228 | Henry VanderSpek (Old World Shoes)

My Summer Lair Chapter #228: It’s Gotta Be The Shoes…Right?

So: as a science fiction fan I enjoy photography.

Because photography exists at different times exactly like a time traveler.

A photo is taken in the present but the photo is viewed in the future so often the viewer is looking at the past. And it’s only when we look at the past—sadly we can only document the past obviously we can’t document the future I think—that we must make choices. We can’t document everything.

Thus knowing we can document the past the question then becomes what do we document?

Enter Henry VanderSpek AKA Culture Snap Photography and when it comes to documenting his photography subject matter is Old World Shoes.

His latest photography exhibition recognizes some of the talented individuals behind the shoes. Old World Shoes profiles individuals and owners of independent shoe and shoe repair businesses in Toronto.

Armed with a camera and an open heart Henry visited several shoe stores talking to shoemakers about their craft, about their customers and sometimes about the future. In the exhibition hosted at the Daniels Spectrum art gallery in Regent Park you can see photography testaments and videos to cobblers, to a rare and unique skill set and the strange environments where these creative individuals bloom.

Old World Shoes is lively: it is a compelling photo exhibition that celebrates Toronto, a city powerfully populated with immigrants and hustlers, talented individuals who have dedicated themselves to their craft. And among the crafty ones is Henry.

From Jamal Shabazz to Arnold Schwarzenegger to finding your vision to honouring his Dutch heritage with all those bicycles, this My Summer Lair episode is as comfortable as an old shoe.

Culture Snap Photography @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Friday November 26, 2021 at 11:30am (EST)

Stress free pop culture tastefully harvested for your divine delight. Once a week a carefully curated edition of My Pal Sammy goes directly to your inbox. Sign up for my newsletter because the F in FOMO doesn’t stand for Fun.

#SetTheVCR: November 29 – December 05, 2021

We’re in December but I’m doing my best to keep the Christmas movies at bay. I mean if you wanna check out Die Hard or Lethal Weapon I’m cool with that; those work. But until the 3 ghosts come for you in the middle night here are some non-Christmas recommendations because TV watching is always in season.

(PS: Steph here ~ I have commandeered this post and added Nightmare Before Christmas because I’m in charge of polishing and publishing this and I believe in anarchy. Scrooge – er – Sammy can’t get mad tho because you COULD just call it Halloween nostalgia. See what I did there? Freakin genius.)

Monday, November 29

The Harry Potter Collection (Anytime / Crave)

For anyone who’s been waiting to relive the magic, there’s good news because all eight Harry Potter movies will be streaming soon in Canada! (via narcity)
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Sammy Suggestion: Bill Burr Presents Immoral Compass (Anytime / The Roku Channel)

A dark comedy anthology series exploring life’s most difficult dilemmas, all filtered through the lens of one jaded man in his garage.
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A rare Roku Original. Bill Burr Presents Immoral Compass is a dark slash comedy anthology series that “explores life’s most difficult dilemmas, all filtered through the lens of one jaded man in his garage.” If you’re familiar with Bill Burr you know exactly what that last sentence means. According to the TV Guide: “In this off-the-cuff sketch comedy, Rick, played by Bill Burr, rants about many topics he wishes someone had educated him on thirty years ago. We see sketches play out these topics with hilarious, but also tragic, outcomes.” Which again is classic Bill Burr. I appreciate he found a way to combine his work with smoking a cigar. Well played Bill Burr.

Tuesday, November 30

Life of Crime 1984-2020 (9 p.m. / HBO Max)

The third and final part of an epic documentary trilogy tells the full story of three friends from Newark, New Jersey whose lives have been defined by and torn apart by their addictions.
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Sammy Suggestion: Mo Amer: Mohammed In Texas (Anytime / Netflix)

In his hometown of Houston, Mo Amer takes on pandemic panic, disappointing Bradley Cooper, hummus appropriation and the subtle art of cursing in Arabic.
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I “met” Mo Amer in Ramy, the popular Hulu series Amer co-created with Ramy Youssef. Then I saw Mo in Dave Chappelle’s excellent documentary Untitled. He was kind and compassionate; Chappelle was encouraging his stand up and helping him craft his jokes. So let’s see if Chappelle’s comedy tutoring paid off: “In the hourlong set he discusses pandemic politics, the stock market, the spread of Arab culture in the West — including hookah, hummus and the proliferations of bidets — cursing in Arabic, having two homes but no land, the need for greater civility and neighborliness and more.” Hah while I don’t live in Texas I do all those things…I enjoy hookah and hummus. So while I’m not sure if other people will get these jokes I’m in.

Wednesday, December 01

Lost in Space: Season 3 (Anytime / Netflix)

After crash-landing on an alien planet, the Robinson family fights against all odds to survive and escape. But they’re surrounded by hidden dangers.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Power of the Dog (Anytime / Netflix)

A domineering but charismatic rancher wages a war of intimidation on his brother’s new wife and her teen son — until long-hidden secrets come to light.
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I’m not a Jane Campion fan but I dig Benedict Cumberbatch so here we are all Once Upon a Time in the West. Cumberbatch is a City Slicker whose got Blazing Saddles for his brother’s new bride. And I’m certain he’ll be Unforgiven as that sorta thing even in the 1920s while it doesn’t go on a person’s Tombstone it is News of the World. So because they can’t be the Three Amigos it’s High Noon in this Westworld. This is a Maverick movie from Cumberbatch as I doubt any of us expected to see him out on the Open Range. As such I’m curious…let’s saddle up and see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of these characters in The Power of the Dog. Just another sad and dark chapter in America’s Wild Wild West.

