Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Category: Pop Culture Page 2 of 46

Any trends or popular fads may be described, whether it would be something like the hula hoop or the pet rock or simply new slang.

Singing in Italy During the Pandemic

Tune In to Weekly Wilson, the Podcast on Thursday Nights (7 p.m., CDT)

Home podcast office in Texas.

The upcoming guest list for the Weekly Wilson podcast on the Bold Brave Media Global Network, while subject to changes in these uncertain times, looks like this through mid-May:

April 2, Thursday, 7 p.m. CDT – Texas author Charlotte Canion will speak with Connie about her book, “You Have to Laugh to Keep from Crying,” which is about coping with elderly parents when you may have health issues of your own.

April 9, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Film star Eric Roberts and his wife Eliza (also an actress) are re-scheduled after the shutdown of the network caused the cancellation. We’ll talk about Eric’s storied career, his role in “Lone Star Deception” and other topics of interest.

Eric Roberts & Anthony Ray Parker.

April 16, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Ed Dezevallos, Executive Producer of “Lone Star Deception” and the force behind a series of instructional videos for young people called www.soyouwanttobe.org will drop by.

April 23, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Dr Bill Kohl, an epidemiologist in charge of the University of Texas in Austin’s response to the Corona virus, will share insights and information.

April 30, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Jennifer Berliner, heart transplant and cancer survivor and blogger (www.anewheartrocks.com) will share various tips regarding “sheltering in place” and remaining positive in the face of adversity. (Read up on Jennifer’s background at her blog)

May 7, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – TBA

May 15, Thursday, 7 p.m., CDT – Author Michael Serrapica returns to talk politics with Connie.

As always, listeners can find the podcast (Thursdays, 7 p.m. CDT on the Bold Brave Media Global Network) and phone in “live” at 866-451-1451.

What You Might Stream or Screen While Maintaining Social Isolation

Ted Hicks (worked in film in NYC.) His degree from Iowa was as a filmmaker. He was in charge of awarding the Christopher Award in New York City for years, post military service. He was a college friend at the University of Iowa. Ted has put together a list of good things to stream, and I have added my own favorites and added some specifics to his list.

This explanation from Ted:

A few days ago, Gary Davis, who I’ve known since 1st grade in Nemaha, Iowa, asked for some TV/cable/streaming recommendations. I put together a bunch of titles and sent it to him.. I know many of you will already know a lot of these shows, but there might be some you haven’t seen.”

I have made some additions to Ted’s original list, adding some old favorites and some new, and including  names of the actors/actresses involved, when relevant (and not a chore to research.) Therefore, it is now a composite list from two dedicated film-goers.  I have been reviewing film uninterruptedly since 1970 and review film for www.TheMovieBlog.com, www.WeeklyWilson.com and, sometimes, www.QuadCity.com. I’m also the author of “It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now,” which has not only a look at the sci-fi and horror flicks and major films of that time period, but 10 trivia questions per film with the answers upside-down, to pique your curiosity.

______________________________________________________________

A Million Little Things – Ron Livingston (“Sex & the City”), David Giuntoli (“Grimm”), James Roday (“Psych”), Josh Ritter, and others are a close-knit group of friends who are affected by the suicide of one of the group. (rentable on Amazon Prime) 2 seasons.

Better Call Saul – prequel to Breaking Bad, 1st four seasons on Amazon Prime, 5th season currently on AMC.

Bosch – 5 seasons (Amazone Prime) – great series about an LAPD homicide cop, based on a long-running series of novels by Michael Connelly. The 6th season debuts sometime next month, I think.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – terrific Jerry Seinfeld series, all seasons are now on Netflix. We’ve seen most of them. The episode with Eddie Murphy is one of my favorites.

Country Music – Ken Burns series on PBS. Not sure if this can be streamed yet..

Criminal: UK, French, German, Spanish – Gripping series on Amazon, four separate “seasons” all taking place inside police interrogation rooms in the respective countries.

The Crown – 3 seasons on Netflix.

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Larry David and Jeff Garland in a show largely about their lives.

Gentleman Jack –  new show from last year, on HBO.

Giri/Haji (Netflix) – Japanese cops & gangsters, British cops & gangsters in a storyline that combines them all. Very violent but also very well made. I liked it.

