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Showing posts from October, 2005

I remember Halloween (part deux)

Halloween was a great time for me when I was growing up. I don't think I ever had a bad Halloween (no egging, no stolen candy, nothing too scary). I always enjoyed dressing up and going trick-or-treating with either my parents or my friends. I still think highly of this time of year but my take on this day is more as an (gasp!) adult with plenty of room for spooky fun. But the extent of that kind of fun has been with me playing my Misfits mix CD between parties and get-togethers. No chasing small children with rubber knives or decorating our house as a mausoleum for me. I don't remember exactly when I stopped trick-or-treating but sometime in high school, I grew out of it and just gave candy out to whoever stopped by. All my years throughout college (and the four years following it) were spent watching some slasher movie (usually Psycho , Halloween or Student Bodies ) while I hoped some trick-or-treaters would stop by. I never got a single one but then again, trick-or-treating

Sleepaway Camp

Last night at Fallout Lounge, I thought they put on the first Friday the 13th movie on the TV. There were shots of a camp and people boating in a lake and I was waiting for the two camp counselors to go off and do the unthinkable (have sex) while Jason Voorhees drowned. Well, turns out the movie wasn't Friday the 13th - it was a film I had never heard of called Sleepaway Camp . Folks, even with the sound turned off, I was cringing at how bad this flick looked and how much of a knockoff it was. However, I was compelled to see who the killer was (like how I'm curious to see who the villain is at the end of Scooby Doo episodes). I'm not giving away the ending, but the true craziness is that there are four sequels to Sleepaway Camp . OK, I have understood all along that the movie business is a business , but what kind of industry (other than the mainstream music industry) truly believes that making god-awful knock-offs of bad knock-offs is a good thing? If the first Hallowee

Hell House

While I was in Chicago, Nick told me about a film called Hell House , a documentary spotlighting the annual haunted house called Hell House, which is hosted by a church in Cedar Hill (a town just a little southwest of Dallas). I watched the film on Wednesday and I can’t stop thinking about it. Instead of the usual goblins, ghosts and witches jumping out of dark places, Hell House has reenactments of suicides, date rapes, abortions, drunk driving fatalities, family violence and homosexuals dying of AIDS as its scare tactics. The point is to shock the audience that comes out to Hell House and the shock of Hell House the film is that it is surprisingly unbiased and well-done. Before I go any further, I must say this: I find this kind of haunted house as incredibly tasteless, one-sided and very slippery scale-like. For example, thinking that a person would go from reading Harry Potter as a child to playing Magic:The Gathering in the teen years to becoming a suicidal Goth is incredibly st

Halloween III

A few years ago, Matt and I decided to watch the non-critically-acclaimed third installment in the Halloween series, Halloween III:Season of the Witch . I'll allow Matt to tell his side of the story as to why we watched this, but as I recall, we were both bored one night and were really curious to see how bad this movie was. We knew that it wasn't the least bit as good as the first one and this one didn't feature Michael Myers, the villain in the other seven (yes, seven ) movies. Where it went from there was something that could only be described by using lots of colorful adjectives and insults. At least the premise of Halloween III is different and unique compared to the never-ending Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels. There is no Michael Myers, Haddonfield, Laurie Strode or Tommy Doyle found in this film. It's a clean slate with Dr. Dan Chalis coming across an evil toymaker who plans mass carnage on Halloween with masks bought from Silver Shamroc

What's going on in my home at 75 cents an hour?

