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Alonso Duralde on the Vulture TV Podcast

Alonso Duralde, author of Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas, sat down for a chat about the Best of Christmas TV with Gazelle Emami and Matt Zoller Seitz on the Vulture TV Podcast. The interview covered the quintessential episodes and classics fused with snippets. Take a listen below.


>>LISTEN<<

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Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas will point you and your rental queue in the right direction. Whether your idea of a holiday classic is White ChristmasBad SantaDie HardEyes Wide Shut, or Gremlins, you’ll find the right film for you, as well as an exhaustively entertaining breakdown of the various screen Scrooges, from Alistair Sim to Jim Carrey to Tori Spelling.

Building on the characters that Alonso covers in the book, The Vulture TV podcast covered the formula of what TV shows go for such as sitcoms focusing on togetherness and communities while dramas focus mores on drama. Shows mentioned with a few snippets and further discussion of the episodes included: South Park, Seinfeld, Futurama, Golden Girls, The Simpsons, and more.

Christmas allows for big, splash decor and also maybe a little more sentimentality than they might get away with the rest of the year.

-Alonso Duralde

What else make for classic TV? Let’s not forget Hallmark which has the traditional family business theme in their movies. There are also Netflix specials and of course the cult classic, animated series which were referred to as the “backbone of Christmas.” Let’s not forget the trifecta: Charlie Brown, Rudolph and The Grinch.

The two tropes that keep coming up, especially in the 70s and 80s. It’s either the Christmas Carol knock off episode where a mean character is visited by ghosts who are played by the co-stars and learns to love Christmas. Or, the ‘no one is coming to my Christmas party’ / ‘oh no, everyone is coming to my Christmas party.

-Alonso Duralde

In Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas you’ll  encounter movies you may never have heard of from the gritty noir Christmas Holiday, starring 1930s singing ingénue Deanna Durbin in her first hard-bitten adult role, to the loony Santa Claus, a Mexican kiddie movie in which St. Nick teams up with Merlin to fight the devil! Plot synopses, video availability, and fun facts – did you know the actor cast as Uncle Billy in It’s a Wonderful Life was also in the running to play mean old Mr. Potter? – make this a stocking stuffed with information you’ll turn to every Christmas season.

 

Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas

Enjoy an excerpt about Elvis’ Christmas album from Elvis Music FAQ, by Mike Eder. 

Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (Released October 10, 1971)

This album may be one of Elvis’ most heard of the seventies, but it’s one of his worst non-soundtrack outings. Elvis did not want to do this album, but he did so because it was expected of him. It did extremely well in the holiday market, but the project left a bad taste in his mouth. The production and arrangements are tame on the whole. Other than the fact that Elvis is singing them, selections like “The First Noel,” “Silver Bells,” and “On a Snowy Christmas Night” have nothing to offer. “Winter Wonderland” is also pretty pedestrian, with only a tacked-on rock-and-roll ending being notable. Sure, an Elvis fan is going to like these recordings over most other versions, but Presley was bored, and he brings nothing to the table.

“The Wonderful World of Christmas” and “It Won’t Seem Like Christmas (Without You)” have Elvis going through the motions, but they sound slightly contemporary. “If I Get Home on Christmas Day” was a ballad Elvis tried a bit harder on, but it’s still melodically dreary.

Making one wish the EP format was still viable at the time, there are four tracks worthy of Elvis. One is a fine ballad by Glen Spreen and Red West called “Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees.” The melody has a bit more substance to it than most of the other songs here, and Elvis responds to the moodiness of the piece.

“I’ll Be Home on Christmas Day” is a song Elvis toiled hard on, recording several different versions of it before he was finally satisfied with one of his earlier attempts. It’s very bluesy, and one can tell why he wanted to do it justice. There’s a lot of feeling, and it creates atmosphere on what had so far been one of Elvis’ most trite projects.

The two songs chosen for the single were quite solid, with “Merry Christmas Baby” being particularly rewarding. Doing it as a slow blues jam, Elvis pulls out all the stops by reaffirming himself as the best white blues singer there ever was. These types of songs came so easily to Elvis that he never seemed to realize how many singers would kill for his mastery of the idiom. “Merry Christmas Baby” has been recorded by many great artists, such as Chuck Berry and Ike and Tina Turner. As good as their records were, nobody put their stamp on it like Elvis. Even on a project he had no passion for, Elvis couldn’t help but be great when he really dug a song.

