Tuesday, August 31, 2010

arcade fire

This is pretty amazing. An interactive video created in and for google chrome. If you don't have chrome already, the site will prompt you to d/l it and provide a link.

It's a piece of art, really, more than a music video, that plays along with Arcade Fire's new song "The Wilderness Downtown." It's a very haunting take on childhood and loss, but in the form of a song that is not terribly morose musically, rather uptempo. In fact, the whole record, though critically panned in some quarters is pretty amazing.

Check it.

ADDENDUM: Sorry, the film/interactive piece is called "The Wilderness Downtown." The song's called "We Used to Wait." Obviously--they only repeat that phrase 70 bajillion times. Great either way.

Monday, August 30, 2010

ya gotta say...

...hey. lookit this... :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turn Off Fox

The gym that I go to is one of the older, more established gyms in the area. Which is great in terms of peacefulness when working out: you don't have to compete with the peacock type of gym-goer, the ones who are strictly there to scope the opposite sex, and you don't have nearly as much of the meathead factor.

Anyway, the downside is the tv in the locker room is almost always turned to Fox News by someone at some point. It used to drive me crazy; now I just laugh out loud whenever I hear a ridiculous lie spew out of that craphole, and I make snide comments on it. This is fun in two ways: you can either find like-minded people (the majority) or discover which ones are devotees of the O'Reilly/Beck Kool-Aid.

But here's an idea whose time has come: Turn Off Fox. It's about time we noticed that Fox is predatory, in that it relies on stoking fear and insecurity and hatred amongst citizens of the United States, and that this divisiveness is poison to our nation. The campaign seeks to report businesses that play Fox, as well as those who refuse to.

Plus, if you sign up, you can get a free Stop Fox sticker!

Go now, spread the word. As stories like this become more prevalent, we should put the blame for inciting these lunatics squarely it belongs. Crazy people are going to do crazy shit, but you can't shriek "Fire!" at the top of your lungs 24 hours a day for nearly two years and expect to walk away blameless when the mob reacts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

irish math

Here's a rather silly but still (to me) amusing post I found I know not where. Normally I really hate the stupid, old-school typed-up email forwards, but this one made me laugh--and then speak in an Irish dialect the rest of the day.

For all me Irish brethren and sistren.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sarah Palin's white paper

In poli-sci we learned of government studies called 'white papers' in which policy recommendations and solutions to problems are laid out.

Here's a white paper i could really get behind.

Let's just hope she doesn't quit halfway through!

Yes, You.

Dunno if there is still anyone out there who has yet to see/hear Cee-Lo's new song, but it is catchy and NSFW as hell, as are most of the good things in the world.

Boulder International Fringe Festival 2010

Fred Blanco as Cesar Chavez in his one-man show at BIFF 2010

Here's my latest piece from the Post. (Full text below.)

I can't express enough how much fun this event is. This is my second year covering the festival and I had a blast both times, even though I was under the deadline gun and had to race home that night to write it up. I can only imagine having an entire evening to check out different pieces, leisurely strolling around town rather than racing from venue to venue to catch as much as possible.

The shows are mostly $5-$10 and if you pick and choose well, they are worth it. The great thing about most of these shows is the electricity of not knowing what to expect, and the live edginess of seeing people about to step off the cliff in something they have created and which they feel passionate about.

Personally, I would rather pay $5 for an hour of weird but top-quality theatre than pay $20 for three hours of a 'meh' reinterpretation of a 'meh' show that's been around for decades or more.

Fringe Fesitval's Time-Tripping Is Well Worth the Journey

Things aren't quite normal here.

The first indication is Howard Petrick, decked out in his peace-sign-emblazoned World War II-era helmet to promote his show, "Rambo: The Missing Years."

The second is that everyone in line at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art seems to know everyone else; the first full night of performances at the 2010 Boulder International Fringe Festival is a chance for performers to catch each others shows, and there's a joyful camaraderie in the air.

