Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm Sitting On The Patio

According to comScore, only around 11 percent of Twitter users are teens. And this recent NY Times article states that teen usage is low for all social networking's adults, in fact, who are driving this bus.
Twitter’s unparalleled explosion in popularity has been driven by a decidedly older group. That success has shattered a widely held belief that young people lead the way to popularizing innovations.

“The traditional early-adopter model would say that teenagers or college students are really important to adoption,” said Andrew Lipsman, director of industry analysis at comScore. Teenagers, after all, drove the early growth of the social networks Facebook, MySpace and Friendster.

Twitter, however, has proved that “a site can take off in a different demographic than you expect and become very popular,” he said. “Twitter is defying the traditional model.”

In fact, though teenagers fueled the early growth of social networks, today they account for 14 percent of MySpace’s users and only 9 percent of Facebook’s. As the Web grows up, so do its users, and for many analysts, Twitter’s success represents a new model for Internet success. The notion that children are essential to a new technology’s success has proved to be largely a myth.

Read the rest of the Times article HERE, and a nice compliment to that piece HERE.

You can spin the data to mean whatever you want, but we should all be able to agree these numbers send a very different message to advertisers who think they must only be chasing the almighty 'youth'. When is someone from a TV network or movie studio or website development company going to go on the record and announce they are targeting an older, 'adult' demographic...and it's okay?!

When it comes to Twitter I enjoy the information gained determined by whom I'm following, but I'm still not comfortable with tweeting yet. I really don't want to become this 'on the patio' guy:

But I'll happily make a TV show for him!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Not So Ambiguously Ambiguous At All

I really didn't know what to make of this clip (there's definitely an Ace and Gary vibe going on) other than to say I couldn't look away, much as I wanted to. And the title: Ultimate Muscle Roller Legend...huh? But it certainly is fun, Friday Fun for sure. And if you can explain to me what it's supposed to mean, please do leave a comment...I'd appreciate it. Seriously. I want to sleep again. (it's rated NSFW, but it's merely, erm, suggestive).

Because it makes me smile...nervously.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Not That Hard, Michelle

Two fun trailers here for your viewing enjoyment: "The Office - A XXX Parody", and the just released "30 Rock - A XXX Parody". Yes that's movies riffing off of popular sitcoms, kewl. However I'm somewhat saddened to see New Sensations doing away with the porn movie staple of changing the title of a mainstream movie they are 'paying homage to' but doing some double entendre action with the new title (see: Forrest Hump, Flesh Dance, On Golden Blonde, etc.). The tendency these days seems to be keep it simple stupid, like using 'Not' and 'This Ain't'. As in 'Not Three's Company' or This Ain't Happy Days'. But still, c'mon..."30 Rock Hard" or "The Orafice" anyone?

The 30 Rock XXX trailer is Safe For Work, so to speak, and kinda fun. The guy doing Tracy Morgan (erm, not 'doing'...impersonating) is pretty funny...not to mention the star of Nailin' Palin pulls off a very respectable albeit very enhanced Tina Fey/Liz Lemon. I want to go to there.

The Office XXX trailer is a little less SFW, though there's no hardcore imagery - it's more just for language. Actually it's pretty tame. It misses the mark somewhat by making Michael 'Michelle', but the faux documentary camera work is spot on and they have some fun with the 'That's what she said...' routine.

I do wonder if spoofs of what are essentially spoof TV shows can be that entertaining...oh wait, there's the porn. Duh. But I'm also curious whether they are half hour stories, like the TV series (or perhaps 3 episodes strung together to make up the requisite 90 minutes needed for a feature release), as opposed to just a straight feature length story. (Oops, just looked up and 30 Rock - A XXX Parody clocks in at 157 minutes...what's that, like a whole season!)

Who knows...maybe the guy playing Jack Donaghy gets to recreate the classic "tomorrow I'm gonna be in an intense six-hour foursome with three other men" line...though if that was the case, I'd probably give it a pass. Probably.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The Local Programming Improvement Fund kicks off September 1, 2009...I know most of you really don't want to but go read all about it HERE. The CRTC put this fund into place in response to a number of issues like the economic downturn and the Save Local TV campaign, but the bottom line was the cable and satellite companies (BDU's) were asked to contribute a tiny percentage of their gross revenues in order to cash flow a fund intended to help smaller market TV stations maintain their current level of service. Well, actually it was to improve and even increase local programming, but now seems to be just about achieving status quo.

