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Boppin'

The T-Shirts Of My Life

Don’t tell me that love hurts
I read the book, I saw the movie
Got the T-shirt
“T Shirt” by J. Imray (recorded by The Crickets)

Me in a Monkees T-shirt, my wife Brenda in normal adult clothes

I don’t wear plain Ts, of course; I favor some kind of design, usually a graphic from pop culture, whether it’s a rock group or a comic book character, whatever. I remember wearing a Batman T-shirt when I was six (circa the 1966 Batman TV series). I have no other recollection of what T-shirts (if any) I wore as a kid. (Though I should at least mention my Baron Daemon sweatshirt, proudly emblazoned with the black-and-white image of Syracuse’s favorite TV vampire, and stating, I’m a real cool ghoul.)

Even into high school, I don’t really remember what T-shirts I may have owned. The only one that specifically comes to mind is the Budweiser shirt I had when I was 15. I didn’t drink Budweiswer then, and I don’t drink it now, though the reason why has evolved; in 1975, I didn’t drink Budweiser because I didn’t drink beer, whereas nowadays I don’t drink Budweiser because I don’t regard it as a real beer. Gimme a Belgian, man.

Really, college was when I started getting more into identity-proclaiming T-shirts. I’m sure I wore a bunch of ’em freshman year, 1977-78, though I only remember my dorm T-shirt, my free local disco Club 2 On 2 T-shirt (which was definitely not identity-proclaiming, but it was free), and a White Rock T I won from Utica’s WOUR-FM. The White Rock shirt–which was connected to a ski movie scored by Rick Wakeman from Yes, not some stupid neo-Nazi thing–caused friction with my girlfriend’s roommate Rosanne; Ro also had a White Rock T-shirt, but hers went missing, and it was an uncommon enough item that I can’t blame her for being suspicious when she saw me wearing mine (especially given, as she put it, that I was hanging around her room so much). 

As college progressed, I started to get a few Ts more specifically reflective of my pop tastes. Christopher Reeve as SupermanKISSThe Sex PistolsThe Ramones. I recall a visit to a Syracuse University shop called Tops To Please, which at the time had an amazing selection of rock, punk, and new wave shirts, including a shirt emblazoned with the logo of my local heroes The Flashcubes. Alas, I was but a poor college student, and my budget didn’t allow me to purchase anything there. I never even got a Flashcubes T-shirt, at least not at the time. After the ‘Cubes broke up, and their T-shirts were no longer available, I went to a custom shirt place in Brockport, armed with a plain black T and my official membership button from when I joined The Flashcubes International Fan Club. I went to the shop’s counter, and told the clerk, “Make this shirt look like this button.” Yes, I’m guilty of commissioning the world’s first bootleg Flashcubes T-shirt. When the group reunited decades later and offered new shirts for sale, I made sure to buy one in penance for past sins.

For my 21st birthday in 1981, my girlfriend bought me a Monkees T-shirt. I loved that thing, and I wore it whenever I could. I wore it to a club show by a great British Invasion-influenced group called The Insiders. As the show went on, one of The Insiders told the crowd, “I hear there’s a guy here tonight in a Monkees T-shirt. Well, this is the song he came to hear,” and The Insiders played “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.” I think they did “Last Train To Clarksville,” too.  Hey, hey…!

I remember once staring at a Yardbirds T-shirt for sale at Record Theatre in Rochester, wanting it, but reluctantly moving on because the store didn’t have one in my size. But the ’80s opened the floodgates for my fresh sea of Ts. Johnny Thunders! More Ramones! Batman! Um…Madonna. It was free. And, if memory serves, Ms. Ciccone wasn’t wearing a shirt herself in the image on the front, her strategically-placed arm securing the modicum of modesty necessary for one to wear the T-shirt in polite company.

’80s, ’90s, and into the 21st century. I had souvenir Ts from visits to Key West, Yosemite, Peel Pub in Montreal, and Malaga, several shirts depicting images of Batman and/or The Joker, shirts dressed with logos or likenesses of The Beach BoysThe Rolling StonesThe Wonders (from That Thing You Do!), The Cavern ClubGerber MusicThe BeatlesLannie FlowersThe Catholic GirlsCoca-ColaHarry PotterSyracuse University basketballSpider-Man…! Some I outgrew, some I replaced. I still wear ’em, from early, early spring to late, late fall.

My favorite T-shirt? The Kinks. People notice it pretty much every time I wear it, and I wear it often. Am I a dedicated follower of fashion? No, plainly not. I read the book, I saw the movie. Now just lemme have my T-shirts.

