August 4th, 2010


What, no love for Polka Party???!!!

It's true: "Weird Al" Yankovic THROWS himself into his live shows. They're PACKED with songs, comedy, and costume changes. I'd known this by reputation, and now I know this by the sight of my own eyes. Packed and close-to-sold-out Roseland, a mostly well-behaved audience (the couple of people in the front row who weren't were, I'm sure, part of the show), a guy in the audience with A WEIRD AL PUPPET -- ah, good times, starting with a polka medley that mashed up Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Pink. I was nerdier and dorkier than usual and I make no apologies for it.

Al did songs from all but one of his albums (Polka Party, the one with "Addicted to Spuds" and "Christmas at Ground Zero"); It ranged from "Another One Rides the Bus" from the start of his career to his recent "Internet Leaks" online releases. "Skipper Dan," his song about the actor hating his job on the Disney Jungle Cruise, went over especially well. The middle chunk of the concert was almost a medley, with chunks of songs segueing into other songs quicker than originally so Al could get more songs into the show and so the audience would be less likely to know what songs coming next. His costume changes were accommodated by video clips from his Al TV comedy bits plus the many, many, many times Al's made appearances in pop culture (he was on Celebrity Deathmatch? Awesome!). When he sang his James Blunt parody "You're Pitiful," he did his costume changes on stage, stripping off shirt after shirt (and even pants, and no I won't say how THAT gag pays off).

As has been true for years, his final encore was his Star Wars set. Costumed stormtroopers plus a Darth Vader marched onto stage, and Al sang "The Saga Begins" (his very clever retelling of the plot of The Phantom Menace to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie" followed by "Yoda." And the stormtroopers? THEY DANCED. How often do stormtroopers dance? I've only ever seen them dance in that Family Guy episode...

Good times. Good times. I'm dragging this morning, but still: good times!

Velociraptor? I barely knew 'er.


Bobby "Fatboy" Roberts speaks truth, yo. (Actually, that's just my interpretation of this poster, after I'd gone "whuuuuuuuuuut?" I could, of course, be wrong.)

Jurassic Park. On the big screen again. Friday night, the Bagdad, 11:00, with doors at 10 and a special appetizer starting later that hour: the Steven Spielberg-directed episode of Amazing Stories called "The Mission," with Kevin Costner, Kiefer Sutherland, and a damaged B-17. Hosted by Cort and Fatboy and presented by the Portland Mercury and

PRESENTING! My two favorite bits of Jurassic Park trivia!

* That cartoon with the talking DNA strand? That's original John Williams music in it. That cue even came very close to being on the soundtrack album.

* The production was rescued by Jock! When the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where they were shooting, was walloped by Hurricane Iniki, the cast and crew were stuck. Producer Kathleen Kennedy hitched a ride on a plane to an airfield on a less damaged island and started searching for a plane that hadn't been taken by military and emergency forces to deal with the disaster area. The pilot who played Jock in Raiders of the Lost Ark (which, remember, shot its South American exteriors in Hawaii) was still working in the islands over a decade later, and when he heard Kennedy needed a pilot, he sought her out. She didn't recognize him until he said "That's my pet snake Reggie!" He flew her back to Kauai and shuttled cast and crew members off the island.