"If we can't learn to live together, we're gonna die alone"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I shouldn't legitimize this with a response but never-the-less...the mind wanders and eventually draws conclusions from such a bizarre episode in pop-culture

You know how these days its somehow cool, maybe even hip to frame Ronald Reagan as some sort of economic visionary rather than the harbinger of the debt crisis that threatens to destroy America now? (Credit Cards?? We STARTED that!!! Yerrrr Welcome!!!)

I figure in this age of media blitzkrieg, instantaneous update, tweety-tweets and facey-spaces, that relatively speaking its been long enough since Charlie Sheen's interview that our general sense of horror and discomfort at seeing someone we assumed was over the top but at least somehow practical or normal in appearance (there's a vast segement of the population that would just assume romanticize as criticize the drugs booze and sex) that we can now look back on the golden age of this foul product of our own fascinations and remember the laughter and fun it originally brought us, in a more care-free (wolf, leonard, moke) and ignorant time.

The Chase - 1994
Thats epic.
Starring Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson (Sci-Fi tie in.. Kristy is best known as the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was written and directed by Joss Whedon of course, and where-in she co-starred with Luke Perry, 90's iconic 50's rip-off hunk, and Paul Reubens, better known as the illustrious  and equally if not more iconic Pee-Wee Herman)
Directed by Adam Rifkin. Adam has written and or directed at least 17 major studio releases that are completely unworthy of mention.

The Chase also co-stars two icons of what was then arguably the more stylish and possibly intellectual end, but in any event extremely Los Angeles-y Punk Rock scene in the forms of Flea, Bass Player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Henry Rollins, the former frontman of Black Flag and dark-metal poet. Ironically, they appear as police officers, and partners to boot.

I remember thinking that Charlie Sheen was so undeniably cool in this movie. He accomplishes a lot, kidnapping Swanson using a candy bar and eventually dragging her so far into Stockholm Syndrome that he is able to bang her IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT WHILE DRIVING all the while the subject of an All Points Bulletin hot pursuit full-on legendary OJ-style police car chase. Its epic. And you root for him the whole time.

The only other movie I really think bears mention for Charlie is Major League. There is nothing to say about Platoon that hasn't already been said. A lot of people point to his performance as somehow groundbreaking or stand out and revelatory, clearing the way for Sheen to put out a slew of fantastic character-driven dramas... what were people thinking? I don't think he even comes off as convincing during most of Platoon and the full-on narrative he delivers is just painful. Its kind of fitting when he gets high by taking a pull off a marijuana smoke-filled M-16 though. The best part about Charlie Sheen appearing in Platton was to allow for the set-up of the joke in Hot Shots part Deux when, while driving a boat down a jungle river, Charlie's internal narrative is interrupted by the narrative of a passenger on a boat headed the opposite direction, who turns out to be his father Martin Sheen...upon seeing one and other, they both exclaim....wait for it.... " I LOVED YOU IN WALL STREET"

Major League - 1989
Yikes! Probably wont be climbing any trees!
Starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and the guy who became Black President David Palmer on 24 which, when you really think about it, probably allowed the general public to take a more sympathetic view of a Black Man in the White House when the time came to decide on really casting your vote with him in 2008... just a possibility.

Tom Berenger, coincidentally, stars along side Sheen in Platoon, and ends up letting Willem Dafoe get killed (on his knees, raising hands to the skies, multiple gunshots ensue...) I can't find a really good sci-fi tie-in for Berenger but I'm almost positive one exists. Personally he is immortalized for me in The Substitute...and weirdly, I just became one of those... hmmmm (guys, thats what blogs are for, so I can stream of conscious connect all these things loud rant-style! Gimme some room!)

