Friday, December 31, 2010

TREVOR HALE - ARTIST

Remember when I wrote that I always wanted to be an animator but didn't have any artistic ability whatsoever (this post here)?

Well, here's some proof. Probably all the proof you'll ever need.

And this is the result of probably one of the most fun nights I've had in a long time and it's a hell of a story. I'll make sure I share it with you soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

RARE EXPORTS

I just saw this. I honestly still don't know how I feel about it. It might be because I'm not entirely sure what I watched.

...AND WE'RE BACK

So, remember about a year ago (anyone been paying attention to this blog for that long?) when I said I had a small—very small, actually—record label that I wouldn't be doing anything with anymore?

Well, that's still mostly the case.

BUT I did set up a Big Cartel store that has all the releases on it, so if you were ever so inclined, you'll be able to find them all there.

I'm still learning the ropes of an online store, so there might be a rough patch right at the beginning but it'll all work out eventually things will be great. So go ahead and check it out. If anything piques your curiosity, feel free to shoot any questions my way. Or better yet, take a chance and buy one. You probably won't be disappointed.



TOP 5 ANYTHINGS

I did this little video series at the end of last year and actually really liked how it turned out. It all kind of started at the spur of the moment, but got more planned out as the days wore on.

In fact, looking back at them now, I kind of want to do one for this year. Any takers?

*UPDATE - I just re-watched my list (about three minutes into the last video) and my #1 is 'Shaving My Beard' which is slightly ironic, since I haven't shaved for almost two months.





LESSONS LEARNED

Working with publication word restraints is hard to do so I wasn't able to fit everything I wanted to say in this article. But I also like it because it forces me to find concise ways to say what I want without it feeling bloated and going off on endless side notes—like I do here sometimes.

City Weekly -- Another year gone and another box full of comics packed away. Before we move to 2011, there are a few things I noticed, something I want to admit and one thing I feel I need to gloat about.

I was wrong: The first comic book I ever reviewed was Robert Kirkman’s apocalyptic zombie story The Walking Dead, back when it first debuted in 2004. I gave the first six issues an honest chance, but it just didn’t click. Kirkman’s writing felt stilted, none of the characters resonated and it just felt too soap-opera-y. As this fall’s AMC TV adaptation came closer, I decided to give it another chance. About four issues after I’d given up originally, Kirkman went nuts and managed to produce one of the best books of the past decade. I tore through the first 50 issues in three days and haven’t been able to get enough since. It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong—and this time I clearly was.

I told you so: I’ve been saying Jonathan Hickman has big things ahead of him since The Nightly News popped up in 2007, and everyone else has taken notice now, too. He’s been working his way up the ladder at Marvel with a mini-series here and there and a solid ongoing project with Secret Warriors, but he surprised mainstream readers this year taking over Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four. And with S.H.I.E.L.D.—his take on the secret history of the Marvel Universe pitting Leonardo da Vinci against Isaac Newton—Hickman got a chance to flex some of the unique storytelling muscles and wild ideas he showed off to such praise on his indie books.

Best job of driving me away: Usually you can count on Mark Millar. The Authority, Superman: Red Son and Old Man Logan are all examples of top-notch storytelling. But lately, everything he does has some sort of gimmick, and he’s unable to simply let the story speak for itself. Instead of a simple title and byline, it’s become Mark Millar Presents the Greatest Comic Ever Written! I still enjoy his work-for-hire stuff at Marvel, but all of his creator-owned titles this year have left me cold and longing for the days when he was still trying to prove his worth instead of proclaiming he’s the second coming of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko combined.

Best job of pulling me back in: There was a two-year period where I didn’t read a single DC Universe book. Nothing made sense, the books were always switching artists mid-story and they were trotting out characters who hadn’t been used in 40 years and pretending it was a huge comeback. But with Grant Morrison in charge of the Batman universe (and Geoff Johns on Green Lantern and The Flash), I’ve been slowly pulled back in. All the little things he said would eventually be tied together have been taking shape, and his stories still feel fresh and exciting. There are still numerous DC characters I couldn’t care less about—and I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before Morrison finds a way to get me with those, too.

Best comeback: As someone who’s seen his fair share of disappointing reunion shows over the past few years, I know for a fact that getting the band back together doesn’t always work. That’s why I was so nervous when Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan announced they were revisiting their phenomenal 2003 series, Demo. Those 12 issues stand as one of my favorite comic runs of all time, and for my own selfish reasons, I didn’t want to see that memory tainted. I should have known better than to doubt because Demo picked right back up without skipping a beat. The new characters felt a little more mature, and Wood and Cloonan—so much more comfortable in their professional relationship now—produced six of the best single issues of the year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

WEDNESDAY COMICS - 12/22/10

This is the only Ultimate title that I still read regularly and the one that I haven't missed a single issue of since #7 came out.

Not quite as good as it once was, but Bendis still has a firm grasp on these characters (as he rightfully should, since he created the Ultimate version of all of them) and clearly has more stories to tell.

This is one monthly book I couldn't imagine dropping while he's still on it. And with Bagley coming back next year, I'm hoping it gets even better.



Grant Morrison writing Batman is just one of those things where everyone wins. He gets to do crazy things and the rest of us just get to be along for the ride. What he did with the first 15 issues of Batman and Robin got me reading DC Universe books again, and I was happy to do so. Not entirely sold on this new series of Bruce Wayne 's globetrotting adventures recruiting new Batmen for his new corporation, even if this issue had Catwoman fighting a giant octopus in the middle of a Japanese apartment building.

Probably give it another few issues, but right now I miss Morrison writing Damien and Dick Grayson.


Matt Fraction has been killing on Invincible Iron Man since his run started about three years ago, but I was a little bit let down by this arc. It was a 9-part epic that felt stretched a bit, like he milked a few issues.

Still, I'm interested in seeing what he's got in store for Pepper Potts (who I never thought I'd care about at all) and how he dovetails this book in with Thor and his big Fear Itself event next year.








Bendis has been slowly building another epic Ultimate story and this is the beginning of the final act of his trilogy. I'm still buying it because I want to see where it goes, but I don't find myself caring all that much about the outcome.

It's become one of those things I buy because I feel bad when I go to the comic shop and don't spend at least twenty bucks.








That's Mark Millar's Nemesis Issue 4. I couldn't find a proper cover and didn't want to scan it in.

All I can say about this is that I'm glad it's over. Millar's creator owned stuff has fooled me for the last time. I know they're all just glorified movie pitches (and kudos to him because it seems like it's working quite well), but they all keep leading into sequels that I just don't want to buy.

So yeah. If you want to read a book because you know there's going to be something so shocking (i.e. ridiculous) you won't quite believe it, this is probably the one you want to get.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

NEAL PAGE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

It was a close one, but Steve Martin pulled out ahead at the last minute.

