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Music Review from the Reno News and Review

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Spirit Wind

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This article was published on 07.31.03.

Spirit Wind brings Native American legend and sound to tried and true rock and blues music.


Spirit Wind begins by recounting Chief Tecumseh’s story in a standard swing beat. Then, out of the dark, lead singer Paula Burris bursts into a haunting wail. Drummers Steve Brennan and Stevie Johnson knock out a heavy, combative boom. The song has turned into a war chant.

Forged in peaceful settings with peaceful intentions, this two-year-old band of settled rockers carries Tecumseh’s torch.

Chief Tecumseh was a Shawnee Indian chief who rallied Native Americans to defend northern America against the onslaught of the white man in the early 1800s.

Spirit Wind is a tribe of five musicians, three of them Native Americans, who want to resurrect the spirit of Tecumseh and the vision of a united Native American front.

They incorporate Cherokee, Lakota, Yaquai and other Indian legend into their shows, oftentimes starting songs with a short story. The released their first album Free last year.

In addition to regular gigs at Esoteric and occasional ones at Walden’s, the band performs for young Native Americans in the Reno area. They hope to inspire youth by passing on long-forgotten Indian legends.

Recently, Spirit Wind played at a graduation ceremony for Native Americans of all ages at the Reno-Sparks Indian colony.

“Because of the nature of what we do, we get into some really unusual shows,” said Ken Daniels, lead guitarist and bassist.

Daniels, along with everyone else in the band, has done it all. Country, folk, blues and rock. Spirit Wind is based primarily in rock and folk. It’s only when Burris and Vito de la Cruz (guitar, flute, harmonica and vocals) start playing their distinct Native American flutes, narrating Indian folk tales and unleashing wails and war cries that their modern Native American spirit comes through.

A Cherokee who was adopted by white parents and raised in Oklahoma, Burris said she has always had a yearning to explore Native American heritage. She became dedicated to exploring Lakota Indian heritage 12 years ago when she met her birth mother. Now she regularly studies and passes on stories and legends to people she meets.

“It’s very important for me to keep the ways alive,” Burris said.

At first, Burris focused on recounting the stories to her children and grandchildren. Two years ago, she realized she could teach “the ways” to a larger group. Inspiration hit her when she walked into a bar in Sparks to watch musicians play at a songwriters contest. That was when she first saw de la Cruz.

De la Cruz is a mellow, acoustic Axel Rose. He is half Chicano and half Yaqui Indian. When he plays, he wears leather vests and feathers in his hair.

His look hooked Burris. She saw him play one night, came back a second night and realized that she and de la Cruz could rock together.

“When I saw him … I knew that we would go there together,” Burris said.

For Spirit Wind, “there” is an intriguing place that is constantly being redefined. When they play, it’s as if Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix are powwowing with Chiefs Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. The rage and misery of rock and blues music dance with the horrors and grand legends of Native American lore. The mix was meant to be.


Review from

The World’s End

Director: Edgar Wright

Lead Actors: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg


Plot Synopsis:

One ner-do-well forty something, Gary King, is at the end of his rope in life and in a stint of rehab when he recounts the best night of his life – the night he and his four mates attempted a 12 bar pub crawl and managed to reach nine of them before having to abandon their mission.

On that night, he scored with a girl in the disabled bathroom, got in a fight, and celebrated the last day of school with his mates. The problem with that night is that Gary King the adult never grew past that night, while his friends have all moved on . . .or have they?

Channelling his high school charisma despite a serious lack of funds, King decides to unite his old crew, in hopes of finally finishing the pub crawl they set out to do so many years ago. This reuniting is also a way for him to finally make amends with his BEST friend, Andy Knightley, who for reasons that aren’t fully explained (at first) has never forgiven Simon.

With the magical powers that most slackers seem to have when they decide to put their mind towards something, King pulls off the impossible and gets three grown men to ditch all adult responsibilities for an entire weekend to revisit their home town and finish unsettled business with the town’s 12 main central pubs.

