Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: Mother!

MOVIE REVIEW
Mother!
Paramount Pictures
(Running time: 121 minutes)
_________________________

As a creepy super-fan,
I can choke down any
Jennifer Lawrence flick.
Well, almost.
_________________________

Director Darren Aronofsky can spin the lackluster reception of his near-masterpiece however he likes. But truth be told, Mother! misses the mark because the glorious-looking, edge-of-your-seat thriller is also a confusing cluster that offers the audience ZERO payoff. In fact, if it weren't for the insightful 20-something seated next to me, explaining all the gobbledygook — endless cryptic metaphors regarding religion and Mother Earth, I would probably have been scowling during the end credits — rather than snorting (out loud).

Be sure, Jennifer Lawrence is as delicious to look at here as ever — and her lead role actually serves as one of her personal all-time best performances. Co-lead, Javier Bardem, offers an equally compelling performance. In fact, from Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer to Domhnall Gleeson and Brian Gleeson, the entire cast delivers in spades. 

In sum, Mother! seemingly wants to be a modern-day Rosemary's Baby — yeah, about that. However, the film does ooze nail-biting suspense and plenty-o-entertainment factor — in spite of the often jarring story. Really, Darren? After getting dragged down a deranged rabbit trail for more than two hours  THIS is the "finish line?" Oy vey!

-Christopher Long
(September 2017)

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Friday, September 22, 2017

JESSE TANNER LONG: "Scooping Smiles!"

JESSE TANNER LONG
"Scooping Smiles!"
_________________________

I noticed a very interesting
Facebook quote recently  
one credited to Steve Jobs.
Whether the late Apple co-
founder ever actually said it
or not, the statement caught
my attention  If you want
to make people happy, don't
be a leader. Sell ice cream.
_________________________

"I make ice cream almost every night, and I place complete confidence in the consistent quality of my creations." It's a bold statement, to be sure — but for 23-year-old Jesse Tanner Long developing unique ice cream recipes and then producing a world-class product is his life passion. "Eating ice cream is obviously great," he adds. "But making it is where my heart truly lies." 


A man on a mission, Long has spent considerable time over the last year or so criss-crossing the country — from the snowy mountains of Boulder to the sunny shores of Cocoa Beach to the clangorous streets of Baltimore and beyond — spreading his "Ice Cream Gospel" to new "believers" everywhere. "I am all about 'connecting,'" says Long. "It really all boils down to simply scooping smiles."


While working at an ice cream store in Colorado, Long recalls showing up on his days off to experiment with creating new flavors. "I've written a multitude of (well-guarded) recipes," he states confidently. "I've tested each one time and time again — fine-tuning little aspects along the way."


Long's distinctive, drop-dead-delicious product line has been gaining attention from not only his growing legion of disciples, but also from various "suits" within the ice cream industry. The only two questions really remaining at this point are — In which major city will Long decide to settle? And who's going to make him the sweetest "big league" offer?

"I'm not trying to be better than anyone else in the ice cream game. 'Better' is too subjective," Long concludes. "I intend to be different  to offer folks something more than merely a sweet treat."

-Christopher Long
(September 2017)

_________________________

CONTACT
JESSE TANNER LONG

Twitter and Instagram
@freezerp
__________

email
_________________________



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is available NOW on Amazon.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MY COUNTRY: Discover "Best Of" Episodes from My Classic Country Radio Show — NOW on YouTube!

MY COUNTRY
Discover "Best Of" Episodes
from My Classic Country Radio
Show — NOW on YouTube!
___________________________

Since I was a kid, growing up in
the Midwest, I've had a burning
desire to be in radio. And in 2016,
the dream finally became a reality.
___________________________

Celebrating all things classic country, my weekly Internet radio show, MY COUNTRY, launched in 2016. Together with my fabulous co-host, Miss May, and our teenage production assistant, Vance, we had such a blast producing the show — a program that ran through early 2017.

While currently on hiatus, fans now are discovering the show's various "Best Of" episodes that I've been posting on YouTube. 

MY COUNTRY production assistant, Vance, doing
a little pre-show prep with co-host, Miss May.
So, if you missed out on the fun the first time around, or if you just want to relive the experience, I invite you to check us out by following the links below. And feel free to become one of the show's YouTube subscribers!

Vol. 1 - "Country NOT Country" Edition
Vol. 2 - "Classic Country Concerts" Edition
Vol. 3 - "Classic Country Movies" Edition
Vol. 4 - "Classic Country Albums" Edition

More episodes COMING SOON!

-Christopher Long
(September 2017)

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is available NOW on Amazon.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: Home Again

MOVIE REVIEW
Home Again
Black Bicycle Entertainment
(Running Time: 97 Minutes)
_________________________

Wow, a super-fun flick
can endorse  fully!
_________________________

In her directorial debut, Hallie Meyers-Shyer delivers a doozie, as Home Again is an absolute start-to-finish delight — a colorful, well-written story that's smart, funny and brought to life beautifully by a talented and delicious-looking cast. 

