Friday, June 19, 2015

Pop Culture Expo with Adam West is HERE! Saturday/Sunday June 20, 21


Have fun on the Twitter

      Pop Expo / N.E. Comicon Redux
        By Joe Viglione

        Adam West rules on MeTV in the Boston area, the original Batman TV series airing on Verizon's Channel 461 in this region on Saturday evenings at 7 PM (Wonder Woman at 8 PM, Star Trek at 9 PM) - and for those faithful followers of the colorful, quirky look at the caped crusader from the 1960s, having Mayor Adam West of Family Guy in Wilmington, Massachusetts makes this expo essential. But there's more!

     Last year's event was a blast with Pete Best of the Beatles, Chris Farlowe of the group Collosseum (hit #1 with the Rolling Stones song "Out of Time" )   and lots and lots of artists, tv stars and more.   It was simply a delight with the panels having discussions of pop culture, bumping into like-minded friends you've known from days gone by,  the vendors and the costumed attendees, all a magical time for adults who are still young at heart.

    Free parking! 

Northeast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza, A Pop Culture Expo 

Saturday, June 20, 2015 – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday, June 21, 2015 – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Shriner’s Auditorium

99 Fordham Rd., Wilmington, MA
Located 20 minutes North of Boston
Exit 39 off Route 93


ADAM WEST, in the Boston area 6/20, 6/21

Adam West: still Batman after all these years


Adam West: still Batman after all these years

Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
While many fan conventions are rooted in a particular movie, TV series, or genre, this weekend’s Northeast Comic Con at Shriners Auditorium is billed as a “Pop Culture Expo.”
As such, Adam West is the perfect headliner.

Mayor Adam West on “Family Guy.”
He starred as TV’s “Batman” nearly 50 years ago. The character in the cape and tights was so popular that the actor had a tough time playing anyone else after the three-season run ended in 1968. Finally, in 2000, Seth MacFarlane brought him onto “Family Guy” to voice the character Adam West, the mayor of Quahog.

And though the original Batmobile will be in Wilmington this weekend, the original Batman will not be in costume. 


Batman and Robin: the Complete 1949 Movie Serial Collection Description.

Where the 1943 Batman debut had a certain charm and a supremely despicable villain in J. Carroll Naish, this sequel misfires six years after the first 15 chapter serial and doesn't hold up as well as the original on DVD. The plot is a good one and despite some fine work by the B movie cast - Lyle Talbot as Commissioner Gordon (he of Chick Carter, Detective fame) and Robert Lowery as the Batman (horror fans take note, Lowery was in The Mummy's Ghost and Revenge Of The Zombies ) director Spencer Gordon Bennet just can't seem to put it all together. Where the first film had the caped crusader and his boy wonder helping the police surreptitiously, they are fully cooperating with the Commissioner here, in his office and at his beck and call. The biggest problem is that their nemesis, The Wizard, is not as diabolical as a future Marvel Comics character of the same name (the leader of The Fantastic Four's powerful enemy, The Frightful Four), especially in light of the fact that The Joker was already an established villain in the comic book series and, had he been the antagonist instead of the Wizard, there would have been the opportunity for some fun elements absent in this outing. Actor Leonard Penn (also from producer Sam Katzman's aforementioned 1946 Chick Carter, Detective flick) just doesn't put any malice into his Wizard character, none of the relish needed to seep through the secretive wardrobe. Eric Wilton, as butler Alfred, gets to play Batman in a deception created by the dynamic duo, which gives him a footnote in movie trivia history, one could say. There are lots of mind games between The Wizard and Batman, a plot device that wears pretty thin, but there are also plenty of amusing electronic gadgets at The Wizard's disposal and a pretty cool Bat Cave to boot. On home video or DVD the chapters get tedious where the previous entry from 1943 could hold one's attention and, despite the addition of a sub-plot where The Wizard also becomes The Invisible Man, this quickie really feels like it was made to entertain in short bursts at a movie theater in the late 40s. Some critics liked Robert Lowery better than his predecessor, Lewis Wilson, in the dual roles of Bruce Wayne and Batman, however the actors from both serials do a fine job and get into the character better than Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney ever could in their attempts to play the superhero. It is actually quite sad that producer Katzman and director Bennet didn't realize the iconic figure they were dealing with because with a little extra effort the assembled cast and this decent script idea could have made for a very entertaining movie. It's too bad Michael G. Wilson, son of the original Batman, Lewis Wilson, and co-producer of Quantum of Solace, didn't watch this serial prior to the 2008 James Bond entry because the glaring error of not having a masterful villain is why both Quantum and this Batman And Robin have less sustain. The Dark Knight worked so well because Heath Ledger's Joker was every bit the equal of Christian Bale's Batman. ~ Joe Viglione, Rovi


Monday, June 15, 2015

Rolling Stones, Marquee Club, 1991 DVD review

rolling stones

CD review will be separate.

Review by Joe Viglione

"Get down on your knees brown sugar, how come you taste so good, ah, get down on the ground, brown sugar, just like a young girl should."


