Anything Crazy Happen Today at the Gig?

Movie Reviews

Volume CVII, No. 6June, 2007

Mikael Elsila


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The man with the camera: 802 member and club date musicians Neil Capolongo produced “Club Date Stories.”

How often does something funny, weird or bizarre happen on a club date gig? Answer: all the time! 802 member Neil Capolongo has collected dozens of tales and has self-produced his own DVD called “Club Date Stories,” featuring musicians telling some of the strangest stories you’ve ever heard in your life. The humor, violence, laughs, anger — and even corpses — don’t stop piling up.

But it’s not just the stories that are so entertaining. As Capolongo told me in an e-mail, “The title of this film should really be ‘Club Date People’ because the people telling the stories are far more entertaining and enlightening than the stories themselves.”

Capolongo adds that he made the film, “to thank all these people — far too many to be in one film — for sharing their talent with me on the bandstand over so many years. The people you meet and play with are the thing that really makes the lifelong experience of music worthwhile.”

I watched Capolongo’s movie on a portable DVD player on a train ride from New York to Philadelphia. There were times when I had to grit my teeth to keep from giggling. At one point, I burst out laughing and everyone on the train noticed.

What was so funny?

It was a story about a club date leader who plays a gig and had to contend with a “Lost in Space”-style robot that was entertaining kids.

The robot, which could speak and interact because it was controlled remotely, was being loud and taking away the spotlight from the band, making it impossible for the band to perform.

Finally, the leader went up to the robot and asked it to stop or turn it down.

The robot itself started arguing with the club date leader in front of the entire reception, saying things like: “You hate me because the kids like me better than you! Your band sucks and your singer is out of tune!”

I’m laughing right now just thinking of that scene.

I highly recommend this film.

To order a copy, go to Capolongo’s Web site at

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“Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” With those 15 off-the-cuff words spoken at a concert in 2003, Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, sealed her fate. Soon after, the country music establishment blacklisted her. The documentary “Shut Up and Sing” (2006), which was released on DVD this spring, is the story of the Chicks’ rise, fall — and rise: they swept the Grammys this year, winning all of their categories. This movie is great popcorn-munching material for lefties and it shows how ludicrous and vindictive the country music establishment is. It also shows the great heroism of the Chicks.

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This DVD tells the story of a legendary song — “The Internationale” — that has been a rallying cry of the oppressed and exploited in nearly every nation on earth.

It takes us on a journey around the world and throughout history — from the Paris Commune to the Soviet Union, from Jamaica to Tiananmen Square — bringing to life the stories of people who have been touched by this emotionally-charged song.

Featuring rare archival footage and performances and interviews with Billy Bragg, Pete Seeger, and others, “The Internationale” explores the importance of ideals, the fate of the left, and the power of music as a force for change.

To get a copy, see