Lewis Black’s Fans Will Enjoy His Latest Live Recording Now And In The “Future”

Courtesy: MVDVisual/Comedy Central/MVD Entertainment Group

It goes without saying that Lewis Black is one of the most iconic figures in the history of stand-up comedy. Black’s sharp wit and delivery have made him stand out starkly from his counterpart and in turn made him a favorite among audiences the world over. This has led to a hugely successful career that continues to this day that has taken him all around the world. This past October, that was proven yet again when Comedy Central partnered with MVD Visual, the video branch of MVD Entertainment Group, for a new live recording from the veteran comedian in the form of Black To The Future. This single disc presentation is one that will appeal to Black’s most seasoned fans just as much as it will those who are less familiar with him and his body of work. That is proven in part through the recording’s main feature. It will be discussed shortly. The bonus set included with the recording strengthens the recording’s presentation even more and will be discussed later. Black’s delivery and overall stage presence rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Black to the Future. All things considered, the noted elements make Black to the Future a recording that proves the future is bright for Black regardless of how when he retires.

Lewis Black’s latest live recording Black to the Future is a work that the veteran comedian’s fans old and new alike will enjoy and appreciate. That is proven in part through the recording’s main set. While not an overly long set — it runs 50 minutes — it still leaves audiences feeling fulfilled at its end. That is due in part to the topics that Black covers in his set and also to the set’s pacing. It should be noted that this set was originally recorded ahead of the 2016 election first and foremost. He takes on both the Democrats and Republicans, skewering Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton AND Donald Trump, so no one can accuse him of being biased. He also presents a scathing indictment of America’s mental health care system, coming right out and saying that the system has failed — and had failed — because of so many administrations going all the way back to the Kennedy administration. There is also a wonderfully hilarious commentary about pet owners who go too far with their pets including a story about a man who held a celebration for his dog called a “bark mitzvah.” As if all of that is not enough, he even goes on a scathing commentary about how the media covers politics and other matters.

From one topic to the next, Black’s transitions are smooth and seamless, ensuring even more audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment. That is the sign of a seasoned veteran. That is evident as he transitions from the hot button issue of gun control to the topic of mental health. Even as he ties mental health lightly to people who are too dedicated to their pets, his transitions are solid. The same can be said of all of the set’s other transitions. From start to end, Black never leaves any dead air, but also never moves too fast from one topic to the next, keeping everyone fully engaged. That engagement through transitions and relatable topics forms a solid foundation for this recording. They are, collectively, only part of what makes this recording so enjoyable. The recording’s bonus set is just as important to its whole as its main feature.

The bonus set included in Black to the Future strengthens its presentation even more because it is presented in a fashion unlike the program’s main set. Instead of Lewis presenting the topics, audience members generate the set list. The questions that they raise run the gamut from the impact and reach of social media to the current state of the country’s public school system, to legalization of marijuana and well beyond. Black’s reaction to the audience members’ questions in themselves give plenty for people to enjoy. His commentary on the topics in questions presents just as much entertainment. Audiences will laugh uproariously as Black discusses why he has not and would not run for office, saying his policy simply wouldn’t work. He also addresses plays that he has crafted throughout his career, a point about which many fans might not have known. The punchline, which involves a corked bottle (it won’t be given away here) makes the whole thing complete. Between these topics and so many others, engagement and entertainment is just as ensured here as in the program’s main set. The pacing is just as solid even as audiences wait for each person to come up to the mic. That could be due in part to Black’s interaction with co-host and fellow comedian Kathleen Madigan, who has made quite a name for herself throughout her career. Considering the once again solid transitions and the equally entertaining discussions on the presented topics, Black to the Future’s bonus set does just as much to solidify the program’s presentation as its main feature. Both sets together show thoroughly why this program is in fact so entertaining for any of Black’s audiences. Even with this in mind, there is still some left to discuss about the set’s presentation — Black’s stage presence.

Lewis Black’s reputation of screaming and ranting on stage is a big part of what has made him such a popular figure among his audiences and counterparts. The topics that he tackles of course are hot button, but the way in which he tackles them is what for so many years has drawn so many to him. For others though, that Sam Kinison-esque persona has driven people away from him. What’s interesting to note in these sets is that while he does do some ranting, it is not the full-on blast that he has done in years past. By and large, his stage presence in both of these sets is one of controlled chaos. His commentaries are as acerbic as ever, but the relatively controlled nature of his delivery makes the commentary all the harder-hitting. That is a big part of what makes watching these sets so enjoyable. It shows that he can be as impacting in a calm persona as in his more biting moments. Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why Black’s stage presence is just as important in both of these sets as the sets themselves. When all these elements are set alongside each other, they show in full why this recording is a surprisingly enjoyable experience even watching it on DVD. Keeping that in mind, the recording in whole proves, again, to be one that fans new and old alone will appreciate and enjoy.

