Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!! Ep. 1.13 - Music From A Scary Future

Download or stream it here!

This one starts out with a couple rock songs, then quickly devolves into a bunch of weird electronic/experimental shit.  You'll love it!

The Ngozi Family - Hi, Baby!
George Brigman - Jungle Rot
Julie Ruin - Aerobycide
Tapes - Nervous Breakdown

Spirocheta Pergoli - Romero's Living Dead
Anonymous - Corporate Food
Vox Populi! - Mind
The Knife - Let's Talk About Gender Baby

Goblin - Sighs
Futurisk - Army Now
Silver Apples - Program
Eric Random - 23 Skidoo

Jad Fair - Monster Island

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Zero Theorem (Terry Gilliam, 2014)

Qohen Leth's living room contains a mass of outdated computers held together by a chaotic mess of wires.  It's not an unusual image: wild jumbles of slightly outdated tech have become a sort of cliche in cyberpunk scifi films.  And it's certainly not an unfamiliar sight in Terry Gilliam movies, recalling, for example, the messes of ducts and wires that run through the apartments and office buildings of Brazil.  More than anything, this clutter seems an apt representation of Gilliam's mind, and of his movies.  It's often frustrating to track the themes of his stories, which always seem to be moving in six directions at once.  This can be off-putting at first, as when I first watched The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and was annoyed by how messy the plot was, how many things Gilliam had crammed in.  On subsequent viewings, I've come to feel like that mess is actually what makes Munchausen so interesting.

The Zero Theorem in particular offers a case study in the chaos of Gilliam's work.  The story concerns Qohen Leth, a familiar figure for readers of dystopian fiction: he's the individual in a society intent on turning everyone into useful tools.  Qohen works for a huge corporation run by a God-like figure played by Matt Damon.  His job is insatiably avaricious of Qohen's time and attention, but Qohen just wants to be at home waiting for a phone call that he believes is coming to explain his purpose in the universe.  When Qohen explains his circumstances to Management (the only name by which Damon's character is ever referred), Management tells him his call is a delusion, and puts him to work trying to solve the titular equation to prove that life is meaningless.  It could be a parable for the way the organized church convinces the faithful not to look for their own spiritual truth, or it could be about the failure of work to give life meaning in the information age.  It could, of course, be all these things and more, but I think the reason we don't really know is that Terry Gilliam isn't really interested in all that.

It seems likely that Gilliam was attracted to Pat Rushin's screenplay by what it suggested about the world that Qohen lives in, and bringing that world to life is clearly where Gilliam's passion lies.  He sees the world as constant distraction.  Pop-up videos follow pedestrians down the street, hawking ridiculous religions (The Church of Batman the Redeemer) and lifestyle brands (the street scenes immediately bring to mind the opening of Bladerunner, but amped up to oversaturation).  The monk-like Qohen seeks quiet and solitude, and even lives in an abandoned monastery.  Work bleeds into private life.  Qohen's work involves using a videogame console to move numbers around  on a computer, and when he begins working on the Theorem he does so by moving blocks with equations on them around in a sort of giant, 3-D Tetris (which, like a lot of things in this film, makes no sense but looks really cool).  The idea of seeking a refuge from the NOISENOISENOISE of the digital world is an appealing one, and Gilliam tells this story through the mise en scene while Rushin is telling his story through action and dialogue.  And it's not like these two visions are at odds with each other.  They match up nicely, and would seem to support each other, but Gilliam just doesn't seem interested  in solving the equation.

The Zero Theorem is no Brazil, but at least it's not Brazil Reloaded.  Rushin's script is very different from Brazil, although there are some parallels, but Gilliam seems to have wanted to revisit the dystopian idea from a different angle, addressing the ways in which the world (and it's nightmare shadow) have changed in the 30 years since.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!! Ep. 1.11 - If We Make It Through Zeptember

Download or stream it here!

This is one of my favorite episodes so far!  All covers of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and Moody Blues songs.  Plus, some new(ish), topical standup, AND my impressions of Henry Rollins and Keith Morris!

The Dickies - Knights in White Satin
Hole - Gold Dust Woman
Soreng Santi - Iron Man
Ondatropica - I-Ron Man

Blonde on Blonde - Whole Lotta Love
Tina Turner - Whole Lotta Love
Merry Clayton - Southern Man
Etta James - Only Women Bleed

Charles Bradley - Changes
Black Sabbath - Planet Caravan (Poolside Rework)
John Klemmer - Third Stone From the Sun

Gil Evans Orchestra - Voodoo Chile

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Full Set!

