Monthly Archives: July 2021

Joe Viglione’s Unique Perspective on Film

The upcoming Spiderman film looks like fun. Doctor Octopus, Doctor Strange chock full of docs…. I started writing reviews at the age of 15 in 1969 for my fan publication Varulven Magazine. 52 years later I have developed my own “writer’s voice” giving insight quite different from other critics. My theory is, why do a regular mainstream review that you can find online from any publication? With a film out worldwide Marty Balin Live on the Esplanade – Rock n Roll Hall of Fame artist directed by Joe Viglione, the first solo Marty Balin (of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship) disc full of surprises, and a number of new films already in the planning stages, you get ideas inside my reviews from behind the camera and from the front row of the theater.

From Joe V, the director: This Marty Balin DVD is the “ultimate fan package”…meaning, rather than allow unauthorized tapes to flourish we got footage together from both professionals and people who are long-time Balin supporters who wanted to run cameras at the June 14, 2008 concert in Boston. The spirit of the recording was to document a rare Balin gig a la Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven’s “The First Annual Camp Out Live at Pappy and Harriet’s P”. It’s a 9 camera shoot utilizing 7 of the cameras in the edit. Don’t expect a multi-million dollar production – this disc is a labor of love spanning 14 years beginning with an interview from 1995. As the 1995 concert footage that accompanied the original television broadcast interview was Jefferson Starship material we decided to film a new concert with Marty’s band. Balin was originally scheduled to open for Johnny Rivers in 2007 but due to a prior commitment with Jefferson Starship in New York the date got moved to June of 2008 – a gig with the group/duo America at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade (same venue Rivers played the year before).

The cover photo is not from this America/Balin concert…that’s a picture that former Jefferson Starship lead singer Darby Gould took from the stage when Marty was in the latter-day J.S….and we thank her for such a beautiful and mysterious shot. Marco Centola and Rob Fraboni remastered the two-track soundboard audio…D.J. Eli Polonsky at WMBR in Cambridge/Boston played “Somebody To Love” on the air and it sounded great coming over the radio. Marty Balin was interviewed by Polonsky on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 and when the DJ noted that singer Didi Stewart is a legendary Boston figure Marty said immediately “She’s a great singer!” As producer/director I would love to see an extended version of this DVD a few years from now…and maybe an audio CD mixed from both the soundboard and the multiple cameras. The August 1976 hit “With Your Love” was performed in the studio practice at Newbury Media on 6-13-08 the day before the show and is probably up somewhere on the web as a trailer for this project, though that classic wasn’t performed the next night at the show. Those songs were digitally recorded, multi-track, at the world class facility which has gold and platinum for Marky Mark, New Kids on The Block and other major recording artists. Three of the Newbury Media rehearsal sessions are on this DVD – Essra Mohawk’s “Shaping The Night”, a second version of the Jesse Barish classic “Count On Me” and Balin’s own “Somehow The Tired Reach Home”. The audio on those three bonus tracks was mixed by Ken Kanavos at the studio and the quality is superb.

It is my hope that everyone gets to see the genius of Marty Balin 39 years after he performed at Woodstock and enjoys this presentation that we put a lot of time and love into, released on the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock event. Four of the songs the Jefferson Airplane performed at Woodstock appear on this disc recorded 4 decades after the Summer of Love.

As noted above I’m the producer/director of this document. The 5 star rating I give it is for Marty Balin’s performance and the performances of singer Didi Stewart, keyboard player Gordon G.G. Gebert (of a latter day version of the group Angel), bassist Dave Trupia (also on Marty’s upcoming CD) and the extraordinary Donny Baldwin, drummer with Elvin Bishop Group and the latter day Starship (the Mickey Thomas version of the band after Marty Balin went solo). It was an absolute honor to work with these talents and it is my hope that the public enjoys this recording for what it is: an historical record of a rock & roll hall of famer with no frills and lots of bonus material including interviews with Signe Anderson, Jeff Tamarkin and Marty Balin himself.

Johnny Thunders/ Joe Viglione The Daughters in Paradise

February 1983

February 27, 1983, I opened for the legendary Johnny Thunders in Paradise with my friends The Daughters. They backed Johnny up. WERS student wanted to interview Johnny, but Thunders said “I will only let Joe Viglione interview me.” So I interviewed Johnny and it purportedly was played on 88.1 FM WERS, Emerson College. Would love to get a copy of that. Never heard the interview. These are Terry Brenner’s Ticket Stubs

Captain America: The First Avenger 2011 Review by Joe Viglione

Captain America: The First Avenger – Movie Review


 Massachusetts native Chris Evans returns to Marvel Comics’ “House of Ideas” as Steve Rogers – Captain America, with a much different look than exhibited in the two films where he appeared as The Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm. This important component of the Avengers collection, the final “prequel”, if you will, has to be at least as effective as Kenneth Branagh’s Thor: The God Of Thunder, and that it is.

