5/28/2006

Trying out Squarespace.

Hey, kids. If you've been wondering where I've been, I've been giving Square Space a trial go--all the Never News from the last few days can be found here. Give me some feedback and tell me how you like it--or if I should stick to Blogger.

5/27/2006

Review: Melinda and Melinda

Film

As I said before, I went on an extended shopping binge last week while in Salt Lake; eleven records and four or five movies. About 20 magazines.

One of the movies:

Melinda and Melinda, Woody Allen

Woody Allen has always been an admirable filmmaker for me; I never really felt justified in saying he was my favorite filmmaker, or even one of my favorite, based in the fact that I have really only seen a small selection of his films (he's directed 42 films, and I've seen maybe six to ten of them).

But I'm giving up the ghost—of the filmmakers I admire (Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Sofia Coppola, Gus Van Sant, and Miranda July being my top, current generation filmmakers), Allen is at the top of my list for this reason; while I haven't yet seen his complete directorial career, what I have seen has astonished me. Never once, at the end of a Woody Allen movie, have I said, “Meh. That could have been better.”

Melinda and Melinda is no different; the film's base premise lies in the fact that four friends (two of them playwrights) are discussing the concept of Tragedy and Comedy and how they fit into life. One of these characters is portrayed by the (kind of) legendary character actor Wallace Shawn (who we all remember as Vizzini in the immortal Princess Bride); when a film begins with Shawn, you know you're going to have a good time.

As they discuss, one of the friends decides that he'll tell a story he has recently heard. The two playwrights are then drawn into a discussion of whether this story could be a comedy or a tragedy; we're introduced to Melinda (Radha Mitchell) as she starts her trek as two versions of herself—both stories begin with Melinda barging in on a dinner party. The only difference is based in the circumstances, characters, and tones of story. In the tragic, Melinda arrives, mid-dinner party, at the home of Laurel (the ever brilliant Chloe Sevigny), a childhood friend, and her husband Lee (Johnny Lee Miller). In the comic, she arrives at the door of complete strangers Hobie and Susan (Will Farrell and Amanda Peet, respectively).

When I discovered the concept, I expected the stories to come in succession; starting with one and ending with the other. Much to my amusement, Allen pulls through in a way I should have expected; the stories evolve side by side, switching from one set of characters and tones to another easily and without sloppy explanation shots.

What really interested me as I got into the film is the fact that Allen seems to be letting go of the concept of playing 'his' character in all of his films (mind you, I haven't seen them all, but the ones I have all feature Allen as the insecure lead); instead, he hands 'his' character over to the overly talented Farrell, who seems to mimic the standard Woody Allen style of speaking. The great thing about this is that Farrell does it so seemlessly; he adds his trademark physical comedy into the film, creating a less physically adept Allen protagonist—many of the scenes in which he becomes flustered feature both his neurosis and his physical awkwardness (with lines like 'Oh no! The Chilean sea bass sprinkled with lime powder!” coming out less Allen and more Farrell, making me wonder if Allen had actually written them or if Farrell had just completely and amazingly gotten into character while retaining his own humor), rather than the standard rapid lines Allen is famous for.

This decision on Allen's part is a tremendous one; we've seen him play opposite anyone from Diane Keaton, an age appropriate relationship and, in later films, both Téa Leoni and Debra Messing (in Hollywood Ending), creating a sort of mid-life crisis type image; as he progresses in age his female leads never do, creating a sort of off feeling of the relationships and, in some cases, needing to be explained by ever-important dialog. In this film, he instead makes the casting decision of Will Farrell's career—Farrell has always played the off-beat, unbelievable character, from Night at the Roxbury to Anchorman, and, as a result, we'd had him typecast as that character—however proficient he is in the situation. Melinda, though, earns him his write to be called an actor and not a comedian; Farrell becomes Allen rather than Allen becoming Farrell (which I don't think would be possible—Allen is Allen; his acting has never really been considered acting).

Most of Allen's movies are timeless (though a few, such as Small Time Crooks, aren't); with Melinda and Melinda Allen has added another timeless film to his career. Updating his previous themes and moods for a newer, younger cast, Allen never once steps over his sensibilities; never once are we confronted with knowing what year it is; never once do we need to know what year it is.

While Farrell takes Allen's role, Mitchell seemingly takes Keaton's (in both Annie Hall and Interiors); she's the lovingly neurotic girl in the comic half of the film and the desperate neurotic character in the tragic half (though, at points, a more fitting reference to Interiors would be a mix between Keaton's character and Mary Beth Hurt's). I'm unsure whether or not I've seen Mitchell in other films; she seems talented enough but, without context, any actor in an Allen film is phenomenal.

Sevigny, though, is always brilliant. Her turn here as the unsatisfied musician is breath-taking (though, probably not as breathtaking as some of her other roles); when we find ourselves deciding who to care for in the tragic part of the film, it's hard to decide whether we want Laurel or Melinda to come out on top.

So, on a scale? I'd say I'd give this one an 8.5 to a 9 out of 10; the film is nigh on perfect (from the familiar jabs at Republicans to the Wes Anderson like music queues) but, I think, my favorite is still Annie Hall.

Speaking of Bruce Tim

Cartoons/Art

Oh, and there's this Bruce Timm gallery, featuring Timm's art on a large range of characters (not just limited to his DC contracted work). My personal favorite:

Cloak

5/26/2006

New stuff

I've already posted about the new book review and music review blogs, where all my reviews will go after I post them, but I'm thinking about dividing my links posts as follows. Give me feedback and tell me if you like it.


