Ted Nugent: "Maximize the Good While Crushing the Bad and the Ugly"

Ted Nugent

If you're enjoying the current crop of outdoor-related reality programming, you may want to check out -- and thank -- Ted Nugent's Spirit of the Wild. Now entering it's 25th season on Outdoor Channel, Spirit of the Wild is an up-front and unsanitized look at hunters and hunting starring Ted and Shemane Nugent doing what they love.

This writer was honored with the opportunity to speak to Nugent about his show, but also his music and his unfettered political opinions -- and anyone who's heard Nugent interviewed knows the best thing the interviewer can do is get out of the way and let Nugent take over.

The new season of Spirit of the Wild debuts Tuesday, July 2nd at 8:30pm EST on Outdoor Channel.


Andrea Logan White: Moms' Night Out

Andrea Logan White's resume ranges from heavy drama ("Sarah's Choice") to light comedy ("Veggietales: Princess and the Popstar") to apocalyptic action ("Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End"). But it has been consistent in one respect: it's target audience of Christian viewers. This May, she stars opposite Patricia Heaton (The Middle), Sean Astin ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy), Glee's Harry Shum Jr., and country music superstar Trace Adkins in the family-friendly comedy "Moms' Night Out."

We spent a few moments with Andrea to discuss her role in the film, and about being a Christian in the film industry.

You'll be starring in the upcoming film, "Moms' Night Out." But you're more than just acting in it -- this was your baby from the beginning, wasn't it?


Vicki Lawrence: America's Favorite Mama

Long before Tyler Perry made himself up to look like an old woman, the young Vicki Lawrence was putting on the padding and powder to make herself into Thelma Harper for The Carol Burnett Show. The character was too big to be held to sketch comedy, however, and insisted on having her own show, giving rise to six seasons of the fan favorite situation comedy, Mama’s Family.

As Time Life presents the complete series on DVD, and Vicki tours the country with her “two woman show” of herself and Mama Harper (see for details and schedules), we were privileged to steal a few moments to look back at the roots of Mama’s Family.

Can you recall your feelings, and the audience reaction, the very first time you walked out on a stage in the persona of Mama?


Knightess Rouge: On the Serious Business of Cosplay

Knightess Rouge

Comic conventions have come a long way since I first began attending them back in the mid 1980s. Back then, even the large conventions -- in this case the Chicago Comicon, pre-Wizard World -- were pretty much glorified flea markets with a focus on comics, games and toys, with the big plus being that your favorite artists and writers would be in attendance. Oh, and to get an autograph, you just had to stand in line -- not buy a ticket. (If anyone wants to hear my Peter David story regarding book signings, I never tire of telling it.)

Even then, there were fans who wanted to take things up a notch and create costumes of their favorite comic book heroes and villains. I myself created a hand-made Joker outfit that largely consisted of a white pair of pants and a white Don Johnson cotton jacket that had been soaked in purple Rit, white pancake makeup, lipstick, and a pistol that popped out a "BANG!" flag. That was about as elaborate as things got in those days.


Alison Arngrim: Original Prairie Bitch

Alison Arngrim Little House Prairie

If you had a television at all in the 1970s and 1980s, you can't help but be intimately familiar with Little House on the Prairie -- and thus, you probably grew up hating one of the original "mean girls" of media, Nellie Oleson.

"Nellie" -- Alison Arngrim to citizens of the real world -- is all grown up now, and while she's still true to her Little House fans, she's moved on to other facets of entertainment... and some extremely important work as well, turning personal tragedy into an impetus for rescuing children in trouble. Despite working in some disturbing corners of the world, Alison remains full of energy, spirit, and good humor. I hope that comes through in this transcription as much as it was evident in our actual conversation.

We've met up on Twitter, where you're very active.

I tweet. I twat. I'm all over it.


Dr. Dina: The 4/20 411 on Medical Marijuana and Media Myths

Marijuana has been a plot device in film and television ever since the 1936 debut of "Reefer Madness" and on up through every Cheech and Chong film of the 70s.

Most recently, pot was the driving force between the multi-season Showtime series, Weeds, from Jenji Kohan. The series starred Mary-Louise Parker as the fictional Nancy Botwin, a suburban soccer mom and widow who turns to selling weed to make ends meet after the death of her husband. The adventures quickly escape suburbia and into the realm of Mexican drug cartels and DEA agents.

As fictional as Nancy Botwin is, the woman she was modeled on, known as Dr. Dina, is as real as they come. An outspoken advocate for medical marijuana as well as a force of nature, Dr. Dina spoke with The Trades to deliver "the straight dope," so to speak, on the American love/hate affair with weed.

Why is this an important issue to you, and how did that come about?