Thursday, December 02

Santa Inc. (Anytime / HBO Max& Crave)

In this adult stop-motion animated series from Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman, intrepid elf Candy Smalls (Silverman) will do anything to be named as Santa’s (Rogen) first female successor – even if it earns her a spot on the naughty list.
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The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (10 p.m. / Crave)

Episode 3 of the Star Trek docuseries is added to Crave to today for Canadians. (Americans can check out the series on History Vault.)
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Sammy Suggestion: Music Box: Listening to Kenny G (Anytime / HBO)

Listening to Kenny G takes a humorous but incisive look at the best-selling instrumentalist of all time – and quite possibly one of the most famous living musicians.
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We’ve had 3 Music Box documentaries so far: Alanis (Jagged), DMX (Don’t Try to Understand) and Woodstock 99. The latest in the 6 doc collection is this week’s offering on…Kenny G?! The “Sentimental” Listening to Kenny G documentary is on HBO Max today. Directed by Penny Lane, Listening to Kenny G simply asks: “what makes music good or bad?” A fun debate that’ll leave you…”Breathless.”

Friday, December 03

Mixtape (Anytime / Netflix)

In 1999, 12-year-old Beverly discovers a broken mixtape made by her late parents. She sets out to find the songs — and learn more about her mom and dad.
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Sammy Suggestion: You’re Watching Video Music Box (8 p.m. / Showtime & Crave)

YOU’RE WATCHING VIDEO MUSIC BOX chronicles the longest-running music video show in the world, Video Music Box, launched and hosted in New York City by visionary DJ and MC Ralph McDaniels.
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On October 27, 2021 Showtime announced a multi-year, cross-platform initiative with Nas’ Mass Appeal entertainment company (it’s all lumped together under the #HipHop50 tag which is obviously celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop!). One of the first projects from that partnership is the Nas directed You’re Watching Video Music Box. Created by Ralph McDaniels and Lionel C. Martin, Video Music Box first aired on public TV throughout the New York area in 1983. The show introduced emcees from the past Public Enemy, Salt N’ Pepa, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane right up to the present like Lil Kim, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z and Nicki Minaj. I really enjoyed Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives a 2015 documentary that travelled along the same path; that was radio in NYC introducing listeners to incredible music and astonishing artists. Hip hop is old enough to indulge in nostalgia how surreal is that?

Saturday, December 04

The Last O.G. Seasons 1-3 (Anytime / HBO Max)

An ex-con is shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released from prison for good behavior after a 15-year stint and returns to his newly gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood.
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Sammy Suggestion: Dealer’s Choice! with DC Universe Animated Original Movies (Anytime / Crave)

Crave has added 6 DC Universe Animated Original Movies. This whole franchise began with 2007’s Superman: Doomsday and for a while Marvel was killing it with live movies (MCU) while DC was killing it with animation. The 6 offerings are: Justice League: The New Frontier (2008), Green Lantern: First Flight (2009), Wonder Woman (2009), Batman: Year One (2011), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Part 1 was released on September 25, 2012, and Part 2 was released on January 29, 2013) and Superman: Unbound (2013). As you can tell from titles such as Batman: Year One and Green Lantern: First Flight these animated movies are typically adapted from popular comic book stories. They’re often loaded with celebrity actors…Keri Russell voices Wonder Woman, Neil Patrick Harris as Barry Allen/Flash, Peter Weller as Batman etc. just a broad range of actors (it’s kinda annoying actually because your brain goes I know that voice! But won’t tell you who it is…sigh…to the IMDB!) So yeah it’s the weekend…why not have an animated Saturday night?

Sunday, December 05

A Nightmare Before Christmas (Anytime / Disney+)

Bored with the same old scare-and-scream routine, Pumpkin King Jack Skellington longs to spread the joy of Christmas. But his merry mission puts Santa in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for good little boys and girls everywhere.
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Sammy Suggestion: Mr. A & Mr. M: The Story of A&M Records (10 p.m. / Epix)

This two-part docuseries takes an in-depth look at A&M’s artist-focused approach, and uncovers how they discovered talent while adapting to the ever-changing music industry. Featuring the music of The Police, The Carpenters, Carole King and many more.
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First: Herb Alpert is dope and has earned a Last Dance. This two-part docuseries will hafta do…for now. A&M was founded by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss in 1962; like every successful startup these days it ran outta Alpert’s garage. And like many startup founders they developed an exit strategy: after the boutique label was purchased by PolyGram in 1994 the duo left. So what’s the deal with A&M Records? Well according to the media release: “One-time A&M artists Sheryl Crow, Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Peter Frampton are among those who sat for interviews for the doc series, which will include the music of the Police, the Go-Go’s, the Carpenters, Carole King and Joe Cocker, among others.” Whew. Think of 1919 when Charlie Chaplin co-founded the distribution company United Artists for artistic control and a talent friendly and wildly creative environment. These noble endeavours start with a bold vision then success and fame and money become the cataracts that cloud the vision and it’s difficult to know which path to follow. I hafta say I’m enjoying this popular shift from sports docs to music docs. “Please sir, can I have some’mo?”

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#CouchWorthy: Hawkeye

Hawkeye: Limited Series (Anytime / Disney+) – Marvel comics got stuck in this silly game of new characters old names.

So Peter Parker is Spider-Man and now suddenly Miles Morales is Spider-Man. That doesn’t make any sense.

Same with Captain America, Wolverine (sigh…) and Hawkeye. The comics were having so much fun being lazy the MCU on Disney+ decided to play that game too!

Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye.

Kate Bishop is not Hawkeye.

If she calls herself that…that’s dumb which means she’s dumb.

Kate Bishop: “Some people have actually called me…the world’s greatest archer.” I can promise you they have not. Updating your Wikipedia page doesn’t make it true.