Glow – 3 seasons (Netflix) Marc Maron organizes the Glorious Ladies of Wrestling.

Goliath – 3 seasons (Amazon Prime) – Billy Bob Thornton as an unorthodox lawyer in Los Angeles. Excellent. Was not renewed.

Good Girls – 2 seasons, AMC Christina Hendricks from “MadMen” involved in a variety of criminal enterprises with her sister and a friend.

Grantchester – 4 seasons on PBS Masterpiece Theater.

Hinterland – 3 seasons on Netflix, cop show set in Wales. Dark, tragic storylines. It’s excellent.

Killing Eve – First 2 seasons on Amazon Prime (3rd season coming up on BBC America).

Life in Pieces – ensemble cast with James Brolin, Dianne Weist, Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”) and Thomas Sadowski and others. Canceled for next year. On Amazon Prime from 2015-2019.

Nurse Jackie – Edie Falco (‘The Sopranos”) is a drug-addicted nurse. (Showtime)

My Brilliant Friend – 2nd season started this past Monday on HBO.

The Plot Against America – David Simon series based on Philip Roth novel, also began on Monday. Elements of “what if” Lucky Lindy, the aviator, were to have been presented as a presidential candidate.

Secret City – 2 seasons on Netflix – political thriller set in Australia.

Schitt’s Creek – broad gay-friendly comedy from Eugene Levy and his son Dan, with SCTV’s Catherine O’Hara and Chris Elliott. Going off the air soon. On since 2015.

The Sinner – seasons 1 & 2 on Netflix, 3rd season now airing on USA. We just started this series this year and burned through first 2 seasons, loved it. (Bill Pullman)

The Stranger (Netflix) – very good thriller.

Trapped – 2 seasons on Amazon Prime –  cop show set in Iceland.

Unbelievable – Netflix mini-series. This is excellent! Young rape victim’s story isn’t believed, then two female detectives in Colorado get involved. Kaitlyn Dever (“Them That Follow”) who was just inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame is the protagonist and Merritt Weaver (“Nurse Jackie”) is one of the investigators

Unforgotten – 3 seasons on PBS (available on Amazon Prime). Cop unit in the UK finds old cases thought to have been solved, but new evidence reveals truth yet to come out. The great Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) is head of the unit.

The Valhalla Murders (Netflix) – more cops in Iceland.

Vera – 10 seasons on Amazon Prime/BritBox. Another cop show, with Brenda Blethyn as the prickly head of a team in Halifax (UK).  Each season is 4 episodes approximately 90 minutes each.

Westworld – elaborate theme park setting initially. Futuristic. HBO.

What We Do in the Shadows – FX series, 1st season on Amazon Prime, 2nd season starts on FX in April.  A small group of vampires share a house on Staten Island. Very black, dead-pan comedy. This premiered at SXSW last year (2019).

Low Cut Connie Fuels March 21st Birthday Party & Will Sing Again on March 23rd

Low Cut Connie, the South Philly group that emulates Jerry Lee Lewis in his prime, played a gig from the bedroom of lead singer Adam Weinert on Saturday, March 21st at 5 p.m. CDT. The group has, on a previous occasion, played the Rust Belt in East Moline, although we saw him at Lucy’s Fried Chicken in Austin, Texas, during 2019’s SXSW.

It was my husband’s birthday on Saturday, so we set up the television to give us the best experience of the show “live” as it played out. It was lively, but parents of small children should be warned that the language is sometimes “R”-rated. (What can you expect during a pandemic?)

The group will play another “live” concert online on Monday, March 23rd. For the exact time in your neck-of-the-woods and to be able to send remarks to the band as they play, go out to Facebook’s (or Instagram’s) Low Cut Connie page and check out the timing.

It has to be better than sheltering in place on a Monday night at home—right?

Film Star Eric Roberts Speaks to “Weekly Wilson”

The interview with Eric Roberts (up as podcast #3) saw me prepare an Introduction and some questions for the actor. It ended up being me talking “All About Eric” and speaking with the Executive Producer Ed Dezevallos about the film “Lone Star Deception,” but the actual interview was bumped.

Plans were to do the interview this week (3/19). Then, the Bold Brave Media Global network announced it was shutting down for an indefinite period of time….probably a week to two weeks.