Also, there's a new Never News Erotic news site.

Art:

Dresden, Germany has always been pretty (even when burning). And so are it's factories

Fantastically disturbing knitted art

I wish I could have seen this. It looks phenomenal

Somebody buy me one of these awesome wallets

I don't know what's going on here, but I like it (check out 5814)

”News”:

Can something that looks like a Neutral Milk Hotel album cover really have been invented by the military? Answer: Yes.

Mt. Saint Helen's pushing out a giant rock formation—complete with time lapse video

Atomic Books is carrying a Bush's Last Day countdown clock. Thank god.

The Washington Post reports on a new set of federal guidelines saying that all women, regardless of whether or not they plan to get pregnant, should observe the health factors of pregnancy (no smoking, drinking, etc). Is it just me, or is that a little. . . hindering of personal belief?

Lit:

Slate covers indie bookstores versus chains “Another superstore sales assistant had never heard of the Village Voice.”

Comics:
Cat
If you haven't read Cat and Girl, you're missing a lot of good things. A lot of them. No, seriously. Plus, I have a feeling, from a few emails I've shared with her, that Dorothy might be leaving the strip behind. Get it while you can.
Prognostication

God's
Bob the Angry Flower has been, for a long time, a comic I loved but never really talked about. That's a shame. Love this site.
Cookie
Uh

Poor
Fuck
Some pretty funny comics on Flickr
Messiah

Alan Moore's new book, Lost Girls, is being touted as a lit-porn book “It is, everyone involved with it declares, beautiful, literary and moving. It's also bluntly pornographic, with explicit sex scenes on almost every page. Beyond couplings of every combination of women and men, the story involves fetishism, incest and even a touch of bestiality, as well as a whole lot of sexual activity involving minors, all depicted in Gebbie's sensuous pastels and paints.” Buy It from Top Shelf.

Music:

A talk with Free Diamonds, my new favorite Deep Elm band

Film:

Cate Blanchette to play Bob Dylan in upcoming film(?)

Cartoons

The other day I borrowed the second DVD of the new 'The Batman' series from my nephew.

Batman's had a pretty prolific career in animated television. Way back when, we got a glimpse of him in The Scooby Movies, along with Robin, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Phyllis Diller. Not to mention Don Knotts.

I'm not sure if this came first or the godawful Super Friends that everyone seems to love did. Some people seem to love the campiness of this era of comic-cartoons; even as a kid I couldn't get into Super Friends based off of the terrible writing and pathetic plotting.

As a kid, I was a staunchly Marvel comic book fan; DC just never interested me back then—except, of course, for Batman; whereas the other DC characters seemed too solid and glowing, Batman appealed (much like the gritty Daredevil, parable-esque X-Men, and plagued Spider-Man of Marvel) to my need for depth in reading. Mind you, I was a little kid at the time.

When I got home from school every day, the Bruce Timm version of Batman was on. This was the era to be an animated Batman fan—Bruce Timm created a mood, style, and tone for the series that has never been topped (except, of course, by himself with his Superman, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited cartoons).

When that incarnation of Batman had died (as well as the Batman/Superman era), I thought we'd be left without a Bruce Timm cartoon to show us how good cartoons based off of comics could be. Of course, he went on to do the afore mentioned series (which I love), and I'm fine.

But the people over at Warner got a little itchy at the idea of the world without a solo Batman cartoon, and so they hired Brandon Vietti (who also did work on the CG Spidey cartoon [which I also have never seen]) to start work on a new series for the WB network.

I had never actually sat down to watch this series (really, I hadn't ever had the chance) and, when my nephew and I were looking at movies the other day I found the fourth season of Timm's version and the before linked second disc of The Batman. My nephew told me not to get the new disc, as he had it; he hasn't seen the entire Bruce Timm Batman before—although he loves JLU—but he loves this new one.

So I gave it a try.

And, fuck, it's bad.

Not really bad, I guess. It did just walk away with < a href=http://blogbattery.blogspot.com/>two emmys. The design is fantastic, the villains are scarier, the music is new-ish (but not classic). That Catwoman episode is brilliant (they capture the Bats/Cats chemistry that is often overlooked in adaptations).

But the Man-Bat episode lacks forward motion; which is to say that suddenly, for no reason, Langstrom turns himself into Man-Bat with no prior information. And then Batman fights him.

The Mr. Freeze episode was terribly trite, in that Freeze is continuously saying things like, “The weather is a bit. . . muggy tonight,” and “Have an ice evening”, whereas the real Mr. Freeze is a terribly complex character to begin with ('Snow', a 5 issue arc in Legends of the Dark Knight (192-196), for example, is complex and heartbreaking), this show makes him into a parody of a villain—campy to the point of hatred (like the Super Friends).

So it's a hit and miss type of show, I guess. Worth the price of admission if you skip the first two eps and get right to the Catwoman one. I checked out the special features and was impressed by the animation of both the Bane and Penguin episodes. I'm still unsure about Joker (my nephew has a book from the series featuring him), as I feel that he might be the same self-parody that Mr. Freeze is (which is a shame because Joker is one of the scariest motherfuckers in comics); I do think his straitjacket costume is pretty cool, though.