Nevertheless, the money had to come from somewhere and that was outlined in the above-linked CRTC policy determination document:

The Commission has considered whether the 1% of gross revenues of licensed BDUs to be contributed to the LPIF would provide sufficient support for local programming in non-metropolitan markets, either on a short-term or longer-term basis. In light of the evidence presented during the course of the Hearing, the Commission determines that it would be appropriate to increase the LPIF contribution by licensed BDUs from 1.0% to 1.5% of gross revenues for the 2009-2010 broadcast year.

The Commission is of the view that, based on evidence on the public record of the proceeding, the figure of 1.5% – estimated to be approximately $102 million – will provide sufficient support to ensure that Canadians in non-metropolitan markets will continue to receive local programming in the 2009-2010 broadcast year.

Okay. Pretty straightforward...BDU's kick in some dough to help out, with no mention of 'a tax', no mention of 'fees', and certainly no mention of it coming out of the consumers pocket.

And yet a letter is being sent out to Rogers TV customers informing them that the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) requires a new 1.5% service fee for "The Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF)".

Starting on your first bill after August 31, 2009, you will see a new line on your invoice called CRTC LPIF fee, and a corresponding charge of 1.5% of your recurring TV monthly service fee. The 1.5% that is collected goes directly to the CRTC's Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF). Rogers Cable receives no financial benefit from the LPIF fee. All other aspects of your service will remain the same.

Bell TV also released a similar statement:

Bell is extremely disappointed by the CRTC's latest decisions regarding this TV tax and, in order to meet the CRTC's orders without impacting the current and future quality of its products and services, Bell will apply a monthly fee to customer billing which will not exceed 1.5% of Bell TV charges incurred on and after September 1, 2009.

I've not seen any others yet but I've read that Shaw cable and other cable companies and satellite companies are following suit.


So I wrote the CRTC asking whether this so-called 'fee' should be charged back to the customer. And the reply:

"Thank you for your message.

The CRTC established a Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) to conserve and improve local television programming. In establishing the appropriate level of contributions to be paid by cable/satellite companies to broadcast local programming, the CRTC considered a number of factors including the ability by cable/satellite companies to contribute to the Canadian broadcasting system. Given their reported profits, the CRTC is of the view that there is no justification to pass the cost on to consumers. If your cable/satellite company has decided to increase the fees for your service, it is a business decision that is not regulated or mandated by the CRTC.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and allowing us to clarify the issue" justification to pass the cost on to consumers....gotcha. But they are. So, um, what are you going to do about that, CRTC?


Talk about passing the buck (after somebody takes it first, of course). And talk about tired of trying to think about and deal with and write something remotely positive about all this stuff without resorting to a big WTF...I know I am.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Because We Need The Eggs

After several days of handwaving and link slutting and video posts, it seems only fitting to wrap up the week with two more clips...the opening and closing scenes from Annie Hall. However Woody Allen got there (they still debate today whether Allen deserved a Best Direction Oscar when so much of the finished film was created in the edit suite), these bookends of sweet comedic melancholy are still pure Friday Fun.

Because they make me smile.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Believe It Or Not, It's Not Me

I wish I could say I made this when I was younger, or even that my kids made this today...but we didn't.

Still made me smile though.

H/T to Jaime Weinman

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's What She Said...Get It? Get It??

I'm just handwaving here, but found this Family Guy clip too entertaining to not share.

You see, this year Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy made Primetime Emmy history by becoming the first animated show in nearly a half-century to receive a nomination for best comedy series (the other was "The Flintstones," apparently, nominated back in 1961). And when the awards are handed out the statue will most likely go to 30 Rock or The Office, but MacFarlane revoiced this clip from an old episode to make some funny and maybe even snag a few votes.

H/T Karen Hill

Monday, August 17, 2009

Walking Fridge?

By now you've all seen the hilarious Heineken commercial featuring the walk in fridge...

