Steve Martin

A variety show on acid: Imperfect but fun documentary considers Saturday Night Live

The official movie poster for Bao Nguyen’s new documentary.

In 1975, a new variety show premiered on NBC that was unlike anything that had come before it; it was, according to Laraine Newman, one of the show’s original cast members, a cross between 60 Minutes and Monty Python. Despite its ups and downs, after 40 years on the air, Saturday Night Live (or SNL, as it’s more commonly known in the pop culture lexicon), shows no sign of slowing down, and continues to both reflect and influence American culture. Director Bao Nguyen’s new film, Live from New York!, which takes its title from the show’s opening introduction, explores the history and impact of the storied comedy program in a documentary that is both highly entertaining and slightly frustrating.

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So, this is the kind of crowd you get to see a retired amusement park employee play banjo? San Franciscans are weird...

So, this is the kind of crowd you get to see a retired amusement park employee play banjo? San Franciscans are weird...

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is different than most music festivals in several ways. The best thing about it is that it’s free. That might also be it’s biggest downfall, as well. It attracts a lot of people that normally don’t go to shows. The crowd veers a bit older, and they tend to prefer to bring lawn chairs and stay in one place. If you really want to get up close and personal with a big act, you essesntially have to get there at the crack of dawn, stake a place, and hang out. If you go to the show thinking that you can jump stages and get a good spot for everyone, you are really out of luck. The best way to enjoy this festival is to drop most expectations of actually seeing the performer, and jump between stages freely, taking an the smorgasboard of music in little sample sizes. You will end up with a much more eclectic palate, and you will have a much better time. [read the whole post]

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This Gordon could kick our Gordon's butt in a fight.

This Gordon could kick our Gordon's butt in a fight.

Episode 5 of the Spinning Platters podcast features guest Caroline Hernandez of Spinning Platters joining us to discuss the upcoming Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.  As always, we go off on our crazy tangents, and we invite you to listen to the crazy digital-delay blooper all the way at the end of the podcast.

We also discuss the following: [read the whole post]

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