It seems less likely that Elvis would excel on “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” but with a country-styled basic track over a tasteful choral backing, excel he does. Though some traditional feeling is retained, there is a modern beat behind it, which keeps proceedings from getting dull. Elvis is credited on the LP with the arrangement. This may have been a ploy for Hill & Range to claim publishing, though it’s likely Elvis did have input, considering the work he put into his vocals. Doing his own harmonies over his main lead, his voicing is intricate, and the resulting thickness is pleasing to the ear. If the LP is far too patchy, at least the single showcased Elvis at his best.

Elvis Music FAQ

Why is Elvis Presley’s body of recorded work still so relevant nearly 60 years after he began recording? Elvis Music FAQ is for anyone who has been inspired by an Elvis Presley record. Following in the tradition of the FAQ series, in Elvis Music FAQ, a lot of rare information is woven together in one concise, entertaining package.

There are chapters about every year of Elvis’s career, including a look at his pioneering original record label Sun; insight on his management; the continued importance of television in his career; a summation of each Presley concert tour; the inside scoop about the role Elvis’s band members and songwriters played in his sound; stories about the amusing musical oddities created by those trying to ride on the Elvis success train; details about the contentious role drugs played in his career; and, finally, a full review of every record the King ever issued.

One might say that the only truths about Elvis Presley can be found in the grooves of his records, where his natural talent and passion for music comes through always. Elvis Music FAQ aims to be the one essential companion that explains the reason why the voice heard over the speakers still carries such resonance. Dozens of rare images accompany this engaging text.

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas

It’s Christmastime, which means gifts, spending time with friends and family, and watching Christmas movies! Luckily for you, Alonso Duralde, author of Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmashas compiled a list of non-traditional holiday movies for USA Today. He’s also being interviewed on the Turner Classic Movies program A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas, which is being aired tonight at 12:15 a.m. EST. You can find out more about the program here.

1988

‘DIE HARD’

When he was writing his book, Duralde often heard from people – usually in guilty hushed tones – how watching Bruce Willis storm the Nakatomi Building after terrorists strike on Christmas Eve became a December tradition. “It’s 25 years out,” Duralde says. “People can openly admit, ‘I watch Die Hard every Christmas!’ I don’t think that one counts anymore as being a different one.”

1994

‘THE REF’

The squabbling family members central to the film just can’t stand one another when a cat burglar (Denis Leary) takes them hostage on Christmas Eve and becomes a device to bring them together. As funny and harsh as the movie is, Duralde says, “it holds out the idea that this can improve and the family can fix itself and be better.”

To find out the rest of the non-traditional holiday movies that make up Duralde’s top five, go to USA TODAY

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas

Don’t waste another second of your valuable holiday time on another boring Christmas movie. Film critic Alonso Duralde highlights the best – and worst – movies of the Yuletide season with this fun and informative film guide. Whether you’re looking for the classics, family favorites, holiday horror, Christmas-themed crime epics, or the most wonderfully awful cinematic lumps of coal, Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas will point you and your rental queue in the right direction. Whether your idea of a holiday classic is White ChristmasBad SantaDie HardEyes Wide Shut, or Gremlins, you’ll find the right film for you, as well as an exhaustively entertaining breakdown of the various screen Scrooges, from Alistair Sim to Jim Carrey to…Tori Spelling? And get ready to encounter movies you may never have heard of from the gritty noir Christmas Holiday, starring 1930s singing ingénue Deanna Durbin in her first hard-bitten adult role, to the loony Santa Claus, a Mexican kiddie movie in which St. Nick teams up with Merlin to fight the devil! Plot synopses, video availability, and fun facts – did you know the actor cast as Uncle Billy in It’s a Wonderful Life was also in the running to play mean old Mr. Potter? – make this a stocking stuffed with information you’ll turn to every Christmas season.

