Sometimes, it’s the quietest guys that can make the loudest impact.
Way back in my day when I was a teenager at the turn of the century, my parents sent me to DeSmet Jesuit, one of the numerous private Catholic high schools in the St. Louis area. I was fortunate enough to make some terrific friends and I had some great classmates in my academic career, and one of them was this quiet, skinny guy who never really talked a lot in class, but he seemed nice enough.
When we graduated, we went our separate ways, and we never really kept in contact. Thanks to the power of Facebook, though, we reconnected after college, where I was surprised to find out he’d moved out to the West Coast to make it big in Hollywood.
His name? Chris Pine.
Ok, just kidding. His name’s Brian Merritt. You may not have seen him on tv, but if you’re an avid tv watcher, chances are you’ve seen some of his work in the last few years. After years of working as a production assistant on such shows as “Storage Wars,” “Auction Hunters,” “The Bonnie Hunt Show,” and “Deal or No Deal,” Brian’s striking out on his own with his own web series called, aptly enough, “The Series.”
We see musicians come and go throughout the decades. Sure, there are a handful of artists that survive the changes in culture and keep a loyal following. But those artists are few and far between. Yet Weird Al Yankovic hit the scene in 1976, after handing a recording to Dr. Demento, and has been a staple of pop culture ever since.
I had the chance to talk with Weird Al about his “Alpocalypse” tour, which comes to St. Louis on April 19th at the Family Arena, as well as about his career in music, movies, television and more.
Kevin: I’ve been a big fan of yours since I listened to my first Weird Al CD, “Bad Hair Day.”
Weird Al: Well thank you! No kidding, that’s awesome.
I saw you back in 2011 at the Family arena, and you put on one hell of a show. Are you changing up anything for the Alpocalypse tour since the last time you came to town?
No, it’s the same tour. I’m working on new songs, but they won’t be in the show. I am working on the new album – I’ve got a couple of originals in the can that I’m writing and recording soon. The parodies I’ll probably do later this year. No idea when the new album is coming out, but hopefully sometime in the next 30 or 40 years.
So I take it you are keeping the new songs under wraps?
Yeah, I found that’s the best way. If I give any hints, the fans are tenacious about it and build up in their own minds, “Oh, I bet it’s gonna be like this.” And when it winds up not being exactly what they hand in mind, they’re disappointed. So I found that kind of not saying anything is the best policy.
For nearly 20 years, Jason Mewes has graced the silver screen in a diverse array of roles. But his most iconic would be the one that started it all – thanks to his longtime friend and director, Kevin Smith. It was in October 1994 that an independent film called Clerks launched the two into stardom, and the world was introduced to Jay and Silent Bob.
Mewes has appeared as Jay in seven films, an animated series, a television show – and the upcoming full-length animated feature, Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. Not only does Mewes star in the film; the actor is also taking on his first role as producer. Instead of using traditional distribution, Mewes and Smith are touring the country with the movie and hosting a “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” Q&A after each show. The tour kicks off on 4/20, and makes its way to St. Louis on May 18 at the Pageant. I had the pleasure of speaking to him about his career, friends, and what it’s like making a cartoon movie.
You have been a part of so many great films, alongside some very talented actors. Back when Kevin Smith asked you to be in Clerks, did you ever imagine you would be doing this for the next 20 years?
Definitely not. I mean, after Clerks I went back to roofing and construction – that was not what I did for work. It wasn’t until Mallrats. After he told me he wrote me in Mallrats and it was a studio film, I definitely was excited about it. It wasn’t until I was really there on set for a couple weeks, it was just so different… we had 30 crew members, and there was wardrobe, and we were staying in a hotel with a per diem. It was so surreal to me.
There was a guy on set from a magazine, and he was shooting an independent movie after Mallrats, a couple weeks after it was starting, and he asked me to be part of that. So I went right after that to do another movie. And I was like, “Wow, maybe this is something I can do.” But still… I definitely didn’t think that 20 years later I’d still be involved in stuff like “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” or the cartoons, or anything like that. Read More [..]
In the lead up to the DVD/Blu-Ray release of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 on March 2nd, I sat down with the Irish Coven (Marlane Barnes/Maggie, Lisa Howard/Siobhan, Patrick Brennan/Liam) at St. Louis’s Four Season Hotel. We discussed a variety of topics and I’ve included the highlights below.
Lionsgate has publicly expressed interest in continuing or revisiting the Twilight franchise, however when asked if any of the cast members had heard about sequels or spin-offs, Lisa reported that she has not been approached as of yet. Lisa added that she would be thrilled to star in another film and wishes they would make more.
That Irish Accent
While the members of the “Irish Coven” look and sound authentic, all three actors are from the United States. Marlane said that she’s actually studied the Irish dialect before while earning her Masters of Fine Arts from The University of Texas – Austin. Pat reported that it was harder for him to do the accent even though he’s worked with it before on the TV show The Black Donnellys.
Synopsis: When the beloved cellist of a world-renowned string quartet receives a life-changing diagnosis, the group’s future suddenly hangs in the balance: suppressed emotions, competing egos, and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration. As they are about to play their 25th anniversary concert, quite possibly their last, only their intimate bond and the power of music can preserve their legacy. Inspired by and structured around Beethoven’s Opus 131 String Quartet in C-sharp minor, A LATE QUARTET pays homage to chamber music and the cultural world of New York.
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots
Director: Yaron Zilberman
We had the chance to speak with director Yaron Zilberman when he came to St. Louis to promote A Late Quartet at the St. Louis International Film Festival. I thoroughly enjoyed the round-table discussion with Zilberman, discussing his “First Movie with a Star-Studded Cast.” It was a unique experience to interact with a European director who patiently and vividly explained his directorial process in the making of this film.