Lewis Black’s latest live recording Black to the Future, presented by Comedy Central and MVD Visual, is a presentation that Black’s more seasoned fans will appreciate and enjoy just as much as those who are less familiar with him and his body of work. As has been noted above, that is proven in part through each of the program’s sets — its main feature and bonus set. The topics and transitions presented in each make them engaging and entertaining from start to finish. Black’s stage presence — at times ranting and at times more reserved — ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the sets. Each element proves in its own right why this program is so surprisingly enjoyable. All things considered, they make the program in whole one that will appeal to Black’s more seasoned fans and his newer audiences alike. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Black to the Future is available online now along with all of Lewis Black’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.lewisblack.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheLewisBlack

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Les Paul 2006 Tribute Concert Comes Up Short In Its Attempt To Honor A Legend

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group/MVDVisual

Les Paul is an American Master. Period. For decades, Paul has been known as “one of the music industry’s greatest minds, having created one of the industry’s most well-known and respected guitar lines. He also was responsible for recording tech that has become the standard across the board. On June 18, 2006, a concert was held — fittingly — at the Gibson Amphitheatre to pay tribute to Les Paul and his legacy. Originally aired on AXS TV this past June, the concert was released on DVD early this past September via MVD Entertainment Group. While it is an enjoyable experience overall, it is not a perfect recording. The concert itself , which features some very well-known Les Paul devotees, sits at the center of the recording and is both a positive and a negative in the program’s overall presentation. Another notable negative to the presentation here is a total lack of a program guide. That will be discussed later. The segmentation of the concert and interview segments is its own positive to this presentation. Each element is, in its own right, important to the recording’s whole. All things considered, A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood proves to be an unsuspectingly entertaining program.

MVD Entertainment’s recently released A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood, is a program that, while entertaining, leaves something to be desired in the end. That is due in part to its set list. Coming in at 93 minutes, the concert’s lineup features performances from some very well-known and respected guitarists including Joe Satriani, Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit), Steve Lukather (Toto) Neal Schonn (Journey), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band), Buddy Guy and others. Even famed front man Edgar Winter (The Edgar Winter Group) came along for the ride along with Joe Perry (Aerosmith). Many of the songs performed throughout the concert are covers, though Satriani did perform a pair of his own works in the form of ‘Satch Boogie’ and ‘House Full of Bullets.’ The covers included takes on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition,’ Willie Dixon’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man,’ which was first made famous by Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter And’s ‘Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo’ among others. Between these and other songs featured throughout the concert, and the artists tapped to perform them, audiences get in the performance, a dual music history lesson for all intents and purpose. They see veteran performers taking on some equally well-known songs, some of which are their own and some of which are covers. Considering all of this, the very setup for the concert serves as a positive for this recording. At the same time, being that the concert is only 93 minutes long and considering Les Paul’s legacy, it is surprising that more stars were not tapped for the concert. That lack of more performers (and in turn songs) actually detracts from the recording to a certain point, leaving audiences wanting more, but not in a good way. This sadly is not the recording’s only negative. The lack of a program guide hurts the recording’s presentation to a point, too.

Audiences will note in examining the recording’s packaging that nowhere inside or outside the box is a program guide to be found. It is listed on the program’s main menu, but nowhere else. As has been noted so many times before about similar products, it would be nice to have that piece of the proverbial puzzle as it serves not only as a guide, but as a marketing tool that can serve to increase potential viewers’ chances of purchasing the program. By not having that guide included either in physical or printed form, MVD Entertainment Group has only hurt itself here. It really is a critical piece of the whole, even as much as it might not seem like it is. It is in reality, its own companion to the actual concert, which ties in a handful of interview segments with the featured artists. That segmentation, by the way, rounds out the recording’s most important elements.

