Archive | September, 2009

As Tiiiiime Goes By…

29 Sep

handAck! No posts for a little while, and such is life. I’ve been getting ready for next week’s show at the Hotel Utah (Facebook event is here), which is going to be super fun, but has eaten up a ton of my time. We’re doing a totally different show this time around, with an acoustic band featuring cello, violin, upright bass, trumpet and trombone, and, of course, three vocalists. Because of that, I have… an entire set’s worth of music to chart out. Again. Hmm. Might not have thought this through.

The upside is that once we do this show, I’ll have a full set of charts for all the music for both full-on electric band and acoustic band, and I probably won’t have to do this sort of marathon chart-writing again.  The downside is… well.. marathon chart-writing.  Blurg.

Anyhow.  I have a few things I want to write about – some good local music, a fun thing I heard about last week’s Mad Men lawnmower incident, some great iPhone games to try, but I won’t be able to find the time until later this week.  Until then, thanks for stopping by, and mark your calendars for next Thursday!

Rest In Peace

23 Sep

Here lies The Internets

Yesterday I heard a lady on a cell at Trader Joe’s say it, and she just sounded so pleased with herself…

Sigh. Let’s just accept it and move on. There will be time to grieve later.

“Adventureland” – A Hearty Endorsement

23 Sep

Are you looking for a really good movie?  A movie that will make you feel warm and fuzzy about things, about people, that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you want to believe in true love again?  My friend, it is with gusto that I recommend to you Adventureland.

Adventureland Hilltop

It’s not the film you may think it is – though it was directed by the same guy, (Greg Mottola), it is totally not some goofy Superbad-ish comedy about pervy teenagers. Also, though it features Kristen Stewart, AKA “Girl from Twilight,” it is not some overwrought teen romance movie. What it is is a heartfelt, beautifully shot coming-of-age movie with a killer soundtrack, part Dazed and Confused and part Garden State. I mean both of those comparisons in a good way.

It’s kind of like when the Farrely Brothers made “Outside Providence” – based on the ad campaign, everyone thought it was a goofy gross-out flick when it was actually this really sweet, nostalgic, and personal movie about family and one’s place in the world. Just as with Providence, one gets the sense that Adventureland is a very personal film, based on Greg Mottola’s own experience (it is). It also captures a place and time (Pittsburgh in 1987) in much the same manner as Providence captured Rode Island in the 70’s. And the film is similarly well-written, generous to its large, hilarious cast, and really easy on the eyes.

Adventureland Fireworks

Adventureland Lisa P

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig

Adventureland Jessie Eisenberg

Plus, Freaks and Geeks fans rejoice, it features the one and only Martin Starr.  In a speaking role!  That lasts more than a few scenes!

Martin Starr 3

And, as if that weren’t enough, you get to see Bill Hader do this:

Adventureland Bill Hader Baseball Bat

And did I mention?  Martin Starr!!

Adventureland Martin Starr 1

So, seriously.  Go rent it!

The Fantastic Mundane

21 Sep

New Pornographers Twin Cinema DetailI recently read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Matt Zoller Seitz’s article on IFC, titled “The Mundane Fantastic.”  In it, he discusses how even in this age where entire scenes and even films can be composed digitally (with no camera at all), filmmakers still strive to re-create the physical camera. As he points out, they go so far as to add lens flare, camera vibration, simulated hand-held camera jitters, and in one notable case, a speck of dirt on the lens of a camera floating in space.  A speck of dirt that never existed, on a camera that was never there.

The question Zoller Seitz has set out to explore is, “why?” As CGI moves further and further along the path towards being able to re-create reality wholesale without the need of any analog camera or audio equipment, why is it that filmmakers are moving away from the clean, fixed-camera work of earlier films and more towards artificially flawed, “real” seeming work?  As MZS states:

…with cinema in the final stages of its digital evolution — the production process evolving from one that used to be entirely analog, with component pieces (film, tape) that one could literally hold in one’s hand, to a digital process wherein almost every stage is created electronically, and the bits don’t physically exist in quite the same way — it’s worth asking where this craving for “believability” comes from and how it’s being expressed via the camera. I think it has to do with the subliminal knowledge (on the part of filmmakers more so than the viewers) that reality is imperfect, and that to make a moment seem real, one must present it somewhat imprecisely, to counteract the meticulous, slightly inhuman slickness of CGI.