5/25/2006

Branching Out

Hey. Just thought I should let you know that I've removed the reviews from this blog to put on the new branches of the Never News empire, Never News Music and Never News Books and Comics.

Lots of links.

Streep and Starbucks

Cinematical's X3 Review

Teri Hatcher, Dakota Fanning to work on animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman book

Original Quake paper models

Comic Book Urban Legends: John Byrne wrote an Avengers West Coast: House of M type story years ago, and Bret Warnock (of Top Shelf Comix) responds

The Morning News covers the annoyance of people talking loudly on cell phones

Passengers sacrifice lives to stop a screening of Big Momma's House 2 on their airplane

The US has better wine than France (!?!)but France doesn't believe it

If my robot got blown up, I'd be sad too

If a sexy robot girl can get me to stop smoking, I'm all for it. I mean, fuck quitting cold turkey.

Last night I was thinking that I wanted to buy an apartment building and advertise it as 'Dirt Cheap apartments for Producing Artists', which I feel is self-explanatory Turns out I'm a bit slow to the punch

I don't know how much I like the idea of using a sound that only kids can hear to keep them away from shopping malls, so I applaud the annoying use of it as a cell phone ringer.

Artist portraits.

McSweeney's online features an odd article by Greg Ruehlmann, 'This is Your Brain on Drugs'

Don't be rude when you get married

A link for Brando: Wonderman is Cooler than Superman

Pretty pictures thanks to The Morning News

Quite possibly the funniest internet interaction I've ever seen

Comics Should be Good discusses Black Canary being a bitch and 'Hypertime'

Reviews

I went to the Virgin Megastore yesterday and ended up buying 11 albums and a new DS game. Then, on my way home from Salt Lake, I stopped into the WalMart in Evanston and ended up with three movies.

For reviews, I've gone and made a new blog: Never News Music.

5/11/2006

Um. Guys?

Fuck fuck motherfuck fuck fuck

A fourth Bush Presidency?

The Garfield mentioned yesterday

I've taken it to a further step--a complete, chronological Jon's view version of the comic. It's going to take a long fucking time, but I'm all for it.

Be sure to check out another amazing Jon version project, Arbuckle.

Season of Awesome

I've been reading through those Garfields at the Truth and Beauty Bombs--Neil Gaiman, apparently, was a fan of these, and linked it in his blog. I stumbled across this gem:

Says "Professor Stevie Freezie"

"PS: Neil Gaiman, if you want I can send you some Sandman fan fiction I wrote in which me and The Sandman have to cover for the Rolling Stones because Mick and Keith get food poisoning and it turns out we had the power of rock and roll in us the whole time.

I titled it "Sandman: Season of Awesome"."

Professor, I nearly died.

5/10/2006

Today, I read

Bad ideas, part 1: Misnomer? I think not.

Does no one see the problem of naming something HAL?

Bad ideas, part 2: Another battle of the cosmetic vs. the functional.

This time with lives at stake.

Bad ideas, part 3: If the best you can do is $2, you're shit out of luck.

The GOP signs a Tax Cut (complete with chart)

Neat ideas, part 1: Take a picture of yourself every six minutes.

The Six Minute Project, a community art project.

Neat ideas, part 2: Color coded Matchbox

No, really. Check this shit out.

Great ideas, part 1: Make Garfield mute.

Example one. Reason 2.

Neat ideas, part 3: Mod your USB.

Everything's a toy!

Sexy ideas, part 1: Maria

The latest Urban Pinup.

Sexy and Good ideas, part 1: Yeah Yeah Yeah's. . .

Discuss four albums that inspired them.

Sexy and Good ideas, part 2: Neko Case. . .

is interviewed by The Onion A.V. Club.

Good Ideas, part 1: So is. . .

Mark Kozelek.

Sexy Ideas, part 2: Living in Sin

LA-ist has a sex column.

Bad Ideas, part 4: Family Circus

It's just plain bad. And it doesn't work for the Garfield experiment (scroll to the middle of the forum).

Amazing Ideas, part 1: adicolor

See it. Love it.

5/09/2006

Is it Tuesday?

Well, I guess we've got that covered

They're planning monuments to warn future generations about our fuck ups.

Mmm. Photos.

The Morning News highlights some of the work of Vincent Perini.

Veer

I'm not entirely sure what Veer is yet, but I like it.

My Morning Jacket

Metro talks to My Morning Jacket about (but not limited to) their role in 'Elizabeth Town'.

Is it Tuesday?

Well, I guess we've got that covered

They're planning monuments to warn future generations about our fuck ups.

Mmm. Photos.

The Morning News highlights some of the work of Vincent Perini.

Veer

I'm not entirely sure what Veer is yet, but I like it.

My Morning Jacket

Metro talks to My Morning Jacket about (but not limited to) their role in 'Elizabeth Town'.

Blarg, again

Pacino talks Wilde

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This is the official site. I wish I could see it.

Creepy

Harvard reports that they still do not have the “foggiest notion” of how many volumes wrapped in human hide exist throughout the system. That's right. Human flesh binding. They know of three books out of their 15-million volume collection.

5/08/2006

Shorts

Godsmack, what a world

An undereducated Sully Erna (of Godsmack) sold out his fans to the military and all he got was an interview with this guy. Priceless.

Ah, literature

Hey, remember that time I told you that Penguin was releasing classics with comic art covers? Well, here are some more samples and an article about that.

4/29/2006

Dear Fuck.

