Tuesday, December 31, 2019

MY TOP 20 FAVORITE FILMS 2000-2019 (Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long)

MY TOP 20 FAVORITE
FILMS 2000-2019
Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long
__________

Colorado-based ice cream chemist
and all 'round pop culture aficionado,
Jesse Tanner Long is a "frequent flyer"
here at the "Show Biz Guru." He's
always got something groovy to share,
so he's getting in the last word this
year with the final post of 2019. 
__________

My love for film first began more than two
decades ago when I was just four years old.
And here, I've chosen my personal “favorite”
film from each year so far since Y2K.
Keep in mind, I am not saying these are
the “best” — well, some of them are, but…

2000
__________

2001
__________

2002
__________

2003
__________

2004
__________

2005
__________

2006
___________

2007
__________

2008
__________

2009
__________

2010
__________

2011
___________

2012
__________

2013
___________

2014
__________

2015
___________

2016
__________

2017
__________

2018
__________

2019

Thanks for checking out my latest list.
So, what are some of your favorite films?
Feel free to leave comments, below.

 -Jesse Tanner Long
(December 2019)

__________

CONTACT JESSE TANNER LONG
Twitter and Instagram @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 website 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

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019: My Year in Review

2019
My Year in Review
__________

It was a whirlwind year. In
flash, it was over. By the
end of 2019, the personal
world faced was in stark
contrast to that of just 12
months earlier. In sum, it
was year I'll never forget.
__________

It was a five-year labor of love. In 2018 the project was completed and the pitching phase began. And in 2019, my fourth book, Superstar, finally arrived in stores and at online retailers. As a result, I spent much of the year consumed by promoting my explosive Christian fiction debut. Connecting with readers around the country at my subsequent book signing appearances was incredibly rewarding. Check out my TV interview from last April on the FOX affiliate in Springfield, Missouri. Currently, I'm working diligently on my next three book projects — including an updated anniversary edition of one of my early titles, as well as my all-new non-fiction release, Drum Junkie.

With Ozarks Fox AM reporter, Kallie Koester,
while promoting Superstar in Springfield, Missouri.
I sold our longtime family Florida beach house in late February. By mid March, my 25-year-old son, Jesse, had assisted me in packing up the remaining contents of the home in which I'd grown up and we'd moved it all into a nearby storage facility — the final scene of a 40-year story.

2019 found me bidding final goodbyes to more than a few loved ones. But it also marked new beginnings, as I made many new friends this year.

Professionally, it was an exciting year. Aside from my book endeavors, I enjoyed other writing opportunities — my interviews with Doll Skin drummer, Meghan Herring and Taking Back Sunday drummer, Mark O'Connell were a couple my personal highlights.

Chillin' at the beach in Florida with Doll Skin
drummer, Meghan Herring in March 2019.
Discovering new music was a big part of my year. Releases from SkilletYYNOTThe Fantastic Plastics and Dirty Honey were among my personal favorites. I also found the New York-based indie rock combo, Sirsy in 2019  I even saw them live for the first time this past fall. Conversely, I caught KISS in concert for the 20th and possibly final time last summer.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC
(A few personal faves from 2019)
I ventured out to my local cineplex frequently in 2019. I saw much, but I was moved by little. Once Upon a Time in HollywoodBombshell and Uncut Gems all proved well-worth the price of admission, while RocketmanStuber and The Joker kinda fell flat for me. However, the small screen delivered more significant payoffs, as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shameless and Dead to Me all were winners in my world.

2019 packed a fistful of compelling films.
2019 also was personally memorable in terms of discovering compelling books. Signs of Life marked the first new novel in five years from my longtime favorite fiction author, Creston Mapes. Greg Prato dropped a doozie with his KISS book, Take it Off, and Alexandros Anesiadis offered up an exhaustive overview of the '80s hardcore / metal scene with Crossover the Edge. Fun and educational, Gracie's RV Mis-Adventure was another solid winner from Florida children's author, Violet Favero. But the slam dunk of the year was Adventures of Metalhead Librarian, the debut memoir from Anna-Marie O'Brien. For those who loved (or who still love) the high-energy music from the areosal-sprayed '80s, and or, those who remain fascinated by the legendary, glitzy LA scene, Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian is a must-read!