Do The Work: Come Up With An Original Name. Inspirations not Iterations.

This trailer offers no surprises: it’s exactly what you think it’ll be.

Hawkeye will premiere its first two episodes on November 24, 2021 (#SetTheVCR); with six episodes total, concluding on December 22.

#SetTheVCR | Disney+ | November 24, 2021

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#SetTheVCR: November 22-28, 2021

It’s Thanksgiving in America so give thanks because if football is not your jam here’s a bunch of excellent TV recommendations that pair well with leftovers.

Monday, November 22

Beverly Hills Ninja (Anytime / Hulu)

A goofball ninja sets out on a self-fulfilling journey to uncover a deadly counterfeiting scheme.
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Sammy Suggestion: JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass (7 p.m. / Showtime)

Thirty years after acclaimed director Oliver Stone’s first examination of JFK’s assassination, Stone reassesses the horrific event that shaped a generation. Using newly declassified and reexamined footage, Stone presents a case that conspiracy theories about the president’s death are actually “conspiracy facts.” Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Sutherland.
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Oliver Stone has returned to JFK’s assassination via recently declassified evidence and testimony; with “an important bookend to my 1991 film.” JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass was added to Showtime on Demand on November 12. Today it makes its linear TV debut because…of course JFK was killed on November 22, 1963 almost 60 years ago. On July 24, 2017 the National Archives began to release previously withheld documents including audio files, photos and materials used by the FBI and CIA in the 63 investigation. By April 26, 2018, NARA released another 19,045 documents in accordance with President Trump’s order but stopped short of dumping all of them: many documents remained classified in full. (Currently (though this is subject to change) President Biden’s future releases of JFK documents are scheduled for December 15, 2021 (soon!) and December 15, 2022. We’ll see if that remains on track.) So what do all these declassified documents reveal about the JFK murder? Do the conspiracy theories deepen or are they effectively repudiated? And what now…history’s primary value is when we apply the lessons we’ve learned to the present so we can affect the future.

Tuesday, November 23

Masters Of The Universe: Revelation (Part 2) (Anytime / Netflix)

After a calamitous battle fractures Eternia, Teela and an unlikely alliance must prevent the end of the Universe in this sequel to the ’80s classic.
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Sammy Suggestion: 8-Bit Christmas (Anytime / HBO Max)

Set in 1980s suburban Chicago, 8-BIT CHRISTMAS centers on ten-year-old Jake Doyle’s quest to get the latest and greatest video game system. The film stars Neil Patrick Harris, Winslow Fegley, June Diane Raphael, David Cross, and Steve Zahn.
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I’m reluctant to share a Christmas movie…a “bit” because it’s too early (literally this movie debuts tomorrow not today) and because my heart is a black hole where light and love rarely escape. However this is 1980s Chicago (actually 2021 Toronto but carry on…) and it’s the epic quest to secure the Nintendo Entertainment System. We’ve all been there. So fine…a Christmas Comedy. “Now I Have A Heart Ho Ho Ho.”

Wednesday, November 24

True Story: Limited Series (Anytime / Netflix)

A world-famous comedian desperately searches for a way out after a night in Philadelphia with his brother threatens to sabotage more than his success.
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Sammy Suggestion: Hawkeye: Season 1 (Anytime / Disney+)

Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE is an original new series set in post-blip New York City where former Avenger Clint Barton aka Hawkeye has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. But when a threat from his past shows up, Hawkeye reluctantly teams up with Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old skilled archer and his biggest fan, to unravel a criminal conspiracy.
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The latest MCU TV show debuts today with 2 of its 6 episodes. Loosely based on the favourable Matt Fraction/David Aja run, the premise is: “While in New York City post-Blip, Clint Barton must work together with the young archer Kate Bishop to confront enemies from his past as Ronin in order to get back to his family in time for Christmas.” (Pay attention to Alaqua Cox playing Maya Lopez / Echo as the recent Disney+ Day revealed a spin-off series Echo is currently in development.) All that’s left is to quote Shakespeare as Clint Barton undergoes his existential crisis…hit it Bill: “To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune/Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles.”

Thursday, November 25

The Beatles: Get Back Miniseries (Anytime / Disney+)

Directed by three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “They Shall Not Grow Old”), “The Beatles: Get Back” is a three-part documentary series that takes audiences back in time to the band’s intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history.
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Sammy Suggestion: Music Box: DMX-Don’t Try to Understand (8 p.m. / HBO Max)

Focusing on a year in the life of rapper Earl “DMX” Simmons as he is released from prison in early 2019, the film bears witness to a man searching for reinvention and redemption, striving to stay true to himself while reestablishing himself as a father, an artist and an icon. Directed by Christopher Frierson (The King).
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I know Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back miniseries is on Disney+ today however I’ma focus on DMX. Who we lost on April 9, 2021; he was 50 years old. DMX is the personification of raw he was all passion and fire. By taking off his shirt like an intense lothario he had the girls screaming and by yelling out “Where my dogs at?!” like an unhinged supervillain he had the boys scheming and he brought em all together with a prayer?! DMX was all contradictions: a rapper with an adversarial anti-commercial approach whose first five studio albums all debuted at Number 1. So here we are with the aptly titled documentary Don’t Try to Understand. Following his release from a 12 month sentence in 2019 DMX is eager to get back to work. This is the story of what happened. (For Canadian viewers this’ll be added to Crave on November 26. Though all viewers can go to YouTube and see the ah…DMX Bible Study from April 2020. Sunday school with cussing. Again that’s just DMX!

