Team USA — Dream Team 2012

Yeah… so I usually keep my sports and my art separated, at least for the sanity of the public.  But I can’t help from sharing these pics of some professional basketball players who do inspire me.  I don’t care if they’re cocky, or rich, or hated by most… I like ’em, and I look up to them.  Kobe and Le Bron more than anyone.  Well done guys, despite what haters think… this is not an easy thing to do.  Congrats on your gold medal.  Some facts…

Carmelo Anthony became the Olympics highest scoring player in a single game scoring 37 points against Nigeria.  He accomplished this before the end of the third quarter.  (Keep in mind he’s beating Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan too!!!)

Atta boy Carmelo… too bad you’ll never get that Championship ring.   (Ohhhh!)

The United States also broke the record for overall points scored in a game (156), the most 3-pointers (26, 10 of 12 by Carmelo), most field goals in a game (59), and field goal percentage (71%).  Damn!  Good luck Nigeria!

Here’s the American Boys… A shout out to Kobe too for telling the honest truth in the face of those who will judge him for being “cocky”.  He’s not cocky, he’s right.  I don’t mind what many perceive as “cockyness” if you can back it up daily.  Kobe does, and he’s worked hard for it, and he’s gotten it… that’s why he doesn’t give a shit about you.  It’s real easy to judge from the sidelines.  And it’s pretty much impossible to deny it takes much bigger balls to get on the court and risk failure than to trash talk someone at the top.  You’re so exposed.  So just stop bringing pointless negativity into the world.  You watch these guys and secretly marvel in your own head at their talents.  Just leave it there, and stop embarrassing yourself around people who aren’t so jaded.

TEAM USA doin’ it.

The monster reverse jam.  Classy and difficult.  Plus, that is so Ginobilli’s bald spot right?

‘Melo

On the flipside, you have Durant… who is the most humble basketball player in the game.  Also gains massive respect.

The King becomes the only other player besides Michael Jordan to win the league MVP, the NBA Finals, the NBA Finals MVP, and the Olympic Gold Medal in the same year.  Like I said… give him a break.

I think that’s a line-up of Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Kobe.

Good love.

The smartest player currently in the game.

GOLD!  CONGRATS GUYS!

The Capital Hill Block Party (2012)

I am a musician and also someone who spends way more time “figuring out how to do something” than actually doing it. Thus, if there is any gathering close by where I can go “study” how to be a rockstar, you’ll usually find me in attendance. It’s the best.

Oh but I’ve given up on the Capitol Hill Block Party. Too fucking crowded. When I saw Vampire Weekend 2 years ago it took me a half hour to cross what is usually a normal city street. Instead, every surface of my entire body was in contact with other people. We we’re all drunk. Or angry. Or something. And then I look down in a breif moment of space and see my sandled foot covered in red blood. My foot doesn’t hurt, and I’m pretty sure the blood isn’t mine. Vampire Weekend sounded like shit just like all the other bands that played the mainstage. They’re a great band, but the audio issues involving sound working between tall buildings and 4-way intersections weren’t quite dialed in.

So fuck the Cap Hill Block Party. Blood and all. Until the next year. A couple of movie starlets in town decided it would be a fun thing to do while in Seattle. I was working on set and decided it’d be worth it to be their host. They we’re drunk when they got there at noon. And they outdrank me. So that was fun.

Flashforward to 2012 the night before the mess begins. Fuck the Cap Hill Block Party. Mainly a financial necessity this year. Ticket prices have gotten higher, and I’ve never had the money anyway. Turns out I score a Resident Pass. Three days free, with special entrances.

It was a privelege to see the set up. I work close to the grounds so during a break I took a walk around to see what companies were there, how they were rigging the stage… How do you throw a musical festival in the middle of a busy intersection? Businesses had been bought out for the weekend, repainted, and repurposed. Cables snaked along the curbs. My favorite radio station in the world was broadcasting Live from the basement of the bar across the street. I walked down and shook my favorite DJ’s hand, and walked back across the street, got to work, and listen to his broadcast like I always do.

