Friday, December 31, 2021

THE YEAR IN REVIEW: My Best Bits of 2021

THE YEAR IN REVIEW
My Best Bits of 2021
___________

Before the ol' ball drops
tonight, I wanted to take
a minute to reflect on the
wacky ride that was 2021.
___________

Despite being a rather quiet season here on the "Show Biz Guru," 2021 was a banner year in terms of the content I created and contributed to other entertainment news outlets.

I spent a good bit of time traveling this past year. My experiences criss-crossing the country covering various dates on the recent Harry Styles "Love on Tour" concert excursion were some of the most memorable.

In addition to forging ahead on my current book project, entitled GRACISM, I managed to also read a lot over the last 12 months. Newly-released titles from Jesse Watters and Tucker Carlson ranked among my favorites. 

Down at the local cineplex, I took in an array of silver screen snoozers. However, I gotta say that Lady Gaga was absolutely amazing in House of Gucci — a true Tinseltown treasure, to be sure.

While I remained focused for much of the year on my long-running v13.net "Retro Album Review" series, I did discover several wonderful new titles, including releases from rock icon Paul Stanley and pop newcomer Ashley Suppa.

But more importantly, it was a year in which I met many fascinating people. And from conversations with a host of impressive big names to a slew of relative unknowns, I enjoyed numerous interview ops. Conversely, my craziest encounter occurred in July when I covered a four-day political event in Tampa, Florida for ink19.com and Republican Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert refused to have a media photo taken with me, or even engage with me  period. Really, dude? I'm on YOUR "team."  Freaking hilarious!

That all said, I hope you'll dig this little "highlight reel" of my best writing bits of 2021.

JANUARY
Retro Album Review
(v13.net)
Peter Frampton
Frampton Comes Alive
Read it HERE
__________

FEBRUARY
Interview
(v13.net)
Plush drummer
Brooke Colucci
Read it HERE
__________

MARCH
Retro Album Review
(v13.net)
KISS
Destroyer
Read it HERE
__________

APRIL
Album Review
(v13.net)
Paul Stanley's Soul Station
Now and Then
Read it HERE
__________

MAY
Album Review
(ink19.com)
Able Machines
Pathological
Read it HERE
__________

JUNE
Retro Album Review
(v13.net)
Madonna
True Blue
Read it HERE
__________

JULY
Interview
(v13.net)
Jesse Watters
Read it HERE
__________

AUGUST
Interview
(v13.net)
Jimmy Failla
Read it HERE
__________

SEPTEMBER
Feature
(The Show Biz Guru)
South Carolina musician
Cat Strickland
Read it HERE
__________

OCTOBER
Concert Review
(v13.net)
Harry Styles
October 7th - 10th
Read it HERE
__________

NOVEMBER
Interview
(v13.net)
Plush guitarist
Bella Perron
Read it HERE
__________

DECEMBER
Feature
(ink19.com)
Jenny Lewis
Read it HERE

Interview
(v13.net)
Kat Timpf
Read it HERE

Thanks for stopping by this year. I hope you all had an excellent 2021, and will endeavor to make 2022 even greater. That's certainly my game plan, anyway. Please feel free to offer your own personal year-end highlights in the "Comment" section below.

-Christopher Long
(December 2021)


- A SHOT OF POISON -
"10th Anniversary Edition"
(2020)
__________

- SUPERSTAR -
__________

- SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

- C'MON! -
(2012)

Thursday, December 30, 2021

TOP 20 TRACKS OF 2021 (Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long)


TOP 20
TRACKS
OF 2021
Guest Feature by
Jesse Tanner Long
__________

Yeah…
“Smokin Out the Window”
was fire and all but…
__________

20
WEAKENED FRIENDS
"25th"
__________

19
HALSEY
"I am not a woman, I’m a god"
__________

18
CHASE ATLANTIC
"BEAUTY IN DEATH"
__________

17
NOTHING BUT THIEVES
"Miracle, Baby"
__________

16
LIMP BIZKIT
"Dad Vibes"
__________

15
TYLER, THE CREATOR
"LUMBERJACK"
__________

14
EIDOLA
"Elephant Bones"
__________

13
BILMURI
(feat. OBLYVN)
"KEEPINITBEEFY"
__________

12
OWANE
"Falling In Love"
__________

11
AESOP ROCK
"Long Legged Larry"
__________

10
SLEEP TOKEN
"Mine"
__________

9
HAIL THE SUN
"Domino"
__________

8
ELITIST
"Ctrl Alt Del"
__________

7
GOLD NECKLACE
"Just the Right Way"
_________

6
SPIRITBOX
"Secret Garden"
___________

5
SCARLXRD
"Serxtxnin"
___________

4
TURNSTILE
"HOLIDAY"
__________

3
IDLES
"The Beachland Ballroom"
__________

2
DON BROCO
"One True Prince"
___________

1
ISAAC DUNBAR
 "pink party"

-Jesse Tanner Long
(December 2021)
@freezerp

__________

BE MY "GUEST"
Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my site is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Chris
(AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com) 
__________


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

THE LUCKY THIRTEEN PEOPLE I WANT TO HAVE COFFEE WITH (2021 Pumpkin Spice Edition)

THE LUCKY THIRTEEN
PEOPLE I WANT TO
HAVE COFFEE WITH
2021 Pumpkin Spice Edition
___________

When I created my first
coffee chat post a few
years ago, I had no idea it
would become such a fun
and frequent feature.
___________

From world-famous rock stars to nationally-known political candidates to hardly-known hometown peeps, I connect constantly with people from all walks of life. Even when I'm chillin' "off the clock," my casual, random encounters with people often turn into impromptu interviews — it's just how I do.

