Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Netflix Adds 5 Million Subscribers as Daredevil Surges

I cut the cable more than a decade ago and it's a growing trend. Couldn't happen to a nicer industry, right? Feeding into that trend -  Netflix' investment in original content like House of Cards and the super-hot Daredevil series, it's paid off big time. This last quarter Netflix added 5 million new subscribers. Pretty clever for a business many analysts dismissed as the nation's DVD rental business was evaporating.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Amos 'n' Andy : Fine & Dandy?

Here's a free sample (PDF) of my book Hamburger² - a chapter on media phenom Amos 'n' Andy. I didn't realize what a startled reaction would result for including this, prompting me to go back and write an intro to the book (also included) where, among other things, I addressed why this series is important on many levels, including locally. 

Amos 'n' Andy was on radio and or TV for 40+ years yet resonates as a somewhat positive but mostly negative drag on society. Any search for truth means happily embracing controversy, as I pointed out in the introduction, "it’s important to recognize the unfortunate media landscape that existed leading up to the Civil Rights era. We need to autopsy the injuries, pick at the sores, otherwise we’re left with modern day assumptions based entirely on images."  

I would love any feedback you might offer. Here's the link to the Amos 'n Andy (PDF) article I spent the better part of a year researching... thank you!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tour Las Vegas During the Go-Go Era!

Las Vegas in the 1960s - a desert boom town, a destination not just for roulette and card games, it was an era of class where everyone dressed to impress on the casino floor, by the pool, or in the glittering showrooms. This video offers a ride down the fabled Las Vegas Strip, home of the world's tackiest casinos.

Flashy neon signs and spectacular architecture was part of the allure. And everything in the city that Blackjack built was affordable, buffets were practically free during the golden years, so were drinks... and there were plenty of cocktail waitresses on hand so you never lacked for a strong alcoholic beverage. That pretty much disappeared in the eighties when you could still get free cocktails but you had to wait as there were only a very few waitresses (yes, they were all women).

Las Vegas was first coined by Raphael Rivera, a scout for a New Mexican trading party. It wasn't just gambling that attracted the crowds, with the greatest entertainers in the showrooms tourists flocked to see Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis and the others superstars that frequented The Strip. Of course, if those audiences dropped some coin into the slot machines or a few bills at the card tables that was great too. In fact, that was the whole idea behind having first rate entertainment... it brought in people in that wouldn't otherwise be in a gambling town. In 1964 the city saw a boost in attendance when the hit movie 'Viva Las Vegas' rocketed a 45rpm single by Elvis Presley to the top of the pop charts. The song was on everybody's lips in the sixties and is still the unofficial theme song of Sin City.

Of course, the sixties was also the heyday of the Rat Pack - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and a few others on the side who came and went like Peter Lawford and Judy Garland.

Compare with Las Vegas in 1988:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Being a Grandmother Will No Longer Absolve You of Your Sins (Like It Used To)

My favorite news headlines are the ones that have to do with Grandmas:  "Grandmother Caught Selling Drugs."  "GamGams Swept Up in Prostitution Ring,"  "NaNa Shoplifts Roast Beef in Her Granny Panties."  We're past the time when someone being the parent of a parent is a get-out-of-jail free card now that Baby Boomers are of age... and plenty young enough to get into all kinds of shenanigans.

When I was a boy my gray-haired Mema would walk down the block to our home carrying a basket of fresh baked goodies covered over with a gingham cloth, wearing a modest blue dress and pearls.  Today's grandmothers are more likely to be found in those embarassing photos taken of real people at Wal-mart, gelatinous asses hanging over motor scooters with a basket full of Cheetos and Capri Sun juice boxes. Or the emaciated harridan arriving home from the gym after a rendevous with her best friend's husband.