The follow-up is almost as good.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pushing In On Man Men

Season 3 of Mad Men kicks off tonight on AMC...squeee! And even though there's not much more one can say that hasn't already been said about this ground-breaking television program, HERE IS a nice piece by Jefferson Robbins at The Film Freak Central Blog about the cinematography and specifically, 'Hitchcockian' camera work. And I will agree Mad Man's rock solid 'sticks and dolly' approach is a welcome change from the frenetic jerky handheld look of so many TV programs these days...slow retreats or push in's really suit the material.


RETRO: The Camera & 'Mad Men'
Uploaded by Jefferson_Robbins. - Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

H/T Michael Foster

Friday, August 14, 2009

Potter, You're A Dead Man

Alan Rickman goes all Hans Gruber on the cast and crew in some fabricated Harry Potter outtakes...this clip is some funny Friday Fun.

Because it makes me smile.

H/T to Barb Haynes

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Last Best Action Writer Heroes...or Black Vs.Gilroy

In my opinion, the art of good action movie writing is the ability to direct the sequences with your words without appearing to 'direct' them.

In my experience however, even though TV series action scenes need to be written out, most often it feels like a bit of a wank. That's because the producer and fight coordinator and stunt coordinator will take away the scene and break it down and budget it and choreograph it and more often than not you'll be presented with how it is going to play out, usually at some point during prep. Once I saw the finished product, most times I felt I could've written: Hero enters alley. Bad guys emerge from shadows. Hero attacked. They fight. Hero wins.

I kid....sort of. But even if you're on a series where action plays an important role, TV is shot on such tight schedules and budgets you really are at the mercy of 'what we are able to do' vs. 'what we or you would like to do.'

But when penning feature scripts, there is the opportunity to really shine when it comes to action screenwriting, especially if speccing an original sample as opposed to writing to budget. The best feature action writers use a combo of style and economy of words...keeping it sparse yet succinct. But there should also be an emotional, almost visceral, response while reading. They not only make you see it, but make you 'feel' it also.

For many years my 'go to' guy to read some good action writing was Shane Black. Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon II, and The Last Boy Scout more or less defined crash boom bang for me and I kept copies of the above scripts beside my desk at all times (more recently, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a nice return to form). Black always kept it simple, casual even, sometimes making little asides to you the reader...but boy did he make you see and feel.

Experience this shoot-out sequence from 'The Last Boy Scout'.


Cory is cut down. Blown backward over the hood of
her Ford. Flung to the street.

Without missing a beat, the Hitmen turn --
And OPEN FIRE on Jimmy.

He takes a running start.
Clears the hood of his Jag in a single leap.
BULLETS DICE the metal behind him.

He lands, hard. Sucks the ground. Huddled behind

his car, as:


move toward him, triggering THREE SHOT BURSTS.
The kid is dead meat. Or so it seems until, without
warning --


charges into the intersection. Screaming bloody

murder. He's got a GUN in each fist, and both

One Hitman dies immediately: Dances like a

puppet, racked by gunfire.
Bullets go through him. SHATTER the sedan's WINDSHIELD.

The second Hitman turns and OPENS UP on Hallenbeck.
Too late. Joe rolls behind a mailbox.
BULLETS chase him, blowing apart the metal box.

The Hitman swears. Turns, running for the sedan.
He knows when a getaway is in order.

Just one problem. He forgot about Jimmy Dix.


As Jimmy's Jag slews around the corner, laying

rubber. Rockets toward the Hitman, pins him in
its headlights --

The Hitman screams as Jimmy plows through him --
And CRUNCHES into the gray sedan.
Shatters the Hitman between the two cars.

And holy Christ, the guy's still alive.

Pinned like a butterfly, legs broken...
He raises his rifle, screaming.

Jimmy dives flat on the front seat.


The Hitman. Still pinned. Still screaming.

He FIRES SHOT AFTER SHOT into Jimmy's car.

Hallenbeck walks up behind him.
Puts a BULLET in his head.

He stops screaming.

Wow. I still get jazzed just reading it.

These days my action screenwriter of choice is Tony Gilroy. His scripts for The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy (with Brian Helgeland), The Bourne Ultimatum (with Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi), and Michael Clayton are loaded with brilliantly written action sequences. And even though Gilroy has a tendency to always CAPITALIZE his characters names, and will sometimes go all 'ing' (present participle) with his verbs...his crisp tight writing style more than makes up for my minor personal pet peeves.