I cannot remember anything from Friday night except that I stayed up until 4 a.m. I played a lot of Pinball. I was exhausted.

Saturday I woke up with a conviction. I had seen some contemporaries play the festival earlier and I was ready to become their equals. I kept thinking all weekend where I should really be in the matrix of this festival. I’m employed in production work so I was studying the lights and the power and paying close attention to the design of the whole thing. I realized somewhere between Fri. night and Sat. morning that where I wanted and needed to be, what aligned with my dreams… was to be onstage. I should be getting paid to play this festival. And then heading somewhere else to share my love and music with people who want to receive and clap and dance and throw it right back. And I just haven’t done the work to get there. So Saturday morning I grabbed my guitar because I figured I’d see more people flocking to this damned city block today than would come to any single one of my gigs (so far). So I played… on the street. I played on Broadway and brought a pile of my comics and some junk with a sign that said “Do any of these things interest you?” and a sign in my guitar case that read Pinball $. Among the items displayed were a video camera with a ratchet strap around it, a banana (eventually removed), and a biography of Steve Jobs that I recently finished. I’ve tried to talk about this damn book with about everyone I know and I feel it makes them bored. I’ll admit I was fishing.

And then I really went to the Festival. I made an effort to see Lemolo play their Live on KEXP set in the basement of Neumos. They are friends of friends who I had recently accosted on Twitter because I am ultimately jealous of them. But also, I’m a real person, and I like them, and I believe in myself, so… I say hi. I know its a weird dichotemy. I was curious to see how filled the room would be for their warm up set essentially. It was packed. I know they are big and getting radio play. But this was the confirmation I needed to see that Meghan (sp?) and Kendra we’re legit. The music does not challenge me which is my only critique compared to how much I enjoy watching the two women release the spirit that needs to be released. And they do it very differently, and yet in tandem. Beauty ensues… And the audience watches…

Beers. Beers. Beers. And then I found a real piano made by Digital Kitchen that could hear me talk and understand my voice and then play my request. I remembered what happened on Friday. An old friend recognized me and she ended up preaching up top the staircase on wheels that I have at my work. Her friend drove the forklift. We went to the Cha Cha. Which is the rule at the Cap Hill Block Party in times of stagnancy. And for all of those who are wise. When in doubt… go to the Cha Cha. Then we played the following pinball games… Funhouse. The Simpsons. Lord of the Rings. Baby Pacman (pinball/vid combo). Fish Tails. The Twilight Zone. Midevil Times. Extreme Stiker. Johnny Mnemonic. Demolition Man. And my personal favorite… Junk Yard.

On Saturday… then REIGNWOLF attacked me. I had heard this man on the radio on Friday playing Live for KEXP and I kinda stopped what I was doing. I listened in. If he was half as good as he was coming across the airwaves, I would do what I could to make an effort to see him. There is only REIGNWOLF. He is the reigning wolf. It says so, on the festival program. Right… there. At 4:30… it says Reignwolf.

Reignwolf will eat your face off… with a guitar, and there will be no one else on stage. He Will be upon you… before you can run. His hoard of Silver Guitared Mongolians will audibly charge into your ears. He is sweating and shaking and you’re pretty sure he wants more. REIGNWOLF! Points to your jaw and says, “DROP JAW!” You obey. He wants you to know There Will Be No Other. And your head turns to the side beacause you want proof… “Are you seeing and hearing and experienceing what I’m experienceing right now?

Sushi. Spliffs rolled on the back of a millionaires car.

And then I was done. I had been on fumes for so long, I had started to think I could do it. It’s the delerium I’ve only felt on set during a week of night shoots. You are no longer the human you once knew. You turn part steam and drift from place to place, your head in a druggy fog that you’re barely aware of. If I could I would’ve stayed for Aesop Rock… and Grimes (I am interested in you), and lastly Helms A-Fuckin Lee to close out the Cha that night would have been the place to be. But I was sleeping.