A Year in Review


Hal Leonard Holiday Photo

Thank you to everyone who has been reading our blog this year. We were very excited to start this back in September 2011 and are thrilled that it has taken off like this. We promise to continue to provide you with great exclusive content from our authors in 2012. But we are taking a break for the holidays now. In the meantime, please enjoy some of our highlights you could have missed from this year:

Gift Ideas
Free Book Excerpts
Q & A with Authors

Top 10 Most Popular Posts
10. The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook
9. Temple of the Souls
8. Alan Parsons to Appear at Hal Leonard Booth – AES 2011
7. 11 Reasons Why This is Spinal Tap Still Rocks
6. Opening Night of Godspell
5. Great Singers and Great Actors? Yes, Please!
4. Stevie Ray Vaughan: 27 Years since Carnegie Hall
3. Sheri Sanders Helps Oklahoma Rock the Audition
2. The Story Behind the FAQ Series
1. Hal Leonard at AES

Other Favorites 
Gini Graham Scott’s tips for filmmakers
George Kennedy Reflects on Another Happy Day
Bill Marx (the son of Harpo) Speaks!
Celebrating 40 Years of Led Zeppelin IV
The Sopranos as a Product of its Time
Steve Gordon’s advice on the music industry
Why did Bobby Owsinski Create the Handbook Series?
John, Paul, George, Ringo, and…Bruce
Susan Masino at the Country Music Hall of Fame
Celebrating 60 Years of I Love Lucy
Best film of 2010 You May Have Missed
George Clooney: More Oscars on the Way?
Larry Fine Finds Yet Another Reason to Appreciate Mothers!
Looking Back at the Last 50 Years of Bob Dylan
Andrea Bocelli’s Concert in Central Park

A Very DVD Obscura Christmas: 10 Holiday Movies You May Never Have Heard Of

‘Tis the season of long lines, last-minute holiday shopping, copious cookies, and  classic Christmas movies. Or is it? Now featured on Movies.com, Author Alonso Duralde offers a sampling of some great exceptions to the rule with his list of 10 great holiday movies you probably haven’t heard of. From Lassie to La Bûche, these films are a great way to mix up your movie marathon M.O. He’s made his list, now it’s your turn to check it twice.

10 Holiday Movies You May Never Have Heard Of

  1. Lassie
  2. Some Girls
  3. Remember the Night
  4. Santa Claus (1959)
  5. La Bûche
  6. The Store
  7. It Happened on Fifth Avenue
  8. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
  9. The Silent Partner
  10. We’re No Angels

Click here to read what Duralde has to say about each film on Movies.com.

___________________________________________________

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas by Alonso Duralde

Don’t waste another second of your valuable holiday time on another boring Christmas movie. Film critic Alonso Duralde highlights the best – and worst – movies of the Yuletide season with this fun and informative film guide. Whether you’re looking for the classics, family favorites, holiday horror, Christmas-themed crime epics, or the most wonderfully awful cinematic lumps of coal, Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas will point you and your rental queue in the right direction. Whether your idea of a holiday classic is White ChristmasBad SantaDie Hard, Eyes Wide Shut, or Gremlins, you’ll find the right film for you, as well as an exhaustively entertaining breakdown of the various screen Scrooges, from Alistair Sim to Jim Carrey to…Tori Spelling? And get ready to encounter movies you may never have heard of from the gritty noir Christmas Holiday, starring 1930s singing ingénue Deanna Durbin in her first hard-bitten adult role, to the loony Santa Claus, a Mexican kiddie movie in which St. Nick teams up with Merlin to fight the devil! Plot synopses, video availability, and fun facts – did you know the actor cast as Uncle Billy in It’s a Wonderful Life was also in the running to play mean old Mr. Potter? – make this a stocking stuffed with information you’ll turn to every Christmas season. Available from Limelight Editions and booksellers nationwide.

Alonso Duralde is the author of 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men. He has written about film for MSNBC.com and the Advocate, among others, and programmed film festivals, including Outest and the USA Film Festival/Dallas. A regular contributor to The Rotten Tomatoes Show, Duralde has been featured in documentaries for IFC and Starz, and on the Brokeback Mountain and Valley of the Dolls DVDs.
Follow him on Twitter.

