DVNO by Justice

Yep, I'm probably way late on this in blog terms (just saw it on Subterranean tonight), but I haven't seen a video this clever in awhile. The most recognizable bit to most is at the first chorus, but if any of the rest of this strikes a chord, you must be reeeeeeally old. Just kidding. Oh and the song's pretty awesome too.


Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks at Southgate House, 3/23/08

Stephen Malkmus is the last of my five major American indie rock bands from the 1990s* I had yet to see perform live. I've seen Guided By Voices and Yo La Tengo twice, I saw Lou Barlow playing with both Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr and, most recently, I saw Dean Wareham in his Luna farewell tour, but I've never seen anyone from Pavement. And seeing Malkmus play with Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney (the fifth band, whom I've also seen twice) was an excellent bonus. His latest album with the Jicks (Real Emotional Trash) is about as close to indie jam band as anyone has gotten, but he pulls it off pretty well and shows something he never really showed when he was in Pavement: he can really play the guitar.

Malkmus doesn't really have any "hits" to speak of and he doesn't play old Pavement songs on tour, but fortunately he's talented and his solo career is even enough that he manages to entertain with any setlist he comes up with - and this was a Real Emotional Trash heavy set.
Unfortunately I was without my video camera AND my digital camera, so as usual my footage from the show comes from my lousy camera phone. Don't worry - I'll limit this to a few blobs...

*Note I didn't say "alternative" - to me, that's a whole 'nother beast. And OK, I forgot about Low. I should never make these kind of statements.

This is the best "band shot" I have. Note the set up -- Malkmus remarked that the unusually wide space between he and utility Jick Mike Clark was for a symbolic fifth Jick. Clearly it was done to show off Janet who is an entertaining performer to watch...hmm, but not here. Looks like maybe this was a guitar solo or something.

I liked this shot for some reason. I mean the quality is terrible, but if it were clear at all you'd see that the composition is pretty cool. It also gives you an idea of where we are sitting, which I was pretty pleased with. Occasionally, watching crowd reaction can be fun too...

This is Janet Weiss. She is a really, really, really good drummer. And this is what she might look like if she were drumming on a space station.

Ronson Vs. Milk (and milk products)

Saving the world, one pointless rant at a time. It's time to square off vs. milk (and milk products).

The story: How much money have I lost purchasing milk and other products from the dairy world (including cheese, half and half, yogurt, ice cream, etc. - fortunately I've never been suckered into cottage cheese which I nominate for the Nastiest Food Of All Time Hall of Fame, which at press time, has yet to be created). Anyway, I would place my losses at roughly 1.2 million dollars.

I'm just one person. And they don't make milk in a size to meet my basic dairy consumption needs. Nature's cruelest joke is what milk turns into in roughly a week and a half after you purchase it. An even crueler joke is what milk turns into when it accidentally stays in your refrigerator for two months. That's happened to you, right? Whew, I thought so.

UPDATE: Yesterday morning I had milk in my cereal that I presume had gone slightly sour. It was disgusting.

Let's not forget cheese. How many times do you include cheese in your meals? I would like to purchase cheese by the dash. I rarely need two cups of cheese for anything, unless maybe I'm having a Taco Bar or a Phlegm Party and that's only happened one or two times.

Ice cream, I love ya, but you're turning us all into fat asses.

Winner: Milk (and milk products). It's a K.O. really. Bottom line, I need them, so I can't cut them out completely. And cereal is just lame trail mix without milk. To all you lactose intolerant folks out there, my heart goes out to you. For more about our dairy family, check out this informative Wikipedia entry.

Just to make things even...

Awhile ago, I mentioned that Chipotle dropped a taco from their "crispy taco meal" going from a filling four tacos to an adequate three tacos. This meal typically goes for just over 5 bucks, add a drink and you're at about $6.50.

In the interest of fairness, I just went to Moe's Southwest Grill at Newport on the Levee earlier this week to pick up the same thing (apparently there you have to call a veggie taco an "Ugly Naked Guy" because they want you to make awkward refs to long dead sitcoms...? Actually I have no idea why). You can't just get a meal, you have to order them a la carte. And I added a drink...because I was stuck at Newport and had to say the phrase "ugly naked guy" so why the hell not...

The cost? 11 dollars.

Whaaaaaat? This was mistake right? That's over 3 dollars a taco. They might've been a little larger than Chipotle tacos, but not 11 bucks worth. Probably just the tip of the iceberg as to why this Moe's is supposedly closing down...

