Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bob Pollard is an Ass

Or . . . How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Little People.

I requested help from my friends on blog topics the other night. As you can tell, I've been having a bit of a block and haven't posted in a while. Their suggestions were all really great - they ranged from tacos to the vampire in modern pop culture to why libraries are awesome. I'm not going to write about any of those things. Instead, I'm going to tell you about the events that lead up to a midget grabbing my ass at Bernie's Distillery on High Street in Columbus, Ohio.

Bernie's was (is?) a great little bar. My freshman year at OSU Beck played there, and his show was mere weeks after "Loser" absolutely exploded on college and pop radio stations. The line for that show was wrapped down and up two city blocks. I did not attend. To put that line in perspective, Bernie's has two sections; a very small dining section, maybe about the size of a one car garage, and a small venue section, MAYBE about the size of a two car garage. And Beck played there at what was arguably the height of his popularity (yes, I do realize I just dated myself in a very unfavorable way. *sigh*). Bernie's had two dollar Tuesday Vodka and Cranberry, and an absolutely phenomenal sandwich that involved tuna salad on rye with muenster and spinach*. I can't remember the name of that sandwich for the life of me. Probably has to do with the two dollar vodka cranberries, no? High Street has been sanitized twice over since my day, but I'm 99% sure that Bernie's is still there**. Stop in and have one of those sammiches, and then tell me what the hell they're called, please.

*note - I truly do not remember if the ass-grab happened on the same night of the GBV show, but for the sake of my story, it did. Makes it slightly more interesting.

So on this particular evening, not Beck but a little known band from Dayton Ohio was playing. You might have heard of them. Guided By Voices? Maybe? My friends' band Platypus was opening for them. God, what an amazing band Platypus (later Kazowie) was. Simply fantastic. Sadly, I do not believe an internet record of Platypus exists, 'cause I would link you so hard you would wish I hadn't linked you so hard. Now, I realize I'm about to lose copious amounts of indie cred here, but that's OK because I don't care. I don't like Guided By Voices. I might have, had I not attended this show. But I did, and I don't. Bob Pollard was chugging dollar PBRs like they were his lifeblood (did I mention that Bernie's had 1$ PBRs and Black Labels? I was hipster . . . . when hiiipster wasn't coooool . . . ) and treating everyone in his orbit like complete dog doo. Just a wretched man. He even made fun of my friends' band, to their faces and on stage. Awful.

Besides cheap booze, punks and pre-indie kids, and crotchety indie-gods, Bernie's had Little John. Little John was a High Street bum who was always accompanied by a bottle of whiskey and a funk that would bring a tear to the eye. Little John was also a midget. Legend has it he was one of the little people in "Time Bandits" and allegedly the Other Paper even did a story on him. I've looked into both, and can find no evidence of either. "Neat," you might be thinking. "What a fun neighborhood staple!" Yeah . . . Little John was mean. He looked like a biker that had been left in the dryer too long and smelled like, well, a biker that's been left in the dryer too long. Burnt pee comes to mind. But that might have been tolerable if we had a jovial neighborhood midget who regaled us with tales of Terry Gilliam and Willy Wonka. Instead we had a neighborhood terror who spat insults and could apparently vomit on command. I have no idea how Little John funded his whiskey habit, because I'll be damned if I ever saw anyone give him money. A little advice for aspiring panhandlers from Auntie Kat: If you're going to beg for money, it's not a good idea to make loud, presumptuous observations about someone's sexual morals and/or preferences. It's just not.

So Little John was mean and broke, but somehow always wasted and somehow always in bars that had cover charges. I chalk it up to tourists curious about his stature and temperment; the former, possibly something they've never seen before, and the latter something they presumed to be an act. I assure you, it was not. "Oh, hey there grumpy fella! Sure, I'll pay your way in to this venue, and I'll even buy you a shot! Do you care if my pooka shell necklace wearing frat brother takes our picture?" Well, bub, three minutes later you're in tears because you got verbally served then punched in the nuts by a midget.

So on this particular evening I was chatting with my friend Sean. His band had yet to play and we were standing in the asshole and elbow crowd, I listening, Sean venting. Sean was venting about Bob Pollard, incidentally. So we're standing there in the middle of a conversation, when all of a sudden I furrow my brow and cock my head. I wore a skirt that night, as I often did. Probably a short one, definitely a black one. I used to have a bit of a goth problem, you see. I slowly turned around and who did I see? Why, it's Little John, visibly grinning in my presence for the first time, elbow deep in my skirt. And HOO BOY did he have a handful. I bet I even had a tiny little handprint on my cheek for days afterward. Truthfully, I was mentally torn. I didn't know if I should take a swing or just crack up. Just as I opened my mouth to politely ask him to remove his wee little piggies from my bum, he removed his hand, saluted, took two steps and punched Sean in the crotch. Then he moved on to the next skirt.

That's a true story, friends and neighbors. Little John had disappeared by the time I moved from Columbus, about five years later. And despite his horrifying behavior, it makes me a little sad to think that he's passed. I get a little melancholy every time I watch "Time Bandits," especially when I feel that tiny phantom hand, squeezing my right buttcheek.

