Friday, July 12, 2019

Randy Parton Theatre


"I guess we just got throw'd out d'place..."

Did you work at the Randy Parton Theatre in Roanoke Rapids, NC in 2006 or 2007?

Did you attend one of Randy's "Little Bit of Life" or "Carolina Christmas" shows?

Were you a member of Randy's band, Moonlight Bandits?

Do you have any memorable stories about the Theatre or Randy Parton?

Are YOU Randy Parton?

Please contact Sea Creature Media on facebook.

Please watch this video for more information.


Friday, August 25, 2017

The Virginia Beach Hotel Channel


A few months ago, we noticed an ad on craigslist asking for information on the Virginia Beach Hotel Channel.



We contacted the person who found the tapes and asked them a few questions about their search for more information.


How did you find the tapes?

I'm always looking for old Virginia Beach souvenirs, t-shirts, and books in local thrift stores. I don't normally search the VHS tape and movie section because I usually never find anything there - plus, I didn't even own a VCR! Sometime in September 2016, I found the first 2 Virginia Beach Hotel Channel tapes at the CHKD Thrift Store at Hilltop. An employee knew that I collected Virginia Beach stuff and told me that they'd just put out these 2 videotapes. I put one in a VCR/TV combo unit they had for sale, watched a few seconds, and was immediately hooked.

I knew that this was an interesting relic for local beach history fans and wanted to learn more about the channel.


What exactly was the Virginia Beach Hotel Channel?

It was a channel that was only available in hotel and motel rooms at the Virginia Beach oceanfront area. It had original programming, local commercials, and offered basic tide & weather information for viewers. We think it started sometime in the late 90s and ended around 2010.

Have you talked with anyone that worked for the channel?

No. The first thing I did after finding the tapes was to purchase a VCR and the proper equipment to digitize them and post some of the content online. There was a lot to choose from, but I had to start somewhere. I hoped that if people saw it, they might remember it from working in a hotel that offered the channel.

I began posting on craigslist and started a facebook page to spread the word and really thought that I would receive a lot of information very quickly, but I was wrong. It seems that everyone associated with the channel has vanished.

What kind of shows were on the tapes?
There are shows devoted to local history, beach music, stand-up comedy, local restaurants, hotel room and beach safety, a muralist, fireworks, parades, fishing, and more. I currently have 3 videotapes after someone discovered another one at a thrift store this summer. They spotted it and sent me pictures of it on facebook! It contained some episodes of "The Muralist", beach music videos, an in-depth look at the history of The Norwegian Lady statue, various beach safety tips, an interview with songwriter Lewis McGehee, as well as tide & weather information.


What is "The Muralist"?

It's a show about a mural painter at the Oceanfront. He discusses local mural history and his process for painting murals, but sometimes it isn't about murals at all. He's painting the windows of the old Jewish Mother in one segment and talks about how he's had everything on the menu over 20 times. He stops painting and just talks about his favorite sandwiches for the rest of the show. We never find out who he is or what he's doing now. 


What's currently going on with your search? Any updates?

I work full-time and have a family, so I can't devote all the time I'd like to this project. Plus, we're in the process of moving to Chesapeake.

A local Virginia Beach historian and author has offered to help by putting up posters at various Oceanfront businesses. She's lived at the North End since 1978 and doesn't remember the channel at all. She thinks that nobody is coming forward to claim involvement with the channel because there could be some outstanding debts or advertising money that wasn't refunded when the channel ended. I don't know. That makes me even more curious!

A few facebook messages have mentioned that the channel was available in some houses near the resort area. Not sure how that was possible. If it was broadcast on a public access channel, how did the videotapes end up at a thrift store?

Not everything on the videos is interesting, but I think it's interesting enough for people that enjoy local Virginia Beach history. I'd like to combine all the best clips and have a public showing one day. Maybe invite some people who had a hand in creating it - if we can find them!