Director Joe Johnston has had plenty of experience with Science Fiction, from 1989’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids to Jurassic Park III. He does an elegant job of blending cliche after cliche in Captain America: The First Avenger, a forumla that has become a quite necessary merry-go-round of sorts for the variety of D.C. and Marvel superheroes launching out of the big screen. These are the spawn of the James Bond blockbuster pictures when Goldfinger was identifiable to the mainstream as Dr. Doom was to comic book fans in the pages of the Fantastic Four.

Captain America sports the film texture from Kerry Conran’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow with a bit of Josef Rusnak’s The Thirteenth Floor enhanced with a darker (and so obligatory nowadays) 3D. Let’s face it, the choice of director for these high stakes films is made with mathematical precision and Johnston doesn’t disappoint. The estimated budget of $140 million is in the ballpark for these Marvel epics, a rather daunting figure when The Matrix pulled in four hundred million more than the sixty-three million invested to start that series. Hugo Weaving is recycled yet again, and his vision for The Red Skull is most satisfying. Said to have been pulled, in part, from a James Bond villain, Maximilian Largo (if we are to believe Wikipedia), actor Klaus Maria Brandauer’s psychotic madman is a good study for Red Skull. Weaving’s malevolence far outpaces his Agent Smith from the Matrix…the calculating machine mind replaced by megalomania and a penchant for Norse mythology and the occult. He certainly uses his previous three movie stint as the computer virus as a foundation for this, and his hatred is far more believable here.

Back in the 1960s comics were for kids along with bubble gum cards and Monkees records. Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee had a vision of adults walking down the street with his comic magazines, not in brown paper bags or hidden in their suit jackets, but consumers proudly holding his creations for all to see. Decades after achieving that initial goal – establishing the colorful stories as legitimate literature, the successful author is as revered to his massive following as Alfred Hitchcock was to his, both icons making important cameos as a kind of on-camera signature, to the audience’s delight. The expensive action does get a bit hokey, my recollection of the 1960s Captain America didn’t have him this amped up. The film version gives the hero bonafide super powers that were not as evident in the comic book. This motion picture takes the liberty of giving Cap some of Daredevil’s instinct, Hulk’s strength and Spiderman’s gymnastics, probably to cope with the fact that he’s the most vulnerable super hero of the bunch. Think Superman with a bit of Kryptonite following him about 300 yards away.

As Johnny Storm the producers used Chris Evans for eye candy (though his acting skills rose above the scripts he was handed in both FF adventures).It’s not a stretch to see an actor go from one superhero to another as Marvel made it a habit to switch their comic book creations around…just as Medusa from The Frightful Four became Medusa of The Inhumans (two of the more underrated teams in Marvel history). Here he gets to transform his cerebral approach to Steve Rogers in the same way his body is morphed from stringbean to …well, Wolverine or Incredible Hulk…take your pick. These “origins” are very similar and the trick is to do it as flashy as possible. Marvel is well aware that the film going public has tired of the origin of Superamn, or how Batman came to be is told time and again. Having to address that for a figure unkown to the mainstream means keeping it brief, and adding a little contemporary terrorism to keep things modern and different.

To spice things up the audience is treated to a little Bride of Frankenstein mad scientist laboratory, a little dash of the early Batman serials from the 1940s and some military madness from the 1950s sci-fi film stampede. And while you’re at it, make it a World War II saga to boot. The two hours contain all of it and do it with enough action to make it the roller coaster ride it is supposed to be.

Captain America: The First Avenger has to follow the last Harry Potter film. That’s probably a good thing as the fantasy audience that is devouring Potter magic will, no doubt, want to get right back to the theaters. It’s no Deathly Hallows II, but it is pretty much what comic book fans want. The packed house in Boston waited to see if an Avenger’s trailer would follow the credits. Their disappointment that it did not only shows how devoted the audience for this genre still is.

More Joe V Film Reviews here:

July 7 Esoteric Diaries from Joe V…Wild Cherries in the yard…and Black Widow at the movies. Marvel Summer

Wild Cherries …about 3:39 pm in my backyard/driveway. The birds are feasting on these cherries. I wasn’t sure what they were until two neighbors came by and asked through my living room window if they could “…have some wild cherries.” I’ve been living here 3 years and 1 month as of Saturday, 37 months and wasn’t aware of WHAT kind of fruit or berry was on the tree. Well the wildlife is amazing, birds and seagulls and bunny rabbits and squirrels, it’s lots of fun to watch the plant life and creatures here. So i tried a couple of the cherries today, very tangy with a bite. Seed inside, of course, not as sweet as store-bought cherries.

All photos by Joe Viglione about 3:39 pm July 7,2021