*THE FILLMORE!!! I'm pretty sure it was called The Fillmore.

**Yup, it's still there.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm a Child of the Atom, Turkeys.

I've been reading an awful lot of Carrie Bradshaw/Liz Lemon bloggery lately. Although I have really enjoyed (and mostly agreed with) the analyses, I have to wonder about the relevance of either woman to someone like me. But you know who is very relevant to someone like me? Dazzler.

Dazzler blog. Here it is.

Legend has it that the Dazzler was commissioned as a "property" from Casablanca Records, and that she was probably intended to be black. And weird. But as fate would have it (and as odd as it sounds) 1977 was apparently not ready for black and weird. At least not in its comics. And certainly not a chick, eh? So the Dazzler evolved, and as the decades rolled on she kept evolving. I kind of appreciate the fact that Marvel almost gives a nod to the character's dubious origin, almost as if to say "yeah, we know. We're just going to keep making her gimmicky." I'm perfectly down with that.

My love with Dazzler began quite young, but I really don't completely know how I happened upon first edition Dazzler comics. She debuted when I was one, I learned to read when I was three, but no way would my ma have bought me something like that when I was a toddler. So, I dunno. You do that math. Those first few issues can be almost painful to read. I didn't experience much of the 70s so I don't really know if people actually talked like they were in a Rudy Ray Moore movie. The writing is . . . kitschy in those early appearances. But she was a female character that WASN'T Wonder Woman, she was flip and cool but sometimes still scared and life weary. To someone as young as I was, she was a little bit dangerous, and totally glamorous. She wore roller skates. If she had rode a unicorn, six year old me probably would have imploded. I've kept up with her through the years out of curiosity as much as nostalgia and love, but nothing has made me squee like the Dazzler one shot that finally came out yesterday.

Start at the beginning. The cover, by Kalman Andrasofszky. Brilliant! I love it. Alison Blaire in a badass Bronson pose in her original costume? Well hell yeah! Even with such a dark theme you can tell she was lovingly drawn, and I respect that an awful lot.

The story deals with a reunion/showdown with Dazzler's sister, Lois aka Necrosha. I have not followed the story in New Mutants or Legacy, so I don't know what's going on there. But Necrosha did some super bad shit and now has it out for Dazzler. Necrosha has abandonment issues. I don't want to spoil anything so I'll just say that the resolution sure does leave a lot of room for more Dazzler plots (yes please).

My only initial eyebrow raise came from the transition in art between "track one" and "track two." It was a little too wink-wink-nudge-nudge, cause, you know, SHE'S A MUSICIAN! RIGHT? RIGHT? SEE WHAT WE DID THERE? But then it occurred to me that I really enjoyed both styles, so it was still a very enjoyable experience.

So the bottom line is thank you - to McCann, Andrasofszky, Perez, and Ciregia, for doing justice to this character that is so special to me. I even bought shoes to celebrate the day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Welcome to the Internet's 9,465,735th LOST blog. I'll try to keep it short. There will most likely be monumental spoilers.

LOST is in a very tight final leg of the race that is My Favorite Show Ever. Tonight's finale might determine the winner, as the other two shows (M*A*S*H and Buffy) have already had their ultimate, and fitting, endings.

For those who might be reading that have never seen LOST, I will try - TRY - to give a brief synopsis: Oceanic flight 815 crashed on an island. Survivors of said crash established a colony on this island and for three months they discovered mystery after conspiracy after murder, mostly having to do with a group called "The Others" and a company called the Dharma Initiative. The first three seasons were very character based in that most of the show's focus was on how these people survived, the lengths they would go to, and how they fell in and out of love. The mysteries and anomolies of the island served to drive the characters' stories. Then came season 4, Erwin Schrodinger apparently ghost wrote some episodes, and shit got AMAZING. The characters were as important as ever, but now science, religion, and "WHY?" came into the picture and every episode was a beautiful mind bomb that, when used beyond a study of human interaction, became the best physics textbooks I have ever read.

All three of the shows I've mentioned here have made me think. M*A*S*H made me think about war and humanity and how we survive in the ugliest of situations. Buffy made me think about my relationship with my mother and what it means to feel alone. But LOST? LOST is the first thing, TV show or other, that has shoved questions in my face that make me think about whether good and evil are tangible, whether or not any powers that be give a shit about humanity or if they are just protecting an ideal, whether or not that ideal even needs protected, what if it really is just a set of numbers that binds the universe together . . . yeah, I know I sound like a 16 year old that just got high for the first time. It goes so far beyond whether or not my favorite characters will survive (PS, they DIDN'T) or who will end up happy ever after. I do care about these things, but what's more important is that I feel like I've been turned on to a secret by this show, and instead of spoon feeding me any answers, I have to think and decide on the answers myself. I might never get any confirmation that I'm right. How often can you say that about a TV show?

So to close it out, I'm making some predictions.