I just finished ripping the new records I got while in Laramie; I'm now sitting on top of 70.7 GB's of music; that's not counting the stuff in the mail, the advances I've been sent, or any of that. 70.7 is where I'm at after five years of record collecting and deleting at my discretion.

Dear fuck.

4/25/2006

Fuck living in a van, I want me one of these

I was looking through one of the old Playboy's I've gotten in the mail (September, 1970) and found a short article on these magnificent things and have decided that A) I need one and B) I need a friend with a backyard to put it in.

The thing's goddamned brilliant! Lookit it!

Futuro

Futuro

Interior

And, my! Weren't they ambitious!
Utopia

Futuro-House.net even has galleries of actual people's Futuro's. I want one. I wonder what it would take to get plumbing and high-speed in one of these babies.

Find me a Futuro! My Kingdom for a. . . Fuck it. ebay doesn't even have one. I'm doomed.

4/22/2006

I'm back

Well, after a long trip to Laramie in which I drank too much, smoked too many cigarettes, and played too much Xbox 360. Here are some photos courtesy of Brando.

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Brando next to Third Street.

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Me next to Third Street.

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Me, Katie, and Bill on our way to the Buckhorn.

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Guitar.

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Biggie holding Brando as Brando stills a swig of Mickeys.

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I'm leaving. Sniffle.

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As we waited for the bus, Cam, Brando and I had a photo shoot. Here's the Duke's shot.

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Scary.

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Aw.
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Constant drinking with the kids for Brando's B-Day.

Okay. Enough. Now the Never-News.

In the Bedroom

Bedroom

Back to normal Star Valley habits, tonight I picked up a random previously viewed DVD from our local Maverick to compliment my soda and cigarettes. This is what I'm reduced to in Star Valley—no Brando, no video games, no social life—just assorted films and a caffeine high.

So what marvel of cinema did I get tonight? In the Bedroom. Really, what sold it to me (besides being the only film that wasn't a romantic comedy or, for that matter, White Noise was the fact that it has my boy Nick Stahl in it. Nick Stahl was 'That Yellow Bastard, not to mention the focal point of Carnivale. Having only seen him a few times, I figured that I might as well drop the ten bucks on this movie so that I could boost his appearances in my media-inundated life. That, and Sissy Spacek rules.

I wasn't sure what I was getting myself in to. I hate reading blurbs on the backs of DVD packaging – though, thank god, Bedroom's has absolutely no spoilers – and all I got was yadda yadda yadda Nick Stahl yadda yadda yadda older single mother (Tomei) yadda yadda yadda concerned.

I'm just glad that the plot wasn't just that.

The movie is visceral. Painful, even—we watch in muted horror as Tom and Sissy go through the seven stages of grief; we sit through it all and can't help waiting for the next stage. I was a little saddened by Stahl's brief turn after buying the film for him, but have realized that this should have been in my collection from the get-go. How did I miss its release? How the fuck would I know. Am I glad I got it? Yes.

Equal parts Rick Moody drama and Shakespearean tragedy, the film gets a big ol' thumbs up from me. The end.

3/12/2006

Happy Birthday, Jack

Today's Jack Kerouac's birthday! Huzzah!

Now go read something.

MSNBemo

Our friends over at MSNBC are having a hell of a time trying to figure out what emo is. Turns out, their music chart is fucking spot on. Good job, MSNBC. Good job.

Cheaper now than '78

September

I recently started eBaying old copies of Playboy (purchasing, not selling)--as well as a few other select staples of American publications—and was shocked when September, 1978's issue arrived in the mail today—not because of anything risque in the content of the magazine (in 1978, risque wasn't quite what it is now, of course) but by one of the subscription adds. In 1978 a year's subscription to the magazine was $14 dollars. Today's offer is $20 bucks. This is strange to me as I got my subscription (a little over a year ago) for a paltry 12 bucks. Cheaper than it was 28 years ago by two dollars, cheaper than now by eight.

At any rate, old magazines are a sort of fetish for me. Really, any media; old films do it for me, but we have DVD's now so it doesn't matter. Comics from 1978 are, for one, obscenely expensive and two, horribly written (in a comparison to today's current style—no matter how amazing the writing from those early decades of comics, each panel is still horribly weighted by exposition). But magazines? Playboy?

Like certain liquors, Playboy can stand the test of time.

I recently got an issue (December '74) which not only had fiction from Arther C. Clarke but, also, an article by Hunter S. Thompson and (get this) a pictorial by Salvidor Fucking Dali. Dali! Dear fuck.

Buy more old magazines. Whether from price friendly eBay or price-gouging specialty outlets. Just do it for the good of preservation.

Me? I'm gonna try to get a straight run. Or a straight run without Marilyn, whose issue's high-end price is a staggering $4,500.00. Compared to comics from 1954, that's tiny. But compared to Playboy? Not so much.

Downtown Magazine Price Guide

(P.S. : If you or anyone you know has any back issues of magazines they're looking to get rid of [and I'm talking clean magazines. None of your pubescent brother's issues of Penthouse] drop me a line. I'm interested in Playboy, Vanity Fair, any literary journal or Weird Tales-esque magazine, stuff like that. Life? Not so much. Time? Not so much [unless they have specific articles of interest, i.e. The Dylan article in Life]. Now, mind you, I'm not just talking to the people who may or may not stumble onto this site. I'm talking to you all. Luke.)