Noteworthy books from a memorable year.
So, there ya go — a somewhat concise overview of a personally memorable year. What were your personal 2019 highlights? Feel free to share in the Comments section below.

Happy New Year everyone — here's to an amazing 2020!

-Christopher Long
(December 2019)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

RECORD REVIEW: Cheap Trick "Christmas Christmas"

RECORD REVIEW
Cheap Trick
Christmas Christmas
(Big Machine Records)
__________

A popular entertainment news
site I wrote for extensively over
the last couple of years ceased
operations recently. As a result,
I've been re-posting some of
the best bits I contributed to the
magazine. Here's one of 'em
— from Christmastime 2017.
__________

Despite veering occasionally from their stylistic comfort zone, the latest from Cheap Trick is primarily a contagious, smash and crash collection. Teaming up once again with longtime producer, Julian Raymond, the band succeeds in creating a rousing 12-song set – one that borrows from the ghost of Christmas past while also pointing to Christmas present.

Seemingly cut from the same stylistic fabric used to design their 2009 effort, The Latest, "Merry Christmas Darlings” opens the record nicely and is one of three new tracks written by band co-founders, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson.

Oozing old school rock and roll appeal, the remake of Roy Wood’s 1973 holiday treasure, "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day," is one the album’s many irresistible ear worms – along with the “She’s Tight”-inspired riffage of the Jimmy Fallon / Horatio Sanz-penned, "I Wish It Was Christmas Today," and the “Elo Kiddies”-fueled rendition of Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody."

Covered previously by the likes of Bon Jovi and the Eagles, the blues-tinged 1960 classic, "Please Come Home for Christmas," gets a sleek new(ish) “Oh Darling”-style makeover, while the revamped edition of Harry Nilsson’s "Remember Christmas" offers a melodic tip of the hat to John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

While the recreation of the Chuck Berry standard "Run Rudolph Run," is a Yuletide gem, both the Kinks staple "Father Christmas" and the Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)" also make for raucous, eggnog-swilling highlights.

Although the arrangement of the seasonal favorite, "Silent Night,” is a wee bit jarring, hearing the name of Jesus Christ actually proclaimed on a modern-day Christmas record is refreshing, indeed. And in that regard, Zander, Nielsen and Petersson also are due mad props for their incredibly traditional-sounding, new original composition, "Our Father Of Life."

Zinging with the edge of the band’s 1976 debut, "Christmas Christmas" is another new Zander, Nielsen, Petersson original, and it makes for the perfect, high-energy record closer. (CheapTrick.com)

-Christopher Long
(November 2017)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Monday, December 9, 2019

THE TOP TOP TEN BEST RECORDS OF 2019: My Personal Super Jams from a Super Year!

THE TOP TOP TEN
BEST RECORDS OF 2019
My Personal Super Jams
from a Super Year!
__________

People love "Best Of" lists.
So do I. Especially at this time
of year, it's fun to reflect.
__________

All year long, I'm constantly consuming and analyzing a seemingly endless slew of new records from an array of international artists for various entertainment news outlets. Truth be told, it's rather unrealistic to suggest that anyone truly is qualified to anoint the absolute best music from any given year. However, I do get a kick out of looking back and ranking a few favorites from the preceding 12 months. Simply put, 2019 was a super year for new music. And these are my ten personal picks. SPOILER: my tastes tend to be a wee bit eclectic.


10. Fastball - The Help Machine (33 1/3 Records)
The latest from Fastball finds the time-tested Texas trio in fine form, still doing what they do best — producing consistent Revolver-caliber pop / rock songs that'll zing ya 'til next Tuesday. An infectious effort, and one of the year's best. Find my official Ink19.com review HERE.


