Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spittin' Wicked Randomness, Vol. XXIV

I haven't updated much lately, because I've been working 52 hours a week AND spending every spare minute when I'm not at work editing video and burning DVD's AND preparing for the large repair project that is currently going on in our house, with the entire office being torn apart and new windows, dry-wall and pannelling put up. But a few things that seem worth mentioning.

I did get to have a little fun Sunday morning, when I had to drop off Brandie at LAX to catch her flight back to school, then pick Bobbie up on her way back from visiting her dad. I had about 90 minutes to kill, so I went to Pann's Coffee Shop, possibly the Googie-est coffee shop in L.A. (except maybe for the Ship's locations, all of which are long gone). Everything about Pann's is perfect: the wacky type-face on the giant sign, the space-age design of the building, the stone wall that seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the decor. Food was good too, but a bit pricey--I ended up paying $15 for a french toast combo and coffee.

After that, I decided to make it a double-header and go to Randy's Donuts. After all, how can I call myself an Angeleno if I've never been to the place with the huge donut on top? I got a couple each of glazed and chocolate raised. And you know what? GREAT fuckin' donuts! Not that they were higher quality than other donuts, more like they were just more donut-y. Like, they were the essence of donutness.


The great thing about this blog is occasionally getting a comment from someone really cool. And I got a really cool one on my Hillbilly Frankenstein post, from none other than the band's original lead singer, Miss Formica Dinette! She'll be performing with Robert Drasnin at Tiki Oasis this august, and the idea of her powerful lungs delivering Yma Sumac-like exotica vocals (I assume that's what we're talking about) makes me feel all tingly!


As if Angelenos didn't have enough cool opportunities for movie watching between the Cinematheque (60's Japanese action flix AND film noir in April!), the New Bev and the Cinefamily, the So Bad It's Good Film Festival brings this classic to The Vista in Los Feliz this Friday at Midnight:

SAVAGE STREETS, SHOWGIRLS' Damaged, Group-Home-Reject Older Sister (1984)

Any fan of vintage 80's sleaze will want to ink in this ultra-rare big-screen presentation of one of the most deliciously nasty flicks of the decade. Displaying the kind of consistently full-throttle, go-for-broke badness that is the Holy Grail of trash, SAVAGE STREETS is LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN Meets CLASS OF 1984, marrying gritty sex to relentless violence. All the things we love about awesomely awful low-budget Cinemax fare are well-repped: a compelling plotline about a tough girl-gang honcha (the quintessential Linda Blair) out for revenge on the rival guy-gang who gang-raped her hearing- and titty-impaired baby sister (Linnea Quigley!) on the floor of the boys' locker room; multiple catfights; tons of nudity, including plenty of beaver and a hot pair of male buns; hideous post-FLASHDANCE style; filthy dialogue; overwrought original rock songs by John Farnham; and fresh from CHAINED HEAT, John "Dean Wormer" Vernon and Carole Ita "Rosie Greeenbaum" White as faculty members. Shot on the then-savage streets of pre-Kodak Theatre Hollywood, it climaxes at the Supply Sergeant where Linda shows she knows her way around a leather jumpsuit and a crossbow, if not the pronunciation of the word "drowning". Well-directed by unsung skank-meister Danny Steinmann, who hit the big-time with the most entertainingly disgusting FRIDAY THE 13TH installment, PART V, A NEW BEGINNING, then vanished from the landscape. Many Golden Turkeys promise jaw-dropping horrendousness and non-stop cheap laughs but this is one of very few that delivers them, along with a leg-warmered kick to the nutsac. "You're a tough little bitch, arentcha?" Then miss this at your peril! The screening at 12 midnight Friday, March 28, at the Vista Theatre will include a special appearance by co-star Luisa Leschin, who went on to become a top sitcom writer after playing Linda's giggly chola gal-pal.

-----Christian McLaughlin

I'm philosophically opposed to the phrase "so bad it's good," but that's a debate for another day. The Vista is my favorite theater for first-run movies, and provides patrons with an extraordinary amount of legroom (and easy access to the Tiki Ti).


Bob's podcast this week is a selection of his favorite 70's punk songs, so worth checking out even if you can't truck with the sort of extreme hardcore he often showcases. Grab it before it goes away--Saturday morning, he'll be uploading his first installment of an Early Florida Punk series.

And speaking of podcasts, The Rub's History of Hip Hop podcasts are amazing.

Hilarious story: How P.Z. Myers got expelled from a screening of the creationist documentary Expelled! Read to the end--the punchline is what makes it.

Here's another great story: How a WWII Flying Ace found out that he had shot down his favorite author.

Boy, I'm so glad we're finally having that national dialogue about race...

And I just think this Josie and the Pussycats satanic posession comic is really cool.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jeremiah Wright And Hagee/Falwell/etc.

It's getting to be a cliche over the last week to point out that Obama is being publicly crucified over statements made by his minister, Jeremiah Wright, that are in no way more offensive than things routinely said by right wing ministers like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Robert Dobson and John Hagee, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in to the mainstream media, and the Republican slime machine has decided that this is going to be the swift boat that they sink Obama with, so I'm going to bring it up some more.

Wright certainly impresses me as a knuckleheaded goofball, no question. But is there any signifigant difference between what he says and Falwell blaming 9/11 on God's wrath against America for embracing homosexuality, or Hagee making similar statements about Hurricane Katrina, or Hagee saying that the Jews have brought all their suffering on themselves by rejecting Jesus? Well, I think it is different in two ways.