Friday, November 26

The Curse of Von Dutch (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)

“The Curse of Von Dutch” chronicles the unbelievable true story behind the rise and fall of the 2000’s most iconic fashion trend. In this epic character-driven saga, Venice Beach surfers, gangsters, European garmentos, and Hollywood movers and shakers all vie for control of the infamous brand — pushing it from obscurity to one of the most recognizable labels on Earth. After a decade of backstabbing, greed, and bloodshed, their lives – and pop culture – will never be the same.
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Sammy Suggestion: Pig (Anytime / Crave)

A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.
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Did you enjoy Taken with Liam Neeson? A thriller where a CIA officer’s daughter is ah…taken and now he will stop at nothing to get her back. Okay so now replace Liam Neeson with Nicolas Cage and replace the daughter with…a pig. Specifically a truffle forager pig. When Nicolas Cage is assaulted by unidentified assailants they abscond with his pig. Now he must track them down to Portland (Pig in the City!) before they harm his…ah pig. And why did they take his pig? Oh what a Charlotte’s Web of lies and deception: Wilbur ever find out who is behind all this? I mean John Wick’s cycle of violence started when they killed his dog. I like truffles but I enjoy bacon more so let’s give this quirky movie a shot. That’ll do Pig…that’ll do.

Saturday, November 27

Super Crooks (Anytime / Netflix)

Johnny Bolt recruits a group of ragtag supervillains for one last heist. Their target: A ruthless super-powered crime boss. What can go wrong?
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Sammy Suggestion: Becoming Cousteau (Anytime / Disney+)

A look at the life, passions, achievements and tragedies surrounding the famous explorer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau, featuring an archive of his newly restored footage.
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Oh! Jacques Cousteau has earned a Last Dance. So making tea for this doc. You know documentary director Liz Garbus from What Happened, Miss Simone?, The Fourth Estate, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and All In: The Fight for Democracy. All highly recommended docs. This time her subject is Jacques Cousteau who co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and established an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members dedicated to protecting the Earth and the seas. This dude died in 1997 yet spent a massive chunk of his life warning us about climate change. It doesn’t always pay to be ahead of the curve. Still Jacques Cousteau is basically Aquaman. He divided his time on land battling selfish humans and underwater communing with the fish. Thankfully he never wore an orange shirt doing any of that. (Please Note: this debuted on November 24 but that was Hawkeye day so I focused on another superhero with no powers.)

Sunday, November 28

One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga (8 p.m. / CBS)

A new concert special honoring the musical legacy and enduring friendship of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Toys That Built America: Docuseries (9 p.m. / History Channel)

Against the backdrop of major events in American history like the Civil War and the Great Depression, THE TOYS THAT BUILT AMERICA shares a different story—one that brings new products and nostalgic toys to the forefront as driving forces behind untold cultural and economic shifts.
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I’m not playing around with today’s recommendation. The Toys That Built America: “Against the backdrop of major events in American history like the Civil War and the Great Depression, “The Toys that Built America” shares a different story—one that brings new products and nostalgic toys to the forefront as driving forces behind untold cultural and economic shifts.” Toys are big business and yet there’s so much human value to play and having fun and imagination. This four-part debuts today with episodes released weekly.

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#SetTheVCR: November 15-21, 2021

You’ll “note” this week’s #SetTheVCR offers a number of musical choices that’ll no doubt strike a chord.

Monday, November 15

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (Anytime / HBO Max)

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is back for more freaky fun, as she dumps the Joker and battles Gotham City crime czar Roman Sionis.
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Sammy Suggestion: A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks (10 p.m. / Crave & HBO)

Documentary that explores the enduring legacy of photographer, writer, composer, activist and filmmaker, Gordon Parks, and spotlights his visionary work and its impact on the next generation of artists.
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Here’s what I know about Gordon Parks. He directed Shaft (yes the 1971 blaxploitation classic) and he was a photojournalist slash street photographer though not as prolific with all the street scenes as Jamel Shabazz. And that’s it. So a documentary of Parks’ work is long overdue and necessary. I know some of his photographs; I don’t know the photographer. Oh so making tea for this one.

Tuesday, November 16

Well Done With Sebastian Maniscalco: Season 2 (Anytime / Discovery+)

Sebastian Maniscalco combines his love for food and comedy and explores the gastronomic world, also having a good time with some special guests during his culinary education.
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Sammy Suggestion: Man In The Arena: Tom Brady (Anytime / ESPN+)

The series features Brady and other notable figures deconstructing the milestones of his legendary NFL career, mining the psychological and emotional terrain of each victory and defeat.
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On September 28 in the Wall Street Journal Tom Brady wisely said: “You think people care what you think and then you care less what people think, and then you realize no one cared, anyway.” Pretty much. The title of this ESPN+ show comes from the stirring Theodore Roosevelt speech: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” And that right there…that’s Tom Brady.

Wednesday, November 17

Hard Knocks in Season: The Indianapolis Colts (10 p.m. / HBO)

The Emmy-winning weekly series will deliver its signature all access coverage in the first show of any kind to document an NFL franchise in-season and in real time.
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Sammy Suggestion: Marvel’s Hit-Monkey (Anytime / Disney+ Canada & Hulu)

After a high-profile political assassination goes sideways, an injured hitman hides out amongst a tribe of snow monkeys in the mountains of Japan.
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Hit-Monkey’s comic book stories are typically associated with Deadpool to give you a sense of what to expect for this adult animated series. It was this series and M.O.D.O.K. both co-created by Jordan Blum that survived the closing down of Marvel Television when it was folded into Marvel Studios. (At the time Marvel Television was developing Tigra, Dazzler, and Howard the Duck so I believe we dodged a bullet here!) As for the premise of the show I’ll share what Hulu’s website says with a straight face: “The series follows Hit-Monkey, an unjust Japanese snow monkey who is mentored by an American assassin’s ghost while he damages Tokyo’s crime underworld.” Yup. Oh and two Please Notes…the first one is super important. I prefer DC Comics’ Detective Chimp over Hit-Monkey (that’s right!) and Canadians can watch this on the same day via Disney+ Canada.