I tell folks to keep their eyes open for videotapes labeled "Virginia Beach Hotel Channel" or "VBHC" at thrift stores or yard sales. There's got to be some sort of printed information about the channel out there somewhere, too. Advertising rates, contracts, schedules, etc.

If you see a videotape - please purchase it! Test it in a VCR at the thrift store if possible. I will reimburse you for it, just keep your receipt. Send a message and a picture of the tape to the facebook page -

https://www.facebook.com/vabeachhotelchannel/

Watch the Virginia Beach Hotel Channel here -

https://vimeo.com/vabeachhotelchannel






Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Album Review: Don Telling's Island Mysteries


Artist: Don Telling's Island Mysteries
Label: none
Year: unknown
Genre: Tropical, World, Exotica, Sound Effects
Condition: slight wear, some surface noise


Found album at the DAV Thrift Store on Virginia Beach Blvd. Not much information online about this album or group. Check out their website here, but there isn't really much information and it hasn't been updated since 2012. You can listen to the album on youtube here.

No band members or recording studio listed. Called phone number listed on back (949) 416-3943 and left message. Haven't heard back yet.

Instrumentation isn't typical for similar "Exotica" records.  Oboe, harmonica, slide guitar, bass, ukulele, church organ, maracas, woodblocks, and bells. No vocals. Crisp production. Sounds like it was recorded live. Oboe player sounds like he/she hasn't been playing very long. I think the ukulele player breaks a string during a long, free-form solo in "Blue Hawaii"!  Aside from the loud gunfire and explosion sound effects during the "James Bond Medley", the album is very relaxing and great for chilling out on the beach or your patio or wherever.

Side One - gentle waves and seagulls sound effects, "Bali Ha'i", "Theme from A Summer Place", "Pipeline", "Hawaiian Wedding Song", "James Bond Medley", jungle birds and gentle rain sound effects.

Side Two - sailing ship sound effects, "Blue Hawaii", "Poinciana", "Maple Leaf Rag", "Golden Earrings", "On Broadway", city traffic sound effect.

Most of the songs are familiar covers, but there is no songwriter or song publisher information.




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lighthouse Confusion

This is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. 


It's been in roughly the same spot on the Outer Banks of North Carolina since 1870.  You can drive to it with no hassle and climb the 257 steps up to the top for a fee.  You can even climb it on nights when there's a full moon.  Cool, huh?


This is the New Cape Henry Lighthouse.


It's been in exactly the same spot since 1881 in Virginia Beach. Upon entering the Army base on which it sits,  you will be made to present valid identification and exit your vehicle so it can be thoroughly searched.  You can climb the  brick lighthouse located nearby, but you can't climb the black and white one.

The two lighthouses are over 150 miles away from each other and it would take you over 3 hours to drive from one to another.  With typical weekend traffic, that would stretch into 4. A speed boat might make it in 2 and a private jet could probably do it in less than 1.


Regardless of how far apart, they are two different lighthouses.  Could someone please notify the head souvenir designer at  Sunsations?  I spotted these the other day.




The fact that the entire store is filled with overpriced, "Made in China" junk doesn't bother me as much as the use of an inaccurate lighthouse on souvenirs for sale in Virginia Beach.  Not to mention the brick base of the lighthouse isn't correct and its placement on the coastline is all wrong.  I'll check back in a month to see if these are still for sale.  I want all of them.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Deep Dreams of Virginia Beach

Here's how Google's deep dream neural network visualizes some of Virginia Beach's familiar places - and a few faces.  Enjoy, but please DO NOT stare at any of them for more than a few seconds or your eyes will permanently adjust to them and you'll see those scary little mutated dog bird creatures running around on your kitchen counter!
















Sunday, March 15, 2015

Interview Time with RX2525


                                                                        Painting by Kate Fortin

On Friday September 6, 2013 there was an art show at Doc Taylor's Seaside Market Lounge in Virginia Beach, VA.  I don't remember any of the artwork from that night.  There was a band or two that escapes my memory as well.  However, there was a solo act that blew my mind - RX2525.  A mysterious man in a hat with a robot's voice playing high-energy synth space pop.  He handed out business cards after the show with his contact information and I discovered his Youtube videos.  Choose one and play it while you read this interview.