Which will end up as "reality"? Island or Sideways world? Of course I hope for Sideways world, because it is happier there. Jin and Sun are together and in love, Hurley and Libby kissed on the beach . . . Locke might walk again. It's just a much nicer place. But that's why I think it will be yanked away from me. Because Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse like to make me cry.

Ben is up to no good with Flocke, which means he will redeem himself. Ben is a smart little fucker, and we can see from the sideways world that it was nurture, not nature, that made him a monster.

Juliette is Jack's baby mama. I'm calling it. I like Jack much better in the sideways world than I did all through the show. I don't give a shit about the Jack/Sawyer/Kate triangle, never really have. The only time I ever liked a romance on the show, other than Jin and Sun, was when Sawyer and Juliette were together. I liked that pair - it was a no frill, real romance. Oh, which reminds me, Sawyer and Juliette will have coffee at some point tonight.

Hurley will die. Again, because Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse like to make me cry.

I do think that ultimately good will triumph over evil. Cuse and Lindelof might like to break our hearts, but I don't think they want to break our spirit. That's really as specific as I can get about "what it's all about." I'll be thinking for years trying to make sense of everything I've seen on this show, which is exactly why I think it's brilliant.

Oh, and PS - Desmond might be the greatest character on any show ever in the history of the universe.

Edit to add a monumental spoiler: Holy shit. Desmond's the fucking cat.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm a Naughty Little Fibber

I said I was going to post another blog the very next night. I did not. I also hinted at a topic. I'm changing that as well. I'm going to review a comic.

I need to state for the record that I am in no way a qualified reviewer. I am not educated in artistic history or technique. As such, at this point my opinions on art are easily influenced by what I hear from others. I can barely call myself a writer, because aside from occasionally getting bloggy with it, I never show anyone anything I've written. But I like what I like, you know? So anytime I "review" a comic or movie or game or whatever, I'm only sharing my opinion. I'm not trying to change yours, but I would love to talk about it. I say this to firstly let you know exactly how "important" I think this blog is but also as a soapbox on which to stand and holler "suck my front butt, spammers and trollers." There are few things I tolerate less than an anonymous douche with a thesaurus and a hyper-verbal temper.

Anyhoo. "Crossed: Family Values," by David Lapham and Javier Barreno. Thus begins my spoiler free review.

Holy shit. Well, I guess I should start with a question. Do you know how much I love Garth Ennis? A lot. An awful lot. He might be my very very favorite. Wait - no, yeah, probably my favorite. So maybe to comprehend the depth of my feelings for this volume, I should give you a quick capsule review of the first volume: Loved it, shocked by it, horrified by it, favorite author, mildly dissatisfied with the ending. In my top ten titles.

I repeat: Holy shit. I feel a little sick saying it. It feels weird in my skin. This book I love, created by two amazing talents has a sequel . . . and I think I like the sequel more. Yikes! But it's amazing! More shocking and appaling, but in a far less graphic, smack you in the face with a you know what (spoiler free, kids) kind of way. The art is more stylish, the characters slightly more round without every crossing (HA!) over into cartoony. Oh, and as an added bonus, the Juan Jose Ryo cover very well might give you nightmares.

This volume so far follows the same path as the first - the story focuses this time on a farm family, their relationships, and how the Crossed situation changes their entire beings. The actual Crossed are almost a subplot, as the main focus of both volumes is not "how" or "why," but "what happens." As the plot moves, it will not just shock you, but surprise you as well. This is officially the book I am looking forward to every month.

Well, that's it for tonight, friends and neighbors. This "Fringe" business has snagged my attention, and I'm in need of a "LOST" replacement, so I'm giving it a whirl.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Doesn't "Indie" Mean Out of Tune Guitars and Shitty Production?

I've just finished weeping at an MOW and a couple Hallmark commercials, and I should probably be putting myself to bed with all my new comics. But inspiration has struck, and I'm blurting before it's gone. I actually have a lot floating around in the noggin, but rather than type for an hour and create an entry no one will want to finish, I think I'm going to break it up in to two entries. Stay tuned for part two - "Mommy, Why is Steve Jobs Murdering Comics?"

Issue the first. Blogs. Blogs and bloggers get a bad name. If you tell someone you have a blog, odds are they think you are a twat or they absolutely don't give a shit. A small percentage might be interested, but you probably are sleeping or have slept with them. Maybe paranoia about actually turning into one of the bloggers that gives us a bad name is what keeps me from posting very often. Most likely it's laziness, but we'll go with paranoia. Bad blogs are egocentric (I had a turkey sandwhich for lunch today) and redundant (I had another turkey sandwhich for lunch today, but this time I switched it up and went with mustard - not mayo), and I never want to be those things, bloggy or otherwise. But you know who has an amazing blog? David fucking Byrne. It's educational, poetic, and - more often than not - visually stunning. You should read his blog regularly. Plus he doesn't call it a blog, he calls it a "journal."

