The Late Movies: Leslie Hall, Rap Queen of Iowa

Leslie Hall is what Wikipedia describes as "an American satirical rap artist and front-woman for the band Leslie and the Ly's and the operator of what is best described as a 'gem sweater museum.'" I asked around and was told by THREE friends, "Oh yeah, Leslie's kind of famous." She's been on Yo Gabba Gabba!! Looking at her videos, I'm stunned that we haven't given her the Late Movies treatment yet. So strap yourselves in, stuff's about to get awesome.

"Tight Pants / Body Rolls"

This video is remarkable for at least three reasons: the surprisingly elaborate green-screen work, the impressive costumes, and an actually catchy song. Leslie describes the song as follows (I've reproduced the typos and punctuation verbatim -- it's all part of the awesomeness):

Watch out.. this song is about forest people who dance in tight clothes. be sure to stick around for about 2:18 those are slow motion body rolls. study those abs.. i'm isolating and really getting good for live show entertainment i plan to bring it. I'd like to comment on my skin tone. That is Iowa see-through skin. while indoors watching tv and crafting you tend to form a shade of pink - white- then pale - then followed by a clearness with blue veins running every which way. The costome seen in this video is my mom's KILL BILL insperationed. Because its been playing on tv latley. she had to get a colonoscapy and so she watched them and relized maybe I had the power to kill bill. ( in dance form of course).

Apparently you can buy the song from iTunes or on CD.

"Gravel In My Shoe - BACK 2 BACK PALZ"

Not a rap, but kind of wonderful. The lines delivered by the "Ly's" are truly impressive. Example: "I'm lookin' online and I'll see what I find. And I hope he's better than you because you make me miserable."

"How We Go Out Version 2"

Sort of like an alternate-universe version of Salt 'N Pepa, in which they're from Ames, Iowa. Sample lyrics: "On the way to the club we pass a Dairy Queen / You stop cause it you know it means so much to me / We take the back seats out of your mini van / Now we roll like a hummer or a full size sedan."

"Zombie Killer Revisited" (ft. Elvira)

With guest vocals from Elvira, and cameos in the video from Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank, from the documentary American Movie.

"Craft Talk"

For the craft people in the house.

"Razzle Dazzle Dancey Dance" (Yo Gabba Gabba)

Leslie teaches us a dancey dance involving "glitter hands." Which in my day were called "jazz hands." But in my day, we didn't have half as much razzle nor dazzle.

Lots More Videos

Check out her YouTube channel. Warning: you might be at it all day.

Her Website

You owe it to yourself to check out the official website for the band as well as Leslie Hall's other official website, which feature such gems as Weddings in Iowa By Leslie, a series of wedding packages. Don't think, just click. Trust me.

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Your Library Has a Free Music Service That You Probably Didn't Know About
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iStock

Did you know that you can download free music from your local library? Music that you can keep. That's right: not borrow, keep.

It's all possible thanks to a service called Freegal (a portmanteau of free and legal), which gives patrons of participating libraries access to 15 million songs from 40,000 labels, notably including the Sony Music Entertainment catalog. All you need is a library card.

Here's how it works: You can download a few songs a week, and, in many areas, enjoy several hours of streaming, too (the precise number of songs and hours of streaming varies by library). Once you download MP3 files, they're yours. You're free to put them on iTunes, your iPhone, your tablet, and more. You don't have to return them and they don't expire. The counter resets on Mondays at 12:01 a.m. Central Time, so if you hit your limit, you won't have long to wait before you get more downloads. And Freegal has some great stuff: A quick scan of the front page reveals music from Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Cardi B, Simon & Garfunkel, Childish Gambino, The Avett Brothers, Lykke Li, and Sara Bareilles.

Freegal has been around since 2010 and is offered at libraries worldwide. In the U.S., that includes the New York Public Library, Queens Library, Los Angeles Public Library, West Chicago Public Library, Houston Public Library, and more. In the past few years, libraries have debuted some other amazing free digital services, from classic films streaming on Kanopy to audiobooks and e-books available to borrow on SimplyE and OverDrive. But the thing that's so exciting about Freegal is that you can keep the MP3 files, unlike services that limit you to borrowing.

Freegal's site is easy to navigate: You can browse playlists and make your own, check out the most popular tunes, and save songs to your wishlist for when you get more credits. In the old days, music fans would check out CDs from the library and upload them onto their computers before returning them. But Freegal eliminates the need to go to your local branch, check out an album, and bring it back when you're done.

Freegal app
Freegal

To find out if your local library has Freegal, go to freegalmusic.com and click login, then search for your area. It's important to note: Your library's contract might not have both streaming and downloading privileges. You can use Freegal on the web or as an app available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. Of course, the service doesn't have everything. And sometimes, when it does have an artist, it will only have a few of their most popular albums. But if you frequently buy music on iTunes or elsewhere, checking Freegal first may save you a bit of money.

If you don't yet have a library card, Freegal is just one more reason why you should get one ASAP.

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An Anthology Series Based on Dolly Parton's Songs Is Coming to Netflix
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Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Though she may be best known for her music career, Dolly Parton is a Hollywood powerhouse. In addition to starring in more than a few contemporary classics, from 9 to 5 to Steel Magnolias, she's also been partly responsible for some of your favorite TV series. As part owner of Sandollar Entertainment, a film and television production company, she's been a silent figure behind shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, the queen of country music is preparing to return to the small screen once again—this time on Netflix.

The beloved singer is partnering with Warner Bros. Television to produce an anthology series for Netflix, Engadget reports. Set to debut in 2019, each of the eight episodes will have a theme based on a song by Parton, who will serve as executive producer and singer-songwriter in addition to appearing in the series.

"As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support."

The list of songs hasn’t yet been released, but I Will Always Love You, Jolene, and The Bargain Store are among Parton’s greatest hits.

Parton previously worked with Warner Bros. to produce the made-for-television movies Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors (2015) and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love (2016). She has also nearly finished the music for the upcoming film Dumplin'—based on a novel by Julie Murphy and starring Jennifer Aniston—and the soundtrack will be released via Dolly Records and Sony Music Nashville, according to Parton’s website.

[h/t Engadget]

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