Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spittin' Wicked Randomness, Vol. XIX (is that how you write 19?)

If you haven't seen it yet, I've got a new installment of The Digital Underground up at The Fake Life, reviewing The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 1 DVD. This one took longer than it should have, and it's not as in-depth as the last one, but I think I made some interesting points. I also posted a new installment of The Big Screen, covering revival screenings in L.A. over the next month (more on that in a moment).

The next two mondays (March 5 and 12), the current classes of StandUp Academy will be having their grad shows at The Ice House in Pasadena. Showtime is 8:00, Bobbie is the headliner, Sally Mullins (always hilarious) is the MC, and the class is strong. I'll be in the back working the video camera, so come by and say hey. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, plus two drink minimum. Come on out!

In preparation for the upcoming release of Grindhouse, Quentin Tarantino is taking over the programming at The New Beverly Cinema throughout March and April! Two months of double- and triple-features of insane exploitation flicks! For years, I've been so jealous of Austin, where QT does his annual film festival. Reading the accounts on AICN of stuff like Wipeout, Brotherhood of Death and The Muthers just made me green with envy! Now I'll get to see all three!! And Hot Summer in Barefoot County, which Bobbie remembers seeing at the Drive-In as a child. Didn't you say that was the first movie you ever saw, baby? I've never seen Chinese Hercules, but having seen Enter the Dragon and Big Trouble in Little China, I can pretty much guess who the star is. I've listed a bunch of other cool L.A. events over the next month, including programs of Sirk, Verhoeven, Besson and Herzog, in my Fake Life piece. Check it out. Also, Dennis Cozallio has dug up movie posters for most of the films.

Tonight (or Friday morning), watch (or TiVo) The Front, starring Woody Allen, on TCM (1:30 am PST). A great, underseen comedy about the blacklists in Hollywood during the McCarthy hearings.

Note to self: I need to try this place as soon as the weather warms up.

Cool albums being shared:

The Flesheaters - A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die

Lester Bangs and the Delinquents - Jook Savages on the Brazos

Typical nonsense from the RIAA.

Sure, terrorists are bad, but they're not as dangerous as gays or unions. Let's keep some perspective here.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Friday, February 23, 2007

Oscars and Xtina

Actually a pretty tight Best Picture race this year. If I had to bet, I'd say it's going to The Departed, but the general buzz seems to be settling on Babel as the frontrunner, and I'm far from an expert on these things, so there you go. I'll be rooting for Forest Whittaker (I've been a fan of his for years, his face just seems to have the weight of the world on it), Eddie Murphy (I certainly hope he comes up with a better speech than he gave at The Globes), Guillermo Del Toro, and...well, Marty's gonna win for director, but I'd love for it to go to Paul Greengrass. Won't happen, though. I do hope the little girl wins for Little Miss Sunshine, and gets drunk before the show and goes up and yells "You're all a bunch of fucking cunts!" to the academy. And the Morricone tribute should be cool.

I did get around to seeing The Departed, and it's a damn fine film. Not as good as Children of Men or Pan's Labyrinth, but pretty darn good. And I picked up Babel from the video store on my lunch break, so I'll try to squeeze that one in tonight or tomorrow. Truth is, I'm more concerned with figuring out what to eat (probably Chinese delivery) and drink (martinis or Jack Daniels?) than with who's going to win.

So yeah, I do watch the Oscars. And Bobbie often gets me to watch the Emmys or Golden Globes as well. But I don't watch the incredibly heinous Grammys, so I didn't see this until this week. For the James Brown tribute at the Grammys, Christina Aguillera belting out "It's a Man's Man's Man's Man's World." She even does the knee drop! You can question the judgement of the Grammys in picking the little white girl, of all people, to salute James Brown, but you cannot question that she stepped. the fuck. up.

Also, if you have HBO, make a point of catching Rory Kennedy's documentary Ghosts of Abu Grahib. It's a sad story, and it will make you hate Rumsfeld even more than you already do, but it's important.

I was also going to write a response to this, but what's the point of spending three paragraphs to say "Michael Medved is an asshole?"

Oh, and go vote for James Younan again.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Friday YouTube: Black Sabbath!

Read the comments on that one, great stuff. This is also good. This, not so much.

More YouTube Greatness.

Ward Kimball's anti-Vietnam cartoon: "It is the only independent short ever made by one of Disney’s Nine Old Men."

Homemade trailers for fake grindhouse movies! More here!

Bandini checks out Rambo's Tacos, which parks a couple miles from my house. I've never eaten there (I'm kinda past the 2am taco age), but there's always a line outside when I drive by in the wee hours. And J. Gold does Chichen Itza: "If pure, blister-raising heat is your drug of choice, Chichen Itza may well be your favorite restaurant in California."

Ben & Jerry's unveils Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream flavor.

Amazing. This too.

Terry Gross interviews R. Crumb and Aline Kominsky Crumb, then follows it up with John Waters! Also check out Waters' guest-DJ gig on NPR's All Songs Considered, and this gem from the archives (John singing the praises of The Tingler).