I think he’s onto something, particularly in how he discusses earlier special-effects-driven films, and how by today’s documentary-style, post-Bourne compositional style, even rock ‘em sock ‘em movies like Back To The Future and Terminator 2 seem staid and evenly composed.

The difference between the “Forbidden Planet” approach and the herky-jerky style of so many current special effects-driven movies is the difference between spending a long, meditative afternoon in front of a foreign landmark and Chevy Chase hustling his family from one highlight to another in “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”: “Hey, look kids! There’s Big Ben! And there’s Parliament!” Even 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” arguably the opening salvo in CGI’s dominance of the modern special effects epic, feels stately and classical compared to “District 9” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Director James Cameron breaks out the handheld camera for fight scenes, but elsewhere relies on smooth Steadicam and dolly shots (and a fair number of static images and locked-down pans).

N'Dugu ChancellorThe whole thing has me thinking a lot about music production, and about how the exact same questions and trends apply, though on a slightly different timeline. I’ve been listening to a lot of Michael Jackson lately (whether I want to or not), and I can’t help but notice the sparseness, the almost quaint style of his records, particularly Thriller.  The instrumentation on Billie Jean is incredibly sparse – just drums, bass, a single keyboard, and strings.  The tune works like it does because of the almost ridiculously strong groove from drummer N’dugu Chancellor, and the fact that it was recorded in a way that gives what the recording engineer, Bruce Swedien calls “Sonic Personality.” As he points out, there are very few songs that can be immediately identified by the first few drum beats – the amount of work they put into the mix (detailed in Swedien’s afore-linked-to post) really paid off.

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I Love You, San Francisco

19 Sep

The Marina
Giants Stadium

City CarShare

Music In The Park

Stow Lake

Alcatraz

Feet In The Presidio

Just sayin’.

TV Round-Up

18 Sep

The summer has come to a close, and with it, I’ve wrapped up several shows I was watching and started several others.  Also: is it just me, or has the standard fall/winter/no summer TV schedule ceased to mean anything at all?  Here it is late september, and Mad Men is just heating up, 30 Rock doesn’t start for a month, Lost and Chuck aren’t around until 2010, and So You Think You Can Dance is on.  Again.  Where am I?  What time is it? Where are my pants? Anyway.

True Blood:  Admiral Cain vs. Frank Sobotka = Everybody Wins

true-blood-eric-posterI thought that season 2 of True Blood was flippin’ great, though I was a bit disappointed by some of the later episodes. Mainly the resolution of the Fellowship of the Sun plotline, which felt like it wrapped it up too quickly in order to have a few episodes left to deal with Maryann.  I think that perhaps it’s because the show feels forced to revolve around Sookie at all times, so they needed her to be present for both story resolutions?

But check it: the fact of the matter was that, love it or hate it, Maryann’s storyline was really Tara and Sam’s storyline – they were the reason for the season,  were the ones caught up in it, and it would have made sense if they had been the ones to resolve it.  Having Sookie wander in at the last minute to sit around and be mad about Gran’s house and then sort of weakly push over an idol with some electricity powers seemed weird.  And forced.

Don’t get me wrong, it was cool to bring everyone together, and Jason and Andy’s unlikely alliance was great, but it didn’t seem as though the writers were wrapping up the season with a desire to really make the resolution interesting, from a character standpoint.  I’m picturing a way better finale with Sam finding a way to rescue Tara from Maryann’s influence and the the two of them leading a scrappy insurrection against her, with Tara being forced to kill Eggs, and Sam almost dying in order to save the day… and all of that playing out at the same time as the resolution in Dallas, so that everything felt bigger and more epic.  Maybe even if they found a way to weave the two stories together somehow? I bet there are some interesting drafts on the writers’ room floor, is what I’m saying.

But still, season two was still really good times, and I looked forward to the show every week.  Just a bunch of dumb hicks getting wasted and screwing, with lots of blood and Alex Skaarsgard rocking the shit – hard to fault the show too much, you know? Also, damn – I’ve always been a fan, but Anna Paquin just might be the sexiest chick on TV the moment. Good lord.