This year, the festival is geographically sprawling, adding a "Bring Your Own Venue" opportunity as far away as Settlers' Park at the western end of Canyon Boulevard. Luckily, Boulder is the definition of a bike-friendly town, with a mad jumble of signs, flashing lights, and painted lines screeching hysterically at drivers from every corner. Otherwise the odyssey from the park to, say, Wesley Chapel, across from Folsom Field, could be prohibitive.

Still, it's worth the trek up Folsom Street to see "The Stories of Cesar Chávez," a one-man show performed by veteran Los Angeles actor Fred Blanco. Set in 1968 during one of Chávez's fasts in solidarity with striking farm workers, the show is a powerful homage to a brave, humble man.

But it's also potent social commentary that resonates with today's headlines. It serves as a discussion on immigration and an alternative to the xenophobic fear-mongering coming out of Arizona — and lately, New York and Washington.

Blanco slips effortlessly into various characters: a young, zoot-suited Chávez; an ancient abuela, her body broken from decades in the fields; a fiery revolutionary; a redneck strikebreaker.

This is one of those rare one-person shows in which the character shifts don't seem contrived. You find yourself forgetting the primary voice of Chávez until Blanco straightens his bent legs and back and unscrunches the old woman's face back to his own.

Also playing at the Wesley is an experimental work called "The Lovinator," a rock musical/dance piece that tells the story of an otherworldly hero who comes to Earth, a pirate named Captain Jesus. Through live vocals, guitar and bass, and backed with computer-recorded rhythm tracks, a six-person ensemble dances and sings its way through his story, which bears similarities to another well-known chronicle about a guy named Jesus.

The story is rather weird and muddled; of course, when it comes to religion, that's never really been a problem before. And there are some beautiful dance pieces, with striking manipulation of a plaster head representing the pirate/savior.

The music borrows shamelessly from influences like Frank Zappa, Prince, every 1970s musical about Jesus ever, and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," but you don't really mind, especially when the ensemble busts out in haunting but humorous four-part harmony on a well- known 1980s song.

Another show gaining buzz is "Moxie," which tells three stories of women working in the entertainment business spanning the 20th century, performed and written by Alana Eve Burman and Teresa Sparks (Fringe Festival director and administrative director, respectively).

It starts a little slow, with Penelope working in a production office during the silent-film era, backed by portentous piano music and dialogue slides explicating her story. But once we roll into the 1940s "Movietone News" section of the piece, it gets much funnier.

Using the conceit of wartime newsreels, Burman plays Eugenia, an aspiring tuba player in a USO band, as well as characters commenting on her halting climb to stardom.

Burman has excellent comic chops, and she is able to slip unnoticed from the sharp-elbowed patter of a 1940s announcer to the breathless, slightly lunatic exuberance of 1950s television as Erica, a phone-bank operator for an Atlanta news show, taking phone tips from callers.

She not-so-secretly wants to be an on-air reporter and disastrously wangles her way into covering a story on a man so good-looking he causes traffic accidents on a daily basis.

No, things are not normal here. But if you ask most people at the Fringe Festival, they'll tell you normal is vastly overrated.

The Boulder Fringe Festival runs through Sunday at venues across the city. Prices are reasonable and vary, and multiple-show passes are available. Check the website at boulderfringe.com for details.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

HST interviews Keif

via via

Wow. The awesomeness with this one is strong.

Wayne Ewing, the gentleman who shot many Hunter Thompson interviews and other films tells the story of the night Keith Richards visited Woody Creek:

At 4am we stopped shooting, and I urged the crew from Denver to wrap as quickly as possible. Rather than splitting asap as you expect, Keith hung around while we wrapped, sitting on the couch in the kitchen, not wanting to leave the inner sanctum of Gonzo quite yet. Hunter clearly wanted to get the Denver crew out so he could have more private time with Keith, who by now had fallen asleep on the couch, looking exactly like the famous 1972 Annie Leibovitz shot of him splayed out in a chair. As the crew endlessly wrapped cables, an unconscious Keith began to slide off the couch onto the floor.

There actually is about ten minutes of footage here that is reasonably intelligible, with Hunter continually interrupting Keith (he's jabbering away at four in the morning for some reason, haha) asking him about Altamont, etc. Well worth a look for die-hard HST fans, for sure.