Greenbriar Picture Shows has an extensive post on Ace in the Hole.

Why Do Republicans Hate Our Troops?

It's no surprise that the Republicans in congress are expressing their disdain for even DEBATING the troop surge. This crowd has always had an extreme distaste for functioning democracy. But I'm quite amazed at the low opinion they seem to have of our men and women in uniform. Apparently, they believe our soldiers are largely (a) stupid, and (b) pussies.

This whole idea that passing the non-binding resolution against the surge, or even debating it, will demoralize the troops rests on two suppositions. One is that the soldiers are too stupid to understand the difference between their civilian leadership doing their job and debating the merits of various strategies in Iraq, and abandoning the troops in their mission. The other supposition is that these guys are such delicate, shrinking violets that the mere thought of dissent with the commander-in-chief will cause them to wilt and whimper, to give up on their mission, and to have their feelings hurt. Seems to me these guys must be pretty tough--they made it through basic training and all--but according to the Republican leadership, they are the most sensitive girly-men you've ever met.

There's a lot of "think about how the soldier in the field feels about hearing this debate." I imagine the soldier in the field is immediately concerned with people trying to kill him, is trying to figure out what exactly the goal is that he's supposed to be accomplishing, and is feeling abandoned by his country. He's probably quite encouraged to hear that someone is working to get him THE FUCK OUT OF THIS HELL HOLE WHILE I STILL HAVE BOTH MY ARMS.

Not that I'm really that excited about the non-binding resolution, but at least it's something. From the Democrats' point of view, the best outcome is probably that we stay in Iraq until 2008, while they appear to be fighting to get us out. It's kinda like the old school yard tactic, when someone tries to start a fight with you, and you get behind your buddy and get him to "hold you back" from kicking the guy's ass. You don't want to fight, but you don't want to look like you don't want to fight. Because whether we stay in Iraq or leave, the result will very likely be the same--a complete breakdown of the country into tribal warfare and ethnic cleansing if we're lucky, a breakdown of the entire middle east into a Sunni-Shiite conflict if we're not. If we stay, it gets blamed on Bush. If we pull out, it gets blamed on the Democrats. So the Dems would rather wait it out, letting another thousand or so Americans die for nothing, for their long-term advantage. It even works to the advantage of anti-war candidates like Edwards, who can say he tried to take more serious action to end the war, but was blocked at every turn by Hillary.

And seriously, if I believed that sending the additional 21,000 troops would make a difference, I would support it. I just don't see any evidence that it will. I'm not sure 100,000 troops would make much difference, but at least it would be a serious effort. Even Bush doesn't believe it. If you listen to the speech where he proposed the surge, he's clearly setting this up as "well, we did our best, but the Iraqis just didn't step up," or at best hoping to calm things down for just long enough to declare victory and get out when it's more politically acceptable for him.

And now it's Iran. Bush is looking to cover up the biggest military mistake that didn't involve invading Russia in history by making an even bigger mistake. A war with Iran would be incalculably dangerous.

Now, I don't doubt that parties in Iran, possibly even in the Iranian government, are supplying weapons to terrorists and insurgents and militias in Iraq. And if we did some digging, we could probably discover that the same is true of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait. But Iran also has the most vital pro-democracy movement in the middle east within it's borders. They (the pro-democracy forces in Iran, not the Iranian government or religious leadership) should be our biggest allies in the Muslim world. But if the U.S. attacks their country, whose side will they choose? We will be herding them all into radical Islamism. Bush needs to be stopped NOW.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Set Your TiVo

Thursday, Feb. 15, 9pm EST on IFC: How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (And Enjoy It), a new documentary on Melvin Van Peebles.

Friday, Feb. 16, 11pm EST on HBO: the return of Real Time with Bill Maher. (Now available as audio podcasts!)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pimpin' Ain't Eazy

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday YouTube: Movie Trailers!

First off, check out Bobbie's review of the new DVD release of Eddie Murphy: Delirious. And go vote for James Younan, StandUp Academy graduate, for Tonight Show correspondent.

Went to the PCC Swap Meet last Sunday, and scored some nice records: the first Fetchin' Bones, Chronic Town (still my favorite rem record), a Martin Denny record, the first Rodney on the ROQ compilation (although I made a rookie mistake and didn't check the vinyl first. It's pretty scratchy, especially on the first couple songs of side one, and not really worth $5), and, the big score, The Meatmen's Rock n Roll Juggernaut, which I'm happy to report is every bit as good as I remember it. Total price for all of the above: $20.

Back to the Rodney comp, it's got some good stuff, some of which I already have on vinyl and/or mp3's, but a few new things. The Klan doing a cover of The Seeds' "Pushin' Too Hard," not that good--they don't even incorporate the great lead guitar thingy that is the best feature of the original. The Nuns' "Wild"--pretty catchy Blondie sound-alike. The Adolescents' "Amoeba"--good song, but the record is scratchy. And it might sound too much like Social Distortion's "1945" (which is on the second Rodney comp). And at the end, a pretty funny version of "Is That All There Is?" by New York (with the song title listed as "Surprise" on the label).