Therefore, the answers to the questions were answered by film star Eric Roberts below. Hopefully, viewers stuck at home will check out “Lone Star Deception” on Amazon and—at some future point—perhaps we can make the Weekly Wilson podcast work out on audio

In the meantime, here are Eric Roberts’ answers to (some of) the questions I had planned to ask:

[From Eric Roberts:  THE INTRODUCTION IS BEAUTIFUL! ]

ERIC ROBERTS – INTRO

“Lone Star Deception,” Eric Roberts, Anthony Parker.

Back in 1986, in an interview with Roger Ebert following his screen debut performance in “King of the Gypsies,”  his break-through role, Ebert wrote: “Right from the beginning, Eric Roberts has had about him the promise of eventual greatness.  The movie industry does not know how he will turn out, but he holds the potential to be mentioned with Brando and DeNiro and the others who come surrounded with the aura of a special talent.”

That feeling hit me like a ton of bricks as I watched “King of the Gypsies” back in 1978 as a twenty-something film critic,— one who had been on the job for 7 years.

I fully agree with Roger Ebert’s assessment of Eric Roberts’ talent. I echo Academy-Award winning actress Sandy Dennis, who said of Eric after they appeared together onstage, “Oh, my God, this actor! I think he is the next big thing,— if he can get the material.”

Eric’s performance in “King of the Gypsies earned him a Golden Globe nomination for the Best Acting Debut by an Actor (1979). Eric would go on to earn another Golden Globe nomination in 1984 for “Star 80” and a third Golden Globe nomination, plus an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor (in support of Jon Voight) for  “Runaway Train.” 1984 gave us “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” with Eric paired with Mickey Rourke. He was awarded the Theater World Award in 1987 for the Best Broadway debut for his work in “Burn This.” Eric has been quoted as saying, “The joy is in the doing.”

Every one of these films is indicative of the power and creativity that Eric Roberts brings to his work. He has another 29 wins and 17 nominations for a variety of film awards. Eliza Roberts—herself an actress and Eric’s wife of 28 years—said of her husband’s work, “Sit tight, because, even when you’re shit, you’re fucking awesome, Eric.”

Sometimes called “the hardest-working actor in America,” Eric now has an absolutely stunning 569 credits on the International Movie Data Base, making him the hardest-working actor in Hollywood.

Eric Roberts & Anthony Ray Parker.

Eric’s schedule, as Eliza will attest, is crazy. It sometimes has him moving between 3 sets at once. He has close to 70 projects in development in 2020 or 2021. To give you a sense of how absolutely amazing that number of credits is, (outside of Bollywood), Leonardo DiCaprio, who has only 55 IMDB credits to his name, has said of Eric “Eric is a god. He’s THE MAN.” By comparison, Brad Pitt has 56. Susan Sarandon, who co-starred with Eric in 1978’s “King of the Gypsies”— and is known to work quite frequently, herself,— has 160 credits

One of Eric’s most recent films, “Lone Star Deception” is the story of a race for Governor in Texas, with Anthony Ray Parker as a black candidate for Governor. Eric is central to the plot, playing Bill Sagle, a King-maker who was originally backing his nephew, until his nephew is compromised by a sex-tape that surfaces, complete with a demand for hush money. The nephew is forced (by Eric’s Bill Sagle character) to step down and a black candidate with combat credentials is drafted to run in his place. The co-star is Anthony Ray Parker who appeared in both “The Matrix” and “The Marine” and has 54 IMDB credits to his name, himself. The log-line says, “Fear, Greed and Texas Politics,” which seemed like a good topic right about now, nationwide.

I am very grateful to have such a busy couple able to call in for some talk about both this film, which is about to release on Amazon (as well as FixFling, InDemand, Vudu, Fandango and to overseas markets —(which could be rough with the recent news that all of China’s 60 to 70,000 cinemas are closed due to the Corona virus.)

I’m hoping that Eric and Eliza can tell us a bit more about “Lone Star Deception” and talk about his storied career and their work together.

Welcome to you both and thank you for being with me.

************

ERIC/ELIZA ROBERTS Questions

“Lone Star Deception” (available on Amazon) with Eric Roberts and Anthony Ray Parker.

1_ You have close to 70 projects scheduled for 2020/2021. How do you manage to  work in that many films at once?