So, there you go. Another cautionary tale from tacosareexpensive.blogspot.com...


At The Cardio Cinema: Hairspray

Who's ready for a whole lotta singin'?

Movie: Hairspray (2007, full runtime 117 minutes)

Running length: 15 minutes, 3-minute cool down, followed by around 2 minutes of stretching

Review: OK, the general consensus of the gym seemed to be that this was the wrong movie to show at the Cardio Cinema. In the 20 minutes I was there, roughly 15 people walked in the room, stared at the screen for a second, then immediately walked out. Seems that no one wanted to see campy songs and John Travolta prancing around in a fat suit. Go figure.

Plot: Well, I'm cheating, because I've actually seen the entire John Waters version a couple of times, so I'm aware of the basic plot. I don't remember this much singing in the movie though. Ohhhh, wait this is a movie based on the musical version. That makes sense. I don't know, it's cute I guess. The trend of making cult classics into musicals is a weird one though. I hope they don't try to do it with Eraserhead or Down By Law.

Good: There's not much to complain about. The musical numbers (and they happened once every six seconds) were amiable and I gathered people who liked the musical would find them fun. Plus, everyone can get behind the "civil rights" and "nothing wrong with being overweight" messages of the movie and if you've seen any other John Waters movie, you know that his movies having any sort of message at all is a huge step (which is why they probably chose to make a musical and a movie out of this rather than, say, Pink Flamingos).

Bad: There's not much to praise either. I guess I have issue with remakes that don't shift too much from the original film. It's basically like watching the movie again, with younger, cuter people in the roles. I suppose it's a good way to get a quirky movie out to a wider, younger audience, however since there are no new ideas (other than songs), the whole thing just seems kinda average to me.

Grade: C+ I'm being a little hard on a movie I only saw 20 minutes of, so I'm gonna upgrade it with a plus, just in case the rest of the movie was freaking spectacular.


Random music thoughts

Part one:

If you're having problems starting up your freak folk band and your childlike, art rock band just fell apart and broke up, may I suggest the genre of minimalist techno. Critics love it, and – if you can get the DFA to produce it – you'll get at least an 8.5 from P4K.

Part two:
I'm a big fan of Jeff Buckley, and will concede that his version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is one of the best off his first and only technical release Grace. But is anyone else a little creeped that it took someone singing it on American Idol to launch this song into a new realm of popularity and pushed it to the top of iTunes download charts? I knew AI's reach was strong, but I had no idea it was this powerful. I guess I should look on the bright side: At least they've used their powers for good this time. Still...


At The Cardio Cinema: License To Wed

Why do I torture myself? This should be about fitness dammit!

Movie: License To Wed (2007, full runtime 91 minutes)

Running length:
22 minutes, 5 minute cool down

Review: Somehow, the theater setup in the fancy new Bellevue Urban Active is one of the worst I've been in - you can hardly hear a thing. Though I worked out in the back, so that might have had something to do with it. And don't get me wrong, in the case of License To Wed, it was sweet mercy.

Basically, a bunch of people I generally enjoy (and Robin Williams) falling and flailing along through the whopping 27 minutes I saw of it. I can't see why so many people I otherwise enjoy chose this sinking ship of a project. Most of all, I wished John K and I were pals, so I could've told him not to do this movie. They really push him to be the likable lead and it's painfully obvious. "Look he's wearing long-sleeved t-shirts and polos and khakis -- just like you, Joe Average Slacker! This is what it'd be like if you were marrying Mandy Moore!"

Plot: Seriously? I guess they're getting married. But they can't have sex, and Robin Williams and his chubby weird little kid sidekick have to bug the place to secretly make sure that ain't happenin'...because apparently it's the 80s again. Did I mention that Robin Williams is a priest? It probably doesn't matter.

Good: It gave several actors and actresses that I generally like a paycheck. Every once in awhile I could go "Hey, there's Wanda Sykes! And there's Kevin from The Office! And there's...Angela from The Office! Hey, there's the mom from Twin Peaks!" Etc.

Bad: Going into this one, the only thing I knew for sure was that there were some twin messed-up looking robotic babies and I was hoping I'd just miss that whole part. Nope. Starting at about 7 minutes into my run, I saw the whole weird baby schtick from beginning to end, where John Krasinski crushes one of the robot baby's heads to make it stop crying. Yep, sounds about as funny as how I just described it.