This all started getting me a little frustrated, as there's this ever-widening divide between my digital collection and my analog collection. So I started reading the post O-Dub put up on SoulSides advising on how to digitize vinyl. And he lays it out as being pretty simple--all you need is this cable, which you can "Walk into any Radio Shack and they'll have one." Which, it turns out, is not actually true--it clearly says "web only" on the webpage. But I called Radio Shack and talked to The Guy about it. Turns out that chord is only about a foot long, so I'd need an extension chord, but then I'd be trying to plug a male end into another male end, so I'd need an adapter, and blah blah blah. So I fished around their website and found this, and placed the order, which ended up costing $20-something with shipping (only after I placed it did I notice that I could have had it shipped to the store for free). Anyway, so hopefully I should be digitizing my vinyl shortly.

Which started another thing--if I'm doing that, I'm seriously gonna need an ipod. I don't buy that many CD's these days, but I do download 4-6 albums from eMusic a month, plus a couple from the web, plus probably a dozen mp3's a week off of various blogs, plus checking out CD's from the Brand Library 15 at a time, many of which end up ripped to my computer. The whole process of burning CD's for all this stuff is getting ridiculous.

Simultaneously, as I was discussing the issue of the one-foot cable with Bobbie, she suggested a laptop. We egged each other on a bit, and the next thing we knew we were at Best Buy purchasing a laptop and a couple iPods. She got a 4g ipod nano in cute pink, I got a 30g ipod video in manly black (I didn't really need the video, but that was the only 30g they had in stock, and anyway, anytime you say "Oh, I don't need (x technology)," six months later you can't live without it. So yeah, I'm slowly easing into the 21st century.

Anyway, since I haven't posted anything else this week, I'll do another YouTube post. Some of my favorite movie trailers. They don't make 'em like this anymore.

I didn't think anything could be better than this movie, but the trailer might actually top it. Great music, too.

I like that the announcers in trailers used to be so enthusiastic. You never hear the trailer guy get all excited like this anymore.

I also like that so much of the information conveyed in the Enter the Dragon trailer is completely incorrect in the narrative of the movie. But who cares, right?

Elsewhere: I actually have a copy of this.

I saw this guy in an old Busby Berkeley movie on TCM a few weeks back, and was pretty intrigued. I'm happy that I now know his story.

The 30's were cooler than now. Jess Nevins schools us.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

TV As Eyes

I had this dream last night that the TV was on, and the news was showing all these people in the streets wearing surgical masks, as if there had been some outbreak of bird flu or something. The voiceover said "Many of the people were wearing official KISS Army masks." I looked more closely at the TV, and sure enough, some of the people in the crowd had masks with the KISS Army logo printed on them. I never got any explanation, though.

Some good things I saw on TV while awake:

For some reason, I have started watching The White Rapper Show on VH1. Another American Idol ripoff, with the white rappers all living in a house in The Bronx together and competing, but maybe a little more interesting because they have to write their own rhymes every week. MC Serch is the host, and well-known rappers and producers appear on each show (Grandmaster Flash, Kool Keith, Just Blaze, Brand Nubian, and on and on) to assist in various competitions or comical hazing incidents (Prince Paul hosting a Family Feud-style game show similar to I Know Black People). None of the rappers are terrible, but none really great, either. I do like Persia, not so much for her rhymes as for the force with which she delivers them. Refreshingly, the rappers are actually getting sent home in the order I would want them to be, with the weak ones getting picked off early. I guess you could maybe argue that that's a weakness, as some of the drama from these shows comes when someone really good has an off-night and gets sent home, but I prefer it this way.

The last two episodes of Extras on HBO have been hilarious. First, David Bowie spontaneously composing "Little Fat Man (Who Sold His Soul)," then Dan Radcliffe acting the fool the following week. Non-stop hilarity! And if you get a chance to catch Dave Chappelle on The Sundance Channel's Iconoclast. It's from a while back, but they've been rerunning it a lot. Dave spends the day with Maya Angelou, and it also has footage of Dave's post-"the incident" standup.

I used TCM On Demand last night for the first time. Watched His Girl Friday at my own convenience. Great movie, by the way--I'd never seen it before. It just might be the Greatest Scewball Comedy that everyone says it is. And I did watch the triple feature of The Show, Freaks and The Elephant Man they showed earlier this week (well, Freaks was on, I only watched parts of it). The Show (a Tod Browning silent about carnies) was pretty good. I guess I like Browning more for his subject matter than his directing prowess (Freaks notwithstanding--you can't deny he did a great job with the Freak Vengeance sequence), and I'm always a sucker for a movie about carnies. But The Elephant I don't think I've seen it since catching it on HBO back when it came out, long before I knew who David Lynch was. Incredible film, and I was surprised at how it's totally a David Lynch film.