Neal Page - Planes, Trains and Automobiles - 5 (55%)

Clark W. Griswald - Christmas Vacation - 4 (44%)

SANTA ROLLINS

Did he visit your house last night, too? 

Sometimes this page comes dangerously close to a Henry Rollins fan page. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS

The DVD player is warmed up and Christmas has officially begun.

HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Probably the best holiday song ever.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

BLACK SWAN

I saw this last Sunday night and haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. Unless TRUE GRIT completely floors me, this is the best movie I saw all year.

Quick side note - You're probably going to think I'm crazy when you see my Top 5 and I have BLACK SWAN and TOY STORY 3 as numbers 1 and 2, because they couldn't be more different. But that's just how I roll.

Back to it. I've been trying to formulate in my head what to say about this movie, but I feel that words don't quite do it justice. It's just an all around great film and if Natalie Portman doesn't win Best Actress at the Oscars in a few months, then everyone that votes shouldn't be allowed to anymore. Portman gives a pitch-perfect portrayal of a woman obsessed with perfection but slowly spiraling into madness. It's an anxiety laden trip that, at times, was hard to watch yet I was unable to look away.

Some people are no doubt going to find it silly and too overtly sexual for their tastes (at some points during the screening I was in there was audible uncomfortable laughter from the audience), but I'm not one of those people. Not only was BLACK SWAN an amazing piece of drama, it was probably one of the best horror films I've seen in a long, long time. It wasn't the knock you out of your seat scary, but there are moments when you're just overcome with an intense feeling of dread. You have no idea what will happen next or where it's going to go from there. Every moving part of making a film—music, lighting, camera work, acting, directing—was put together brilliantly here by Darren Aronofsky. He never lets you get comfortable and the movie keeps you on your toes the entire, never letting up for a second before something else grabs you.

BLACK SWAN and THE WRESTLER were originally conceived as one film, juxtaposing the high art of the ballet world and the lowest perceived form of entertainment that is professional wrestling. I'm glad Aronofsky decided to break them up because they're both top notch films on their own and I think they both would have lost something had they been presented as one.

As I said before, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this movie since I first saw it and I'm not sure how many other movies I've been able to say that about—ever, let alone this year.

If you haven't yet, go see it. You may not agree with me and if you don't, I'd really love to hear your reasons as to why.

And one more thing is for sure—Aronofsky's next movie is the X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE sequel, simply called THE WOLVERINE. And after seeing BLACK SWAN, I can safely say I've never been more excited to see a Wolverine, an X-Men, hell, any comic book movie for that matter, than I am to see that one. I have absolutely no idea what it's going to be like (and if you think you do, you're full of shit), but judging from his track record, Aronofsky has amazing things in store.

RED STATE

The most un-Kevin Smith Kevin Smith movie to date. I hope it's good.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

RETRIBUTION

I had totally forgotten about this video until earlier tonight, because I think I only saw it once. I have a DVD copy and all the raw footage, but never actually sat down and watched what Martin and his co-producers put together.

Let me tell you a little bit about it.

I was in a band called Cherem for about seven years, from late 2000 until I quit in the fall of 2007. We made two albums a couple compilations and toured a fair amount. It was a lot of fun but a lot of work. Martin used to live in Salt Lake City and moved to LA to go to film school. He heard we were coming through town on tour and told us he wanted to make a music video as a project for one of his classes. He told us that it wouldn't cost us anything and that all we had to do was show up. We gave ourselves a day off in the middle of a quick week-long tour through California and met up with him after we played at Chain Reaction in Anaheim.

On a side note, I have an entire separate blog dedicated to Cherem/band tour stories that I've updated exactly once this year. The problem is that I'm trying to go in chronological order, but haven't had time to fill in the blank spots. I have a word document with about 45,000 words in it and a lot of it is the later shows that I wrote about while gone instead of retroactively. My New Year's Resolution (I just decided this, and it may have been my resolution for 2010 also, but that's in the past) is to get a good chunk of that updated and finished. I don't think anyone else really cares, but it'll be fun for me to look back over years down the road.

Now, back on track, here's a few things I remember about the day we shot this video.

- I remember saying that I didn't want this to look like every other hardcore video, but understood that wasn't entirely possible given their budget (which was $0 aside from the equipment rental). Unfortunately, we ended up with a pretty basic music video and the exact kind I didn't want. Can't complain too much though. It was fun to do and I'm stoked they did it for us.

- For a music video to work, the track needs to be played loud enough for everyone to mimic what was going on while still playing their hardest. This didn't quite work because they had forgotten to bring something to play the song through. One of the guys had to drive his car on to the soundstage and play his stereo at full volume, which still didn't work because Clint's drums were so loud.

- Everything looks stiff in a video, you have to over exaggerate every little thing as much as possible before it even looks remotely real. And that's hard to do when you're trying to play along to a track that you can't really hear. Also, we're all terrible actors.

- The soundstage was in a parking garage off either Sunset or Hollywood Boulevard and since we had to start at 8am, it was still a little cold. I have poor circulation anyway, so I kept my hoodie on while we played the song probably 10 times for them to film it from different angles and get close ups of each of us. At about 10:30, it started getting really hot, but we'd already filmed about three runs through the song, so I was fucked. If I took the hoodie off, the whole thing would just look strange, because the takes wouldn't match up. By the time we broke for lunch I was dying.

- We didn't really have a bass player at that time. We'd had a fill-in for the two shows, but he was from Redlands and went home after we played the Anaheim show. Luckily, our friend DP was in town staying with his girlfriend. We made him come with us and stand in as our bass player. Also luckily, they didn't use much of the live footage from the show in Salt Lake because we had someone else playing at that point and that didn't line up either.

All in all, it was a fun thing to do and another experience I can break out at boring family dinner parties where I inevitably end up telling stories to entertain people. Which happens quite often.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CINEMA 2010

If you haven't figured it out yet, I really like these.

MINOR THREAT - 30 YEARS LATER


Alternative Press has become pretty much a joke of a magazine, and I think it's the only magazine I'm more disappointed in some of the cover stories than Rolling Stone, but occasionally they do awesome things. Some of their "An Oral History Of.." series (in which they recount the history of a great band or album by interviewing the people that were actually there) are really great but for the most part the entire magazine has become, in my opinion, filler. Rarely do they ever have anything on any band I care about so it usually takes me all of three minutes to skim all the way through it.

But yesterday, they had a great article on the impact of Minor Threat's first show thirty years later. Minor Threat has always been one of my favorite bands and while they may not have had the biggest influence on me, they still had an enormous effect on my life.

