"Do you want to go see Cry-Baby the musical?" my friend Steve asks me.
"They're doing Cry-Baby on Broadway?" I ask, trying to remember if I ever actually saw the Johnny Depp/John Waters movie, or if I just read a really long article about it in Premiere in the spring of 1990.
"Adam Schlesinger is doing the music," Steve says -- and that's all I need to hear.
I don't go to Broadway shows very often -- I'm not positive, but I think my last one was "Spamalot" two and a half years ago -- but as soon as Steve mentioned Schlesinger was involved, I was in.
You see, Schlesinger is one of those automatics for me. He's one of the frontmen for Fountains of Wayne, probably my favorite band (I'm a sucker for catchy power-pop). You might know them from the ubiquitous 2003 video for "Stacy's Mom".
He wrote the title track from "That Thing You Do," and it requires a special kind of genius to craft a song that's going to play, in full or in part, nearly a dozen different times in the space of a two-hour movie that not only doesn't drive you crazy, but actually sounds better each successive time you hear it. (The movie itself is fun, but if it wasn't for that damn song, I doubt it would be on so many people's lists of Movies You Must Always Stop And Watch When You Stumble Across It On Cable.) He performed a similar feat with "Way Back Into Love," the song at the center of the Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore romcom "Music and Lyrics" (YouTube has both an early version from the film and the polished final version), which is another tune that burrows its way into your brain in the least annoying way possible.
(Note: Schlesinger did not, in fact, write "Pop Goes My Heart," the hilarious Wham! parody that's the other key song from that movie, but the video is worth watching anyway just to see Scott "Street from Friday Night Lights" Porter as the George Michael of the group.)
I'll even listen to other bands if I hear they're playing a Schlesinger-penned tune, like the Click Five's "Just the Girl," which somehow straddles the line between Fountains of Wayne and Backstreet Boys.
Now, "Cry-Baby" is still being tinkered with in previews, so I shouldn't say much about the show, save that I had a good time and spent the trip home humming several of the songs (which were co-written by "Daily Show" head writer David Javerbaum).
But I bring this up not only because I've been wandering around the house most of today singing snatches of "Way Back Into Love," but because I know that everybody has their automatic pop culture people, the sort where, if you here they're involved in a project, you're going to check it out, no questions asked. It can be a big star or a director or a band, or it can be somebody less obvious. I have a friend who's a cinematography buff who will slap down 10 bucks to see any movie Roger Deakins has photographed, for instance.
Since we're in a bloggy lull while we wait for the TV season to come fully back to life, I figured it was time for another open thread, so who gets your money, every time?