Issue the second: Small press comics. And/or comic conventions. I went to my second ever convention this weekend, and it could not have been different from the "commercial" con I attended a couple weekends ago. I'd like to not be a douche and say they were both really cool in an apples and oranges sort of way, but . . . not so much. The small press/indie show was so much cooler. It had very minor drawbacks, but those drawbacks are such positive occurrences. Allow me to 'splain.

The first issue would only be exclusive to me and my People - all the neurotic idiots of the world: Everyone you meet asks you what you've brought to the show. This year? I had to avoid eye contact and mutter "oh, um . . . nothing, uh . . . not so much . . . boyfriend . . . his table's over there . . . " It only bothered me because I wished I had contributed, and hopefully that will be a different story next year. But you know why so many people asked? BECAUSE THEY CARE. They want to read your shit. They are genuinely interested. It's amazing. I've never encountered such a wonderful thing.

The second? Walking away from a table without making a purchase. Some of the creators do indeed have a look of quiet, pleading desperation. But I truly don't think it's because they want your money (a lot of them might need your money, but that's a horse of an entirely different color). These folks don't really care about money, they just care about their stuff being out there and hopefully a few people really dig it. That's cool with them. Making a living out of it would be a dream come true, of course, but most of them are just plain ol' cool. Also awesome.

The commercial con was cool. There was lots of amazing art and an asston of pop-paraphernalia, and local artists got to showcase their books and talents. I love all of those things. But spectators didn't really commune with anyone outside their friend group. There was little to no chit chat that wasn't centered around a sale. 95% of the artists' tables were filled with expensive prints of characters they didn't create (shout out to my friend Justin and his collaborators at WAC Comics for keepin' it real).

So ye tho' it's pretty obvious I respect one arena more than the other, I appreciate them both for exactly what they are. Well rounded opportunity and nothing-wrong-with-just-plain-fun, respectively.

Yeah, that was douchey and egocentric enough for one night, I think. I'm off to read black and white autobiographical mini-comics now. But there's also an issue of Joe the Barbarian and the latest issue of an X-men title in my stack (not to mention the fact that I asked all these indie artists to sketch the frakkin' Dazzler, for criminey's sake) - so please don't take this as my hippyesque, pretentious relinquishing of mainstream books. Oh no, old friends. You've never let me down, I just think it's time we had an open relationship.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What Else Has He Been In?

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love That Guy.

I would be willing to wager a fair amount of money that you have either thought or maybe even uttered the following phrase: "Oh look, it's That Guy." He was in the random re-run of "Quincy ME" you caught the other night, but he's also going to be on Thursday's "CSI." He was in a blaxploitation flick from the 70's, but he's also on every twelfth "Law & Order" rerun on A&E. She's a thin lipped waitress, but she also knobbed Jeff Bridges while he was busy getting an Oscar. The Coen Brothers love That Guy. Martin Scorsese makes Those Guys into something that makes James Lipton swoon. This is my salute to you, That Guy.

What makes a That Guy? What keeps him from crossing over into Household Name? For a woman one can easily blame it on not being beautiful. I could possibly name five actresses that aren't "pretty," but I'd have to try pretty damn hard. Dudes, on the other hand . . . Well, that argument just won't cut it. Whatever you try to argue, I will rebut, and win, with two words: Jack Nicholson. I win. But I digress. Maybe these folks got pigeonholed too soon, maybe they just have shitty agents. But we all know them and we probably love them, and I bet we have even incorporated some of their roles into our own personal pop culture.

Richard Jenkins.
This guy went from being a big gay Fed in "Flirting With Disaster" to a freakin' Oscar nominee. Not bad, eh? Richard Jenkins is kind of a weird That Guy in that he usually has a lot of screen time in his projects, and yet a That Guy he remains. Even after the Oscar publicity. Now he's just "hey, it's That Guy that was nominated for the Academy Award!" I really rooted for him. A lot. Mr. Jenkins has a solid 90 IMDB credits, which ain't too shabby.

Needle Nose Ned!!
Stephen Tobolowsky was most recently seen by me as a bad guy in "Heroes." And boy did I love seeing him as a bad guy. Mr. Tobolowsky usually plays an annoying bumbler, but look into those eyes, man. Those are crazy eyes right there. Stephen Tobolowsky should take on "Dexter." He might even have put the fear of God into Tony Soprano. I seriously think he should be checking into this little niche, if only for a while. And, Mr. Tobolowsky has a whopping 199 IMDB credits.

Brion James, who I believe is sadly no longer with us. Mr. James usually played a bumbling, inept, tough guy, and he played him well. Wide eyes and tough features made him perfect for these parts and he did funny just as well as he did pathetic. Mr. James was in 160 movies according to IMDB.

Jeff Kober is under a shitton of make up a lot. You might not recognize him. But he's a rugged, non-traditionally handsome man and I can't find any logical reason that he is not a star of, at the very least, Val Kilmer proportions. I almost want to call him the poor man's Gary Oldman, but I can't help but think that he's absolutely cool with his current level of celebrity. I have a soft spot for Jeff Kober. I saw him on an episode of "Highway to Heaven" when I was wee, and have recognized him ever since. Plus, he had two different roles on Buffy. Nice. Mr. Kober has 91 listed appearances.