Funny stuff in old places

From afore mentioned issue of Playboy:
What Does “Good In Bed” Mean?

Alice Cooper, rock star
To be good in bed, you must be passionate, inventive, considerate, inexhasutible and an insufferable bastard. I always carry a big snake.

Chevy Chase,comedian
Sleep, a really good night's sleep. Oh, you mean like sex? Well, I've heard about sex, but never in bed. In a chair, anywhere else, but not in bed. Wouldn't you fall asleep?

I'd say never take metal objects to bed. And no smoking, of course. I know Alice Cooper says he always takes a snake; I always take a shit.

3/05/2006

To all those who say they hate Ashton Kutcher

Fuck you.

Once upon a time the guy found a script and decided to produce and star in the film. That film, The Butterfly Effect (which was based on this novel), flew under my radar for a long time—I saw the trailers and kind of blew it off. Then, when I found the DVD kicking around at my parents house, I went to watch it. To my chagrin, the disc was cracked. It wasn't until just now that I caught it on Encore.

Holy fuck.

I defy you to watch that film and not be affected in some quintessential manner. Every time the curve shifted, my heart broke a little more. And the end! Fuck!

(I cried. I won't lie. If you think that that's a little extreme, I guess you can blame it on the fact that I slipped my meds for a couple days. But me, I'm going to blame it on the fact that I'm generally pretty unhappy about my love life right now. I was once in love, you see, and if I could change my life to make that love line up, I would; hands down, no matter the loss, I think I'd try to make it happen. Every time I've tried to find a love like it, it doesn't work. I guess that's what we get, right? The Chasing Amy conundrum. Fuck it.)

I'm in love with the film, actually; I think I'd probably buy it again and only really watch it during times when I needed to put things back into perspective. No more faking it, no more forcing it; I'm going to be happy one way or another, and that means no more fucking around—no more long relationships where I don't feel, no more petty crushes I can't flesh out.

And for that?

Thanks Ashton.

Why not me?

Last Night's Party has a set that looks suspiciously like something out of Ellis' Rules of Attraction (the dressed to get screwed party). Turns out that LNP is actually getting a good bit of press these days—the October issue of Rolling Stone, Luke tells me, has the Hot List, on which LNP's is listed. Rad.

I'm pretty sure that, when I return to Laramie, I'm gonna set up a Dressed To Get Screwed Party. Paige and I have talked about theme parties before, and they're always a big success (Brando's Brokeback Mountain party [which I was absent for] apparently scarred a good many young men who are, for lack of a better word, Chad homophobes). The Dressed to Get Screwed Party would have to have an ID check, I think, because we don't want underage drinking to pull the police to a party where everyone is, essentially, dressed as scantily as possible.

Other theme parties to consider:

1940's elitism; come dressed as a upper-middle to upper-upper class 40's socialite, from débutante to highbrow art critic. (For a look at real-world débutantes in our modern world, Vanity Fair's February issue had an article featuring such rich and famous as Bush's Niece, Ashley, Steve McQueen's granddaughter Molly Flattery, and Andie MacDowell's daughter, Rainsford Qualley. Who knew?)
Famous characters from literature; whether it be the standard Huck Finn to Ellis' horrid Patrick Bateman, the key to this party is to never drop the act—party-goers must be the characters for the duration of the party. Especially the drunker they get.
Characters from Chicago; this is one that Paige was really interested in; the glamor from the film version of Chicago, this one cuts it close to the 40's elitism, but allows for whores and dancers.
Cross-Dressing Friday; this one kind of speaks for itself. The brave souls who dare attempt this one must come not only dressed in the clothes of the opposite sex, but must dress as far into the spectrum. Which is to say, men as feminine as possible, with woman working the masculine side of things.

Of course, these parties would have some sort of door prize (except, probably, the DTGS party, which will, most likely, end with few people even around—as the object, of course, is to get screwed).

If you're in the Laramie area and are interested in helping arrange, host, or attend these parties, drop a line.

3/04/2006

Unruly

Unruly

I got a copy of Unruly's first issue with my Mayem order, and was truly surprised. The journal is a smallish endeavor but it's jammed with interesting and great writing—from Kevin Sempsell's letter to the editor to the finish story, Bringing Henry Home by Pia Z. Ehrhardt. Not to mention a short by Alex Robinson (of Box Office Poison fame)!

So. Check it out. Or die.

Old Comics

I stumbled across some old comics of mine and decided to upload them so you could enjoy the bizarre nature of working the desk shift of a dorm from 3-6 in the morning during the summer. The comic was titled Kitty Vs. Robot, and I found them in a file tucked into my Image folder. The file was named 'Fuck Mark'. I don't even know why.

Primary sketches:

Guy

KaPow

Rain

Robt Sex

Actual comics:

KVR oo1

KVR oo2

KVR oo3

KVR oo4

KVR oo6

KVR oo7

KVR oo8

KVR oo9

KVR o10

KVR o11

KVR o12

KVR o13

3/03/2006

Blog, Shmlog. Update, you prick

Hey, kids. It's been a long one—I just got back from twelve days of hard work in Sun Valley; now my dad's thinking about buying one of the 'affordable' condos up there so that we can use it while working, and my mom can go visit her sisters more often (they live in Twin Falls, Idaho and Some Place, Oregon, so Sun Valley is the half way point), and, also, a place for me to go in the summers and sit on the porch, writing and smoking. Yay.

