Monday, December 29, 2008

i will never get tired of this so long as i respirate..

yes this is a challenge to my friends and loved ones. really. try and make me get sick of the swords which are liquid.

and here's a blank video clip for the sample source, willie mitchell's "groovin".

mitchell was the architect of the hi records sound of memphis that launched al green, ann peebles, and syl johnson into immortality. the above instrumental is a version of a big hit by the rascals.

music sometimes percolates beautifully throughout the years. here's a fun clip that spells out a few first wave wu sample sources:

Anthony Hamilton's Back!

Explain this to me: if I want to see the best semi-mainstream hip-hop and soul acts stepping out to premier their new stuff, apparently I should be paying closer attention to The Ellen Degeneres Show. I guess in addition to being a very funny lady and a pop gay icon she is also a canny appreciator of good music. Anybody who dances so damn much has to be. Anywhuh, Anthony Hamilton is back with a new abblum, and Ellen was hip to it before I was. She's good. Hamilton is right up there with Raphael Saadiq in the underappreciated soul king sweepstakes. Squeaking in at the end of the year, Hamilton has dropped an album whose title can function as an unneccesary preface to a statement. Hot on the heels of Saadiq's The Way I See It comes Hamilton's The Point Of It All. Soon I'll investigate...

Steinski the Great

In the interests of navel-gazery and material-recyclage, I'm going to take some time to go into more detail about my favorite ablbums of 2008. You can expect to see more whenever, you know, I have nothing to actually write about. Today we look at my number 1 spot, Steinski's What Does It All Mean? Steinski is a pioneer of hip-hop pastiche, without whom we probably wouldn't have the work of DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Prince Paul, Coldcut, or Girl Talk as we know it. His funky musical mosaics have circulated through the underground mainly through bootlegs, as they are so riddled with copyrighted material that commercial release would just be begging for a lawsuit. Luckily, that is exactly the stock in trade of the heroic, aptly named activist label Illegal Art, who compiled all of Steinski's legendary tracks along with a spectacular mix he made for Solid Steel, Coldcut's venerable radio program. Read more on Wikipedia (as if I had to tell you that) or check out his nifty interview on AV Club. Also, here is the blurb I wrote for Port Folio. I'll leave you with some instructive mp3s courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan. Please do not download these whilst eating meat in New York City.

Lesson 1: The Payoff Mix
Lesson 2: The James Brown Mix
Lesson 3: The History of Hip Hop

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back and to the Left

So I just found out the JFK assassination is still big online traffic bait. Gary Collins is an engaging, thoughtful film writer who has started contributing to my movie team at No Ripcord. He recently dropped a review of the Oliver Stone masterpiece JFK that I don't agree with, but is a cogent piece of writing that makes a good case for his feelings towards it. This one review has attracted more comments than I have seen on No Ripcord ever, highlighted by a duo of highly intelligent writers in their own right, Alan Shulman, the man who sank TV on the Radio's Metacritic score, and Dan Schneider, controversial Minneapolis poet and fellow No Ripcord film writer. Their lively, detailed JFK debate touches on some elemental disagreements about art, particularly the ethics of spinning fiction around reality. Check out the contentious article here.

My Bloody Valentine: The Band (The Book)

Everything's turning up MBV today. My last post talked about the movie (not the real one, the new one). This one is about the band, or at least about something about the band. My friend David Fisher used to be in a shoegazey college band called The House Project that had nothing to do with house music and everything to do with spending forever crafting a meticulous concept album in which every song personified a room in a house. He got a masters that had something to do with music, and his thesis was a detailed analysis of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Well now its a very expensive book! I know most of my friends, like myself, can't afford this, but if anybody reading this is making up a college curriculum, please manufacture a reason to assign this now! Also, its good.

Comin' Back At Ya! The New 3D Sensation Breeds With The Horror Remake Sickness

Another terrifying bummer that looks to be potentially entertaining. 1981's My Bloody Valentine, an above average slasher that gave its name to a legendary band, is coming back in what looks to be an average slasher remake. This new MBV, however, is trying to add an extra dimension to the original: the third dimension. No matter how crappy this new movie is, I'm very dubious about anybody who has never wanted to be chased by a crazed miner in 3D. Dark Scribe posted an interview with the screenwriter that reveals some good intentions, so fingers threeedeeeeee.

Resurrection of Dalek

Forged in the furnace of Hell (New Jersey), Dalek has spent the last decade or so making sure El-P isn't the noisiest dude in hip-hop. Sort of think how a collaboration between My Bloody Valentine and Public Enemy may have sounded in the late '80s had they decided to abandon broad historical relevance and just tried to spark apocalypse through cavernous volume alone. Tiny Mix Tapes has some news on the upcoming album Gutter Tactics. Its nice, at the orgasmic dawn of Obama's America, to have something to remind us that we are still poor and angry. If you don't feed that beast with art, you might just find yourself stabbing one day. Regi Elliot said it: real men stab.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Only Praise I Will Ever Give to...(distracting cough, ahem)...Moby

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Moby, but sometimes we have to give props to canonized historical precedents. Good grief, why can't I have a normal dog like everybody else? Anyyaw, I've recently been rewatching the awesome cinematic Steve Coogan vehicle/account of a widely influential music scene "24 Hour Party People", as well as the well-researched and entertaining vh1 documentary mini-series "The Drug Years". These pieces among others taught me that the soundtrack to indicate the rise of ecstacy culture is Moby's "Go". It's a pretty great track, so take a look at it:

Believe me, it is more amazing with filmatism and context. But why is this one such an anthemic representation? You can usually trace these questions to samples. "Go" makes particularly good use of the theme to Twin Peaks:

That slice of transcendence was composed by frequent David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti. He is one of the finest, most visceral composers for film today, and he and Lynch have some kind of mind meld that produces extravagant new scary worlds of sound and vision. His masterpiece was the score to a very maligned Lynch movie that I love, Fire Walk With Me.