All the pubs have classic names which will make you want to visit England right away, but the final one is called “The World’s End”.

Who Would Like it and Why
Fans of Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, or even Scott Pilgrim for that matter. This is a crowning in a trilogy of Americanized Britsh movies directed by Edgar Wright and starring Pegg and Frost in some capacity. There are also some exciting cameos including Pierce Brosnan and everyone’s favorite squid captain Bill Nighy.

Who Might not Like it and Why
I found myself feeling very sad and depressed for Pegg’s character King. Even as the stakes change in this movie and his past transgressions seem less of a big deal given (Spoiler Alert)the current end of world circumstances for the characters, I supposed King’s nostalgia for his glory days strikes a chord in all of us. He even keeps his best trench coat and even makes a pass at the same girl he scored with in the disabled bathrooms so many years ago.

Anyone who has experienced a certain amount of charisma when they didn’t have house payments, car payments and kids to worry about and then went on to becoming an adult knows the transition isn’t easy. But, one look at Gary King tells us that growth is essential to survive as a human being.

Highlights/Top Scenes
Some fight scenes against some of the towns locals are good but the real gem here is the give and take of British humor with the four high school buddies. The camera captures their quips and comebacks and crowning on top of each other’s lingo and informs the viewer of how autobiographical this picture really is not only for Wright but for Pegg and Frost who were college roommates.

Pegg, Wright and Frost first scored big with another sort of apoccalyptic fare-Shaun of The Dead!

Good British faces
Simon Pegg doing a great turn of acting
Delightful ensemble including Nick Frost and the guy who played The Guy Who Played The Hobbit, otherwise known as Martin Freeman who was also in the British Office.
This is sort of a 12-step movie that includes a lot of drinking

Review From

The Christmas Card- aired on the Hallmark Channel

Director: Stephen Bridgewater

Lead Actors:
Edward Asner, John Newton, Alice Evans

Randy Pope

Plot Synopsis:
A sergeant in the army seems jaded and out of touch as he “celebrates” Christmas at his outpost in Afghanistan. We can tell that he is loved by his men but that something is missing. Just in time for Christmas, he gets a Christmas Card from a lovely, blonde, vivacious woman in Nevada City to wish him merry Christmas from her church. She sends a picture of the church but not of herself, yet the sergeant is smitten with her warm Christmas cheer.

After he is sent home on leave, he realizes he is rudderless, except for a few beacons in the fog – the card, Nevada City and the church. So he gets on his “Hollywood sexy soldier off duty” standard issue chopper, and alpha males his way into this small lumber town.

“Fate” brings him into contact with Faith, the only young, vivacious and basically single woman in a town of gray hair and false teeth. Her father, played by a charismatic Ed Asner, happens to be a war vet, who after one look at the young vet, decides to take him in as his own (never mind the risks of PTSD, or of a soldier going A-wall a la Sylvester Stallone in First Blood) this guy is family.

So now, the underwear model caliber soldier and the hottie are sharing bathrooms and the father would love for them to fall in love. The only thing standing in the way of this inevitable Hallmark romance is a wafish, insecure, 40-something, rich wine connoisseur and merchant, who is not a good kisser. He is the leading lady’s fiancé, and the father doesn’t like him. They have a wine tasting at the house and the father insists everything her daughter’s fiancé pours is “fruity”.

Who Would Like it and Why
All sarcasm aside, I thought Ed Asner was charismatic, fun and believable in this winter wonder land where he runs a timber mill and lives in a beautiful cabin. The sets were wonderful and made me yearn for a simpler time. There is even one scene where Ed Asner and his peacemaking wife Lois Nettleton are actually in a “one-horse open sleigh”. It should be said that Alice Evans plays her part well as a great catch in nice sweaters that are still acceptable to wear in front of the family. Her smiles light up the screen.

Who Might not Like it and Why
John Newton plays Sgt. Cody Cullen. I thought he was OK as the ingénue, but lacked any sort of colorful acting skill to go beyond his pretty face. He is a good-looking guy and that went far with the plot.

