Segarini: Bob’s Best (and Worst) of 2012

Bob hosting Late Great Movies 1985As years go (and they all do) 2012 was filled with the usual assortment of win/lose drama, laugh inducing stupidity, Anger inducing stupidity, and passive, meaningless stupidity. There were the usual good things and bad things, births, deaths, highlight reel-worthy triumphs, and sad, disappointing moments of abject, knuckle-dragging, fearlessly brain dead decisions by those who should know better.

Common sense continued to lose ground, the Public Whim gave us more popular and successful mediocrity, and greed pushed the hoi-polloi closer to the edge of a cliff they didn’t even know was there.

PSY-Gangnam-Style-Horse-DanceSocial Media became the gatekeepers for News and Entertainment, a man who rides a bicycle turned into the latest trainwreck and became news somehow, a monkey in a coat became a media darling, A video site, You Tube, became the World’s Radio Station, and a chubby 30-something Korean guy created a video more infectious than the flu.

The MayorA man who inherited an Empire on the slide into a 3rd world existence kept his seat in the White House away from a Wingnut who made more conflicting statements than a 3 headed used car salesman, and here at home we witnessed greed kill the (almost) National Sport, a Mayor incur the wrath of a segment of the population who judged not his work, but his appearance, slovenly demeanor, and refusal to leap at photo ops, and a Prime Minister apparently being vilified for his inability to hug a tree.

2012 became the year when no one could escape the scrutiny of the man on the street, all of us having been given the gift of being able to be heard thanks to the Social Media sites, and millions of people fell prey to rumors, hoaxes, urban legends, falsified facts, maudlin philosophical empowerment memes, the continued spreading of burned out music from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and who all managed to complain about everything the free sites did without hesitation, even though they could leave at any time.

MemeIt became evident in 2012 that everyone could now tell you what they are like instead of letting you decide for yourself by interacting with them. We learned that our internet friends were Awesome, Bitches, Caring, Didn’t Give a Fuck, Didn’t Give Two Fucks, loved Eiffel Towerpictures of Cats, liked to share photos of tortured animals and unattractive people, Unicorns, Angels, and Sunset/Sunrises, their own body parts, reassuring homilies, share this if you hate/love that, and PLEASE like if you agree. We also learned that the majority of people would rather spend 15 minutes texting badly spelled messages to one Lick youranother instead of making a 30 second phone call, and we somehow decided unconsciously, all at once, that it would be smart to share pictures of the food were about to eat with everyone else, plus, we, as a culture, popularized making the pictures we take relentlessly with our state of the art cameras into photos that look like they were taken with a Kodak instamatic and survived the rinse cycle in a washing machine. Go figure.

North America shouted for the removal of guns from the hands of the gun-control-cartoonpeople who own them, the cessation of science’s attempts to grow more food for more people, and ‘occupied’  carrying signs of their disapproval of this and that, instead of actually DOING something about their concerns with their wallets and their votes.

With rare exception, prices continued to go up while quality continued to go down. Traditional businessmen in all fields escalated their support of old, out dated ideas while their business’s continued to become less and less competitive, and more and more obsolete, and those who run the engines of commerce and infrastructure continued to cut costs by firing the heart and soul of their business’s, yet still managed to reward themselves with bonus after bonus, perk after perk. Some remain invulnerable behind backroom deals and lobbying cohorts, and others made fools of themselves by not realizing EVERYONE, not just their peers, could now hear what they say and see what they do.

The-ChoiceI will be the first to admit that I have very little real knowledge about a lot of things that we all have opinions about. Politics, Sports, Big Business…Truth be told, like everyone else, I have NO experience with the day to day mechanics of those things, and no REAL hands on, inside preview.04_Snopesinformation that could possibly allow me to speak with any authority about those subjects. We read rumors and we spread them like peanut butter all over the Internet, Television, and Newspapers. Still, the vast majority of us have an opinion on ALL of those subjects, and thanks to the Intertoobz, let everyone know what we believe…the facts be damned, even if we bother to search them out on the internet, which very few bother to do.