Angelo Badalamenti - Fire Walk With Me

McGraw: The Cologne

So if you like country star Tim McGraw so much you want to smell like him:

No particular feelings about McGraw as a musician, but man is this lame.

Explaining the Title of the Last Post

My last post was a tip from my good friend George Smith. I recall early in our friendship, we had a good long argument over the objective artistic value of the work of Mr. Robert Kelly. You can most likely guess what side I was on. I argued that despite his apparent sleaziness and retardation were part and parcel with his proven craftsmanship and genius, and it was often impossible to tell the difference. Such an oblivious and tortured songwriting savant was obviously an heir to the sublime/icky legacy of Marvin Gaye. Smitty didn't agree about the complicated brilliance of R. Kelly's songbook. All we really agreed on is that he definitely did fuck that little girl and tape it. Anywwaaayyyy, I somewhat cryptically titled the last blog, but in fact it was a Kelly reference. I think this is a great example of Kelly's pop genius: a wonderfully sang and structured track that epitomizes his fluid mix of gospel uplift and new jack schmaltz. The really compelling questions are: is he singing this to an old lover or a dead homey? and how many times do you think he repeated the wierd but touching phrase "come on and braid my hair" in the studio?

Come On & Braid My Hair

This blog is about sharing. There will be no original ideas of my own, but I will aggregate the ideas of my friends and the silly stuff they look at, as opposed to my own personal flavor of triviality.

I am not a gamer, it is still more worthwhile to me to spend my money on booze and music rather than investing in consoles and cartridges. I do believe, however, that video games are probably the ascendant popular art form of this century, just now coming into its own and poised to blossom like cinema did in the twentieth century.

There was a game I have not seen or played that came out this year called Braid. A philosophical side-scroller, it got a lot of jizz from outlets like the AV Club for its visionary themes and storytelling.

Some gamers I know, however, have called bullshit on the praise heaped on this title. Gamer/philosopher/writer/producer George Smith, a good friend of mine, is particularly sour on the supposed deepness of Braid. He recently sent a particularly good e-mail linking to a video review by a gentleman who calls himself Soulja Boy. Whatever you make of this, I think it is a particularly honest and realistic approach to game journalism:

The Fantasmo Interview - A Lost Blog Contribution

Sometime last year, a young woman started a blog called Cannot Escape Hampton Roads. She was pretty great at the nascent format of blogging. Daily updates with a good balance of information, personality, and occasional whimsy. Then, silence. Who knows, maybe the lady escaped Hampton Roads. So I was very excited to see this blog pop up, and enthusiastically responded to her solicitations for local-related content. Then, I blew it off and procrastinated for a good month or so. We love to say Virginia is for Haters, but I think its pretty important in understanding our collective character that Virginia is just as much for Lazers, that being lazy people and not colorful sci-fi gunshots, although we also love those (and, you know, we have a problem with gun violence, whatevs). So by the time I actually e-nterviewed Jim Blanton over at Fantasmo for her blog, it had already gone quiet. You may know of my admiration for Jim's work from some of my recent posts. Well now, you are here to witness the belated premiere of my now badly dated e-mail conversation with him.

what is fantasmo?

Fantasmo (aka Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion) is a monthly film program celebrating the best and worst cult filmdom has to offer. It pulls from many different genres (although horror is definitely a focus), and attempts to recreate some of the hoopla and gimmickry that surrounded actual theater screenings of the films in their heyday. Additionally we (being myself and intrepid co-founder Rob Floyd) also try to provide some history/commentary to give the audience perspective, and have in the occasional special guest (which has in the past included critics, scholars, and actors/writers).

who started it?

Fantasmo was started by me and my contractual friend for life/library volunteer Rob Floyd. Rob and I met through separate programs we were working on at the library that involved the themes of horror (Monster Fest) and science-fiction (FantaSci). We agreed that our yearly programs just weren’t enough to meet the demand of participants, thus the idea of a monthly series was formed.

how long has this been going on? which show are you on?
Fantasmo began in April 2005, and we are now up to our 40th(!) episode in September.

can you discuss your next double feature?
Our next double-feature is going to be one of our “special editions.” The theme for the month is “Fantasmo Prom,” and we’ll be screening Carrie and Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II. Being that we get to highlight both 70’s and 80’s horror (our favorite decades for horror), this is a bit of a bonus for us. In addition to the films we’ll also be creating a true prom atmosphere. We’re going to be taking prom photos, putting up prom decorations, crowning a king and queen, etc. As with practically every other “special edition” Fantasmo we’ve never done anything like this before, so it should be pretty interesting . . . and wildly unpredictable.

what are a few of your favorite fantasmo bills? which have you found to be the most inexplicably popular?