Thursday, November 18

The Curse of Von Dutch (Anytime / Hulu & Prime Video Canada)

Chronicles the unbelievable true story behind the rise and fall of the 2000’s most iconic fashion trend. In this epic character-driven saga, Venice Beach surfers, gangsters, European garmentos, and Hollywood movers and shakers all vie for control of the infamous brand — pushing it from obscurity to one of the most recognizable labels on Earth. After a decade of backstabbing, greed, and bloodshed, their lives – and pop culture – will never be the same.
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Sammy Suggestion: Jagged vs Madame X Presents: Madame Xtra Q&A (See Below)

The life and musical career of Alanis Morissette, who reflects on her 1990s rise to rock stardom.

A concept film capturing Madonna’s theater show performed in front of sold-out audiences worldwide in 2019 & 2020. Filmed in Lisbon & Paris, Madonna is joined onstage by 50 global performers including her children, & the all-female Orquestra Batukadeiras.
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You Oughta Know you got a choice of sassy sexy singers this weekend. The latest Music Box HBO’s 30 for 30s for music is Jagged which of course unpacks Alanis Morissette’s rise (an “Ironic” rise since she sings about “going down” in a theatre). While back on October 8 Paramount+ premiered Madame X a concert film centered around Madonna’s semi-recent performances in Lisbon. The follow up to that documentary is tonight’s Madame X Presents: Madame Xtra Q&A. It’s loaded with celebrities asking Madonna a variety of “Burning Up” questions. If you want to keep the music-Holiday going tomorrow’s New York Times Presents revisits Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction and Saturday’s loud offering is the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. But for now…today choose from two great choices that’ll make you Head Over Feet happy: Jagged on HBO at 8pm vs Madonna on Paramount+ anytime.

Friday, November 19

The Wheel of Time: Season 1 (Anytime / Prime Video)

The lives of five young villagers change forever when a strange and powerful woman arrives, claiming one of them is the child of an ancient prophecy with the power to tip the balance between Light and Dark forever. They must choose whether to trust this stranger – and each other – with the fate of the world before the Dark One breaks out of His prison, and the Last Battle begins.
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Sammy Suggestion: Dean Martin: King of Cool (8 p.m. / TCM)

Documentary telling the story of actor and singer Dean Martin through film clips, photographs and interviews with family, friends and colleagues.
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A Dean Martin documentary. Oh yes That’s Amore. To understand why it’s aptly called King of Cool here is one of my favourite scenes from Robin & the 7 Hoods. This is classic Rat Pack; as good as Ocean’s 11. (And yes this premieres today however you’d be wise to save this for Friday November 26. Check out TCM’s line up: 8 pm Ocean’s 11, 10:15 pm is Robin & the 7 Hoods finally 12:30 am King of Cool. That’s an incredible evening of swagger and songs and smoothness.)

Saturday, November 20

The Hunt for Planet B (9 p.m. / CNN)

Captures the human drama behind NASA’s high-stakes Webb Telescope, due to launch in October 2021 – the most ambitious space observatory ever built.
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Sammy Suggestion: 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (8 p.m. / HBO & Crave)

The 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on October 30, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio, and will be available to watch Saturday November 20, 2021 on HBO and HBO Max.
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We got LL Cool J performing with Eminem. We got Dave Chappelle inducting Jay-Z. Foo Fighters, Dr. Dre and loads more. It’s Saturday night if you can’t put on pants and go to a concert then bring the concert to you.

Sunday, November 21

The Simpsons (8:30 p.m. / Fox)

A musical comes to life in Springfield as Marge stages a revival of her beloved high school show.
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Sammy Suggestion: The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (Anytime / Crave)

The Center Seat: 55 Years Of Star Trek is a multi-episode documentary series that takes viewers on the definitive in-depth journey behind the scenes of one of the greatest landmark franchises of all time: Star Trek.
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Recently comic book characters like Batman and Wonder Woman have celebrated their 80th anniversaries. Any long-term comic book reader knows there are moments of terrible stories; lousy creative decisions and strange paths. Which makes continuity so valuable because it protects the essence of the characters and their universe: the remarkable core is truly what endures. There’s lots of stories and pivotal moments worth celebrating…the good stuff is why those characters relentlessly last decade after decade. Similarly the History Channel is celebrating Star Trek’s 55th year with a new ten-part documentary series. What were the fateful creative decisions that led to 55 years? How do you build something significant from a quickly cancelled 60s TV show that lasted only 79 episodes? All these questions and more will be explored in The Center Seat. Everybody is in this. Do I hafta add something like set your phasers to fun?! (Please Note: Americans can continue to watch this docuseries on History Vault the History Channel’s subscription video service; it’s been out since November 5.)

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#SetTheVCR: November 08-14, 2021

We survived the Cola Wars only to face The Battles of the streamer. Prior to the pandemic studios would play corporate chicken with blockbuster releases staking their claim for a specific Summer weekend: the bet being my movie will earn more than your movie. That mostly went away as the pandemic destroyed typical opening weekends. However for streamers Friday November 12 is as big as like Memorial Weekend is for the movies. It’s a glorious return to corporate chicken with many sound bets on what audiences will want to watch. We’re all gonna hafta make choices and as such I am prepared with this week’s #SetTheVCR to help you make the best ones. The Choice Is Yours.

