Shopping Malls: A Suburban Renaissance?

Since the mid-20th century – with the rapid rise of the suburbs – shopping malls have been a big part of American life. In the ’80s and ’90s, malls became veritable town centers: giving us a one-stop shopping destination, bringing in the biggest and busiest restaurant chains, and serving as an after-school playground for our teenagers. And for many years, malls were an integral part of our culture – as evidenced by the prominent role they played in cult classics such …

Karen Black: Five Great Movie Appearances

Of all the eras in Hollywood history, the decade that stretched from 1969 to 1979 was perhaps the most daring, a time of experimental masterpieces that shocked audiences into seeing the world in a different way. In the era’s edgy eloquence, Karen Black portrayed quirky women who found themselves in trouble. The Chicago-area native, who passed away on Aug. 8 at age 74 in Los Angeles, appeared in nearly 200 movies and TV shows in a career that stretched from …

May Sweeps Go Out With a Twang

This year’s May sweeps end Wednesday night – and the schedule over these final four days is a veritable dessert cart of TV goodness. Tomorrow night (5/20), there’s the delectable “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise” offered by PBS’s American Masters. Also tomorrow night: the final performance show of this season’s Dancing With the Stars, with the results show coming up Tuesday night. And y’all had better hold on tight for the season finale of ABC’s Nashville on Wednesday (5/22). One of …

George Jones: 10 Facts About the Country Music Legend

George Jones, who died on April 26 at age 81 in Nashville, was such a giant in the world of country music that a song Jim Lauderdale wrote about him, “The King of Broken Hearts,” became a hit for George Strait. And that was a fitting appellation. Jones, who possessed a superlative, pitch-perfect baritone – Frank Sinatra reportedly once called him “the second greatest singer in the world” – was royalty as a vocalist. But he also exemplified the tension between …

‘Nashville’ Scores, Catfight or No

The sublime Connie Britton gets smacked in the face with ageism as a country super star who suddenly finds a brazen little man eater – Hayden Panettiere – usurping her territory in Nashville, premiering Wednesday (10/10) on ABC. Panettiere’s Juliette Barnes doesn’t bother playing nice to established star Rayna James.  Unlike All About Eve’s Eve Harrington, Juliette is vixenishly vicious, snubbing Rayna from the get-go, as she poaches Rayna’s guitarist, her producer, her record company. Even Rayna’s daughters, sitting in the …

Singing To My Valentine in Nashville

For those who are in possession of a romantic’s heart, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to proclaim your love to those most dear. As I contemplate such proclamations, and in particular, proclamations made while traveling; my mind immediately races to a day, twenty-seven years ago, when my soon-to-be wife asked me to record a song for her while we were traveling in Nashville, Tennessee. We were on a week-long vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and decided …