Monday, December 31, 2007

Time for lists.

Everyone loves a best of '07 list. It's like a quick and easy way of remembering, later on down the line, of course, the shitty stuff we did in '07 that we'll forget about in '08. I know that nobody thinks of shit like that, but I have a different perspective.

A lot of the people I know refuse to admit when they get sucked into a ridiculous trend. Snap bracelets, rat tails, tee shirts that are too big, tee shirts that are too small...there's a lot of things that I never really got into that my friends did. So here's what I decided to do for my top ten list.

This is my Top Ten List of Trends from '06 that I am Glad Didn't Make it to '07!

(I have a shitty sense of linear time, so if this shit is really '07, I don't care. I am still glad it's gone)

10. Franz Ferdinand: Ok. Eleanor was great for about a month, and I even bought the album. A few tracks were ok, but for the most part, this record was taking advantage of a lapse of fresh indie music. I mean, their first record came out in '04 and they made no attempts to even change their formula. Ok, yeah, it came out in '05. I still hate it.

9. Daniel Craig as James Bond: Casino Royal is still a subject of contention in my circle. My room mate is a die hard Bond fan and is still on the fence about it. I am of the belief that Pierce ruined the whole franchise, making acting second to fashion and technology. I know that the gadgets were always important, but what was more important to me was actually believing that Roger Moore or Sean Connery could actually have been a secret agent.

8. 6 Feet Under: Holy shit was this over due. I mean, to an extent, the show was a fucking amazing premise. I grew up around the corner from a funeral home, and there were never any hot chics or gay guys around. It was just a bunch of old guys who were yelling at us for skate boarding in their lot. But why is it that every dramatic series becomes a late night soap on HBO? Ok, cancer is a pretty important thing to discuss, but isn't dying already hard hitting enough? It's not like that show was short on dead people?

7. The Black Eyed Peas: Thank God. End of story. I've never seen a more over produced over hyped group. Ever. Boy bands included.

6. James Blunt: Formulaic crap. I kind of feel like this guy was trying to write a record that would be sampled 20 years from now in a novelty rap song about the 2000's.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Ok. I love's me some Depp. He's a great actor, great range...shit Edward Scissorhands was my introduction to art cinema, but in all honesty, how could anyone have liked these movies. And it was a little cheap of me to put this on my list, considering it was always going to be a trilogy, but still. Thank God that shit's done.

4. Fucking Thrift Store Chic: I know it well, because I did it. I went to the GoodWill and bought a pair of purple wing tips and wore the shit out of them. And it was cool at first, because you could put together something new every weekend without breaking the budget, but then when the cobbled together look started become rage, people started selling vintage clothes on eBay and real thrift stores started jacking up prices. Then it became cool to buy clothes that look like thrift from a boutique. And that put a lot of clothes only thrift shops out of business. Thrift shops: The Wow That's What I Call Music of clothing.

3. Don Knotts: It's fucked up to say that about someone who's dead, but seriously. I met this guy once in NYC and all my mom wanted to do was get his autograph, an the dick head pretended to be his own driver to get away from one fan. Ass hole.

2. The 80's: It took over 20 years, but the awesomeness of the 80's has finally faded. When the 18-24 was comprised of people who actually grew up in the 80's, no one thought they were that great, but as soon as my generation hit adulthood, the 80's became great. I call myself an 80's child, but in all honesty, unless you were born between 75-78, you didn't really get the full force of the 80's. I am just really glad that the 80's have finally given way to the 90's. Now all we've got to do is get rid of the 70's fashion that seems to be having a resurgence.

1. Meaningful Reality TV: It was cool when it first started, but thank God we've weeded out all of the reality TV could enrich someone's life for all the stuff that doesn't have any consequence. I like my TV to show me a life that I couldn't ever reach, not a life that I could lead if I wasn't so damn lazy.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sweaty Rodd

Ok, so last night, a friend and I went to see Sweeny Todd. I had reservations about seeing this film in the theaters, mainly because I didn't want to have to admit that I saw it the theaters later on down the line, when the movie ended up being a total crap festival. I mean, I did go see Mad City in the theaters, and am forever making up excuses for myself.

The movie, from the outset, i.e. the people waiting in the lobby, was a bit unnerving. It's like going to see Ted Leo in concert, you might tell your friends your going, but once you've gone, you'll never tell anyone. It was an eclectic mix of died in the wool Johnny Depp soccer moms with their unwitting husbands who can't do much more than stare at the poster for Rambo, and a large cavalcade of teenie bopper hipster girls who think, that after watching Dead Man's Chest, that they have an in tuned connection with the man from 21 Jump Street. It was frightening, but a lot of people really liked Strangelove and thought it was a straightforward piece.

The film itself started out very sketchy, with a terrible CGI credit roll, but it quickly turned much better. Through some unscrupulous means that I wish not to expose (Thanks Drew!) I procured the theatrical sound track, but refused to listen until I'd seen the movie. I think I did well to do so. If you like Rent or Chicago, you probably won't like this movie, but if you like orchestral musicals that are nearly operas, you should see this movie. It was very music heavy and not much dialog, but the interspersed dialog was well executed, but I am of the opinion that one Danny Elfmann singing could not have adversely affected this movie. The singing was good, if not bordering great. The story moved slowly through the few interspersed plot lines, thankfully breaking away from the shocker/thriller equasion of the 2000's an the climax rose exponentially to a wonderfully displayed conclusion. The adaptation, which I can't speak about with too much accuracy was well done, and sounded period enough to be convincing, but dumbed enough to be followed by any audience. The cinematography was fantastic. Well above even Tim Burton's high standard. The stylistic touches were good; especially the blood which didn't look like blood, as much as a viscous Play-Doh. The drab look of the movie was a little bit over-produced, to a photographer, but to anyone else, the film would probably look almost black and white.