When compiling my list, I thought of Dylan Baker and immediately thought "That Guy aways plays a sick fuck." But when perusing his 90 listings, only two stuck out at me. "Happiness" and "Trick R Treat." Why do I associate him with being a pervert? I'll tell you why. Liver lips. That, and I've aways said never trust a man with two first names. EVER.

I had planned on only mentioning one of Mr. David's roles, because it's the only one that matters to me: He will forever be the man that made Jennifer Connelly go ass to ass for smack. *jibblies* But, upon checking out his 179 IMDB listings, I learned that his first credited role was in a film called "Disco Godfather," which I will promptly be adding to my Netflix queue once I am finished with this blog.

That Knife Guy! Danny Trejo was a juvenile delinquent, a very young addict, and earned a boxing title in San Fucking Quentin. The prison. He has also been in 183 movies. Holy shit, how awesome is that? True, he plays a lot of hooligans, but this isn't a blog about typecasting. A lot of the actors in this list have been in some amazing, ground breaking films. Danny Trejo? Not so much. But he has been in an asston of fun flicks, and that ain't bad for someone who could kill you with his bare hands.

Beth Grant's career encompasses a weird pie chart with the labels "bitch," "fundie," and "white trash." But look at her! She's very pretty! Beautiful hair, lovely figure, and 140 movie listings. Does Angelina Jolie have that many credits? I submit she does not!* But Angelina has one thing that Beth Grant does not. Lips. Ms. Grant is cursed with the American Thin Lip, which I can't help but associate with Doral 100's and a throwaway Mountain Dew. It sucks, Ms. Grant. But I will NEVER doubt your commitment to Sparklemotion.

And last but in no way least, That Man.
Charles. Fucking. Napier.

I saw Charles Napier cry on Dr. Phil's show once. He cried because he had never become a superstar while his own wife and that shrew of a shrink chided him. It broke my cold little heart. Charles Napier has been in 193 projects, and he was being chided. Shame. Mr. Napier is usually an authority figure - Army Guy, Cop Guy. And I can totally pinpoint why he has never hit superstardom. Hear me out on this one.

I was reading "Sweet Tooth" the other night and found myself thinking that if a live action movie were ever made, Napier should totally play Mr. Jeppard. But then I thought, well, maybe not. I don't know if Mr. Jeppard has a heart of gold yet (I've only finished issue 5, so don't spoil it for me if you know), and that's what Charles Napier was born to do: Be the asshole with the heart of gold. There are very few movies that revolve around the asshole with the heart of gold, but one is usually there to further the plot. He's got the voice and demeanor of a total bitch, but the eyes and Southern smile of your friend's awesome grandfather. The one that snuck you beer when you were 14, and not because he was a pervert, just because he was cool like that. Charles Napier. I'm going to write a screenplay someday, one so awesome it will make studio heads weep tears of platinum. And I won't sell it to them unless Charles Effing Napier is the star. Word.

*I'm far too lazy to look that up right now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Very Hasty Oscar Blog

I feel shameful. Tonight is my Christmas. I seriously look forward to this night so very much . . . and I normally write, about a week before, a very well thought blog (previously on livejournal, FYI), about my who and why picks of the evening. Not tonight, sadly. Tonight you get a super quick double listing of "gonna" and "wanna." Enjoy!

I have tried for many years to see every film nominated for a major award. Last year I was only one short, this year I am short by three (A Single Man, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, and The Young Victoria). Next year is my year, friends!

Oh, for what it's worth, my favorite movies of the year were Up, The Watchmen, The Road, and . . . hmmm . . . probably District 9. Oh, and Precious! That movie blew my mind.

I'll be cracking open my bottle of Shiraz shortly, and a hangover blog will follow tomorrow. Happy Oscar Night, friends and neighbors!

Without further adooooo (*sic, I know):

Gonna Wins:
Supporting Actress: Monique.
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz.
Actress: Bullock. I don't even like typing that.
Actor: Bridges.
Director: James Cameron.
Original Screenplay: This is a tough one. I'm calling Up.
Adapted: Up in the Air.
Animated: Up. Duh.
Picture: I really think Avatar is going to win. And if it does, I might be breaking up with Oscar.
Art Direction: Avatar. Again, duh.
Cinematography: Avatar.
Visual Effects: Avatar. Do I need to say "duh" again?
Make Up: Star Trek?
Editing: Avatar
I'm skipping the sound categories, because I truly don't know or understand their qualifications.
Score: Avatar

I want to win:
Supporting Actress: Monique.
Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson.
Actress: Gabourey Sidibe, baby! I feel good about it, I really do. I'll cry so hard if she wins.
Actor: Bridges.
Director: Katherine Bigelow. I want this. I love her. Near Dark is one of my favorite movies. As recently tweeted, I am way too emotionally invested in her winning of this award. Way.
Original Screenplay: Up. Or The Messenger, I'm torn.
Adapted Screenplay: Precious. Sorry, District 9, I love you too, but Precious touched me more. HA! SEE HOW I'M PUNNY THERE?!!? (Yeah, that was wildly inappropriate but I'm a little giddy at this point)
Animated: Up. But Secret of Kells was cool as hell.
Picture: The Hurt Locker. For real.
Art Direction: Avatar (keeping in mind I didn't see two of the flicks nominated)
Cinematography: The Hurt Locker (but the camera work in The White Ribbon was AMAZING, and I just might pick that topic as my hangover blog tomorrow).
Visual Effects: Avatar. Duh.
Editing: The Hurt Locker
Score: Up.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

She's Singing What?