But his nice appearance matched, up with the not-so-attractive current boyfriend, suggested that all those who fight in the military look like underwear models, and anyone who stays stateside is a thin whimp who stays on the cell phone while the real men are cutting things down and operating power tools. I don’t think that is true.

Indeed, I thought the family bias against Paul, played well by Ben Weber, was alarming. The Mom was somewhat innocent in this, as she insisted she was for what her daughter wanted. But Asner’s character, as well as an uncle, actively conspired against Paul in favor of Sgt. Cody Cullen. They wanted Cullen to take the hand of the beautiful girl, played by Alice Evans.

I also was uncomfortable with the fact that Faith mentioned in voiceover that she had been given the chance to move to the “big city”, but had never journeyed outside of her small hometown. Her mannerisms also brought me back to older movies in the way that she seemed flimsy and fickle and unsure of what she wanted as the two young men sparred and parried for her love.

Highlights/Top Scenes
Listen, all sarcasm put aside, this is a nice, warm Christmas tale. I could only wish that all veterans had so many wonderful things waiting for them when they came home.

I think that Nevada City, or wherever they filmed this movie to make it look like Nevada City, played its part as a desirable wintry wonderland.

Also, there is a scene in the beginning where our two lovers unknowingly order the same exact food from a diner-good foreshadowing to their chemistry. Ed Asner glues everything together as the lead. Lois Nettleton does a good job ignoring interpersonal tension and making everyone feel welcome and at home.

Peter Jason plays Richard, the jovial Uncle who helps Asner in guiding his daughter to the right man. He delivers some nice comedic relief in the movie.

Worthy of mention as well is the cabin which the Spellman family lives in, which anyone would love to nestle in, sip some egg nog and watch the snow fall. Also, there is a “special spot” along the river in the trees that plays a key point in the plot, well I’ll just give it away – it hosts the first kiss. But it is beautiful. Not sure which river it overlooks, but it is majestic.

My Unfiltered Opinion
Like everyone else in the world, I love our troops. But I also have an open mind and believe that in some cases that the educated, world-class wine connoisseur/merchant might be a better partner for someone than the rudderless vet in a chopper.

Paul, if you’re out there, don’t despair, you’ll find someone. My advice, try a big city where the women are well-educated, aren’t as codependent to Daddy, and have an appetite for world-wide travel. You might do well in a place like this.

And, as for the Spellman family, into which Sgt. Cullen fell into like a glove, I wish you much happiness in your cozy Hallmark story.

Yes, Hallmark family values and patriotism took center stage in “The Christmas Card”. The family was solid and did its best to weed out any weak links before they got too far. Also, the soldier was a hero, we could tell by his square jaw, even before he did anything heroic.

Paul’s warning to Faith that people from the army can be just as dangerous and psychotic as anyone else was brushed aside early in the movie. And why shouldn’t it be? This is Christmas, and lets face it, Sgt. Cody Cullen looks great in a Santa hat. The Spellmans will sort everything else out in the New Year…

Review from


Director: Stephen Frears

Lead Actors: Judi Dench, Stephen Coogan

Producer: Tracy Seaward

Plot Synopsis:

Philomena, a lovely, soulful elderly lady from working class Ireland mournfully commemorates her would-be son’s 50th birthday. This is the son she had young, out of wedlock, and was forced to adopt out to Catholic nuns who sold the child to US parents.

Philomena is played at Oscar speed by Dame Judi Dench.

We also meet Martin Sixsmith when his career as a political journalist is in huge turmoil. The writers and director spare us the details of what Sixsmith did to fall out of grace from the elite, British, journalistic world. But, we are assured by several pundits that it is bad, as his face flashes across all major news networks.
One journalist describes the situation by stating that the organization Sixsmith worked for had to eat “humble pie with a side of grovel soup” because of his actions.

In an early scene for Sixsmith, he is getting a checkup to see if he is depressed, because he feels aweful. He is still brooding later on at a party where his colleagues are teasing him about his career disaster. This is when Philomena’s daughter, a caterer at the party, approaches him and asks him to investigate the whereabouts of Philomena’s first son.