Your songs sound like music from the future.  What is your vision for the planet Earth in 1000 years?

I don't want to get stuck in the past.  I try to keep up with current musical trends. As far as the next 1000 years -  I just hope that humanity doesn't destroy itself and we humans create a gentle and kind society.

I became aware of you by attending an art show at Doc Taylor's where you were performing.  I did not know at the time, but performing live is something you do very rarely.  How did you come to agree to perform that night?

My son's girlfriend is K84-10, Kate Fortin, one of the featured artists that night, and I helped them by letting them use my small, but powerful PA system.  I agreed to be the musical director and be the headlining performer. 

Do you prefer RobertX2525 or RX2525?  How did you get that name?

I prefer RX2525. I discovered that trying to get people to remember RobertX2525 was an exercise in futility! My stage name for the last 20 years has been ROBERTX, but I was a little tardy getting on the internet.  There were other ROBERTXs whom I did not want to be confused with.  At one time, I had a net/tech wizard helping me.  He told me that I needed to add something to my stage name that would separate me from the others and he came up with "2525" as in the year 2525 - I thought it sounded cool so I went with it!  
I grew up in Norfolk/Va Beach and I was a local celebrity.  I was a founding member (along with Chris Parsons who is deceased now, but who was very influential in the Tidewater Virginia music scene for a long time) of a very popular hard rock band called Mantra. 



                       RX2525 in the 1970s

Through Mantra, I met Amy T. - "Queen of the Groupies".  Every rock musician in town wanted her.  Being a hot, young guitar player in the hottest rock band in town, I won her heart.  I couldn't stand anyone calling her a groupie, so I married her!  How do you retire a groupie? You marry her! Life was wonderful until she got strung out on cocaine and left me for the SOB who got her that way.  I was heartbroken, so I decided to leave the beach and follow Jimi Hendrix's footsteps and went to play the chitlin' circuits and honky-tonks of the south for 10 years instead of going to the UK.  I went westward to California for another 10 years where I became a star.  Unfortunately, drugs and dishonest management ruined my career and I had to come home to Virginia with my tail between my legs.  I decided to retire from the entertainment biz and be a gentleman gardener for the rest of my life, but one too many 100 degree days and I decided to resurrect my music career.  I started buying equipment and composing songs.


What was your first concert? first album?

My first concert was at the Virginia Beach Dome and it was Black Sabbath on their 1971 American Tour.


The Alan B. Shepard Civic Center in Virginia Beach, designed by Buckminster Fuller, also known as The Dome

Black Sabbath backstage at the Virginia Beach Dome March 8, 1971


I later played on the Dome stage myself and the whole gig I kept thinking - Jimi stood here!


My first album was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Deja Vu". I loved their version of "Woodstock".



According to your facebook page, you share a birthday with John Lennon, October 9.  Is he an influence on your songwriting?  Who are your influences for songwriting, performing, and guitar/keyboard playing?


Yes - absolutely John Lennon and The Beatles were a huge influence on my career, but I must say it was Jimi Hendrix that pushed me over the edge. I so wanted to be like him that I patterned my career after his.


What are you currently listening to?
  

I noticed that many of your videos use images of Gene Simmons' daughter Sophie. How did she become your muse?

I met Sophie's father during my previous career and I was not a fan, so when the reality television show about Gene and his family, "Family Jewels", premiered in 2006 I watched it just to see what the old braggart was up to.  I was smitten with his sweet, talented young daughter - so I produced a music video called "Princess Sophie".  I tweeted it to her, but she would delete it from her Twitter profile every time I posted it.  It was probably because I told her daddy to kiss my ass at the end of the song.  