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Fans of pop music will want to check out Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, a new pop compilation benefiting SPARK! Syracuse, the home of This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & CarlTIR’N’RR Allstars–Steve StoeckelBruce GordonJoel TinnelStacy CarsonEytan MirskyTeresa CowlesDan PavelichIrene Peña, Keith Klingensmith, and Rich Firestone–offer a fantastic new version of The Kinks’ classic “Waterloo Sunset.” That’s supplemented by eleven more tracks (plus a hidden bonus track), including previously-unreleased gems from The Click BeetlesEytan MirskyPop Co-OpIrene PeñaMichael Slawter (covering The Posies), and The Anderson Council (covering XTC), a new remix of “Infinite Soul” by The Grip Weeds, and familiar TIRnRR Fave Raves by Vegas With RandolphGretchen’s WheelThe Armoires, and Pacific Soul Ltd. Oh, and that mystery bonus track? It’s exquisite. You need this. You’re buying it from Futureman.

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Birthdays

Ann Miller

Born on this day in 1923, in Chireno, Texas, actress and dancer, Ann Miller. Miller was one of the Golden Era’s premier talents, starring alongside James Stewart in You Can’t Take It With You, and The Marx Brothers in Room Service. Her career lasted long after many of her peers retired, as she toured with real-life friend, Mickey Rooney, well into the 1980’s with the hit show, Sugar Babies.

Categories
Pop Sunday

Dw Dunphy / Charm Offensive

Dw Dunphy

Charm Offensive (Introverse Media LTD. 2021)

https://dwdunphy.bandcamp.com/album/charm-offensive-2

 
For the past twenty-five years, Dw Dunphy has been actively engaged in music, both as a member of bands and as a solo act. Based in Red Bank, New Jersey, the singer, songwriter and multi-diversified instrumentalist has produced quite a hefty discography at this point, with Charm Offensive dialing in as his latest album.

Rich with freedom and vitality, Charm Offensive generates a genre-bending effect that succeeds at all angles. The first piece on the album, The False Clairvoyant, projects a hymn-like feel accented by angelic Association-styled harmonies, while the closing track, Ocean Floor, stands as the ultimate grand finale. Checking in at nearly ten minutes in length, the epic endeavor stages a compelling ballet of mood-altering movements. A lush and hypnotic arrangement gives way to urgent rhythms ticking with intensity, swelling into a space age symphony. Floating and flourishing with beauty, Ocean Floor delivers surprises at every crook and crevice.

Inbetween The False Clairvoyant and Ocean Floor, there’s the hooky hard rock of (I’m Not Here To Be) Your Conscience, the crushing metal-flavored Down In The Valley and Tonight (I Want To Be Wrong), a stark and strummy folk number. Framed of  shimmering threads and sweetened melodies, Things We Say exudes echoes of eighties synth pop, and Crime Scene Reporter is molded of a bare-boned folk format. A somber tenor envelopes the atmospheric applications of Newborn Orphan and What Trenton Breaks The River Takes is energized by a thudding mechanical groove.

Charm Offensive indeed presents an interesting selection of musical fashions. Covering folk, choral pop and the kind of experimental progressive rock sounds practiced by bands like Pink Floyd and Queensryche, the album weaves in and out with varied sonic visages.

On a lyrical level, Dw’s literate prose tends to lean towards the spiritual and philosophical side of the fence, but are decidedly open for translation. If you are not already a fan of Dw Dunphy, you surely will be after hearing this inspired effort. 

Categories
Birthdays Pop-A-Looza TV

Stuart Adamson

Born on this day in 1958, in Manchester, England, guitarist and singer, Stuart Adamson, of Big Country. Though Big Country is known internationally for their hit In A Big Country, in the UK some two dozen of their songs charted, from 1982 to 2000.

Categories
Eats

Rebel Ice Cream

Let’s get real, sugar-free products have a history of being really horrible. More often than not, the sugar is replaced with some kind of lab-concocted sweetener that leaves a strange, almost chemical taste in the mouth. Fortunately, for those of us looking to lower our sugar intake, Rebel Ice Cream does not suffer that negative. It actually tastes good, like real ice cream should.

Rebel ice cream is made with full-fat cream, unlike many of its healthy competitors. While net carbs remain low, 4-8 grams per serving, the fat content can range from 50-70 grams.  Obviously, you can’t indulge every day, but in moderation, this ice cream is a dream-come-true for cravers that need that occasional scoop.

Sweetened with erythritol, a natural sugar found in monk fruit and chicory root, Rebel ice cream won’t raise your blood sugar or insulin. Technically, erythritol is an alcohol sugar that is easily metabolized by your body, unlike the corn starch, corn fiber, and chemicals often found in other brands.

So, how does it fair in taste? We sampled several flavors, including; Birthday Cake, Triple Chocolate, Mint Chip and Butter Pecan. The comment heard most often by our tasters was, “This tastes like regular ice cream.” What more could you ask for? 

One of our tasters is on a low-sugar diet, with a goal of consuming less than 25 grams of sugar per day. As Rebel ice cream ranges from 0-2 grams of sugar per pint, guiltlessly having  two or three servings of ice cream in a week is possible. Again, though, you have to keep an eye on the fat content.

