DID YOU READ

A “Sound” Way to Celebrate Record Store Day in New York, Chicago & St. Louis

A “Sound” Way to Celebrate Record Store Day in New York, Chicago & St. Louis (photo)

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With her flame-red locks and a weeklong international tour, you would be forgiven for thinking Jeanie Finlay was picking up where Santa Claus left off. However, the occasion isn’t Christmas, but another annual tradition worthy of merrymaking and good cheer — Record Store Day, which Finlay is celebrating this week with a whirlwind tour of England and America, including stops at the CIMM Fest in Chicago on April 16th and the Webster Film Series in St. Louis (April 22-24), and the centerpiece of her Stateside appearances, a screening at the Walter Reade Theater in New York on Saturday evening, to show her latest film, “Sound It Out,” a documentary about the last record store in the small North East England town of Teesside that our own Matt Singer wrote after its premiere at SXSW “isn’t just good – it’s important.”

As with most things that carry such weight, “Sound It Out” was born out of humble origins, a personal film that Finlay shot herself in the cramped confines of a store with far more albums (over 70,000) than square feet of floor space where the customers range from dapper older fellows who consider record collecting to be a “pursuit for a gentleman” to black leather-clad metalheads. In a conversation before Finlay embarked on her cross-continental screening tour, she told me she would often target “the shiest person in the room because often they’re the most interesting,” which made it convenient for the director since arguably the film’s most bashful participant is the store’s owner Tom Butchart, a fountain of knowledge of everything pressed on vinyl and a hysterically funny dry wit. (His observation that “Eight of 10 men would turn gay for Morrissey” is a show stopper.)

04142011_SoundItOut3.jpgWhile it took some convincing on Finlay’s part to get him on camera, it wasn’t for a lack of familiarity — the two went to school together and when his store became the last one standing, Finlay took it upon herself to start filming and eventually picked up the support of over a hundred donors on the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to continue on a 19-month shoot. Although plenty happens within the store, most notably enjoyable in-store performances from the likes of chanteuse Saint Saviour, it was actually the film’s executive producer Dunstan Bruce, the former lead singer of Chumbawamba, who suggested Finlay step outside the record store to capture the town where both culture and the countryside as a whole have been hit hard by the recession, though the Sound It Out shop still functions as a safe haven for all.

“Vinyl isn’t dead,” Finlay says now, despite the fact she confessed at SXSW that she had to part with her record collection two years ago to finance part of her wedding. As she told the crowd then, the film reaffirmed her belief that “Records are much more than blank discs — they’re laden with memories. I don’t think I’ll feel the same way about Mp3s.”

Still, even after “Sound It Out” got the documentarian readdicted to record buying, she won’t have much time to spend with them in the months ahead. Finlay is currently at work on two more exciting music-related documentaries: one, “Orion,” about Jimmy Ellis, a contemporary of Elvis who used his vocal and physical similarities to the King to ride his coattails and simultaneously wore a mask to separate himself and carve out his own niche, and “The Great Hip Hop Hoax,” a film she says “is about lying basically” as it tells the story of two British rappers who remade themselves into a faux California hip-hop act when their music was met with indifference in England.

Surely, no such fate awaits “Sound It Out,” which like the albums coveted by the customers of the Teesside shop captures a particular time and place in a lovely way that will be music to the ears of vinyl collectors and film fans alike, making it a can’t miss proposition as Finlay accompanies it across the U.S. this weekend and rest assured, when she gets back, Tom has already set aside a new pressing of Belle & Sebastian waiting just for her.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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