Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Now that summer school's over (all A's, no big deal) I've been spending the majority of my days being assaulted from all sides by a variety of visual, audio and mental stimulation of my choosing. In the interest of forcing my own unreasonably impassioned and surprisingly uneducated opinions onto others while saving enough of my own free time to pursue the much more pressing issue of reading a book by the river all day long, I've decided to spit out some fly-by-night reviews in short, controlled bursts. Aliens - style.

CINEMA (Netflix & otherwise):

"The Hurt Locker"
Kathryn Bigelow has long been a queen of uneven yet solidly entertaining genre films. "Near Dark" is cowboy-vampire-noir that takes itself seriously in a refreshing way and features the greatest barroom massacre ever. "Point Break" is the first buddy-cop film to stare its own inherent retardation directly in the face and willfully force it into the realm of almost respectable Zen surreality, and the foot chase scene is exemplary. "Strange Days" combines well-worn sci-fi tropes with the mysterious allure of the snuff film and almost makes mini-discs seem cool. As much as I love all three of those movies, they really can't measure their dicks with the same ruler as her newest gut-punch of tension-stiffened celluloid. It's not so much a storytelling process as an experiment in fully realized immersion. Neither a glorification of the adrenaline rush of battle nor a simple reactionary anti-war piece, it's a magnified look at one particular tier of combat existence and how it affects different people in varying ways. The second time I saw it, I went with a friend who recently finished his military service. He said that he liked it and spent the rest of the day in silence. So I assume Bigelow pulled it off.

"Waltz with Bashir"
It might have been a mistake to watch this one totally stoned. But probably not as big of a mistake as it would have been to hang out anywhere near Lebanon in 1982. The visual ascetic is certainly a bold choice, and for the most part it works (esp. stoned). My only complaint about this movie is the fact that it seems a bit repetitive in its gradual build-up to the revelation of the "whole story." My g/f argues that the repetition is an important aspect of the narrator's journey of remembrance. I dunno, I guess she has a point but I was just staring at her tits. But seriously, this is a good film and probably even an important one. The final scene is a little bit unfair (ESP. STONED) but it'd be a lie to say I'm not a huge fan of movies that kick you directly in the nuts and then walk away slowly, while you just lie there curled up in a painful little ball and watch them disappear.

The above link is not a trailer, but rather the first 10 minutes of this under-the-radar oddity from Africa. I included this scene both because a) I can't find the trailer anywhere (if there even is one) and b) because your reaction to the first 10 minutes will dictate your overall enjoyment of this film as a whole. The pacing is deliberate to a challenging degree and audiences weened by traditional Western structuring and convention may find it difficult to grasp onto this movie, but I would urge anyone with an open and eager cinematic palette to give it a shot. Once you have accepted the fact that this story requires not only your patience but also your complete acquiescence to the magical realism presented, you may discover a not-too-unfamiliar tale of familial loyalty in direct conflict with retributive justice. It's a pretty standard Good Vs. Evil setup really, just seen through the unique lens of one particular tribe's belief system. The visuals are stark but stunning, and I'll eat a shoeful of shit if you don't at least think it looks really cool when sorcerers make stuff catch on fire.

I bought the soundtrack for this before I even knew what the movie was. The cover of the LP was amazing and yeah, I can get down with some Tangerine Dream (see above: "Near Dark"). I didn't even realize it was directed by the phenomenal William Friedkin. This one never received the recognition of his masterpieces, but don't let that deter you. It's a fine example of white-knuckle suspense mixed with a healthy dollop of existential dread. Some critics poo-poo the lack of in-depth character development, but I sort of think that adds to the overall feel of disorientation and eventual jungle madness and that those critics need to try using their goddamned imaginations every once in a while. I won't divulge too much about the plot, because I myself knew jack-shit about it when I put in the DVD. Just rest assured that the bridge crossing sequence and the scene where the tree is in the middle of the road are two remarkably well-done set-pieces. Plus, Roy Scheider!! It sucks that he's dead, but it's pretty awesome that they had to build an entire second casket just to bury his gigantic balls.

"Blue Sunshine"
Holy shit! Jeff Lieberman is officially one of those criminally underrated American badass filmmakers, among the same caliber as Larry Cohen and Bob Clark. What could have been served up as a yawn-inducing dose of made for T.V. anti-drug paranoia instead comes across as a mind-bending horror film that is probably best enjoyed while under the influence of multiple substances. Zalman King (of softcore erotica infamy) gives the most unnecessarily weird performance that I've probably ever seen, rivaling even Torgo from "Manos, Hands of Fate." This is some seriously good shit. Those highbrow schmucks at Criterion could certainly learn a thing or two from Synapse, and you can quote me on that.