It’s hard to choose, but a few come to mind as favorites. On a sheer coolness level, our tribute to The Destroyer was a highlight. We screened Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and had Destroyer author Warren Murphy in to talk about the adaptation of his long-running character into big screen hero. It was all the more interesting in that he wasn’t necessarily pleased with the end result, which made for an insightful discussion. But it was just an amazing feeling to be watching Remo with the man who created him, and to hear the audience applaud loudly when his name came up in the opening credits. Very cool. A favorite Fantasmo for outrageousness was our “Dueling Chainsaws” episode. We screened Motel Hell and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 which are of course great films. Better still though we cooked up chainsaw chili which featured some very unusual ingredients!

In terms of inexplicable popularity, the hands-down winner is the 1980 Village People film Can’t Stop the Music. We screened this as part of our first anniversary all-night marathon, and it really touched a chord with the audience. I think initially people responded enthusiastically to the kitsch value. Let’s face it, the film is an epic spectacle directed by Nancy “quicker-picker-upper” Walker, starring Village People, Steve Guttenberg, and Bruce Jenner . . . that’s quite a roster. It was so popular though that we have since made it our annual holiday show in December. The thing is, after now having seen it numerous times over the years, I think people have formed a new respect for it as a truly entertaining piece of filmmaking. It’s still horrendous, but it’s a textbook example of a “so bad it’s good” sort of cult film.

Another film that also proved inexplicably popular, although not to the extent of CSTM, was the 1985 kung fu/gymnastics misfire Gymkata. The film was helmed by the director of Enter the Dragon so it’s well-mounted, but foolishly attempted to make an action star out of gymnast Kurt Thomas. While Thomas was undeniably a great gymnast, he was no Bruce Lee. Furthermore, the notion of gymnastics being a deadly art in and of itself did not translate well to the big screen. The film labors to produce situations that require his talents (e.g. a pommel horse showing up in the middle of an Eastern European farming village), which result in a lot of unintentional humor.

besides showing movies, what do you do to create an appropriate atmosphere for fantasmo?

Well, on a general level we try to decorate the place with posters and memorabilia to give it a theater-like atmosphere. But in many cases we’ll do things beyond that. For example, when we screened Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse, we decked the place out like a funhouse and had in carnival performers. For a screening of John Carpenter’s The Fog, we actually pumped fog into the auditorium. In terms of gimmickry, we’ve done things like the chainsaw chili night that tap into zany promotional efforts of the past. Other examples have included screening William Castle films such as Thirteen Ghosts complete with ghost viewers (which worked incredibly well), handing out false mustaches for our celebration of the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy, holding a Clue tournament prior to a screening of the film, etc. And of course our most recent example is the upcoming prom night.

what are some notable presentations or guests you've had?

We’ve been very fortunate to have some extremely generous folks donate their time to Fantasmo. As I mentioned we had Warren Murphy host our Destroyer tribute, but there have been many others. A few include noted genre scholar John Kenneth Muir, dark fantasy novelist Tony Ruggiero, actor Greg Wolcott (Plan 9 From Outer Space), actress Jacqueline Scott (Empire of the Ants), Seagalogy author/outlaw film critic Vern, etc. We have some great ones lined up for this year as well that we’re very excited about, but they shall remain nameless for now.

what is beautiful or important to you about cult cinema?

Cult cinema is important to me personally, as it is largely responsible for instilling in me a lifelong love of film. The small town I grew up in had a couple of theaters which would always show midnight movies on Friday and Saturday nights. Cool sounding titles such as Eraserhead, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, etc. I was a little too young in the late 70’s/early 80’s to actually attend the screenings, but I was always fascinated by the fact that people would strike out at such a late hour to see a movie . . . so they had to be pretty special. I made it more or less a mission to see them, along with a steady diet of genre films, and that interest has continued to this day (and ultimately led to the creation of Fantasmo).

In terms of importance to the world of cinema, I’d say that cult films have been significant in spurring the independent film movement. Generally when you look at successful cult films such as Chain Saw, Eraserhead, Pink Flamingos, etc., they were essentially independent efforts. That allowed them to break out of the traditional filmmaking mold and transcend conventional storytelling. As a result they were one of a kind experiences that featured wild energy and imagery that could not be duplicated (i.e. translated into a formula). Of course there are plenty of cult films that came out of the studio system (e.g. Rocky Horror), and we show them regularly at Fantasmo. As for their beauty, I would say that they are beautiful in the sense that they provide us with glimpses of worlds we have never seen before . . . as all truly great films should.

my viewing experiences at fantasmo have ranged from amazing to great to good to transcendently attrocious to bad...and its rarely easy to tell the difference. what are you trying to do, man? destabilize my illusions of aesthetic objectivity? or is it just fun?

Yeah, emotions can really run the gamut at Fantasmo! I think you’re on to something with the destabilization theory. Part of what we’re trying to do is to give often neglected films a little more credit than they might otherwise receive from the established community of film criticism. You’ll never see for example Remo Williams on a glitzy AFI top 100 list, but at Fantasmo we will celebrate it and treat it like an important contribution to cinema worthy of analysis and discussion. By treating “B-movies” as the equals of so-called classic films, we’re hopefully making folks aware of another branch of cinema that they might not have fully considered. So George, I would say that if you’ve come away with the impression that Death Race 2000 is just as worthy of admiration as Citizen Kane then I consider it a job well done on the part of Team Fantasmo!