Grade: F+ I mean seriously, if by some virtue I managed to miss the creepy babies, this movie might have squeaked by with a C- or a D-, but that someone on that set so clearly thought creepy robotic babies were funny, and further, no one else involved with the movie didn't intervene signifies a problem symbolic of the whole damn movie. The lesson I took away was that even if you're talented and good-natured, ya gotta make a sucky movie every once in awhile to pay the bills. That saddens me a little.


Sadly, I'm not attending the music festival to end all music festivals in Austin this year (featuring such highlights as R.E.M., The Kills, Peter Móren (of PBJ) and Bon Iver -- that's just on Wednesday), but I'll be living vicariously through friends who are going (or in Dan's case, already there).

That's right, Dan has already ventured out to Austin for the interactive portion of SXSW and is sticking around through the rest of the week. Check out his already extensive work (how that plane got outta of Cincinnati on Friday is a miracle to me!).

Rich will be joining him shortly, his plane takes off tomorrow. Check out his reports here, along with news from Bad Veins who are also already in Austin and will be playing at SXSW (also on Wednesday -- damn, Wednesday is hot this year). Should be some good stuff!

Throughout the week, I'll be hanging with you folks here in Ronsonville, grumbling and plotting my way into SXSW 2009...


100-word Project Runway recap: Episode 14: FINALE PART TWO

100 more words and we're done. Try not to quiver and tear up Christian-style:

Fashion week approaches. Models are auditioned, creepy hairless men talk about hair and makeup. Surprisingly low-drama and low-cattiness on this episode. Way to keep it in check, designers! Tim is overwhelmed by this gets them all into a big group hug and kisses 'em all, like the proud dad at the beginning of Father Knows Best.

Final runway. Victoria "Posh" Beckham is the guest judge. Anyone smell a fix? Everyone does well without any real jaw-droppingly bad mistakes. Kinda annoying from a snarky recapper perspective.

Judges. Still seems even - only real criticisms come from Christian's collection (except Posh who love love loves it!). In the last poor judgment of the season, Project Runway kicks Jillian off first (all things even, Rami shoulda got the boot), narrowing down to Rami v. Christian for about half a second. Christian is barely keeping together when it is finally announced that he is the winner! Poor lil guy is on the verge of tears, then kinda pretends like he knew he was gonna win all along. That's our Christian!

The end. Christian gets his very own Saturn and let's hope he grabs onto that Bluefly.com opportunity - sounds like a real career-booster. Christian proudly announces that he's the youngest Project Runway winner ever which would be more impressive if there were more than 3 other people to compete with for that title. Nonetheless, I like him way more than Tattoo Neck – so cheers, Christian! Keep that hair crazy!

Thanks for sticking with me this season, it's been fun - we now return to your usual dose of random music posts, even more random illustrations and occasional photo galleries...


At The Cardio Cinema: Into The Blue

This is more like it:

Movie: Into The Blue (2005, full runtime 110 minutes)

Running length: 18-minute run, 3-minute cool down

Review: The first scene I saw of this movie was Jessica Alba chopping the arm off of some dead guy she's handcuffed too. Pretty much that tells you everything you need to know right there. It doesn't stop there. In 21 minutes, I was lucky enough to further witness a kick in the face (again by Jessica Alba), a hand slammed in the door, a punch to the cajonés, a harpoon to the gut and a bunch of sharks enjoying a human feast. Oh yeah, and this was all one guy.

The Basic Plot: I got to see the climactic ending of this film, so I really don't know what lead to this carnage. I think treasure hunting was involved. Also, harpoons and sharks. Apparently you need to get yourself a harpoon when you're off at sea as it turns out to be a handy weapon. Four people were skewered by harpoons. One guy got a harpoon to the head before he was eaten by sharks. He must've been a real a-hole... A final guy was blown to bits (rather graphically) by a torpedo. I gather he was the leader of the a-holes.

Good: If this closing credits are any indication, this movie was created so that Paul Walker and Jessica Alba could wear tiny outfits and swim around. In this respect, the film succeeds completely.

Bad: Everything else.

Grade: D- Most annoying (to me) were the words flashed dramatically at the end of the movie (I'm paraphrasing): "The world's oceans hold over $6 billion in treasure....waiting to be found." I kind of hate that the filmmakers are asserting that this movie had any point at all, never mind that it's an empty message based on greed. But that's the price you have to pay if you wanna see hot people swim for two hours.