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Mary J. Blige.

I am a plain, chubby, white girl. As plentiful as we are, there are very few things out there in that great wide world that are ours, that feel like they were made specifically for us/by us. We are the girl in high school with lots of male friends, and she is not sleeping with any of them (incidentally, gentlemen - if you had that friend in high school I would bet that you once broke her heart a little). We are the girl in college with very few friends that probably joined a weird fringe campus group and pierced something. We are the woman in the grocery store that makes eye contact and smiles politely, but you will probably never think of her again. Betty Crocker single serving microwave desserts are ours. Anne Rice is ours. And Janis Joplin . . . is OURS. Nobody . . . NOBODY will ever be able to duplicate the emotion she poured out and thusly they should not try.

I could prattle about why she is so special, but this interview really sums it up. She was weird and plain and invisible; which, if you've never experienced, is a truly heartbreaking combination. It can hurt even worse than actual malice.

If you've never felt that way, you can't do those songs justice no matter how pure your intentions ("Me and Bobby McGee" being the rare exception. Talented people can make that song pretty, but only when they don't try to sing it like she did).

So one eventless evening many years ago, I decided to watch this one-night only variety show called "Fashion Rocks." It was profoundly awful. Performers doing cover numbers in front of clothes from the era respective of the song the played. I don't remember any performers other than the aforementioned Ms Blige. In fact, after 20 minutes or so I had decided to change the channel when an announcer mentioned that Mary J. Blige would be performing soon, doing a Janis song.

PFFF. That was my thought. PFFFF. I knew very little about her at the time, probably really only her genre and appearance. But I knew she would do a terrible cover, so I decided to watch. Naturally. And oh lawdy, she blew the fucking roof off that song! My jaw dropped, I barely blinked, goosebumps, watery eyes . . . the whole shebang. Mary J. Blige . . . knew.

I'll be a son of a bitch, but this talented beautiful woman knows what it feels like to be so full of emotion that is has to absolutely erupt. She's said at some point "fuck it, this is coming out whether y'all like it or not." Maybe she doesn't know what it's like to feel invisible but screw it, the ideal end result is the same: a volcano of feeling and every last drop is spent in the art you are making, that touches every single person that hears it and understands it. It can be exhausting to watch, but it's always cathartic and empowering. Falling in love with Mary J. Blige changed my perspective on a lot of things. It's hard to feel isolated when a goddess of a woman has probably felt the same way as you at one point in time. One could argue that it makes Janis obsolete, but yeah . . . no. Not even close.

Incidentally, this is the performance that prompted me to write this. The bit at about three minutes in buh-lows my mind.

PS - Dave Navarro is a giant douche.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Review: "Escape from Special"

I am kinda keeping my word on the promised comic review. Yes, I know I kept hinting at some multi-colored muscle bound action, but I changed my mind. There are probably eight trillion Blackest Night reviews out there, and I still might write something up, but if I do it will be at the end of the series. It's been a rough week and I just don't feel like waxing fangirl, so I'd like to share something low key, and thoughtful, and something that is probably brand new to you. So I present to you a review of Miss Lasko-Gross's "Escape from Special."

I read this book under the impression that it was autobiographical, but as it turns out it is "semi" autobiographical. The novel is about a young woman named Melissa, and we are shown moments from her childhood. These moments are sometimes congratulatory but most often they are self effacing and sometimes downright self loathing. As someone who, in childhood (OK, in adulthood also), took embarassments as something very hurtful and deeply personal, I got very emotionally attached to Melissa. Sometimes she is hateful and is not always likeable but I appreciate that portrayal more when I am reading something autobiographical. It's more honest this way, and I think it creates a deeper bond between reader and author/artist. When I finished the book, I felt something was lacking . . . I wanted to see something really AWESOME happen to Melissa. But after thinking about if for a while, I came to the understanding that sometimes the "pretty" stories just aren't the ones that want to come out.

The art in this book is beautiful. It almost comes across like a black and white watercolor. Melissa's eyebrows are especially expressive and the faces of her "friends" convey so very well the haughtiness and ignorance that comes with being a young girl. By letting us see Melissa's drawings, Miss Lasko-Gross also allows us to notice that Melissa's art is a more primitive version of the art of the book itself, which is an endearing touch.