The article is pretty good too—especially this paragraph: “The problem began when a police officer tried to come in, but the person at the door told him he had to have $3 or a warrant,” says MacKaye. “So he went away and came back with more cops. “[They] apparently had a new riot squat they were eager to demonstrate.” But by then, Minor Threat had already started blowing listeners away. “I think the arrival of an entire riot squad barely registered for half the people there compared to what was happening on the stage,” says Alec MacKaye.

I would love for someone to try that line on cops at a show these days. I don't think anyone would have the balls to do that now. I know I wouldn't.

Anyway, check out the rest of the article over on AltPress.com. Hopefully this pushes them in the direction to do more articles like this.

STAR WARS

One day I'll get to the epic STAR WARS influenced essay I've been mentally putting together for the last couple of months, but that day is not today. Instead, just look at more awesome posters that I'd love to have (if I had a place for them).

Olly Moss designed them and, like most everything else he does, they're amazing.

100K

I need to remember to thank Dan Fletcher for constantly reminding me of bands I forgot I loved.

Monday, December 20, 2010

12 THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT HOME ALONE

HOME ALONE is on right now and of course I'm watching it. I remember seeing it in the theater with my family when it first came out and thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen (I was 10 couldn't watch R-rated movies and we didn't have cable, give me a break). It still has its moments, but I'm not sure where it ranks among the best holiday films of all time. I doubt it could even break into the top 25, but I still have a soft spot for it and you probably do, too. It's probably also the last good movie that John Hughes wrote. It was all downhill after that. Sad thing is that he knew his best days were behind him and continued to write bad movies (like DRILLBIT TAYLOR, MAID IN MANHATTAN and all the BEETHOVEN sequels) under a pseudonym, Edmond Dantes—the title character from The Count Of Monte Cristo.

Thinking back fondly on Hughes is why I was pretty excited when I found this post on Buzzfeed.com called '12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About HOME ALONE.' And since I enjoyed it, you must enjoy it, too. So here you go!

(P.S. My own thoughts on each one are in parentheses afterwards. Because I didn't want to be a simple cut and paste hack job. I'll leave that to other websites.)

1. The picture Kevin finds of Buzz's girlfriend was actually a picture of a boy made up to look like a girl because the director thought it would be too cruel to make fun of a girl like that. (I've always wondered about things like this. For example, on Married With Children, did they put on the casting sheet "Hey, we need fat women for Ed O'Neill to make fun of"?)

2. The role of Uncle Frank was written for Kelsey Grammer. (I think Kelsey Grammer should be in lots more stuff. Frasier was fantastic.)

3. There is a legend that Elvis Presley (who died in 1977) made a cameo in the movie. Many of those who believe that Elvis is still alive maintain that, the heavily bearded man standing in the background of the scene where Mrs. MacCallister is shouting at the desk clerk (just before she meets John Candy) is Elvis. (Seriously? That's a HUGE stretch.)


4. The issue of Playboy that Kevin finds in Buzz's room is from July 1989 with Erika Eleniak as Miss July. (A lot of these are things you didn't know because why on earth would you EVER need to know?)

5. The “evil furnace” in the basement was done by two guys with fishing line and flashlights.

6. Robert De Niro turned down the role of Harry. (That would have been awesome, because HOME ALONE opened just over two months after GOODFELLAS.)

7. Angels with Filthy Souls is a fictional gangster film and was made specifically for the film. There is also a sequel to the film, Angels with Even Filthier Souls, in the sequel. (I looked for this at the video store every time I went. No wonder I couldn't find it.)

8. The Talkboy was originally conceived as a non-working prop for Home Alone, used by Macaulay Culkin's character. In 1993 it was made into a retail version, brought on by a massive letter-writing campaign by young fans of the film. (Had one of these. It was a piece of shit. I couldn't fool anyone.)

9. John Candy filmed his part in only 1 day, albeit an extremely long 23-hour day. The story about having once forgotten his son at a funeral home was entirely improvised. His part is obviously inspired by the character he played in Planes, Trains & Automobiles. (I miss John Candy. A lot.)

10. In the scene where Harry bites Kevin's finger, Joe Pesci actually bit Macaulay Culkin, leaving a scar on his finger. (Even if Joe Pesci bit me today I'd still be scared of him. I couldn't imagine it as an 8-year-old.)

11. The concept for the movie originated during the filming of a scene in Uncle Buck when Macaulay Culkin interrogated a would-be-babysitter through a letterbox. (UNCLE BUCK is one of the best movies of the 1980s. Hands down. "You should see the toast!")

12. Daniel Stern agreed to have the tarantula put on his face for exactly one take. He had to mime screaming because the noise would have scared the spider, and the scream was dubbed in later. (He's a braver man than I am. Not a chance in hell would I do that.)

THE FIGHTER

I wish Christian Bale would make up his mind so that I can make up my mind.

It seems that every other movie I see him in he's either brilliant (THE MACHINIST) or he just mails it in and doesn't even try (TERMINATOR: SALVATION). But either way, he's dropped far off the list of actors I'll see a movie just based on their presence alone.

Which brings us to THE FIGHTER which I really loved. You put a gun to my head and told me to pick the ten best movies I've seen this year and this would be on the list. It may not crack the Top 5, but it's up there. It was a great story that was made even better by the performances and there wasn't a weak one in the bunch. That's usually the case when it comes to David O. Russell movies though. He likes to stack the deck in his favor (as every director should) to strengthen the picture. I've never bought in to directors that have such an enormous ego that they feel they can work with shitty actors and still make a great movie. Granted there are a few that can do that, but they're few and far between. But I'm getting away from the point here.

The bottom line is that Bale turns in a truly great performance and one that, after seeing the short interview with the real Dicky Ecklund, he nailed. Everyone else was top notch too, and for a story that could have been bogged down in far too much drama for its own good, Russell knows how to inject the perfect amount of humor into the situation.

And, let's be honest, who doesn't love hearing the princess from ENCHANTED cursing like a sailor. Amy Adams gets better with every movie (the ones that I see anyway, since I stay away from her bullshit romantic comedies) and she's just fun to watch onscreen. And Mark Wahlberg plays the Mark Wahlberg character in every movie but he does an excellent job with it.

One of my favorite things about the movie was that during the fight scenes, they used an old school TV look to add to the intensity. It made me remember the days when people actually cared about boxing as a sport and it wasn't being killed in huge chunks by MMA dorks and their Afflictions t-shirts.

Sorry. Getting off topic again. The bottom line is that you should see THE FIGHTER if only to watch Christian Bale jump out a window so his mom doesn't catch him at the crack house. Because that happened like three times throughout the movie and was funny every single time.

ALMOST THERE

So close, yet so far away.