E.R.:  IT’S ALL ABOUT CREATIVE AND PRECISE, YET FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

2) How difficult is it to memorize that much dialogue and remember it all, when you’re working with so many different films at once?

E.R.:  IT’S GREAT MENTAL EXERCISE, SO I APPROACH IT LIKE WORKING OUT.

3)       You were offered “9 and ½ Weeks” but turned it down. Are there any other roles you were offered, but ended up not taking? Did you ever wish you had taken those roles?

E.R.:  AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, AMERICAN GIGOLO…BASICALLY MOST OF WHAT RICHARD GERE AND JOHN TRAVOLTA DID IN THEIR EARLY YEARS.

ALSO CLIFFHANGER, WHICH ENDED UP GOING TO JOHN LITHGOW. I HOPE I’VE MADE UP FOR UNFORTUNATE TURN-DOWNS NOW.

4)      Eliza:  your father, I read, wrote the scripts for “Three Days of the Condor” and “The Firm” (David Rayfiel).  You also knew John Landis, who offered you your part of Brunella in “Animal House.” Did you grow up in Hollywood? If so, has your insider knowledge of the industry helped?

E.R.:  I DID SCHLOCK AND ANIMAL HOUSE WITH JOHN LANDIS, AND HE’S REMAINED A FRIEND ALWAYS. I THINK GROWING UP IN THE INDUSTRY AND HAVING AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THIS WORLD HAS HELPED IMMENSELY.

“Lone Star Deception”

5)      Eliza, you met Eric on a plane with your dad’s script for “Intersection” in your lap. Have there been any projects, past, present or future, where you’ve been involved in writing a script just for Eric ? (Secondary mention of cats, since Eric, you said, had a cat, Tender, on his lap at the time).

E.R.:  YES, I HAD A SCRIPT ON MY LAP AND ERIC HAD BOTH A SCRIPT AND A CAT ON HIS LAP.

I HAVE DONE A LOT OF SCRIPT POLISHING FOR ERIC. I HAD A SENSE OF WHAT WORKS FOR HIM, AND MOST PRODUCTIONS ARE OPEN TO IT.

6)       Eric, How did you come to be involved in “Lone Star Deception?” (I  talked to Executive Producer Ed DeZavellos on 3/12 and hope to again in the future.)

E.R.:  I CAN’T REMEMBER FULLY, BUT I KNOW SOME VERY NICE, PASSIONATE PEOPLE MADE US BOTH AN OFFER. ELIZA IS IN LONE STAR DECEPTION, TOO. WE WERE INTRIGUED AND SAID YES.

“Lone Star Deception”

7)      “In my estimation, Eric is a great actor…an extremely unique presence trapped in this beautiful exterior.”  “The way that Mickey Rourke was re-discovered as a great actor, I think Eric is due for that, for sure. So much of the business is luck and timing.” (David Duchovny)

Given those glowing words from a fellow actor, and Mickey Rourke’s film “The Wrestler” (which should have won him the Oscar in 2008), what directors now working would you like to work with? Any potential star vehicles in the pipeline?

E.R.:  I VERY MUCH WISH AND LONG FOR SUCH A VEHICLE. HOW PRECIOUS THAT WOULD BE.

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH THE COMMENTS OF THESE FELLOW ACTORS MEAN.

8)_  Nowadays, it seems that even extremely good actors like Robert Downey, Jr., want to play a Super Hero to cash in on the Marvel Universe films or to have a series built around them. It is as though there is the series comic book Hollywood and  indie film Hollywood. You’ve watched the industry as an insider for a long time. What are your thoughts on the films you see coming out of Hollywood now, versus when you were starting out (1978)?

E.R. : TRENDS IN ART AND IN EVERYTHING, ARCHITECTURE, FASHION, EVERYTHING, TEND TO CHANGE. MOVIES MADE PEOPLE HAPPY IN 1978, AND THEY MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY TODAY.

SOME OF THE MARVEL MOVIES ARE VERY CLEVERLY WRITTEN AND GO WAY BEYOND THEIR GENRE.

I DON’T HAVE A PARTICULAR LOVE FOR THE SUPER HERO FILMS, BUT MANY PEOPLE DO, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, I’D LOVE TO BE A PART OF IT.

