Bilgemunky’s Top Ten Most Significant Pirate Events/Products of 2006

10. Bilgemunky Radio
It’s with an unlikely mix of humility and ego that I insert my own project into this top ten list. I cut my teeth as a pirate DJ this past summer on YarRadio, an arrangement that was destined to be short-lived. But support from fans, combined with an ever-growing assortment of pirate music, drove me to create the independently run Bilgemunky Radio. While Bilgemunky Radio is merely a vessel by which pirate music artists and fans can find each other, this is a role that has previously gone unfilled. Written music reviews have been provided through pirate publications, and occasionally someone places some Jimmy Buffet and Bilge Pumps into a random rotation through Live365, but never before has such a vast assortment of pirate music been offered in a live broadcast.

9. Pirates R Version
It’s rare that a XXX porno can be edited down to make a best-selling R-rated DVD, but Pirates – A Joone Film did exactly that in 2006. From its wonderfully hammy acting to visually fun – if not quite Hollywood believable – special effects, this is one pirate skin-flick that has actually bridged a previously uncrossable entertainment gap.

8. Pirate Queen on Broadway
Pirate Queen, being a musical about the life of Irish Chieftain Grace O’Mally, opened in Chicago this past fall, and then moved to New York for full-scale Broadway release. While not overtly piratey in style or content, it did feature some glorious nautically themed sets, loads of Irish-inspired music, and brilliant interpretations of Queen Elizabeth and O’Mally’s first husband. And it’s certainly a fine thing to walk through the theater district and see the words “Pirate Queen” paired up with the haunting artwork that was created to promote this musical.

7. Rogues Gallery
Johnny Depp and Gore Verbanski co-produced this 2 disk album of pop artists singing traditional pirate shanties. Some of them created muck, and some created gold, but all cooperated to create a truly unique product. Never before have so many musical perspectives been brought together to interpret classical sea shanties.

6. Pirates of the Great Salt Lake
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, has proven a surprisingly tough act to follow in theaters. It’s not even that it’s so hard, it’s that no one has really tried. Sure, loads of direct-to-video pirate slasher flicks have come out, as well as the aforementioned Pirates – a Joone Film, but no one has come out with an actual pirate film with its own creative heart – except for Pirates of the Great Salt Lake. While very few pirate fans have had the good fortune to view it as yet (it is scheduled for distribution in 2007) it’s been making rounds on the independent film circuit, and receiving glorious reviews. That it’s an indy film is only icing on the cake, and it’s hopeful that this will become an instant cult classic amongst pirate and film enthusiasts alike.

5. Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales
Not all significant events prove to be good ones, and this is certainly the case with the long anticipated Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales. Being the direct descendent of the much-loved Seadogs, Age of Pirates should have set the new standard for 3rd Person pirate games. But sadly, for as yet unknown reasons, this game was prematurely released; unpolished, incomplete, and buggy beyond measure. Subsequent patches have only marginally fixed the problems, while creating new ones in the process. Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales has become an undeniable albatross to the pirate gaming community, and with at least two more pirate titles in the works, it will be interesting to see if its developers learn from their mistakes, or if the way has been cleared for a new legacy to reign supreme.

4. Captain Bogg & Salty – Prelude to Mutiny
Captain Bogg & Salty, with some of its members hailing from earlier days in Pirate Jenny, and before that Hucklescary Finn, is truly the flagship band in regards to the Pirate Core genre. And with their newest album, for the first time they’ve brought together the uniquely different styles of all three bands, while also pushing the envelope even further. From pirate rap to pirate rock to “pirate sings little mermaid”, Prelude to Mutiny shows us that Pirate Core is limited only by the imagination and ambition of the creative minds behind it.

3. Pirates Magazine and Pyrates Way Magazine
A new, full color magazine dedicated to piracy is a rare thing, but 2006 saw the premiere issues of two hit the shelves. Actually, only one magazine was originally in the works, but a split occurred amongst the staff, and each half went on to produce their own publication. Pirates Magazine was crisp and professional, while Pyrates Way was less so – but both contained much information, along with boundless enthusiasm for the material. It will be interesting to see what 2007 has in store for each.

2. Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew – Authentic Pirate Hip-Hop
Some will surely question my choice of placing Captain Dan’s new album as the #2 most significant event of 2006. But my choice isn’t simply based on what it is, but what it represents. Authentic Pirate Hip-Hop may be a parody, but it’s no joke. Captain Dan has created an album that is genuine gangsta rap, bounce-to-the-beat awesome. That every lyric is about pirates only adds to the genius. Authentic Pirate Hip-Hop pushes the concept of pirate core past its limits. No longer content with being a sub-genre, this album jumps into Lil’ Jon’s living room, puts its feet on the coffee table, and says, “Ahoy mate, let’s be buds.” Pirate Hip-Hop is unlikely to be played in dance clubs nationwide, but Captain Dan has demonstrated that the talent exists, and that mainstream-worthy albums are possible.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest
Many loved it, some hated it, and many felt it was just too flogging long. But whatever your opinion of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, it can’t be disputed that it made a significant mark. Many consider 2006 to have been the “Year of the Pirate”, and while countless people, businesses, and events contributed to this title, Pirates of the Caribbean was clearly the uncontested king of the hill. Spawning video games, fan fiction, toys, comic books, music, and countless bandwagon pirate creations (both Tom & Jerry and Scooby Doo released pirate movies this year – hardly a coincidence), Pirates of the Caribbean has single-handedly done more to make pirates a topic of family conversation than anything since Blackbeard’s demise.

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