So what we have here (to paraphrase the classic line from “Cool Hand Luke”) is the ‘ability to communicate’. And we do. 24 hours a day, every day, whether we know what we’re talking about or not. We all have a voice. The trouble is, we’re all talking and no one is listening.

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So this is my take on 2012…the views expressed are only my opinions…and all of them are based on what interests me, what appears on my radar, and my passion for what I love.

Just like you….

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Music

The Best….

CrapIt is so easy to ‘hate’ music’ and music radio these days, I mean, other than kids, I personally do not know anyone who listens to any of it with any regularity. With rare exception (and believe me, there are some WONDERFUL exceptions) music radio’s quest to adhere to insanely narrow playlists has resulted in them playing product the labels have to manufacture specifically for those formats, otherwise, they might as well take all the money they spend on hiring the right people and the right studio in order to compete for the limited airtime, and give it to that idiot monkey that got lost (like I do) in a Toronto Ikea Maze Of Unnecessary Things to Purchase.

However…there were some GREAT artists and songs slipping onto the airwaves this past year, and a few of them made my year-end Best List. The mainstream DOES find music of value sometimes.

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Bruno Mars: Locked Out of Heaven

This kid has got the goods. Great singer/performer, etc, and one of the hottest bands to come down the pike in an age. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the older crowd has ever heard any of his stuff. They should.

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One Direction: More Than This (live)

They don’t dance, they can actually sing, and I quite like many of their songs. This is well written, wonderfully performed pop music.

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Rumer: Sara Smile

This is my ‘Adele/Amy Winehouse”. A wonderful, soulful, unpretentious voice, an almost ethereal quality to her timbre and breathy delivery in the tradition of Karen Carpenter and Peggy Lee, and a way with a song that sends chills up my spine.  No artifice here at all…just talent and good taste…and she knows a great song when she hears one. And to prove the point, here she is doing the classic Hall and Oates chestnut on record, live in the studio as a duet, and live onstage in concert with Daryl. Mmmm…good.

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Fun: Some Nights

Another fine new artist with solid songs. Niiice….

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Nashville Cast – When The Right One Comes Along (feat. Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio)

If you haven’t caught the television show that spawned this track and these singers, you should. Knowing TVs penchant for booting worthy shows off the air, it could be gone any minute now. An absolutely sweet country song, part Nashville, part Tin Pan Alley.

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Courage My Love: Disappear

You have heard these kids shred with the best of them if you have followed these columns with any regularity. Twins who turned 19 (!) in 2012 and a slightly older bass player (hi David) continue to evolve and write compelling, modern, songs that speak to their peers like few others. Mercedes, Phoenix, and David could very well end up being one of the voices of their generation. Live, they are one of the most energetic and joyous bands you will ever witness. As musicians, singers, and writers, they are positively blessed. Canadian Alties…keep an eye on them in 2013.

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Jesse Ware: Running

My interest is piqued. I feel there is more to this artist to come, but this is a good start.

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Bonnie Raitt: Not Cause I Want To

…and yet another ‘old’ career artist who still makes wonderful records and has trouble getting airplay because she hasn’t fallen out of a car on TMZ with her panties around her ankles. I, for one, am thrilled she’s still making records that resonate….

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Rival Sons: 31 Songs

rivalsons_730x362I have stated repeatedly that this group is the future of real rock and roll. I have not changed my mind. Thanks to forward thinking radio stations like 94.9 The Rock, you can hear them on terrestrial radio in the Greater Toronto Area. 2013 will be their breakout year.

Just let this play. Hear and see their diversity for yourselves.

