Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Red Sonja for no reason whatsoever

I have to keep looking at my calendar to remember what day it is. My kid had furlough days off of school, plus Memorial day weekend and then an extra day for reasons I can't remember--a Union stipulation perhaps. Hence: my confusion. Is it garbage night? Does the mail now come after two days of no delivery? Are people bitching on Facebook about nothing important? OK--getting back to normal then.

Here's Red Sonja starring 80s sensation, Brigitte Nielsen. "They" say she's a bad actor, but I really like her in this. Kind of stiff and cold, but she's supposed to be, having been mauled by marauders and left for dead without any counseling afterwards. She gets along well with animals and beats the crap out of people (mostly men) with her broadsword. She's got a killer mullet and she's properly physical, which is all in keeping with her Amazon warrior-like status.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Kalidor (basically Conan in everything but name--a legal issue) as good-natured, but smirky. Whenever I happen to be channel-flipping and this is on, I linger. But I do yell out (spoiler) "NO!" when Sonja finally succumbs to Dumbhead's charms. She obviously should find contentment with an equally cool lady.

Check out these clips. With Dino De Laurentiis at the helm, you will definitely be entertained.

Epic, huh? Sandahl Bergman is the evil Queen Gedren. I would hate to be in a girl-band with her. I think I was in a girl-band with her.

Bergman was originally slated to play Sonja but turned the role down to play Gedren instead. What might have been!

And take a look at Conan's, I mean, KALIDOR's pad. Manly.

It's all a grand journey into the demented mind of...someone, and though it tanked at the box office and critics have been laughing at it since 1985, I like it--wrong as it is. It paved the way for Xena, Buffy and Seven of Nine--half-human/half-warrior chicks who didn't need men, opting for femme girls, conscious-tortured vampires and the Borg, respectively.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Way We Get By - Memorial Day 2011

If you get a chance, you should watch the documentary The Way We Get By, which aired once again on PBS this Memorial Day. It's a very heartfelt and touching look at a group of older people who send off and greet U.S. troops out of the Bangor, Maine airport, 24 hours a day. Some have served in the military. Some have family members in the military. All have differing views of politics and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they're united by one philosophy: to thank the young people in the U.S. armed forces for their service.


Watch it on Hulu.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sasquatch Festival streaming live on NPR

Neglected the blog unintentially but here's a treat: listen to Sasquatch Fest live this weekend on NPR, May 28-30, all the way from the mid-eastern quadrent of Washington State. Sasquatch country.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

AV Undercover 2011 - handpicked bands test their cover limits

AV Undercover asks readers to suggest a list of 25 songs and then invites underground bands into the office to cover them. Some covers are inspired. Some are pretty anemic. That's how it goes with would-be innovative covering techniques. As the list shrinks, the question lingers: who will get stuck covering The Power of Love by Huey Lewis & The News?

Of Montreal covers White Stripes' Fell In Love With A Girl. I can't help but opine that some Of Montreal members may eventually regret their stylistic tendencies in the near future. Is it possible to pre-date your dated look? Because I think that's kind of going on here. No matter! My standard blogging uniform also needs work. Enjoy Of Montreal gettin' gnarly for a couple minutes.

Dum Dum Girls cover Big Star's September Gurls in dreamy, surf-rock fashion.

Wye Oak covers Danzig's Mother. Sure, why not? Nice job. Is that a flugelhorn?

For last year's series, Wye Oak covered The Kinks' Strangers. Niiiice.

The Low Anthem covers Wilco's A Shot In The Arm. I've never been as ape-shit about Wilco as most music-writer types but this is a perfectly fine cover featuring a clarinet and enough scruffiness for a room-full of bloggers.

If you start craving a Starbuck's frappuccino after this, please blame our current rock & roll culture of advertising.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Wake Up Dreaming: Haunted World of the B Film Noir at The Roxie

I meant to write about the two-week film noir festival at San Francisco's Roxie Theater, but I got sidetracked. It started Friday, May 13 (of course--the perfect night to begin a film noir B-movie festival), and runs through May 28. Billing itself a showcase for darkly demented B budget curios of American style, most of the films are not available at a store near you. This is a great chance to see low-budget, hard-edged weirdness on the big screen, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the real-life noir of today's gentrifying Mission District.

Rated: dark. Synopsis here. Show dates/times (don't go by the synopsis page--it's on hashish or something).

Female violence in The Story of Molly X (1949)

Witness to Murder (1954) with Barbara Stanwyck and George Sanders--pinch me, I must be imagining the perfect dream cast!

Private Hell 36 (1954) written by and starring the great Ida Lupino.

