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Make The Holidays ’80s Again With Joe’s Pub
Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.
A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.
Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.
The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:
Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa
The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.
A Muppet Family Christmas
The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.
Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas
To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.
Star Wars Holiday Special
Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.
Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special
Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.
Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.
The 10 Most Fist-Pumping Songs From the Rocky Movies
Whether it’s in the gym or at our cubicle, Rocky has been inspiring all of us to take it to the max since 1976. And a big part of the underdog boxer’s success is the many great songs that have been featured on the Rocky movie soundtracks.
Before you catch IFC’s Rockymovie marathon, raise your fists high with 10 rousing songs that inspire the fighter in all of us.
10. “Keep it Up,” Snap! (Rocky V)
You’re forgiven if you don’t remember the Rocky V soundtrack, which featured a forgettable MC Hammer track (“That’s What I Said“) where the parachute-pants wearing rapper basically repeats “Hammertime!” and “Can’t Touch This” over a lackluster beat. But if you’re looking for a solid early ’90s workout jam, you could do worse than “Keep It Up” from the Eurodance outfit Snap!. Sure, it’s pretty much a carbon copy of their far superior hit “The Power,” but this is Rocky V we’re talking about. “Passable” should be one of its IMDB keywords.
9. “Last Breath,” Future (Creed)
The 2015 hit Creed carried the Rocky soundtrack torch proudly, offering up a healthy mix of rousing hip-hop and R&B. “Last Breath,” from frequent Drake collaborate Future, lifts elements of Bill Conti’s iconic Rocky theme to create a propulsive hip hop track that, like the film it comes from, pays tribute to past greats while also sounding like the (pun ahead!) future.
8. “Double or Nothing,” Kenny Loggins and Gladys Knight (Rocky IV)
’80s soundtrack king Kenny “Footloose” Loggins teamed up with Gladys Knight for this catchy midtempo number. On the scale of Loggins soundtrack hits, this one is no “Danger Zone.” It’s not even “Nobody’s Fool” from Caddyshack II. But it’ll still get the job done when you’re going double or nothing on the treadmill.
7. “Hearts on Fire,” John Cafferty (Rocky IV)
Stallone was such a fan of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band (yes, that’s a real band), he used one of their songs in his 1986 actioner Cobra. Cafferty went solo for this synth-tastic Rocky IV track, which was cowritten by composer Vince Dicola. If ’80s synths are your jam, look no further.
6. “It’s a Fight,” Three 6 Mafia (Rocky Balboa)
The Rocky Balboa soundtrack featured music highlights from every Rocky soundtrack and a new song from rap group Three 6 Mafia. While it didn’t win an Oscar like the group’s hit “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp,” this track still gets the blood pumping. Too bad though. We would’ve liked to see Three 6 Mafia give an Oscar shout-out to ol’ Rocky.
5. “Lord Knows,” Meek Mill (Creed)
Another gem from the Creed soundtrack, this Meek Mill track was the perfect musical accompaniment to Adonis’ upward climb. In fact, the entire soundtrack is pretty great. Check out “Grip” from Creed star Tessa Thompson for a relaxing cool down after you’ve gone several rounds in the ring or in rush hour traffic.
4. “Burning Heart,” Survivor (Rocky IV)
Yes, there was another epic Survivor track on the Rocky IV soundtrack. The “Eye of the Tiger” band scored a #2 Billboard hit with this ’80s power ballad gem. Nothing sums up the Cold War climate of 1985 better than lines like “Is it East Vs. West?” and “Can any nation stand alooooone!.” And nothing says 1985 more than lead singer Jimi Jamison’s flowing locks and the keyboardist’s giant glasses and puffy shirt.
3. “Living in America,” James Brown (Rocky IV)
The Godfather of Soul’s hit perfectly sums up Rocky IV‘s mix of patriotism and over-the-top action. Watch the video and try not start dancing. It’s so fun, it almost makes us forget Paulie’s robot. Almost.
2. “Gonna Fly Now,” Bill Conti (Rocky)
Conti’s triumphant Rocky theme was an instant hit, climbing the Billboard charts in 1977 despite being mostly instrumental. (Fun fact: DeEtta Little, the sister of Blazing Saddles star Cleavon Little, sang the iconic lyrics with Nelson Pigford.)
1. “Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor (Rocky III)
This Rocky III hit has become shorthand for keeping your eye on the prize, whether that prize is defeating Mr. T in the ring or scoring the last pastry in the office break room.
“Weird Al” to Release Massive 15-Album Accordion-Shaped Box Set
When you’ve been a performer for nearly 40 years, a boxed set cataloging your 15 studio albums far exceeds the indignity of a flimsy cardboard sleeve. Which is why the upcoming “Weird Al” career-spanning box set will arrive in its very own accordion.
