Friday, September 17, 2004 at 11:30:06 (EDT)

I still can't hear you
If you happen down 2nd Ave for the next few days, look in the window at #92 ...

Hmm, I just realized our flyer is way smaller than everybody else's. I have flyer envy.

I saw Electric Turn to Me last night, the first time I've seen them since they replaced the guitarist. The new guy is great, he could have been a little louder, though. But in this band, the drums are mixed higher than pretty much everything else, kind of like The Dave Clark 5. They really rock. Their song, "20 Eyes in the Car" is like an update of Joy Division's "Isolation," but with more guitar and a jazz-trained drummer. Does that make any sense? It kicks ass!

Speaking of volume, have you ever been to a show in which not only is the audience all wearing ear plugs, but the band is as well? If everybody in the room is wearing them, shouldn't the band just turn down or something? This didn't happen at last night's show, but I have noticed it in the past. I guess they keep the volumes up so people can 'feel' the bass. But maybe somebody should just design a special subwoofer that can amplify only the booty-quakin' spectrum of the music.

For a long time I was certain that I had lost a portion of my upper hearing range due to being in bands and going to see loud shows for year, but I realize now that I just have a really short attention span. "Huh? What was that last part?"

Oh, so I AM going to Philadelphia for the weekend. It's too good to pass up. Lately I feel like every cool band or art thing I hear about is coming out of this city (yet it's reportedly one of the fattest cities in America!). So for this I will endure hours in a small car to get there and back. God I hate riding in cars.

So I shan't be available to go see Shaun of the Dead tonight. But if you can wait, I'll go see it when it opens officially next friday. Of course, I checked it out and it's got a sneak preview tonight in Philadelphia. But there's something unsavory about visiting a city you've never been to before and then wasting a couple hours on a movie that you can see anywhere. I need region-specific culture!

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Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 14:29:46 (EDT)

Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Heather solos during "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Heather the Bartender had a going-away party at Freddy's last night. This coincided with Karaoke Night, providing an outlet for Heather's actor friends to go hog-wild on the mic. The karaoke setup is rudimentary at best; a guy on a laptop handing out lyric sheets to people who sing through a PA with no reverb or delay. Luckily most of the people were pretty good singers, although there were notable exceptions. Participants were tacitly competing for canned ham, but few actually took the prize, most opted for t-shirts.

There's still plenty of Spam left for next month!

They also tried a new idea: Comedy Karaoke. With several transcripts of old Woody Allen stand-up, people were invited to try their hand at performing comedy, circa 1968-72. IT's a good idea, but they should probably get some material not so reliant on good delivery. Maybe some old Buddy Hackett routines, that stuff always kills!

Heather is serenaded by Brooklyn's Attention-Seeking-Disorder Chorus

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 at 12:08:02 (EDT)

Imagine my surprise to find I'm already dead

If I don't go to Philadelphia this weekend (an outside possibility), I think I might hit up the advance screening of Shaun of the Dead at the Union Square theater. I've been babbling about this movie for months, and much to my surprise it's been given a US theatrical run (the real opening is on the 24th). If I'm gonna be here, we should get a posse to go check it out.

I like good zombie movies. I don't know why, the concept just fascinates me, but only when it's making a point. I haven't seen the Resident Evil movies, but from what I understand they're shite, but serve as an example of what not to do in such a film. Of course Night of the Living Dead rocks, as do Dawn of the Dead (the all-time favorite) and even Day of the Dead. Return of the Living Dead is another fine franchise, although I think the first one is superior to the sequels. I loved 28 Days Later ... even though Danny Boyle claims it isn't a zombie movie (but it so is). Dead Alive is also good, mostly as an amusing distraction. I even liked the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Well, I liked the beginning, before the script totally runs out of ideas or any point beyond "let's take a parking shuttle and drive out into a sea of zombies who, despite being brain dead, are smarter than any of us and will eat us for 40 minutes." Special mention also goes to The Serpent and the Rainbow, which is not technically a zombie flick, but does deal with semi-realistic notions of the Voodoo zombie myth.

Shaun of the Dead draws together two genres I dig: the zombie film and the "British slacker tries to get his shit together" film. Slackers can be funny anywhere, but there's something about the Brits who do it better than anyone. Perhaps it's a combination of the dole and those slightly elevated accents. Anyway, the guys behind SOTD really hit a windfall by tying these things together.

