1. Joel Hodgson – As I’ve mentioned and posted about before, I’m a huge Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan. I started watching the show on Comedy Central when I was 11 and followed it to the Sci-Fi network, watching religiously until the series ended in 1999. The show heavily influenced my sense of humor and comedic timing, and also really broadened my horizons to other aspects of pop culture that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. There were several musicians/TV shows/politicians/products/aspects of the American experience that I would hear in a riff on MST3k and have no idea what they were or what the reference was supposed to mean. I’d head to the then-blooming internet and (hours later on a slow Prodigy dialup account) find out what the heck they were talking about. MST held a very special place in my heart then and continues to today – every Monday night I have a few friends over to watch an episode.
Joel Hodgson was the (best) brain behind the show and its concept. The design of the show, in its early days, resembles Joel’s stand-up routine. Joel had a great way of integrating props into his act more than the usual prop comic would, and this inventiveness really defined the show – from the Invention Exchange right down to the telltale silhouetted characters that are in the bottom right of the screen for the bulk of the program. The silhouettes are probably the most recognizable aspect of MST; I’ve met several people who don’t know the show until I explain that it’s “the one with the guys in the corner”.
Joel left MST in 1993 and worked on a few other projects. One of the coolest to me was the TV Wheel, which was a great prop-heavy live idea that only got a pilot on HBO and was never seen from again. I’ll post about the TV Wheel another time. He is currently working with several other MST alumni on Cinematic Titanic, which brings the movie riffing experience to a live setting in addition to a few studio-produced DVD releases. The magic is still there.
I’m burying my lead here a bit, but Robert over at HowStuffWorks has been doing a series of posts about space music where he interviews artists from different forms of media about both their interest in and production of space music. This week he posted an interview with Joel that’s just fantastic. Check it out!
Here’s a bit from one of my favorite MST episodes, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank:
2. Starcadian – HE^RT – a friend shared this with me this week. The video and song are both astounding:
3. Adventure – Growing up with an Atari 2600, Adventure was probably the first swords-and-dragons game I ever played. It was mind-numblingy confusing at times, but I couldn’t stop playing it. Like most 2600 games, it has some pretty great box art:
Turns out, someone remade Adventure recently! Here’s the original, for those who aren’t familiar:
Aaaaaand here’s the remake. Amazing!
4. Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson – this picture is accidentally perfect on so many levels. I love the expressions on both of their faces.
5. 11/14/95 Stash – We’re heading up to Virginia this week to see my favorite band, Phish. I’ve been seeing these guys since 1994, and their shows continue to excite me today. In honor of that, here’s the song from the first show where I “got it”. This show was played about a mile from my high school in 1995, and I was the only person from my school who went. I’d seen them twice before then, but nothing had really prepared me for this. I’ve listened to this show so many times I could practically hum every note of this 40 minute song.
At seventeen years old, I left that show with a completely new perspective on what music can be. Cheesy, I know, but there you have it.