First of all, I keep hearing Pat Buchannan calling Wright's sermons "hate speach," but they strike me more as anger than hate. It's a thin line, to be sure, but the important point is that the target of his hate/anger is an abstract concept--"America"--and not a group of people--gays, Muslims, liberals, feminists, women, immigrants, Catholics, Jews, or even other Christians who don't share all their views. And it's an important distinction, because the atmosphere of hatred the religious right creates is one that can incite violence. Sometimes they even seem to be encouraging it.

The second difference is in how the ideas these ministers spout relates to the policies of their political counterparts. From Glen Greenwald's piece on the issue: "By all accounts, George Bush had private conversations with Pat Robertson about matters as weighty as whether to invade Iraq. John Hagee privately visits with the highest level Middle East officials in the White House and afterwards pronounces that they're in agreement. John McCain shares a stage with Hagee and lavishes him with praise, as Rudy Giuliani did with Pat Robertson. James Inhofe remains a member in good standing in the GOP Senate Caucus." Even beyond these examples, if a party is actively working to push through legislation aimed at limiting the civil rights of gay people or declaring war on immigrants, then their association with public figures who use hateful rhetoric becomes an issue. It's not an issue with Obama, because he has never said or done anything in office that reflects the extreme views of Jeremiah Wright. In fact, his entire career is the opposite of this rhetoric. Does he really strike you as an angry militant? Why should we care who he's associating with, if he clearly doesn't share his views? And why should he even have to make such a huge show of rejecting ideas that his entire career is a clear rejection of?

Well, that's a rhetorical question of course. Because black nutjobs are held to a different standard. When Obama was linked through six degrees of seperation to Farakhan, he had to publicly denounce Farakhan as well, because Farakhan is such a boogeyman. Never mind that Farakhan is a fringe looney with very little real political power (especially compared to someone like Falwell or Robertson). He is dangerous! And remember Bill Clinton attacking Sista Souljah, an even fringier fringe looney who only had what little public profile she had because she was associated with a rap group that probably sold about as many records as The Cure?

But these sort of things probably resonate to some people. Do white folks still believe, somewhere deep down inside, that any minute now the slaves are going to rise up and start slitting our throats?

And you know, I'm OK with Obama not winning, but if Obama doesn't win because of this, then this country is fucked up. And it's dangerously close to Obama not winning because he's black, because (speak up if you think I'm off base about this) it's pretty hard to imagine a black (liberal) politician that doesn't have some association with someone as inflamitory as Jeremiah Wright.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Wyatt Tape (Short Version)

I moved the "Wyatt Tape" post because it was too big and annoying. You can find it here. For a short version, here are the links to the audio:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Queue

I've been on Netflix for a couple months now, and I love it. Practically everything available on region 1 DVD is at my fingertips. I may never set foot in a video store again, which is a little sad but not really. And it's fun always having something to look forward to in the mail. The disadvantage is that long queue. I have around 160 titles in my Q, so you get really impatient looking at those titles at the bottom and knowing your not going to be watching them for another year. (Sure, I could move them up, but I'd just be moving something else down.) Or the knowledge that you have to choose between getting through Battlestar Galactica or starting The Wire.

Another good thing is that it makes it much easier to watch those movies you "should" watch. You know, classic, artsy foriegn films like Tokyo Story or Wild Strawberries. Movies I always tell myself I need to watch, but when I get to the video store there's always something I'd rather see. Now, I put Tokyo Story in the Q (strategically placed between a kung fu flick and a disc of the Led Zep DVD), and when it comes up, it arrives. Of course, then I have to actually watch Tokyo Story, which is a bit of a problem, because I don't really want to watch it. I want to have watched it. But of course, most of these movies end up being much more enjoyable than you'd expect.

Some stuff I've watched recently:

Don't Deliver Us From Evil - All I really knew about this beforehand was that it was a French film from the 70's based on the same incident as Heavenly Creatures. Loosely based--I don't know how accurate HC is (I believe it sticks pretty closely to the facts of the case), but this one is just looney. For one thing, these aren't girls who make bad decisions. They're complete psychopaths who conduct black masses, burn down a farm, and establish a pattern of sexually teasing men until the men try to rape them, at which point they kill or otherwise exact revenge. And we're not talking young Kate Winslet girls here, either. The actresses look maybe 15 at the most. Pretty sick, but it's got an ending that I doubt anyone could see coming.

One-Armed Swordsman - I've been enjoying these Shaw Bros. DVD's from the Weinstiens. I bought 36 Chambers of Shaolin and 5 Fingers of Death from Best Buy, and they're both amazing films. 36 Chambers has commentary by Andy Klein and The Rza, and 5 Fingers has Tarantino, Elvis Mitchell and some other critic. QT is pretty hilarious. There's this one part where the hero's fists start glowing red before he gets into a fight, and Quentin yells out "See that red? That's yo ass!") Anyway, One-Amred Swordsman has a feature called "Instant Action," which is basically the movie stripped down to just the fight scenes. Somehow, the copy I got was fucked up, and it would only play that function, so I have no idea what actually happens in the movie, even though I watched it twice (in less than an hour).

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Bobbie's been getting this one. I've never watched The West Wing, but I understand that people like it because it portrays the president who says and does the things we wish a President would do. Studio 60 is about a network executive and producers who behave the way we'd want them to: taking risks, standing up for creativity, thinking long-term about building a name that means quality. I have a lot of problems with it (it's very...written, and Sarah Paulson strikes me as very miscast for her role), but I'm enjoying it.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's True

You let them gays get married, next thing you know someone's gonna want to marry their dog.