Grimes

Sunday what day? This festival continues? And I have to work from 7pm-9pm tonight. In the past two days I had met 3 KEXP djs, an old friend from college, Lemolo, contacts in the industry, neighbourhood business owners, and done my homework studying the present state of rock-n-roll. Also, I am a single fish in the ocean and this was a well stocked pool.

Sunday morning is wonderfully deserted. It’s not what the bands are after, but I love walking up to the front of a big stage to see a talented band throw down just for me and a few others. I’ve seen some big bands this way, and it’s always special. They usually get me as a fan. Cloud Nothings did this Sunday morning. They played a nice guitar heavy rock set that masked itself in pop music, but there was a lot more going on. I heard they we’re from Cleveland. “Where’d you get that suit? Cleveland?” – Dead Man

The real gem of Sunday however, and the second best band I saw all weekend… was Mama Utah. I’m not sure if it was the pig head necklace that the lead singer decided to put on part way through the show, the operetic lead guitar player in yellow underwear singing the notes he was played on his guitar, the mixed crowd that stared in awe at noon on a Sunday. Nobody had any idea what was going on, but we we’re all there smiling in awe… and we all weren’t leaving. There are a few outlets to really let your freak flag fly in public and rock and roll is one of them. You really can’t blame a guy for doing anything in the name of rock-n-roll. So when in doubt… in fact, i’ll go as far as to say as… go to the Capital Hill Block Party SO you can go to the Cha Cha during the day. Get a midday buzz on, and check it out. It’s one thing I’d bet my life on.

I went to work. I came back. Neko Case was unfortunately done on the Main Stage. But the after parties continued. I heard of a man called Space Ghost Purrp. My brother reported frontflips. I danced to disco and eventually worked up the courage to ask a girl if she would like to dance. She said, “I am dancing.” I thought that was pretty good.

Spiderman… the Amazing (unedited) in progress… Review

Spiderman

Well, well, well… here we go again. Surprised I saw this movie? I keep asking people about it, after I saw it and I’g getting responses like “Oh.” … Oh? … “Oh, really?” … Yeah.

Well Ok. I went to go see it with my buddy Gabe. We ran into our buddy Brian at the theater. We are all 30. Yeah! You going to see Spiderman? … “No” … Oh … “Magic Mike” he says …

Anyways, Gabe didn’t really like it either. But I did! I’m a self proclaimed tough critic and I thought they did an amazing job. And I did not write that pun intended.

But how cool is that, that that is the word that comes to mind. So many thats! The movie was good start to finish, although the same trickery is played as mentioned with Avengers and Prometheus… am I not getting something, or did the intro to Spiderman (although capturing) made no real sense by the end of the movie?

To the good stuff. Eduardo! You did it! I liked you as an actor and you have a face men want to hate. It’s not that it’s pretty. It’s foxish.

See… makes men cringe. But I loved the performance. There was distinction between Eduardo and Peter. Some famous actors can’t even claim real “acting” skills, they are merely Entertaining People being themselves in every movie. (Eduardo) did it right. He became a better Peter Parker. I’m sorry Tobey, I enjoyed your movies (the second one is my favorite, as is often the case). They did nail SPIDERMAN a little bit more in this movie. It must be said, What we’re we doing with the musical scene in the 3rd Tobey Maguire Spiderman?

Emma Stone. Is the best flirt in the world. Does it go deeper? It works for me currently. She is a young actress in a HUGE SPOTLIGHT. She is doing very, very well. Keep it up girl, I wish I was younger, but that doesn’t really matter in the movie business does it.  I’m not…   I’m just..    i’m just sayin.

