise Garage keeps the gritty grind going.

Next up, another tasty treat from Count Indigo off the Harpsichord 2000 double 10"....meow...

And finally, The Final word segment, where I like to give my shout-outs and thank you's. Once again I must thank Tony Giles of The Damn Fine Network for giving me the opportunity to join the podcasting world, and for producing my podcast like a pro. Help us out by becoming a Patreon subscriber so we can continue to bring you all the cool things.

My long-time, long-distance pal Joe Wallace must be honored for his invaluable assistance at taming the Audacity beast. We definitely get by with a little help from our friends. Vinyl junkies will want to check out his brand new, bitchin website A Store Called Death.

I hope you've enjoyed this visual representation of the podcast, and will join me on Nov. 13th (barring any unforeseen delays) for episode 3! You can listen to the podcast via the website, or through your favorite podcast listening app. Also available on iTunes, Stitcher, GooglePlay, etc. by just searching the title or better yet subscribe to The Damn Fine Network so you never miss an episode. Stay tuned...

New from LaCreeperie - A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode #1: Witchy Women

It gives me great pleasure to write this post, announcing the debut of my own little podcast, A Shadowed Path. The podcast will run bi-weekly on Mondays via the Damn Fine Network of podcasts. Listen here: 

This post is meant to be a visual representation of all the things I talk about in the episode, so if there's something that interests you, you'll know what to look for.

We begin the episode with the title cut from the Vincent Price spoken word album Witchcraft & Magic. I couldn't think of a more fitting way to introduce this episode entitled "Witchy Women". Pictured below is the vinyl format of the album.

After the intro, we went into a little Siouxsie, and I would be remiss if I did not show the great video for the song, "Face To Face" from the Batman Returns soundtrack.

Next up, we heard my favorite track off the Nightmare On Elm Street 4 soundtrack, "Therapist" by Vigil. 

Following that was the first segment, "The Written Word" where I discuss favorite books and authors. This episode featured Shirley Jackson, Angela Carter and Silver Ravenwolf. Clicking on the names will take you to the website, and any titles I currently have available by said authors.

Grooving on, we heard "Ribcage Mambo" by Frenchy, off the Halloween Hootenanny compilation from 1998. All killer, no filler.

The next segment, entitled "The Spoken Word" featured a jazzy trifecta of witchy tunes from the Mad Monster Party, and Bell, Book & Candle soundtracks, and the theme song from Bewitched sung by Steve Lawrence (cuz I'm cheesy like that). Don't judge me monkey...

(I realize this clip is out of order, apologies!) The intro to "The Spoken Word" was a clip from the fantastic 1990 film The Witches, adapted of course from Roald Dahl's beloved book.

What is this, a freak-out?! I indulged myself by assaulting your ears with the trailer from 1976's 
"The Witch Who Came from the Sea." It makes me belly laugh every damn time...

Moving on to the final segment, entitled "The Final Word" This is where I like to give shout-outs, thank you's and offer info I deem worthy to bring awareness to.

Dark Town Sally is one of my favorite artists, she creates (among other things) dreamlike witches, each in their own little Halloween world. Truly beautiful. Unfortunately, she and her family (and countless others) have been affected by the devastating hurricane Maria. Give her a follow on Instagram to enjoy her lovely artwork, and there should be links available there for appropriate organizations in need of donations directly aiding Puerto Rico.

Dark Town Sally Webshop

Podcast Master Mr. Tony Giles is entirely responsible for A Shadowed Path podcast. His network is, in my opinion, of a very high caliber so I had my work cut out for me. Every show is a winner, and I hope to live up to the quality of his other shows. The chance to bring books, music and art into this medium has been a secret desire of mine, and I'm very grateful for this opportunity. I hope you'll stick with me, I promise I'll get better!

The Damn Fine Network has a Patreon campaign, and would welcome new patrons to help keep the DFN on the air, and expanding content.

The Damn Fine Network Podcast

My Final, Final Word of the episode is a message I want to shout from the rooftops: BE YOURSELF. IT'S OK TO BE DIFFERENT. And I could not say it any better than Mama Cass does in the 1970 film Pufnstuf, as you see below. I encourage you to pay close attention to the lyrics, and hear how relevant the words are today, nearly 50 years later. The whole soundtrack is wonderful!

P.S. I hope you'll join me on October 30th for episode 2 of A Shadowed Path. If you have any questions or topic suggestions, feel free to contact me on Instagram, or the Contact tab on this blog or via the website.