According to a report by Vulture, the Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader’s compilation — appropriately titled Squeeze Box — will include rare tracks and a 100-page book chronicling the work, life, and Hawaiian shirts of America’s favorite song parodist. And rejoice, audio purists: You’ll be able to buy Squeeze Box in vinyl, CD, and digital formats.
Look for the Weird Al box, er, accordion set next year. Fingers crossed that the special edition will come packaged in a giant spatula.
Watch Al go medieval in a clip from this week’s all new Comedy Bang! Bang!:
“Weird Al” Yankovic Announces Mandatory World Tour Dates
As we contemplate groggily walking over to the fridge to finish off that leftover scampi, “Weird Al” Yankovic just announced he’ll be kicking off a 76-date live tour across North America. From the start of June to the end of September, Comedy Bang! Bang!‘s new cohost and bandleader will be traversing the US and Canada after extending his Mandatory Fun tour into this year.
In a statement, Yankovic said, “I’ve decided to do the Mandatory World Tour for one more year, after learning that some people didn’t make it out to the show this last time around. Apparently, they don’t know the meaning of the word ‘mandatory’!!”
Pre-sales begin Wednesday, Feb. 24th, at WeirdAl.com with regular online sales beginning Friday the 26th. Check out Al’s live dates below, and if you’ll excuse us, we need to rest up a bit before we eat that scampi.
Weird Al’s The Return of the Mandatory World Tour 2016
Friday, June 3 – Saint Petersburg, FL – Mahaffey Theatre
Saturday, June 4 – West Palm Beach, FL – Kravis Center for the Performing Arts – – Dreyfoos Hall
Sunday, June 5 – Fort Myers, FL – Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center
Tuesday, June 7 – Mobile, AL – Saenger Theatre
Thursday, June 9 – Lakeland, FL – Youkey Theatre
Friday, June 10 – Miami, FL – Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, June 11 – Saint Augustine, FL – Saint Augustine Amphitheatre
Sunday, June 12 – Birmingham, AL – BJCC Concert Hall
Wednesday, June 15 – Louisville, KY – Iroquois Amphitheatre
Thursday, June 16 – Nashville, TN – Grand Ole Opry House
Friday, June 17 – Huntsville, AL – Von Braun Center
Saturday, June 18 – Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum Complex – White Oak Amphitheater
Sunday, June 19 – Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre
Tuesday, June 21 – Portsmouth, VA – NTELOS Pavilion at Harbor Center
Wednesday, June 22 – Baltimore, MD – Hippodrome
Friday, June 24 – Akron, OH – Akron Civic Theatre
Saturday, June 25 – Bay City, MI – Veterans Memorial Park
Sunday, June 26 – Fort Wayne, IN – Foellinger Theatre
Tuesday, June 28 – Evansville, IN – Victory Theatre
Friday, July 1 – Toledo, OH – Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre
Saturday, July 2 – Aurora, IL – RiverEdge Park
Sunday, July 3 – Merrillville, IN – Star Plaza Theatre
Wednesday, July 6 – Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre
Thursday, July 7 – Indianapolis, IN – Farmer’s Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
Friday, July 8 – Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
Saturday, July 9 – Chattanooga, TN – Tivoli Theatre
Sunday, July 10 – Southaven, MS – Snowden Grove Amphitheatre
Tuesday, July 12 – Austin, TX – Bass Concert Hall
Thursday, July 14 – Houston, TX – Brown Theatre at Wortham Center
Friday, July 15 – Biloxi, MS – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hard Rock Live
Saturday, July 16 – Dallas, TX – Winspear Opera House
Sunday, July 17 – Enid, OK – Enid Event Center
Tuesday, July 19 – El Paso, TX – Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center
Thursday, July 21 – San Diego, CA – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
Friday–Saturday, July 22–23 – Los Angeles – Hollywood Bowl
Sunday, July 24 – San Jose, CA – City National Civic
Tuesday–Wednesday – July 26–27 – Woodland Park Zoo
Thursday, July 28 – Troutdale, OR – Edgefield
Friday, July 29 – Eugene, OR – Cuthbert Amphitheatre
Saturday, July 30 – Rohnert Park, CA – Sonoma State University – Green Music Center
Tuesday, August 2 – Santa Barbara, CA – Arlington Theatre
Wednesday, August 3 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre
Saturday, August 6 – Littleton, CO – The Hudson Gardens & Event Center
Sunday, August 7 – Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre
Tuesday, August 9 – Cedar Rapids, IA – McGrath Amphitheatre
Wednesday, August 10 – Lincoln, NE – Pinewood Bowl Amphitheatre
Saturday, August 13 – Sturgis, SD – Buffalo Chip Campground
Sunday, August 14 – Regina, SK – Conexus Arts Center
Monday, August 15 – Winnipeg, MB – Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts
Thursday, August 18 – Thunder Bay, ON – Thunder Bay Community Auditorium
Friday, August 19 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre
Saturday, August 20 – Appleton, WI – Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Sunday, August 21 – Madison, WI – Overture Hall
Tuesday, August 23 – Rockford, IL – Coronado Theatre
Wednesday, August 24 – Paducah, KY – Carson Center