Holy fuck biscuits, buy this

As it turns out, Suburban Home has an eBay store, which is chock full of rare and out of print LP's and what not. I've already spent way, way too much there—but, as a working man, I can afford it; the mass amount of records only adds up to two and a half days of work. If you'd like to see what I've got, here's a nice list that the Sub.Urb. Crew will be sending me in a few days time:

Onelinedrawing's Volunteers LP, which is out of print.

The Pixies, Surfer Rosa (on both CD and Vinyl; my CD copy is an old Chris/Jason Boat disc, and it's seen better days), Come on Pilgrim (LP), and Doolittle. Because a record collection isn't complete without these records.

These Arms are Snakes, both the This is Meant to Hurt You CD and 12”, and the LP version of Oxneers

Cave-In's Anchor 7” (I know, I know; it's their bad album—the major label one, blah blah. But still interesting.), and Creative Eclipses, which was limited edition.

Matson Jones' self-titled. These guys are from Denver, so it's pretty much an extension of my musical scene—I'm a little bummed I didn't get this one sooner.

Planes Mistaken For Stars' Fuck With Fire LP.

Kind of Like Spitting - Old Moon LP.

Murder By Death's beautiful sophomore album, Who Will Survive, and What Will be Left of Them?, which I've done nothing but rave about since I've heard it, on 2x10”.

Q and Not U, No Kill No Beep Beep on vinyl.

Blood Brothers' (whose website you should visit, because it's fucking sweet ass bitches) Burn, Piano Island, Burn (LP), March On Electric Children (LP), and This Adultery Is Ripe (CD).

Pretty Girls Make Graves' Good Health (LP), Sad 7”, and The New Romance (LP).

Heatmiser's Dead Air (LP) and Cop and Speeder (LP).

Sleater-Kinney's Entertain single (also, check out their blog).

The Mars Volta's 12” Single for Frances the Mute.

Old Man Gloom - Christmas (2xLP).

And, hopefully, that Gorilla Biscuits record Luke love so much—he doesn't have the vinyl version (and we're asshole completists, so he's gotta have it), so I'm gonna snag it for him.

All in all, that's about two-hundred-fifty dollars of plastic coming my way. Did I get screwed over? Probably. But I like to think that I saved some money—though some of the records which I thought were out of print turned out being still in print. Whoops.

Brown loves the Cutie

Jeffery Brown, who I've ranted about before, did a music video for Death Cab for Cutie. Check it out, yo.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?

After being gone for two weeks, I went to pick up the mail (I'm living with my folks right now, until this summer when I'm headed back to Laramie for some schoolin' and rockin', so I'm sharing a P.O. Box with them). Sitting in the box was a little card thingie—no address, no envelope, just a promo card—for Ghost Buffalo (a band whose card proclaims “for fans of Rilo Kiley, Cat Power, and Neko Case”, so, needless to say, I'm downloading it to see if it's any good). Yeah, a little promo. Fine.

But what is strange is that it was sitting free in the box—in small town Star Valley, Wyoming—where there were no indie letters or packages for me. Just some bank stuff for the parents. Where did it come from?

2/19/2006

Home for a bit

Hey, kids. So, yeah. No posts for quite awhile—and probably not any for awhile to come; I've been working like a madman, and this past week I've been in Laramie practicing for the upcoming Wake Megan album. I'm home in Star Valley for a wedding (Congrats, Brecon and Tara!), and then I'll be back in Laramie for another week before heading back to spine-crushing work. Hopefully there will be a Chesire Productions site up by next weekend, and some demo tracks of Wake Megan's album—what do you guys think of the title 'It All Depends'?

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

-- William Carlos Williams

Anyone?

2/07/2006

I thought dates were the best part of trail mix...

...then I bought a whole bag of them.
You actually can have too much of a good thing.

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"Charles Mingus circa 1959" by Andrew Maxwell Vigoren

Colin didn't formally request me to do this week but I figured he wouldn't mind. Anyway, he's got all those powers an admin has so I think he can show his absolute power by taking care of anything he doesn't want. Just a few quick things.

Shook Ones
I don't care how much these guys sound like Kid Dynamite/Lifetime, they are really really awesome and I'm glad to hear a new hardcore band that makes me genuinely excited.

Stubbs the Zombie
Apart from having an excellent soundtrack (featuring Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Kweller, Rogue Wave, etc.) this game is incredibly addicting and hilarious. From the creators of the ever addicting Halo this game resembles their past work in a whole fuck of a lot of ways. Loading capabilities, weapon abilities, and controls don't differ a whole lot. Am I complaining? Hell, no. Halo perfected one genre, it's time for those guys to have some fun. Game story revolves around a 1950's era utopia being plagued by a zombie epidemic, you are the leader zombie, you are Stubbs. Stubbs goes around eats brains to add people to his Z. Army, tears arms off soldiers and proceeds to beat them with them, has a dance contest with the chief of police, and rides a sheep. Can you ask for more? Awesome game x 3000.
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Ambitions
Since original singer Todd Mackey just left With Honor, I've been pretty pissed off. Luckily I found a band that has the core brothers from With Honor and the core members of Shai Hulud. It's nothing new, but it's pretty freaking awesome. Check them out

Maybe I should read like Sir Moon.

1/31/2006

Luke vs. the Sleep

Fucking Genius
The new Perry Bible Fellowship strikes quite close to home this week after too many video games
and not enough sleep for this guy.