BEST HOLIDAY FREAK-OUT

First up on A Very TrevorHale.com Holiday—how about a Christmas poll? We used to do these quite a bit over on the GCA and they were always pretty fun.

I watched both of these movies last Thursday—CHRISTMAS VACATION was shown for the awesome Cathedral Tattoo shop party and PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES was shown for the SLCFF HEFFE'FILM'IN series—and forgot how much I love both of them.

I tried to think of a few other holiday meltdowns/freakouts/rants, but couldn't. If you know of any drop them in and maybe I'll edit them in. But for now, it's going to be between these two. I'll keep the poll running until Christmas day (give or take). 

Contestant #1 - Clark W. Griswold - CHRISTMAS VACATION

Contestant #2 - Neal Page - PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

A LITTLE HOLIDAY CHEER

I have no idea how to gauge the interest level in the Internet this week. I imagine the majority of people that browse this website (and other blogs) do so from work, and since Christmas isn't until next Saturday, I'm guessing that most people have to work until at least Thursday—maybe Wednesday if they're really lucky. Like I said, I have no idea because I've worked in restaurants my entire life. If that's the case, no work is really going to get done this week anyway because everyone is too excited for Christmas. That means that they'll need something to occupy their time with, and I'm happy to help.

On the other hand, a lot of people may be taking the week off and spending it with family. If that's the case, then I can guarantee that most of those people are going to sneak off and kill some time on the Internet because the family is driving them nuts.

Either way, it seemed like a good idea to have some new content up just in case.

And since it is Christmas week, I thought it might be fun to have some holiday themed posts. Only, these will probably a little different since, you know, the things I like may not always fall into the "traditional" category. While not everything posted this week is going to reflect the coming holiday, a lot of it will. So hopefully you all enjoy it. I'm trying to make your week a lot easier.

Copped this from Mike Mitchell's awesome Tumblr.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WEDNESDAY COMICS - 12/15/10

It was a slow one this week, so I grabbed a trade, too. I'm in the middle of the tenth Walking Dead trade so I probably won't get around to the Northlanders book for a week or so. I'll let you know how it is, though. Don't worry.

Green Lantern #60

Northlanders: The Plague Widow


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SONS (AND DAUGHTERS) OF DEADWOOD

The best part about SONS OF ANARCHY? Seeing all the people that used to be on DEADWOOD show up for either bit parts or huge roles.

Nearly all of these people (and a lot more from DEADWOOD) showed up on LOST, too.

Jimmy O'Phelan/Silas Adams

Wayne Unser/Charlie Utter

Trixie/Maureen Ashby

Ally Lowen (Club's lawyer)/Calamity Jane

SOA


Finally got around to the season finale of SONS OF ANARCHY. This is the first time I've been able to, more or less, watch it as it's been on. Season 1 I missed completely and Season 2 I missed a few episodes and had to catch up on DVD. But I kept up with this season because I figured something huge had to happen at some point.

And while it did happen and the last 15 minutes of Season 3 was some of the best the show has ever been, it took them FOREVER to get to it.

Look, I love the show and I'll stand by it each and every year, but it gets a little harder each time. The plot holes get bigger and bigger each episode and the fact that the writers know the audience is willing to suspend their disbelief in huge chunks is a little discouraging. Still, I couldn't help but be thrilled with the way things ended.

I'm going to spoil some stuff here, so if you haven't watched any of this season yet, skip the rest. These are my quick thoughts on everything from Season 3.

- Glad to see Opie (arguably my favorite character on the show next to Chibbs) win a couple rounds. As much as I hated that Stahl turned into more of a ridiculous cartoon villain over the last few episodes, I always liked that Opie was the only one she ever showed genuine fear around.

- I like Kozik and was bummed he never made it in. The fact that it was all over a dog that he and Tig shared or something was funny, but ultimately a let down.

- It took way too long to get to Ireland and they were there for far too long.

- The long con of the last episode was handled fantastically, but again, here's where a huge number of gaping plot holes come in. If you really think about it, the whole thing falls apart. That aside, I was thrilled that the club accomplished everything it tried and got everything they wanted and that Season 4 kind of starts with a clean slate.

- Does anyone else think that they're just giving up on the 'Tom Arnold killed Luann' and 'Zobelle is Still  Out There' plot threads? I'd say yes, but Adam Arkin (who played Zobelle) directed an episode of the show this year, so he's obviously still tight with Kurt Sutter. Maybe he makes a comeback next year.

- Next year, does Jax actually figure out that Clay and Gemma killed John Teller or do we just have to keep having it hinted at in the most heavy handed way possible? The whole show is a Hamlet riff through and through, so when are they going to split the kingdom and see what side of the line the members fall on? I imagine they're saving that for the last season they ever do, because it will make a fantastic series finale, but I'm hoping they get to that before the show starts going downhill.

- Are we going to see the club in jail at the beginning of next season or do we pick up just as they're getting out and having to readjust to the new makeshift charter that's taken over for them temporarily while Mayor Hale continues to be a thorn in their side?

- All that said, the finale made up for me feeling lukewarm on the entire season up until that final twenty minutes.

Looking forward to Season 4.

WHAT VEGANS EAT

My good friend Colby started a blog called What Vegans Eat. He describes it as, "What Vegans Eat is a collaborative photo response to the frequently asked question...'what does a vegan eat?' It's a meal by meal look at what the average vegan eats at home, out to dinner and while traveling the world. Enjoy!"

So if you're one of the people that's ever wondered what I eat, here's your answer. It's a lot more than just tofu and salad.

I don't look at the blog too often because it always makes me hungry and I'm trying to maintain my girlish figure. You should check it out though. Good stuff.


What Vegans Eat

AND THE WINNER IS...

The Golden Globe nominations were announced today. Here's a sample.

BEST MOTION PICTURE - MUSICAL OR COMEDY
"Alice in Wonderland"
"Burlesque"
"The Kids are Alright"
"Red"
"The Tourist"

Not sure which one I'm supposed to root for, as I never saw any of them. Why, you ask? Because they all looked fucking terrible.

As my City Weekly editor said via Twitter,
"We can all agree, however, that the Golden Globes make the Oscars look like the Independent Spirit Awards."
My bitterness here may have something to do with my hatred for everything Tim Burton has done since ED WOOD (his last good movie, in my opinion) and for the man himself. There's no excuse for the rest of them though. That's just a terrible, terrible list.

FILMOGRAPHY 2010

While this person probably has way too much time on their hands, I can't help but admire the editing skills here.

It's almost time to start those 'Best of 2010' lists that everyone loves and this just might get you in the mood. How many of these did you see this year? If you don't know what some of them are it's understandable. Slashfilm has a complete list at their site, if you're curious.