Nurse Jackie:  Is That All There Is?

nurse-jackie-2Hmm. Not so sold on this one.  Nurse Jackie seemed like it was gonna be really great, and, as a friend of mine put it, I could watch Edie Falco do her laundry and it’d be pretty cool, but still.  Is that really all there is?  I think this show fell victim to the half-hour-dramedy syndrome.  It’s enough time to get some laughs, if you’re focusing on the “medy,” but it’s not enough time to truly develop any “Dram.”

After a while, it just started to feel as though every episode started with a possible conflict, teased around the conflict, had some funny bits, and then ended with Jackie standing outside of the hospital, giving a mirthful shrug off into the heavens, putting her hands in her pockets and walking on down that lonely ol’ road.  And then the next episode would rinse and repeat, and nothing would ever actually go anywhere.

Also, as Sepinwall pointed out, the show did a great disservice to Anna Deavere Smith’s character – she was never really developed beyond being an inconsistent foil, and anytime she walked on camera, that Super-Irritating Plinky Music Of Wackiness started playing.  God, do I hate the SIPMOW.  It’s such laziness, writer’s shorthand to cue the audience when on-screen events aren’t making things clear.

Anyhow, I thought this show could’ve been good, and the supporting cast is great, but there just wasn’t enough there there for me to want to come back.  It was a lot like Weeds, actually, though the premise is stronger, the supporting cast far less irritating, and the leading lady a better actor.  Even with all that going for it, it still felt a bit pointless.  This about sums it up: I watched the finale and didn’t realize it was the finale, and for weeks was looking for the finale to download, until I finally realized that I’d watched the finale, so I had to go read a recap to remember what had happened.  Not a good sign.

In Treatment Season 2:  Oh My God, With The Acting Already

In Treatment Paul and AprilJFC. This show stands as, like, a testiment to old-school acting, to everything that the thespianic among us strive for.  For character, for consistency, for showing and not telling, for the mystery of the human face.  The writers and directors work so, so tirelessly to make it happen, and the camera just unflinchingly shows what these people are going through, and the whole thing is so unbelievably well-done and compulsively enjoyable and engaging… it’s like, the opposite of what people who complain about television’s shallowness describe.  The whole thing feels like a grand experiment in programming that is working, and even as I’m watching it, I still can’t believe it exists.

Actors must get their agents to kill people to get them on this show, huh?  I thought that everything about season two was even better than season one – the sessions were cleaner, the characters a bit more appealing, the season-long plot (the lawsuit, etc) more engaging.  And considering that I effing loved season one, that’s no small thing.

The way in which Paul’s own persona drama (with his dying father) tied into the problems of his patients was more elegantly executed than his failing marriage in season one, and far less painful to watch. And the cast!  Holy hell, the cast!  To a one, they were perfect, and Gabriel Byrne must be the best dad in the world in real life, because the chemistry he has with kids… gosh.  His scenes with Aaron Shaw (who played Oliver) were just heartbreaking, man. The little turtle! Who carried his house on his back!

And do I even need to point out the ridiculous awesomeness of Allison Pill?  Woah.  After Mia Wasikowska rocked it so hard in season one, it was hard to imagine anyone one-upping her, but I really think that Pill did.  And everyone else, too… it was an incredible season, and even though it is longer than an average TV season, it seemed to just fly by.  I highly recommend it.

Onward To The Future:  You’re Gonna Need A Bigger DVR

REAPER

YES

And so those three seasons are over, and we have several more to take their places.  I think that Mad Men is off to a great start, unsurprisingly, and am really stoked to get to watch the show on my sister’s amazing new LCD HDTV.  There’s some sort of irony in the fact that the amazing technology they use to shoot the show serves to make their old-school period details look so incredible, but I don’t want to get sidetracked.  Love it.  The Office and Dollhouse start up again soon, and given how hard I thought the Dollhouse “Epitaph One” bonus episode rocked, as well as the just-announced fact that frickin’ Ray Wise is also joining the cast (in addition to what appears to be the entire former cast of every Joss show ever, as well as most of Battlestar Galactica), I am pumped for the new season.  A lot.  Glee continues to worm its way into my heart, if only because I like to talk about the problems I had with a given episode as much as I like to talk about the parts I liked, so the whole thing is a pretty enjoyable experience.

