Saturday, June 28, 2008

If This Don't Make Your Booty Move

I went back today and listened to a house mix I did in 2001. The other side of that tape was a breaks mix. Narcissistic thing to do, yes, but I'm in a bit of a quandary. You see, this time, seven years ago, I solidified myself as a breaks DJ.

Now I'm not so sure if I can call myself that. Summer mix hit snag, will be finished. It may not even remind you of Flannelly track selection of breakbeat yore.

This right here, is how I find out if I'm still a DJ.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Miluju Tebe

The Swell Season

Glen and Marketa

Sept 24th

Ryman Auditorium

Nashville, TN

Save the date.

Also, would that any of these stops happened in 2005, by paradox:

27-th July: Namest nad Oslavou, - SOLD OUT, support Liam Ó Maonlai

28-th July: Brno, Mahenovo divadlo –, support Liam Ó Maonlai

30-th July – Telč, – SOLD OUT, support Mark Geary

1-th August – České Budějovice –, support Mark Geary

2-th August – Český Krumlov –, support Mark Geary

4-th August – Milevsko – SOLD OUT, support Mark Geary

Monday, June 23, 2008

I've Found Him, I Have Jesus in the Trunk

Christmas 1995, first Christmas in Memphis after divorce, so it's just me, my brothers, sister and Dad heading to Grandmom's.

That was the year Dad found and took away the six secret vhs tapes Brock made for us that included Pulp Fiction, The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire, Hellraiser, Reservoir Dogs, etc. The Hellraiser tape had a George Carlin special which contained this final bit:

The risk I took to sneak the Hellraiser tape out of my Dad's apartment was spurred by the one tape I did get away with that Christmas, an audio cassette of What am I Doing in New Jersey? that I dubbed from Brock's original copy (one of many oxymorons Carlin was quick to point out).

George Carlin turned on my questioning mind. I was thirteen. Perfect timing.

Summer 1997, we discovered a copy of his book Brain Droppings at the TN Tech bookstore. During our middle-of-the-day break at band-camp, we saw a Bible study group in one corner of the courtyard.

We bought the book and started our Carlin study diagonally at the other end. We each did readings.

Me: If you love someone, set them free. If they come home, set them on fire.

Holly: The bigger they are, the worse they smell.

Chuck: Octapus - Eight-sided vagina

We soon had many more members sitting near us, passing the book around.

Thanks, George, and now you know for sure whether there's hope for us or not. I'm sure you're in the big electron somewhere, gettin' high with Lenny Bruce. I can only hope that I'll meet you there as young as you were before you died.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stabbing People Saves Them

Q. Allow me to liken "The Strangers" to "Hamlet," if you will. What made the sad ending of 1997's "Hamlet," to which you awarded four stars, so much more redeeming than that of "The Strangers"? Both movies featured complicated, multidimensional and human characters, who, through trials and tribulations, suffered and ultimately were killed. Both films were superbly acted, filmed and directed, and I find the endings to be very similar.

So what about the end of "The Strangers" made it be a 1½-star movie while Hamlet got four? Wasn't "The Strangers" also more about the feelings of the two main characters, and the wrenching sympathy to be felt for them?

Kyle Strand, Louisville, Ky.

A. I think it had a lot to do with everything that happened before the ends of the two films.

- Roger Ebert's Answer Man column

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jonestown, Pennsylvania

There be spoilers here, though I daresay you have better movies to see....

Two years ago I razed M. Night Shyamalan's filmic stalks to the ground. The vision and humor of his previous films, (even, yes by God The Village, with all its terrific imagery, albeit at odds with failure) had been abandoned entirely. A film of immense inanity, quixotism, arrogance, fingernails-on-a-chalkboard character choices, unbearably awful cadences, shrieking, straining and all around badly shot hokum was released.