I MIGHT HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THAT

Have you ever been dying to ask me that one important question, but always been secretly afraid of what I might say?

No? Oh, well, do you think you could pretend? It might help me pass some time.

I'm sure this will only be entertaining for a few days, but have at it. Leave your name or be completely anonymous, it doesn't matter to me.

Ask Me Anything - www.formspring.me/trevorQhale

Yep. That's a Q. Maybe that can be one of your questions. See how helpful I am?

Monday, December 13, 2010

IT'S NOTHING LIKE THAT, ACTUALLY

There's a little notepad that I keep on my living room table in case I come across something that I can use as a blog post or joke about at a later time. It doesn't get used very often, because usually I'm on my computer the whole time the TV is on but I went looking through it the other day and found something that I wrote down about three months ago.

I still have a legit subscription to Rolling Stone magazine and twenty six times a year, I'll open my mail, look at the cover and either read it that day or be so confused by what they put on the cover that I just throw it in the recycle bin. I was reading a review of the Lollapalooza show that happened this past summer and the lead of the article was the fact that on the first night (it's a three day event) people were forced to choose between watching either Lady Gaga at one end of the park or The Strokes in their first U.S. show in four years at the other, and there was a quote to go along with that from Metric singer Emily Haines.
"It's sort of like the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones."
I'd never listened to Metric until just now as I'm writing this—and they're not bad at all, I'm really kind of digging it. In fact I'll probably download an album or two when I'm done here, but...

Emily Haines is a fucking moron. Lady Gaga versus the Strokes is absolutely nothing like that.

I'm not a music snob (not really, anyway) and I don't think I could have a passionate, spirited discussion on the merits of the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones, but I've always been firmly in the Stones camp, in case you were wondering. And I'm willing to bet that in the late 60s/early 70s, no one could have predicted that those two bands would be spawning arguments for decades to come. But some people still do have that discussion and I feel confident saying that those are two of the most influential bands of all time.

I also feel confident saying that, forget 30 years from now, but just three years from now, Lady Gaga will have been relegated to nothing more than a lazy SNL punchline. The Strokes probably have a little more staying power, but they will never have the lasting impact of either the Rolling Stones or the Beatles.

In fact, this is probably an argument for another time altogether, but I don't think it's possible for any band or artist to be as influential or widely popular as those groups. There's just too much music out there to choose from now and everyone has such varying degrees of taste that the best you can hope for is to find your niche audience and do well for a few years. Either that, or get really famous and popular really fast, because it'll all be over before you know it.

And that's exactly the direction I see Lady Gaga and her ridiculous outfits headed. She'll make more money tomorrow alone than I will over the course of my entire life but by the middle of the next decade, she'll be nothing more than a has been on Dr. Drew's internet only reality show and Mick Jagger and Kieth Richards will still be trotting out Satisfaction at award shows because they've found the fountain of middle age, but still refuse to share it with anyone else.

The upside to all of this? I like Metric now. Who would have guessed?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

WEDNESDAY COMICS - 12/8/10

I love comics. It's no secret that I'm a giant nerd when it comes to that sort of thing—as my giant Batman leg tattoo showcases freely.

Wednesday is the day that all comics companies send out new books to the local shops. When I tell people that I buy comics every week, they look at me like I'm nuts, probably because they don't understand the way it works. Let me try to explain it to you as best I can.

Comics are essentially serialized storytelling and comparable to TV shows in a lot of ways. Only instead of getting a new episode every week, there is only one a month. New books come out every week, but not every book comes out every week. Each title is generally monthly (bi-monthly on occasions and bi-weekly on rare occasions), but since comic companies publish so many titles, they stagger the release dates. Iron Man may be released the first Wednesday of the month and Captain America on the third. So there you go. That's why I go to the comic shop each week.

My list is getting smaller and smaller as time goes on just because, as I've stated before, I love comics but I hate storing comics. Seriously.

But beyond that, I still buy at least a couple every week. From now on, I'm going to post what I buy and do a quick review of each one. Also, I just finished a "What I Learned About Comics in 2010" article that should be hitting City Weekly soon, so keep an eye out for that. But since those are few and far between, you can get a little bit of a weekly comics fix here too.

And you wanted that, didn't you?

Northlanders #35

I've always loved Brian Wood's work. His writing is great and his art is even better, in my opinion. Back when we were prepping We Are The Revolution, the Cherem record we released a few years ago, we tried to commission him to do the artwork. He agreed, but shortly after, his series DMZ took off and he became far too busy. We were bummed but understood. Still, it would have been awesome to have a Brian Wood designed Cherem record, right?
Anyway, his viking series Northlanders is always great. The only problem I have with it is the same problem I have with most of his ongoing, in that it always reads better in trades as a complete story, so I rarely pick up the single issues. This new story though, is only a two-parter and probably won't be collected for a bit, plus it's got Becky Cloonan on art, and her stuff just keeps getting better and better. The story is about an old man that finds a dead girl "buried" in the lake by his home and tries to discover what happened to her without anyone finding out. It was a great first issue, and I'm equal parts bummed and relieved that it's only two issues. I'm looking forward to next month.

New Avengers #7

I've only been reading Avengers related titles since Brian Michael Bendis took over the line a few years ago, so a lot of the history of the team is lost on me. That said, Bendis still does a pretty good job keeping the uninformed reader like myself up to speed. But I just don't know how much longer I'm going to care about this team.
We just spent six issues readdressing the mystical side of the Marvel Universe, and I don't think there is any aspect of any comic book universe that I care less about than the mystical realm. I struggled through all six issues and the only reason I picked up this one is because I forgot to take it off my hold. This issue was a little better, but I'm still weary of where this is headed. I'll give it a couple of more issues.

Wolverine: The Best There Is #1

I love Charlie Huston's novels and Juan Jose Ryp's art is great in the fact that it's so incredibly detailed that I'm amazed at how much he's able to pack in to a single panel. And even with both of those things going for a new book like this, it just reinforces how little I actually care about any member of the X-Men. I was so incredibly bored reading this issue that by the time I was done, I was sorry that I'd picked it up (I even debated about it at the shop, but went for it on the creative team alone). Huge let down.





Fables #100

There was a point that this would have been at the top of my reading list, but ever since The Great Fables Crossover last year, I've been lukewarm to everything that's happened. Hopefully this issue makes me fall in love with the book all over again. I'll get to it tonight.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WEEKEND ESSENTIALS

Yeah, I stole that title. What of it?

I realize I've been talking about this ad nauseam for the past couple of weeks, and I promise it will all be over by Sunday morning. Then it will be back to your regularly scheduled program of half-assed movie reviews, kind of funny videos and any other random thoughts that come through my head. That's why you come here, right?

