Canadian Screen Award Nominations for Jingle Bell Rocks!

Some incredible news to share this morning: Jingle Bell Rocks! has been NOMINATED for TWO Canadian Screen Awards (Canada’s Oscars) for BEST Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series + BEST Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series for the amazing Ryan Mullins!

The Awards Ceremony which is hosted this year by the inimitable Edith Prickly (aka Andrea Martin) will broadcast LIVE March 1st on CBC.

For more information, please download the Canadian Screen Awards Electronic Press Kit


NYC Premiere and one more screening!

We’re thrilled to have our New York debut as part of DOC NYC. This fest wraps up an amazing almost two month festival tour for me that started at NOFF in New Orleans, took me to Barcelona, Spain for the In-EDIT festival, then back stateside for the Vermont International Film Fest, and down to Kentucky to River’s Edge.

Our second screening at DOC NYC is Wednesday November 19. Check it out if you have a chance!


World premiere at IDFA!

I’m thrilled to announce that Jingle Bell Rocks will have its world premiere at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), the biggest documentary festival in the world.

It will screen as part of the Music Program, at the famous Melkweg Cinema in Amsterdam on Sunday, November 24, 2 pm.

The film is also being screened in major cities across Canada. Times and dates are not all confirmed, so please see individual cinemas for showtimes, or check this page for updates.

Montreal DEC 6 Cinema Du Parc

Toronto DEC 6 Bloor Cinema

Vancouver / Calgary / Winnipeg
Christmas 2013 Dates TBA

And …. we’re going to be on TV, too! The BC Television Premiere will be on Knowledge Network, Tuesday, Dec 17.

And in Ontario you can catch it on TVO, dates TBA

The USA Theatrical Premiere Tour is scheduled for Christmas 2014, with dates and cities TBA

A great Canadian … musician

He was the greatest Canadian musician and the most devoted to our country. I will miss him dearly. It is a sad, sad loss. But, to keep things upbeat, as I am sure Tom would wish it to be, I offer you THIS amazing Christmas song, Down on Christmas one which should definitely have been included in the Globe and Mails’ BEST 12 songs list. They truly F*KD up on this one!

Xmas On The Bayou

Of the many great unsung heroes of the underground Xmas music world I wish I could have met and interviewed, the late great Sidney Simien aka Rockin’ Sidney and Count Rockin’ Sidney, one of the most intriguing R&B/Zydeco/Soul cats who became very well know, beginning in the late 50s, across the bayou as one of the most intriguing zydeco musicians of his era. Sadly, he passed away (15 years ago today) at just 60 years of age.

Check out THIS cut, “Party This Christmas” one of a dozen off of Rockin’ Sidney’s MUST HAVE Xmas LP “A Christmas Celebration With Rockin’ Sidney.” Check out our Facebook page for the fabulous cover image!

What Q did for Christmas

Today marks the 27th Anniversary of this overwrought Christmas charity effort, produced by Quincy Jones. (Was there a bunch of fanfare over the 25th?…oh yeah, there was the Benefit for Haiti!

Even tho “WATW” is a tune I pretty much loathed from its inception, it did end up raising 45 million for African Famine Relief and — as The Globe and Mail’s music writer, Brad Wheeler writes: Today, response songs tend to be musical retorts from feuding, offended rappers, involving shows of disrespect. But one night, back in 1985, celebrated singers put their voices to something more significant – an American gospel-pop reaction to an earlier (and arguably much better) British benefit single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”…resulting in not only a victory for music, charity and pop culture, but a better connotation to the term “Band-Aid solution”.

Its one saving grace (for me anyway) is that they included Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson & Ray Charles!

Here’s Part ONE & Part TWO of the Behind-The-Scenes “Making Of” video for anyone who cares.

Checking out “Christmas in Hollis”

Whew! Finally coming up for air after a whirlwind week of shoots in Baton Rouge, Saddle River, NJ, Brooklyn, Manhattan (four) and Hoboken. 

The crew are shooting B-Roll in Hollis, Queens and Harlem while I stayed back to catch up on some much needed housekeeping and updates like this one.

Tonite we’re off the Maxwell’s Bar in Hoboken, where we’ve got tix (and will meet) YO LA TENGO, one of my favorite bands in the world. I’ll be posting separately about them later on the FB Fan Page !

This post is all about what is indisputably the finest & freshest rhyme ever to be written for the holidays: “Christmas In Hollis” by Joseph “Reverend Run DMC” Simmons!

Sunday we spent the morning with the hip hop legend  who was the funniest, most gracious host & subject I’ve interviewed in the three years we’ve been making out little movie. He shared stories about his childhood Christmases in Hollis, Queens, getting his first purple Speed Racer bike, his distaste for mittens, he told us the story of how “Christmas In Hollis” was written whilst inhaling bacon & eggs, he even rapped the entire song for me, sans the “Back Door Sample” from  Clarence Carter… and we talked at length about the more serious side of the holidays: the pain that so many go thru during what for most is the happiest time of the year, and the weight the Reverend feels to comfort his nearly 4 million Twitter followers, who receive Run’s daily “Words of Wisdom” or WOW’s as he called them. If yer not already a disciple, go here to become one.

We ended the interview with a discussion about God & Santa Claus and whether the two were one in the same…You’ll have to wait until the movie’s released next year to find out what Rev Run’s true feelings are, but in the meantime, if you’d like a hint at his distinct POV, let me just share this with you: 

One of the last things he said to me will become, I think, the cut-line for the movie: “Everything is Santa Claus”…What a day, what an inspiring man. Praise Be to Reverend Run!

Jingle Bell Rocks on BBC Radio!

The good folks at BBC RADIO 4 have created a special programme on Alternative Christmas Music. Yours truly gave one of the best interviews of his life, but they cut me out entirely…OK by me cuz that means more room for Bob Dorough and Andy Cirzan to discuss Blue Xmas, Jingle Bell Rocks! and the other great songs featured in our movie! 

BBC Radio 4
Tuesday December 11 at 11h30 GMT. 
Sparklab On Air
An Alternative Christmas – BBC Radio 4 TX 11th December 2012. Rev. Richard Coles uncovers a treasure trove of Christmas tracks that were recorded but remained unplayed and forgotten, until now.

Live with Back Door Santa!

We are moments away from the Sound Check for the fabulous and LIVE Clarence Carter Holiday Show! comin’ at ya from Baton Rouge, Louisiana!

I arrived late last night, and my producer Mila is her with me too. We’ve got a great local crew (Loui & Julius) and we are raring to go.

Clarence Carter is an artist I’ve loved for decades – and also someone whose music I played constantly during my brief three year stint as a wedding DJ.  [Read more…]

Hola! El Vez Fans!

As many of you know, I’ve been a huge El VEZ booster ever since a very kind old friend Ron took me to my first Merry Mex-Mas show at the now long gone Club Soda in 1999…I was blown away by how goddam sexy EL was (and still is) not to mention his energy & ingeniousness in terms of performance  — with the extraordinarily lovely El-Vettes & The Spiders Of Mars + all its set pieces and glamorous Bowie-esque costume changes — but also how inventive the Xmas Song Mashups were…This was WAAAY before DJs were mashing songs together to create something new and engaging. [Read more…]