That being said, we hope you have a lot of fun during the process rather than it being A Clockwork Orange/Alex type situation : )

it sure is cool of the chesapeake library to let you show unsavory hard R movies instead of banning harry potter or something. to what do you attribute this refreshing tolerance?

Well, since my first day here as a librarian what I’ve loved about Chesapeake is that ideas and creativity are strongly encouraged and supported. That stems in large part from a commitment to the library ideal of intellectual freedom, which promotes the right of patrons to have access to information (be it Shakespeare or J. K. Rowling). Basically there’s a recognition that we are here to serve a wide variety of interests and needs, not just offer “traditional” programming such as book clubs and tax seminars. Programming is really a focus now of public libraries, and Chesapeake has been a local leader in recognizing that need. I should also mention though, that the recognition extends beyond Chesapeake. Fantasmo won the Virginia Public Library Director’s Association award for Best Adult Library Program in 2006. So clearly Chesapeake isn’t alone in seeing the importance of a program like Fantasmo.

how is fantasmo related to monsterfest? also, what is monsterfest?

Actually Fantasmo is related to two programs, FantaSci and Monster Fest. In 2002 I started a sci-fi/fantasy themed program here at the library called FantaSci, modeled after conventions that usually take place in larger venues. There didn’t seem to be anything around here like that, so it seemed like a good idea. As it turned out, my instincts were right and the program was a huge success which drew thousands of people. The third year of FantaSci a library patron/horror aficionado named Rob Floyd saw how it was doing and thought a similar program focused on horror/monster movies would be great too. So from that sprang Monster Fest, a yearly convention celebrating horror movies and literature.

As Rob and I started to work together on those programs, we thought it would be fun to do something more frequent in nature. Being huge fans of cult cinema, the idea of a monthly film program was sort of a natural conclusion. We actually labored a bit on the name before hitting on the idea of combining the names of our two programs. Fantas (from FantaSci) + Mo (from Monster Fest) = Fantasmo.

can a public library get an abc license?

Maybe in Europe : )

what local organizations, businesses, artists etc. mean the most to you?
The ones that mean the most to me on a personal level are those that have played such a significant part in supporting the efforts I’ve been involved in. That would include fan clubs, comic shops, local theaters, genre authors, etc. Folks that have recognized the importance of the types of programs like Fantasmo, and lent their time and energy to promoting and participating . . . and that constitutes a pretty long list I’m happy to say. In my opinion we’re all part of a team working to provide experiences that will enrich this area in which we live. I know that probably sounds a little lofty given that we deal in chainsaw chili, but I have seen firsthand how these events have allowed a community to form in which people gather and discuss shared interests. In this day and age where we communicate so much electronically (which don’t get me wrong I embrace wholeheartedly), I think it’s important to still have venues in which we can get together and share experiences face to face. Fantasmo and its brethren have provided those opportunities, and it’s been very rewarding to receive such tremendous support over the years from so many corners (present company included).

Betrayal - The Harold Pinter Story

Harold Pinter is dead. Harold Pinter is a wicked awesome playwright. Harold Pinter is born.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tonight: Regi Elliot at Cozzy's.

A nice thing about dabbling comedy is having the chance to befriend some of the funniest cats in the area. It has been a pleasure over the last few years to see Regi Elliot blossom into a comedic beast. Tonight see this hydra of haha hosting the humor at Cozzy's. Uproarious hilarity starts at 9. Cheers.

Her Publicist Says Colon Cancer, I Suspect Santa

Eartha Kitt

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Star Time

It is December 25, and today we celebrate the life of a special man named James Brown. The Godfather of Soul danced off this mortal coil two years ago today, leaving behind the most sampled catalog in history and the very foundation of modern music. Have some.

Lesson 2 (James Brown Mix) by Steinski
Papa's Got A Brand New Bag
Night Train
Funky Drummer
Cold Sweat
Funky President

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We'll Miss You, Bernie

Hey, just wanted to post a lazy seasonal blog with a clip of one of my favorite subversive comedies, Terry Zwigoff's Bad Santa. I love it because the movie is ruthless, with the great Billy Bob Thornton channeling the immortal (but still very very dead from alcohol related death) WC Fields in depicting his titular poor St. Nick not as a lovable goofball, but rather a bona fide late stage alcoholic. Thornton's name in the film, Willie T. Stokes, could also fit into the pantheon of great Fields character names such as Harold Bissonette, Eustace P. McGargle, and Egbert Souse.

This is a great clip, but I'll tell you what really kicked me in the pants (and while I was wearing them). Seeing Mr. Bernie Mac cursing at a midget, I realized it still doesn't feel like he's gone. Don't seem right, do it? Like we'll all realize that was a big cosmic mistake and he'll pop back up to do a stand-up movie. Fingers crossed.

Fantasmo the 13th

Some time ago in the early days of this venerable, historic, eponymous blog, I posted an item on the upcoming January Fantasmo. I'm sorry to say this turned out to be fairly false, as the upcoming installment will not be a requiem for the Friday the 13th before it is befouled by Michael Bay and his minions, but instead a nightlong wallow in humorous Austrailian zombie carnage. Even better, right? Yes, but some of us needed this, a fond farewell to Jason and his honest string of dependably mediocre slashers before they are supplanted by the misanthropic ugliness of Bay-sanctioned muckupery.