Segmenting the concert footage in this recording with the companion interview footage was truly a smart move here considering how little actual performance footage was actually included in its presentation. Without the interview segments, the program’s run time might have only run about half of that 93-minute run time, ultimately making it a failure. Luckily, those behind the program knew well enough to add in the interview footage, which itself adds its own insight to the program while also breaking up the concert and keeping audiences engaged. Audiences will be interested to learn through the interview segments that Les Paul was the person responsible for initially developing the 8-track recording machine (I.E. multi-track recording). Audiences also learn through Slash’s interview segment how much his appreciation for Paul grew as he himself grew. Joe Satriani also offers a funny anecdotes about being pranked by Les Paul at one point in his segment. Theirs are not the only interesting interview segments. Edgar Winters adds his own interesting thoughts in his interview, too. All things considered here, the segmentation of the program’s concert and interview segment proves a critical part of its overall presentation. When it is coupled with the recording’s very concert footage, the two elements make A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood worth at least one watch.

MVD Entertainment Group’s recent home release of AXS TV’s Les Paul tribute concert A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood is an entertaining recording worth at least one watch. The lineup, which featured a number of well-known artists performing some equally well-known songs, played into this in a big way, both to the pro and con. The lack of any program guide hurt the program’s presentation in its home release, too, sadly. Luckily, the program’s overall presentation, which mixed the concert footage with interview footage, makes up at least to a point for the issues raised by the concert’s short run time and lack of program guide. It helps establish the program’s relatively short 93-minute run time. As noted already, each element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, they make A Tribute To Les Paul: Live From Universal Studios Hollywood a concert that while not necessarily one of the year’s most memorable recordings, worth at least one watch. It is available now and can be ordered online via MVD Entertainment Group’s online store. More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:

Website: http://mvdentertainment.com

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The Kingdom Of Zydeco Is One Of 2016’s Top new DVD/Blu-Ray Re-issues

Courtesy: MVD Visual/Mug Shot PRoductions

Courtesy: MVD Visual/Mug Shot PRoductions

Documentarian Robert Mugge’s recently re-issued presentation The Kingdom of Zydeco is an intriguing glance into the realm of the genre which is noted in its title.  The roughly hour-plus documentary is a stark contrast to his more recent zydeco documentary Zydeco Crossroads.  But that is not necessarily a bad thing.  As a matter of fact its story, in comparison to that of Zydeco Crossroads proves itself to be its own hugely important part of the program’s whole.  Its central story (so to speak) is just one of its key elements.  The archived performance footage that is used to tell the program’s story is another important element that should be noted.  The program’s bonus material rounds out its presentation, connecting everything together.  More specifically one of the bonuses in particular ties everything together.  That is not to discount the other material included as bonuses.  It is just that the one item in particular ties itself to the program’s central story and its footage more so than the other featured bonuses.  That aside, the combination of the bonus material, the program’s central story, and its featured performances, makes this presentation in whole one that–together with Zydeco Crossroads—a whole that music lovers and fans of zydeco alike should experience at least once.

MVD Visual’s recently re-issued presentation of The Kingdom of Zydeco is a presentation that, together with Zydeco Crossroads, should be experienced at least once by both music lovers and zydeco fans alike.  The main reason for this is the story at the heart of the roughly hour-plus program. In comparison to the story at the heart of its counterpart the story at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco isn’t really a story in the purest sense.  What it really is, is a glance into the genre that is zydeco.  At the heart of it all is a competition between the “old guard” and the “new guard.”  The “old guard” is represented by Boozoo Chavis.  The “new guard” is represented by Beau Jocque.  Viewers get to see in their musical battle two totally different styles of zydeco music—the pure, old school (Chavis) and the newer, more heterogeneous style (Jocque).  The difference in the two styles is quite clear when one pays close attention to both.  To that end, it could be said that Mugge (MUG-EE) presenting both sides (and in turn both styles) of the “battle” serves as a good starting point in discussions on the roots of zydeco music and its evolution over time.  There are also interviews with both men that are included with the presentation.  Hearing the passion in Chavis’ voice about the music juxtaposed by Jocque’s more laid back persona makes for even more discussion believe it not.  That is because that contrast could generate just as much discussion among audiences about the mindset of the performers then and now.  One could ask do today’s zydeco players have the fire that Chavis clearly had or could they be more laid back yet still have that passion?  Regardless, seeing the love that those in the “Kingdom of Zydeco” have for the music and its performers, viewers will see that “new school” or “old school,” zydeco is the musical lifeblood of so many.  Understanding this, audiences will gain a certain appreciation for the “story” at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco.    It shows that while not necessarily a conventional story, it is one that serves as a good starting point on any lesson(s) about the genre and its rich history.  It is just one part of what makes this documentary worth the watch.  The noted performances by Chavis and Jocque are just as important to the program as its “story.”