As well as Rolling Stones fans. Was Keith Richards ever young?

Also worth a look is Ewing's site, Hunter Thompson Films. Lots of footage from the King Hell Weirdo himself.

Friday, August 20, 2010

palin 2012

Palin 2012

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody.

The New Dumb

On the Meaning of Dumb
1. lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.

—Verb phrase
10. dumb down, Informal. to make or become less intellectual, simpler, or less sophisticated: to dumb down a textbook; American movies have dumbed down.

To the casual observer, it might seem like there's an extra-heavy Dumbness front passing through the United States recently. This is beyond even the usual Dumb showers one can expect any election season. The storms of Dumb seem especially thick this year, with huge rolling banks of Stupid underneath, which can of course obfuscate vision. One must remember to take shelter from the ever-present danger of Idiocy strikes (stay in your car!) as well as golf-ball sized Dimness pelting down on a Moronic summer afternoon.

But it strikes me that the typical inane, slow-witted doltishness that we are used to seeing this time of year is currently being shored up by the tremendous effort of thousands of volunteers filling up sandbags of The New Dumb.

Now, as a writer it occurs to me that, yes, many of the words above are synonyms of ‘dumb’ or ‘dumbness.’ Which, in a perfectly literal, linear universe might be the end of the story. But it seems to me that there is something different about this latest iteration of The New Dumb, and it is this: a pervasive deliberateness, a proud declaration of one’s own ignorance.

Every movement has its poster children, and The New Dumb is no exception.

It is perhaps no surprise that The New Dumb, in proclaiming to stand up for America’s freedoms by denying those freedoms to other Americans hearkens back to the Know-Nothing Party, as, well, they know nothing. And again, it’s the pride they take in being dumb that is perhaps most shocking and alarming. It’s certainly possible that both the Know-Nothings and The New Dumb sprouted from pandering, from smarter people who were pretending to a dumbness that they perceive the majority has. Gretchen Carlson, stand up and say “Duh!”

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gretchen Carlson Dumbs Down
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

But what has happened is that this professed, possibly pretend ignorance by the policy elites has turned into a proud, true ignorance waved like a flag by the proletariat.

And that is truly frightening. Who the fuck ever heard of being proud of being stupid? That’s so...stupid.

Oh. I see.

Welp, never mind then.

Time for the New Dumb to get back to changing those textbooks to reflect the earth’s true age of 6,000 years and looking for Obama’s birth certificate. Or fighting a mosque that isn’t a mosque that is going up at Ground Zero which isn’t Ground Zero.

Life is tough. Especially during the Dumb season.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

eldest sibling the smarterest? i think not.

via fark

As a middle child I can assure you that this article is an utter load of the usual liberal media propaganda you can expect from CNN:

Research presented this month at the American Psychological Association found that firstborns score higher on aptitude tests, yet younger siblings obtain higher grade point averages.

And is if this weren't enough of an affront to middle children everywhere, they decide to add insult to injury:

The younger ones are harder working, the siblings agreed in questionnaires they filled about themselves and their siblings.

Congratulations, CNN, for proving your filthy older/younger bias, leaving the middle children, once again, sadly neglected.

Oh, but don't worry about us! We're used to it.

Yep, being a middle child is a lot like this.

OH, YES, MY FRIEND. This is NOT the first time we've been shunned, oh no sir.

We have been treated in this shabby fashion all our lives and you know what? We may not be as smart as our older siblings, we may not work as hard(??) as our younger siblings. (Sidebar: Oh, please. The youngest just get treated like the sun shines out of their ass and they are all great simply BECAUSE they were the youngest and the final effort at CUTENESS that our delusional, short-attention span parents popped out, and for no other reason.)

But by God. Think about this: all those years when you were lavishing praise on the oldest and the youngest, what do you think we middle children were doing alone in our rooms?

No, not that. Well, maybe.

But also, we were PLOTTING. We were planning our eventual revenge.

Which, as we all know, is a dish best served cold.

