Category Archives: Movies

A Tribute to Albert Finney + New Music From The UK

“The death of Albert Finney could mark the end of a certain generation of British actors.” Says film and media critic, Bob Ross in our tribute to the highly-rated star of stage, screen, and TV, who sadly died a few days ago on February 7. Finney came to prominence in the era of the “Angry Young Men”. It was a period that transformed the face of British theater and cinema from the 1950s. Powerfully built, Finney had the resonant voice beloved by earlier generations of stage actors. Born in Salford, Lancashire, May 1936, Finney’s father was a bookmaker. Always proud of his working-class roots, he once said, “It’s part of you, it’s in your blood.” Although he had acquired a taste for acting while still at Salford Grammar School where he won a scholarship to The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He worked first with Birmingham Repertory Theatre before moving on to the Old Vic and National Theatre. His first London stage appearance was in 1958 in Jane Arden’s The Party, which was directed by Charles Laughton, who also starred. A year later, the young Finney was at Stratford where he replaced an ill Laurence Olivier in the role of Coriolanus. In 1960, he appeared alongside Olivier in his first film, The Entertainer, directed by Tony Richardson. Based on a play by John Osborne, it was an example of a new gritty style of British film-making that became known as kitchen-sink drama. Its heroes were invariably working-class, the backdrops often that of northern England, and it explored themes of social alienation. Finney’s next film, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, gave him a starring role as a young factory worker who was disillusioned with his lot. The plot, based on a novel by Alan Sillitoe, featured extramarital sex and abortion, earning it an X-certificate from the British Board of Film Censors. He was approached to play Lawrence of Arabia in David Lean’s film but, after going through a four-day screen test, Finney decided not to take the role that eventually went to Peter O’Toole. Instead, he teamed up with Tony Richardson again for Tom Jones, an adaptation of Henry Fielding’s bawdy 18th Century novel. Tom Jones made Finney an international star and he was voted one of the top ten British actors of 1963 by cinema owners. In the 1967 film Charlie Bubbles, which Finney also directed, he played a writer returning to his northern roots after becoming successful in London. In one scene, Finney’s character is pictured driving his gold Rolls Royce through the crumbling streets of his native Salford. He also proved he could sing, first in the title role of the 1970 musical film Scrooge and then in the 1982 film version of the Broadway musical Annie. In 1974, he played the pedantic Hercule Poirot in the film Murder on the Orient Express. He had a magnetic presence off-screen too. His lovers included Joan Baez, Carly Simon, Billie Whitelaw, Jacqueline Bisset, Shelley Winters, and Diana Quick. In 1957, he married Jane Wenham, with whom he had a son. The couple divorced just five years later. In 1970, he married the French actress Anouk Aimee. Later in life, he settled down with Penne Delmarche and admitted to only two vices – wine and horseracing. He owned several racehorses, stabled in America. He had kidney cancer diagnosed in 2007, and he disappeared from public view but returned with roles in The Bourne Ultimatum and James Bond film Skyfall. He largely ignored the celebrity lifestyle and refused becoming CBE in 1980 and a knight in 2000. “I think the Sir thing slightly perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is snobbery,” he said at the time. “And it also helps keep us ‘quaint’, which I’m not a great fan of.”

Also in this edition of Life Elsewhere, three new singles from the United Kingdom. First up, a four-piece band who prefer their name in all caps, ISLAND with All In My Head. On our show, you’ll hear instrumental and vocal versions from the London-based band. If you don’t understand the song, you’re not alone, this is what frontman, Rollo Doherty says about their new single, “It’s weird, we didn’t really understand the song when we started writing it but we liked that about it, we didn’t try to understand it. The lyrics just take that idea and put it through a blender. Weirdness just mixed up with more weirdness. Just like what’s in my head.” Next up, a young gentleman we have been raving about for around two years now, the very talented, Leaone. The singer-songwriter was in the US a few months back and had the opportunity to record a few cuts in a Brooklyn studio with producer, Tom Marsh. The results are what Leaone refers to as “The Brooklyn Sessions”, Prairie Fire is his latest single. Our third new release is from the fine folks associated with Gad Whip. Lee who tinkers around in his Yuba Recording Studio sent us a new single, Now, a mesmerizing track that we have had on repeat play for the last few days. Yubamusic is the moniker Lee is using for this release. If we can be of any encouragement at all, we’d like to hear more cuts in this vein from Yubamusic.

The Podcast is available at NPR One, Apple Podcasts & Mixcloud

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3
Sundays 10.00am ET at WNRM The Root
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Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On-Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Sundays 11.00am ET at 
WNRM The Root
Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on 
NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week
You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

Show #310 V3

The Real Tony Montana(s)?

In answer to the question, “Was the truth hard to decipher?” Roben Farzad admits when dealing with notorious cocaine dealers, where each and everyone suggests that they were the role model for Tony Montana in Scarface”You have to select and trust your research carefully.” Farzad replies. His new book, Hotel Scarface Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami is a fantastical read. No details, no matter how gruesome or potentially unbelievable are spared. Roben tells the story of Miami’s notorious Mutiny Hotel with delicious enthusiasm and if prompted will manage a spot-on impersonation of one of the extraordinary cast of characters. Roben Farzad joins Norman B to talk about Hotel Scarface in the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

Life Elsewhere is now available at NPR One & iTunes

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network
Fridays at 9.00pm GMT on Cornucopia Radio

If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On-Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Mondays at 6.00pm & Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week

You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

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Fact, Fiction & Ab Fab!