I've written about Tamerlane a few times before, but this is probably the last time you'll hear about it. Probably. Don't hold me to that.

Anyway, we're playing this Saturday night at Club Sound. It's a Sub For Santa benefit show and there are a few other HC bands playing as well. Should be a good time, if you're into that kind of thing. Some people are and others get incredibly confused when they see it. Which is funny to me but I can't explain why I like it. It's been my life for the past 12 years (the hardcore scene that is, not Tamerlane. That's only been my life from early 2004 to late 2005 (when they decided I wasn't right for the band) and again from late 2006 (when they decided I was the only one that fit with the band) until now.) and it's been a lot of fun, so I'm looking forward to it.

It's kind of like one last hurrah, since I don't really have any other musical prospects lined up. Well, aside from my solo career, that is. And who knows if that will ever happen since I'm scared to death of singing in front of people.

But if you want to come check it out, you should. There's another benefit show tomorrow night in Midvale with a bunch of other bands too, but if you don't think you can handle two nights of heavy music and mosh dancing, I won't blame you. I'm not sure that I'll be able to, either.

Plus, tomorrow night Dan Christofferson (the guy that did the cover art for us) is having a little shindig at Fice Clothing tomorrow night. So if you hit that instead, I won't be offended.

But here's a little taste of what you'll get to see if you do come. Go ahead and admire that beard of mine in the video below. Awesome, right? I'm going for that look again now.

I MIGHT NEED SOME DATES*

All three of these movies come out next weekend and I feel I need to see all of them.

So. Interested?

Black Swan

The Fighter

Tron: Legacy

*Post title applies to single girls only. If your boyfriend isn't going to see it with you, I'm not either. Sorry.

AN UNSPEAKABLE TRAGEDY

30 years ago yesterday, John Lennon was shot in front of his apartment building and rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Mark David Chapman became one of the most hated men of all time that night and the world was shattered.

The thing I found most surprising about all of this, was that a great deal of people found out about the shooting during a close Monday Night Football game on ABC. The New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins were tied with time running down when Howard Cosell broke the news.



Now, since he wasn't the president, they didn't break away to a tearful Walter Cronkite like they did when JFK was shot. They had the information, they shared it and went back to the game. And had the game not gone in to overtime, I'm sure that they would have cut to the local news for updates almost immediately.

What I didn't know until yesterday though, was that Cosell wasn't sure if he should even make the announcement during the game. Things were getting down to the wire and Frank Gifford had to basically force him to share the information.

(There's a quick ad at the front of this, by the way. Sorry.)


That is stunning to me. Cosell couldn't see the game situation allowing for the announcement that one of the most revered musicians of an entire generation had been murdered? Cosell had information to break one of the biggest stories of all time and he had to be talked into doing it! That seems like the type of information that every man or woman that's ever sat behind a microphone on live television had dreamed of delivering. And he didn't want to do it because the Pats were about to attempt a field goal!

He must have hated the White Album or something.

AND YOUR DAY IS NOW RUINED

I knew it was too good to be true.

When I was in New York in May, my friends Dan, Casey, Kristin and I needed to catch a cab to meet up with the rest of our friends for dinner. Dan stepped off the curb to flag one down and Casey said, "I only want to ride in one that looks like it might be the Cash Cab."

We all had a good laugh because we knew that the chances of us actually finding the Cash Cab in that city were slim to none. But we all liked the idea that we at least had a chance. But as it turns out, we didn't even have that.

Thanks to The Onion A.V. Club and various other Internet sites, I've learned the tragic news that I always feared to be the truth but never wanted to believe—Ben Bailey is a liar and his Cash Cab is totally fake.

Take a minute to let that sink in before you hear the gruesome details.

There is a producer that goes around and finds improv comedy type people or perhaps a charismatic individual that's a little drunk to be asked to participate. And if that doesn't work, they find people that did well on other game shows and cast them in the role of the lucky contestant. They ask these people to take part in a reality show, and if they agree, the producers tell them they're sending a cab to take them where they need to go and when they get in, Ben Bailey hits the lights and the Cash Cab starts up.

Oh, and if you win, Bailey gives you a fake wad of cash that you return after the cameras have been turned off and they mail you a check a few weeks later.

I'd always been curious about this because I know producers need to get you to sign a piece of paper to be on camera, but I'd always hoped that they were presented with that document right after they got in. I knew there was something fishy about it, but I wanted to believe so badly that I might be wandering the streets of NYC on my next visit, hail a cab and become an instant game show contestant. Now they've taken that all away from me.

Look, I know it's naive of me to think that there is actually a cab driving around New York City with a bag full of cash that they're going to give away to random people on the street. That's just dangerous. But I wanted to at least believe there wasn't a fucking casting director for the show.

Next thing you're going to tell me is that the Mythbusters aren't actually scientists.

What? That's not true either?

I hate you television.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TOMMY DAVIDSON

For a couple of months, I was hitting Wiseguys, the local Utah comedy club chain, pretty regularly and writing about it for the City Weekly blog. I caught Bobcat Goldthwait, Karen Rontowski, Tommy Davidson and a handful of local openers. The Goldthwait and Rontowski pieces made it up on the blog (and I think I posted them on here as well), but for some reason the Davidson piece never did.

It got a little difficult to keep finding new angles for these pieces even though they were expected to be fairly short. I didn't want to rehash what I had said before, mostly because they appeared relatively close to each other, and also, I didn't want to get lazy. That's when they'd stop asking me to contribute and no one wants that, especially me.

Anyway, I was cleaning off my cluttered desktop and found the Tommy Davidson piece, and figured I'd throw it up on here, since, you know, this is a site where I post a whole bunch of stuff that I write.

Enjoy!

10/14/2010 -- I’ve been keeping a mental checklist of things I want to see during a stand-up comedy set someday. Hearing comics go off on inconsiderate audience members is funny on an album, but I’ve always imagined it being so much better in person. At the Tommy Davidson show at Wiseguys in West Valley this past Friday night, I was able to check off two of them.

Not more than ten minutes into his set a cell phone started ringing. Everyone in the crowd let out an immediate “Ohhhhh” and the woman’s date tried to pretend he wasn’t with her. Davidson didn’t even skip a beat and went right into teasing her, getting about five minutes of good material out of the situation. It made me wonder if comedians have certain comebacks ready for a situation that they can adjust on the fly or if the better ones have just been honing their chops for so long that it’s almost second nature.

Davidson is a born performer and he skipped the usual small talk intro and went right into it. He didn’t have any real ‘bits’ for the majority of his set, instead interacting with the crowd and just trying to entertain the people that were there. A lot of his humor is in his facial expressions and his body language, and those things, when seen in person, remind you why he was one of the favorites on In Living Color.