Rival Sons 31 Song Playlist

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Xprime: Jane’s Modern Waltz

My absolute favourite new band. They are fresh, yet rooted in the history of rock and pop music, and are, to a man, the most down to earth, focused and talented singer/songwriting/musicians I have seen and heard in many a moon. More importantly, they are a GROUP. Remember, like in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when you learned band member’s individual names, and followed everything about them, from the music, to their sartorial choices? Xprime are both a throwback and the future of their ilk. Where Rival Sons may be the future Kings of Rock and Roll, Xprime are capable of taking the throne vacated by the vaunted British pop groups of the ‘60s, the ones who made lasting magic with 2 guitars, bass and drums, and wrote melodies and sang harmonies we still cannot forget. I already refer to them as the Kings of CanPop, but that’s just me and my damnable optimism. You have GOT to see these kids (one just turned 20) live. If you’re in the Toronto area, they are the resident Sunday night band at Cherry Cola’s. Not only are their original songs as good as any that have come before, your jaw will drop when you hear them do their well selected covers. There is simply nothing like them out there. You have to see and hear them for yourselves.

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There is so much good music being made today, that this small list is just a tiny sample of the wealth of great new music coming at us from all directions. 2013 looks to be a watershed year for musical shifts, and the return of career artists as a good investment.

BONUS!

Of course this track is as old as Pop Tarts, and still just as tasty. The reason it’s here is because of a newly available recording of just the vocals of this classic Phil Spector production. Ronnie Spector’s voice will astound you even more than it has in the past. Rock, soul, and steamy…equal parts of the Holy Trinity of the music that inspired today’s artists with a future.

The Ronnettes: Baby I Love You

The Worst….

MinajIf you insist on hearing any of this stuff, you are on your own. You will get no links here.

Just turn on a tightly formatted contemporary radio station and listen for an hour, or as long as you can. You will hear some candidates. I could mention Pitbull, Drake, Nikki Minaj and others…but I won’t.

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Movies

MovieLogos1Here are a few of the Movies that rang my bell last year. My bell is not normally rung by pretentious writing, dreary ‘slice of life’ morality plays, or slow moving stories populated by method actors and directors who seem to think that ‘linger’ is what you do to create drama and tension. Write more dialogue instead of filming dead silence and close ups of a woman in a slip making a tuna fish sandwich and quietly sobbing because the man/boy she loves is an unshaven lout who loves her but cannot communicate it to her because his father beat his mother when he was young and he watched in silence from a doorway, hidden by his own desire to become invisi…shit, you know what I’m talking about. At least one of these ‘films’ will get an Oscar nod this year…they always do.

On the other hand….

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Seven Psychopaths

Dear Mr. Tarantino,

quentin-tarantino-smurf_2817You know that movie you’ve been trying to make you entire career that is edgy, overflowing with irony, populated by interesting, damaged characters, who are so flawed that even your heroes are barely tolerable to root for? Well, I have seen that movie done so right I can’t imagine why you still write and direct. I mean, you do wield a sledgehammer to make your points better than almost anyone, and your odd idea to put a Bruce Willis movie in the middle of Pulp Fiction was kinda bold, but movies like 2010’s Machete, and now Seven Psychopaths, has proven to me that a movie that is witty, intelligent, hilarious and edgy is possible without looking Quentin-Tarantinoand sounding like it was made for angry 12 year old boys who want to be Eminem and shoot people because ‘they done them wrong’. Guillermo del Toro really is ethnic, and happy enough not to want to be anyone but himself, so when he writes an Hispanic character, I sense the truth in his portrayal. I would like to make a suggestion to you, sir, based on the elements you include in almost all of your entertainments. Rewrite the novel “Black Like Me” as a revenge/crime actioner, and star in it yourself. You will still be able to direct using your favoured ‘locked off’ camera approach, and no one will be the wiser. Maybe you could even cast Uma Thurman as an edgy, knife wielding, homely, quirky homeless person who befriends you, after your transformation, quentin_1441835proving to you that all white people are not racists.

Anyway…it’s just a suggestion. Enlcosed, please find DVDs of Blue Velvet, Fargo, In Cold Blood, Dusk to Dawn, Mariachi, and a few other classics from Rodriguez, del Toro, Lynch, and the Cohen Brothers. You really should watch them. Seriously.