Nothing had worked. Not threats or negotiations, not shutting down the betting parlors or opium dens, not house-to-house searches or throwing Chinese offenders into prison. Not even executing them. New York’s District Attorney was running out of ideas and more people were dying every day, as the weapons of choice evolved from hatchets and meat cleavers to pistols, automatic weapons, and even bombs. Welcome to New York City‘s Chinatown in 1925. In Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money, and Murder in New York’s Chinatown, author and historian, Scott D. Seligman scrupulously documents three decades of turmoil, with characters ranging from gangsters and drug lords to reformers and do-gooders to judges, prosecutors, and cops. It’s a true story set in Prohibition-era Manhattan and at last, unravels much of the legendary mystery of Chinatown. Don’t miss Scott D. Seligman discuss his riveting new book on the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

It’s late summer, 1921: Disgraced former lightweight champion Pepper Van Dean has spent the past two years on the carnival circuit performing the dangerous “hangman’s drop” and taking on all comers in nightly challenge bouts. But when he and his cardsharp wife, Moira, are marooned in the wilds of Oregon, Pepper accepts an offer to return to the world of wrestling as a trainer for Garfield Taft, a down-and-out African American heavyweight contender in search of a comeback and a shot at the world title. Pepper and Moira soon realize that nothing is what it seems: not Taft, the upcoming match, or the training facility itself. Champion Of The World, is the masterful debut novel from author and sportswriter Chad Dundas. Hear the interview on our upcoming show.

Bob Ross, respected film and media critic returns to Life Elsewhere with his Summer Movie picks, beginning with The Infiltrator, starring the increasingly popular Bryan Cranston as a US Customs agent. Bob also offers his take on the new, all-female Ghostbusters; Woody Allen’s latest, Cafe Society; Jason Bourne; Star Trek Beyond; a Ben Hur remake, and the much-anticipated Absolutely Fabulous, the big-screen adaptation of the cult British TV series.

It’s a bumper-packed edition of Life Elsewhere. Hear it first, Sunday at 12 noon ET on WMNF on the new, spiffy, cool, app.

Life Elsewhere Show #177 airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

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If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

PS: You can now download the new WMNF mobile app for FREE and listen to LIfe Elsewhere as it streams live at 12 noon ET every Sunday

A Political Conundrum. A Controversial Book. And Cool New Music.

The biggest conundrum ever in US politics also happens to be the most controversial: The popularity of Donald J. Trump. Who are the people who turn out in unprecedented masses to attend his rallies? That was the question a young enterprising filmmaker decided would be the basis for his next documentary. The end result is Trump Rally by Brooklyn-based Sean Dunne who managed to get up close and personal with Trump supporters. His takeaway is unexpected and adds yet another layer to the conundrum of Donald Trump‘s popularity.

“I’ve never read ‘that’ word used so nonchalantly before!” Says Life Elsewhere host, Norman B, referring to the four-letter word Judith Rashleigh peppers her dialogue with. Judith is the antiheroine of Maestra, the first thriller from Lisa Hilton. The word in question is Anglo-Saxon for female genitalia and should be reclaimed by women, explains Ms. Hilton. Her unapologetic boldness has triggered controversy, with many reviewers declaring Maestra to be a more shocking and explicit than Fifty Shades of Grey. Hilton also happens to be a well-respected historian and biographer who reckons her “natural habitat is a library with a pen stuck in my hair”. So what prompted a self-described geek to delve into writing page after page of graphic sex, violence, and Anglo-Saxon words? Find out in the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

Also in the program, Norman B selects two new cool music releases and asks that you tell us what you think of them. FirsScreen Shot 2016-04-30 at 1.17.36 PMt, Blu Fiefer, who describes herself as half-Mexican and half-Lebanese with Jukebox from her forthcoming EP. Followed by, Dahlia Sleeps, from South London, fronted by Lucy Hill with Black & Blue.

Make sure you don’t miss one second of our next show with a Conundrum, a Controversy, and Cool Music. Check below for broadcast and on-demand links.

Life Elsewhere Show #167 airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 5.00pm PT & Thursdays 7.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

Life Elsewhere can be heard on CMG Global Media
If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

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Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Gordon-pals-with-Nat-King-Cole-at-Trocadero-nightclub

Is Trumpy a bad dream? Are these bizarre primaries a fantastic illusion? After reading Chip Jacobs book Strange As It Seems, you could easily believe the hallucinatory-like run-up to the Presidential election is really a figment of Chip’s imagination and we are all living in the peculiar world he paints so vividly. In Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon ZahlerChip Jacobs tells the story of his uncle, a fun-loving prankster, a live wire kid with a tremendous future, who shattered his neck at fourteen in a horrifying gymnastics fall. Doctors gave Gordon a one percent shot at survival. That’s when the miracles began, paralyzed from the next down, Zahler defied the odds and became a kingpin in Hollywood, as his music and sound effects post-production house scored films for low budget sci-fi films, genre movies like Sam Fuller’s Shock CorridorPopeye and Bozo the Clown cartoons, as well as hundreds of other projects including his clever soundtrack on Ed Wood Jr’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space. Eventually wealthy, with a house off the Sunset Strip, a devoted blond trophy wife and raucous, star-filled parties, Gordon – 95-pound dynamo – built an existence from scratch that mere able-bodied mortals could only dream about. As a boy, Jacobs was not overly fond his uncle with a spidery physique and witchy arms. As an adult hungry to understand his family’s past, Chip Jacobs‘ trepidation gave way to awe and curiosity. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, Norman B chats with Chip Jacobs about his remarkable story that is, Strange As It Seems.

We stay in a Tinsel Town mode with acclaimed film and media critic, Bob Ross. The frequent Life Elsewhere guest will don his Carnac hat to give his Oscar predictions. 

Find out about Chip Jacobs other books here
Life Elsewhere airs:
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Mondays 7.00pm ET at WROM Radio
Mondays 8.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

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