Lasko-Gross's publisher compares her to Judy Blume, and oh how I wish I had come up with that myself. It's so true. Both help us remember what it was like to feel ostracized, but they also help us remember that were weren't, and aren't, alone. I am really looking forward to more of her work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

$900 Stripper Shoes

I need to precede this entry with two admissions: I am about three to four months late on this particular item. But I, unlike a heapin' handful of other bloggers, sadly do not get invited to Fashion Week. While I was checking out photos of these shoes I noticed that most of the entries were dated about September of '09. Don't care, I'm posting anyway. That, and I know I promised a comic review, but this will be my first public comic review and I am procrastinating.

Last night I did some impromptu thrifting. Had a rotten day at work, don't have a lot of cash, needed some cheap therapy. I already had an armful of cardigans (my staple) and a nifty khaki skirt so I decided to head to the shoe racks before hitting the checkout. I passed by a pair of lucite flippy floppy shoes and snickered. These shoes always have and forever will be stripper shoes. I could see a hausfrau in a coordinated warm up suit and lucite shoes in the grocery store and think "stripper shoes." I could see a 98 year old woman walkering out of an oncologist's office rockin' a pair and still think "stripper shoes." I could see a fashionista in - oh, wait. No I couldn't, because they are STRIPPER SHOES.

Tonight I got home from work and flipped through the most recent Harper's Bazaar. I was idly flipping through, not really invested. And then I saw them. I looked to the top of the page, praying I would see a "don't" somewhere. But nay. It was a "do". And it was Prada. And it was . . . Lucite.

Prada included lucite shoes in the spring couture line. Prada. The house of motherfucking Prada clomped down the runway in stripper shoes! I'm pretty sure there's a fifth apocalyptic horseman, and his name is Brandee and he wears Prada fucking lucite shoes. Permit me the equivalent of a fangirl moment here, but Prada is quickly gaining on Dooney and Bourke and Kate Spade in the race to become generic, bit it's still Prada. It's not Channel, but it ain't no Max Azria, that's for sure (pimping with Miley Cyrus up to the WalMart? You are dead to me, Max Azria). I will soften my harsh criticism of the increasing affordability of these lines by saying it's not necessarily bad - I might be able to afford these someday. But in the world of high fashion, loosing exclusivity looses reputation, and that's just a fact. Nonetheless! Lucite heels. All the blogs are calling them wedges, but, uh, no. Chunky heel a wedge does not make. And calling it a wedge doesn't make it hip, because it's a godforsaken stripper shoe.

Incidentally, I have no idea how much these shoes cost. $900 was just a guess. And now that I've done a little research, I'm raising that because I can't find them at any retailer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Product Review: Kat Von D True Romance Eye Pallette

I waited a teenager's eternity to buy this palette from Sephora. I wanted it so very badly, but I'm not in a band anymore, I don't go out much to speak of at all, and the colors I was after are not very work friendly. So at 36$, the purchase was pretty hard to rationalize. But then one day the benevolent Sephora sent me a 20$ gift certificate, and I instantly knew where I would place my grubby little mitts.

Every time I see Kat Von D, all the estrogen molecules in my body turn into little Palpatines, and each one of them is hissing instructions - something about letting my hate flow. She is hot, she is amazingly talented . . . But it might be fair to say that she is famous because she is hot. I've seen a shitton of amazing tattoo art and artists, and while a good percentage of them are equal to her talent, none have been as hot (sorry, guys). And now she's smacking her tastefully tattooed face all over a "hip" line of cosmetics. It would be so easy to hate her. But, you know. Meh. Plus, it's somewhat difficult to process, but there's something "safe" about Kat Von D. All the ladies that used to cock an eyebrow at my tattoos are now super hip because they wear Kat Von D lip gloss and have an Ed Hardy bag. But I digress.

I fell in love, before the purchase, with the following words: matte purple black with purple glitter. Oh my god, this kit contains matte purple black eye shadow with purple glitter. Where ever will I wear it? Who gives a shit, I must own it. And from there came my first disappointment. I call shenanigans, because the glitter is barely-there. Pretty non existent. The second pre-sale lust was a black shadow called "lucifer." C'mon. It's called "lucifer." That's cool. And from there, disappointment number two. This shadow, along with its glitterless counterpart, suffers from a serious blending issue. I use a primer and MAC acrylic brushes for the application, incidentally. And these shadows go on very literally. Precision is important - don't expect any forgiveness from blending. If you have more mature skin, this is even more of a problem as the crinkles and creases in your eyelids are very difficult to conquer. Beef the third and final is that I didn't get a grey shade, I got a weird limey green.

The pros: the lighter shades in the set are very smooth, true to color, and are appropriate for daytime wear. They're "safe" colors, and that's cool. I'm especially fond of mixing the yellow with the lighter purple shade, 'cause I like to mix it up like that. The only shade I have yet to try is that fabulous cobalt blue shade. I haven't even played with that one yet. Blue eyeshadow is the yellow cake, the Ouija board, the very time travel of cosmetics. You don't mess with that shit lightly. And when I rock that blue eyeshadow, I'ma roll it Bowie-style and go mad with it. So it should be a special occasion. Definitely not a Matinee type look, right?