Have no fear, horror fans. On February 6, a mere week before the shady remake whose only redeeming aspect is its release date, Fantasmo will take us on a whirlwind journey through the resonant original trilogy. These three films tell the archetypical story of Jason's mom killing several teens, then Jason doing the same later, then Jason doing it again the next day and stealing a hockey mask (yeah, it took him 3 movies to work out his look).

Did you ever see a the best history show ever, Connections? James Burke would illustrate how several series of discrete events, ideas, and advancements would converge to make possible historical scientific revolutions. Well consider this series of connections: In the year 1983, several film franchises were hitting their second sequel. Springing with a novel, entertaining idea out of the late '70s, these movies were by now entirely devoid of new ideas or a compelling reason to continue their respective sagas. A mere few years earlier, however, one of the best titles the world had ever seen, Comin' at Ya!, re-invigorated a hoary cliche and intoduced new technology making cheap, poorly made 3-D possible. Hence, audiences of 1983 were treated to titles such as Amityville 3-D and Jaws 3-D.

Which brings us back around to Fantasmo. The big Friday the 13th night has been delayed to take advantage of some new DVD releases set to take advantage of the new movie release. Not only will the uncut version of the first Friday (which, ironically, has a lot more cutting in it) screen, but the third movie, which as a film is totally irrelevant, other than that hockey mask thing, will play in 3 Middling Dimensions! So lets take a walk back to 1983, when eyeballs and yo-yos both popped out of the screen at you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

VB Shaolin and the Legend of the Neptunes

Fuck Kevin Bacon, here in southeastern VA our six degrees are squarely focused on Pharrell, and we are all within two degrees. Myself, a friend of mine's parents made an ice sculpture for his birthday party (did the same job later for the Clipse at a party that ended in gun-related homicide at the Granby Theater). Everybody here knows that the Neptunes arose under the auspices of Teddy Riley, putting in work on the classic "Rump Shaker" single (recently interpolated by M.I.A.) by one of the most enduring duos hip-hop ever gave us, Wreckx 'N Effect. We can even tell you where they got particular shots in VB and where M.I.A. copped her melodies in the following videos, both of which are fairly easy to figure out anyway:

Re: Paper Planes Video
random Beastie cameos make me smile. isn't that mike d and ad rock toward the end? are those guys from new york and hip or something? i didn't know.

Anyjhgldkj, the Neptunes are now superstar producers and auteurs, sort of what the Rebel E of the future is to the last decade or so. Many know, but enough forget that its worth blogging about, that the Neptunes got their first big exposure producing the tastefully titled second solo album by the late Ol' Dirty Bastard.

Yes, the immortal classic that is "Got Your Money" was one of our first delicious tastes of that Neptunes future funk. And speaking of delicious tastes, it was also an early appearance by Kelis (I was tempted to write a.k.a. Mrs. Nas, but in my sense of priorities Nas is Mr. Kelis). As far as I know, this is the first time the Neptunes musically cast their muse and one of the most creative, progressive, unique female pop stars of our times as a whore. Unfortunately, it was not the last. Did you realize the amazing pop moment that was "Milkshake" is all about her, like, fellating dudes (and really well as she tells it)?

...okay so I just went to YouTube for the video for that one, and embedding was disabled, but I still sat there and watched it, because it is a mind-blowing song (about dick-blowing) and the sleazy, pandering, well-made video aroused me quite a bit. i guess i'm going to find another clip for that song for your benefit, but i suggest you look up the real thing. just so you can feel as i do right now. all hot and bothered and vaguely depressed, like a really talented and attractive prostitute just blew you for money...

Oh here's the whole thing ripped off of television (hooray free media!):

...yes i did watch the whole thing again and managed to keep my pants on because that's how dedicated i am. this is the proper end of this Neptunes related post, but i'm going to post a few more videos to wash the taste out of my mouth (no pun there, but innuendo intended)...

En Vogue's "Giving Him Something He Can Feel"
An equally arousing, but much classier, blatant metaphorical ejaculation video.

Kelis - "Millionaire"
A much more life-affirming video from the same album as "Milkshake". Here, Andre 3000 produces and features, and it is much easier to focus on the talent and ingenuity of Kelis, rather than how great it would be to have her slob on one's knob. Perhaps not having her foxy self appear in the video was the only way to do that.

Sneakers Save Feet and RUIN LIVES

The heroes behind Rebel Rock will be using the new year to bring much needed attention to the life-destroying effects of sneakers. In addition to bringing attention to this obscure social problem, this will be the first in "a monthly tribute to everything dope". Which is cool, because I like dope stuff. Features live art by Berk, performance by mixtape champion and sci-fi bastard Ced Hughes, and ironically stationary photographs of sneakers by Tarpey Photo. Should be fresh, also clean, and takes place somewhere on the oceanfront. Of course.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

At the Naro...

Well, it is late December and you know what that means...time to catch up to independent movies. Before the Naro inexplicably closes in the middle of the week, I'm going to make sure to take a look at Let the Right One In. I think somebody in that movie is a vampire. And they don't speak English. Scary, huh? Coming up after the theater re-opens is Gus Van Sant's return to sorta mainstream film-making with Sean Penn as Milk. Mmm...Oscar bait. Still waiting for The Wrestler (incidentally, "Waiting for the Wrestler" was an early draft title for Samuel Beckett's first play).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rebel E Norva Tonight...Represent

Enough people show up to the NorVa for a ceaseless parade of cover bands that I'm sure we could all dig into our pockets and show them that Norfolk supports homegrown creativity. The inimitable Rebel E ensemble will be bringing their blend of ingenious production, charismatic emcees, and zeal for good times and music to one of the nation's best rock clubs tonight. This will be an historical night for local music, it would suck not to be there. Also, the line-up is a doozy:

Max Mega

Justin Battle

Ced Hughes

representrepresentrepresent x3

Cube your representation and go the the NorVa tonight for the Electric Spectrum Show.