Further Down the Rabbit Hole with Frank Beddor

Frank Beddor Hatter M Looking Glass Wars Interview

Once upon a time, a certain creative individual found himself possessed of the idea to write an alternative take on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Several years later and a number of prose books and graphic novels under his belt, Frank Beddor still finds himself lost in the wonder, as Princess Alyss and Hatter Madigan continue to weave their personas into new adventures, in new forms.

Perhaps there really is a stream of imagination coming from the Wonderland dimension. If so, Beddor seems to have tapped into it's mainline, and is drinking from it deeply.


Catherine Davis: "Runaway Slave" and the American Black Genocide of Abortion

Catherine Davis Black Pro Life Coalition Runaway Slave

Reverend C.L. Bryant's film "Runaway Slave" is an eye opening look into the African-American community from the perspective of black conservatives. The documentary interviews several prominent black leaders in putting together its case, among whom is the notable Catherine Davis, co-founder of the Black Pro-Life Coalition, who shares some astounding and shocking numbers and statistics. Seeking to dig more into the facts Davis puts forth in the film, we reached out to her for this interview.


So I've had the chance now to watch "Runaway Slave" and found it to be a powerful documentary, an opinion shared by others who've seen the film with me. How did you come to be involved with this project?


C.L. Bryant: Breaking the New Chains with "Runaway Slave"

CL Bryant Runaway Slave

The Reverend C.L. Bryant is a statistical political anomaly: a former leader in the NAACP who made the conscious decision to do a political about-face and join the conservative Tea Party movement. His political documentary, "Runaway Slave," is both a history lesson, a study in comparative social structures, and a rousing call to action.


What drove you to produce "Runaway Slave," and what's the core message you were seeking to deliver?


Julianna Zobrist: Crazy? Hardly. Fearless? Definitely.

Juliana Zobrist

As the bass kicks up, the synthesised techno-pop sounds pile on and the echoing, electronically masked background vocals slide in, the last thing you\'d ever expect the music to be is contemporary Christian. The club-mix sound is only part of the unique output of Julianna Zobrist (wife to Tampa Bay Rays\' right-fielder Ben Zobrist, for those who follow sports more than music), and the message is unapologetically Christian, appealing to the younger market with a mainstream sound. Having taken some time off for a new baby daughter, the Zobrists\' second child, Julianna is back in the studio, with a new EP in the offing, "Say It Now," with a post-modern sound and rare and honest introspection.

Say It Now is a very divergent sound from what one would normally attribute to Contemporary Christian Music. It\'s got a very synth-pop dance-mix thing going for it. Who are your musical influences, because I can\'t imagine they\'re within CCM.


Joel Gilbert: Birthers Asking Wrong Question on Obama Parentage

Joel Gilbert author

When Joel Gilbert wrote and produced "Atomic Jihad: Ahmadinejad's Coming War for Islamic Revival and Obama's Politics of Defeat," the film became a feature at the CPAC Conference and went on to win an award at the Hudson Institute Film Festival. Now, the contributing editor to has turned his political sights to another aspect of the Obama administration, that being the origins of the President himself. But if you think Gilbert is climbing aboard the Birther Express, think again. According to Gilbert, birthers are barking up the wrong tree. It's not a question of where Obama was born -- but rather, one of paternity. Was Obama's father Barack Obama, the Kenyan? Or was it Communist Party USA agitator and organizer, Frank Marshall Davis?


Andrew Breitbart: Walking Toward the Fire with Righteous Indignation

Andrew Breitbart

Update: March 1, 2012. At the age of 43, Andrew Breitbart has passed away of natural causes yet to be determined. It was barely less than a year ago I had the opportunity to interview the man who fearlessly confronted and challenged corruption in the government and the media.

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I update this interview with this information.

Working mostly behind the scenes, Andrew Breitbart has evolved into the face of New Media conservatism. With websites like BigGovernment and BigHollywood, and prepping a handful of other Big internet ventures, Breitbart rocketed to public attention when he rolled out James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles' video exposure of ACORN.


Nicole Weider: Countering Image Conscious with Image Conscience

Nicole Weider

Nicole Weider has a passion. A former fashion model, Weider has taken to the Internet with a message for young girls, urging them to reject the messages of promiscuity and unrealistic definitions of beauty. Through her website, Project: Inspired, Weider is not just reaching out to young teens -- she's waging a war on the top magazine in the industry: Cosmopolitan. Where most models would give their eye-teeth to be on the cover of the foundation of Kate White's masthead, Weider seeks to give the cover a different look -- from inside a plastic bag.


There have been several films in the past that follow the plot of "small town girl moves to Hollywood, discovers seedy life of vice." Movies like "Valley of the Dolls" come to mind. Did your real-life experience compare to these fictional representations?