I’m also getting mentally prepared to bust through the two existing seasons of Breaking Bad, which I know is the best show since sliced bread, and that I’ll love it, but have gotten enough “don’t watch this show before you go to bed, it will wreck you” warnings that I’m feeling scared of it.  But, time to bunker down and watch, I guess.

And I guess that’s it!  Wait, no, there’s also Always Sunny, 30 Rock, and David Simon’s upcoming HBO series about Jazz Musicians in New Orleans, (Yes, you read that right) called “Treme.” Wow, that’s plenty of TV – no worries to Chuck and Lost, or any of the other shows that are delaying their start.  You guys go ahead and take your time. There are so many of you, and you’re all so good!

The Exited Door, in Wordle

17 Sep

Thanks to Sonia for showing me Wordle.net, where I input all the text from my blog series on the creation of The Exited Door.

The Exited Door Wordle

Yeah, I'd say this about sums it up. (Click to enlarge.)

Blog Love

17 Sep

Thats A Lotta HitsSo, yesterday, for some reason, the kind and generous folks at wordpress decided that my post about the video montage I made deserved to be featured as one of eight or so “freshly pressed” posts on their homepage. By the end of the day, I had over 1,500 hits on the page, which, well, is just a little bit more than I get on a usual day.

So, um… Holy Hell!  Thank you WordPress!   I’m not sure what I did to deserve that, but I’m so glad you decided to share that post, instead of the one from the day before about Patrick Swayze.

More than anything, getting so many hits made me want to share the love, so I thought I’d post a list of some of the blogs I read, with the hope that some of you will click through and give them a read.

Of course, I read the same giant, famous blogs as everyone else (Gawker, HuffPost, Idolator, Sullivan), but what follows is a list of five blogs that are less well-known than those, but no less awesome. All are bookmarkables that you should check out.

I'll Flip You For Real

I’ll Flip You. Flip You For Real is written by San Francisco culture journo Beth Spotswood, and oh, man, is it a good time. Hers was the first SF scene/culture blog I started reading shortly after I moved out here, and while I don’t actually know Beth (read: “Spots”),  I feel like I do, after years of reading about her on-again-off-again one-sided love affair with Gavin, her adventures in SF bars and dives that I had never even heard of, let alone been to, and her stories  of the the always-engaging randomania one encounters being a culture journalist in San Francisco.  If you live in SF, this blog is a must-read.

Always More To Hear

Always More to Hear is a music blog by the fantastic Jamie Friedman, a writer and musician in the bay area. Her blog is written from a place of subjective personal experience of music, which I find far preferable to the tendency of so many music blogs to annoit themselves the Arbiters of What Is Good And Hip In Music. Plus, today is her one-year blogiversary!

Lo Resolution

Low Resolution is written by Joe Reid, who used to write for Television Without Pity back in its heyday.  After that site was… changed, yeah, let’s say changed, by Bravo and NBC, Joe has moved on to other things, writing for Soapnet and The Film Experience, among other great blogs.  Joe’s opinions on film and television are always funny and interesting, and he has recommended many a great film that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Tapeworthy

Tapeworthy is the blog of Vance Hues, a TV and Theatre writer who lives in Canada.  Vance write tons of great stuff about broadway, theatre, films, and, of course, So You Think You Can Dance, and contributes to Joe’s awesome post-show round tables at Low Resolution.  Vance is really fast about getting tons of video up really quickly after a given night of SYTYCD, and is a highly recommended first stop for post-show analysis.

Heist Jewelry

Heist Jewelry is the blog of Jewlery designer and all-around-cool-chick Tiffany Zadi, who I know from school.  I really enjoy her posts, and it’s nice having someone to read who is as aware of the fashion and art worlds as she is. I’m not the most fashionable dude, so it’s cool to see what’s happening in that world.

line

So there ya have it.  Five blogs that I highly recommend checking out, all of whom should be getting thousands of hits not just one random day, but every day.  Other great sites that I dearly love include Insult Swordfighting, TheSoniaShow, Tomato Nation, My New Plaid Pants, and The House Next Door.

Also, for all who stopped by yesterday, I feel I should note that I’m not actually that obsessed with Trader Joe’s food and the 6 Parnassus. I do really like Papalote salsa that much, though.

We’re Gonna Need A Montage

16 Sep

South Park Montage 2So, after cutting together a bunch of audio and video from the first-ever performance of “The Exited Door,” it became clear that I had too much of both – I couldn’t really imagine finishing, editing, and posting videos of every song, and I also couldn’t imagine everyone out there sitting there and watching that much video.