Your friend,

Bob

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The Avengers

Plot holes? Plenty. Break the laws of physics? Why not? Scenery chewing Norse Gods and a Not-so-jolly Green Giant? Check. Impossible feats of derring-do and a redheaded assistant you would want to spend the day in bed with and a leather clad hottie equally as desirable who can also watch your back against Aliens, Evil Poofters, and falling debris? Yep, yes, and affirmative. A comic book/superhero movie that gets it right and is uproariously as funny as its visuals are exciting and entertaining. Laugh if you want, but I live for movies like this. Truly worth the hassle, expense, and inconvenience of sitting in a theatre eating a 30 dollar ‘snack’ and surrounded by cell phone brandishing school kids. More, please.

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Hitchcock

Okay…Just give Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins their Statuettes and let us go home. When people talk about ‘chemistry’ between actors on screen, you would have to go back to Tracy and Hepburn, Bogie and Bacall, and Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe to get it this wonderful. What a thrill to see a movie without a single teenage angst subplot, whiny children, or sparkly vampires/werewolves/flavour of the month. This has a great cast all around, spot-on dialogue, and the delightful tale of how Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho, came to be. Do not miss….

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There are more movies I enjoyed, of course, (The Hobbit is stunningly beautiful to look at), but these 3 stood out for me. The roster of films being released in 2013 is mindboggling. I am already in line for a bunch of them.

The Worst….

We can just point to the Twilight franchise, the Chris Nolan Batman embarrassment, and the reboot of everybody’s favourite webslinger and stop there.

BONUS!

I love 3D, and I wish the haters would lighten up about it. Anything this immersive is a boon to film makers and people like me who love to disappear into their movies. Toward the end of 2012, I noticed a trend of old films being retro-fitted with the latest technology. I have in my possession, 3D enabled versions of recent fare like the oft-maligned, but highly enjoyable popcorn flick, I, Robot, but the real eyeball burners are the retooled Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the classic, Dial M for Murder. Check them out if you get a chance. Chapter 2 of Star Wars drops soon in 3D, and in April, we get the first Jurassic Park movie back in theatres, this time in 3D.

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Television

Television is experiencing a Golden Age unlike any in its long and checkered past. There are nights when as many as seven different shows are on that have my attention. And for my intellectual friends who brag about not owning or watching a TV in years…I fully understand your disdain for the medium, but all kidding aside, you are missing some fiiine shit. Even the guilty pleasures aren’t so embarrassing to admit to watching anymore.

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Comic Book Men

Wow…a reality show that even I can love. Kevin Smith hosts a roundtable of friends who work in his Secret Stash comic book store in New Jersey, and they sit around a table and crack wise and show film clips of what goes on in the store. Almost a spin-off of The Big Bang Theory, if you are a comic book lover (or collector) this show will definitely become a staple in your home. Big fun.

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Magic City

The reviews were harsh, the numbers brutal, and it may not survive for another season, but it is one of those shows I cannot turn away from when it’s on. The cars, the clothes, the beautiful (and often nude) women, and the music and style of the late ‘50s, early ‘60s combined with a series of subplots concerning scandal, crime, and murder, plays out against a backdrop of Miami Beach and one of its glamorous (read Fontainebleau) hotels from that era. A beautiful, pastel infused guilty pleasure.

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Revenge

Alias meets Dynasty. Nothing and no one are what they seem, everybody is out to get everybody else, and there isn’t a female on this show I wouldn’t want to tap. Advantage: Revenge!

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2 Broke Girls/Whitney

You either love Whitney Cummings or hate her, and I fall into the former category.  She produces 2 Broke Girls (think Laverne and Shirley) which makes me laugh out loud for the entirety of its highly predictable, but outrageously funny run-time, and Whitney, which she stars in, (think Mad About You) is equally as engaging. Cummings might not be your cup of tea, but she has my vote as one funny, savvy, broad. She also has a half hour talk show. Busy babe….