In the long run, I wasn't quite surprised by this movie, but it did go beyond my expectations. I'd recommend it above a sharp poke in the eye with a stick, or even perhaps watching reality television all night while drinking heavily.

X-Posted from MySpace

Friday, December 28, 2007

The first Stella, before SNL.

If I've had one curse in my life, it would have to be my father. I mean, I've ended up exactly like him, with the same idiosyncrasies. I mean, I know it's cool to have eclectic tastes, but my father has made it an art form. So many of my favorite bands have been implanted into me by my dad, that turn us into even greater recluses in the world of music. Starting from the vaguely commercial, like Ween and They Might Be Giants to the unacceptably zany Zappa and Beefheart to the totally off the radar shit like The Angry Samoans, I have been programmed to read into art deeper than your typical kid. I did a report in 7th grade on Jean Luc Ponty. That was my childhood. One of the things that I always took for granted, though, was the comedy troupe that my dad was way into as a kid. It was hard for me to consider comedy being anything other than universal. I didn't have that schema in my head a comedy being something one could fail at, or even be a cult icon in.

The Firesign Theatre, though, is in the upper echelons of cult comedy. No one...I mean no one knows about these guys, but they did carve their own little comedic niche. Think sketch comedy not mixed with the evening news, but sketch comedy superimposed over the evening news, and their greatest hits compilation is a great way to get started. Shoes for Industry winds its way, mainly chronologically through the Theatre's large collection of material. It is a double disk, and will leave you asking hundreds of questions because while these guys didn't invent the inside joke, they sure made use of it. There are a few recurring characters who seem to sometimes meet, like Nick Danger, your typical pulp private eye with a twist, and Young Guy, Moto Detective who is also a pulp private eye, except he's Asian and his only concern is what form of transportation he'll be taking to the scene of the crime.

But don't think these guys are one trick ponies. There's also a skit called Temporarily Humbolt County, which is a far flung commentary on the [mis]treatment of native Americans. Comedy ensues.

A lot of the comedy does not correspond to the times today because they were, all in all, political satirists. The Breaking of the President is a skit wherein Richard Nixon is a carnival attraction who will answer your questions, if you know what to ask.
"The main spring of this country, wound up as tight as it is, is guaranteed for the life of the watch."
So if you took a few recent US history classes in college, and want to know what the far left really felt about our nation, or you're tired of considering George Will as the be all end all of political humor[?!?] I'd say grab this album and go to town. It's like SNL with a conscious and funny jokes.

Shoes for Industry on Amazon

Welcome to another blog.

I suppose, being that the blogosphere is growing at a rate that defies all models, and things to blog about become of less and less consequence, you'd expect the concept of supply and demand to take over and the blog world to eventually come to a stasis point wherein the blogs would stop popping up and the news would eventually become more interesting again, like it was back when the major media sources had a monopoly. The kicker is that is hasn't. Major news becomes more stuffy, blogs become more divergent from what actually matters, to the point that my father, a baby boomer, no longer receives a newspaper every day.

Let me tell you about me and my agenda. I am 23 years old, same age as many new bloggers hot out of undergraduate school with a degree in journalism. Your typical journalism student entered their program when journalism seemed like a bottomless money pit, with infinite numbers of jobs all of which pay six or more figures, only to find that everyone else who had a good English teacher in high school went into journalism, and nine tenths of those kids write better than they do. They are also coming to the harsh reality that the market for jobs is becoming infinitely smaller every day, because of technology. The most famous blogs tend to be written by people who already have journalism careers, and therefore connections (read: Fake Steve Jobs). I digress. I am not a journalism student, I am not even a college student, and I never really was. I live in the same place Groucho Marx did. I will, for the rest of my life, try to make up for the fact that I did not have a formal education, by reading voraciously, watching film, listening to music, and over all, expanding my mind through any means I can.

All of this bares almost no concern upon this blog. It is of almost no consequence, besides the fact that I approach life in a rational and analytical manner. It's why I listen to the music I listen to, watch the movies I watch and read the books I read. I have a formula in my life that I use to internally evaluate everything and everyone I come in contact with. That doesn't mean that I listen to prog rock, read Tom Clancy novels and watch all day long. I do, in my formula, take into account things that can not be quantitatively measured.

And I guess I should address one last thing, tonight. I am an ardent nostalgic. I am, typically, two to three years behind the times, as far as trends in music and film are concerned, and typically 10 to 15 years behind contemporary literature, and when I do come in contact with vogue notions, it's typically on a tip from someone else. For example, I, for the first time last night, watched Watership Down, and found it wholly entertaining, only to find in discussion with my colleagues, that I am on par with the twitty little high school girls who think that J. D. Salinger is the greatest author of all time.

And finally, I'd just like to run down a little about me. I am a musician; that is to say I play drums in a band. I am a photographer, who's had his camera stolen, and I am a writer who can't seem to find the right stationary to make my drippy prose look like art. I'd like to say that I am a renaissance man, or even an every-man, but in all reality, I am the every-hipster. I dabble in a range of hipster-like media, but master none, and therefore cannot connect with any individual camp of the modern youth.

And here's what I am doing now:

Reading: Still Life with Woodpecker
Listening: Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones