Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2008-12-12

Friday Fun with Pancake Mountain

What could be better than a Pancake Mountain? How about a tv show, ostensibly and mostly for kids, featuring live performances by some kickass bands, an amblyopic host called Captain Perfect, with the nonexistent "board" of the show as his enemies? What if that show was called Pancake Mountain? Well, it is, and it beat the also-awesome Yo Gabba Gabba to the party for kids shows that don't suck by several years on public access TV in Washington DC.

The show was created by producer Scott Stuckey (yes, of those Stuckeys) and features Captain Perfect and a goat puppet named Rufus Leaking who attends band press briefings and music festivals, plus cartoons, music videos, and footage from several Pancake Mountain Dance Parties, which are basically concerts for kids where no "kid's music" is actually allowed. Pancake Mountain has featured acts like Thievery Corporation, Arcade Fire, Steel Pulse, M.I.A., The Melvins, and even legends like Billy Idol, Henry Rollins, The B-52s, and George Clinton. Rufus is a hilarious interviewer, rude without being crass, and the amount of awesome kids get exposed to in just one episode of Pancake Mountain handily offsets a Wiggles Marathon's worth of suck.

Pancake Mountain episodes are available on DVD and would be great in the youth video -- or the non-youth video --- collection, because the show only airs in a few cities and full episodes aren't around much online. Plus, these discs are a slam dunk for the emerging hipster parent demographic who has already torn through Here come the ABCs and Here come the 123s and have been given hope that children's tv doesn't have to stink all the time.

Because the show airs on cable access, you can also consider trying to get Pancake Mountain to be broadcast in your community, especially if you're colocated or affiliated with your cable access channel. At my library, we've been able to bring Pancake Mountain to the good children of Ann Arbor, Mondays at 6PM, and we hope to get Rufus out someday to stage a PM Dance Party of our own.

Check out Pancake Mountain, but realize that you may never look at kid's TV the same way again. In a good way!

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2008-12-05

Friday Fun: To Boldly Go...

While much of my childhood has been served up to my adulthood in great big steaming piles of garbage, occasionally there's something that comes up that's worthwhile (or at least as fun as the original).

Now, one of my most cherished bits of my childhood, classic "Star Trek" is due up for a remake. You see, classic "Star Trek" is one of the few things my older brother let me do with him when we were kids. We even had "Star Trek" books and watched the movies in the theater (at least the first three movies). To be completely random, the first time I ever had Doritoes was while watching classic "Star Trek" so whenever I eat Dorito's, I often think of Kirk and Spock.

I know the show is campy with low production values. But a lot of the stories were great (the problem being that they are now so entrenched in our mindset that it's hard to remember that sine if tge okit devices weren't used until the show). If I run across a show while flipping through the channels, I'll stop and watch it. I should probably get them on DVD, but I haven't. It's one of the few science fiction things that I really geek out about. And I don't think I've ever said that out loud before.

So, I was understandably concerned when a "remake" was announced. Of course, it's not a true remake, but the new movie will be using "Star Trek" canon figures played by actors other than those who made them famous. Would these new stars do justice to Shatner, Nimoy, Takei, Doohan, Kelley, Nichols, and Koenig?

Vic Holtreman of Screen Rant shares many of the same concerns that I do. Here Holtreman created a nice image putting the classic actors next to those of the new film. I honestly think they've done a great job of casting, although I agree that Karl Urban as "Bones" and Simon Pegg as "Scotty" seem not quite right, but I think both actors are talented enough to do a good job. Chris Pine as Kirk might be just about perfect.

You can get to the official website for the new movie here. And the trailers for the new movie are here. In trailer 2, there's a bit of exchange between Kirk and Spock that makes me more excited than I should be about the new movie:
Kirk: Are you afraid or aren't you?
Spock: I will not allow you to lecture me
Kirk: Then why don't you stop me?
This quick back and forth shows me they have the characters right. Hopefully the rest of the movie is this good.

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2008-12-02

Paging Dr. Horrible

During a writer's strike, what's a group of cult favorite actors to do? For Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion, the answer was "Make a short musical, put it on the internet for free for a while, and create a geek phenomenon!"

Okay, so maybe that last part is stretching it a bit. But along with Joss Whedon and a dedicated crew, they did bring Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog to life. The premise: Dr. Horrible, applicant to the Evil League of Evil, falls in love with frozen-yogurt addict Penny. The problem? Penny is dating Dr. Horrible's nemesis, Captain Hammer. There are laughs! There's tragedy! There are very funny lyrics! You can watch the whole thing on Hulu.com, but I'm kind of excited about the Dr. Horrible DVD release, because my TV is a lot bigger than my computer screen.

With all the High School Musical sing-alongs going on at libraries, maybe a comparable Dr. Horrible program this would be fun for older teens and/or adults. Just a thought.

crossposted at Librarilly Blonde

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