Truth be told, everybody has a story. And as I've discovered, one of the best scenarios for a quality conversation is over a cup of coffee at a cozy java joint. And I'm always thinking about which folks I'd love to chat with most. Fun fact, I've actually wound up interviewing many of my bucket listers who have appeared on various installments of this series. Which is pretty cool.

So, who are the most fascinating people on my radar this season? Let's dive into my "Pumpkin Spice" edition and find out.

13

Recently, I had the pleasure
of meeting Uncancellable
podcast host, Christian Walker
— truly an impressive young
man. As long as the barista
doesn't mess up his order, a 
coffee chat with Christian
would likely be a totally fab
experience.
__________

12

I've never had a political figure
deny my request for a media op.
Okay, there was one. To say that
Colorado congresswoman Lauren
Boebert was less than enthusiastic
about engaging with me would be
an understatement, Truth be told,
the feisty fox instantly became a
frightened fawn (in the headlights)
when I flashed my credentials and
approached her in the designated
press area at a recent political event.
Adding (her) insult to (my) injury,
Boebert was the one attendee at
the event who I was most looking
forward to meeting. Wah-Wah!
Oh well, if we ever do connect
for a coffee, hopefully she'll see
how I'm only half as creepy as
she first feared.
__________

11

If we connect a few years from
now, Charlie won't be the first
U.S. president I've met.
__________

10

She's produced some of the most
amazing R&B records in the biz
over the years. And her 2013 CD,
A Mary Christmas remains one
of the finest holiday releases 
EVER. Plus, she's still so dang
fine, it would be tough for me
to meet her face to face. But I
would do my very best to fake it.
'Sup, Momma?
__________

9

C'mon now. Who wouldn't want
to have coffee with FOX News
poster boy, Tucker Carlson? But
after reading his latest bestseller,
The Long Slide, politics would be
the last thing we'd talk about. I'd
much rather discuss journalism,
creative writing and publishing.
__________

8

Despite our 73-year age gap,
Alexandra is a tremendous
source of personal inspiration.
Unlike so many other current
20-something conserv-o-queens,
primped and perched upon
their pristine social platforms,
Alexandra is completely hard-
core, 24/7. The way I see it,
if she's capable of creating
crushing conservative content
while crunching on a bowl of
cereal during a Instagram live
stream (which I've seen her do),
then she'd definitely knock my
socks off during a casual coffee
conversation.
__________

7

Everywhere I go, promoting my
sizzling Christian fiction debut,
Superstar, people prophesy how
the book WILL be a movie. And
who am I to challenge prophesy?
Superstar is a totally authentic
story — a salacious account of
backstage debauchery, greed,
egos, power plays and revenge.
Then Jesus shows up and things
really get wacky. So, just as
soon as award-winning actor and
celebrated Christian movie mogul
David A.R. White finally lifts that
restraining order, we can meet up
for coffee and begin discussing
casting. I'd suggest Harry Styles
in the lead role as country music
sensation, Trent Davis.
__________

6

Last summer, I had the pleasure
of hearing Tomi speak at a four-
day conservative youth conference.
She was the mightiest speaker of
the entire event. So, what will we
talk about at the coffeehouse?
Anything she wants.
__________

5

Simply put, Ben is my kinda guy.
And I've been enjoying his latest
Which is why we need to connect.
— so he can explain all of the big
words to me.
__________

4

On the surface, she certainly
seems innocent. However,
first impressions often can
be deceiving. And after a
deep dive into her music, it
becomes clear that singer and
songwriter Jenny Lewis oozes
so much mystique, I'd need to
bring a snorkel to our coffee
date. But what would we talk
about? Two things — a puppy
and a truck! Then we'd go for
a joyride in my red convertible.
__________

3

Joe's been on the stand-up comedy
scene for some time now. However, 
he achieved even wider notoriety
in 2021 as a frequent guest on the
#1 top-rated late night FOX show,
Gutfeld! I'd love to hang out with
the guy primarily because the dude
 slays me — and he's one of the
very few guys who's geekier than
me. And that's pretty freakin' geeky.
_________

2

My interest in having coffee with
Ashley has little to do with her
band PLUSH being rock's hottest
new act. Nor is it based on her
being a badass bassist, or that
she claims Wings among her top
musical inspirations. It's because
she's cool enough to rock stripes
and sunflowers — simultaneously.
So, if I'm lucky, maybe our coffee
chat might lead to a fun girl's day
out thrift store shopping excursion.
Hey, Ash — I'll race ya to the
Good Will store!
__________

1

To be completely honest, I find
Lois to be a fascinating, vibrant
woman who remains in the prime
of her life. And I suspect that her
marriage to Peter might be in
serious trouble. As a result, I'll
happily be there to help her pick
up the pieces of her shattered
life. A coffee shop rendezvous
will be a great place to start.
__________

There ya go. I hope you had fun with my latest caffeine-crazed commentary. So, who's on your brew-based bucket list? Feel free to post your personal thoughts in the "Comment" section below.