Keeping with yesterday’s post on MySpace , I bring up the site once again. This time, it’s about the personal quote that appears on most people’s profiles. Some may have a line like “Carpe Diem,” some famous movie line or some inside joke, but I chose a slightly different kind of quote. The line, “What’s going on in my home at 75 cents an hour?” comes from the cherished splatter flick spoof, Student Bodies , and I have a somewhat legit reason as to why I have it up on my page. To give a little background, the scene where the line is said is early into the movie. A babysitter foolishly decides that she wants to have sex with her boyfriend while a mysterious killer named the Breather is on the loose. Well, if you know your splatter flick genre rules, premarital sex equals grisly death so Julie and her boyfriend get snuffed by paper clips and garbage bags. When the parents come home (and before they find the dead bodies in their bedroom), the mother is freaking out about how Julie didn’t

Monsters of MySpace

My friend Geoff has a little blog that he updates from time to time called, Monsters of MySpace . Essentially sticking small needles in the balloon of faux-popularity, MOMS really gets to the bottom of what's going haywire on this site. Before I go any further, I, like Geoff states at the top of his blog, have found some pretty cool bands on MySpace. However, the place is overcrowded with acts that are (to put it politely) worse than mediocre. The way you join MySpace in the first place is you must have an e-mail address and a password. Yes, that's it and it's free. In other words, almost anyone can join and so many people have joined MySpace (34 million and counting). While I think the site is great for getting in touch with people that I know or know of through friends, trying to gain "fans" on MySpace is a big illusion. These "fans" doubling as "friends" may have some interest in your music, but there's a catch. People may have heard of

An Intervention

I had always heard of interventions involving people with drinking problems and drug abuse but never like the one that happened to me less than two years ago. Yes, I had one of those classic, gather round the table and tear a person's problems apart deals, but it wasn't for drinking or drug abuse - it was for my current and future mental stability. Here's the backstory: Given my gig at the time, I didn't have many days off during the holidays. Because of this scheduling, my parents and I ironed out some time together around them (either before or after). In the case of Christmas day, Thanksgiving day and New Year's Day, I spent some time at a relative's house and/or at the house of my boss at the time, Chuck. One of Chuck's daughter's, Christine, was a nice but tough-as-nails non-conformist rockabilly punk who lived nearby. Any holiday I was over at their house, she would be there and we would talk punk rock with her and her husband. On one particular ho

American Wasteland

For the past seven years, a new skateboarding game in the Tony Hawk series has been released. This week is no different as the seventh (yes, seventh) installment, Tony Hawk's American Wasteland , comes out. As a big fan of the series, I dust off my Playstation 2 and give the new game a whirl. I give it high marks but then again, each new game improves upon the last one. No Law of Diminishing Returns here. A new addition to the series is a portion of the game's soundtrack featuring old school punk songs covered by modern punk and hardcore bands. Yes, that's My Chemical Romance doing the Misfits' "Astro Zombies," Thrice doing Minor Threat's "Screaming at a Wall/Seein' Red," Emanuel doing the Stooges' "Search and Destroy" and Taking Back Sunday doing the Descendents' "Suburban Home/I Like Food" to name a few. Hearing these covers makes me think about how the sound of punk rock has slowly become over-polished over the

I remember Halloween

As I take Juliet out on our nightly walks, I look at the houses on our street slowly preparing for Halloween. Tonight, I noticed a few more houses have lights up while some have cobwebs up and some have kid-friendly ghouls and skeletons on display. We won't be dressing up our house this year, but I'll definitely pass out a lot of candy. One thing is certain - I'll be better prepared more than last year. Why do I say this? Here's a recap: We had no idea that people from all over the city flocked to our street on Halloween. Yes, there are some rather large and expensive houses further down our street, but our street is definitely not loaded with people who give away debit cards, watches and make-up packets instead of candy. As far as I know, candy is the only thing that is given out on our street and that's all I'll be giving away this year. Jason will not be around for this year's Halloween due to the fact that he'll be out of town for work. So, I'm h

I can't stop dancin'

There are a variety of reasons as to why I've really gotten into dancing in the last few months. I can't think of all of them now but I'd say the biggest one involves me being in the company of friends and enjoying the music. If I'm diggin' the music and I'm having fun, I just let loose on the dancefloor. All the years of watching Michael Jackson videos (especially "Beat It" and "Bad") and James Brown live footage come out much to some people's surprise. For a while I didn't know if I made a complete fool of myself at Matt's wedding by clearing the dancefloor when Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" came on. Matt, Chris, Tim and Marshall have all assured me that they enjoyed it in a fun way by cheering me on instead of laughing at me. When I have that kind of support from my friends, I let the arms and legs do the talking. A few weeks ago, while I was bopping my head to the sound of Northern Soul and other Mod-related m