10)  Throwing out some names that I know mean something to you, can you share with us a little bit about what it was like working with Sterling Hayden…..Mickey Rourke…..Jon Voight…Bob Fosse…and, of course, Anthony Ray Parker. (Take your pick and add any others you wish).

I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM STERLING. WHAT A CHARACTER! I ADORE MICKEY, AND HE AMAZES ME. IT WAS FANTASTIC WORKING WITH JON. BOB FOSSEE WAS ARGUABLY THE BEST DIRECTOR I WAS EVER DIRECTED BY.

Anthony Ray Parker.

WE HAD AN INCREDIBLE TIME WORKING WITH ANTHONY RAY PARKER. HE’S A GREAT ACTOR AND HE’S A GREAT MAN.

11)  “Lone Star Deception” Credits: “We would like to thank our pyro technicians for not blowing up the entire city. (Houston) [Comments?]

HILARIOUS! AND TRUE.

12)  You were in a bad car accident in 1981. Please tell the listeners about that and its after-effects at the time?

E.R.:  WELL, IT WAS A LOT LIKE THE FILM “REGARDING HENRY”.

I CRASHED IN MY JEEP AND WAS IN A COMA FOR 72 HOURS AND, EVEN THOUGH I WAS PHYSICALLY ALIVE, IT MADE ME FEEL FOREVER DIFFERENT IN MYRIAD WAYS.

13)  Don Okolo, the credited director for “Lone Star Deception” is Don Okolo. (“Blood ‘n Destiny” – 2009, $500,000; “The Land” – 2011, $200,000; “Gem of the Rainforest” – 2013 – $200,000).  Have you ever wanted to direct?

ELIZA IS A SUPER GIFTED DIRECTOR AND I LOVE BEING DIRECTED BY HER AND WOULD CO-DIRECT WITH HER.

14)  Lines from the film: “So little nieces, so little time.” “Politicians tell the voters what they want to hear.” Why was the main character (Tim Bayh, the black candidate for Governor) put in charge of personally paying off the various wrongdoers, such as those who kidnap his daughter Carol. Aren’t there less visible henchmen who could have been hired to carry the $50,000 to pay off “Sloane?” (That puzzled me)

E.R.:  TIM HAD MORE AT STAKE. BUT THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION AND REALLY A QUESTION FOR ED.

“It was always about the money, Charlie.” (Any thoughts on the politics of today IRL?)

“Lone Star Deception”

E.R.:  IT SEEMS WHEN YOU BOIL IT DOWN, EVERYTHING IS ABOUT THE MONEY.

15)  “I’ll be taking a break when I die.”

E.R.:  YES, SOUNDS LIKE ME!

16)  “The hardest person to protect yourself from is yourself.”

E.R.:  I BELIEVE THAT.

17)  Daughter, Emma; Morgan and Keaton (musician). Currently working in the industry, or…?

E.R.:  ALL IN THE INDUSTRY.

18)  “Why me, of all the guys, of all the has-beens, of all the good actors who are over—why me?” (1/31/2018 to Sam Kashner for Vanity Fair.)

E.R.:  WHY ME? IS NOT A RHETORICAL QUESTION. IT’S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING OUR PART IN OUR LIVES. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART WE PLAY.

19)   Your favorite Batman?

E.R.:  MICHAEL KEATON.

20)  Your favorite Joker actor in the “Batman” films?

E.R.:  JACK NICHOLSON

21)  Anything you’d like to talk about that I haven’t asked you about?

YOU ASKED GREAT QUESTIONS.

WE ALWAYS LIKE TO DIRECT LISTENERS/READERS TO

WWW.NATURALCHILD.ORG

AND TO KEATON SIMONS

AND TO WWW.PIBAKESHOP.COM

THANKS, CONNIE!

Bold Brave Media Postpones all Podcasts, Including “Weekly Wilson” Podcast of 3/19

I received a memo from Bold Brave Media Global Network, originators of my podcast “Weekly Wilson” today, stating: “Due to the current situation that is facing our country and our world today, BBM will not be broadcasting live shows this week.  All shows will air a rerun of a previous show.

We are monitoring the situation and will be in touch as we move forward to resume our broadcasts. Please stay safe.”