I soon realized that Sophie was unlike most young Hollywood celebs.  
removed "Princess Sophie" from my Youtube channel and deemed her my artistic muse.  She was sweet, humble, smart, kindhearted, and classy.  I felt ashamed of myself and took a different direction. First, I produced a music video called "Rescue Me". I have 2 YouTube channels - RX2525 for promo and RobertX/RX2525 as my archive. "Rescue Me" never saw the light of day on Sophie's Twitter profile and I was extremely sad about this. In my despair, I wrote a sad and beautiful unrequited love song for Sophie called "I Dream of You".  I produced a video of it, even though I was suffering from extreme depression and despair at the time.  I tweeted it to her Twitter profile everyday for a month and nothing happened.  I considered that maybe I should leave her alone and commit suicide.

The very last time I viewed her Twitter profile - low and behold - she had allowed it on her TOP VIDEOS and it stayed there for an entire year!  Her kind heart rescued me, so I make one video a year for her and she always allows them on her TOP TWEETS.  There is no doubt that I adore her and over the last 4 years we've become social media friends.

I would venture a guess that I am her fave Twitter follower.  I twitter flirt with her everyday! Over the last 4 years, she has only deleted one of my tweets to her.  It was a music video I produced, not about her, called "I Want You #wannatapthatlittleass".  It's about this young girl I love called Gypsy.  I will not even venture a guess as to why Sophie dislikes this video.  I have told Sophie many times via Twitter that I will not ride her coattails to fame or profit from her name and have asked her not to help me garner fame.  I would like to think that she respects me because of this.  With a click of her mouse she could delete me out of her life, but she doesn't.  For that, I will always adore her. 





Tell me a little about some of my favorite songs of yours.  How about "Diggy Diggy Pow Pow"?

"Diggy Diggy Pow Pow" is basically a danceable comedy music video.  If you listen closely toward the end, I meet Sophie's father and he slaps me around.  It was meant to give her a chuckle! Also, it spotlights my ability to do scat "diggy diggy pow diggy diggy pow pow pow - za bigity bigity bigity bonk bigity bonk bigity bonk bonk bonk!"  I once played in a band and did a vocal drum solo using scat. 


"TMZ"

I'm a rabid TMZ fan.  I lived in southern California and I get the importance of tabloids.  I produced "TMZ" to make friends with the most influential tabloid in the biz.  I purposely gave it few lyrics because it would seem lame to say something like "I'm a TMZ fan - yes I am", so I played on the inside joke about TMZ journalist Shevonne Sullivan being a future cat lady. The "meows" in the song are Shevonne's cat.   The lyrics are "I salute the dancers/I salute TMZ/and I salute Shevonne Sullivan-and her cat".  It was a hit with TMZ producer Rick Mitchell.  He gave it a thumbs up!   Unfortunately, Shevonne promptly blocked me from her Twitter profile! When I play "TMZ" live, I salute Shevonne with my middle finger! 

"Stardust"

I wrote "Stardust" on my mother's piano when I was 12 years old.  I produced this video to show my mother, but she passed away 2 weeks before I could get to Louisville, where I was born, and show it to her. 


"No No No

That's an early EDM/Rap song I produced hoping that my white rapper son would write some lyrics for it.  He never did. 


"RobertX"

This is an instrumental rock song I produced to celebrate the fact that I was a successful and popular rock musician for many years.  I occasionally produce rock songs because that's where my roots are. I am currently producing a gnarly rock song called "SOPHIEX".  It should be complete soon.



Do you perform any cover songs?

I rarely do covers these days because I did cover songs for 30 years in barroom bands.  I do one cover song in my current live show - "California Dreamin'".

A Yamaha MOTIF XF6 is featured in your videos.  Is that the keyboard you write and record with?



The Motif is a very expensive studio keyboard that I gave to my son for his recording studio.  I only use it in my videos because it looks more impressive than my workhorse keyboard - a Yamaha MM6.  I own 3 of them.  Every song I have produced was recorded with a MM6.  I don't use a guitar amp, but a small and powerful 2500 watt PA system.

Your face is often hidden in the shadow of your hat or microphone and distorted with digital effects in your videos.  Do you direct them?