We’re looking forward to sampling more flavors!

By Staff

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Pop-A-Looza TV

Devo / Freedom Of Choice

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Comics

Father Of The Brood

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Merch

Cup O’Coffee?

https://www.redbubble.com/i/mug/Pop-A-Looza-by-danpavelich67/46567064.9Q0AD

Have your cup of morning Joe in the same mug we use here at Pop-A-Looza HQ. Purchase this mug, or anything else from our company store, and all the proceeds go towards paying the artists and writers that you enjoy!

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Boppin'

COMIC BOOK RETROVIEW: Batman #180 (May 1966)

This inaugural entry of Comic Book Retroview was written some time in the ’80s as a spec submission to Comics Buyer’s Guide; it was intended to be the first in a series of reviews of back issue comics (an idea a CBG reader had suggested in the letter column), but editors Don and Maggie Thompson passed on the idea.  This is its first publication. All images copyright DC Comics Inc.

In 1966, Batman and Robin became household names.  The vehicle for this new-found fame was, of course, a twice-weekly televised showcase on the ABC network, a comedy/adventure program which would catapult the Caped Crusaders to national prominence and magazine sales in excess of one million copies that year.  Around the same time that the TV show was beginning to gain in popularity, Batman # 180 was published.

The issue’s cover set the mood.  Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson produced a cover that re-created the spirit of the blood and thunder pulps of yore:  pummeled by heavy rain, the hero struggles desperately with the gun-toting villain–the vision of death incarnate!–as his partner falls helplessly into an open grave.  It could have been a cover for Black Book Detective (starring the pulp hero The Black Bat) as well as for Batman.  The scene is completed by a tombstone marked, “R.I.P. Batman and Robin,” and by the ominous threat hissed by the villain:  “I’ll be the death of you yet, Batman and Robin!”

Inside, the story “Death Knocks Three Times” fulfilled the promise of the cover.  In twenty-four pages, uncredited author Robert Kanigher (with pencils by Bob Kane ghost Sheldon Moldoff, and inks by [I think] Joe Giella) spun a gripping, suspenseful yarn about a murderous thief called Death-Man, who was captured by the Dynamic Duo and brought to trial for the killing of an armed police guard.  Throughout his capture, trial, and subsequent death sentence, Death-Man remains confident and unconcerned:  “Do you really think you have the power to sentence me to death?  I–and I alone–possess the power over life and death!  I am beyond your feeble laws!  You can no more jail a shadow–or punish it–than m-m-m–“

And with that, Death-Man fell to the ground, and was pronounced dead on the spot.  This was on page seven.  Mere pages later, Death-Man would soon rise from the grave to rob again, boast again, and die again before Batman’s eyes.

Although a one-shot character, Death-Man was arguably the most memorable addition to Batman’s gallery of rogues since the 1940s.  Compared to the ineffectual clown that The Joker had become by this time, and to the costumed buffoons Batman would soon play with on the tube, the self-proclaimed master of death cut a striking figure.  Indeed, Death-Man’s arrogant taunts and mocking death(s) were enough to shake even the dread Batman to the point of nightmares.  In spite of an unconvincing explanation for Death-Man’s death-cheating–Eastern mysticism and self-discipline allowed him to enter a state of suspended animation–the villain’s cat-and-mouse games with Batman lent themselves to a fascinating storyline.  The climactic cemetery confrontation alluded to on the cover is wonderfully atmospheric, as Death-Man meets his final fate for real.

“Death Knocks Three Times” was the final flourish of the New Look Batman, begun in 1964 by editor Julius Schwartz to streamline and revitalize the character.  Soon after this issue was published, the camp silliness and “Holy Jet-stream!” expletives of the TV show began to show up in the comics as well, effectively destroying everything that Schwartz had worked for over the past two years.  However, the saga of Death-Man was more than just the last story of that period; it was also the finest, and worthy of standing alongside the later accomplishments of Neal Adams, Denny O’Neil, Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, et al.  Really, they just don’t write ’em like that anymore.

POSTSCRIPT:  Although the original version of Death-Man never again appeared in DC Comics continuity, the character was slightly revamped in the ’60s by  Japanese manga artist Jiro Kuwata, who called the villain “Lord Death Man;” Kuwata’s version is included in the 2008 book Batman:  The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga.  Subsequently, Lord Death-Man has appeared in DC Comics continuity, and has even been retrofitted into Batman ’66, the 21st-century comic-book version of the camp TV show.  Holy irony!

When I was 16, I wrote a script called “Nightmare Resurrection,” a sequel to “Death Knocks Three Times,” bringing Death-Man back from the dead one more time.  It was terrible.  I bow to Kanigher, Moldoff, Giella, and Schwartz.   

By Carl Cafarelli

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