"The Beast"

*sorry about all the links to trailers. I just really enjoy them.


"Skinema" by Chris Nieratko
If you've ever read any of Nieratko's "porn reviews" then you already know exactly what to expect, because unfortunately this collection offers little variation from his established pattern of never even mentioning the film being reviewed and instead going off on booze-and-pill influenced tangents of his seemingly endless misadventures. Don't get me wrong, he is a very funny guy. And his stories can almost always maintain your interest, even if it's just in the same way that a highway traffic accident also does. But his rambling tends to get a bit stale if you try to read more than 8 or 9 entries in a row. I would recommend looking up some of his interviews from the pages of classic skateboarding magazine Big Brother to really experience his comedic pranks at their finest. At its best, this collection can offer up surprising moments of clarity and almost mystical wisdom from a man who has seemingly seen and done it all. At its worst, you may just put it down feeling guilty for having wasted your time on the words of someone who really is nothing more than a total asshole.

"The World's Most Dangerous Places"
by Robert Young Pelton
Pelton has apparently been everywhere sketchy. And he seems to always have access to the pulsating nucleus of sketchiness in all of these places. And he's a pretty great writer. I've been reading this one on-and-off for about the past 2 years, usually either while at work or sitting on the toilet. Sometimes while sitting on the toilet at work. It's a good primer for the how's and why's of some of recent history's most notorious (and some of its most secretive) conflicts, as explained from someone who is privy to an exhaustive wealth of insider information and experience. And luckily for the uneducated boob such as myself, Pelton presents this info in a non-assuming fashion that even the most geopolitically ignorant layman can grasp. You'll probably never go to Algeria, but wouldn't it be nice to fully understand why not?

"2666" by Roberto BolaƱo
I'm only 275 pages into this 900 page beast, but I already am salivating over every other piece of writing done by the late Chilean modern master. I don't know any other way to do this thing justice than to say that this is the kind of book that makes you want to write books.


Cult Ritual
This band fucking slays. Probably the first band that has ever legitimately reminded me of Born Against, with a little bit of golden-era Black Flag thrown in for testosterone's sake. I missed my chance to see them a few weeks ago, which is probably for the best. Bands always seem to disappoint me these days.

Burial - Untrue
I don't even know what this kind of music is called. Space-dub? Drum-ghost? Club-a-rub-a-dub? I also have no idea why I like it. But if you're into getting high and sitting at the bottom of a pool with goggles on (just chillin' down there) or wearing a hoodie and walking around in the rain and just feeling indiscriminately sad whenever a train goes by, then you'll probably be into it, too.

Indian Jewelry
I've been pretty into everything by this band recently. Tribal drum patterns, broken stringed instruments, spaghetti western attitude, drugs, drugs, drugs. Cool video.

Hmmmm. So much for short, controlled bursts.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Sorry it's been so long since I've made any updates. I'd like to lie and tell you that it's because I've been super busy going to great parties, producing unstoppable club-bangers, typing up revelatory manuscripts and railing endless trim. I'd like to lie and tell you that because it would make me seem really productive & motivated and also because I like to lie. Unfortunately, not a whole lot has been happening in my wonderful world. In an effort to rectify the situation and also to attempt to leave some meager facsimile of metaphorical carved initials of creativity on the slowly rotting tree trunk of culture, I've decided to finally throw together and produce a brand new zine. It's been over 7 years since I did one proper, and if anything my mind has only become more insular and clouded since then, so don't expect great things. But I'd like to believe I am at least capable of keeping the handful of you that read this blog semi-entertained while you sit on a toilet. So "DRACULA" zine is coming. I'm giving myself the next two weeks to write, edit, and piece the entire thing together. Because I'm lazy and because I require the constant encouragement of others to ever take any of my ideas seriously, I'd also like to take this opportunity to welcome any and all submissions for this zine. I don't care what you write about or how you write it, I'll probably include it. I know all of you are smart and funny and know how to write, so don't try coming up with any excuses. Send me a funny story about the weirdest blowjob of your life. Send me a list of your top 10 favorite bestiality scenes from movies. Draw a picture of Pac-man smoking weed in a hang-glider. I don't give a shit; just HELP ME TAKE MYSELF SERIOUSLY.