His set didn’t really begin to take shape until he had been on stage for about 45 minutes and right after I crossed the second thing off my imaginary list. Two people showed up late (who shows up an hour and a half after the shows supposed start time?) and knew they were in trouble the second they sat down. It was a couple, and the woman immediately put her head down and they man just sat back, closed his eyes and took the jokes he had to know were coming.

The majority of Davidson’s time onstage was filled with quick jokes here and there and a lot of crowd interaction. Aside from the cell-phone woman and the late-comers, no one in the front two rows were safe. There was one guy in the very front that got the brunt of the jokes, but luckily he was a good sport and Davidson made the most of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he cut off his pony tail the next day because of all the ribbing, though.

Most of the featured comedians I’ve seen the past couple of months have stuck to a pretty tight set and were done after about 45 minutes. Davidson seemed like he had no real plans of leaving and was on stage for nearly two hours. After about 45 minutes of seemingly inane (yet still funny) rambling and crowd teasing, he finally got around to some rehearsed bits. It started to drag a little towards the end of the night but Davidson was able to hit a few more high notes before taking off for the evening.

Opener Ken Thorne, had some decent stuff, but spent a little too much time on his “I’m a Lakers fan” routine and the MC for the night, Keith Lewis seemed to be more comfortable than a couple of the other MC’s I’ve seen. He was solid, but still a long ways away from Davidson.

Now if there had just been a heckler in the audience that night, I could have had a comedy hat-trick and my list would be complete.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ALL CLASS

I always have the TV on in the background while I'm at the computer. Usually it's tuned to ESPN and a lot of the times it's on mute. The one half hour a day that I usually sit down on the couch and watch an ESPN show from start to finish is 3:30PM when Pardon The Interruption comes on.

I love Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. They have such great chemistry, they're funny and more than that, they seem to know what they're talking about. Which is more than I can say for probably 75% of the staff at ESPN. Most of them just like to hear themselves talk (I'm looking at you Skip Bayless and Jim Rome) and want to say the most outrageous things they can to get viewers.

Kornheiser and Wilbon were both writers for the Washington Post before (and for the most part during) the show, but more than that, they're likable, charismatic guys. I've read a lot of their early stuff and really enjoyed it. They both have a sarcastic, cleverness about them (Kornheiser more so) that comes across so well on TV and they're just fun to listen to.

And Wilbon is the subject of one of my favorite things I've ever seen on TV. During one episode they cut back to the set in the middle of a commercial, as they often do, and during a wide shot of the desk Michael Wilbon was visible wearing a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie but underneath the desk, he had on gym shorts and sneakers. I had always heard the joke about newscasters not wearing pants, but in this instance, I knew it was true. Maybe not all the time, but I caught it once and it makes me laugh every time I think about it.

But anyway, Wilbon left his job at the Washington Post to go to ESPN full time recently and his last column ran yesterday. If you're a fan of sports writing or just good writing in general, I suggest you check it out. I pasted it below, but you should really head over to the Washington Post site for the full effect. He links back to other articles that he mentions, and most of them are great reads.

Washington Post -- This is the first column I ever dreaded writing, the only time I can recall experiencing that thing known as writer's block. It's my last column for The Washington Post, 20-some years after my first one and 311/2 years after I walked in the door as a summer intern. It's not Shirley Povich's 75 years but I hung around long enough to think it might last forever.
Sadly and of my own doing, I've come to that part in the program where it's time to say goodbye, where I need to tell readers, editors, colleagues, even some of the people I've covered over the years just how enormously grateful I am for their helping me have the greatest adventure imaginable.
I remember thinking in the summer of 1980, after graduating from college and coming back to Washington for a second summer, that it would be a successful career if I got to have a byline from each of the major sporting events once in my life. It never dawned on me I'd wind up covering nine Olympic Games for The Post, or more than 20 Super Bowls, more than 20 Final Fours, more than 20 NBA Finals, or more importantly evolve to the point where the editors of this newspaper would trust me to lead the daily discussion about the news of the day and the changing cultural landscape as it all related to sports.
I never woke up a single day in those 30 years hesitant to go to work, whether I was reporting on something as surprising as Virginia's top-ranked basketball team losing to Chaminade in Honolulu; as terrifying as Mike Tyson biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear 30 feet in front of me; as historically significant as John Thompson navigating a Georgetown basketball program through the hostility of a sports world not yet comfortable with a black coach; as locally galvanizing as the Redskins winning a Super Bowl; as personally rewarding as being front and center to see David Robinson and Grant Hill and Byron Leftwich grow from boys to men; as selfless as Gary Williams leaving a perfectly good basketball program at Ohio State to come and save his alma mater; or as tragic as the death of young Len Bias.
There's no "favorite" or "best" interview, no "greatest" game because there were simply too many, thousands of each, over the years. But there is a favorite moment: Aboriginal hero Cathy Freeman winning track and field gold in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, leaving me to write through tears the only time in my career.
There is a favorite athlete: Michael Jordan, because he had and continues to have the greatest impact on the culture of sports since Ali and because, as Scott Turow wrote, "Michael Jordan played basketball better than anyone else in the world does anything else."
There is a biggest influence outside the profession: Coach John Thompson, whose 2 a.m. return phone calls would often begin with, "You want to sleep or you want a scoop?" and evolve into 90-minute conversations that usually had nothing to do with the Hoyas but everything to do with what was right or wrong with the world.
And most definitely there was and is a most important story in my career: the death of Bias, a young man with godly physical talents who was so much more than a headline to me because I covered just about every game he played his first two years at the University of Maryland. My friend Jay Bilas observed a few years ago that those of us of a certain age mark time with Bias's death the way the generation older than us does with the death of John F. Kennedy - and Bilas wasn't exaggerating.
The vast majority of my time at The Post has been anything but sad. I arrived at the paper close enough to the end of Watergate that Robert Redford was still occasionally popping into the newsroom to visit Bob Woodward, the man he portrayed in "All The President's Men." As difficult as it is for me to accept the notion that I became a colleague of the world's best reporter, it's nothing compared with the complete awe, even 30 years later, I still feel whenever I'm in the company of Ben Bradlee, even if it's just seeing him in the elevator.
Everything I have now professionally I owe to The Washington Post, specifically to George Solomon, my sports editor of a quarter century, for taking a chance on a 20-year-old kid, to Don Graham and Len Downie for allowing me the freedom to go anywhere and write about anything and anybody, especially for giving me the green light to do television at a time when TV and the Internet had newspapers pinned on the ropes while landing one haymaker after another.
I can only hope, as I leave for my own personal gain with a full-time career with ESPN, that the men who shepherded my career don't regret granting all those opportunities over the years. So many of us used The Post sports department as a launching pad to fame and (in some cases) fortune. Long before ESPN unleashed "Pardon the Interruption" on the world, Tony Kornheiser and I did pretty much the same thing on the fifth floor of the newsroom.
We also owe - let me speak for myself: I certainly owe - the people who indulged us over the years: our readers. No big city daily newspaper in America has an audience as educated, as diverse and as literate as The Post. And for those of us who care less about who was moving from guard to tackle and more about the significant issues of the day, whether it pertained to eligibility or race or performance enhancing drugs, it opened up grand possibilities for assignments, for pursuing fascinating stories that appealed to the widest audiences. Few newspapers had the means or the interest in sending a young columnist to Shoal Creek, Alabama, for several days to write about the difference between an exclusive country club and the local municipal track where the descendants of slaves and slave owners found themselves, willingly, to play in the same foursome.
I don't recall ever being told "no" if I wanted to write about something, even when it had little to do with sports. Probably my favorite enterprise assignment, one I viewed skeptically in the beginning, was going with Dave Sheinin to Los Angeles during the riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King drama in 1992 to try to find out whether there was any correlation between the decrease in funding for community programs related to sports and recreation and the increase in gang-related activity in the city.
Oh, yes there was a correlation. Kids who wanted to be running backs, center fielders, sweepers and shooting guards had become, largely through civic neglect, gang leaders. There was nothing quite like being invited one night to the Hollywood Hills home of the one and only Jim Brown to join members of the Crips and Bloods who had accepted his invitation to stop the violence for at least one night to talk about their differences.
Don't get me wrong; I loved covering some of the greatest events of the end of the 20th century, like the game where Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's streak for consecutive games played. But the stories like the one in Los Angeles were the ones that separated The Washington Post from 99 percent of daily newspapers, and those issues were the ones that began to reshape the discussion of sports in America, the ones that led people to look to columnists essentially as discussion leaders. The complex stories, the ones that made people examine their own values and beliefs, were so far removed from box scores and game analysis, but they now drive viewership and readership.
George Solomon, Len Shapiro and Sandy Bailey were the most influential editors in my life and could see so much of this coming. That they allowed me to be the junior member of a columnist lineup featuring Tom Boswell, Andy Beyer and Tony Kornheiser starting in 1990 was beyond my dreams. My very first "audition" column came before that in 1988 and was about Jimmy "The Greek" and some controversial remarks he'd made after lunch in downtown D.C. (at Duke Zeibert's for those of you of a certain age) that got him fired and truly kicked off the discussion of language, stereotypes and race in sports. Sally Jenkins, Tracee Hamilton, Mike Wise and Boswell will write, as they always do, with such passion and insight and grace that many of you might not have noticed for months I was gone. Still, knowing that I'll no longer have those kinds of discussions in this newspaper, from the frivolous to the serious, will be far more traumatic to me, I suspect, than to you.
The past 20 years, I've had the best job in America. My only regrets are that my father, who taught me the art of making a good case from the time I was 7 or 8 years old, died just before I became a columnist, and that my son Matthew, 21/2 years old, will never truly know what his old man did for a living most of his adult life. Everything else - all 30 years of it, thank you - was candy sweet.