Spearfish Music Update

I was pretty bummed that Boyz on Parade broke up (in fact I was enraged) but they then informed me that they are just renaming themselves and throwing away most of their songs. That information would have been useful. Keep an eye out for I Am Fail.

M.T. Bateaux
Laramie/Rapid City have something to be proud of. M.T. Bateaux is a pretty fantastic solo effort from this guy I met on campus randomly. For some reason him and all his friends remember seeing me at shows back home in South Dakota but I never recognized any of them until coming to college. What can you do I suppose. Anyway, this guy is Benjamin, I don't really know him that well but I was more than impressed by his music. Give him some props.

I pretty much always vow to swear off video games but for some reason or another I've gotten into them again. Who needs things like literature/music/art when you can pump flashing graphics into your head? Recent plays:

Soccer a Go-Go
Super Mario Strikers is pretty much one of the most instantly addicting games ever. The Mario franchise is freaking flawless, as if it isn't exciting enough to be play soccer where you can body check people into electric fences, you can use Toads to slam their mushroom-heads into Donkey Kong and topple him over like a damn cripple. Won't be jumping any barrels in the near future, will I, DK?


Good Wing Gabba
So as a child I never played any part of the Star Fox franchise, but after playing the original for SNES yesterday I am pretty much hooked on blowing the shit out of little prisms and octagons.

We Are Venom
Ultimate Spider-Man has been a bastard. Playing through the sandbox environment is awesome, good graphics(with few minor flaws), and web slinging has never been this much fun. Beating Venom in the last level has proved to be more than a challenge (ending with me kicking and screaming on the floor after about an hour of constant kicks and web-zips). Besides the sort of (okay, ridiculous) silly banter this game is a fucking winner. But, this Spider-Man has an ARCHAIC costume! How can we deal with that!

Wow, maybe I should put down the controller.

1/26/2006

10:00am is Much Too Early

Greetings. Well, due to lack of ideas here's the Top Three hardcore records of the 1980's. You might be thinking to yourself "Well, Luke you really only existed for half of the 80's and in those five years all you did was watch cartoons and eat food." And I'd say "Well, no shit."


Gorilla Biscuits - "Start Today"
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It's the record that says it all. Late in the 1980's in New York City, Sunday Matinees at CBGB's were all the rage; kids could go see a show and be back in time for school the next day! Gorilla Biscuits happened to be a part of this whole "youth-crew" movement, putting music back into the hands of kids who were completely straight-edge, and completely not old enough to buy cigarettes or booze. This record changed a hell of a lot of things. Gorilla Biscuits weren't forgettable prior to this record. Their original demo and self-titled recordings were...intimidating to say the least. But they 'broke down the walls' (oh what shtick) by creating music that revolved around positivity, vegetarianism, and of course, fun! This is notably one of the first times that music that was furious came head-to-head with awesome melodies and more-than-memorable lyrics and crew-style sing-a-longs. A mind blowing band in every sense of the phrase.

Minor Threat - "Minor Threat"
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Minor Threat, without a doubt, created an aggression to punk rock music that was only paralleled by other D.C. greats of their day (S.O.A., Bad Brains, etc.). Their self-titled record was short and sweet, as most hardcore was in their day; their record played like a circle pit in your head; their lyrics were as simple as they were profound. The late projects of this band obviously get more noteriety (Fugazi, Bad Religion, etc.) but this band re-wrote the rule book for the 1980's. Stand up! And be counted!

Black Flag - "Damaged"
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Arguably the first hardcore band (I say arguably because well it's not like anybody announced themself as a genre, obviously) and an incredibly significant one. This is what dissonance and chaos are all about. Greg Ginn basically set up everything for hardcore to become more than just 4/4 time and power chords. From incredibly funny social satire to songs of just being pissed off, Black Flag's name isn't going anywhere.

1/24/2006

Fighting...

Top Five (three) Hardcore Records of the Last Ten years
Well the time is here everybody. Per Colin's suggestion I'm here to lay down the law (my musical opinion) for all of you. In my complete morning haze I'm currently attempting to rip tracks to give you all samples of all these fine, fine works of art (using this fine program). In any case, let's start today's lesson.

Snapcase - "End Transmission"
Number fucking one. One of the most underrated albums that noone has taken influence from since its inception. In their last studio record, Snapcase openly created an incredible new atmosphere surrounding hardcore. The hardcore tracks come off in a mathy and almost robotic way; creative in beats and guitar rhythms. Interludes mapping tracks together are flawless("Cadence" and the end of "A Synthesis of Classic Forms"). Snapcase took drastic changes on this record, openly taking their influences from Fugazi and At the Drive-In (arguable some of the best non-hardcore bands in recent memory). I have clear biases on placing this record at Number 1. They were my first new-age hardcore band, seeing them live was something close to mecca for me, and their videos were nothing short of visual candy. I hope that maybe for once people can see that these guys were absolute geniuses (anyone who covers Devo and Helmet in the same record is obviously in this category) and maybe I won't just look like some fanboy for the next ten years.

Refused - "The Shape of Punk to Come"
Arguably, most people's choice for Number 1 but I just couldn't do it. It was a tough call, don't get me wrong, but a secure Number 2 I think is more than satisfactory for this record. "The Shape..." is an all-around solid record. Refused were a semi-forgettable band leading up to this album. But these young lads went from dreadlocks in Sweden, to scary ass masks in their groundbreaking video for "New Noise"(proving there is absolutely nothing wrong with an old-fashioned performance video with awesome costumes).