My videos are mysterious because I am not young and pretty anymore and I try to hide my appearance as much as possible.  I do not want to be the butt of a thousand ugly jokes!  I film them, but I pay others to do the artwork and editing.  My earlier videos were done by several people, but my son renders all my newer videos.  Two of my videos, "She's Just So Damn Pretty" and "Bad Bad Man" were rendered by a talented, pretty young artist that I love named Gypsy.  She also sings backup on "She's Just So Damn Pretty" and is the pretty Gypsy girl that I sing about in "I Want You #wannatapthatlittleass".  She plays the part of the pretty girl in "Bad Bad Man" who kicks the bad bad man's ass!

If you had a whole bunch of money to make a video for your song "Dancetopia" -  what it would be like?

If I had unlimited funds for a video, I would rent the club Peabody's in Virginia Beach.  
I once referred to Peabody's as "Dancetopia" and it served as the inspiration for the song.  I would hire the band Here Come the Mummies to be my back up band and I would want Sophie to be my pretty dancing girl.  I hope to make this music video someday because I promise on everything that is holy - this song/video will be a massive mega hit!


What are your musical plans for 2015?

I intend to find someone with excellent business skills to represent me and to manage my career.  Where as I am an extremely talented songwriter and performer - I am also the worst businessman that ever lived. I intend to become a star and make a better life for me and children.



Back in the old days, one always played in bands. One man bands were frowned upon.  Now, thanks to advances in technology - bands are becoming obsolete. My Yamaha MM6 is an absolute delight. It plays guitar/bass and drums for me with the touch of a key!  Thus eliminating unreliable humans! After 30 plus years of having to put up with prima donnas, drunks, and dipshits - I find this new world of technology quite wonderful!



Check out RX2525 on FacebookSpotifyTwitter
ReverbNationCDBabyNumberOneMusicGoogle+
LinkedIn, and Amazon

Buy a poster of him here


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Interview Time with Todd Rohal

                                                                                                                     
I became aware of Todd Rohal when I noticed a weird looking car illegally parked on the main street of Park City, Utah during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.  It was the car used in his film "Guatemalan Handshake" and I touched its hood.  In between answering interview questions for other websites, Todd answered my questions.

What is your favorite flavor of Mr. Bee Potato Chips?

Burnt-Up.

Sorry.  Your latest film, "Rat Pack Rat", is a charming peak behind the sequined curtains of the celebrity impersonation industry.  Was it inspired by true events?

Yes. Both me and Eddie Rouse have had to do some humiliating things to make money. I'm not sure about Steve Little. I think he used to be a temp when he moved to LA, but I think he enjoyed that.

How were the fart sounds recorded?  

Those were all made with my mouth and hand and recorded on my iPhone. I was alone and sitting on the floor in the dark. Just like how they made the helicopter sounds from "Apocalypse Now".

Your first film, "Single Spaced", had lots of actors and locations.  "Rat Pack Rat" had one location and 3 actors.  Will your next film utilize one actor and no locations?

Right now it's looking like my next film will have no actors, no locations and no audience.


                                                                                                                              (Todd with Professor Irwin Corey)

I thought "Tiger Town" adequately depicted the town of Massillon, OH as a bunch of pumped up college football fanatics in a concise 5 minute film, but it was whittled down from a 30 minute documentary.  Do you have the full documentary or were you pausing and recording as the film aired on television?  What else was/is there?  Answer as honest as possible, but you can lie if you want. 

I have the full documentary on tape. It's a good one. There was a feature-length doc called "Go Tigers" that was made about the same town a few years ago, but it was all about the football team, where this short was about all the people who didn't care about football and were trapped in a town obsessed with it. It also looks exactly the way Ohio looked like when I grew up, so that's a good thing for all the kids I have to someday see.


My favorite character is the man in a sport coat with elbow patches furiously tapping the buttons on Punch-Out!! Who is your favorite inhabitant of "Tiger Town"? Have you ever been there?  Have you met anyone from the film?