Sixsmith, who more than anything needs to get out of the house, agrees to look into it. Eventually,this leads to the pairing of Sixsmith and Philomena, who make the ultimate odd couple. Sixsmith is a disgruntled, angry, atheist journalist who had been living the high life in London and riding first class and renting luxury cars.
Philomena is charismatic and god-fearing, and charms every single person she meets. She is not used to first-class anything, and even hoards the croutons at an all-you-can eat salad bar during their first meeting.

Sixsmith pitches the story to a magazine, and the magazine pays for the two to journey to the United States to find out whatever happened to Philomena’s first child. This moves things forward – but really the fate and whereabouts of Philomena’s son takes backstage in this movie to the fascinating relationship that develops between these two.

Who Would Like it and Why

Fans of good acting. Dench is at her best as the hardy Philomena with a heart of gold. She is flawless. Memorable. Also, fans of Cougan will be delighted to see him play a serious role in a serious movie. It is no small thing to act opposite Dame Dench, and he seems to hold his own.

Who Might not Like it and Why

I was hoping for a bloody buxomy holiday splash with underwear models and fight scenes. But went to Philomena because I was being treated to it, and I was thoroughly pleased. While this movie lacks physical sweat, Dench’s sinking her teeth into a meaty, tricky role and nailing it dead on the nose will hook just about any movie-goer.

Yes, Dench won me over with her graduate-level seminar on acting. I think few people would walk away with this movie displeased. She won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love a few years back – that role lasted for only eight minutes. This is a much better exercise for one of the industry’s finest to show us how it’s done. My Unfiltered Opinion I think the directors of the Twilight series should be subjected to a triple showing of this movie so they can understand real acting.

Highlights/Top Scenes

Coogan’s face when he finds out what has happened to Philomena’s son. Some of the scenes where Philomena is describing to Sixsimth, a writer by trade, the plot twists in her romance novels. These scenes were artfully extended as the director also recognized the good humor in them. There is another scene when Coogan attacks God and Philomena snaps and calls him a “feckin idiot”, which I can only take to mean “an f-ng idiot” in Galic.

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This Is Where I Leave You

Director: Shawn Levy

Lead Actors: Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Timothy Oliphant, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda, Rose Byrne

Producer: Jesse Ehrman

Plot Synopsis
This movie is based on a novel by Jonathon Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay. It follows the Altman family after the death of its patriarch. The four Altman siblings and their mother, played wonderfully by Jane Fonda, are left to deal with the aftermath and each other. To complicate things, Fonda’s Hilary Altman insists that the Altman’s sit through the seven days of Shiva. She says it was her husband’s dying wish.

This makes things interesting because the Altmans, who love each other very much, don’t sit around and do nothing very well. While they are “sitting” back in their hometown (a generic, small east coast town from all I could tell) old flames are re-united, inter-siblings conflicts are revisited and, of course, secrets are revealed.

There is a lot going on, and focus is not this movie’s strong point, but it does manage to follow Jason Bateman’s Judd Altman the closest. We meet him as a non-smiling producer of a radio show, “Man Up” and quickly witness him being cuckolded in the worse way (he comes home to his wife having rough sex with his boss as hip hop music blares on the studios). When Judd goes back home he is able to reacquaint himself with his own strengths and weaknesses and also try to figure out why things ended up the way they did for him.

Intersecting through all of that are the lives of Wendy Altman (played beautifully by Tina Fey) – who is a loveable strong presence who was very clearly toughened up at an early age in an all-male family. Fey, who was the first ever female head writer at Saturday Night Live, seemed to fit very naturally in this scenario as she slaps, kicks, bites and lovingly insults with the best of them. In a touching scene Adam Driver’s Philip Altman credits Wendy for being the glue to their brood, a compliment she gladly accepts.

Philip is admittedly a jack ass and an ass-man all tied up into one who didn’t seem to get the focus, discipline or work ethic embodied by his two oldest siblings. He shows up late to his own father’s funeral in a Porsche, cussing as he runs up the hill to join the ceremony.