What Will Tell Us What Us Kids Are Into?

Today is your final Link to thumb through, which sucks. I remember when it launched in 2006, and I was 2 years stronger of a bastard than I am now, I was skeptical, or even "mean-spirited" as a casual observer might have noticed. In time, however, the colorful, free news aggregator won my love and trust. I even got to do a brief trial as a music writer and get to know a few of the kids who put it together. They are vibrant, engaged youngsters who the area might lose now. Thanks, Landmark, we had too many of those. One of my best friends, Khori Johnson, would always snatch up a copy whenever he saw one and sarcasticly/sincerely exclaim "Hey, let's see what us kids are into!" Still, I don't see anything filling in the gap of daily pictures and stuff to read that Link's unfortunate death has left us, and I have no idea where my morning Soduko will come from. Even more bitterly, the wizards at Link just spent much time and money finally making their website awesome. I will miss Link, and the people who made it.

Dead Cult Hearthrobs, Capitalist Pop Protest, British Television

This is of the kids at No Ripcord has penned a feature criticizing a consumer campaign in Britain to usurp the impending Christmas chart-topper, Simon Cowell approved pop tart Alexandra Burke. Apparently, she won Cowell's British teleprogram X Factor and her cover of the Leonard Cohen classic "Halleluyah" is blazing the charts like an arsonist accountant.

So apparently there's multiple generations of sentimental rock types who consider the version by tragic young sexy death Jeff Buckley, soon to get biopikked via Pineapple Express superstar James Franco, to be definitive, to the point where there's a much publicized campaign to buy enough downloads of Buckley's version to knock Burke out of the top spot.

Its all very interesting, and I can't relate to a stitch of it. Didn't Kanye and Fitty try to manufacture something like this? They were both alive, and we still didn't bother to, you know, buy music or anything. The whole thing seems silly to me, but apparently people really care, to the tune of a half-dozen comments already, which is stratospheric for No Ripcord. But what about Mr. Cohen? Have we not forgotten that his voice is wicked awesome? To conclude, here are the closing credits for the very subtle Oliver Stone opus Natural Born Killers, a movie that refuses to stop just because it is over. The closing track is Cohen performing "The Future".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rebel E presents the Electric Spectrum to the NorVa

In case I haven't explained, Rebel E is the youngestdopestfreshest crew of musicians and artists in the seven cities, including luminaries such as Max Mega and Ced Hughes, "the love child of Lando Caldrissian and Barbarella", the kids will be commandeering the NorVa tomorrow night, December 19th for the Electric Spectrum show. Ladies and gentlemen (and germs, too), the time is now (tomorrow night) to represent. Who knows, you might have some giddy, uninhibited fun. Wouldn't that suck?
Ced Hughes - What Up Tho? (Virginia's best mixtape of the year)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Flight of the Conchords Online

Hey kids, though you would be excited to know that Funny or Die posted the upcoming season premiere of Flight of the Conchords for everybody to watch for free!


lita's Social Commentary Bundle

Hey, who feels like pimping some seasonal packaging to separate you from more of that dumb holiday money you don't really have? I don't really, but sometimes the package is novel and from a source deserving of more pimping, like Light in the Attic, one of the bestest re-issue houses in the whole world.This week's special is the Social Commentary Bundle, featuring three of the most interesting artifacts they dug up this year.

Cold Fact by Rodriguez is a lost 1970 masterpiece of hard, druggy, psychedelic funk from Detroit.
mp3: Sugar Man

Stephen John Kalinich was a hippie who recorded an album of psyche spoken word, A World of Peace Must Come, in Brian Wilson's house in the '60s.
mp3: Be Still

The Free Design put out quite a bit of inventive soft pop in the late '60s and early '70s. Included in the bundle is the 1972 album There is a Song.

Has there been enough pushing stuff for the holidaze? Yes, but sometimes its fun to window shop.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No Ripcord's Top Ablums of 2008 Part 2: The Top 25

Well here is the exciting conclusion to the list of 2008's best music my friends at No Ripcord started yesterday. Strangely, I found it less exciting than 50 through 25. Part of it is the list seems to get indier, whatever you take that to mean, as it goes on. Part of it is that I read too much about music, and these lists get more familiar as they get higher. Most of this I've heard at least some of in a mix or through a friend, and has been discussed ad nauseum, and just feels staler. There's a lot less here that I feel I really missed out on, though I am still curious about the most recent offerings from Jamie Lidell and Nick Cave (I'd also like to see them fight, mostly because, like all pop culture fans, I really want to see Nick Cave murder somebody with his bare hands). That is why top 50s are better than top 10s, concision be damned. For the George Booker blurb watchers, note that I wrote the entries for Neon Neon, The Bug, and Portishead all by myself. Crazy. I'm a workaholic, really, I've got to learn to delegate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Ripcord's Top Ablums of 2008

Hey kids, my friends at No Ripcord have just posted part 1 of their best alblums of 2008, and it is looking to be a fairly interesting list if I do say so myself.