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Gift Ideas for the Music and Arts Lover on Your Shopping List

It’s that time of year again, and we here at Hal Leonard wanted to make sure our readers didn’t miss out on gift opportunities this holiday season. We’ve made our list (and checked it twice) of great holiday gift ideas for the music and performing arts lover on your shopping list. Whether your mother-in-law prefers Lucille Ball or Led Zeppelin, Hal Leonard has just the book you’re looking for. Read on for our list of holiday must-haves:

DELUXE BOXED SETS

Show-by-Show Deluxe Set
By Stanley Green

Broadway Musicals: Show-by-Showis the bestselling, most comprehensive Broadway reference book today. In this new and expanded edition you’ll find over 300 of the most important and memorable productions of the American musical theatre. You’ll also find over 300 movies documented including writer, director, choreographer, cast and song lists, plot summary and more. Available for purchase here.

Unlocking the Masters Deluxe Set
Bach’s Keyboard Music, Beethoven’s Symphonies, and Brahms, A Listener’s Guide

The big three – Bach, Beethoven and Brahms – all together in one deluxe set! Each volume presents an in-depth exploration of the composer’s world of musical intimacies in an easy-to-read, nuts-and-bolts manner. Available for purchase here.

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The Musician’s Ultimate Toolbox
How to Make Your Band Sound Great and The Studio Musician’s Handbook

By Bobby Owsinski

These two volumes offer the practicing musician great titles from the Bobby Owsinski Handbook series of titles. How to Make Your Band Sound Great explores every aspect of playing with other musicians, including the equipment, hardware and software used in today’s increasingly technological world. The Studio Musician’s Handbook, reveals the inner workings of a major Hollywood recording session. Available for purchase here.

The Actor’s Ultimate Toolbox
Duo! The Best Scenes for the ’90s and Duo! The Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century

These two volumes offer a full spectrum of scenes from the ’90s and the 2000s. Each scene has a synopsis of the play, character descriptions and notes on how to propel the scene to full power! Includes: Angles in America, Burn This, Lettice and Lovage, Driving Miss Daisy, Other People’s Money, M. Butterfly, August: Osage County, George & Martha, Intimate Apparel, Take Me Out, and Water Music. Available for purchase here.

Fab Four FAQ Deluxe Set
Fab Four FAQ and Fab Four FAQ 2.0, The Solo Years

Fab Four FAQ contains everything left to know about the Beatles. Stories unknown by most fans, trends unseen and history revealed. Fab Four FAQ 2.0, The Solo Years, picks up where Fab Four FAQ left off, presenting in-depth information on their careers as solo artists. Both books are loaded with images of rare period ephemera, including periodicals, single sleeves, and movie stills. This is the first comprehensive biography of all four ex-Beatles. Available for purchase here.

The Songwriter’s Ultimate Toolbox Boxed Set
How to Write Songs on Guitar, Songwriting Sourcebook, How to Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tunings

By Rikky Rooksby

The bestselling How to Write Songs on Guitar shows you tips and tricks by classic songwriters, from Bob Dylan to the Beatles to Tori Amos. The Songwriting Sourcebook shows you how to turn chords into great songs and compliments How to Write Songs on Guitar. How to Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tunings is the latest installment from Rikky Rooksby and is the only book that explains how to write songs with altered tunings. Available for purchase here.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Day by Day, Night After Night
Deluxe Box Set

By Craig Hopkins

This boxed set combines both volumes of Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day by Day, Night After Night, one of the most lavishly illustrated and detailed musician biographies ever written. In a day-by-day format, Craig Hopkins presents an award-winning and unprecedented celebration of Vaughan’s life and music. His Early Years, 1954-1982, the first volume in this deluxe set, covers the complete history of the guitar legend’s roots, from his childhood to the eve of his first major record release. The second volume, His Final Years, 1983-1990, covers Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s recording career, from their debut release through their rise to international stardom. Available for purchase here.

The Dream Factory: Fender Custom Shop
By Tom Wheeler

This third in a series of hardcover books joins the award-winning titles The Stratocaster Chronicles and The Soul of Tone by author/historian Tom Wheeler. In nearly 600 pages, The Dream Factory features hundreds of full-color photos of incredibly rare, collectible, and limited-edition handcrafted guitars. Learn how the Fender Custom Shop, originally intended to employ just two master craftsmen, grew into the most prolific custom instrument shop in the music industry. Available for purchase here.

FOR MUSIC AND MOVIE LOVERS

Led Zeppelin FAQ

Bad Reputation

The Beach Boys FAQ



Screen World 62

A Hard Day's Night

The Vampire Film