Major League is classified as one of the archtypical bumbling sports stories and its heroes are hard to deny, though Sheen is not the slick ball of overconfidence and venomous-looking incisors he was by the time The Chase was released. Berenger plays the real turn-around character, struggling to find recognition in the twilight of his career and remain relevant to a sport, its new stars, and most importantly his ex-wife. Sheen's Ricky Vaughn/ Wild Thing character is as iconic a movie sports star as there can be. Since I was born in Youngstown, Ohio the city my mother grew up in, the plot's use of the Indians as the franchise of note, a team so bad that its owners hatch a plan to disband the franchise and liquidate the assets by sabotaging the plans of the manager and veteran players and introducing younger players seemingly with so little experience that they won't be able to play at the major league level. A few years back when Jonathan Papelbon cut his hair in the style of Ricky Vaugn ( a buzzered sort of tiger-swatch in the back of his head) reportedly upon losing a bet with Jason Varitek, fan response was immediate and approving. Sheen certainly cast Ricky Vaughn as the perfect underdog. Almost retarded but with just enough latent skill to make you want to seem him win.

At this point I feel like I actually could go on and on, I think I must have accidentally drank my own Kool-Aid (never get high on yer own supply) because now I wanna spend time on Wall Street and tip my cap to the fairly high-ranking comedies that are the Hot Shots! franchise.... love Lloyd Bridges!

But I'm gonna let it go. Sheen looks like a man who doesn't totally understand what is going on around him after tonights debacle. It is sad and frightening because he appears to seriously need medical help. And it's sad and frightening that I can already predict which quotes I'm going to hear from co-workers and aquaintences tomorrow (hopefully not from too many of my close friends, they should know better). I don't have anything else to say about this right now. We should all be letting it sink in and then go home and figure out how to change our lives for the better.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


F Me…. I really wanted to make sure I posted something of significance, grammatical competence and mental stimulus every week when I started this blog. Turns out yeah, I admit, it is actually a bit of work to maintain. And pumping out any more than a few paragraphs worth reading? Turns out that can get tedious as well. So I decided I wont try to brain-bomb anyone and I’m not gonna put posts up just to say I put ‘em  up. But I’m gonna try to work as the beat writer and editor of my own brain, that said, this week’s live show review is little late and ended a bit more rushed and scattered than I meant for it to sound. I had high hopes of an epic piece edifying the New Deal and decrying the sorry state of live music from a regional and national touring act standpoint. You’ll just have to take my word for it and assume as I write more about the music I love the voice of my inner journalist will become more and more clear… without further adue