All in all I give it a B, but it might have been a C if I had paid full price. You can buy the Kat Von D True Romance Palette in Beethoven here.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my very first ever comic review - I'll be spoiling the shit out of "Blackest Night" issue six, so heads up there.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Start at the Beginning . . .

. . . And when you get to the end, make a list . . . see . . .

I am several weeks if not months behind the times with a 2009 Wrap Up, but I've been hem hawing around on starting this blog. Subject after subject, endless review possibilities, they all came streaming into my noggin and I just couldn't figure out where to start. So I thought "to hell with it, I'll just write a list of favorites." A blank blog is so much more daunting than a blank notebook, you see - the blog is here for you, but the notebook is my own. But a list gives you an idea of who I am and a taste of things to come.

I should clarify - the following are things I discovered in 2009. To you, most of the items are old hat. But these are the things that made me happy last year, so in no particular order, on with the show!

The Swell Season. I cannot stop listening to "Strict Joy." Can't stop. If my copy of the soundtrack to "Once" had been on cassette, I would have worn it through already. Admittedly, the real love behind the fictional brilliance of that movie was part of the allure - it was just so gosh durn romantic, and beyond that it was a beautiful, completely un-dark romance to which the eighteen year old girl in all of us could squeefully identify. I skipped the first Swell Season disc for unexplainable reasons, but when I was reminded of the band's existence by an ad in Paste I drove to my local multimedia megastore the next day to purchase it. About two songs in, something devastating occurred to me. They are no longer in love. The music is deceptive, because the tunes still sound like songs to snuggle by; but now the lyrics are rueful and apologetic and crushing. Somehow, the romance has remained but now my inner eighteen year old sobs into her pillow at night and pines for a love long lost.

Independent Comics, specifically Jeffrey Brown, Chris Ware, Carrie McNinch and I'm sure several others that I am neglecting to mention at this time. I would love to say I made this discovery on my own and that I am well versed in the culture, but my boyfriend turned me on to the genre and I am only beginning to experience it. He loaned me Jeffrey Brown's "Clumsy," and it was a super rare reading experience for me - I actually put it down because I didn't want to finish it too soon. I had to savor it, and I am normally a devourer of books (incidentally, when I saw that very same book on "Heroes" several weeks later, I felt terminally cool). If you are interested in a taste of upcoming talent as well as some small-press big-names, check out Not My Small Diary # 15. Good times.

Star Trek, Abrams Style. Come on. You know it's the best movie of the year. You KNOW it is!!! I won't even rant about its awesomeness. I'll just let it be awesome.

Sue Sylvester. I think . . . no, wait. Yeah. I want to be Sue Sylvester when I grow up. Some Sue zingers:
You're about to board the Sue Sylvester Express. Destination: Horror.
When I heard Sandy wanted to write himself into a scene as Queen Cleopatra, I was aroused. And then furious.
Out of context these are probably bizarre and completely unfunny, but I urge you to watch Glee. You can fast forward through the singing. It's OK.

Kitties. I am 33 years old and am a first time cat owner. They are amazing. I just finished the aforementioned Jeffrey Brown's "Cat Getting Out of a Bag . . . " and it blew my mind. Had I read this book a year ago, I would have thought it was sickeningly cute, ooh'd and aah'd, and then played with my dog. But now? I get it. I am part of the club, and a warm, fuzzy, challenging, bikkit-makin' club it is.

Dexter. Holy shit, what an amazing show. It took me a few episodes to get into the swing of it, but when I realized how perfect Michael C Hall's deadpan is I began to truly appreciate the tone of the show. I won't say too much here, and I would appreciate it if you did the same. I'm only on season 3, you see, and if you spoil it for me, so help me god . . .

The Green Lantern. I've got a thing for super heroes that were given a choice in their responsibilities, and I can't believe that I denied myself the opportunity to grow up reading about the Green Lantern Corps. I'll save my rave for a later post (Review of the "Blackest Night" series, stay tuned) but for now I will say that ye' tho' I love superhero comics, there isn't much out there in the way of art that I would consider hanging on my walls. But some of the recent art from this series and its tie ins would be hung behind velvet ropes and lasers in my living room.

Stila makeup. I've long been a Benefit/MAC girl, but in my ever increasing age I've come to the realization that it doesn't always pay to look like a drag queen - even a well put-together drag queen. I've long been of the opinion that women should look like peacocks, but I'm at the age where there is a very, very fine line between "looking quirky" and "trying too hard." Stila to the rescue - pretty colors that are easy to coordinate, fun but non-envelope-pushing shades, and occasionally I stumble on a great value. My Morning Ritual takes less time, and I have office appropriate sparkle instead of looking like I am heading off to Hot Topic after my day job.

Those are the bigguns, folks. Stay tuned for reviews of comics and girly stuff, links to other bloggers and artists, and general ramblings on that which I find neato.