-Christopher Long
(October 2021)

__________

DIG MY ENTIRE
COFFEE CHAT SERIES
__________



- A SHOT OF POISON -
"10th Anniversary Edition"
(2020)
__________

- SUPERSTAR -
__________

- SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

- C'MON! -
(2012)

Monday, September 6, 2021

CAT STRICKLAND: Ethereal Singer/Songwriter Strikes Magical Chord with South Carolina Music Fans

CAT STRICKLAND
Ethereal Singer/Songwriter
Strikes Magical Chord with
South Carolina Music Fans
__________

Clearly, I no longer was
"in Kansas." There were
discus-sized fried green
tomatoes, fluffy waffles
(an inch thick) and Nilla-
crusted chicken breasts.
But as I discovered, at
Mount Pleasant's world-
famous Page's Okra Grill,
Sunday brunch is about
more than the menu. It's
about a total experience.
___________

By 10am it already was pushing 90° and the line of perspiring, hungry patrons waiting outside to be seated was hopelessly long. The plan was that my posse would have rolled up at Page's much earlier. I'd traveled to South Carolina from Florida to DJ a private event the day before. But the after-party ran well into the night, so we'd gotten a later start than expected that next morning.

All considering, the wait wasn't terribly long — maybe 20 minutes. Initially, we had no preference. The first available table was fine — inside or outside. It didn't matter. I just needed to destroy one of those fluffy waffles — ASAP. As luck would have it, we wound up outdoors.

As our hostess took us from the waiting area and down the sidewalk leading around back to the breezy dining patio, I couldn't help but notice that there were happy puppies everywhere — lounging in the sunshine, tethered to tables and generally chillaxin' at nearly all points in between. The lovable lab and the perky poodle were my two faves. As we approached the patio, I also noticed the distinctive, groovy music playing — probably a random Sunday morning playlist. Siri, play happy, breezy, sunny, fluffy waffle songs for people and puppies!

But the joke was on me. The music wasn't a Siri studio playlist. It was live. As I came around the corner, there she was — an airbrushed princess with a "gently loved" acoustic guitar in-hand. Sporting neon green hair and possessing a gypsy chic fashion sense, she could have been the angelic love child of the Gold Dust Woman and Ziggy Stardust — singing and playing "Superstar" (of course) — the iconic 1969 Bonnie Bramlett / Leon Russell collab recreated most famously by The Carpenters in 1971. What? The Carpenters? Really? In 2021? Hey NASA, I think I just discovered an alien!

Cat Strickland performing at Page's Okra Grill

While my peeps settled in at our table and began perusing menu options, I made a beeline to the little makeshift stage area. "Lil' Ms. Gold Dust" had just segued into a soulful acoustic rendition of a Pretenders number and I embraced two objectives; 1) Confirm that this being was an actual human life form. 2) Stuff a wad of cash into her massive shiny tip bucket. As it turned out, she was in fact a human — and a darn sweet one at that. She allowed me to get a photo with her, then I promised to go away, eat my fluffy waffle and not pester her any further.

As her magical hit parade ensued, I became more and more captivated (along with everyone else who was within earshot), as she not only was engaging, and her voice was honest and pure, but her set list was an eclectic collection of cozies that included golden old timey classics from Foo Fighters, Weezer and The Cranberries plus SUPER old timey tunes from The BeatlesLed Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and a slew of others. 

Then it got wacky. On her break, she came up to our table and struck up a legit conversation — a rather brave and bold move in today's less than intimate iUniverse — particularly impressive given her immediate confession that she was only 20. Also, come to find out, her name really wasn't "Lil' Ms. Gold Dust," as she introduced herself to us (with physical handshakes) as Cat Strickland, a local Charleston area singer / songwriter who was putting herself through college by playing live music.

A genuinely likable and unassuming gal, Cat confessed that her parents had a big influence on her music interests, turning her on at an early age to "old" music by the likes of Steely Dan. She further revealed that her folks were less fond of her personal "weird '80s goth" faves such as Cocteau Twins. She also counts Stevie Nicks among her biggest musical inspirations. Ah-ha! I knew it!

Simply put, Cat Strickland is a true treasure. And if she isn't the hardest-working musician on the South Carolina scene, she's gotta come darn close to earning that distinction. She seemingly plays everywhere in and around Charleston and she's well-worth seeing and hearing for yourself. And if you catch her at Pages, you gotta try the fluffy waffles!

-Christopher Long
(September 2021)
__________

CAT STRICKLAND
SOCIALS
__________




- A SHOT OF POISON -
"10th Anniversary Edition"
(2020)
__________

- SUPERSTAR -
__________

- SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

- C'MON! -
(2012)