It was clear that there was only one thing to do. In the words of Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

The day is approaching
to give it your best
and you’ve got to reach your prime

that’s when you need
to put yourself to the test
and show us a passage of time

we’re gonna need a montage
(montage!)
a show-playing montage
(montage!!)

So, without further ado, I give you the official video montage of last week’s show.  It is seriously good times.

It, and other fun live videos, can all be found in widescreen on my YouTube Channel.  And if the montage-y-ness leaves you wanting to hear more, well… good! Only thing to do is come out to the next one!

Full Band Onstage 2

Jumbotronic

15 Sep

Kirk National Anthem ATT Park Jumbotron

Well, guess I can check that one off.

Farewell, Patrick Swayze

15 Sep
16789-25701

"Son, it breaks my heart to say this, but I believe you are a very troubled and confused young man. I believe you are searching for the answers in all the wrong places."

Wow. In what has been a banner year for celebrity deaths, here comes another big one.  Rest in peace, Patrick. Donnie and I never agreed on this, but I never thought you were the fucking antichrist. Far from it, in fact.

So today, I’ll pour one out for you, and remember to: live my life in search of the extreme, to embrace love over fear, to never start anything inside the bar unless it’s absolutely necessary, and to be wild. WILD!!!

(Also, if you’re keeping track, that’s Thriller, Sixteen Candles, and Dirty Dancing, all gone in the space of a few months. 2009 has been a brutal year for the eighties, God.)

Monday’s Person I Want To Be

14 Sep

Imogen!It’s been a while since I posted a MPIWTB, and it took someone pretty special to make me post again.  And this monday, I found just such a special someone.

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about my live performance and where I could go with it, so it seems fitting that right now, I can’t help but want to be Imogen Heap.

And it isn’t because of “Hide and Seek,” though I will not deny the absolute awesomeness of that particular song. No, the reason I want to be the lovely Miss Heap is as follows:

DAMN. I like to loop and everything, but this takes it to a whole new level – I’m not even sure of half of what she’s doing, and that custom MIDI controller she’s using is… intimidating. I’m a huge fan of controllers that have no branding or big stupid displays, just button after button after button of tone-controlling awesomeness.  Outstanding!

And after watching that performance, I’m left with so many questions – is her laptop really all her rig consists of, or is there a stack of synths in a rack somewhere backstage?  Were any of those beats pre-recorded, or did she really input them all live?  How much must she have had to practice to get all that down? But most of all, I’m left wondering, “When is Imogen Heap next playing San Francisco?”

My hat is off to you, Imogen.  You’ve abducted the concept of one-woman-band loopery and taken it straight into the future.  Also, you remind me of a way more awesome version of The Ross Gellar Musical Journey (1:35 in particular):

Infinite time, indeed.

Murfins and Burgalinks

11 Sep

Glee!More Gleeful, To Be Sure– So, I watched the second episode of Glee, and the show has gotten a little bit clearer, at least in terms of some of the questions I had about the nature of the show’s reality.  The scene in which our drama queen prima donna was standing in the hallway, singing at the object of her crush as he obliviously talked to his girlfriend, made it clear that we are fully in “musical reality,” so, more fantasy than gritty realism.  But the show still has some serious consistency issues – one minute, we’re watching overwrought but enjoyable musical numbers, and the next, two female characters are joking about bulimia, and how a girl high schooler’s lack of a gag reflex will be really valuable later in life. Woah, horsey!  That was a funny joke, but dang.  Sepinwall reviewed the start of the season, and has some similar issues… I’ll still be watching, since it’s funny, and totally fun, but still… questions remain.

The Beatles Rock BandLet It Be?– The Beatles: Rock Band is out, and by most accounts, it is awesome.  Not everyone’s so taken with the game, however – Mitch Krpata at Insult Swordfighting has an interesting take on it – mainly, that due to the reverence that the original shows to the Fab Four, it makes it feel like you are merely going through the motions, that the game “elevates the Beatles over the player.”  It is indeed no small distinction, and a big part of why Beatles fans so much enjoy the game, while folks who didn’t grow up worshipping them (present company included) may not get quite the same level of joy out of it.  However: I gotta say, when you’re dealing with something that is as sacred to as many people as the Beatles Ouvre, I think it might be better to err on the side of caution.  If you’ve been watching the debacle about the inclusion of Kurt Cobain’s likeness in Guitar Hero 5 (in addition to Nirvana songs, you can make him sing, like, Bon Jovi), you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The Chain-Link Fence Was Cool, Though-- As you may recall, I did not particularly care for The Final Destination.  Neither did Dustin Rowles at Pajiba, and he puts his problems with the film far more succinctly than I could.