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Vegas

A great cast led by Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklas spin out a soap opera/crime/political drama/cowboy mash-up that takes place in 1950s Las Vegas and has a ball doing it. Dennis Quaid has the best Harrison Ford squinty-eyed angry face this side of, well…Harrison Ford. Watch it while you can…it has the kind of numbers that make its cast start looking for auditions for other shows. Pity.

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Bunheads

Far and away my favourite new show on television is this gem from writerdirector, and producer, Amy Sherman-Palladino,  founder of Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions. She is best known as the creator of the television series Gilmore Girls. The rapid-fire dialogue, quirky characters, and surreal premise make it a combination of Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks, and Pushing Up Daisies. What’s it about? A Las Vegas showgirl, an aging Doyenne, a group of friends consisting of a pack of teenage girls, a Ballet school in a dozy California town, and…uh…hell, I don’t know WHAT it’s about. All I DO know is that I look forward to it every week and the hour long manages to fly by in what feels like 10 minutes. The critics love it as much as I do, but most of the general public hasn’t even heard of it. I know it sounds crazy…a show revolving around ballet, but believe it or not, theis series just crackles with all the right moves. My fingers are crossed.

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Ongoing series like CSI, Castle, Bones, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter (who begins its last season later this year) and Fringe, have all been stellar entertainment this past year. I love much of the current offerings on TV, but I don’t watch them on television…and I won’t…until TV smartens up and makes all their content on demand. It’s 2013…we have options, old school people, join us in the here and now, or we’ll see you at the next typewriter/fax machine expostition. Did I mention the British series Sherlock? Oh. Yes. I just did. So good it’s worth buying a TV if you don’t have one.

Oh…one last thing concerning television. Bob’s Burgers is freakin’ Bob_s_Burgers_48210hysterical, and Seth McFarland, smug self-promoter, is likewise hysterical. Even the Simpsons showed signs of life in 2012. YAY!

BONUS!

No one I know has heard of either of these shows. Seek them out. If you don’t laugh yourself sick, may I recommend a Jerry Lewis marathon…in Paris. There are hourly flights from New York.

A Touch of Cloth

It looks like an actual crime drama on the surface, but in fact, it is an astonishingly intellectual parody of the genre. 4th walls disappear, self referential statements abound, and all with a straight British face. Wonderful.

Bullet in the Face

Tons of graphic novel violence, insanely over the top scenery chewing characters, and a perfect Eddie Izzard combine to make a series of off kilter film noir cliches into a dead serious laugh-out-loud experience that will have the anti-violence/gun control people in a snit. Everything about this series is larger (and goofier) than I thought possible.

The Worst….

Modern Family, Survivor, American Idol, all the usual suspects, now joined by the hair ball inducing The New Girl, whatever that thing poor old Betty White is doing (not Hot in Cleveland, that’s actually funny in a ‘why-am-I-watching-this?’ kind of way) and Girls…an award winning, whiny, washed-out hour long that crawls by in what seems to be 3 hours, and is sooo relentlessly meh, that it might as well be shot in gray and white.

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Books/Print

Keith Richard, Pete Townshend, and Stephen King, everybody else…hit the showers….

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Wonder_Woman_and_Superman_by_JPMayerComics

Superman is finally boning Wonder Woman, Catwoman is using Batman as a sex toy, and Peter Parker is dead and Doc Ock is the new Spiderman. So…nothing new here except a few desperate man/boys trying to make more money than they are worth. May 2013 see some youngbloods who are clever enough to infuse some life in the iconic characters that the current crop of creatively challenged managers just kill, maim, or replace, to make a sale. *sigh*

Now to edit Nadia’s column…See you next Sunday.

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Segarini’s regular column appears here every Monday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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One Response to “Segarini: Bob’s Best (and Worst) of 2012”

  1. Reblogged this on front of house photo graphy and commented:
    As always, I learn something new from Segarini. I don’ know how he does it but he’s always a few steps ahead with some great tidbits

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