Take this sequence from 'Michael Clayton' for example:


ARTHUR heading out -- pulling on his coat --

heading for the door -- checking for keys --
there -- grabbing them off the side table,
as he opens the door and --


A TASER -- 25,000 volts -- from nowhere --

ARTHUR’S BODY clenching as it hits and --

VERNE and IKER -- already flooding in --

gloves -- hairnets -- surgical boots --
like machines --

IKER -- the athlete -- perfect -- hands catching

ARTHUR’S WRITHING BODY before it hits the floor
and --

VERNE -- attack -- gloved hand thrusting down

and --


two quick bursts -- point blank -- words --
throat -- everything choked off -- eyes rolling
and --

IKER -- the body drops -- ready for the dead

weight and --

VERNE -- kicking shut the door -- back to the

body and --

Ready and...


ARTHUR -- like a prop -- limp -- effortless --

IKER and VERNE flying him through the space --
this horrifying freight train pas de trois --
and so far this whole thing has taken eighteen
seconds --

Heading like a freight train for --

THE LOFT BATHROOM -- here they come -- IKER

walking backward holding ARTHUR’S SHOULDERS --
VERNE guiding him --

Ready and...turn.

IKER shifting -- they’re in -- twenty six

seconds --

The coat.

Hold him.

VERNE works off Arthur’s coat -- tossing

it --

Let me just...

Ready and...


ARTHUR sprawled across the bathroom floor

and --

(checking his watch)
We’re good. Prep it.

IKER -- like a shot -- unlacing one of Arthur’s

boots and --

VERNE -- backpack off -- digging through it --

coming up with -- A PREPPED SYRINGE and --

IKER -- pulling off Arthur’s sock and --


searching -- knowing right where to look --
bingo -- BOTTLE -- BOTTLE -- BOTTLE --
pulling them down and --

IKER -- foot is bare -- reaching up --

forty-one seconds --

Bag, I need the wipe...

VERNE -- tossing the backpack -- scanning

the pill bottles --

IKER -- coming out of the backpack with a

pint of vodka and a sterile handkerchief and --
forty-nine seconds --

VERNE -- stripping open the syringe -- kneeling

now and --

ARTHUR’S FACE -- gasping back to life -- he’s

coming to -- gagging now as IKER wipes the
aerosol residue away from his mouth -- eyes
twitching, as they start to open and --

Better hit it.


in -- between the toes and --

VERNE -- as he plunges it home -- no hate --

no fear -- no pleasure -- nothing --
seconds and --

ARTHUR’S FACE -- as the eyes open -- just

an instant -- catching the light -- these
strange masked faces -- then gone -- just
like that -- rolling away -- a little sigh --
a puff of air -- tongue thickening -- and
then still and --

We good?

(checking the pulse)
Hang on...

I’m gonna get the shoe back on.

We’re good.

And it’s over.
Ninety seconds start to finish.

Again. Wow. I saw it, and I felt it.

In both examples, the key appears to be generating flash frames of critical information in the mind of reader using half sentences and fragments instead of overwriting the shit out of it. In fact, choosing to leave a lot out as opposed to putting everything in (again, directing or cutting the sequence with words without appearing to step on the director's toes) seems to be a great trick.

Not to negate their plotting and dialogue writing skills, but when it comes to action Black and Gilroy do it as good or better than anyone. No matter what genre you work in, there's a lot you can takeaway from these masters.

PS Honourable mentions have to go to Michael Mann, James Cameron, Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, and Christopher Nolan...all excellent action writers in their own right, but all are director writers and their scripts can sometimes read more like a shot list than a screenplay.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spackled And Twittered

Apologies for the bloggy silence, but tentatively dipped toe into Twitterland last week and am still feeling somewhat smacked up side the head by the sheer volume of information available out there in the form of 'tweets'. Holy Jesus in, I have three posts near completion, but seem unable to finish because of an overwhelming 'it's already been said or nobody will really care anyway' sensation.

Then factor in the reality that our TV industry appears to be heading toward one big ugly meltdown this fall - go read Denis HERE and get yourself up to speed on the latest nonsense spewed forth by the unholy trifecta of the CRTC, the Canadian BDU's, and our TV networks...all of whom seem out to SCREW each other these days even though they all so desperately NEED each other.