Freaks and Geeks

Now that I'm back in Dallas, I'm glad to be back. It's not like I was itching to get the hell out of Chicago, but I was just homesick for the last few days. While I was in Chicago for these last few days, I watched quite a few episodes of Freaks and Geeks . I had seen some of the show courtesy of Matt but this was back before all 18 episodes were available on DVD. With some time on my hands, I believe I watched a total of seven episodes and found myself enjoying all of them for various reasons. The backstory on Freaks and Geeks is that it follows a group of high school "freaks" (aka, burnouts, ugly losers) and "geeks" (aka, nerds, ugly losers) circa 1981. With elements of serious drama and laugh-out-loud comedy, the show was incredibly unique in the fact that nothing was ever wrapped up in a neat bow by the end of each episode. NBC gave the show a lot of chances to find an audience, but they pulled the plug after 18 episodes were filmed. I'm not so

Beat Kitchen Redux

Here's a recap of last night's show at the Beat Kitchen, warts and all: An outsider looking in at two details would say the show was a disaster. "Only" 65-75 people showed up and we didn't add any money to the book printing fund. As far as an insider's perspective (aka, mine), the show was an overwhelming success. From a fan's perspective, I thought all of the acts really stepped up last night. You could say that Nick's music under the Dogme 95 moniker is more performance art than traditional musical performance, but I think the guy has quite a few sweet tunes with all the smoke, beats, loops and percussion. Plus, he really sang his head off. With Hirudin, Kyle told me how the band seemed to have more crappy shows than good shows as of late, but I think he would say that last night's set was pretty on-the-mark great. They were tight as hell and they rolled through an inspired mix of mid-'90s-styled post-hardcore and driving punk. Kyle came acro

The Onion Write-Up

Here's a little write-up in the Onion's Chicago edition: The City On Film w/ The Firebird Band, Hirudin & Dogme 95 Beat Kitchen, 9 p.m., $8, 18+ After Andy Greenwald’s 2003 book, Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, And Emo, infuriated him, Eric Grubbs decided to try and do the ’90s post-punk scene justice with his own history. Post is a work in progress, but publisher Mission Label will host this benefit so that Grubbs’ book can hit the streets sooner rather than later. Two bands whose leaders—former Braid members Bob Nanna and Chris Broach—figure prominently in Post will head the bill. When Braid broke up in 1999, the body was barely cold before Broach formed The Firebird Band anid the remaining three-fourths started Hey Mercedes, whose troubled run ended earlier this year. Nanna has since shifted focus to his former side-project, The City On Film, where he delves into understated pop instead of Hey Mercedes’ full-bore guitar rock. TCOF’s debut, In Formal Introduct

Today is the day (one of many days)

Tonight is the big show at Beat Kitchen and I'm excited. Four acts + good venue + good friends = good time and experience. Full details tomorrow, but for now, I wonder what in the world I'll be doing until tonight. The sun is out so I think I may take some photos of places that have captured my eyes in the last few days. It's official: I'm a Lost fan. I don't understand everything about the plot (I was a latecomer last season) but I find the acting, the writing and the never-ending cliff hangers as reasons to keep watching and fill in the blanks. I haven't intently set time aside to watch a show in years, but this show is better than most of the stuff on TV (and in a lot of cases, better than what's showing at the local movie theater). I set time aside last night to watch and I'll do the same next week.