09. Mac Powell and Family Reunion - Back Again (Thirty Tigers)
With Back Again, Mac Powell refuses to remain in his stylistic comfort zone. Instead, he and his musical teammates move the ball another 30 yards downfield  squarely into the end zone, and they score  BIG! Imagine the full-body flavor of a Zac Brown record, but with better songs  and without the distraction of shameless alcohol advertisements or dopey weed endorsements. Find my official Ink19.com review HERE.



08. Badflower - OK, I'm Sick (Big Machine)
Residing stylistically between the fictional Stillwater and the functional Blue October, LA's Badflower dropped a doozie in 2019. Jack White-meets-David Gilmour. A brilliant record that doesn't try too hard.



07. Tom Keifer - Rise (Cleopatra)
After six years of relentless touring and brand rebuilding, Tom Keifer returned in 2019 with a solid sophomore set. With Rise, Keifer succeeds in proving (once again) to be an artist who knows no creative boundaries and who remains in a league of his own. Find my official Ink19.com review HERE.


06. Doll Skin - Love is Dead and We Killed Her (Hopeless)
The crunchy combo from Scottsdale returned this year with their third nut-buster. Screaming street cred, this fat-free, 11-song set delivers some of Doll Skin's strongest tracks to date — including "Don't Cross My Path," "Outta My Mind" and "Homesick."


05. The Fantastic Plastics - Malfunction (Independent)
Described by the Plastics themselves as oozing “spastic analog synths, frantic guitar hooks, and paranoid vocals,” Malfunction is guaranteed to wake the B-52s-loving, Gary Numan-craving spirit animal that sleeps within all good, God-fearing folks. By preaching from a pulpit in pop’s past, The Fantastic Plastics succeed (once again) in creating a fun record that reaches far into the future. Find my official Ink19.com review HERE.



04. Sirsy - Like a Drum (Independent)
Based out of Upstate New York, Sirsy has been building a well-earned rep as one of the hardest-working acts on the U.S. indie rock scene since the dynamic duo first packed up the ol’ stretch van and hit the open road back in the early 2000s. Heart-stopping songs written and performed by two crazy kids sent by God to make the world a more beautiful place. Find my official Ink19.com review HERE.


03. Dirty Honey - Dirty Honey (Independent)
Crafting true blue, American-made rock and roll, this LA-based band has been creating an enormous buzz since the release of their self-titled debut EP earlier this year. Dirty Honey proves to certainly be the real deal — oozing the authentic spirit of rock and roll with the greatest of ease. Produced by Nick DiDia (Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam), the urgent-sounding six-songer has best been described stylistically (by me) as uniquely unpretentious and gloriously unapologetic. Find my official PureGrainAudio.com review HERE.


02. YYNOT - Resonance (Independent)
YYNOT perhaps can be described best as “the classic Rush you get (and crave) when you no longer can get classic Rush.” A gorgeous slab of solid rock. A truly extraordinary band with truly extraordinary songs. Frontchick, Rocky Kuner, is an angel sent by God and the track, "Wildest Dreams" can cure cancer. Find my official PureGrainAudio.com review HERE.


01. Skillet - Victorious (Atlantic)
Dropping one beefy metallic anthem after another, Victorious, the latest from Skillet sounds so big, it's almost overwhelming — like an urgent-sounding soundtrack to a blood sport championship — a match-up where the good guy is destined to win, despite getting beat to shit along the way. Victorious hits hard and sounds fresh — proving to be yet another musical "victory" for a veteran band that clearly has plenty of tread, cred and facial hair to spare. Find my official review HERE.

Yep, 2019 was a super year for new music, and I'm psyched about what's ahead in 2020. I'm grateful to all of those who took the time to read and even comment on my work. I further encourage folks to reflect on their own personal favorite records from the last year in the "Comments" section below. I wish everyone the happiest and healthiest holiday season, the best and brightest new year. Peace!

-Christopher Long
(December 2019)




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)