Monday, November 08

Will Smith: The Best Shape of My Life (Anytime / YouTube Originals)

Will Smith’s embarking on a major quest; he’s gonna lose 20lbs in 20 weeks all while finishing his memoir. But he quickly hits a turning point that he didn’t see coming.
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Sammy Suggestion: Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (10 p.m. / NBC)

Finding an unexpected clue, Langdon, Katherine, Nuñez and Peter partner with Sato and her CIA colleagues to spring a trap for Mal’akh; as the night unfolds, the real puzzle is quickly discovered.
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Has Peacock solved the streaming code? Tonight NBC will air the pilot of the Peacock original series Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. The show has gone linear! So yeah you could watch The Lost Symbol tonight to crack Dan Brown’s code or…you can wait until Friday and solve the murder of JFK! Oliver Stone has returned to JFK’s assassination via recently declassified evidence and testimony. JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass will be added to Showtime on Demand and Showtime streaming only on November 12! However, like The Lost Symbol the documentary will make its linear TV debut on November 22 at 7 pm (JFK was of course killed on November 22, 1963.). The Choice Is Yours.

Tuesday, November 09

Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman: Season 1 (10 p.m. / History Channel)

An eight-part miniseries with Morgan Freeman as he explores real-life prison breaks that have captured the attention of the public.
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Sammy Suggestion: Frontline: Pandora Papers (10 p.m. / PBS)

A massive leak of financial documents reveals hidden assets and deals of the world’s wealthy and powerful. With the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, FRONTLINE examines secret finance overseas and in the U.S.
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The Pandora Papers is all about: “Show me the money!” A two year investigation culminates into this Frontline exposé which discloses the tax havens, offshore accounts and other legal tax loopholes where the rich hide their financial assets. Pandora Papers is on PBS at 10 p.m. So yeah you could watch Pandora Papers tonight to explore the wacky world of the wealthy or…you can wait until Friday for wacky and reveal in The World According to Jeff Goldblum: Season 2. The first five episodes of Season 2 featuring Jeff Goldblum’s zany curiosity explorations will be released on November 12 as part of Disney+ Day. And one of the new episodes focuses on magic (Ta-Da!). The Choice Is Yours.

Wednesday, November 10

Police Story (1985) & Police Story 2 (1988) (Anytime / Crave)

An honest Hong Kong cop protecting a Triad boss’s girlfriend-turned-informer, finds himself framed for the murder of a dirty cop and going on the run.

A dedicated Hong Kong cop’s unusual policing methods result in his demotion to traffic duty, despite his success in fighting crime. Meanwhile, an old enemy is released from prison and sets out to get revenge.
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Sammy Suggestion: Passing (Anytime / Netflix)

In 1920s New York City, a Black woman finds her world upended when her life becomes intertwined with a former childhood friend who’s passing as white.
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Rebecca Hall’s modern Black Like Me dissects the friendship of two Black friends in 1920s Harlem…even though one of em (clearly?) has a secret. So yeah you could watch Passing tonight to witness who can successfully pass or…you can wait until Friday and enjoy two great passing Big Men in the NBA. Recently retired Pau Gasol’s documentary It’s About the Journey lands on Prime Video. The Kobe section will be heartbreaking. While Showtime continues its string of basketball documentary excellence with a Kevin Garnett documentary. Of course it’s called Anything Is Possible. Considering the personalities and careers of both players this is just too good to pass up. Truly: The Choice Is Yours.

Thursday, November 11

Ragdoll (Anytime / AMC+)

A freshly demoted DS returns to the field–only to have his dark past follow him. His dear friend and boss, Baxter, and an American ingenue, Edmunds, fall with him into the grotesque–and brilliant–game of the ‘Ragdoll’ Killer.
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Sammy Suggestion: Pharma Bro (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)

The story of Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical tycoon known for raising the price of an AIDS drug 5500% overnight, buying the sole copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million dollars and being convicted of securities fraud.
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I primarily know Martin Shkreli from the purchase of the Wu-Tang album (Once Upon a Time in Shaolin...it was so limited only a single copy was ever sold.) so I’m not sure if the rest of his “achievements” warrant a whole documentary. I guess that’s the classic American dream right? To be so infamous you “score” a documentary. So yeah you could watch Pharma Bro tonight to grapple with Big Pharma corruption or…you can wait until Friday and sample Dopesick now available to Canadians via Disney+ Canada. Americans have been hooked on Hulu’s Dopesick since October 13. The Michael Keaton docuseries will begin streaming weekly on November 12. Take a Hit…if you D.A.R.E. The Choice Is Yours.

Friday, November 12

Lethal Weapon (Anytime / Crave)

Following the death of his wife, Los Angeles police detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) becomes reckless and suicidal. When he is reassigned and partnered with Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), Riggs immediately clashes with the older officer. As they encounter increasingly dangerous situations, Riggs and Murtaugh begin to form a bond. Riggs’ volatile behavior might just help them apprehend the criminals — if it doesn’t kill them both first.
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Sammy Suggestion: Disney+ Day (Anytime / Disney+ & YouTube)

Disney+ subscribers, and fans will enjoy exclusive offers, surprise moments, exclusive entertainment, content premieres from all of the service’s marquee brands, and much more.
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Following Tudum on September 25, DC FanDome on October 16 today is DISNEY+ DAY. Yet another Nerd Christmas brimming with trailers and dynamic announcements. In reaction to all that marketing noise the other streamers are determined to put Disney on…ah RED NOTICE. So yeah you could celebrate all the Disney+ Day announcements and revelations and hype all day today or…you can see if that wonderful woman Gal Gadot as an art thief can steal your attention away.

