Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner

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Patrick McGoohan as Number Six.

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”

The Prisoner, which ran for seventeen episodes from 1967 to 1968, was the best original drama series there’s ever been on television. Period, as Harlan Ellison would say. Best because it grabbed the format of the TV adventure series with both hands and subverted the expectations of the audience and the people who were paying for it. Best because it dared to do this at a time when there was little precedent for experiment in a medium that was barely a decade old. Best because it had something important to say while still being entertaining. And best because it had Patrick McGoohan in the central role at the peak of his acting career.

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I am not a number! I am a free man!: Patrick McGoohan RIP

Growing up in pre-internet rural central Indiana, there was no cable television and the radio was awful which basically meant late-night PBS programming was totally mind-blowing for your contributing editor. Dr. Who, Monty Python and most amazing among them all for its sheer menacing weirdness, The Prisoner. Patrick McGoohan, the star of the crushingly brilliant 1967 dystopian sci-fi spy series died on January 13, 2009 at age 80.

AMC has the whole series up online and it’s just gorgeous. Watch it here.

Read McGoohan’s obituary from the Guardian after the jump.

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Bloody Mary Morning Music: Two Classic Willie LPs

Laying My Burdens Down

Both Sides Now

Last time your contributing editor saw Willie Nelson it was with Arthur columnist Dave Reeves and we were at the Hollywood Bowl. Given that it was an audience full of KCRW-dads out to let their hair down, it wasn’t more than 15 minutes before the overweight yuppies were trying to buy pot from us, just based on the length of your contributing editor’s hair. They even plied us with non-medicinal brownies, but to no avail. Same yuppies were less enamored with us as we shouted and whooped along with “Beer For My Horses” and the other classics that Willie and family ran through in a pretty mechanical way.

One of the things your ed forgets about Willie’s three thousand albums or so is that very few of them are comprised of rowdy honky-tonkers: Most of the guy’s catalog is made up of very mellow and often heartbreakingly sad acoustic affairs full of songs that never make his live setlist, nevermind country radio. That’s pretty much what we’ve got here with these two overlooked gems from 1970: Both Sides Now and Laying My Burdens Down. This is pre-Outlaw Willie, though there are shades of things to come with “I Gotta Get Drunk,” an early version of “Bloody Mary Morning” and the gospel-tinged sounds that would come to full bloom in 1976 on his totally amazing Troublemaker album. Also plenty of tasteful covers; his revision of “Both Sides Now” ranks alongside Sinatra’s as among the sweeter covers of the Joni Mitchell classic.

Both come courtesy of Crooner’s Corner, a no-frills audioblog overseen by a wonderfully curmudgeonly collector of music by “male singers and musical entertainers of fame and legend.” Go check ‘em out here.

DAILY MAGPIE – January 15- February 13 – Christopher Miner

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Take the Christian anthem Via Dolorosa made popular by Sandi Patti in the late 80′s, this dude in drag dressed Dana Carvey Church lady-style singing with the tune in eerily good falsetto, and put his lifeless, singing body in front of an alter with…  I think I may have said too much.  Some of the photos have an Eggleston quality to them- great Americana color photography depicting the (mostly white) common man/woman/family.  Miner adds extra irony and humor in his photos and video installtions, and with this show Easter for the Birds, a re-born Christian twist.  Good Goddamn.

Date and Time:  Opening Reception January 15 6-8

Venue:  Mitchell-Innes and Nash Chelsea

Address:  534 West 26th Street 

Price:  Free