For all the haters that say I can't write short, you may notice that this includes blurbs (that's right, blurbs) that I composed concerning this year's releases from Ratatat and Hercules and Love Affair.

On the long-winded side, apparently I did say that Ratatat are "pioneers of one of the many bright futures in the multiverse that is post-millennial hip-hop." Ahem. It makes complete sense to me, tell me I'm wrong.

If you want to know what I voted on for this beast of a list, take a look at my favorite music of 2008. There I touched on how much I miss working for a record store or radio station. Despite all of the great music I found this year and the joy writing about it brought me, this list reminded me of some things I missed that I'm really curious about:

Harps and Angels by Randy Newman
I feel guilty for only knowing the guy from his family-friendly Pixar themes and ruthless parody on "Family Guy". Apparently, he's one of
America's greatest songwriters.

808s and Heartbreak by Kanye West
Somehow, I haven't gotten tired of "Love Lockdown". I'm excited about the bold conceit of a whole album of autotune and drum machines and sadness. Sounds almost like one of my favorite batshit Zenith records, "Oppulent Erratique".

Car Alarm by The Sea and Cake
Always a pleasure to hear from these snazzy Chicago all-stars playing the muzak of an elevator to lonely
heaven, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens. These guys won me over by doing one of my favorite Bowie covers ever, which is no small achievement.

Oracular Spectacular by MGMT.
Rilly loved Time To Pretend. Need to hear what the album's all about. Disabling embedding is weak.

The Age Of Understatement by Last Shadow Puppets
Just because David Coleman dropped a
Scott Walker comparison.

Snowflake Midnight by Mercury Rev
Just general guilt for ignoring Flaming Lips' brothers in arms.

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today by David Byrne and Brian Eno
Yeah, I've heard it and put it on my own list, but I don't remember if I pointed out that its free right now and you can listen to the whole thing below.

Object 47 by Wire
Wire is one of those oft-written-about bands I never bothered to investigate seriously until this year. Turns out they're awesome. I wonder what they're up to this year...

The Hawk Is Howling by Mogwai
Despite falling out of my genre preferences, and falling outside of most hard genre or sub-genre labels (even "post-rock"), I've never really been disappointed by listening to Mogwai.

In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy
They made one of my favorite Fabric mixes, and everything I've heard by them is tops in the dance v. rock donnybrook.

Quaristice by Autechre
Like a lot of music that is very abstract, theoretical, and electronic, but not blindly chasing an asinine designation like "idm" even though they were one of the pioneering acts that led to the creation of that asinine designation, Autechre is actually quite funky, mysterious and sublime. Thanks, Warp.

Offend Maggie by Deerhoof.
One of the only "indie" acts I always like even when I find them impossible to "listen" to, because they are adventurous and inventive and more often than not come up with good shit.

And on and on like halycon. There is just too much good music in the world that we don't listen to enough of it. Has anybody heard this stuff that wants to weigh in? Want to work out a CD swap?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Golden Globules Part 2: The Supporting Ghetto

Due to the unprecedented popularity of my post concerning the Golden Globe nominations of a number of films I did not see (i.e. a comment), I am already making the bold decision to repeat myself in a diminished version of something that was at most mildly successful the first time. I am so Hollywood, you're going to want to condescend to me at Fairgrounds. And now, the lucky ladies and gentlemen the Globe voters, all fourteen of them, have recognized as the best non-stars of the year:

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams - Doubt
I Doubt anything could ever get in the way of this Enchanted actor's red-hot, red-haired charisma. You would have to dress her up as a nun to keep her from lighting up the screen! Junebug.

Penelope Cruz - Vicky Christy Barcelona
I'm glad Hollywood is finally figuring out how to use one of the most beautiful, talented actors of her generation...that is playing fiery Spaniards. I think Vicky Christy Barcelona could have been immeasurably improved if Cruz pulled a double roll and Scarlett Johansen was entirely gotten rid of, leaving an opportunity for Cruz to have a scene making out with Javier Bardem and Herself, which is sexy cubed (incidentally the title of a screenplay I'm working on, Sexy Cubed, in which the delicate atmosphere of a mathematics laboratory run by Johnny Depp and Rosie Perez is literally turned upside-down by the disruptive presence of Manic Pixie Dream Girl Parker Posey, who turns out to have quirky superpowers). Really, I would probably be okay with cinema if something happened making Penelope Cruz play everybody in everything and it was all directed by Pedro Almovodar.

Viola Davis - Doubt
I Doubt it would be prudent to make an idiotic joke about this woman. Her name is a musical instrument. The title of the film is a monosyllabic noun and verb. I'm sure you can throw something dumb together yourself.

Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler
Remember how until I see it I'm going to assume The Wrestler is like, totally the best movie ever? It only helps my case that MARISA TOMEI plays a STRIPPER with a heart of some precious metal, but not a robot or anything, unless that is a Halloween 3-style twist they throw in at the end. Tomei started out as a Best Supporting Actor, but somehow as she's aged she's only improved and gotten more ravishing. Remember when everybody would lie and say Sophia Loren was one of the most beautiful women in the world when she was in her late eighties? Tomei might actually do it. Darren Aronofsky! Mickey Rourke! Marisa Tomei! Wrestling picture! What do you need, a road map?