Pico Alexander as Harry and Reese Witherspoon as Alice
Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice Kinney — an attractive and recently-separated 40-year-old mother of two adorable, pre-tween daughters. Upon relocating from NYC to LA, Alice connects by chance with three young and hunky Hollywood hopefuls. Persuaded by her mother, Lillian, played by veteran actress, Candice Bergen, Alice soon invites the three 20-somethings to move into her guest house. The story then gains traction quickly — oozing gobs of fun and plenty of romantic tension. 

Eden Grace Redfield, Michael Sheen and Reese Witherspoon
Given how trash content is currently considered king, Home Again offers moviegoers a breath of fresh air. A uniquely engaging film focusing on relationships among family and friends, it takes the less-traveled high road — boasting ZERO adult language, only a dab of implied innuendo, and just a brief splash of slapstick-style violence. In sum, believe the hype  Home Again is THE must-see, feel-good of 2017! 

-Christopher Long
(September 2017)

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is available NOW on Amazon.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SURVIVING IRMA: A Time to be Kind!

SURVIVING IRMA
A Time to be Kind!
_________________________

Just days after celebrating the
long Labor Day weekend, lives
across the "Sunshine State" have
been "disrupted"  once again. 
_________________________

"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" My teenage compadre's proclamation was passionate and pure as we stood helplessly on the driveway at 10pm — rain whipping across our faces while observing the quickly-rising water levels that threatened to swallow-up our newly-adopted Palm Bay residence.

Then came the calm after the storm. The nighttime mugginess still clinging to the barely-born morning was perfectly normal for this time of year. The once-ominous river had somehow dissipated miraculously. And the streets — now eerily quiet. In fact, the distinctive sound of a lone generator humming in the distance was practically the only indication of the mighty force that tore through Florida just hours earlier. However, in the light of day, the full damage — the destruction and (sadly) the death toll caused by Hurricane Irma would be undeniable.

My family had relocated to Orlando from Springfield, Missouri back in 1975. For a 12-year-old kid, the notion of moving to a "tropical paradise" was appealing, indeed. And the thought of ever enduring a devastating storm never even entered my mind — until Hurricane David blew through Florida in 1979. But the damage caused by David was minimal. In fact, my only related memory is that of my dad chopping up and hauling out a destroyed tree from the backyard.

My personal hurricane survival bag contained
a VERY few of my most prized possessions.
However, as an adult, living through and dealing with catastrophic storms has become an increasingly all too common occurrence — from Hurricane Andrew that ripped through south Florida in '92 to Hurricane Floyd in '99 to the series of THREE major storms that battered my hometown in ONE single week during 2004. Truth be told, the unique fragrances of wet drywall, mold and mildew now are forever affixed to my nasal membranes.

Yet through all the heartbreaking devastation, the human spirit continues to prove stronger than any storm. Yeah, of course there's always that guy — "Mr. D. Bag"  thoughtless, impatient and selfish. But far more often than not, times like these tend to bring out the best in us — neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers. And as I dug out from under the most recent rubble, I was once again moved by the spirit of people coming together and rising above circumstances.

The damages I've been dealt personally this time around are minimal, compared to what others are dealing with. Although my power now has been restored, both cellular and cyber communications are still proving to be frustrating challenges. But I want folks to know, I'm here, and available. If you have a need, please feel free to reach out to me personally. At this time, email is my most effective means of communication. I also welcome readers to post their own hurricane-related stories and experiences in the "Comments" section, below.

AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com

-Christopher Long
(September 2017)

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Friday, September 8, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW: Green Day (9.3.17)

Photos: Jen Cray @ JenCray.com
CONCERT REVIEW
Green Day
Coral Sky Amphitheater
West Palm Beach, Florida
(9.3.17)
_________________________

After discovering a menagerie
of exciting new bands on the
recent 2017 Vans Warped Tour,
it was fun to get out and revisit
an old time classic rock act.
_________________________

It was a bona fide barn burner — 20,000 strong — faithful fans of all ages, jammed like sardines into what I believe is (this week) known as The Coral Sky Amphitheater. And as the chart-busting headliner hit the steamy stage at 8pm, a pungent fragrance of ripe, sweaty ass mixed with the alluring aroma of mid-grade dope permeated the famed South Florida outdoor concert venue. Rock and roll!

What separates Green Day from the host of post-grunge era clowns who choked is, they have songs — timeless, catchy, hit songs  and LOTS of 'em. Hence, tonight's event proved to be a spectacular, high-energy, Simmons-caliber production.

Mike Dirnt
Pastor / frontman / songwriter, Billie Joe Armstrong, began preaching from his pulpit posthaste. In a true-blue, ultra-pretentious, Springsteen-style fashion, the 45-year-old pop / rock poster boy demanded the attention of his adoring fans. "I know you paid a lot of money for these tickets," he conceded. "But you don't get to sit down. So get your asses up!" Armstrong's pontificating continued ad nauseam — ultimately distracting from the musical experience. And after enduring just the first hour of his enlightening perspectives, it became unclear with whom he was even arguing. Of course, you're "for" love and vehemently against racism, sexism and homophobia. Duh! Isn't (almost) everybody?