*photo by Richard Kern, king boner-giver to all perverted hetero males of the world.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



Tokyo isn't really a place I need to visit. But then, I also probably don't ever need to eat mushrooms on the day after Christmas or eat acid at 2 in the morning. That's never stopped me, though! One thing that may, however, prevent me from visiting the East's great capital of WTF is the 2/3 of this movie that are beyond pointless and more than a little bit frustrating. Michel Gondry is undeniably a talented director, but it'd be far too forgiving and P.C. of me to not admit that he's also pretty fucking gay. His contribution here sums up perfectly my likes and dislikes of his work: visually stunning (if not a bit slow getting there), genuinely original, overbearingly artistic and way too goddamned quirky. It's nicely done, it just suffers from his usual obsessive creativity and a half-shaped story that doesn't have the running time to flesh itself out with dazzling camera tricks or chronology-bending twists. Equally underwhelming is Joon-ho Bong's piece. I had pretty high hopes after "Gwoemul," but this is seriously some trite bullshit right here. Needlessly vague and almost painfully cute, it's a pretty by-the-numbers love story for losers gussied up as a hollow meditation on the highly impersonal and dehumanizing nature of Tokyo's cartoonishly exaggerated metropolitan existence. YAWN. The single saving grace of the triptych is Leos Carax's exuberantly manipulative exercise in cinematic assault on the senses. Not only has he crafted one of the best original characters I've ever seen, but this character's introduction and the opening scene of the short is 100% guerrilla film-making at its finest. The piece's unbridled creative energy, embodied most fully by the character's unnerving and borderline hilarious imaginary language, as well as its flat-out refusal to offer any explanations or apologies, not to mention its deceptively simple title of 'Merde' (French for 'shit') result in the sensation that Carax is both shoving his middle finger directly into your face and patting you on the back for even hanging out with him. It's audience-be-damned cinema, and if there are film-makers out there who either look down on it, fear it, cannot understand it or just plain hate it, then you should seriously stop watching their movies.


There's really not a whole lot of reason to watch this movie. I have no idea why I watched it. I suppose I was pretty blown away by Sam Rockwell's performance in the haiku-like "Moon," which left my dualistic awe/fear of space predictably turgid. But in this lesser effort he just seems to be doing an impersonation of a Xeroxed copy of someone who is already boring. Somehow both Rockwell's acting and whatever it is the director is doing completely miss the humor of Chuck Pahlaniuk's book. Now I'm no huge fan of Palahniuk, and I think it's pretty despicable how dude gets away with writing the same book over and over and is still hailed as some subversive cult icon. But during my solid 5 years as a "roadie" for my friends' band--I don't know shit about musical equipment; my main duties included drinking, making fun of people and preventing band members from cheating on their usually overrated girlfriends--we read a lot of his stuff. Something about reading the same familiar tale and discussing our theories with one another helped to maintain our collective sanity amidst the many Lynchian misadventures to be had in the equally pathetic and terrifying asscracks of the Midwest. But somehow, this movie doesn't find it funny that the main character loses part of an anal bead somewhere inside of his rectum. And the disappointingly tame scenes of sex addicts randomly hooking up did little to remind me of the gloriously sleazy blowjobs my goth ex-girlfriend used to give me in the craziest of places and instead made me think of the night she passed out wasted while I had three fingers inside of her. Needless to say, that night left me feeling a whole lot like this movie: completely unfulfilled and strangely angry. Thanks for nothing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I took a Spanish test this morning that I'm pretty sure I straight-up nailed like a carpenter snorting Adderall. I celebrated by spending the rest of my day running bullshit errands and I'm about to roll out of the crib to go cover someone's shift at work. This hectic dash has inspired me to use my only free 10 minutes to type up a greatest hits lits of shows that I have missed so far this year due to either my enrollment in summer school, my ever-evolving work schedule and/or my general habit of laziness.
In no particular order:
-Wolves in the Throneroom, some other metal bands that probably suck:
had been looking forward to this one for months in advance. my neighbor is friends with one of the band members so I even managed to get a spot on the guestlist. When the big moment arrived I chose to pass it up and instead spent my evening drinking beers on my neighbor's porch and eventually going on a bike ride through the hood. Apparently the band was incredible and played for over an hour. Oh well. Honestly, good conversation and a little bit of fresh air is harder to come by and a lot more appreciated these days than crusty dudes with somber attitudes and OPINIONS.
-Bone Awl, Volahn, some other black metal bands with shitty recordings:
had also been pretty stoked about this one for a while, but ended up skipping it due to food poisoning. probably for the better. apparently one member of Bone Awl got so drunk he wandered off and didn't even play the show with the rest of the band. I prefer my black metal bands don't drink so that they can maintain their general air of pure superiority and hatred. I imagine both that drunken musician and myself spent the majority of our evenings vomiting similar colors.
-Dengue Fever, maybe a salsa band? i'm not sure:
didn't go to this show because it was pretty far away and my standard designated driver (my girlfriend) was out of town at some funeral. probably missed out on a pretty good time and a significant amount of sweaty, dancing babes. can't remember 100% but probably just watched porn instead.
-Gucci Mane, Slim Thug:
these were two different shows. not gonna lie, I was just too scared.
-tonight: Cult Ritual, Total Abuse, some crappy punk crap that sounds like crap:
will probably end up skipping this show because my friend is having people go out for drinks in honor of her birthday (which I didn't even know was approaching) and my upstairs neighbor spent the entire afternoon blasting shitty d-beat hardcore, giving me a headache and putting a bad taste in my brain before the inevitable idiots at the venue could even do it. both bands are pretty generic ugly hardcore, but I will be passing up the opportunity to purchase this shirt.
-Sonic Youth:
admittedly I've never been a huge Sonic Youth fan. I really like the song "Mote" because of Jump Off a Building, but I could definitely live without the gratuitous 7 minutes of feedback at the end. I'm sure it would have been fantastic to see this band play live in some ways, but in other ways I'm not too bummed to have missed out on Thurston Moore & company passing off a variety of afore-mentioned feedback as "songs" to a sold-out crowd that essentially showed up wearing their bullshit bibs. plus I didn't have 34 bucks. maybe I'll get another chance to see these guys when the ticket price is significantly less than half of the age of the youngest member of the band.
-Dinosaur Jr.:
pretty much the same as above, except replace 'feedback' with 'hair.'
-Jaynie's Babies:
this is a wedding band composed of a bunch of my friends. they played one night only (other than the actual wedding) and I fucking missed it because I was studying for a Spanish test. everyone I work with and most people I know went, and had a total blast. I got a 93 on that test, but who gives a shit? In the arena of hanging out, I got a fucking D- .

