Saturday, August 29, 2009

End of an Era: Sadly, Reading Rainbow is No More

It is with deep regret that I am writing this post to commemorate the cancellation of one of the most important and influential television shows of my generation: Reading Rainbow. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that, in today's society, there would eventually be no place for such an uplifting and educational program. But you know what, personally I'm not willing to accept that.

I'm not so presumtuous that I would say this show meant any more to me than any of the millions of people also mourning the loss, but it did mean a hell of a lot to me. It sparked more childhood interest in reading and trips to the library than any other program ever produced. And I don't doubt that the show had a part in me eventually discovering that what I wanted to do with my life was to write stories.

In one respect, it's more unfortunate for my own children, because they will be raised never having known the show. But I'd like to think that my own interest in reading, and ensuring that my kids have a healthy and active imagination will carry them through-- certainly due in some small part to my own exposure to the show as a child.

When I heard that the show was cancelled, I immediately looked up the introduction on YouTube and, upon hearing just the first few synthesized flute notes, nearly got choked up. I'm not exaggerating.

So, I present to you the intro to the show in it's entirety.

Godspeed to the kids of this generation who will only be exposed to the inane, ADHD inducing tripe that passes as children's entertainment these days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monster Mania 13 is this weekend...

This weekend the ever-growing horror convention known as Monster-Mania will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. I've been to this show five times before (including the last show in Cromwell, Connecticut) and honestly, it's always a really good time. I've never considered myself someone who would enjoy going to "fan conventions"-- and in a way, I do go about the show in different way than many fans. For one, I'm not much of an autograph maven. I don't begrudge those who wait in line to pay for their favorite stars autograph, but it's just not for me.

What I enjoy about the show are the dealer tables at which you can find some unique and truly hard to find films. Considering a lot of the lesser known horror films of my youth were not given the official DVD treatment, dealers at the show have taken it upon themselves to create these DVD's, either from VHS copies or sometimes from HD television broadcasts.

Oh, and there is one other reason I enjoy Monster-Mania so much-- I write for the official Monster-Mania Magazine. Editor Dave Hagan does a really good job with the mag, giving it the full-color, glossy treatment. The upcoming issue contains my retrospective article on the Nightmare on Elm Street series as a feature story. And hey-- if you can't make it to the show, you can always support your local Jon and order the mag online ( or pick it up at you local Barnes & Noble.

I'll report back after the weekend with any pertinent info about the 
show, and how the reaction to the new issue is going. Check out the promo for the magazine below.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Song of the Week: Manic Street Preachers "If you Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next"

No joke-- this song holds the Guinness Book record for longest song title that doesn't use brackets. But thats neither her nor there.

Fact is: this song is fantastic. Brit-pop at it's best.

Give it a spin already.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Band of the Week: Owl City

I couldn't pick just one of the songs from Owl City's new album Ocean Eyes, so I just put them forth as the band of the week.

If you consider yourself a fan of the quirky, poppy sound of bands like The Postal Service, you'll gravitate toward Owl City immediately.
In fact, I was convinced that this was a side project of TPS lead singer Ben Gibbard.

Alas, it is not. But it damn well could be-- and that's quite a compliment.

With a sound that often upbeat and lyrics that are usually deeper and more clever than your typical pop act, Owl City is a nicely invigorating addition to the proverbial stale iPod playlist.

Their first single, "Fireflies", was available for free on iTunes. After giving it a shot (and loving it) I immediately shut down iTunes altogether and downloaded a torrent of the complete album.

Sorry-- that's just how it is today.

But since then, this band has been in my ear at home, at the gym and, actually, as I'm typing this very blog post.

If you're into thoughtful indie pop, like the aforementioned Postal Service or Death Cab for Cutie, you'll certainly find something to like about this album.

It's 100% certified JWFTS "good."


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Drew Falchetta

On a recent movie trip to the Ritz at the Bourse I happened to come across artist Drew Falchetta's work. His art was on the pre-show slide show. Since that day his paintings have become the staple background image on my both my iPhone and my Mac. Needless to say I really enjoy his work. His paintings are interesting and dramatic, often evoking a sense of narrative despite their apparent simplicity. They're somewhat reminiscent of the pop culture inspired pieces that director Kevin Smith showcased in his extremely interesting pop art exhibit he hosted at Gallery 1988.

With images that run the gamut from serenely benign, to oddly funny and even a few that are outright macabre, Falchetta's work seemed to always leave me wondering about where the stories his paintings tell might lead. And he does all of this with a style that is at once basic and challenging. It's the kind of work that some cynics may look at and say, "I could do that." However, like many deceptively simple films and photographs, it's not necessarily the subject of the piece, but rather the context and treatment that give it real value and depth.

I'm also happy to relate the fact that Falchetta is a local artist, residing in the area of Philadelphia made famous by Rocky-- South Philly.

Give the pieces I've included a look. He's a very interesting and approachable young artist. We need more people like him to get mainstream noteriety so they can remain free to create art that attracts, engages and amuses the way his does. 

You can view more work and learn more about Drew Falchetta at his website,