Too Many Beasts– Many have discussed the recent takeover of Marvel by Disney, but my favorite take on it might be by Penny Arcade. Beast redundancies, indeed.

Rogan=Sandler?– Mick LaSalle wrote a really interesting column in the Chronicle about the transient nature of a comedian’s popularity. Something that’s been hashed over before, but a well-articulated take on the question, nonetheless.

Birds on WireNot The Goldie Hawn Movie– I’m all for looking to the natural world for inspiration, hearing the sounds around you and turning them into music. It’s a great way to get outside of your head, out of whatever rhythms and melodies you’ve been kicking around – this takes it to an absolutely beautiful new level.

The Peggle-Drain Solution– Coming to a store near you: solar-powered iPhone cases that charge the phone.  WOW. I want this, like, so much.  Amazing.

Megan Fox, Possibly Cool. Possibly Joe at LowRes looks forward to the films of the fall – he’s looking forward to Jennifer’s Body, and I gotta say – so am I!  I kinda think it’s going to be awesome… here’s hoping, anyway.  I have this feeling that Diablo Cody is really going to deliver, and, well, Amanda Seyfried!

I Leave You With This– Did you know that there is a Sherlock Holmes movie coming out?  Starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes?  And Jude Law as Watson?  And it’s directed by Guy Richie?  Because, damn.  The trailer may look a bit action-packed, but you can’t deny that this is going to be a fun movie.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

How To Kill An Earworm

10 Sep
eating-fish

Or, "Get A Bigger Earworm."

We’ve all had it happen – one minute, you’re in your car, listening to a groovy tune on the radio, enjoying the kicky beats, humming the melody, signaling your turns 1 to 300 feet in advance – you know, enjoying life. You turn off the car and walk into the store, scarcely noticing that you’re still humming that melody from the radio.

Five minutes later, as you look through various types of oatmeal (“steel cut or classic?” you wonder), you are still humming the tune. “Hmm,” you think, “that is a catchy number.”

In the checkout line, it’s back, this time with some half-mumbled lyrics, an approximation of the words you didn’t understand, perhaps a few times through the first stanza of the chorus.

As you unpack your groceries and re-arrange the fridge to fit the massive quantity of yogurt you inexplicably purchased, you find yourself whistling it again. doo-doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo-dweee…

That evening, in the shower, it comes back. Whistling blends with humming, which blends with the lyrics, mutated into some strange version of their original form. The acoustics in the shower are really nice.

As you fall asleep, you can’t help but get the sense that something is wrong, something has burrowed deep down inside you, that there is an invader in your brain. You hum to yourself as you doze off…

You barely sleep. In the morning, the song is still there. It’s no longer enjoyable; it’s like having hiccups, but less frequent and more melodious. You go to the internet and look up the proper lyrics to the song, but that makes it worse, because you realize that the song was actually not about what you thought it was about, but is actually about death/sexually transmitted disease/life in the South.

By lunchtime on the second day, you are in agony. Any time you look away from your desk, or have to get up to go to the bathroom or the employee lounge, the song returns. It’s bothering the people nearby, and has begun to spread to those around you – roommates, S.O.s, co-workers. You feel as though your brain is not your own, as if it is being held hostage by some alien presence, a mind control ray sent via FM radio.

With constant vigilance, you manage to think of other things, but the slightest lapse in concentration brings about the return of the cursed refrain. Will this madness never end???

Oh, boy. You have an earworm.

It happens all the time, to me, to you, to everyone – folks have studied it, written books and essays about it, but as yet, there is no cure. Well, I’ve got the next best thing. I’ve got the earworm destroyer.

Happy Pants

What have I done.