I like the kid wearing the painter's cap with the Chinese letters on it. He's in the arcade, too and he's working on a mustache. 



I've never been to Massillon, but it's not much different from where I grew up, 45 minutes away. I'd love to meet that guy that rips the top off the beer can with his teeth. He moved his birthday to make room for the Massillon-McKinley game. That's so cool.

That arcade is called "Fuzzy's" -- I googled it and found some articles about it burning down and the owner getting caught for arson. So I guess that Punch-Out!! game is gone for good. Jukebox, too.

Please give me a one sentence review/memory/gripe/compliment about the following films. If you haven't seen the film, tell me a secret about someone you've worked with:

Big Top Pee Wee - A perfect cast: Paul Reubens, Kris Kristofferson, Susan Tyrrell, Benicio Del Toro, Dustin Diamond AND Paul Reubens' dad.

Meet Wally Sparks - My manger at Blockbuster Video used to steal a box of Mike & Ike's once a day.

The Corndog Man - Worst Box Cover Art Award 2000 - 2014


                         (not actual size)

La Grande Illusion (1937) - Humorless / Not enough slapstick.

The Foot Fist Way - Best use of Impact font for the main titles.

Septien - I saw a rough cut of this and the feedback that the audience gave Mike Tully made me move out of New York. (Tully stayed, but took none of their suggestions)

Coyote Ugly - Piper Perabo's 3rd best movie after "Single Spaced" and "Slap Her, She's French".

The Untouchables - Great soundtrack.

Compliance - The needless director cameo ruined this movie for me.



Double Trouble (1992) -
Just as good on the second viewing.

Computer Chess - Not for kids.

8 Mile - Unavailable for rental.

Will we be seeing your "Sweet Cheeks" on the big screen anytime soon?  I believe I read the script when it had a different title.  Is it the same story?  Why the title change?

The script was originally called "The Black Man's Butt". I gave that title to Craig Moorhead and asked him to write a scene that would happen in that movie. We kept writing from there and had a 140 page script. It's still the same story, but now with even better jokes. We changed the title because it will make for a better poster. 


Trying.


                                                 
Watch pretty much everything Todd Rohal has done here.  For free.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sea of Pyramid Brothers


How many times have 3 bands combined songs and joined each other onstage at the same time to play a 17-song set in Charlotte, NC?  Once. Ten years ago on the night of a blue moon, July 31, 2004.  For $7 ($9 at the door) one could enter the Neighborhood Theatre, buy a beer, take a seat in one of the rows of seats permanently affixed to the floor, stare at the stage, and marvel at the vast array of wires, pedals, instruments, amps, and mics carefully arranged and endlessly adjusted by the members of Sea of Cortez, Pyramid, and The Houston Brothers.  14 people.  Over a ton of flesh, bone, and hair!


Pyramid was an 8-member band that switched instruments on occasion, Sea of Cortez had 7 members at the time, and The Houston Brothers were two brothers and a bass player.  That adds up to 18 people. Hold on. Wait a sec.  Where were the other 4?  Well, some participants in that evening's show were members of both Pyramid AND Sea of Cortez. Astounding, isn't it? How did everybody remember what to play, when, and with what emotion? They made little tiny setlist/instrument list things to put in their front shirt pockets.

                                                                                           (actual size)

One member of the "Sea of Pyramid Brothers" that wishes to remain anonymous recalled not knowing what was going on.  "I just wung it.  Or winged it.  Which one sounds better? If I didn't recognize the song after a few measures, I'd wander over to someone who wasn't busy at the moment and ask to look at their little list thing.  If I couldn't understand their handwriting, I'd just point to what song I thought it was and nod."


"If they nodded in agreement back to me, then I knew we were good.  If they nodded no, I'd go ask somebody else.  There were more than enough people to ask!  I typed a list at home but forgot to print it out before I left. I often wonder if things would have turned out differently if I'd brought it. I still have the file.  Haven't printed it out, but I might someday."

Luckily, things turned out fine.  Listen and download tracks from the show here, read more about it here, and watch one song here.