      Jagger struts and sings a new vocal to the Jimmy Miller produced 45 RPM on the Pop of the Tops video you can see on YouTube, but having a pristine copy on this delicious deluxe set, truly the quasi companion piece to the new Sticky Fingers. It's a collector's dream come true, a 16 page booklet with essay by Richard Havens, newly mixed audio by Bob Clearmountain, and a document of the early Mick Taylor years, smack dab in the middle of the Stones' Golden Era when Jimmy Miller's dynamite productions propelled the Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World to even greater heights.

     The bonus track color video of "Bitch" is tremendous, up close and personal, and with strength but without the thunder of Get Your Ya Ya's Out or even the revered bootleg, Liver Than You'll Ever Be. The flashing camera shots towards the end of "Bitch" may be a bit much, but that's a minor quibble, this is the youthful Stones in their prime playing like your average bar band, without the ostentatious city-to-city stadium events (as much fun as they are.)

      The cameras are rolled up to the stage like Sentinels in the X-Men comics (not the movies!) with a viewing experience distinctly different from driving around with the cd in your car (we'll get around to discussing the companion audio disc at another time.)  The lighting is superb, the audio to the DVD wonderfully separated, and the playing right on the money. For those who appreciate the Stones' artistry, this material gives new insight - "and when she strip, the chauffeur flip..." a rendition of "Live With Me" that is more articulate and less driving that both Let it Bleed and Get Yer Ya Ya's Out, while "Dead Flowers" just rocks in a country  Byrds/Burritos manner in which it was meant to.  Fun on Sticky Fingers the rendition here is spot on as far as the intent of the songwriters. Again, a bar band that might as well be in Buckhead, the uptown district of Atlanta, Georgia, as easily as it was at the Marquee Club on March 26, 1971.    "I've Got The Blues" washes over you, majestic and charming and deep dark midnight, all with soul, enthusiasm and spirited artistic enthusiasm.
      The slash and burn of Ya Ya's "Midnight Rambler" is more restrained here, Keith and Mick Taylor's guitars in a brittle lassoo march, circling around the harmonica, drums, bass and vocals. The camerawork is perfect, capturing the angles, melting into the next image, cuts and pull aways, adding to the excitement of this close-up of the boys in that often-desired-as-a-change-from-the-large-venues intimate setting.

     As with the CD, Keith Richards and Mick Taylor sound like they are going in to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" but the riff had yet to evolve to that and it is a downplayed "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
"Bitch" and "Brown Sugar" have Jagger dazzling between the sparkles on his cut jacket which barely covers a third to a half of his bare upper torso, spinning around, having a good time.  It transfers well from the DVD to the viewer.  Ian Stewart's piano wonderful throughout the concert.  Bruce Cowers direction, M.C. of Woodstock, Wellesley Massachusett's own Chip Monck on production management and Derek Randal producing, it's essential in its packaging, overall feel and in the performances it delivers.  One of many, many keepers for we who appreciate what the Stones are about.


Review by Joe Viglione

Met the lead singer/guitarist of Elsewhere, Michael Aroian, at the Model Cafe in Allston for the June 2015 edition of the Rock n Roll Social and he gave me a copy of the new E.P. created with Boston notable David Minehan of Wooly Mammoth Studio (Minehan out on tour with The Replacements at the time this essay is written, June 11, 2015.)
The disc starts off with “Multi-Man,” a highly commercial slice of what the group calls “Progressive Punk.” Perhaps ‘progressive/alternative’ is more like it as the guitar, bass and drums all combine for a driving and smart pop tune which fluctuates from the music of Sparks, King Crimson (think “21st Century Schizoid Man” on steroids,) the Romantics, Rush and much more, all put into a mixer to come up with something fresh, new and exciting. “Multi-Man” is the PICK TO CLICK on the Top 40 this month of June, 2015. The full-length that starts the CD off is 5:09, the radio edit clocks in at 4;12 and concludes the disc.
“We’ve Got a Movement” has cascading guitars to complement the revolutionary theme. With the addition of his keyboards, guitarist/singer Aroian builds a big sound, think Peter Townshend and the Who circa the Who’s Next / Lifehouse phase.
Track #3 is a live version of “Waiting Alone for a Spotlight,” the studio take on the album entitled 1981 album. Recorded Live at Ralph’s Chadwick Diner in Worcester you can hear the studio version of it on YouTube:
The material is just as strong live as Elsewhere’s studio recordings are, a consistent presentation that buzzes along in a fun and entertaining way.
Track #4 “Before the Stars Align” rocks out on the live tape, also from Ralph’s Diner More groups should consider putting the emphasis on a couple of new recordings and emphasizing material from a previous outing in a “live,” remix or out-take setting. With the glut of new music from so many artists, old and new, it’s mandatory to get a song out to as many ears as possible. Revisions of previous work gives those titles another shot at becoming a familiar favorite.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.

Washington Post book review from 2014