Cory Stoll does a good job of playing the stronger, less interesting Paul Altman who inherited his father’s hardware store.

Circling around the loving family circus that is the Altman’s is an even bigger cast of characters. They all seem to be attracted to the legendary dysfunction of the Altmans. In one scene Paul Altman has sex with his wife who yearns to be pregnant and it is broadcast into a full living via a baby monitor. Rather than turn it down, Philip turns the sounds of carnal fun UP for the very full living room of visitors to enjoy.

One notable standout in the supporting cast is Rose Byrne, who plays an ice-skating underachiever who never stopped loving Judd Altman. Byrne hides some of her innate beauty in this role, but bubbles with charm, and could easily be a character in a John Hughes movie from the 80s.

Who Would Like it and Why
Fans of Tina Fey. She is beginning to really turn in some huge performances that are more dramatic than comedic, and she’s doing a great job at it. Fans of Jason Bateman will enjoy another understated and subtle performance. I especially enjoyed a scene where he confronts his cheating wife against a back drop of fall colors. Fans of Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant shines here as a brain damaged friend of the family and former lover of Wendy.

Who Might not Like it and Why
The movie lacks focus and goes all over the place too often. The audience is asked to fall in love with a rabbi whom everyone refers to as “Boner” and was also a contemporary of the family, but his character is underdeveloped – as is also a next -door neighbor to Hilary Altman who becomes Hilary’s lover. There were enough plots and subplots for twenty movies here.

Highlights/Top Scenes
The acting was so strong for each character that I would gladly watch each character’s story play out individually in more focused two-hour vignettes.

Dax Sheppard plays the man who cuckolds Bateman. This scene is probably one of the most intense in the whole movie, as Bateman’s hearing goes out once he realizes what’s happened. The ice skating scenes with the beautiful Byrne are magical and hopefully another movie in and of themselves. I also enjoyed a site gag where Hilary Altman’s boobs keep popping out of her dress while she makes Judd’s bed with him.

Two Mike and Ikes.

Review from


Director: Lars Von Trier

Lead Actors: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin


Producer: Jessica Ask

Plot Synopsis: A man trapped in his own foggy musings, finds a woman injured and catching hypothermia in the streets nears his home.

He picks her up and takes her into his home, and nurses her back to health. He asks her what got her into this predicament, and she insists that she’s a bad person.

Unimpressed, Skarsgard’s Seligman delves further into Gainsbourg’s Joe’s past for some inkling as to what happened to her, and quite possibly for some company. What he finds is that Joe a cold cut case of Nymphomania.

Who Would Like it and Why
Those who are attracted to good writing. Never boring, Von Triers starts this escapade off with a rousing number by none other than kinky German metal band Romstein – heavy metal guitars blazing.

This perhaps sets the tone for a bumpy ride as we go back and revisit Joe’s life and attempt to fully comprehend full-fledged nymphomania from a nearly clinical standpoint.

The best writing comes out in the dialogue between the docile but highly intellectual Seligman, and the dauntless and catty Joe. Seligman, during many points of their conversation compares Joe’s sexual forays to the breeding rituals of northern American trout. These segments are quite endearing and funny. Seligman’s scientific musings attempt to add pacing, ritual and meaning and pacing to Joe’s raucous, wild sexual world.

Also, if you are a fan of good, surprising performances, definitely key into this movie. Trouble-making actor Shia LaBeouf dazzles in his portrayal of a young, moped-fixing English lad who steals the virginity from a younger Joe. Then we meet him later in life when Joe, quite accidentally, stumbles into a company that LaBeouf Jerome runs to apply for a job!

Jerome, we find out, turns out to be the only man that Joe ever truly loves throughout all her legendary sexcapades. The chemistry between LaBeouf and Stacy Martin, who seductively plays the young Joe, is great. During one scene in particular Joe, who is Jerome’s assistant and secretary, asks to park a car that Jerome cannot seem to manage to park into a tight spot on the side of a busy street in what I think is London.