All I'm saying is watch your back, you smart and hard-working older and younger siblings.

Watch. Your. Damn. Back.

You're goddamn right, 'sociable and creative.'
Good-looking and well-adjusted too, motherfucker.
Don't make me diplomatically calm your ass down with the back of my hand.

Happy Horse Play

I have not stopped laughing, after watching this ten minutes ago.
Yes, it's a silly animal vid, but holy shit you gotta watch this to the end.
I've seen other vids of horses playing with balls and other items, so I was aware that they are creative, playful animals, seemingly like giant dogs, but this guy's enthusiasm trumps all.
The. Happiest. Horse. Evar.
Topped off with the most confused horse face evar near the end. :)

clown on clown violence

I've said it before, I'll say it again:
clown on clown violence has got to stop, people. Haven't we learned from past mistakes?

(CNN) -- Reality TV star Tila Tequila suffered facial cuts when she was pelted with rocks and bottles while performing at a music festival in Illinois early Saturday, according to a witness and a law enforcement official.

"She's pretty cut up," said a performer who saw the violence at the "Gathering of the Juggalos" in rural Hardin County, Illinois. The witness asked not to be identified so that he does not anger the juggalos.

Well, in the juggalos defense, Tila Tequila is a strange little hideous orange-hued-clown-dwarf-creature who can incite people to anger.

I await the day someone finds evidence that this incident was staged because Tila was feeling threatened by the latest hideous orange-hued-clown-dwarf-creature that has been stealing Tila's thunder as of late. Deeply disturbing pic follows.

Prepare for horror.

Cannot unsee.

I've warned you.

Hideous orange-hued-clown-dwarf-creatures everywhere you look!!! Quick, get a rock! And some bottles!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Angel in America

Here’s a timely and touching article written by Frank Rich, one of the few morally honest writers left at the New York Times. (It would figure he comes from a background of being a theatre reviewer, no? But I digress...)

Of course, the title of the piece caught my eye, as we begin rehearsals in earnest next weekend. But reading the column brings up a lot interesting ideas. Rich juxtaposes the story of Judith Dunnington Peabody, a society woman who died ten days before the Walker ruling on Prop 8 in California, banning the ban on gay marriages. Despite her cartoonishly posh names, which would be a perfect moniker for, say, a customer at Costignton’s on the Simpsons, it turns out there was more to her than a life of idle privilege:

In 1985, Judith Peabody, a frequent contributor to the traditional good causes favored by those of her class, did the unthinkable by volunteering to work as a hands-on caregiver to AIDS patients and their loved ones.

Those patients were then mostly gay men, and, as Guy Trebay recently wrote in The Times, they were “treated not with compassion but as bearers of plague.” There was no drug regimen to combat AIDS, and there were many panicky rumors about how its death sentence could be spread through casual contact. People of all types and political persuasions shunned dying gay men even as they treated healthy gay men and lesbians as, at best, second-class citizens.

Her story points out several things: one, how very much the world has changed in a short time. In 1985 the Times, Rich writes, didn’t even dare to use the word “gay” in its pages. And the newspaper of record didn’t give AIDS front page coverage until the death toll reached 500. And of course Ronald Reagan famously shunned public mention of the issue even as the body count mounted. The president didn't address the issue until 1987, near the end of his second term, passively allowing his supporters in the growing power of the religious right to label the disease as God's wrath on homosexuals.

To be sure, we can celebrate that the cause of equal rights and treatment for everyone has come so far in such a relatively short time. But what strikes me most about this story is how much we have changed in another direction. In 1985, Mrs. Peabody had absolutely no business coming down from her apartment on the Upper East Side and ministering to men from a world so very unlike her own, men dying of a strange, frightening new plague the causes of which were largely unknown. Nor did her mother-in-law, Mary Peabody have any business years before protesting at sit-ins in Florida in support of the civil rights movement.

They had no business doing these things, except for one stubborn fact:

It was the right thing to do.

And I think that’s the second major point here: the difference we see between previous generations and the current crop of pundits, the Terribly Smart People who know what’s best for everyone. It is impossible to have an honest debate today about nearly anything important, because the well has been poisoned with so much disinformation and spin and lies and self-serving bullshit. And that is because these people do not care about what is right.