Happy Birthday

Light one candle because this blog is a year old today. Chicago isn't losing its flavor with me (now the parking situation is a different story) and I'm seeing plenty. The Art Institute and Punk Planet visits went very well yesterday and now I'm wondering what exactly I'll be doing today. I can tell you this, we're all excited about the show at Beat Kitchen tomorrow night and hope that we all have a good time. I'm not placing any bets on how the show may or may not go. I focus on the fact that I'll be seeing four acts that I want to see and hang out with. Stay tuned . . .

I'm walkin'

Yesterday I was a walking fool. I walked all the way to Millennium Park to the Virgin Megastore looped around and went to the Sears Tower area and looped back to the loft. In total, four hours walking on the hard pavement and my feet are still paying for it. My remedy for it? More walking this morning and a car ride this afternoon. I want to hit up a museum called the Art Institute and then visit Punk Planet's office this afternoon. Yes, these are all places that I want to go to and yes, I consider this a vacation. In vacations past I would have grumbled about so much walking. I believe a certain family trip to Williamsburg consisted of a never-ending stream of tours (read, never-ending walks all day) so that was probably the craziest it ever got. Now I enjoy walking around, but not all day. Walking around a city like Chicago with its calm winds and cloudy skies is rather picturesque. Plus, I'm going to places that I want to go to, whether it's a record store, a park or an


I'm here in Chicago and already having a really good time. Nick and I watched Micheal Mann's Collateral last night. As a fan of Tom Cruise (just as long as I keep the TV off and don't click on all those video interviews on the 'net) and Jamie Foxx (just as long as I avoid Stealth ), I thought they were perfect in a film that didn't bow to cliches or routine black-and-white crime noir. Prior to seeing this, the only Mann film I had seen was Manhunter . Yes, the first film adaptation of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon was called that and it feels more like a Miami Vice episode (Mann was one of the men behind that show by the way) than anything else. Collateral makes me want to see Mann's other work like Heat and the Insider . Yes, it's that good. A few years ago, I had a spell where I enjoyed rather over-the-top action crime flicks starring the likes of Bruce Willis. Those were cool but other than big shootouts after one-liners and more shootouts, I slow

Blog Tag

Tagged by Can You See the Sunset from the Southside? 1. If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life? Being creative and happy. 2. Money is just that - an object, so why aren't you doing it? Who said I wasn't? 3. What's better: horses or cows? Cows because Greg Brady sang, "Cows never laughed before/beanstocks never grow." Wait, that was " Clouds never laughed before." Seriously, you can do more with a cow than you can with a horse (insert your own twisted humor/logic here). 4. What do you think the secret to happiness is? Understanding one's weaknesses and gifts and everything in between. Understanding there is very little we can control in our lives. Finally, knowing that no one else will ever be on the same exact page with you on everything. 5. When was the last time you had a dream that you either remember well or did not want to awake from? Can you share a bit? I dreamed I met Jeremy London ( Mallrats , 7th Heaven ) in a book

That's My Philosophy

I never took a philosophy class in college (I took three sociology classes). I've never read a classic philosophy book, though I have attempted to read Irwin's The Simpsons and Philosophy and Seinfeld and Philosophy books. So why do I wax philosophical all the time on this blog? Well, there are a few reasons why. For starters, I enjoy talking about certain things (ie, music, movies, books) that traditionally are thought of as throwaway accessories by others that I think are deep and full of meaning. This explains posts on Scooby-Doo , The Warriors , and various bands/artists. Film school warped my sense of seeing things in the sense that there is more to the experience than just what is in front of the recording device. I spent too many hours dissecting what Hitchcock was trying to say with Psycho that I went a tad overboard (and have since retracted a little bit). Films say a lot, even a movie like Student Bodies (as I've blogged on before). A few years ago, I started

Hair Metal = Emo Cheese?

