Thursday, July 31, 2008

Candidates as High School Archetypes

Obama as the cool basketball player dating the smarty-pants debate club chick... he acts like he's everyone's friend but only hangs around with the other jocks and cheerleaders.

McCain as the absent-minded history professor who still lives with his Dad. Cindy as the youngish blonde science teacher next door who hangs out with him because they both smoke.

Presidential politics makes me soooo cynical.

"Daddy Cool" - Boney M

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shit I am Consuming

Video games:
- Pixel Junk Monsters
- Metal Solid Gear 4
- Team Fortress 2

- I'm Not There (sucks)
- Cloverfield
- One Missed Call (sucks)

- Stage Names - Okkervil River
- Bowerbirds "new" CD
- new Devendra Banhard - Smokey something
- Man of La Mancha (English stage version)

- Tim and Eric's Awesome Show
- Dethklok
- Robot Chicken
- Swingtown
- Generation Kill
- Weeds

And Some Even More Awesomeness

My Pal Foot Foot are doing an American tour and coming to DC:

Aug 4 2008 9:00P
Goodbye Blue Monday Brooklyn, New York
Aug 5 2008 9:00P
Velvet Lounge Washington D.C., Virginia
Aug 7 2008 9:00P
FIREHOUSE 13 Providence, Rhode Island

Here's some older stuff from them:

"Chasing the Full Moon" (from BlACK Knight,Black Tie...Where DO THE Strangers Meet?)
"Here is Very" (from Songs for Nao)

image via the yumtown

Great Job! Awesome Show is back

Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job is back for a third season tonight. If you have a DVR now is the time to set. If not, drink some caffienated beverages.

The New York Times, of all places, gave them a big lovely wet kiss of an article in today's paper. There's a quote there from their mentor, Bob Odenkirk that mirrored exactly what I was thinking. Odenkirk says, "that they aren’t being influenced by anybody. They’re in their own little world, and that’s why they’ve gotten good at this." What I was thinking was there are absolutely no reference points at all in this show. In a way, they are like Tod Browning's Freaks movie -- it's a horror film that made its own rules, its own horror with no history or checkpoints. Maybe that's what makes them so funny.

They aren't parodying anything, they aren't making cool little name drops. In fact, they aren't cool at all. Says Eric (or "Mr. Warheim" as the Times calls him):

“There’s nothing less funny than someone who looks cool,” Mr. Wareheim explained. “There’s nothing more unappealing.”
This is exactly my problem with both Indie Rock and the presumed Democratic nominee for President.

Some other factoids from the article - John C. Reilly's Dr. Steven Brule is getting his own spinoff:

The Brule character has proved so popular that he is being given his own six-episode spin-off show, tentatively titled “Check It Out!,” starring Mr. Reilly and produced by Mr. Wareheim and Mr. Heidecker. “So much happens in a day of him improvising and us throwing stuff at him that you want to use it all,” Mr. Heidecker said of Mr. Reilly.

And even more welcome:

Mr. Wareheim and Mr. Heidecker are also developing a game show for Adult Swim that would star the comedian Neil Hamburger. Mr. Wareheim described it as “a mixture of a Japanese bizarre game show and ‘The Price Is Right.’ ”
These two strike me as a perfect match for Hamburger.

Shrek on your Mobile Phone

Friday, July 25, 2008

Walkers and Spectacles Preview

Last night was our first "show" although it's not really. Let me explain. One of the traditions of Little Theatre is that they host a "preview" show before opening weekend for the senior citizens in the community. They make for a great audience by the way although we occasionally get random yelps from the audience. They laugh at things we never thought were that funny such as Ben Franklin's corny jokes and proverbs and they cheered the part where Franklin said Virginians are a kind and loving people (or something like that) when Franklin is defending the over-the-top Richard Henry Lee to Adams.

Tonight is the "benefit" preview where a local charity does some fundraising, speechifying, etc. The charity du jour is the 9/11 Memorial folks.

Had Dinner a Trattoria da Franco, a Northern I-Tie place near the theater. The owners basically live in this converted row house and love talking and talking and talking so it's a great place to go if you are alone. Had the sole special with a lemony sauce and steamed veggies plus three glasses of wine and a rum / tia maria Cappuccino confection that made for a nice post-dinner buzz.

Don't tell the conductor but there's something to be said about a little bit of alcohol helping a musician's performance. It loosens you up a bit and gets rid of the jitters. I'm no alchoholic -- first drink I had since Sunday. Too much alcohol before a show is bad and often the effects wear off by intermission and you're all groggy. That's where the cappuccino (and a can of Coke) help.

Weather continues to be so very fine here in DC. Had a great walk - listened to Banhart's "Seahorse" several times again - awesome headphone song - and went down by the river to watch the sun rise and the rowers row.

The effects of a monster thunderstorm a two nights ago appear to have cleared out the July humidity, at least for now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Gift of Rain

We had another one of those wild DC thunderstorms here last night and it broke the nasty humidity. This morning's walk was so fine I took a couple extra blocks before pain set in. Rehearsal last night went fine but it's like any other show, you think if you had one more rehearsal we would be ready -- but tonight's opening night. I was tearing up the shit with the snare drum during the songs but messing up the most basic stuff like the snare drum roll you do whenever George Washington sends a letter to the Congress - wrists kept freezing up. Sometimes I worry about arthritis - for a drummer this might even be worse than losing a limb. Recovering from an accident is enough but worrying that the pain isn't related to that but arthritis is something else. The maternal side of my family had arthritis (also glaucoma and mild Alzheimers). Worry, worry, worry...