The album opens up with some pretty prolific quoting: "They told me the classics never go out of style, but they do, they do. Somehow baby, I never thought that we do too." Opposed to some bands who may just quote something just for the sake of quoting them, this one actually speaks for the record. As you will notice later on in this list, most of these records come from the later years of the 1990's and early 2000's. There's a reason for this. Granted, bands like Earth Crisis and Madball did incredible things in melding hardcore with metal in the early '90s but these are hardly significant records that pushed boundaries in creative processes. Bands may have delved in adding different elements to their sound prior to this but Refused were nothing but groundbreaking in what they did. The use of strings in "Tannhauser / Derive" makes an epic hardcore song all that much more epic. With the sounds of what sounds like a black and white horror movie it is chilling at the same time moving. Techno interludes like those in "Bruitist Pome #5" are appealing to fans of hardcore and house alike. One of the more straight-forward tracks is the title track in which they use different sound effects, not to mention break away from routine of 4/4 breakdowns. I could talk about this record forever and it appears I already have. Buy this.

Shai Hulud - "Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion"
Extremely long song and album titles aside Shai Hulud did it right. Their combination of hardcore, metal, and melody was done flawlessly on this record. Ringing in at a fine nine songs, it meets perfect length for a hardcore record. Shai Hulud defeinitely stepped it up in their debut full-length by showing what my faithful friend Andrew would call "the sweet teat of melodic hardcore." There are few bands that have matched what Shai Hulud did in their short-to-medium career-span (exception being their brother band Strongarm in which they shared drummers as well as influences). Notably what caught my ear about Shai was their track "A Profound Hatred of Man". I've never been a words guy, I mean clearly by reading any of my blogs you can see that I'm semi-illiterate, but all that aside poetry/lyrics never strike me...ever. This song excluded. Probably a combination of being in high school and having 'teen angst' but the lyrics to this song and album are amazing. Do yourself a favor, get your sandworm on.

I can't type anymore, I'm going dizzy.
This was going to be five but I can't concentrate any longer.
Besides the choices for 4 and 5 weren't as totally awesome as the first three so three is a solid number to go with. Research, enjoy, stay rad.

1/23/2006

I Sold My Soul for Charles Mingus

Hi everybody. I'm glad to be welcomed in by the wonderful Colin Moon on this occassion (see, I can do html too)and I hope I can live up to true Never News expectations. This is just a preliminary blog since I can't be positively sure if I'll be able to post in the real hours of tomorrow (current time-2:35am) so here I go with a few things.

You Had Me at Locust
Scott Smallin photography seems to be a pretty damn decent site. Features slideshows from great labels like Omar Rodriguez Lopez's Gold Standard Labs and Justin Pearson's Three One G(which as it turns out I hate pretty much everything on this label except bands that Justin Pearson is actually in. In any case he actually has creative model photography as well as quite festive wedding photos.

Shiver Me Fuckin' Timbers
The latest from our good friends at Perry Bible Fellowship.

We Can At Least Attempt to Be Black
After the winter break, I've become enriched in the worlds of jazz. I've become highly addicted to reading extensive biographies on Wikipedia of greats like Jimmy Smith, Charlie Parker, and the aforementioned Charles Mingus. These were some interesting cats to say in the very least.

Well that's all I have for you now. I'm not a supreme-o web browser so that's about as much as you get out of me. Later in this week I'll let you in such great things as:
Luke's Incredibly Important Music Opinions!
Luke's Incredibly Long Music Rants!
Luke's Current Obsessions in Comic Books!
And More!

Stay tuned.
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Brief Weekend Post

Home Again

I'm back. So, a post before Luke starts over—I'm not sure I'll be home this coming weekend but, if I am, expect a brief and belated post.

Last Night's Party goes to Sundance

Last Night's Party went to the Sundance Film Festival while I was out; there are three galleries of photos that are entitled Sundance colon feature, all worth a good check out. Some smallish celebs.

I found this somewhere

I found this somewhere (I don't remember where). It works best if you use iTunes, as said program has all the features needed.

Crack open your music player.

How many songs are listed?
5445

Sort by artist:
First artist: 'Mericans
Last artist: ZZZ

Sort by song title:
First Song: “'77” - Red Animal War
Last Song: “Ziggy Stardust” - David Bowie

Sort by time:
Shortest Song: “Ghosts 'n' Goblins – Intro” - The Advantage
Longest Song: “Off White Room” - The Album Leaf

Sort by album:
First Album: “"This Is Our Punk-Rock," Thee Rusted Satellites Gather +Sing,” - A Silver Mt. Zion
Last Album: “Your Funeral...My Trial” - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

First song that comes up on shuffle: “Stephanie Says” - The Velvet Underground

How many songs come up when you search for “sex”? 14

How many songs come up when you search for “death”? 101

How many songs come up when you search for “love”? 271

How many songs come up when you search for “the”? 2559

Precious pornstar

Peachez

Aw. Here's Peachez' site.

Video Casts

KitKast is a blog in video form; Ms. Kitka lays around in her underwear and informs us on late-breaking news in the worlds of porn, stripping, and sex. All in all, a good time.

Any other video casts out there? Sex or non-sex, it's all good; especially in the realms of literature (which I'm looking for general podcasts for) and art. If so, email me.