Overlooked Gems of My Lifetime

Credit is given where credit is due regarding the overlooked gems of my lifetime.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Some of you guys checking in on the Overlooked Gems blog may acknowledge how hard it is for even the sweet-lovin' of your mate to get you out on the dance floor. Regardless of the likely combination of ineptitude and psychological hang-ups, these barriers have been known to suddenly disappear in the right circumstances, in clubs with pounding drum beats and chunky guitars played by sweaty musicians. Maybe you're seeing a band that guys dig, like Bethlehem, PA's finest, the Original Sins! Guys' heads are bobbing, arms are crossed tight against chests. Then some guy's arms loosen their deathgrip across his chest and a beer-soaked fist starts pumping to the rhythm. It starts with one man in the crowd and then spreads. Before long, a roomful of guys are mandancing. Some even cross over and dance with the handful of women in the crowd.

The art of suave, ballroom dancing is beyond my comprehension. Unless society was vastly different, what did the majority of guys do in the pre-rock era? How did a man with two left feet find opportunities for mandancing? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the boastful, passionate, whispering, masculine kind of dancing that Rory Gallagher and his axe inspire in this crowd of men.

Recently, I've come across some videos of songs that have always held appeal for me, often strangely so. Seeing these songs accompanied by I'm realizing that they feature mandancing. Men being men. Men teaching men. Man dancing, awkwardly―yes, as men.

For starters, check out this clip of Otis Redding and, midway through, special guests. Check out one aspiring black man who takes lead on a verse of "Shake". See this man in awe of his teacher. By the end of the performance the student is laying the groundwork for future endeavors. Enjoy.

To be clear, the following clip is not an example of the mandancing I am looking to celebrate (don't worry―it's OK for viewing in work).

On the other hand, this shockingly bearded clip is.

Finally, I bring you what may be the Holy Grail of mandancing clips. I've been searching for something like this as long as I've had ways of finding videos online. Deal with it!

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11 (pre-"9/11")

Remember when September 11 was just another day? I can't say I really do, because I wasn't born on that day, and as far as I knew, I didn't know anyone who was either born or who died on that day.* I've never been a college football fan and I can't stand the Cowboys, but coaching legends Bear Bryant and Tom Landry called the day their very own. D.H. Lawrence and Lola Falana were born on September 11. Boy, can you imagine a time when you could open the paper on September 11 and read that Lola Falana was born on this day? I bet all those people and their loved ones and more remember September 11 for what it was before the day was ruined for the forseeable future as a day of joyful memories and/or private rememberance.

On September 11, 1609, Henry Hudson landed on Manhatten island. On that same date in 1906, Gandhi is credited with founding the nonviolence movement. What do you know, this makes 100 years of nonviolent forms of protest!

Until September 11 became "9/11" there were Red Sox fans whose offspring would have to wait 86 years for another day like the September 11 in 1918, when the Sox won what generations of fans feared would be the last of their World Series.

The Beatles recorded their first single, "Love Me Do" on September 11, 1962, and in 1985, Pete Rose would break Ty Cobb's all-time record for most hits in a career. That September 11 in 1985 is one I'll remember, when "Charlie Hustle" meant something entirely different than it would a few years later.

*You got me - I don't have a preexisting personal connection to this date, so I'm cheating by the guidelines of my own blog, but allow me this brief post.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Paul Quandt

I recently saw the kids' movie How to Eat Fried Worms. It was a delightful, down-to-earth, and purely kid-centered underdog/boy dynamics movie. Really sweet. Anything the kids laughed at we laughed at, and vice versa. Few if any modern-day pop culture references and obvious traces of cross-marketing campaigns. Beyonce did not promote her new single, and the kids did not open their refridgerator doors to shelves full of Pepsi. Even that annoying little girl from the old Pepsi ads didn't get under my skin. I'm growing up and getting old, sure, but this movie struck me as about as sweet and pure as kids' movies gets these days.

During the movie, which featured a lot of bully-new kid showdowns leading to...well, I won't spoil anything, I started thinking about one of my favorite bully-new kid-underdog-boy dynamics movies, My Bodyguard, the 1980 film that introduced me to Matt Dillon, for whom I've always had an added attachment because he reminds me of my brother (although not his characters' lifestyle in certain movies). If you've somehow never seen this movie or you haven't seen it in 25 years and you now have kids ready to try "old" movies, I heartily recommend you Netflix this baby. While you watch it, see if you're not drawn into the character of Carson, the little squirt friend of Clifford (Chris Makepeace), played by Paul Quandt. This Quandt kid hits just the right, downbeat, downtrodden, all-knowing note. The great Roger Ebert singled out his performance, saying, "there's another kid, the solemn-faced, wide-eyed Paul Quandt, who steals a couple of scenes with his absolute certainty that the worst is yet to come." Now, check out the link to this review, and see if notice the one thing missing from Paul Quandt's name relative to the names of his costars.

OK, did you get it yet? If not, click on that first, imdb.com link I gave you when I introduced Quandt into this discussion. I'll give it to you here, again. Look at that filmography! Talk about your 1-hit wonders. I've searched high and low on the Web for an update on this guy, and I've found NOTHING of substance beside those mad props from Ebert. It's an endless loop of that sole, barren filmography entry. I've discussed it with people in the know, people in the industry, and they have no idea what happened to this kid. Where are the "Where are they now stories" on the guy? Is he living, is he dead? Did the worst indeed come? I hope not, Paul. Take care!

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Certain Ratio, Sextet

Sextet by A Certain Ratio is an album I discovered in college, when being depressed and confused was a way of life. I don't know how much I can tell you about the band that you may not already know: they were on Factory Records, this album is produced by Martin Hannett (best known for his work with Joy Division), they're named after an Eno song, etc. I think they appear in that 24 Hour Party People movie, but I can't be sure, not having seen the film.

This is not the type of music I typically liked even way back when, but I bought this album based on the Joy Division/Martin Hannett connection. Along with imagined Cool Points, I would learn that side benefits of owning the vinyl release of this album include the cool textured album cover and the really nice plastic sleeve into which the album slides. It may be the finest-quality plastic sleeve of any record in my collection. Sadly, I cannot include the textured album cover and thick plastic sleeve in this entry. Trust me.

If you've never heard this album, I would describe the music as Joy Division gone funk with heavy elements of '70s Satan movie vibes. Think the meeting point between Hannett's production work on Joy Division's Closer and his work on that great first ESG ep...set in a knock-off of Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. I especially like the staggered, slightly off-key horn parts that appear in songs. That sound represents my personal version of the Charlie Brown teacher "wah-wah-wah" sound. although in my case it was the hopeless sound of my parents fighting.