The New Deal Keep it Deep and Live – Pearl St. February 5th

the New Deal Footwear..Uggs and AF1's..dancin' shoes?
The night of February 5th was a dark and stormy one. January 2011 was a record-setting month for snowfall in the northeast, and the beginning of February wasn’t proving to be any prettier, although now we had moved to such treachery as ice-rain. Storm drains all across the valley were backing up making even car travel difficult in low-lying areas. I had it in my mind to take this Saturday and make sure I got a chance to see some good live music, but nature and “real jobs” had been conspiring against me for days; I was exhausted after hours of corporate restaurant gruel and the locals who weren’t working didn’t have the stomach to brave the outdoor elements. I had almost resigned myself to the couch with the dog. Luckily for myself a few souls wanted to press their luck and drag me along with them. The phone call came in and it featured a free ticket to Pearl St. to see the New Deal. I couldn’t very well pass up such an opportunity.
            An extra 15 minutes of creep-driving later had me established in the Strong Ave. parking lot and waiting to meet Brendan of IHEG fame at the door to Pearl St. It became immediately clear that we were walking into a hot zone, as an overly intoxicated (and likely underage) patron was being escorted none-too-politely from the premises as we opened the door. This would prove to be the only unpleasant part of the evening as we were to be treated to one of the New Deal’s traditional throwdowns.
Mike Hannigan and Andrea Scobi get down to the sound..
            Before getting too far into describing the nights festivities I need to provide some back story. I’ve been watching the New Deal make their rounds in the North East during the winter months and across the festival circuit during the summer for a solid 8 years. What amazes me about the trio is their ability to come so hard so consistently. I would be hard pressed to recall a performance of theirs that wasn’t a standout excellent show, to say nothing of an unimpressive performance, and more often than not their sets are the most memorable of any given evening or event. During the course of their decade-long tenure, the fully-live and mostly analog electronic-style group has managed to stay under the national radar while remaining at the top of the class of “techno bands” that have sprung up in the wake of groups like the Disco Biscuits (who personally leave a dirty taste in my mouth as pretenders to some sort of crown left in what is generally the vaccum of Phish’s absence.)
            For the uninitiated it is difficult to explain in a way that conveys something as truly excellent as the New Deal’s live performance really is. Suffice to say this. The trio kept Pearl St.’s 650-plus  (very nearly capacity) rocking from jump. There were two extra length sets from the high-powered performers and they even came back for an encore. As previously stated I’ve seen these guys perform already in many venues under different circumstances and to be honest Northampton, MA just isn’t their biggest stage. But they treat the crowd properly and play every song like it just might be their last, taking a full-on dancehall audience from the top of 5th gear to deeper more introspective house moments but never letting the bet falter and never seeming to forget where they came from.
            I spent the second set observing with a friend of mine whom’s musical tastes run a diverse gamut and who’s girlfriend is no stranger to the Biscuit scene and the dance-band circuit in general. I knew my friend to be open to exploring new genres of music but the New Deal seemed a bit outside of his relatively deep box. After a few songs I could tell that he was an eager new fan, digesting each new hit and tempo change as I watched and bobbed my own head. His quote, which for the layman really could sum up the night: “I’m definitely a fan.”
            Sidenote: I’m too old for festy-games, glowsticks, crystals and the like. Said friend’s date and her crew of rabble-rousers were all for the traditional wardrobe modifications and dancing accessories. Just not my thing. I was amused, however, when a cute young dancing mistress likely from UMass campus 8 or 9 miles away approached me and handed me a note. I was a bit taken aback immediately since I hadn’t been handed a note in this fashion since around 8th grade. When I opened the paper the hand-scrawl, in red pencil, read,” Keep it Going…”

Andrea Scobi and PNC...
            I complied and continued to get lost in auditory hallucinogen of the Jamie Shield’s weirdly animalistic and alive-sounding manipulations of the Moog Prodigy… This is music I can get behind and on a winter night in February when rain, sleet, flooding and darkness threaten to engulf existence it is a good feeling knowing that somewhere out there in the darkness the New Deal are getting people warm and hopefully helping them to pump their fists in unison and dance just a little bit longer.

    the New Deal (lower case "the" intentional) do not tour continuously. Hailing from Toronto they have a tendency to string 6-8 dates together 4 or 5 times a year the have a northeast-centric route map. If you are in Boston or New York you can usually catch them and they often mix in places like Providence, Burlington, Hartford and Philadelphia for these runs. In the summer months they stay busy as previously stated, occupying space on the festival circuits. I think it is somewhat extraordinary that they have maintained such an exact science and placement within the touring act hieracrchy for such a long period of time....never quite hitting that benchmark that forces them into 5,000 seat rooms but having no problems hitting a place like Pearl St. in Northampton 4 or 5 times a year and selling 600 plus tickets each time. Bands of that caliber with such a  strong stage presence and seemingly unlimited desire and ability to keep the energy of the crowd up (not to mention their own) night after night are few and far between in this day and age. Whether you dip your toes in the "jam band" end of the pool (dirty words in some circles, I know) or subscribe to a more beat-oriented philosophy I highly recommend checking out the New Deal the next time they stop through your hood. It will instantly become the story of the "last time you had this much fun" likely holding you down until you inevitably check them out again...

Next up reports on Alan Evans, Alecia Chakour, Darby Wolf and how that nonsense all ties together...


crumby DROID photos are 5 megapixel but I was having difficulties with the flash... I actually think for the scenario they could be worse. I really just wanted to make sure I included the Keep it Going shot, but what the heck..


Most of the Science Fiction Vehicles in the known multiverse TO RELATIVE SCALE

PANDORA's BOX - Some of what I'm Listening to..

Showing some of my most recent Pandora Station Selections. If you want a serious 90's hip-hop "fire-and-forget" party mix, I always recommend "Black Sheep Radio"