Kate Winslet - The Reader
They say the studio system in Golden Age Hollywood was a massive, well-oiled machine of several departments honed and perfected their crafts to a point of sublime invisibility and combined like Voltron to construct the classics that still linger prominently in our collective cinematic sub-conscious. Well they sure were stupid, because they never figured out that you just have to have Kate Winslet fuck a protagonist that males cannot relate to. Really, that's all.

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Cruise - Tropic Thunder
Dammit, Tom! I go to comedies to get away from you! You know what's funny? Of all the negative social effects of repressing one's homosexuality, Scientology is both the deadliest and most moronic.

Robert Downey Jr. - Tropic Thunder
That's more like it. Everybody loves Downey this year, and I am no exception, and when I can afford it, I am going to dive headfirst into a decade of drug abuse and depravity, not just for fun but in the mild hope that I might be something like him when I grow up. Dude, did you know he used to date Marisa Tomei? I'm a bit miffed at not seeing much awards buzz for Iron Man, but I suppose that is, once again, part of the flawed system that does not have any prominent awards for being Wicked Awesome. I guess all that money will have to compensate somehow for this egregious lack of recognition.

Ralph Fiennes - The Duchess
So its a period picture with Ralph Fiennes in a supporting role? Yeah I would probably nominate him on g.p. without going through the trouble of watching The Duchess. I have seen Strange Days and Spider enough to feel pretty good about nominating Ralph Fiennes for awards sight unseen. Give him an ESPY, I don't care.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
I Doubt any movie with Phillip Seymour Hoffman hasn't spawned several conversations with some variation on the passage "...and the cast is really great, did you see Phillip Seymour Hoffman..." in it. But here's my problem: where is the awards buzz for the best movie I saw this year, Synechdoche, New York, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman? Is Hollywood trying to get Charlie Kaufman to kill himself? He should write and direct a movie about that. Or get Michel Gondry to make it.

Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
A lesson to douchebag homophobes-next time you dismiss one of the best movies by one of our best directors (Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain) that you're afraid to see anyway because you might get gay cooties or something from it so you make unimaginative non-jokes whose premise is actually the premise of the movie (that, you know, these fags are gay, heh heh, isn't that crazy, they're like, in love, heh heh, but the judgemental limitations of society and their own fear tragically prevents them from finding real happiness, oh that's fucking hilarious, and their miserable lack of fulfillment goes on to hurt the people closest to them, heh heh this movie is so ludicrous it made me cry, but I was joking really I promise), you're going to karmicly curse the star to die tragically right before he pops up giving the best performance ever as an iconic character in your favorite goddamn movie of the year. And that was the longest sentence I've ever composed, because passion prevents periods. You did this, asshole, you and Michelle Tanner. I'll miss you Heath, you came a long way from 10 Things I Hate About You and I bet you could have gone even further.

Best Director

Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Boyle is always interesting and sometimes great. I need to see this new film of his, that despite its strange premise and non-caucazoid setting is getting the most mainstream award notice of his career. One thing, though- what is up with that odd duck of a title from the guy who made some of the best-titled movies of modern times? However good Slumdog Millionaire is, it is a pretty poor follow-up to Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, 28 Days Later, Millions, and Sunshine in the title department.

Stephen Daldry - The Reader
Speaking of names, this guy has one almost as boring as the title to his award-baiting film.

David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Strange that Fincher doesn't seem to be labelled as a genre director when his revelatory best efforts like Zodiac and Se7en and The Game and Fight Club have boasted their fair share of exploitation gimmicks and genre elements. Plus, his big screen debut was an Alien sequel. Maybe it is because his films possess an epic scope and vision that makes snootier admirers forget he's doing sordid crime procedurals and Twilight Zone retreads and cult novels. Maybe its because his most straightforward thriller, Panic Room, kind of sucked despite an expensive cast and technical virtuosity. Maybe people still think of him as a music video director and that has been the main slur against him despite the fact that we all know his promo for Madonna's Vogue was pretty great. I'm just vaguely suspicious when he finally does something as middlebrow as adapting an F. Scott Fitzgerald story and suddenly he's getting award nominations. On the bright side, this story does sound like one The Twilight Zone would have been happy to adapt with appearances by Burgess Meredith and Bill Mumy.

Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
Dammit, Hollywood, don't you know if you keep nominating Ron Howard for awards he's going to think he's, like, a real director and stuff. I know, Andy Griffith, a man who has quietly conducted more years of drug abuse and depravity than Robert Downey Jr. has lived, still feels rather protective of Howard and you all fear the murderous wrath of his drug and dementia addled vengeance. I can understand that. But when Andy finally spins off this mortal coil, can we all agree to stop encouraging Howard? Its getting real awkward pretending his movies don't suck.

Sam Mendes - Revolutionary Road
I can think of no pleasure greater than having Sam Mendes explore the relevant-to-everybody and entirely novel theme of the malaise and misery that lurks beneath the surface of caucasian suburban America for fucking ever. Again.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just Because I Love Watching Kristen Schaal

Really, she's brilliant, a word I use to much but applies to her regardless.

Apparently there's some sort of web oriented video contest this is promoting. In more important news, this features Kristen Schaal talking to the camera for nearly a minute.

And "Flight of the Conchords" is coming back to HBO in January! Hooray! I wouldn't have blamed them if they never did another series due to being out of awesome songs. But then again, there is kind of an obligation to television if you can give it more Kristen Schaal. Would it be too indulgent to watch some more of her?

Yes, it would.