Saturday, November 13

Elf (Anytime / Crave)

One Christmas Eve a long time ago, a baby crawled into Santa’s bag of toys and is raised as an elf. Buddy goes looking for his true place in the world–in New York City.
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Sammy Suggestion: Blade Runner: Black Lotus (Midnight / Adult Swim)

Replicants are like any other machine, they’re either a benefit or a hazard. Find out what went into making the world of Blade Runner: Black Lotus from the creators of the new anime series.
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The popular sci-fi movie Blade Runner gets animated: “Los Angeles 2032. A young woman wakes up with no memories, and possessing deadly skills. The only clues to her mystery are a locked data device and a tattoo of a black lotus. Putting together the pieces, she must hunt down the people responsible for her brutal and bloody past to find the truth of her lost identity.” So yeah you could watch Blade Runner’s classic robotic-Pinocchio existential crisis or…chop it up with the freshly released on Friday Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. Who was already animated in comic books and is now a real life MCU movie just added to Disney+. The Choice Is Yours. (Please Note for Canadians we have the same Adult Swim so same date and same time. No Canadian delay on this nerd-show!)

Sunday, November 14

Adele: One Night Only (8:30 p.m. / CBS)

A primetime special with extraordinary performances from the superstar including Adele’s first new material in six years plus her chart-topping hits. The special will also feature an exclusive interview with Adele by Oprah Winfrey from her rose garden, in Adele’s first televised wide-ranging conversation about her new album, the stories behind the songs, life after divorce, weight loss and raising her son.
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Sammy Suggestion: Mayor of Kingstown: Season 1 (Anytime / Paramount+)

Mayor of Kingstown follows the McLusky family – power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.
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In Mayor of Kingstown Jeremy Renner is Mike McLusky, a power broker in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of incarceration is a thriving industry. So yeah you could watch Jeremy Renner tonight working the system loaded with criminals who are not straight shooters or…you check out Friday’s Disney+ Day special “celebrating the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+ with an exciting look towards the future.” A future that includes Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton in Hawkeye which’ll later on this month. The Choice Is Yours.

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#CouchWorthy: The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog (Anytime / Netflix) –I’m not a Jane Campion fan but I dig Benedict Cumberbatch so here we are all Once Upon a Time in the West. Cumberbatch is a City Slicker whose got Blazing Saddles for his brother’s new bride.

And I’m certain he’ll be Unforgiven as that sorta thing even in the 1920s; while it doesn’t go on a person’s Tombstone it is News of the World. So because they can’t be the Three Amigos it’s High Noon in this Westworld.

This is a Maverick movie from Cumberbatch as I doubt any of us expected to see him out on the Open Range.

As such I’m curious…let’s saddle up and see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of these characters in The Power of the Dog. Just another sad and dark chapter in America’s Wild Wild West.

#SetTheVCR | Netflix | December 1, 2021

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Morning Tea: Stranger Things in Atlanta

Stranger Things!

The Shadow!

Atlanta! Brew a strong tea: yo!


The First Yo of The Day.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Mondays?

#Pulp that To Do List today…all week.

(Image by Francesco Francavilla dude is so good!)


Fresh Kicks

As for today’s cover image: I always check out a stand up comic’s sneakers soon as he comes out.

Especially for specials because dope kicks make a special truly special.

Here is what Roy Wood Jr wore for his latest special Imperfect Messenger: 1985 Nike Dunk High Acid Wash.

There should be a blog for comedy and kicks.


Disney+ Is Taking It To The IMAX!

Disney Plus is trying! I just wish the actual monthly offerings look as good as this…

Disney Plus is the first major streaming service to provide the Imax Enhanced features for at-home viewing (although of course without Imax’s gargantuan screens).

The 13 titles available in the Imax-enhanced format include the Disney Plus premiere of Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings on Nov. 12. The others are Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow. Ok then…#SetTheVCR??


#SetTheVCR…PSA: A Snowpiercer Update

“I said: brr… It’s cold in here!

There must be some Snowpiercer in the at-mos-phere!”

A #SetTheVCR…PSA: Snowpiercer: Season 3 circles around on January 24, 2022.

Bring It On!


#SetTheVCR…#PSA: Atlanta: Season 3

Atlanta: Season 2 ended 2018. And it was only 11 episodes. To take this long the standards for Season 3 are ridiculous. If Hiro Murai is back then so am I! Dude directed 7 of the first season’s 10 episodes, 7 episodes of Season 2 including “Teddy Perkins.” That dude is the unsung hero of this series. He In; I’m in!


I Got Furious Over This Real Fast!

“Vin Diesel Asks Dwayne Johnson To Return For Fast And Furious Conclusion.”

Nah Man: Don’t Be Weak.

Fast and Furious movies are better without The Rock.

It’s bad enough Paul Walker won’t conclude the saga.

Don’t Hobbs-le the franchise with Dwayne Johnson.

This clown made Rampage and Skyscraper. Hit the bricks. The series is called Furious so be it.


The NBA 75th Anniversary Season: Jordan Is A Money #GOAT

You truly can’t celebrate the NBA’s 75th Anniversary without recognizing Michael Jordan’s incredible wealth.

He built this financial house of the modern NBA as much as the TV contracts did.


#TrailerAlert: The Hating Game

Lucy Hale is the hot chick; Austin Stowell is the hot dude and they hate each other. Or do they…

December 10, 2021 if you’re gonna sit through this.


#SetTheVCR…PSA: Stranger Things: Season 4

Let’s visit 1986 in the Stranger Things: Season 4 trailer: Welcome to California. (What happened to Hawkins?!)

That’s one year after The Breakfast Club came out…which is roughly how old the cast of kids is now. Are they in college yet? This season takes place during spring break so it should be wild.

The fourth season will have nine episodes and Chapter One is entitle The Hellfire Club.

I know the Hellfire Club is real but I’m assuming because it’s Stranger Things this is a fun Marvel comics reference.