I don't want to oversell it, though. It's a pretty small film, low budget, with that mildly gray look that many Brit TV shows have. But it doesn't overreach. Its mood reminds me of Office Space, another movie I really admire for how well it knows its own boundaries. Anyway, if we don't see it this weekend, we gotta see it when it comes out in wide release.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004 at 15:56:01 (EDT)

Down in the basement mixing up the medicine
It's that time again, people. Time to annoy you by schilling for my band! What's that gnawing feeling of emptiness in the pit of your stomach? It's because you haven't seen Motico since our show at Pianos, over a month ago. Thus, we are playing at the Lit Lounge one week from today. That's the bar that's kind of lame upstairs, but has a good performance space in the basement (when you walk into the bar, the basement staircase is on your left when you get up to the bar, it's kinda hard to find).

We booked almost all the bands for this show, so we feel personally responsible for the show's quality (we didn't book the ill-named "Pink Sock" band, but hope they're tolerable). Our comrades are: The First Person to See an Elephant, featuring Doug Keith, and Sxip!matta, featuring Sxip Shirey. I'm pretty excited to see what Sxip has in store, since he has pretty much dedicated his life to making surprising music and art. You may remember him as the musical accompaniment for The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, and is now a member of the gypsy-punk band The Luminescent Orchestrii. Sxip!matta is relatively new and has Sxip playing big harmonicas along with Adam Matta's beatboxing. It's gonna be sweet!

Plus the price is only $5 for once. Again, I wish more clubs stuck to lower cover prices (or none at all) when it's just local bands. Okay, well, local bands that aren't super-duper famous. Like, um, The Star Spangles. Yeah, their concerts should always cost $50.

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Monday, September 13, 2004 at 14:49:05 (EDT)

Turn on the bright lights

What's Eating Jimmy Legs? Oh ... right.

The Moonshine Bar in Red Hook is a little tricky to get to, but it's worth it. Actually, it'd only be a couple of blocks' walk from the Carroll Street Station but because of the BQE you have to walk up and around on Union Street to get there. But can beers are $1.50 (plus the ever-popular beer-and-a-shot special for $5). The jukebox is very good (although the presence of Toby Keith thereupon is a little disconcerting).

Of course, the clientele is beyond reproach. Ben's brother, the playwright, showed up and I babbled at him about a piece of his I'd seen at the Naked Angels reading series. He didn't seem to know what the hell I was talking about, but then later on Ben remembered it too and with some convincing we finally got him to admit he wrote it, or at least pretend he did. Brooke admitted that she finds the Ramones "tedious" after a while, so we put tons of Ramones on the jukebox to educate her otherwise. We stopped off at the Alibi around 3, and the joint was jumpin'. These days I'm usually there far earlier, with the old folks and young schoolchildren, I almost forgot its best use is as crazy late-night weigh station for Ft Greeners on their way home.

It would have probably been better if we had just gone home immediately. The next day I was totally out of it. I hoped that by the evening I'd be back on my feet, but when we headed out that evening I was still pretty subdued. We stopped off at the Nancy Whiskey Pub for a drink, stopping to gaze at the Tribute in Light display. I'd never been so close to it; you could see all this weird debris flying through the light columns. Does anybody know what that stuff was? It seemed too dense to simply be litter, but then maybe there really is that much crap in the air around here. Some genius at the bar declared that what we were seeing were flocks of birds set loose to commemorate the day. Oy vey.

We got to the Knitting Factory to find a big line for the show. I now wonder if everybody there got in, because by the time we finally made it, the place was already packed to the rafters. The Panthers were nearly done with their set. They were all right, but perhaps there was something wonky with the sound or something, but they didn't really move me. No matter, after a screening of some Sonic Youth videos (there's that screen again!), The Ex started one of the most amazing sets of rock and/or roll music this reporter has ever seen.

I cannot possibly explain how great this show was. Most of the members of the band are probably pushing 50, but they totally kicked out the jams. And I didn't know the drummer and bass (upright bass) player were women. I guess it shouldn't be important but it never crossed my mind before I saw them live. But everybody in this band is phenomenal. In fact the older these guys gets, the better they get. My only regret at the show was that I was not closer to the stage and drunker. Next time I will try harder.

When will these demons depart from my sight?

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Week of September 12-18, 2004

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