The lure of lucre is too much these days to expect honesty, or fairness, or basic human empathy. The wingnut welfare these people run on is too great, along with the cheapjack fame afforded those unafraid to spew poison, however odious and patently false, in exchange for cash.

Interestingly, we have some of the same players (or at least their ideological spawn) spewing the same intellectual dishonesty today as they did back in 1985.

How far we’ve come.

How sad that so many of our fellow Americans refuse to join us here in the future.


I also reviewed "Murderer" at Firehouse recently. Helluva show, dark, dark funny, if you like that sort of thing.


Taking another’s life is of course the most heinous crime imaginable. Apart from a reality show participant, there is no sub-human creature more loathsome, odious and despicable than a murderer.

And much in the way we’re glued to the crime of reality television, we seem to take an almost lascivious delight in examining every lurid detail of the crimes of murderers: we know its wrong to watch, we know it can’t be good for us, yet we are unable to turn away. We cover our eyes and gasp in horror, all the while peeking between our fingers.

Firehouse Theatre’s production of “Murderer” by Anthony Shaffer, who also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” and the original production of “Sleuth,” has taken that odd repulsion-fascination to its logical conclusion.

Meet Norman Bartholomew, a strange painter with an encyclopedic knowledge of famous murderers. He lives in a village in Dorset, England, caught in a loveless marriage with his carping wife Elizabeth (Theresa Dwyer Reid).

Turns out he might be seeking practical applications for his vast knowledge of the fine art of murder.

The show begins with over 20 minutes of dialogue-free action, beginning with Norman (played by James O’Hagan-Murphy) painting a portrait of his lover Millie (Lindsey Christian) while his wife is away.

As usually happens in these cases, girl meets boy, boy drugs girl, boy dismembers body in the bathtub.

Who hasn’t had a Saturday night like that?

Actually this opening is a brilliant piece of theatre, a silent sketch that encompasses grotesqueries as well as many flashes of humor. The sight of Norman wearing goggles and a butcher’s apron over nothing but boxers and a pair of argyle socks is funny enough--until he takes a break from the dismemberment to make a cup of tea, fussily cutting the crusts off his sandwich before returning to his task.

And while Shaffer’s script is laden with these moments of dark humor, that’s not to say that there isn’t very real and visceral emotion as well. The loathing between husband and wife is palpable, horrific in its own way. And the ongoing cat-and-mouse game between Norman and the village constable Sergeant Stenning (Luke Terry) are also an emotional minefield.

The other great gift the late Shaffer had was his mastery at taking an audience for a ride in one direction, then abruptly spinning the world 180 degrees. Suffice to say that anyone who says they saw what was coming at the end of “Murderer” is as big a liar as your cousin who swears he figured out the secret at the heart of “The Sixth Sense” halfway into the film.

O’Hagan-Murphy stands out in a role that demands a lot from an actor, physically and emotionally. With a gibbering, high-strung laugh a la Jonathan Pryce, his loopy capering could in itself make the show. However, he holds other emotions in reserve, revealing them a bit at a time, playing the varying power relationships well.

As Sergeant Stenning, Luke Terry does yeoman work, largely relegated to playing the straight man, although he clearly has a great deal of fun tormenting Norman with his Columbo- like questions.

Lindsey Christian as Millie is a sweetly vicious airhead, adorably murderous as she pushes Norman to finally put up or shut up with regard to his harpy of a wife. Its unfortunate, then, that her dialect slips are abundant enough to distract from the character.

And finally to the aforementioned harpy: as Elizabeth, Theresa Dwyer Reid is brutally cold and emasculating, a cojones-crusher of a wife. She takes great joy in aiming withering rejoinders at her husband. Aside from going a bit too big at the climax, Reid carries the character with stoicism as well as genuine humanity.

Overall, director Stacey Nelms has put together a fine show that will leave some viewers horrified and others giggling--perhaps imparting a balance of the two to most.


