Thursday, July 26, 2007

'Music Man' of all seasons

Buzz Halsing prefers the complexity of modern musicals to the chestnuts of American theater, and there's no denying that "The Music Man" falls into the latter category.

Indeed, Meredith Willson's tale of Professor Harold Hill and his efforts to swindle the good people of River City, Iowa, is marking its 50th anniversary in 2007. The musical is regularly staged by everyone from professional companies to high schools and certainly qualifies as an unabashed warhorse.
In the main picture for this story you can see the intricacy of the backdrops. In the secondary picture (above) you can see me on the right.

Eddie and Megan Simpsonized

As part of the promotional blitz for The Simpsons Movie, there is a Simpsonize Me site (sponsored by Burger King) where you can upload a photo of yourself and have it transformed into a Simpsons version of yourself (tweaking is required). Megan created versions of both of us, which I think are pretty impressive.

Graphic novel captures 'Heroes'

The hit NBC series Heroes is full of characters that could be torn from the pages of a graphic novel. The odd thing is, except for artwork on the show and a series of online adaptations, there has never been a Heroes graphic novel.

That changes this fall, when DC Comics offers a hardcover collection based on a series of 43 comic-book vignettes that appeared on the Heroes website last season.

You might remember that I mentioned the online comics back in October. The weekly series is up to Chapter 43, since they keep publishing them even when the show isn't airing.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

'The Simpsons Movie' Hometown Premiere Contest

Cast your vote for the Springfield video that best represents "Simpson Spirit" and is most-deserving of hosting the hometown premiere of The Simpsons Movie, which hits theaters July 27. Voting ends July 9 at 11:59 pm PT. Please note that to view this presentation, you need a broadband Internet connection and the latest Flash plug-in (version 8 or higher).
The Springfield, Oregon video is pretty entertaining. Watch the credits, too.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Taco Bell using ripoff of Eels song?

I'm a fan of Eels (the band), and a recent Taco Bell commercial for "Fourth Meal" caught my attention because it uses music that sounds suspiciously like the song "Souljacker, Pt. 1" from the Eels album Souljacker.

First, listen to the song.

Next, listen to the commercial. It took me a while to track it down online, but you can see it if you follow these directions. Go to, then click on the "Theatre" link on the bottom. After the Theatre has loaded, click and drag off the "World Stops" ticket and it will begin playing the commercial.

You might be thinking that this is no big deal because musicians routinely license their songs or re-workings of their songs for advertisements. But the singular force behind Eels (Mark Oliver Everett, or "E") absolutely refuses to license his work for commercials (see FAQ). So either E has changed his stance or Taco Bell is doing something untoward. Because their commercial's music is way too similar for it to be an accident.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Marriage of Convenience: 7-Eleven, 'Simpsons'

After months of speculation, the convenience chain has revealed details of its "most massive and complex" monthlong promotion for the July 27 release of "The Simpsons Movie." Starting today, the marketer will remodel overnight a dozen stores in the U.S. and Canada into the Kwik-E-Marts of the cartoon family's fictional Springfield, USA hometown.

Check out this Flickr photo set of a converted store in Burbank, CA.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Big bats back dominant Lincecum

SAN FRANCISCO -- There were a lot of zeros in Sunday's game, mostly under the Diamondbacks' run column, but the biggest zero of all for starting pitcher Tim Lincecum was the one next to the number of walks issued.
We saw this game today and it was exciting despite the fact Barry Bonds didn't hit any homers. Really, how often do you see a 13-0 game? Plus, after it was over, the All-Star lineup was announced.