The good news is that I recorded a 50-minute set, a milestone goal that I had been planning to accomplish this year.  I actually had another 5-minute chunk that I was going to do, but bailed on because the audience seemed to be running out of energy, and probably 5 more minutes (including 2 of my favorite jokes) that just didn't fit in with this set.

The bad news is that I had planned to upload the audio as a free "album," but the audience was so small that it just doesn't sound good enough to do that with.  But I can at least post the video on YouTube as proof of my accomplishment, right?  Seriously, though, I'm pretty proud of my accomplishment, and I think this is a quality chunk of material, so check it out if you got 50 minutes.

Bonus round: this is me at the Funny Feminist Show at UnUrban Coffeehouse on Pico last Sunday.  6 minutes of mostly new stuff, including my jokes on the Ferguson, MO situation.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!!, Ep. 1.10 - Global Psychedelic Funk

Download or stream it here!

Thursday night, August 21st at 8:00 pm, I will be recording a long set at Tao Comedy Studio, along with my buddy John Fontaine.  Bobbie is going to host the show, I'm going to try to do an hour.  It's free, free parking in back, and I could really use some people in the audience.  Going to be a VERY fun night of comedy.

Over the last, oh, 5 years I guess, the biggest part of my musical diet has been these compilations of funky, psychedelic records from the 60's and 70's from Africa, Latin America, The Caribbean and elsewhere, so I'm dedicating this entire show to that shit.  Far out music from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Texas, Sweden and who knows where else.  Please forgive me stumbling over so many of the foreign names and titles. Below is the track listing, I also included Amazon links to the featured compilations.  Plus, a few minutes of new comedy bits at the beginning.

Ofo the Black Company - Allah Wakbar (from Nigeria 70, Vol. 1)
The Mebusas - Mr. Bull Dog (from The World Ends: Afro Rock and Psychedelia in 1970's Nigeria)
Hasabe - Aayalew Mesfin (from Ethiopiques Vol. 8: Swinging Addis)
El Rego et ses Commandos - Se Na Min (from African Scream Contest)
Asiko Rock Group - Lagos City (from Nigeria Disco Funk Special)

Irakere - Baccalao Con Pan (from Si, Para Usted: Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba)
Santander Flores - Capital Cebuista (from The Original Sound of Cumbia)
Marius Cutler - Guanavaco (from Calypsoul 70)
Cassimbas Negras - Bumburumbumbum (from Palenque Palenque)
Balanca Povo - Novo Dia (from Black Rio Vol. 2)

The Hygrades - In the Jungle (from Nigeria Rock Special)
The Fabulous Mark III - Psycho (from Texas Funk)
Sir Victor Uwaifo & his Melody Makers - Dododo (Ekassa No 1) (from Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump)
Number One de Dakar - Yonoudaraji

Baby Grandmothers - Somebody Keeps Calling My Name (from Forge Your Own Chains)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!!, Ep. 1.9 - All Night Long

Download or stream it here!

I haven't made one of these in a while, but this is a pretty nice summertime mix.  Starts off mellow, builds into a dance party.

Donald Byrd - Cristo Redemptor
Digable Planets - Black Ego
De La Soul - Dininit
The People Under the Stairs - Suite for Beaver, Part 1

Bongos Ikwue - All Night Long
Paul Simon - Late in the Evening
Los Van Van - Y No Le Conviene
Joe Cuba - Bang! Bang!

Clarence Curvan & his Mod Sounds - Calypsoul
Baby Huey - Mighty Mighty
The Minutemen - I Felt Like a Gringo
Public Enemy w/Brandford Marsalis - Fight the Power (Sax Mix)

Lee Perry & the Upsetters - City Too Hot

Monday, July 07, 2014

Psychedelicatessen Radio, Ep. 4.1: Eagle Rock Comedy Festival Wrap Party, Live from Tao Comedy Studio

You can download or stream it here.

This was the first time we recorded a podcast at Tao Comedy Studio.  It's basically the wrap party for the 2014 Eagle Rock Comedy Festival.  Guests include Dylan Brody, Faith Choyce, Sal Rodriguez, Sally Mullins, LeeAnn Tooker, Vivicca Whitsett, Raja Michael, Mike McClenahan, Jonathan Zadok, Tommy Natoli, Q Mobley, and probably some others.  It was live, so it's a bit messy, but lots of fun stuff in there.