Here's my latest review for the Post, the excellent "Tomfoolery" now showing at the Denver Vic.


Satire should sting a little bit. At its best--razor-edged, likely to confuse and offend a portion of its audience--satire cuts to the heart of dusty, unchallenged societal hypocrisy.

There was no American era quite as perfect as the 50s and early 60s for a satirist like Tom Lehrer to come along. If you believed the propaganda, America was a nation of Don and Betty Drapers, uniformly flush with confidence, living the high life amid a booming post-war economy, smugly certain of the godly righteousness of their leaders and their nation. It took people like Lehrer, the Beats, and the nascent folk movement to point out the Emperor’s decidedly minimalist wardrobe choice.

While Dylan was solemn and frustrated, and the Beats were joyous and wild, Lehrer’s weapon of choice was musical satire. He wielded his songs like a scalpel, slicing with precision at treasured myths of American life, a collection of which have been brought together in the revue “Tomfoolery,” now showing at the Denver Victorian.

Though this is veteran director Wade P. Wood’s first time at the helm of a musical revue, he keeps the ship largely on course as his cast of four rips through 25 of Lehrer’s classic songs in under two hours. There are plenty of groan-worthy puns and rather obvious jokes, but also lots of humor requiring some degree of thought--Lehrer’s other career as a Harvard-educated mathematician is a dead giveaway that intelligence and a sense of humor often go hand in hand.

The show begins with “Be Prepared,” featuring the entire cast led by Clark Bomer Brittain as a sort of demented scout leader, all wearing boy scout-style neckerchiefs and marching down the aisles to the stage. That’s followed by one of Lehrer’s best-known songs, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,” which sounds like a sweet and ordinary 1950s-style love song until you realize the murderous nature of the singers.

Soon we move on to Lehrer’s time at Harvard, with songs like “Bright College Days” and “Fight Fiercely Harvard,” which hilariously features Amanda Goldrick as an enthusiastic if not entirely coordinated cheerleader. And in a most amazingly tongue-tripping demonstration of clear diction and memorization, Henrik Boes sings “The Element Song,” a listing of the periodic table set to the tune of the “Major-General’s Song” from “Pirates of Penzance.”

With songs this old--especially satiric songs--there are bound to be a few clunkers.
Indeed, when the show first came out in 1981, reviewers noted the risk of boring the audience, given the dated nature of the pieces even then. But there is still fun to be found within them.

Paula Jayne Friedland stoically stands up to the chore of singing “In Old Mexico,” an almost too-dated song which gets a lot of mileage out of the apparent hilarity that people from different countries speak differently than we do--for instance the pronunciation of the “j” sound in “Guadalajara.” But even this song has buried gems of Lehrer-esque wordplay within: the song as a whole may not be that funny, but rhyming “toros” with “morose” is hilarious.

The misses are few, and merely the side-effect of the passage of time, not the fault of the cast. Soon the show is back on track with “When You’re Old And Grey,” the most honest love song ever, chronicling in detail a couple’s likely decline: “I’ll lose my virility/And you your fertility/And desirability...”

And the “Vatican Rag” alone is worth the price of admission, between Missy Moore’s choreography and the cast dressed as nuns singing lines like “Genuflect! Genuflect! 2-4-6-8 / Time to transubstantiate!”

The piece is a revue, and as such it suffers from the thinness typical of this type of show. But surprisingly perhaps, most of the material holds up fairly well; perhaps enough time has passed that the songs have moved past dated and into the category of nostalgia. Cast and director have treated Lehrer’s work with love and enthusiasm, bringing to life the work of a beloved American humor icon in a show that will amuse both old fans and new.

been a while

I've been working diligently on The Novel, which means I've been trying (really, really trying) to stay off Teh Interwebs as much as possible.

Unfortunately, this denies me the outlet of my irregular rants here. But I'm finding that my misanthropy gauge tends to redline much more quickly when I don't have an appropriate outlet like this (although, believe me, the novel does have its fair share of misanthropy as well, haha.)

Anyway. I'm going to make an effort to post here at least a couple of times a week, so please stay tuned!