Jerome reluctantly lets her, and Joe parks it flawlessly. This infuriates the already prideful Jerome. Joe smiles lightly. This is a typical moment in their budding, innocent relationship and is refreshing amid all of Joe’s physical forays that mean nothing emotionally.

Also, in a rousing performance worthy of Oscar nomination is yet another American playing an Englishman. This time it’s Christian Slater, who plays Joe’s father and a physician who later dies a painful and tragically early death from dementia.

Slater is a wonderfully calming influence for the very intense and mixed up Joe. One of my favorite scenes is when we first meet Slater as the father and he is walking a young Joe into the woods. Given Joe’s disposition, it would be easy to assume that her father molested her. Not so! Rather what follows is an incredibly tender scene wherein Joe’s father teaches her about the trees in the forest, and the shapes of their leaves.

Most notably, he points out the leave of the ash tree and tells the fable behind why the ash tree is shaped and colored the way that it is. This observing of the wonderful trees in English forests becomes the foundation of their relationship up until Joe’s father’s death. Trees and leaves, and in particular a book that she and her father made, become one of the few sources of solace in Joe’s turbulent life.

This entire relationship, again, is played out with Oscar-level precision and softness with Christian Slater and Stacy Martin.

Martin, who is in the bulk of this first movie, does a great job portraying the conflicted Joe. She manages to be incredibly lovely and sultry and pretty during sex and seduction scenes, but she is also incredibly compassionate towards her father and helpless against the love she has for Jerome. Martin gets an A+.

Then comes an amazingly rousing and comedic scene from none other than blonde bombshell Uma Thurman. Yet another American actor stealing a role back from the English who seem to be taking a lot of work from Americans lately in film and television.

Thurman plays a wife who has been cuckolded by the frisky Joe, who in her early 20s sometimes slept with eight different men . . . wait for it . . . in one night! Thurman’s Mrs. H follows her husband back to Joe’s bachelorette pad (if ever there was one) where Joe slept with Mrs. H’s husband.

This is after Mrs. H’s husband has announced that he is leaving his family for Joe. Mrs. H. takes her three kids to Joe’s apartment to confront the two lovers.

Joe is aloof as she is awaiting another conquest. But Uma makes a huge display out of humiliating her husband and shaming him and does nothing short of sitting the kids down in the bed where the infidelity happened. She then leaves, with the guilting power of a jewish mother, gasping with grief as she goes down the stairs.

I have seen Uma Thurman in at least fifteen movies, and she has never been outrightly funny to me. But in this ten minute scene, she dominated with comic sensibilities. Kudos to Von Triers for casting this statuesque American beauty as the cuckolded wife and mother of three. It was wildly entertaining.

Who Might not Like it and Why
Some might be afraid of the graphic sex scenes, which there are quite a few. Some of them involve a very naked Shia LaBeouf who I never have and never will see as a sex symbol whose nakedness would be in any kind of high demand! I remember LaBeouf as a teenager from the movie Holes. I feel like I have seen him grow up, but I never, ever felt the need to see him naked in a love scene, ever! His talents, I always thought, were from his quick wit and grasp of dialogue, not his grasping of the female body . . . yet I digress. . .
Von Triers, the Danish filmmaker who makes movie with the same aggression that the Denmark soccer team played soccer in the World Cup earlier this summer, is not afraid of showing how clumsy and ugly the male genitalia can be in all of it’s different forms. He treats us to several interludes of Stacy Martin with her different conquests.


What I found bizarre is that Joe, in her thirst, wasn’t very picky. Many of her men were at best ugly, some mediocre. They all had faults like flabby or jaundiced skin. Not sure why a woman of her beauty wouldn’t have gone for more good-looking young lads. Come to think of it, LaBeouf . . . in the buff . . . might have been her best conquest. Now that’s sad!

Ultimately, though, I think Von Triers looks at Nymphomania as a clinical condition and not some girl being a “slut” or “greedy”. He shows sympathy for Joe throughout the movie.