I had been in touch with Eliza Roberts by phone and this week’s show was to feature Ed Dezevallos, who, thankfully, called in last week (3/12) when I was set to interview Eric and Eliza Roberts “live.” [The SNAFU last week had to do with obsolete e-mail addresses, both the one that Eliza had for me and the ones I had for her.]

Although Ed Dezevallos, Executive Producer of “Lone Star Deception” stood ready to be with me again this week (3/19) to talk more about his project soyouwanttobe.com (films to aid students in selecting a career), and we had hoped to have Eliza and Eric join us on 3/19, the announcement (above) has changed that.  I’ll be watching and waiting like the rest of the populace, and staying inside in Austin, Texas.

I will be writing my review regarding previously seen films for a posting in the next day or so, but, for those of you who received my bulletin about the great good fortune of getting to listen to one of the field’s truly gifted actors (and one of the hardest-working indie actors), stay tuned until later.

I hope we all remain safe from the virus and will be able to meet to talk again.

March 19th “Weekly Wilson” Podcast to Feature Eric & Eliza Roberts, Ed DeZevallos

“Lone Star Deception,” Eric Roberts, Anthony Parker.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the podcast of March 12th turned into a one-hour stroll down memory lane and into the storied career of film star Eric Roberts, with a call-in from “Lone Star Deception” Executive Producer Ed Dezevallos.

Ed not only co-wrote “Lone Star Deception” and had a small part as Dwight Jones, but contributed several family members to its cast. On Thursday, March 19th, Ed is scheduled to talk about “Lone Star Deception” with Eric and Eliza and also to discuss another passion project he is producing, a series of videos for young people to help them decide what they want to be when they grow up called soyouwanttobe.com.

Film star Eric Roberts, the star of “Lone Star Deception” and his wife Eliza are to join Ed and I in talking movies, (God willing and the river don’t rise.) If you are stuck at home worrying about the Corona Virus (as most of us are), tune in to Bold Brave Bold Media Global Network and distract yourself from your quarantine for an hour at 7 p.m. Thursday (CDT) or 5 p.m. (PT). The call-in number is 866-451-1451. The program is Weekly Wilson, just like this blog, and we talk movies, politics, and other timely topics every week.

Listen to Weekly Wilson’s Podcast

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Eric Roberts to Be Interviewed on “Weekly Wilson”

Film star Eric Roberts (“King of the Gypsies,” “RunAway Train,” “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” “Star 80”) will be a guest on Thursday, March 12th, 7 p.m., on the podcast “Weekly Wilson.” His newest film, “Lone Star Deception,” will be one of the topics under discussion (*Film soon available on Amazon).

Tune in to Bold Brave Media Global Network at 7 p.m. (CDT)  on Thursday, March 12th, to hear Eric Roberts and wife Eliza (who plays his wife in the film) talk about this Texas thriller about an African American candidate for Governor of Texas. (www.boldbravemedia.com) With 561 other film credits, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from this gifted actor about his career. The podcast, like this blog, is Weekly Wilson on Channel 100, with archived shows available later.

“Lone Star Deception,” Eric Roberts, Anthony Parker.

 

My very first podcast kicked off the final Thursday in February. I had two guests, Ava and Elise Wilson, my 5th grade granddaughters and collaborators on “The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats” series (6 books).

This week (March 5) at 7 p.m., the guest will be Texas author Michael Serrapica, author of “Conned Conservatives and Led-On Liberals.” Michael will fill us in on the various techniques that political campaigns (and others) can use to make their propaganda effective. I have no doubt that we’ll be talking politics with Michael again, after tonight’s show.

“Lone Star Deception” (available on Amazon) with Eric Roberts and Anthony Ray Parker.

Others slated to join me to talk about movies, politics, the Corona virus, and other topics of the day include Executive Producer Ed DeZevallos on March 19th, who not only co-wrote the screenplay for “Lone Star Deception” and played the part of Dwight Jones, but contributed 5 family members to the cast and crew. Mr. DeZevallos, of Houston and Santa Fe, will be talking about this and another project on March 19th—a series of informational videos for youngsters to help them determine what they want to be when they grow up. The website for that second passion (7 and 1/2 hours of video) is www.soyouwanttobe.org.

H.Q. Trivia Game Dies A Grisly Death on Valentine’s Day (2020)

I’ve been playing H.Q. Trivia for about 3 years now, and it had become a staple of our evening, with an 8 p.m. show. We played the individual daily games to “level up” and, generally, it was a 15-minute date with trivia.