Yet another excerpt from Post , this time from the epilogue chapter entitled "Pause": The kind of excitement around these young bands is different than the way it used to be. “I think it’s more akin to the hair metal scene of the late ‘80s,” Scott Schoenbeck says. “People were excited about that too. I mean come on, bands nowadays do autograph sessions and synchronize their ‘rock moves.’” Schoenbeck brings up an excellent point: a lot of these cheesy emo bands are very much like the hair metal bands in the 1980s. I'm talking the same tackiness that can be seen in almost any mass-marketed genre, but with many similarities between these two. Cheesmo (emo + cheese, get it?) bands have messy hair, wear tight vintage clothing and play wimpy pop songs while hair metal had big hair, wore tight leather outfits, ripped jeans and shirts and performed overblown pop songs with guitar solos. Just like it happened with hair metal, cheesmo is becoming more of a joke that is due to even

Haven't Got Time for the Pain

Call it a blogger's curse: you can add my name to the list of bloggers like Frank and Torr that are between paying gigs. Yes, I was let go from my producer/reporter gig on Monday soley because of budget reasons. There was no ugliness to it; there was no shouting, no name-calling and no storming out of a room. I had suspicions that it was going to happen to me and well, it happened. However, I didn't combust, lose all my friends and family or be chased by a swinging baseball bat because of this. This was just like being in a car accident, getting cancer or getting excessive junk mail - this can happen to anyone. Of course it's not fair, but then again, life doesn't bend for us - we bend for it. I had no control on whether or not I could keep my job; I just was let go and that was that. I have no ill feelings about my former employer. However, the feeling I've had since Monday morning is the feeling of being dumped. I've felt this feeling before but then again,

Things end but new things begin too

In light of recent events, I feel it's only fitting to post a few excerpts from Post on things ending and dealing with moving on: from The Get Up Kids: “I remember we were flying to Australia, we flew through Hong Kong and I sat Matt down and was like, ‘Dude, this isn’t fair to the band. You need to tell everyone what’s on your mind. You need to get it out. We need to call a meeting right when we land in Sydney and sort this shit out,’” Ryan Pope says. “So, we did that. We met up in my hotel room and Matt pretty much just said without even saying, ‘I want to tour less,’ it sounded like, ‘I don’t really think I want to do this anymore.’ He said that while he said, ‘I don’t want to tour at all’ – it wasn’t like, ‘I don’t want to tour as often,’ it was like, ‘I don’t want to tour.’ And with that, we were like, ‘Well, this is over.’” There were definitely mixed feelings between band members, but they all realized that they needed to split. “I remember I was like, ‘Well great, now what

Warriors, Mods and a Music Nerd

Two recent films that have spent some time in my DVD player were The Warriors and Quadrophenia . Both came out in 1979 and both cover youthful rebellion but in very different ways. I was never someone who roamed around town looking for trouble. I was someone that stayed in, listened to records, read magazines, watched TV and played video games for many of my high school weekends in the spring and summer. I was too busy with marching band stuff during fall and winter to really get out much, so I made the most out of my time there. So whenever I see movies about violence and youths, I can't say that I really experienced that kind of stuff. Jocks and cheerleaders mingled with student council and other fellow preppies while everyone else was in their own little bubble. I don't remember much tension between cliques; I remember mostly general misunderstanding and ignorance. There were no gangs or turfs; just some name-calling between the students with separate interests at Kingwood

Punk Planet reviews

Here are some of my reviews found in Punk Planet . With each new issue there will be more reviews posted, so check back with this page. Issue #72 Reviewer Spotlight: Red Animal War, Breaking in an Angel I always hear stories about how people feel drawn to go out of their way to help a band out because of a certain record or show. For me, that draw came from seeing Red Animal War play live in a renovated car garage in 1999. Seeing them play a powerful blend of post-hardcore and punk so convincingly inspired me to go out of my way to help them out in any way that I could. I had a radio show where I could have bands as guests on the air so I asked them to come by a few weeks later. It was something to at least to get their name out there. Luckily, Deep Elm signed them a short while later and released Breaking In An Angel in 2001. While the band went on to make strong efforts with Ed Rose and J. Robbins, I keep coming back to their first, self-produced album. I don’t think it’s because of