Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for April 29, 2011

[College Rock] -- I turn 43 this week. Now, how do I work my birthday into one of my weekly 80s post? By looking at the years that, in my opinion, most defined me. I'm a believer in the saying that home is where you find out who you are. For me, that would be college ("We are! Penn State!"). And my college years coincided with the heyday of the musical genre known as College Rock, so named because this "alternative" to pop mainstream found a home on many a college radio station. Although known for many independent artists and giving the world "Alternative Rock" (right after its biggest acts went mainstream), College Radio gave rise to such (now) well-known bands as U2 and R.E.M. So, for my birthday, you 80s-philes get quite a gift with this flashback. You know, of course, I won't go the "easy" route with my selections. But can you guess what gems we'll unwrap this week? Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for April 22, 2011

[A Very Good Earth (Fri)day] -- This week our Flashback Friday falls upon a date of intersection. Today is Earth Day, a time to reflect on our use and abuse of our home planet, as well as Good Friday, the day Christians the world over solemnly observe the murder of their religion's central figure. Also of note this week, we observed the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill. So, today, we have something of a combo theme: 80s songs that reflect a concern for our planet and environment, as well as 80s songs that somehow -- even if only in my mind -- reflect some aspect of Easter. That's quite a tall task, so I'll bet you're wondering what songs made the cut this week. As usual, you can read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for April 15, 2011

Today's Flashback is brought to you by Montgomery Theater's 

[Hail Mary!] -- First off, I'm kidding about the "brought to you by" message that introduces this post. The Friday 80s Flashback does not have a corporate sponsor ... at least not yet (c'mon, HP, Google, someone ... call me). But this morning, I heard Morgan Spurlock in a radio interview as he talked about his latest "docbuster" (i.e., documentary blockbuster), The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Spurlock's new film explores corporate sponsorship and the future of branding. I find this interesting because corporate sponsorship started with the media boom, which helped grow commercial radio and television, but the practice pretty much exploded in the 80s and 90s (college bowl games and stadium naming rights coming into play). All of which led many of us in the 80s to ponder the question that Spurlock pointedly asks in his film: What if we lived in a world where everything was "brought to you by" some corporate sponsor? And, trust me, the irony of it all is not lost on him.

Anyway, back to the business at hand.

Regular visitors to Prophet or Madman know that I love my 80s music. What you might not know, however, is my love of live theater -- it is such a fantastic and powerful medium for storytelling. Now, I have been involved with a small professional theater in Souderton, PA, for the last several years. And this is opening weekend for our production of Tom Dudzick's "Hail Mary!" As with the previous Dudzick plays I have worked on ("Greetings!" and "Over the Tavern"), I am quite taken with the message in the script: Shine your light in this weary world, because that's just what the world needs. To be a little more specific, without giving up the full plot, "Hail Mary!" is also about sponsorship of sorts (see what I did there?). The play could just as easily be asking, "Who do you want to be sponsoring God?" or "Does God really need a sponsor at all?" or "Sure, that's what [insert institution's name] taught you, but how is it really working for you?" You see, your worldview is "brought to you by" someone or something. And, much like our downtown view has been hijacked by billboards and other signage touting various corporate messages, our opportunity for a peaceful world has been hijacked by the sponsors of competing worldviews. It might be time to cleanup the public space of our hearts and minds. For folks engaged, or even interested, in interfaith dialogue (another passion of mine), the core themes of this play will truly strike a chord that resonates long after the final bow.

For more information about the production, please visit Montgomery Theater's page, Hail Mary Opens This Weekend. To learn what selections this play has inspired for this week, read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for April 8, 2011

"Playing with the Rain" from

[Rain Over Me] -- I've been terribly busy this week and my good friend, Debbie, had to remind me via a Facebook post that another Flashback was expected. Due to my work load at the dayjob and pre-production tasks at the theater, I had not even thought up a theme. Fortunately, another good friend, Cameron, was at the ready with a suggestion: Rain. 

I thought that was a good idea.

We are in the midst of a fairly cold and wet Spring, colder than we've had in a good long while. And rain has been our frequent companion here in southeast PA. Heck, a good chunk of the country was slapped silly with flood conditions over the last week. After Monday teased the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys with a high of 71 degrees, Tuesday came in and bludgeoned us with precipitation. I must have driven through three or four different weather systems on my morning commute that day! And, guess what, more rain is on the docket for this weekend. 

So, I accepted Cam's challenge, and selected a few rainy day tunes. What is in this soggy playlist? Read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for April 1, 2011

[April Fools'] -- April 1. The 32nd of March. April Fools' (or All Fools) Day. Yes, we have come to that annual observance of mirth and (hopefully minimally destructive and non-lethal) mayhem. You know: The day of reckoning (or, day of pranks and hoaxes). Well, rather than prank you, dear 80s-philes, I shall take pity on you and merely deliver an appropriately "foolish" set of 80s tunes. With an entire decade of artists who often looked the part of fools in addition to acting the role, I have many options. However, rather than looking to the Pucks and jesters who ruled (or attempted to rule) the charts, I chose to narrow my focus to their songs, specifically songs with some form of "fool" in the title. 

What foolishly delightful selections do I have for you this week? Read and hear more after the jump.