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Here's a little list of things that are currently tight:

1) Major Lazer - "Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do"
My boy CT put me up on this just yesterday and it has already changed my week significantly. I found a zipped file of the album on this world-wide-web shit and left it downloading on the computer while I went to the gym. It must have finished by the time I got home because my girlfriend was mysteriously pregnant with a lazer tattooed on her left tit and someone had blown pot smoke into my backpack and gotten all of my homework high. Before I could even say "what the hell" Major Lazer himself announced from my couch that "evryting gon' be ai-re" and continued eating all of my cereal. I would have been mad, but before I had the chance to react he shined my shoes with his dreadlocks and disappeared as soon as the cops showed up. Fucking space-Jamaicans.

2) "Sao Paulo" by Boogie
I ordered this book on Amazon yesterday for 5 measly bucks. I've been a pretty big fan of Hamburger Eyes since I first realized it was a photography zine as well as the condition I always suffer after a long night of drinking tons and tons of beer, and Boogie has always been my personal favorite photographer they regularly feature. The cover of this collection--the completely bare ass of what I'm pretty sure is a transvestite prostitute--promises plenty of the gritty realism that defines his work. My apologies to any homophobic heterosexual males who accidentally got a boner when they saw that image up there, but maybe you need to face the fact that your dick is better prepared to exist in the harsh realities of our world than you are. Speaking of photography, I encourage everyone to check out my boy John Martin's brand new photo blog over at Burdens of the Most Bestest. Dude has consistently taken some of the best photos I've ever seen over the decade that I've known him, and it often bums me out to see him do less than I know he's capable of with his considerable talents. So peep dat, ya'll.

3) Weed.
Yep, it's still on top.

And just to even things out a little bit, here's a brief summary of things that are not so tight this week: Carytown Burgers N' Fries NOT delivering to Jackson Ward (lazy stoners), downloading Gucci Mane albums that are tainted by the insufferable blight of lame-ass "DJ's" announcing their own names 5 times per song, know-it-alls in my Spanish class who actually don't know shit, and girls who don't shave their legs. Please note: those last two often overlap.

Anyway, that's what it do.