memories of the ’80s – Earth Girls Are Easy

Earth Girls Are Easy.jpgA comedic science fiction film based on a song? In 1988, a comedy came to the big screen based on a five song EP: Earth Girls Are Easy.

Based on Julie Brown’s mini-album Goddess in Progress, director Julien Temple worked with Brown and two other writers to create the film, with a simple storyline: three aliens come to earth to find girlfriends.

The aliens, played by Jeff Goldblum (Mac), Damon Wayans (Zeebo) and Jim Carrey (Wiploc) see a broadcast showing female humans and decide to head to Earth to meet them.

On Earth, Valerie Gail (Geena Davis) is at home sitting around her pool in Los Angeles, upset about breaking up with her boyfriend, when the aliens land in her pool.

She gets her pal Woody (Michael McKean) to help drain the pool and fix their spacecraft, but meanwhile Mac, Zeebo and Wiploc quickly learn English and American pop culture through television and want to stay. So Valerie and her pal Candy Pink, played by Julie Brown, take the boys out on the town on a club crawl.

A series of mishaps, a possible robbery and Valerie’s ex-boyfriend discovering the aliens are all part of the story as Valerie tries to figure out if she is in love with Mac or if she should stay on earth.

Released on May 12, 1989 (after a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 1988), the film received mixed reviews, with Roger Ebert summing it up as “silly and predictable and as permanent as a feather in the wind, but I had fun watching it.”

Made for $10 million, the film only made $3 million at the box office and disappeared in the rush of summer films. But the concept lived on, when years later the film was rewritten into a play, but it still never was completed.

 

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Wynwood x3

Exploring Wynwood Arts District in Miami:

Miami - Wynwood trio

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memories of the ’70s – Harper Valley PTA

HarperValleyPTAmovie.jpgIn the late 1970s, a popular country song that became famous 10 years previously inspired a comedy film: Harper Valley PTA.

Taken from the song written by Tom T. Hall and performed by Jeannie C. Riley, George Edwards and Barry Schneider wrote the film, about a single Mum who is considered outrageous and told by the local Parent Teacher Association that she has to reform her ways.

Barbara Eden plays Stella Johnson, the widowed Mum who is shamed by the Harper Valley PTA.

Johnson exposes the hidden skeletons of her small town and her home is attacked. So she decides to retaliate, and discovers its the association’s women members who are jealous, while the men are on her side.

Willis Newton (Ronny Cox) and Kirby Baker (Louis Nye)  are her allies, along with her best friend Alice Finley (Nanette Fabray), while Flora Simpson Reilly (Audrey Christie) is the president of the PTA who leads the charge against Johnson.

A staggered release across the USA, Harper Valley PTA was released in May 1978 in the Midwest, June in Canada, August in Los Angeles and January 1979 in New York City.

Made for $1 million by April Fools Productions, the little film did well at the box office in small town America, like Ohio where the movie was filmed, bringing in $25 million.

Although the film won no awards nor was reviewed by many critics, the film’s soundtrack was a popular seller, with the re-release of Reilly’s version of the song, as well as in 1981, Sherwood Schwartz created a TV series with Eden reprising her role as the feisty Stella Johnson.

 

 

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#MandelaDay

Johannesburg - Mr Mandela graffiti

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Stairs style

The entrance to Vienna’s Albertina Museum:

Vienna - Albertina

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memories of the ’80s – West End Girls by The Pet Shop Boys

This iconic song of the mid ’80s was released twice, with the second time the charm for West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys.

Inspired by a T.S. Eliot poem, The Wasted Land, the song was written by band members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

In 1984, while on assignment for Smash Hits Magazine in New York City, Tennant met producer Bobby Orlando, who agreed to produce the British duo’s songs.

Recording West End Girls, Opportunities, One More Chance, I Want a Lover and seven other songs, Orlando played most of the instruments heard on the album, including the jazz riff heard at the end of West End Girls.

Released on Colombia Records in April 1984, West End Girls became a hit in dance clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but was only available in the UK as an import single.

In March 1985, Tennant and Lowe cut ties with Orlando and Colombia Records and signed a deal with EMI Records, thanks to their new manager.

Re-recording West End Girls with producer Stephen Hague in August 1985, the song was released in October 1985, after their previous single Opportunities failed to garner attention from radio stations. The band considered the song a pop song, with hip hop influences.

West End Girls climbed the charts in the UK and the US, helped by an eye-catching music video by the Pet Shop Boys that went into high rotation on MTV in the US and MuchMusic in Canada.

In May 1986, West End Girls hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and stayed on the list for a total of 20 weeks.

Although the Pet Shops Boys continued to have success in the 1980s, this single was their only number one hit in four countries and hitting top five in many European countries.

 

 

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Vienna’s gallery

Part of the graffiti gallery found along the canal in Vienna:

Vienna - canal graff

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