The non-traditional story that lies at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco is in itself an important part of this recently re-issued documentary.  That is because while non-traditional, it does serve as a good starting point for any lesson(s) on zydeco music and its rich history.  For all of the importance that it presents it is just one part of what makes this program worth experiencing.  The performances that are presented within the program are just as important to the program as the program’s central “story.”  The performances are of central figures Boozoo Chavis and Beau Jocque.  It has been noted already but is worth noting again that between the pair there are clearly noticeable differences in their styles.  Chavis’ sound is decidedly pure in its instrumentation and arrangement.  While Chavis’ band does include guitar and bass, the band’s musical arrangements do not make them the key instruments.  Rather they are centered more on the accordion and washboard.  In the same vein, the arrangements in question much purer than those of the more modern zydeco sound.  The funk and rock elements that are so prevalent in today’s zydeco are nowhere to be found in the older music made so famous by Chavis and his counterparts.  Instead it is more of the creole-rooted sound.  Jocque’s sound on the other hand exhibits more of those funk and rock (I.E. more modern) influences.  It tends to make the guitars and drums more the stars of the music than the accordion and washboard.  Regardless of audiences’ thoughts on both styles the presentation of both styles adds even more to that introduction of zydeco’s history.  It deepens even more the discussion on the changes through which the genre has gone over the time since its formation.  Not only that, but the performances themselves can be considered important because of their archival value.  They are pieces of musical history that had otherwise laid unseen for decades.  If not for the footage, those discussions on zydeco’s evolution might not have even happened.  Keeping this in mind, the performances that are featured over the course of this program prove to be indeed important in their own right to the overall presentation of The Kingdom of Zydeco.  Even with their importance in mind, they still are not the last of the program’s most notable elements.  The material that has been included in the recording as bonus material is just as important to the program as the program’s “story” and its featured performances.

Both the “story” at the center of Kingdom of Zydeco and its featured performances are important in their own right to the program’s overall presentation.  That is because of the historical value that they present.  While both elements are undeniably important to the documentary, they are not its only important elements.  The material that has been included this time as bonus material is just important to the program as its story and performances.  The “Introduction To The Kingdom with Robert Mugge” is the most important of the program’s bonuses.  It only runs ten minutes. But in the course of that time viewers are presented with quite a bit of important information about the program.  Viewers learn how the competition between Jocque and Chavis ended up at a masonic temple (hint: the suggestion came from the performers).  Viewers also learn that the very creation of this program stemmed from other documentaries that Mugge had worked on.  The documentaries in question centered on Alligator Records and another label.  And just as notable is Mugge’s own discussion on what held up the original release of Kingdom of Zydeco.  That discussion is truly interesting.  These are just a few of the topics covered over the course of the program’s bonus “Introduction.”  There is far more for audiences to take in over the short course of its ten-minute run time.  The very amount of information, and clarity in its delivery over that time makes this feature the most important of the program’s bonuses.  “Iguanas in the House” is another of the program’s bonus features.  It presents a full performance by a zydeco group called The Iguanas spliced with interviews with the band’s members.  The band’s members discuss how they came to join the band, their love for zydeco and more in their interviews.  It runs twenty-seven minutes.  And just as with the program’s bonus “introduction” it will keep viewers just as entertained and engaged.  “A Royal Title” is the last of the program’s bonus features.  This short three-minute segment focuses on the late great Boozoo Chavis and features an interview with Chavis that was lifted from the program’s main feature.  It’s short.  But it exhibits Chavis’ deep love and respect for zydeco and will in turn have audiences once again discussing who is the real king of zydeco.  No matter one’s opinion on this topic, viewers will all agree that its inclusion in the program, that of the program’s “introduction,” and bonus performance by The Iguanas all come together to prove once and for all why this program’s bonus material is so important to its overall presentation.  And the bonus material, together with the program’s central “story” and performances joins together to make the program in whole one that—together with Zydeco Crossroads—every music lover and zydeco fan alike should experience.  It proves just as much to be in whole one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

The Kingdom of Zydeco is one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  It is also a program that should be experienced at least once by music lovers and fans of zydeco at least once.  That is especially the case when it is put alongside Mugge’s latest documentary Zydeco Crossroads.  This is thanks in part to the history presented in its central “story” of sorts and the performances that come along with that story.  The material that is included with the program as bonus material adds its own amount of interest to the program.  Each element is important to the program in its own right.  Altogether they make the Kingdom of Zydeco a program that is just as valuable in the classroom as the living room.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via MVD Visual’s online store at http://mvdb2b.com/s/TheKingdomOfZydeco/MVD7500D.  More information on this and other titles from MVD Visual is available online now at:



Website: http://www.mvdvisual.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MVDEntertainmentGroup



To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.