And reading the latest info up at CTV's Save Local TV site didn't help. I especially enjoyed the Fact Check 'Straight Goods on Local TV' section, which implies that simsubbing only occurs during major events like the Super Bowl, as opposed to occurring every single time there's a simulcast:

"Simultaneous Substitution" is only beneficial to broadcasters

"Simultaneous Substitution" is a practice that sees a Canadian broadcaster's signal and advertising substituted over a U.S. signal carrying identical programming. It is used during major events like the Super Bowl. The claim has been made that simultaneous substitution is a benefit to broadcasters. In actual fact, it is only necessary because Shaw and other cable and satellite providers have been given the unprecedented ability to import U.S. signals. No other country in the western world allows their broadcast distributors to do this.

Spin is such an amazing thing, isn't it.


Hopefully this feeling of helplessness and hopelessness will pass soon, but I wouldn't count on it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

You. Have. No. Brain.

Shut up. Listen. Learn.

Just because it's been that kinda week for some people I know, Friday Fun is some Swimming With Sharks Buddy Ackerman funny...not 'ha ha' funny, but 'nervous titter whilst you cringe and wince' funny.

Because it makes me smile uneasily.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Editing Of Story, Narrative Exhaustion, And Using Your Voice

Story Editing. I do a fair bit of it, though what I do exactly is still a question I hear often...especially when it comes to editing feature screenplays. You see, since there aren't really any 'studios' in Canada per say, our funding agencies allow for a producer or in some cases even a writer to hire a senior screenwriter or story editor to give notes and feedback to help guide a script to a place where it can successfully be optioned, sold, or produced. I believe it was John Rogers who once said: "In Hollywood we call that 'lunch'."

Currently I have six screenplays on my plate...all different writers, all different genres, all at various stages of development, all needing unique thoughts, notes, suggestions, and advice. It can be a little overwhelming keeping track of each of them, kind of like showrunning an anthology TV series but without the deadline of 'it shoots tomorrow'.

So what do I do. I collaborate, to a point, but mostly just guide the writer, and help them shape their story into a screenplay until it starts to feel like a 'movie'. That may sound obvious, but there is a real fine line between a story told in a hundred pages in 12 point Courier and script that reads like a that's arrived at the 'almost a blueprint' place. I don't want to write it for them, but assist them to find the most efficient and effective way to tell the tale they want to tell, while always keeping in mind the audience for the story, and the potential ways to fund or finance said project.

There's a rather dry but fairly complete overview of the gig HERE. And last month Trevor Cunningham laid out in his own indomitable style how he works/writes, and sent some love my way. Go read about his method (and madness?): Part I and specifically Part II (working with a story editor).

Anyway, so much of successful story editing depends on 'getting' the story, and connecting with and establishing a trustful bond with the writer. They need to believe you are nudging their idea in the proper direction. But it can be tricky business, especially when you consider the 'narrative exhaustion' we as writers AND viewers feel these days, or so says screenwriter Paul Schrader in the Irish Times:

For a storyteller, it (narrative exhaustion) means that’s it is increasingly difficult to get out in front of a viewer’s expectations. Almost every possible subject has not only been covered but covered exhaustively. How many hours of serial killer plot has the average viewer seen? Fifty? A hundred? He’s seen the basic plots, the permutations of those plotlines, the imitations of the permutations of those plotlines and the permutations of the imitations. How does a writer capture the imagination of a viewer seeped in serial killer plot? Make it even gorier? Done that. More perverse? Seen that. Serial killer with humour? Been there. As parody? Yawn. The example of the serial killer subgenre is a bit facile, but what’s true for serial killer stories is true of all film subjects. Police families? Gay couples? Corrupt politicians? Charming misfits? Yawn, yawn, yawn.

This becomes painfully clear to any writer who attempts to orally tell his story (screenwriting is closer to the oral tradition than it is to literature). You start to tell a story, try to catch the listener’s attention, then watch as Ollie Overwhelmed packages your story and places it in a box. He has seen so much storyline that he has the boxes already prepared. Just drop quote marks around the premise and file it: oh, that’s the “two couples on a road trip” movie or the “six men in a lifeboat” film. I know that film. Ollie’s mind operates like that of story editor. “And then he goes to her place,” you the screenwriter say, “and he finds her hanging naked from a hook in the bathroom,” Ollie the listener thinks: I know that film.