Now… Spiderman can bound up, down, left, right, through, twist, punch, flip, web, and essentially fly right? So what the fuck are you going to do with a camera and angles and the grid of New York City Sewers Included. You’re going to be smart and enroll a lot of people and a really smart visual designer of the camera kind and give him the opportunity of a lifetime.  With new technology.  And a team of Hollywood monkeys.  (Which are proudly my brothers and sisters).  Jerfs hat is off.  He, She, They totally did it.  The crawling scenes we’re not cheap tricks, not to a trained eye.  Not if you’re paying attention, and you have to be paying attention to see good art, hopefully with NO PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS.  It was methodical. Probably Inception influenced. But beautiful, another reason to chalk up on the board the few reasons to remake the Spiderman franchise again.   I got to walk into the theater, and sit in my chair, and watch it all unfold and then come together.

Go see the Amazing Spiderman.

(random internet picture)

Everything Must Go (2010)

Will Ferrell is a funny fella. And yet, he’s managed to secure himself as a “versatile” actor; that can portray hilarious characters as well as or mixed with… characters with no “funny business”. The question should be posed… which do you prefer?

The answer is… you don’t have to choose! (Try applying this in other areas of your life… any statement with the word “but” is actually made up of two things that have NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER!).

Will Ferrell plays an alcoholic. Like the PBR swilling kind. The kind I can relate to. Not the liquor swimming drunk. The beer and loneliness. The confusion. So it’s great! I learned things watching this movie. For those of you who don’t have problems keeping cans of beer from your lips, who knows what there is to learn?

 I did like Ferrell’s performance. There are times when the script is over melodramatic to the end. THe young black kid is a predictable story… but kid was cool (Sir Christopher Wallace).  Not enough thought though ultimately. I’m surprised this one made it through the machine (pronounced ma’ cheen!!!).  I praise thought into things cinematic (see recent film reviews). I feel a breakdown somewhere with this flick unfortunately. It is not a film for the main stage, and yet it tried to be. There is no harm in that I suppose (marketing bastards sucking our Independence Day teet.  bastards). Next time pick someone other than Ferrell, a no namer, and let them do the role. You sold out on a star. Ferrell did ok. And i think he made your money back.  But a younger, less known for comedy, new face would sell that script better and be a better piece of art.  Depends what you’re going for.

 Glenn Howerton of It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia is in this movie.

 Also.Lots of PBR.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

 

Remember this one? But did you see it? Or maybe you’ve never even heard of it? As Jemaine and Bret say in Flight of the Conchords Hip Hop Hippotomas… Why? Why was this movie made with Brad Pitt that no one’s heard of? Was Brad trying to “keep it real”? Why does Casey Affleck all of the sudden get a major role starring next to Brad? I only know him from the masturbation scene in Good Will Hunting (he talks about how convenient the baseball glove is for catching the… uhhh), and also he filmed teamed up with Joaquin Phoenix to trick the world into believing Joaquin was reborn as a rapper. What the fuck Casey?

Why? Why did I rent this movie? Because I trust Brad. I watched the goddamn Descendants because I trust George. I trust Brad. Let’s check it out.

Short and sweet…unless you’re a weirdo and content with that, don’t rent this movie. It will be confusing and ultimately unsatifsfying. If you know what the Criterion Collection is, then perhaps check it out. Cinematography is gutsy, and for the first time in a review I will point out that these risks are not always rewarding. Someone was geeking out on the fact that you can shift focus around quickly and the technology… ok yes it’s possible… but it adds nothing here. This is essentially a western, so just let the landscape do it’s thing without blurring the focus. Straight landscapes with dudes in cowboy hats have been selling movie tickets for 60 years. You don’t need to fuck with that, especially when you have Pitt.

So you don’t watch this movie for the story or the any one thing, it’s a take away bits and pieces kind of film. A film for geeks and weirdos as mentioned before. You watch for gold nuggets. Here are a few… in the second scene on the movie a gang of characters are established that become key characters in the film. I recognized the first guy. “Hey, that guys from the first season of Parks and Recreation!” I said. Pan left… “Hey! That’s Jeremy Renner! (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy (to be released). Keep panning… “And that’s Sam fuckin Rockwell!”, I said.