No great food to report. Basically did the English Muffin and Coffee for breakfast and it's almost lunch and I'm not terribly hungry so I'll probably skip - there's a nice Ital restaurant near the theater that I'll probably indulge in tonight.

I watched "The Ruins" on DVD late last night and this morning. Ho hum thriller although they did fool me (SPOILER) into thinking the opening scene was with Jena Malone's death scene and that the rest of the film was flashback. Instead they used an actress who looked like her. The part where the flowers imitated people was kind of cool but it was pretty standard fare. One or two "shock moments" and quite a bit of gore. (END SPOILER) For all the hosannas given when the book was released, the movie doesn't really live up to it. But it was good to see the guy from The Black Donnellys still working.

As for music, listening to the new D Banhart record. I'd like to say he's back to the form he showed in his first two records and it has its moments. There's lots of "spot that classic rock and pop" influence. I hear CSN&Y and Barry White in some of the songs. Cut 4 and 8 are pretty good. But there's alot not to like here. His "I want to live off my music but still not be considered a Starbucks sellout" makes for moments that totally undermine the rest of the music. I also appreciate that he wants to educate us dimwits on Spanish music but I get the sense I'm being talked down to. The record at times sounds like a demo -- musicians sometimes sound under-rehearsed - maybe that was intended but it doesn't match with other cuts. The cardboard packaging on the CD is shoddy. The cardboard that holds the disk and book is already smashed flat. The little book is poorly printed -- you need a klieg light to read the damn thing and its full of crappy Devendra art. My disc fell also out of its case while I was walking to my car. There's nothing to keep the book in its case as well. Compare this packaging with, say, Shellac which was like a slick mini-LP and you held it thinking this is a work of art. I'm not saying you have to be slick but at least make it look like you took some care and thought into it. I always like to get down on bureacrats at work who make up surveys and checklists for us engineers to follow -- my quote is "obviously the guys who designed will never have to fill one of these out" -- sometimes I think musicians and artists should think about what they would want if they bought the damn thing if they want us to continue to buy CDs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fish and Chips

No walk this morning -- the rehearsal from last night had me totally wasted the next morning. Had dinner at the Union Street Public House -- what is it about some dishes where you have them it's like the best meal you've ever had and the next time you go it's no comparison. Was the chef just hot that night? It's a pretty mundane dish -- fish and chips -- but when I had it there several months ago, it melted in the mouth. Last night the fish was kind of spongey -- and too hot -- and the breading was just bleh. Even the Yuengling lager had a funny after-taste. Is it me -- were my endopmorphins high the first night?

I'm sitting there at the bar and this guy sits next to me. He's got those ice blue eyes, great build - one of those guys that if I were gay, I'd be buying drinks for. He acts kind of weird though and about 20 minutes later I glance over and notice that he's sketching me on a napkin. Not sure what to do in these situations so I started straightening up and pulling my "regal lion look" (this is what my lady friend calls it) so at least he doesn't make me look bad.

Rehearsal went okay. Some of the singers still aren't on point. The guy playing John Adams is in a classic rock cover band. I've seen him around. Well at least he didn't have to wear a ponytail wig. Our Ben Franklin really looks the part (although was Franklin really that fat?) but the Richard Henry Lee needs elevator shoes.

At work today -- have to do a "lecture" to some scientists at noon. Bleh...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Harper Valley PTA Clogged

WFMU posted this video and it had me rolling on the floor. It's a reenactment of an cheesy country song by Tom T. Hall combined with teenage girls clogging.

I went to college in Southwestern VA so I have some experience with clogging. It's actually quite fun and easy to do but the end result is you look pretty ridiculous doing it for a long period of time.

Typically, the cloggers I knew were either locals or Virginians (not NOVAs, though) who would also rip off their shirts, get very drunk and do the "rebel yell" while doing this strange dance.

IF you share my sense of humor, you'll probably dig this video...

Shows I'm Playing

I'm also getting back into playing. I'm subbing for the drummer in Man of La Mancha in two weeks and I start 1776 this weekend (I won't be playing next weekend but all the other shows are mine). In case you don't already know, I'm a drummer -- both shows are great for snare drum work.

La Mancha is a great primer in odd signatures and Spanish rhythms while 1776 is a marching drum workout. There's also a Latin-tinged piece in '76 believe it or not -- I'm playing my bongo set there -- the song about the slavery debate during the Declaration of Independence.

I know people may question my manhood but my eyes always well up during this song. For that matter, if I was in the audience I'd probably bawl like a bitch during Alonso Quixano's death. Both the relationships between Abigail Adams and John Adams as well as the friendship "until the end" between Sancho Panzo and Don Quixote are inspiring.

wow, two posts in an hour... guess I'm getting caught up. Thanks for the inquiries.

Early AM walk

630AM. Temperature in high 70's, medium to high humidity. Stretching my legs in the morning to aid in recovery. At the corner of G and 24th, I see a homeless guy covered in a black blanket with white dots with a big ugly foot sticking out into the sidewalk. Minus the foot, he has the perfect camoflauge for a 30's-40's B&W film noir. About the third block my legs start aching and the brow starts sweating so I turn around and limp home.

Listening to the Bowerbirds CD in my car. First time through, you hear all the things wrong with it. The samey folkness, the trembling vocals, the pastoral lyrics, etc.

Second time through you hear all that's right with it. The occasional surprise chord in "Hooves" (see this Ohmpark post for an MP3), the accordian "hook" in "In Our Talons" (see Yellow Stereo), the drum arrangements and so forth. I'm not saying this is the best LP of 2008 but if you like this sort of folk-pop, harmonies and acoustic music, it's worth checking in on. I got mine via Forced Exposure.