Sara Groves: On the Evidence of Things Not Seen

Sara Groves

The segmentation of Christian music is, quite possibly, more varied than any other genre. There's Southern Gospel, Hymns, Worship Music, Gospel Rock. And then there's Sara Groves, one of a handful of unique voices out there who make artistic commentary on the world itself, from the perspective of a Christian. The music isn't your seven-eleven chorus or reflexively responsive corporate worship style; Groves thinks deeply on her subject, which requires the listener to do the same.

With her new album, Invisible Empires, Groves continues her line of interrogation, philosophy, and apologetics, with a hard look at technology and the increasingly faster pace of life in today's world, and how to cope with it through faith.

Why are you a Christian?

Wow. That's a big one.


Juan Williams: The Fight for Honest Debate

Juan Williams

"Political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality. I mean, look, Bill, you know I'm not a bigot, you know the kinds of books I've written about the Civil Rights Movement in this country. But when I get on a plane, I've got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb, and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

If you have any interest in political news and hadn't heard of Juan Williams before October 19th, 2010, you certainly learned about him after October 20th. With the above statement, made on FOX News' The O'Reilly Factor, the NPR analyst found himself on the outs with the radio network he had called home, resulting in his quick dismissal.


Khaled Hosseini: The Kite Runner's Graphic Adaptation

Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner presents an eye-opening story of class struggles in Afghanistan, portrayed over the course of a few decades. After winning awards and being adapted into film, The Kite Runner, Hosseini's first novel, is has made the transition to the graphic novel format, available from Riverhead.

We shared a few moments with Hosseini to discuss this new form for his novel as well as some of the elements of his very moving story.

This is probably the first time I've seen a non-genre literary work adapted into the graphic novel format. How did the idea to use that medium come about?


Tom Batiuk: Still Funky After All These Years

Tom Batiuk

Bridging the gap between Archie and Zits, a comic strip was introduced about high school kids, which spoke to the modern events, issues, and styles of the seventies (and later, the eighties). Funky Winkerbean, the creation of cartoonist Tom Batiuk, has grown over the years from the joke-a-day strip around a central cast of students and teachers at the beleaguered Westview High (home of the Fighting Scapegoats) to a serial dramedy where the kids are now grown adults with teenagers of their own, dealing with heavy topics like cancer, the Iraq war, and school administration ethics.

As the strip approaches its fortieth anniversary, we spoke at length with Batiuk about Funky's origins and evolutions.


Exerting a Producer's Leverage: Dean Devlin

Dean Devlin first climbed to fame as an actor, but has delivered even greater entertainment from the other side of the Hollywood creative camera, in both writing, directing and producing. His career has given the world such films like "Stargate" -- which spun off into one of the longest based-on-a-film series on television -- and memorable films like "Independence Day" and "The Patriot."

More recently, Devlin has served as the executive producer for the TNT hit series, Leverage, now finishing it's fourth season and already renewed for a fifth.

We were fortunate to spend a few minutes with Dean talking about the Leverage series, and some other potential projects we might see in the future.

What was it about Roger and Chris's pitch that drew you into Leverage?


Kathryn Beaumont: Wonderland Days

Kathryn Beaumont - Alice

When Walt Disney was looking for someone to lend her voice to the animated heroine of "Alice in Wonderland," a young English girl who had recently come to America caught his ear. Kathryn Beaumont would become twice immortalized through the magic touch of Disney, once as Wendy Darling in "Peter Pan," but first and foremost as Lewis Carroll's plucky protagonist, Alice.

With the sixtieth anniversary of Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" upon us, we reminisced with Miss Beaumont about those days spent with Walt and his cadre of animation geniuses.

As I prepared to talk about your version of Alice, it occurred to me that most of the other leading Disney animated females fall into the Disney Princess pantheon. But Alice -- although the scene didn't happen in this particular adaptation -- is the only one of all of them to have been crowned a queen. So technically, I think you outrank the Disney Princesses.


Reginald Hudlin: Reinventing the Black Panther

Reginald Hudlin Black Panther

Reginald Hudlin has worn a lot of hats in his time. The East St. Louis native and Harvard graduate entered the entertainment industry with "House Party," and his career has even taken him into the upper echelons of management at BET. Among his many projects, Hudlin writes comics, garnering particular acclaim for his work on Marvel's Black Panther, which has recently been adapted to animation and released to DVD.

What is the road to Hollywood like from East St. Louis? Give the rest of us some hope, how do we pull this off?

(laughs) Well, the thing about roads to Hollywood is that there's no one path -- and usually they're impossible to re-create. In my case, I went to college on the east coast -- I went to Harvard. I shot a little short film at Harvard, and that little short film ended up catching the eye of an executive, and that became "House Party."


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