“Do you need some dental work?”  — Jeremy Renner

Well here’s the goddamn deal. You got a movie with Jeremy Renner, Brad Pitt, Sam Rockwell, Casey Affleck, and Paul Schneider and none of us no about it. Or we know about it and you didn’t trick us into seeing it. I didn’t know all these people we’re in it. Sam Rockwell and Jeremy Renner hold down movies by themselves. So… FAIL marketing crew. Rareley am I so harsh, but FAIL. FAIL!

Is this movie a good movie? The answer is I can’t answer it for you, and it may not be clear cut. Honeslty, I can’t answer the question, but I got my gold nuggets and that’s all that I’m after watching films. Plus all the really good ones are risk takers, so you gotta do your research.

Brad Pitt gets shot in the head. Hard. (This doesn’t ruin the movie)

One more thing… Casey Affleck does a really really good job in this movie. Like Oscar worthy. BUT… I think it’s cheating when actors get to play characters too close to themselves. Acting… is acting. A serious nod Casey, I will no longer think of only Ben, masturbation, Good Will Hunting, baseball gloves, Joaquin Phoenix, and Joaquin Phoenix getting pooped on in that movie (i’ve heard that happens). Now I will include your great acting performance into the Casey Affleck recipe blending in my head.

 

Prometheus (2012)

Noomi

 

Months of preparation, focused anticipation, and a committed human defense mechanism allowed me to walk into the movie theater on Wednesday night, and feel real good about what was about to unveil. I first wrote about this movie when I saw the trailer months ago. Now it is done. A gift from old Ridley.

 

Now, I have expectations for films that can ruin decent movies. I’ve been excited about Prometheus as much as any movie that has ever come out in my lifetime. As much, not more than. So did it live up to my galactic expectations? Yes. Yes, it did. (Applause!!!) Was it a perfect movie? No, it was not. But it will go down in my history of good movies for the experience I had watching it, and the events leading up to it’s release.

 

With high expectations I was into it. It is done well. The intro is perfect. A good movie has GOT to grab you right away. Film has that power to sweep you away from the dogs and buildings and people passing by on the street. That’s why I go. So let’s not miss the opportunity for a change of experience that a good intro can bring. Reference The Office. Always, a great attempt at a good intro. Anyways, the intro begins, it is stunningly beautiful and I can’t reveal anything, but within those first testing minutes… my anxious fears we’re extinguished. I knew I wouldn’t be dissappointed.

 

I’m happy for Ridley and you’re icy, peircing suspense, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the Aliens (so many forms!!!), the new old super blue humans with Abs, Us, robots, Space, the future combining of robots and humans (i’m into it), Art, and lastly Film. It wasn’t just about the film Prometheus for me, but the waiting, the hiding my eyes everytime a Prometheus trailer would appear during the NBA Playoffs. (Lots!) Pre-Avengers I plugged my ears and went LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA because the damn audio was so loud during the Prometheus preview. I had strangers on either side, but I didn’t care. Nobody was going to ruin this movie for me.

 

It is key for my deep felt pleasure that I did revisit the Alien series within the past year. Directed in sequence by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner), James Cameron (Aliens, The Abyss), David Fincher (Alien 3, Fich Club, The Social Network, I could go on…), and lastly Alien: Resurection, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie). It’s quite a list. And people ask “Why do you like film?” This is the way to do it. Geek out, get into it, build the anticipation, and go to the movies. I once watched all 10 Star Trek movies in order to prepare for the reboot that happened in 2009. This was no weekend binge, it took a year. The company I had “endured” that with… all be damned if we didn’t all just get our tops blown off in the first 20 minutes of that movie. We we’re into it from there… and now it continues.

Prometheus might too… but not for a while.