It should be stated, too, that for Von Triers to direct a movie about this particular condition, without any sex scenes, would be idiotically prude.

Alas, Von Triers makes his points about the sex in Nymphoamina. But where his directorial brush does its best work in this movie (which by the way is the first of two) is by showing how the relationships of the protagonist made her a nymphomaniac and how her nymphomania affected others around her.

Kudos to Von Triers though for finding humor and sadness in the story of Joe and for bringing us these heart warming and tender performances.

Highlights/Top Scenes
Again, LaBeouf s advances towards Martin, and then his punishing her for not putting out, and her falling in love with his character Jerome, are all adorable. Again, Slate is on fire during every moment he is on camera. And Seligman’s witticisms and intellectualizations of Joe’s sexual appetite and self destructive behavior are all delicious.;

Every Von Triers movie I have seen has found humor and has had great story telling. This is no exception.

Two Mike and Ikes.


New Post from


This will be a unique review in which I review a rising stand-up comedy star in Los Angeles, by the name of Chris D’Elia. People will know him by his show, “Undateable”, on NBC I believe, directing by Fred Savage from “The Wonder Years”.

I first became aware of Chris D’Elia at a “Comedy Juice” at The Improv on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA. I had free tickets that I got online. Other people who were there were paying $15 per ticket. I was lucky to get the free tickets and this was a way for The Improv to fill seats.

So, I went with my friend and what we stumbled into was some sort of open mic for the stars wherein Dane Cook, Chris D’Elia, Joe Rogan, Whitey Cummings and Neal Brennan were performing. I would say that of all these people, Chris D’Elia was the most intriguing. I had never seen him before.

When I first got to the Improv, I was waiting at the bar area, where I guess he was doing an earlier show and I could watch him on the monitor. He made some crack about “You know when you get to work and you’re just like eh . . . , well that’s how I feel right now . . . “

Turns out that’s how he starts every show as if to tell his audience that he’s just sort of winging it, I guess. Far be it from me to try to get into a comedian’s head, especially if their name is Bill Cosby.

Anyway, back to D’Elia. He wears a t-shirt and jeans mostly and has long hair and a beard. One who has spent too much time in West Hollywood can tell that D’Elia works out, as does Dane Cook, which sets a weird standards for these younger comics. Comics are usually supposed to destroy their bodies, are they not?!

Anyway, Chris, who I’ve seen about four times now at the Improv, and I can’t remember signing any diclaimers not to talk about him, unlike for some of the other shows that I’ve been to. Anyway, so Chris D’Elia’s rant goes along the lines of how soft he is and how many regrets he has about not being hard and then he launches into a bit about being around little kids and how much they open up your heart. I found it intriguing and funny, and D’Elia’s caricatures of little kids and Tupac are really good and endearing!

Most notable though about D’Elia, though, is his energy. A few weeks later I saw him follow Rob Scheider of SNL fame, and Schneider, albeit a comedy legend for his movie roles such as Deuce Bigalow, was a little wobbly doing stand up. He had a notebook and was quiet and weird and still funny. Buuut, Chris followed him and brought the energy right back up without insulting Chris.

I happened to be sitting near the row on that show and when D’Elia was going to the stage, his brow was furrowed and he was deep in thought, not the cocky bearded due you see on stage. This is how I would expect a real writer to look.

Anyway, if you read the LA Weekly, you will notice that Chris is everywhere, including the Palladium and The Wiltern. Is it possible that he’s the new white big thing in comedy. Is it ironic at all that he is doing stand up with Dane Cook. In fact, when this blogger got up to go the bathroom another night, Cook and D’Elia were both sitting next to each other chatting about stand up comedy when I went into the bathroom. Perhaps they are partners in crime.

How do other comics feel about D’Elia? Will they hate him like they hate Dane Cook?! Not sure, I don’t spend that much time around working comics, unfortunately.

Anyway, just know that D’Elia is a comer, not a blower, and that his energy is great and you should take every opportunity you can to watch him for a bargain, otherwise you may end up spending about $200 on him!