If you’ve seen X-Men: First Class you know who the Hellfire Club are. Otherwise that’s a deep cut for nerds only. That’s fresh!

Stranger Things: Season 4 | April 2022 | Netflix

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Morning Tea: Kurt Vonnegut Remembers The 5th of November

Will Smith!

Kurt Vonnegut!

Y The Last Man! Brew a strong tea: yo!


The First Yo of The Day.

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” ~ Malcolm X

How James Bond iconic is this Iron Man cover?


5th of November

As for today’s cover image: Remember, Remember The 5th of November according to British Tyler Durden. V For Vendetta terrible comic book adaptation as like a straight up adaptation yet an utterly astonishing comic book movie…one of the best comic book movies.

Technically DC Films’ best movie aside from Superman II.


Kehinde Wiley Nice News

So dope to see Kehinde Wiley earning mainstream recognition. He’s one of my favourite modern painters…a phrase I shouldn’t say out loud too often. I’m classy but not that classy.

His paintings and even his techniques reference a lot of the Old Masters: if you know you know kinda thing.

A fantastic painter and here’s yet another example of just how good he is.


#CouchWorthy: Will Smith

So it’s not exactly Oprah but it’s still Will Smith. If you’re in Toronto this is #CouchWorthy.


#SetTheVCR…#PSA: YellowJackets

YellowJackets will premiere on Sunday, November 14 at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

However the premiere episode is freely available on YouTube, Showtime on Demand etc.

They didn’t make this for me so I’m out. I figure if you liked The Wilds you’ll dig this.


Y Are You Like This!

“Y” Y: The Last Man was cancelled. Though if you’ve watched this show especially after reading the excellent comics the answer is a fairly obvious: Y Not?

Lousy sci-fi, the pandemic, costly budgets, terrible writing; bloated politics, a writing agenda and an awful cast. Crash and Burn Huh Mav? The comics are outstanding and in this case stick with those. Skip the show.


The NBA 75th Anniversary Season: Remember D?

If you’re playing basketball you’re supposed to play Defense.

To paraphrase Chris Rock from 1996’s Bring The Pain: “What do you want, a cookie?! You’re “supposed to play D,” you low-expectation-having motherfucker! Man, I am tired of this shit!”


#TrailerAlert: Kurt Vonnegut – Unstuck in Time

This intriguing Kurt Vonnegut documentary is expected to open in theaters and VOD on November 19.

This looks great; I’m in! So gonna make a seriously serious tea for this. I’m In!


#SetTheVCR…PSA: Animaniacs: Season 2

Animaniacs: Season 2 debuts tonight on Hulu.

However for Canadians Season 2 will air tomorrow (November 6!) on Teletoon at 9 a.m. Oh Yes!

The delicious return of Saturday Morning Cartoons.

Buy a good cereal for this.

Animaniacs: Season 2 | November 6 | Teletoon 9 a.m. (for Canadians)

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Morning Tea: John Wick Is A National Treasure?

John Wick!

Gordon Parks!

Colin Cowherd! Brew a strong tea: yo!


The First Yo of The Day.

“Never give in & Never give up.”

~ Tony Stark // IronMan (in one of my favorite armours.)


Collective Vison

As for today’s cover image: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” right? They’re “wise words from Founder and former Executive Director of Race Forward, Gary Delgado.”


New Day; New Last Dance

Magic Johnson is getting a Last Dance.

A four-part docuseries (double what HBO gave to Tiger Woods…jerks!) from Rick Famuyiwa. (Dope is a “dope” movie…check it out.)

I like this doc way better than Adam McKay’s fictional Lakers movie where Quincy Isaiah plays Magic.


John Wick Ruckus: Team Ruckus!

“Woah!” Trick Riding looks so fun. I’ve ridden a horse and it’s a dull slightly humiliating experience for both of us. But Trick Riding…dangling off the side like that? Now that’s horse riding…I’d City Slickers that up hard.


A Choice Of Weapons

A Choice Of Weapons is the Gordon Parks doc trailer: look how good this is! Oh so making a tea for this one.

It’s directed by John Maggio and Jamel Shabazz is in this. That alone is worth the time investment. (I still can’t believe I got to hang out with Jamel for an afternoon in his Long Island studio and just get into…all of it. So Dope.)

November 15 at 10 p.m. on HBO Max. #SetTheVCR


New Day; New National Treasure

Oh what a condescending downgrade from Nicolas Cage.

Lisette Alexis (whoever that is…) will be the star of the Disney+ National Treasure series.

That’s as wretched as Doogie Kamealoha. There’s no way this’ll be good. Impossible.

Skip the trailer: I’m 100% out.

Make another movie with Cage and I’ll happy be back.


#NBA: Kinda/Sorta

Just brilliant. “A populist snob: what you’re saying is you want to attract a lot of people but you have a standard that you won’t cross.”

That’s it…right there. That’s the money. Populist Snob. So good; soul good!

Always doubt the haters; never doubt yourself.

I hafta listen to this interview again. Some most excellent gems. Ethan Strauss hosted Colin Cowherd on a recent episode of HoS podcast.


#TrailerAlert: Christmas

Christmas Eve is 50 days away.

“Santa’s Coming!!! I Know Him!”


#SetTheVCR…PSA: Imperfect Messenger

I got incredible news for all Canadians. One of the best stand-up comedians joking right now is Roy Wood Jr.

His third one hour comedy special Imperfect Messenger airs tonight on CTV Comedy. #SetTheVCR for true. (This originally aired on Friday October 29 on Comedy Central.)

Bonus: on Crave your can streaming his previous and most excellent special: No One Loves You.

Imperfect Messenger | November 4 |CTV Comedy 11 p.m.

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Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

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