FAIR GAME

Oh, George W. Bush. Will the world ever run out of things from your Presidency to place under a microscope and get people riled up all over again?

Probably not.

FAIR GAME is the story of CIA operative whose cover was blown by a White House leak to columnist Robert Novak. Not to be confused with the movie of the same name from the mid-90s where Cindy Crawford takes her top off.

Naomi Watts plays Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson is played by Sean Penn and while both give strong performances, the overall movie felt a little weak. I did like that they kept the focus on the two main characters without editorializing on the Bush administration that was composed of crooks and liars who cared only about their own political power and personal gain. None of them cared whether they threw someone under the bus as long as it helped them out, and that's the gist of the whole Plame story.

Doug Liman does a good job of maintaining focus on the characters and not letting them get lost in what could have easily turned into "Fuck George Bush!" film. Liman is fond of using a handheld camera for his films, giving it a documentary-like feel but it doesn't have quite the same effect here as it did in his other films like THE BOURNE IDENTITY. It gets a little distracting at times.

FAIR GAME isn't going to crack even my Top 20 films of the year, but it did its job and filled up an otherwise boring Sunday evening. Or, if you feel like getting mad at shit that happened nearly 10 years ago all over again, look no further.

COOL HAND, LUKE

Matt Ranzetta is a graphic designer and a few days before Thanksgiving, he put up a series of movie posters on his blog. They were a mash-up, I guess you'd call it, of Star Wars images and other movie titles. He probably didn't think anything of them aside from that they'd be fun to do and some people would find them clever.

Then the rest of the Internet found out.

Now, these posters are EVERYWHERE—all over Tumblr and Facebook and legit movie blogs, too. Ranzetta scrambled to make shirts and prints available and now probably doesn't have to worry about Christmas money this year (or next year, either).

Just goes to show what a little creativity can do sometimes.

The rest of the images are at his blog.


Monday, December 6, 2010

THE BEES KNEES

Dan Christofferson is a god amongst men. He's got a gallery show at Blonde Grizzly next month that you can bet I'll be telling you more about.

A HUGE thank you to him for getting this done on relatively short notice. We didn't give him any sort of direction because we trusted his judgements and he knocked it out of the park.

You can see more of his stuff at his website, Beeteeth.com. And if you see him around, shake his hand and tell him how awesome he is. He likes that kind of stuff.

By the way, this is the cover of the Tamerlane teaser I posted a couple of weeks back. It comes out this weekend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

I didn't want that racist kid to be the top post on the site, so here's a baby panda that was born a month ago in Atlanta! He won't be named until he's 100 days old, per Chinese tradition.

They'll probably name it Rex. At least they should.


Also, I just learned that China owns every Panda in the world, even if they were born here. And Australia owns every kangaroo.

What the fuck do we own? Buffalo? Communists.

YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT?

This might be one of the worst things I've ever seen. It's hilarious, but it's also very, very sad. I wonder if these kids even understands what they're talking about, because they're obviously reading a script that someone else wrote.



And there's a whole bunch more of these, too. He "reviews" the Naked Brother Band show. According to Andrew, it's about kids in a band, one of which is part Chinese, there's also a black and the rest of them "is white and maybe Jewish." or the MARMADUKE review that just goes off into some weird white pride tangent.

And it's all part of some website called WhitePrideTV that looks like a Geocities site from the late 90s, but maybe that's what they were going for. Who really has time to learn how to build a proper website these days when there's far more important things going on like, as Andrew here says, "race mixing is wrong."

I can't believe this is a real thing. I mean, I can, nothing really shocks me anymore because the Internet is a weird, weird place. But still...