I should preface this by saying that I’m sharing out of guilt – by writing and then sharing the video of the performance of “Happy Pants,” I have created possibly the single worst earworm of my musical career thus far. “You’ve Changed,” Lindsay’s feature from The Exited Door, is pretty earwormgy (based on highly scientific reports from my friends and roommates), but that song is nothing compared to… The Pants.

Perhaps it’s the simplicity of the melody, or the fact that not only does the melody sequence and repeat itself within the phrase, it also repeats over and over in its entirety (they don’t call it a loop for nothing). It doesn’t matter why, really. All that matters is that I have unleashed great evil upon the world, and so it is my duty to deal with that evil.

So. You know when, in movies, there is a huge, killer robot wrecking shit all over town, so they go out and find a bigger, huger, more-killer-er robot to fight it? Like, when Mothra was terrorizing Tokyo, so they summoned Godzilla to fight her? Or when the velociraptors were about to kill Dr. Grant and the kids, and the Tyrannosaurus swooped in and saved them? Or in that South Park with the Super Best Friends and the giant, killer Abraham Lincoln? Or, when Simon Phoenix was blowing up all the Taco Bells in future LA, so they unfroze Sylvestor Stallone to catch him by …blowing up all the Taco Bells in LA?

That’s what’s required here, too. And I’ve got the ultimate earworm killer, the song that is the badass-est earworm of all, guaranteed to sandblast even the most stubborn of melodies. Ladies and gentlemen, behold your huger robot:

Bam. Problem solved. Of course, you’ve got a new problem… in that you’ve now got Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” stuck in your head, most likely for the better part of a week. But hey, is that really so bad? I mean, come on. It’s Astley, man!

Pictures and Videos from the Rickshaw Show!

8 Sep

I’m hard at work cutting together video and audio of the show, and I’ve got the first one up – it’s of our opening tune, “Happy Pants,” and I’m really happy with how it came out.  Man, what a horn section:

Thanks again to Tom Nowak for shooting the video! There will be more videos from the show soon, since a bunch of songs are keepers, but I thought it’d be a good idea to pace myself.  Next one will be up today or tomorrow – it’ll either be “The First Time,” Dan’s big show-stopper “The Mayor,” or our closer, “Sweet Revenge.”

Second, I heard from photog-at-large Flip Cassidy about pictures he took from the show, and man, did he get some good ones! I put them all together over on my myspace site, and will probably also get them up on Facebook soon, but in the meantime, here are some highlights:

Lindsay and Ray Charles

Kirk & The Armelodica

Dan Nervo

Brian Fox

Dan Plays Xylo

Lindsay Garfield

Kirk At The Keyboard

Todd Weinman

Lindsay and Kirk

Dan Apczynski

Wailin' on the Clarinet

Thanks, Flip, you rule!

So You Think You Can Make A List…

7 Sep

Top+25+Courtney+Gev01…of the top 25 So You Think You Can Dance routines of all time?  A daunting task, to be sure, but it was with this task in mind that Joe R., the master blogger of Low Resolution, set out to recruit a band of peeps to help him make one.

And recruit them he did – Vance from Tapeworthy of the northeast lands, and from the dark TWoP-Barrows past the mountains, he found Jeff and Lauren S.  And to complete their foursome, Joe did find a young bard from the westlands by the name of… Kirk.  United by common purpose, and they made their lists, and Joe combined them into one master list.

And it was good.

So, check it out!  It was really fun to take the memory-lane trip that making my list required, and our final master list is pretty outstanding. Plus, I didn’t see seasons 1-2, so it’s fun to watch the videos Joe’s posted.

Season 6 starts this week, are y’all ready?  Honestly, I’m actually not that sure I am… two hours a week is a big commitment in the fall.  But what am I saying?  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Six Video Stills to Tantalize and Amaze

6 Sep

I’m starting to work on editing the audio and video of last Thursday’s show (shot by the amazing Tom Nowak) and I wanted to share a few stills.

Because dudes. Well… see for yourselves:

Sweet Revenge 2

Happy Pants 1

Khamara Intro

Dan Continues To Be The Mayor

Plunger Horns

Sweet Revenge 4

…Yeah.  It’ll take a little while to get the videos and audio into shape for YouTube, but the finished product is going to be worth the wait.

Cheers, and enjoy your Sunday!

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

5 Sep

Amanda Whitman 1

Amanda Whitman 2 Continue reading

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