The director of Signs made me very angry with The Film We Do Not Speak Of. When I say angry, I mean livid. I was up a damn tree (bitch-slapping Michael Pitt for doing Funny Games). How in the world did the man who brought us one of the most moving mainstream pieces on fate and spirituality lose it this badly? And how the scrunt could he be so blind to his own fall? Has he not watched his previous film and seen himself cast up there as a prophet screenwriter writing works too difficult for the current age to comprehend, and wondered if maybe he'd literally lost the plot somewhere? His new film is almost as nutty. Not completely nutty like that two hours of slowly roasted idiocy, but a slew of unhinged sadism committed on the audience all the same.

The Happening starts out awkwardly enough, but it does prove without a doubt that Shyamalan learned something from the hubris of his last film. We start right in on the business of dying, setting the creepy tone, and move on to a fairly articulate and humorous scene setting up Wahlberg's sciencey chops. The scene's playful. Not long after, the movie becomes batshit. Coherent batshit, but sanity guano all the same.

At one point, our protagonists try to outrun some wind. They're chased by the monster, and ladies and gentlemen, that monster is WIND.

M. Night Shyamalan has not lost his talent. I believe he's lost his mind. The film is not poorly made, but it is poorly written. The characters are not characters at all, and they behave in no way whatsoever close to how any human being would ever ever ever ever ever act. EVER. Which in and of itself might not necessarily be a failing, but unbelievable behavior has to be structurally and aesthetically justified. You have to do it in such a way that we accept and embrace unrealistic acting. For that, you'll want to see Tarsem's The Fall.

These creatures speak as though they're talking out of a chick tract, emoting virtually nothing, telling us instead of showing us what they're feeling. The major conflict between the two main characters literally boils down to "I don't like to show my feelings." She shows her feelings at the end. Great. Just the kind of detailed character back-story and resolution of previous action I crave at the movies.

There isn't a moment of tension or terror. Just sadistic images, adjacent to dead air (deadly air, but still boring). The sadistic images alternate between uncomfortable and hilarious. The iPhone makes its film debut here, and what you'll see on its screen may alarm you if instead you close your eyes and pretend you're watching the R-Kelly sex-video on it. Then again, don't do that, you'll be robbing yourself of the most unintentionally hilarious moments of the summer.

There is one image involving trees and ladders which reminded me I was watching the work of an artist. A trapped artist, was my immediate thought following the subsequent death scene.

Why am I laying this all out? Why am I rattling off a list, instead of just calling it a day and deciding that he peaked with Signs? Because I think he's a little kali-ma-shuck-tee-day. He's ohm do she bai-ing quite a bit. And I think this film is a sign that the artist is about to break free again. He came close to making a decent "b-movie".

When he thinks he's being an artist with a capital A we get Lady in the Water. When we get him shooting for "the Denny's crowd", we get Signs, a masterful, suspenseful, simple, beautiful piece of storytelling. The Happening is somewhere inbetween Signs and Lady.

Mark Wahlberg has virtually the only lines of any real invention. These are the few comic moments (totally absent in Lady, unless you like shrieking Korean caricatures) alleviating the badness in this movie, that suggest to me there's a more carefree, weightless talent trying to escape from underneath that two-ton pile of hubris he bought in crazy town.

What it must be like to be such a young filmmaker and to have made two of the highest grossing movies of the past decade, to seal yourself away in your Pennsylvania compound and devote your time to converting actors into cult members for the brief period you have them under your purview, and to hate the critics that hated The Village so bad that you keep making bad movies to piss 'em off more, I can't imagine. If you want us to like your movies again, make them good again.

But seriously, you need to get off the compound, and while it is healthier to channel your cult-leader urges into sacrificing people in a fictional suicide march for two hours, you showed a great deal more sadism and arbitrary cruelty to your audience by violently offing two young boys halfway through your film. Again, you're not castrating them or marrying them to forty year olds at your Amish-style mansion, but that's still pretty out there. By the way, nobody says "get me out of this nightmare" after you blow holes into Abigail Breslin's brother right before shooting the black kid in the head, unless they mean "get me out of this nasty movie right the fuck now."

Scientology can be less weird and unsettling than your crazy-lemonade-lady-busting-her-head-through-the-window, the plants are making us commit suicide nonsense that your crackpot ass has come up with.