Friday, August 26 – Grand Rapids, MI – Devos Performance Hall
Saturday, August 27 – Sterling Heights, MI – Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
Sunday, August 28 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at The Heights
Tuesday, August 30 – Wilmington, DE – The Playhouse Theatre
Thursday, September 1 – Lowell, MA – Boarding House Park
Friday, September 2 – Gilford, NH – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
Saturday, September 3 – Canandaigua, NY – Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
Sunday, September 4 – Big Flats, NY – The Summer Stage at Tags
Wednesday, September 7 – Columbia, SC – Koger Center for the Arts – U of SC
Thursday, September 8 – Wilmington, NC – Cape Fear Community College – Humanities and Fine Arts Center
Friday, September 9 – Durham, SC – Durham Performing Arts Center
Saturday, September 10 – Ashville, NC – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Sunday, September 11 – Vienna, VA – Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Tuesday, September 13 – Hershey, PA – Hershey Theatre
Wednesday, September 14 – Providence, RI – Providence Performing Arts Center
Friday, September 16 – Pittsburgh, PA – Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, September 17 – Schenectady, NY – Proctor’s Theatre
Sunday, September 18 – Waterbury, CT – Palace Theatre
Thursday, September 22 – Charleston, WV – Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences
Friday, September 23 – Atlantic City, NY – Caesar’s Atlantic City – Circus Maximus
Saturday, September 24 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
10 Groovy That ’70s Show Musical Moments
Anyone who grew up in the ’70s will tell you that the decade gave us some of the greatest music humanity has ever produced. And few shows captured the hazy, hard rockin’ vibe of the Me Decade better than That ’70s Show. (Heck, the show even named episodes after songs by Led Zeppelin, The Who and more.) Before you catch That ’70s Show on IFC, check out some moments where the gang turned things up to 11.
1. The Theme Song
Of course That ’70s Show starts with a classic rock track, and a particularly catchy one at that. The gang can be seen rocking out to Big Star’s “In the Street” as covered by Cheap Trick. (Todd Griffin sang the theme during the first season before Cheap Trick’s version was used for the rest of the show’s run.) And every time you find yourself singing along, take heart in the knowledge that Big Star’s Alex Chilton got an apropos $70 payment every time it was aired.
2. ‘Who’ Was That Guest Star?
Who better to play Fez’s music teacher than Roger Daltrey, the man who gave us some of the greatest teen anthems of all time? The Who frontman also joined the gang in “The Circle” to profess his love for cheeseburgers.
3. Alice Cooper Plays D&D
Another rocker changed the meaning of “play” by appearing in the show to roll dice and slay dragons. Who wouldn’t want Alice Cooper in their Dungeons & Dragons game?
4. The gang sings “The Joker”
That ’70s Show‘s musical episode — cunningly called “That ’70s Musical” — was a treat for fans of the decade. The gang (sans Jackie and Fez) performed the Steve Miller classic complete with trippy light effects and Hyde singing the “midnight toker” line.
5. That Disco Episode
A web of jealousy and confusion entraps the characters, but the glitter and glee of disco keeps them boogie-ing in “That Disco Episode.” And Eric’s later revelation of roller disco mastery is a real blast from the past.
6. (Still) Stayin’ Alive
Disco never dies, and “That Velvet Rope” saw Eric Foreman definitely “Stayin’ Alive” to the most strut-able beat ever laid down in his shag-carpeted tribute to Saturday Night Fever. It’s just a shame the bouncer wouldn’t let him into the club.
7. Charo Brings the Coochie Coochie
Charo’s bubbly persona led to her starring in shows decades after her original fame, enabling her to “coochie-coochie” with Kitty long after her Love Boat and flamenco guitar heyday.
8. Isaac Hayes Serenades Fez
Who is the man, who will help Fez when no one can? Someone even better than Shaft — Shaft theme song singer, Isaac Hayes. The smooth crooner and South Park star provided the soundtrack for the cool cat ladies man known as “Work Fez.”
9. Hyde Loves Zeppelin
Good music can get you through anything, and Hyde had to go through more than most. Luckily he had excellent taste to see him through those trying times.
10. Eric Goes Full Kiss
Red’s vision of what an undisciplined Eric would be like was every ’70s parent’s worst nightmare.
Watch Fred Armisen’s Heartfelt Tribute to David Bowie
In life, David Bowie touched the lives of millions with beautiful, soulful performances that flowed from fearless, boundless flare. And since his passing, fellow artists and performers have expressed how instrumental his music, his individuality, and his being was to the development of their art. One of those devotees is Portlandia star Fred Armisen who took to his former Saturday Night Live stage and spoke of how Bowie’s live performances from a 1979 SNL episode have stuck with him since high school.
