michael gallucci

CULTURE JAMMING

In culture jamming on 06/01/2011 at 8:00 am

TOP PICK – VIDEO GAME

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

(Disney Interactive/TT)

There aren’t too many things you can do on your couch with a controller that are as much fun as the Lego games. The latest, based on the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew, doesn’t have the scope or humor of the Star Wars, Batman, or Indiana Jones outings, but knocking down little brick minifigs with tiny swords is a total blast. It’s available for all major platforms.

CD

Robert Johnson: The Centennial Edition

(Columbia/Legacy)

The legendary bluesman celebrates his 100th birthday with a new two-disc set that includes all 42 tracks he recorded, including various alternate takes. (There’s also a pricier version available with rare cuts by Sleepy John Estes and Blind Willie McTell.) A year after Johnson made these influential records in 1936-7, he died from drinking whiskey poisoned by a jealous husband. The blues don’t get more down and dirty than that.

BOOK

Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music

(University of Minnesota)

Willis was one of the first female rock critics, a smart cultural critic who started writing for The New Yorker in 1968. This long overdue collection gathers a bunch her columns, as well as some of her other works (including liner notes she wrote for artists like Lou Reed). Willis died in 2006, so Out of the Vinyl Deeps serves as both tribute and introduction to a long-overlooked pioneer.

DVD

Poor Pretty Eddie

(Film Chest/Virgil/HD Cinema Classics/CULTRA)

This bizarre 1975 grindhouse movie stars Leslie Uggams, Shelley Winters, and Ted Cassidy, The Addams Family‘s Lurch. That’s not even the weird part. Uggams plays a jazz singer who gets stranded in a backwoods motel where things quickly turn deadly. Oh yeah, the best thing about it? An Elvis impersonator hangs around the motel. Needless to say, this Blu-ray release marks the movie’s HD debut.

DVD

Wheedle’s Groove: Seattle’s Forgotten Soul of the 1960s and ’70s

(Light in the Attic)

Long before Nirvana and Soundgarden put Seattle on the musical map, the Pacific Northwest had a pretty thriving R&B scene. Thing is, nobody paid attention to the groups outside of Seattle. Too bad, because this eye-opening documentary reveals some terrific soul and funk groups from the Vietnam era. Among the talking heads: Kenny G, who played sax in an all-black band back in the day.

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