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 Kiss The Dirt

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The new AMC reality series '4th and Loud' chronicles
KISS's entry into the world of Arena League Football.

By Rob Moynihan in TV Guide

Gene Simmonshey've rocked and rolled all night, and partied every day, but now KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are going long hoping to score a touchdown. In 2013, the classic rockers purchased (with their manager Doc McGhee and AFL vet owner Brett Bouchy) an Arena Football League team in Los Angeles and rebranded it LA KISS. Now Simmons sounds off on his new AMC reality series, 4th and Loud, which chronicles the strugges of a sports franchise start-up.

Why was buying this team the right decision for the band at this point in your career?

KISS has never really followed the rules, we've always been renegades. Los Angeles -- No. 1 media city in North America -- didn't have a football team. When we played the ArenaBowl about a year ago, the idea of a team in Los Angeles came up and we jumped at the opportunity.

How do you infuse the KISS brand into the games?

We've got extreme bikers doing flips, girls in cages, fireworks, the LA KISS dancers. Why not do the Super Bowl every day? That's the idea.

Has that made for better television?

It's less about television and more about real life. You don't have to create drama because there's so much going on in the growning pains of launching a brand-new sports team. I visited one of our players who was injured -- he tore his Achilles tendon -- and we're not quitting on him. We're going to support him, pay all the doctor bills, and when he gets well, he's coming back in. On the other hand, if we ever catch you with a police record, you're gone.

Yet after one season, the team is underperforming with a 3-15 record.

Some heads have rolled.

Is it true you made an offer to Tim Tebow?

Yes. He's got aspirations to be a broadcaster [on ESPN], but we would love for him to come on board because he's a family guy, a devout Christian, doesn't use drugs or booze, and he doesn't torture dogs. You want that association, as opposed to somebody who treats fans like s--t.

Did you ever imagine that the band would get to this level? Was it always the goal?

It's tough to be honest and not come off as self-serving and arrogant, but yes. When I was a kid, I dreamed I could fly. There is no downside to being delusional about your own greatness.

4th and Loud airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on AMC.  




 Fantasy Baseball

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A new documentary tells the strange saga of '70s major league pitcher Dock Ellis.

by Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly

No No: A Dockumentary
Directed by Jeffrey Radice
NR, 1 hr., 95 mins.

Dock Ellisn June 12, 1970, a fiery, flamboyant pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates named Dock Ellis hurled a no-hitter. The no-hitter is a once-in-a-blue-moon event in baseball -- an unlikely convergence of guile, precision, and dumb luck. But what made Ellis' feat even more amazing? He was zonked on LSD at the time. In No No: A Dockumentary, Ellis and his former teammates unspool the stranger-than-fiction story of that night in San Diego: 'No No - A Dockumentaryhow he was so out of his gourd that he didn't even know he was starting that day. How the catcher, Jerry May, had to wrap magnetic tape around his fingers so that Ellis could decipher his signals. How he thought he'd scored a touchdown after one deft play in the field (yes, you read that right). "I was as high as a Georgia pine," Ellis says in an archival interview (he died in 2008). Even years later, he still didn't seem entirely convinced that it happened.

Ellis was a born raconteur who seemed to both regret and revel in his colorful past as a high-functioning addict and soul-power hepcat. But for better -- and worse -- No No strives for more than immortalizing his drug-fueled day of infamy. First-time director Jeffrey Radice uses the LSD anecdote as the hook for an awkward attempt to rehabilitate Ellis' image, elevating him from space cadet to civil rights martyr -- a junkie Jackie Robinson -- as Ellis advocates for black ballplayers, free agency, and a more compassionate support system of drug counseling.

Some of these arguments are convincing, others less so -- especially after Ellis' ex-wives recount the abuse they suffered when their husband was loaded. The fact is, Dock Ellis was...complicated. Probably a lot more so than No No makes him out to be. In the end, maybe the most black-and-white thing in his life was the string of zeros he put up on the scoreboard, high as a Georgia pine, 44 years ago. (Also on iTunes and VOD) B

A BASEBALL CARTOON ON ACID

Long before the new doc about Dock Ellis, an animated YouTube clip about the pitcher's story became a viral sensation. One year after his 2008 death, his legend got a boost thanks to Brooklyn-based filmmaker Christopher Isenberg and artist James Blagden. The two took a public-radio interview with Ellis, then added Blagden's psychedelic imagery to accompany the pitcher's own words, creating an animated short called Dock Ellis & the LSD No-No. "He's telling an amazing story that's sort of funny and dangerous and kind of hard to believe," says Blagden. "For me, it's some sort of expressionist painting where your imagination is filling in the gaps." As of 2014, the video has been viewed more than 3.5 million times. - Jeff LaBrecque  

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