Billie Joe Armstrong
Preachiness aside, the Green Day "bang for the buck" factor was impressive, indeed. The spectacular-looking walls of sparkling white flames rolling down the back of the gigantic stage further enhanced the effect of red-hot flash pods and other ear-splitting pyrotechnics that were detonated throughout the show. The two-hour set also provided a career-spanning cavalcade-o-hits — one brimming with all the suspected signature staples, as well as deep cuts from the band's pre-corporate Kerplunk era and a fistful of fan faves from the acclaimed 2016 Revolution Radio record. A surprise highlight was the Vegas-style classic rock medley that included sing-along snippets from The Beatles and The Stones

In sum, the Green Day concert oozed undeniable "WOW" factor. Rock star bassist Mike Dirnt and superhero drummer Tré Cool were both amazing, while sidemen Jason White (lead guitar), Jeff Matika (rhythm guitar) and Jason Freese (keyboards, sax) all performed masterfully — adding enormous additional value and completing a rock solid combo. #BangForTheBuck

-Christopher Long
(September 2017)

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is available NOW on Amazon.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

DAVE HLUBEK: A Personal Tribute to a Rock Legend

DAVE HLUBEK
A Personal Tribute
to a Rock Legend
_________________________

Sadly, Labor Day Weekend
2017 has marked the loss
of yet another rock legend.
_________________________

Located in Fern Park, near the old Jai-Alai Fronton, Record City was a mecca for Central Florida music enthusiasts during the late '70s and early '80s. Occupying what I recall as being a free-standing, 10,000 square-foot building, Record City always was brimming with wall-to-wall, bargain-priced records and tapes. As a rock-crazed teen, I kept a well-worn path from my parents' house near Cocoa Beach, to the supercenter-sized Orlando outlet — a destination that I considered, Heaven on Earth. However, there was one particular Record City run that remains truly memorable.

It was late spring, 1980. My younger brother and I had hitched a ride that Saturday morning with our high school buddy, Dave. And as we stood in the check-out line, waiting to pay for our vinyl bounty, Ridin' the Storm Out, Rocket to Russia, 2112, and others, I noticed the guy standing behind us. Sporting waist-length, reddish-brown hair and mirror shades, and wearing a black t-shirt, dark blue Levis and snakeskin boots, I knew darn well who this character was as soon as I got a good glimpse of his bearded mug. Heck, I'd just seen the man's band perform in concert with The Outlaws and .38 Special a couple of months earlier. He was founding Molly Hatchet guitarist, Dave Hlubek.

Riding the recent tsunami generated by TWO back-to-back platinum-selling LPs, the Jacksonville-based band members had reportedly been seen popping up all over the Central Florida area. Yet, we definitely did NOT see this encounter coming when we woke up that morning.

Upon paying for our goods, the three of us teenage punks waited anxiously outside for the newly-minted guitar god to also make his way out of the store. Despite totally playing up his newfound cock rock celebrity status, Hlubek proved to be quite a decent guy — actually spending a few quality minutes chatting with us before climbing into his brand new, jet black muscle car and popping his just-purchased Let There Be Rock 8-track into the car deck —  autographs for all!

Dave Hlubek (L) with Molly Hatchet - 1979
Fast-forward to spring 2001. Now nearly 40 years old, I was then the entertainment director for a popular nightclub in Palm Bay, Florida. And I was especially jazzed about having gotten a discounted performance rate on a band called, the Southern Rock Allstars. Led by one of my longtime heroes, former Blackfoot drummer, Jakson Spires, SRA also featured the one-and-only Dave Hlubek on lead guitar.

One of the things I remember most about the experience working with SRA, aside from the intra-band squabbling, was Hlubek peddling live Molly Hatchet CDs from a small dingy-looking knapsack during intermission. After having seen various SRA members performing at Enormo-Domes with their original bands back in the day, the sight of Hlubek glad-handing fans in a beer joint, and stuffing their $10 bills awkwardly into his pocket was a little heartbreaking. However, Hlubek and Spires both proved to be charming fellas who I would have worked with again gladly in the future.

By 2005, Hlubek had returned to Molly Hatchet. He would remain with the legendary band he founded back in 1971 until his death at age 66 on September 3, 2017.

Today, the music created by the original Molly Hatchet sounds as crisp and fresh as when it first was released decades ago. And although the Hlubek-penned anthems, "Gator Country," "Flirtin' with Disaster" and "Whiskey Man" will remain timeless classic rock radio staples, my personal favorite Hlubek songs include such latter album tracks as "Beatin' the Odds" and "Bloody Reunion."

He'll be remembered forever by fans around the world. But, I'll always remember Dave Hlubek as an incredibly talented man who always was nice to me. RIP, Dave! 

-Christopher Long
(September 2017)

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is available NOW on Amazon.

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