Read the rest of this interesting article HERE.

Shrader's right, it's a bitch battling those boxes...especially when grasping for common ground to not only bond with the writer you're story editing but also to try to give tried and true examples of directions their story could go. And therein lies the rub...sometimes the way a story should go is the predictable and familiar route. I'm not a big fan of breaking the rules just to be different, or I feel you should at least feel know the rules and be able to tell a coherent accessible entertaining story first, then you can go off and mess with the mold.

It's really difficult to be original these days, and there are only so many ways to skin a cat (or save the cat even - sad news indeed), or tell a story as it were. But sometimes the best way to tell your tale is by fitting it into those boxes Schrader references...because that's the right way to tell it. Then you can try to combat some of the exhaustion of narrative that exists out there by going back and finding a unique spin for some of the ingredients (characters, locations, dialogue, etc.) within each box in an effort to make it feel more original. That's where 'style' and 'voice' come into play.

Your voice battles narrative exhaustion, and that's something a story editor can't give you notes just gotta have it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Hoodoo Man Still Gots That Voodoo Thang

Over the weekend I got the opportunity to see one of my guitar heroes, Colin James, perform here in Buttkick at the Regina Ex aka Buffalo Days.

Colin James (Munn) was born in and grew up in Regina. I remember catching him a few times when he was still in his teens playing house parties or with his first blues band The Hoodoo Men. He already had that something even way back then. And of course there was witnessing his big break of opening for Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1984 and then being asked to join SRV on stage. This clip is from '89 but the admiration James still had for his mentor and idol is pretty evident.

A star was born...soon afterwards Munn became James and he was off to conquer the rock/pop world, eventually settling in Vancouver. I actually tried to convince him, or his management at least, to play the Guitarman in my first TV movie...but he was riding a hot streak at the time and out of our price range, unfortunately. Feldman!!

James always circled around the potential of being a big break-out pop star in the vein of Bryan Adams, and though he hit big early on after he signed with Virgin, he never ever hit huge...and I, for one, was kinda grateful. It meant he's kept playing the blues all these years...which is where he seems right at home and certainly most comfortable. He performs his 'hits' perfunctorily, but burns up the blues like nobody else, certainly in Canada at least.

That said I hadn't seen James live in nearly two decades, so I was truly excited to watch the man play now as opposed to the boy of so long ago...though the boy still sure can play. His mastery of the guitar shone bright, but there was a quiet confidence and maturity evident in his vocals and working of the artist and musician on top of his game. Supported by a wickedly tight backup band complete with horn section, the show was an energetic set of soul blues rock interspersed with a generous helping of some of his better known singles: Five Long Years, Just Came Back, Why Do You Lie, Voodoo Thing, and Van Morrison's Into The Mystic. It was a nice overview of his career as bluesman and pop/rock artist (including even some of his jump/swing big band tunes (I Will Be There) courtesy The Little Big Band sessions), but to be honest I wasn't there just to hear the 'hits', I was there to hear his guitar sing...

...or slow.


All and all a great show and a pleasure to watch the boy now turned man sing his soulful heart out whilst making his six string wail. He has a new CD out in the fall and I look forward to hearing it. But my fav memory of Munn/James is still from the Muddy Waters show I saw in 1982, which I wrote about back HERE while relating fav concert moments ever. When Waters left his his stool and made his way into the audience, Munn/James was the first out of his seat and dancing in the aisle...even though the signs at the door strictly prohibited standing, much less shaking ones tail feather. Munn/James got everyone on their feet (with a little help from the Mudman of course)...and witnessing that youthful unbridled enthusiasm for the blues that's still clearly evident in James' playing today...that was a moment I'll always treasure.

PS Also need to shoutout at local boy Jason Plumb (formerly of The Waltons) and his band The Willing who opened for James. Plumb showcased his still silky smooth voice and stellar songwriting with his customary modesty while ploughing through tunes from his new CD 'Wide Open Music' as well as sparkling renditions of Starlight Starbright, Protest Song, and of course, Satellite.

A real talent and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.