“Watching him was, for me, a life-changing experience,” Armisen said. “He had these backup singers that were like choir singers from the future and a toy poodle with a TV monitor in his mouth.”
Watch Fred’s heartfelt tribute to the late singer below. For more Fred, check out his Facebook Q&A and watch a free episode from the new season of Portlandia right now on IFC.com or on the IFC app.
Carrie Brownstein, Fred Armisen, Marc Maron and More Pay Tribute to the Great David Bowie
David Bowie was, is, and forever will be a beacon of art, love, and spirit for people who needed it the most. Those of us who grew up without a sense of belonging, plagued with inhibitions that prevented us from being our true selves for fear of being labeled “weird” or “wrong,” we were graced by an artist who unabashedly proved there is beauty in the weird and never sacrificed a shred of dignity in doing so. Connecting millions of fans, spanning decades, lifting lives through countless personas and styles, Bowie was just one man telling everyone to be themselves.
So it’s no surprise other artists and entertainers who drew so much inspiration from Bowie felt the same gut punch of loss when hearing of his passing. But as soon as grief gives way to solace, and we realize how truly timeless his work is, and just how many people we love also loved him, the world will seem a far less lonely place.
Watch Fred Armisen Join Sleater-Kinney on Stage for a B-52’s Cover
Created by two musicians, Portlandia is steeped in rhythm. Each sketch a song, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein play with beats, crescendos, and time signatures to create a vast array of genre and mood. (It also helps they’re comedic geniuses.) So it’s always such a pleasure to see the duo perform actual music together. This week, Brownstein’s band Sleater-Kinney performed at Terminal 5 in New York and Armisen joined them on stage for a killer cover of The B-52’s single “Rock Lobster.” Fun and infectious, it’s a joy to behold two friends who ultimately just want to rock out.
Check out Fred and Carrie absolutely kill the new wave hit from 1978 below.
Get Gentle and Soft With The Blue Jean Committee’s New EP
The Blue Jean Committee is about to head straight up the charts with their new song “Gentle & Soft.” Is it us, or did it just get really smooth in here?
The band, whose tumultuous history was chronicled in a compelling two-part episode of Documentary Now!,is back with an extremely soft bullet with the release of Catalina Breeze, an actual 12″ EP with actual songs that you can actually (and should actually) buy. As Fred Armisen, who sings in the Blue Jean Committee along with his Documentary Now! cohort Bill Hader, told EW, he wanted the band to capture the ’70s California soft rock sound. “So the best way to do it for us would be to just spell it out and call the song ‘Gentle and Soft,'” Armisen said.
The EP, which will be released on November 20th, also features the classic BJC tracks “Mama You’re a Dancer,” “Walking Shoes” and the titular jam all about relaxing Catalina breezes. True to its name, the Catalina Breeze EP will hit you like the wind, rushing your hair into a halo, which is as gentle and soft as it comes. Head over to Drag City to listen to song samples and grab the EP.
Blue Jean Committee’s ‘Catalina Breeze’ Is Coming Out on Vinyl
If you’re like us, you’ve been listening to the Blue Jean Committee’s “Catalina Breeze” on an endless loop. The ’70s soft rock gurus (played by Fred Armisen and Bill Hader on an upcoming episode of Documentary Now!) are back in a big way, and have even recorded a brand-new EP featuring “Catalina Breeze” and more mellow tracks that you can order on 12″ vinyl right now. It’s the perfect soundtrack to mellow nights sipping champagne out of a coconut as you set off on the high seas of smooth.
BJC, as they’re called by loyal Jean-heads, were one of the best known Loggins & Messina-inspired bands from the late ’70s Northampton, Massachusetts music scene. The band eventually hit it big thanks to a unique talk-singing vocal style and sweet, sweet falsetto that will pierce your mind (also glass). Their new EP includes other relaxing ditties like “Massachusetts Afternoon” (which you might have heard on SNL), “Gentle and Soft,” “Mama You’re a Dancer,” “Walking Shoes” and more.
Fred has worked with Drag City in the past to release albums by his other bands like Crisis of Conformity, drummer Jens Hannemann, and SNL‘s The Bjelland Brothers, where he and Bryan Cranston wanted to know if you got that bottle of sparkling apple juice. We think you’ll agree that the boys of Blue Jean Committee are the perfect addition to the Drag City line-up.
Check out BJC performing “Catalina Breeze” during their recent reunion performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers below. And head over to Documentary Now!‘s music section to listen to more gentle tunes from the Blue Jean Committee.
Missed the premiere of Documentary Now! and suffering from serious FOMO? Catch the first episode at any of the times below or check it out on demand.