Scott Rogowski, Host of H.Q. Trivia, “live” in Austin at SXSW. (Photo by Connie Wilson).

The app fell on hard times with the departure of Quiz Daddy host Scott Rogowski, who asked that he be allowed to host H.Q. part-time and host another sports-themed show on the side. The show declined to allow Rogowski to serve two masters and half of the faithful departed. He was obviously still in high dudgeon at SXSW in April, because I took the pictures of him hosting the first-ever “live” show there, which I attended that year.

There were issues with the leadership of the game show. One of the two founders died unexpectedly of a drug overdose. Peter Thiel was revealed to have been one of the initial investors, which dampened the enthusiasm of other investors. Prizes shrank to low, low amounts—-usually not even more than $1,000—and the very last game on Valentine’s Day caused last host Matt Rogers to give the winner $5 out of his own pocket, while the other winners took home only one cent.

Scott Rogowski, “live” from SXSW at 4:15 p.m. on March 10, 2019. (Photo by Connie Wilson).

Stand-up comic Matt Rogers did his best to inject enthusiasm into the mix after Rogowsky’s departure, and his co-host for the Words game, Anna Roisman, was competent in her verbal duties, if sometimes annoying in other ways.  Sharon from England did a good job.  (We watched to see if she’d ever fall out of her low-cut dresses.) Tyler the Fish (Tyler Fisher) was fast, and the blonde who handled sports did good work, but a new “add” to the hosting group who hosted a music version on Friday nights was obnoxious and awful. Laina Alaina (probably not spelled correctly) thought she was way too cute and insisted on singing, which was painful for the rest of us. Guest hosts were increasingly infrequent, but they sometimes appeared (Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Kimmel) and that kep fans wsatching and playing.

It was rather unexpected that the game was going to tank completely, however. Had I known, I would have “cashed in” the $13 I was owed earlier. (I’m still nursing a bruised ego over the $20 that the Cash Show took down witout paying me).

Scott Rogowski congratulates one of the 72 winners of the $10,000 prize on March 10, 2019 at SXSW in Austin. (Photo by Connie Wilson).

The season had just ended and I had “leveled up” to Level 10 without winning anything more substantial than coins to use for free lives. Nevertheless, the trivia was a welcome diversion and reminiscent of that old game Trivial Pursuit, which I always enjoyed. I am sad to see H.Q. go.

The final night (Valentine’s Day evening) co-hosts Matt Richards (“Money-flipping Matt Richards”) and  co-host Anna Roisman (the poor man’s Sarah Silverman) Matt had just consumed a large meal consisting of crab legs and shrimp and lots of booze. Anna was complaining non-stop about Matt’s belching in their small studio and kept standing on her head, which was never funny. At one point, Matt insisted that he was going to “moon” the cameras, but Anna talked him out of it.

They were both “in their cups,” sad about becoming unemployed. Matt’s dogs eat $200 of dog food monthly, he said; they might starve. Plus there was the jewelry he had purchased (a gold ring with the initial “R”). Bad timing for Matt. Anna kept shilling for her podcast. I understand this impulse, as I’m going to be starting one on February 27th at 7 pm. CDT on the Bold Brave Media Gloal Network.

Indeed, the quiz show originally had about 35 employees, but a petition to get rid of the other co-founder of the game had circulated and, in a Trump-like gesture, that still-living founder fired 20% of the staff. Some, it was said, resigned in protest, claiming the founder was impossible. Meanwhile, veterans of marketing and coding were defecting and the staff that was left was trying to find a way to attract new downloads of the app, which had declined 92% over time. (measured June to June).

Scott Rogowski, host, and one (of 72) winners of the first-ever “live” game of H.Q. in Austin, Texas at SXSW on March 10 at 4:15 p.m. CDT.

One new game was billed as HQX and involved taking pictures with your IPhone and mailing them in. Bad game.

Then there was Laina Alainna and her non-stop singing and posing during a Friday night music game. Plus, the Words game had truly ridiculous premises, which simply meant that the Tuesday and Thursday night schedule drew fewer and fewer players and the prize money declined to almost nothing.

So, I shall have to fill my time with something else at 8 p.m. each night. Farewell, H.Q.

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