This film is marginally better than the last one, and I was more fascinated than angry this time, at times almost compelled, and I could see the possibility that your genius could rise Phoenix from the Ashes out of the fiery abyss you've unknowingly sunk into. Success can be an artist's bulwark. But the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. This almost felt like a step towards that admission, here and there, though obviously it's not enough, and what's unanimous around the country (and has been for some time) ought to be instructive to you.

There's misunderstood like Nostradamus and misunderstood like Jim Jones. Which do you honestly think you are? Auteur David Koresh, is that it? As for the boy soprano you're squelching, kindly let him sing again. You were in our hearts as we were filling your wallet. It would be stupid of you to want otherwise, claiming a line from Hitchcock and Speilberg to yourself. They made movies that made money and were also artistically successful. What you got? Oh, Nutjob Happening in the Water? Let's just stay home and masturbate instead.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beanpot Country Ham and Hellmouth

Oh, there's more where that came from, between here and Nashville.

Home is where the wax things live!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Felt Like Making a List

Just to keep this thing bloggy, and hell, the current summer's got some songs, recognize.

Radiohead - Reckoner
Dragonette - Get Around (Midnight Juggernaughts mix)
Hot Chip - Ready for the Floor
Midnight Juggernaughts - Jump the Gun
Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
Justice - Phantom II (Soulwax mix)
M83 - We Own The Sky
Digitalism - Pogo (Shinichi Osawa mix)
Bloody Beetroots - Butter
Evil Nine - They Live
Unkle - Restless
Jamie Lidell - Little Bit of Feel Good (Mr. Oizo mix)

There's more.

(K, fine, I really just want Janie's blogjob)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Mixtape Reruns

Holly was bearding for me the other night at dinner (My Grandmother thinks that H and I are getting married), where she turned to me, in mid-discussion of the summer mix I'm working on, and remarked upon hearing I was doing a two-parter that the ethos of the mixtape format had previously defined the nature of the sets themselves.

That is, to paraphrase her, having two sides defined the differences in those two sets but forced a connection between them, and now that's all gone into the ether with the waning of the cassette.

I had to fight back a spit-take on account of her having managed to speak aloud virtually identical thoughts to my own. She's always been my breaks groupie, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

In a fit of summer nostalgia, no doubt inspired by Janie's countdown last week, I went back and found a tape of mine that encompasses the peak of the two sided mixtape mentality (not to mention the height of that era's prominent wave of breakbeats).

That tape was The Gospel of Subsonic Funk

Side A is a fast builder, rough and ragged from the start with a gigantic build to a hip-hop disco payoff.

Side B takes a different vibe, finds more forks in the road, and has no implied destination.

My next set will be a two-parter, reminiscent of that mindset, with an even deeper contrast. Watch this space.

Not That I Mind It Right Now

Oh, so this is insomnia? Really? Is that what happens when your body finally starts to feel closer to normal again after six solid months of disrepair? Good thing I'm unemployed! Ha! I can just enjoy this. Get some readin' done. That copy of Vidal's Lincoln feels timely. Want the new essay compilations by Sedaris and Chabon, but my unemployment laughs that right in the face. I have big city to visit next week.

Seriously, I'm about to be bouncin' off the walls, and not to get too repetitive here, but it could be this!

I zapped the pleasure centers of my brain into dullness. So I haven't exactly enjoyed anything for awhile. Now I'm starting to again, slowly, and my body no sleep. No sleep 'til Chicago, where I'm sure I'll sleep none at all!

So, since I'm starting to respond to fun things again, pretty lights make laptop flash and hum mmmm sparkle sparkle:

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I Swear That I Don't Have a Gun

Holy shit, dudes, it's like I was on heroin! And I didn't even get to feeeeeel like I was on heroin. Yay for scary shit!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gulag Reflex

Any homosexual voting for McCain because Hillary didn't make the ticket is obviously fervently hoping never to get married, adopt children or get the same tax benefits as everybody else.