For the praises, too much probably goes to Ridley, but that is Quarterback credit. There we’re 1000’s of talented people that individually gave real passion and talent to make this thing hum. I just want to acknoledge that. The stars… Charlize Theron, not your average Charleeze mind you, if there is such a thing (note to self rent Monster [I think?]), Michael Fassbender (Magneto from a recent veiwing of X-Men: First Class) does a pretty kick ass job as a… goseethemovie, Noomi Rapace (whoa…), Guy Pearce (weirdo). How ’bout this, hats off to the Casting Director (and the Director I’m sure) for installing Noomi for her tough role. It took an Actress as DieHard as her Character to pull that off day after day. And also a quick but proud nod to Idris Elba who Killed it as the Captian. So subtle, but a groovy dude. Crosby Stills and Nash… whaaat?. I’d like to see him soon in another recognizable role.

Now a few days out, there are criticisms I could make about the storyline that is ultimately too layered, and doesn’t quite make sense a few days later. But don’t worry, you won’t even notice! And plus, I’d much rather them err on that side of the spectrum than the dumbed down version of… Whatever Stupid Movie Is Coming Out. It’s a trick Hollywood has been pulling lately. Last recognized during the Avengers. I was throuroughly entertained, but afterward… whatever happened to Lodi’s great plan to release the Hulk? Remember that scene with Scarlett Johansen where she tricks Lodi into revealing he’s going to “release the Hulk!”. It’s like Oh Shit, that’s the evil plan (Climax!). It’s a great scene. You get to see Scarlett at her best. But then, guess what, he does and then the Hulk helps save the world. I don’t know, I guess my point is, it doesn’t matter if all the pieces fit together in the end, if you’re entertained… but in order to make a great film all the pieces have to fit. And to me that’s the structure of a good film. When it starts as a pin drop, it explodes into a spider web, it fire crackers. And then all the little pieces magnetically come together again… all the characters learn something and change and settle or don’t settle for the right or wrong reasons but it makes sense. And it teaches you something. And it makes you feel like a human being. Prometheus is pretty damn close. Thanks again Ridley.

 

The Avengers (2012)

Granted and admitted, I saw the Avengers weeks ago. But it does not discredit the Potency of a film that should’ve/could’ve sucked, but was done Right. Quarterback credit goes to Joss Whedon, who directed and wrote the script. That’s what I’m talking about. You want something done right… you do it yourself.

So… how do you fit Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samual L. blah blah blah Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk… do you see anyone making Teenage Mutant Men In Black in the City starring Nicolas Cage, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte, and Al Pacino? No! It’s like the Lakers with Kobe and Shaq. Will it work? Sometimes it does, and the Avengers does. And that is why I am a writer.

There’s story here folks. You go thinkin’ “Ahh hell, they’ll be some explosions and Scarlett’s boobs” (I’m a man), but damn if I got what I wanted. Intrigue! Brain excersize. Wait, you’re going to encourage me to believe in these Superheroes as if if they are real Superheroes with Real Superhero Problems?!? And it’s working?!?

Don’t go to the Avenger’s seeking explosions and Scarlett Johansson’s boobs. There’s more meat here than she can carry. I saw a picture of the villian Loki and was like “whaaaaa?’ Dude looks like a pussy. How can I believe in that? Well, I’ll be he’s a real Superperson, with real Superperson issues too… that I believed in! A shout out to Tom Hiddleston who played Loki, a relatively unkown who holds his own among some serious Hollywood players these days. That is until the Hulk just obliterates his ass (sorry, you’ll see what I mean).

On subject, cheers to the treatment of the Hulk. Christopher Nolan needs a nod here. The Avengers RIGHTLY SO have stolen from Nolan’s candid interpretation of comic book universi. That’s a word I made up to mean multiple universes. Everyone’s anticipating The Rise of the Dark Knight. It’s the ability to turn these so easily manipulated flashy objects (superheroes) into Hollywood dollars, that I’m appreciating Nolan and Whedon clearly rejecting. For those who need reference, watch the Batman franchise that began in 1989 unfold over the years. The movies became fashion shows and fodder for Taco Bell commercials. Money was made, but Jerfalerf was saddened.

And so Joss, Robert, Scarlett, Samuel, Jeremy, Tom, and the rest, thank you for putting together a great movie that took thousands of people to make. You did really really well. And I honor the challenge you had. Keep it up Hollywood.