Wait, you haven't seen Kiss Me Deadly? Probably one of the most disturbing films I've ever had the displeasure of seeing, but it's worth it for shock value alone. And it's been very influential over the years.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Zoetropes, Phonographantasmascopes and Praxinoscopes for Friday

I certainly can come up with the timely topics. I made a zoetrope many years ago in fine-arts summer school in a really bitching animation class and it was one of my favorite things ever. How I wish I still had my little zoetrope that spun on a pencil--so cool. You can buy kits to make these or just craft your own at this point, thanks to YouTube. Phonographantasmascopes are the best-named things of all time and look really cool too--like a 3D zoetrope that seems to be animating before your very eyes whilst trodding upon a turntable. Praxinoscopes use mirrors in a clever way and will wow you in an ol' fashioned manner, my friend.

You know that long ago, people sat around parlours admiring their hosts' praxinoscopes and exclaiming that it really looked like a tiny goat was jumping over an obstacle a hundred million times before their very eyes. No wonder people have always loved to entertain. To watch the little goats, of course.

Basic zoetrope demo. It fools the eye!

Pixar has made the ultimate zoetrope (of course). It's lovely.

Time on your hands? Make a high-tech zoetrope. Be the envy of everyone.

What's a phonographantasmascope? So glad you asked.

The praxinoscope makes good use of tiny mirrors.

And don't forget the other interestingly named, round, spinny animation device, the phenakistoscope.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Help! I've fallen down a K-tel Commercial wormhole

And I never want to get out. The 1970s was the era of ridiculous products and so called "inventions" that everyone had to have, making garage sales more junked out than ever for several decades. And K-tel was right in the forefront of this consumerist madness with their super-cheap, excitedly announced product line that we loved so well.

Mood shirts for your every mood. Family life made everyone "tense" in the 70s, hence the high divorce rate. I'm sure this product didn't help.

Do you remember? Husker Du was a memory exerciser that was virtually "impossible to memorize." A rainy-day staple at grade schools across the country.

Kids! Why catch a ball with your hands, when you can order two vacuum handles with thumb holes instead? Television posed numerous questions such as this while we were growing up. It led to a lifetime to questioning and formed the great society that we are today.

If you're getting up there in years, you might remember K-tel Record Selector. The Tape Selector was its bastard cousin. Eight-tracks didn't stick around long enough to create a profit on this, I'm sure.

Excuse me for a heavy-metal moment while I have an Axe Attack.

K-tel's "Block Buster" is an excellent example of the schizophrenic top-40 programming mentality that existed throughout the 70s. Listen to disco, soft rock, r&b, prog-rock and power ballad all within the space of 7 minutes (or less!).

We still have this one. It features Hot Butter's "Popcorn" so you know we're never giving it up.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Adele for Monday

What a voice! Adele! On Monday!

Ice sculptures? Why? Good make-up though.

Adele takes it down a notch.

Adele keeps it real.

That voice! That voice! Swoon.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Terrence Malick on the big screen (MOMI May 13-15)

The Films of Terrence Malick (MOMI, May 13-15) from Matt Zoller Seitz on Vimeo.

New Yorkers get a treat next weekend, May 13-15, when The Museum of the Moving Image screens Terrence Malick's Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The New World for one big cinematic, philosophical retrospective of awesomeness. I've never seen Days of Heaven on the big screen, nor The New World for that matter. We of the West Coast salute you, and hope you think of us when it's time to tour the show.

Going "Popeye" on ya

Today's Popeye Appreciation Day around here. I rented some original cartoons from the 1930s so my kid could appreciate the mythological triad of The Sailorman, his fickle girlfriend Olive Oyl, and arch-nemesis Bluto. Alongside hungry, lazy Wimpy and mischievous Sweetpea, Popeye was our entryway to the surreal world of cartoon adulthood while we were growing up on syndicated television.

We had no idea why these characters looked and acted the way they did. We only knew that their world was stranger, more vibrant, and certainly funnier than most of what we encountered after walking out our door. Even in black and white. And the muttering--the never ending muttering. Popeye is a blueprint of good vs. evil and the powerful, wondrous qualities of green vegetables.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Say it with a unicorn

Normally a president couldn't get away with this, but I think this whole action-packed mythological mish-mash is working for Obama. I don't know who put this together, but whoever you are: you are a genius.

Obama on unicorn with rainbows

Art: it's important

Update: be sure to celebrate Obama's 2012 victory with the new, improved updated Obama Unicorn.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Today's word: Zesty

In my middle-of-the-night bout of insomnia, one word came to mind and wouldn't leave: zesty. Let's explore some zesty concepts on this sunny spring day.

May is national bike month and Bike to Work Day is scheduled in your area in the next 30 days (Thursday, May 12th for the Bay Area). Nothing is zestier than having a job. Riding your bike to your job is even more fulfilling. Even if you can only ride to public transportation, think of how much you're saving the planet by not spewing carbon emissions all over the air we breathe. If so, thank you!

I work at home mostly, but I try to bike whenever possible. Or even walk, since I'm lucky enough to live in a pretty compact, well-developed area. Some might call it a small city, but others who live in actual cities might scoff at that. But that's not very zesty of them.

You know what else is zesty? Comedian Erin Gibson attempting to take a pole-dancing class. Better her than me. I hope this embeds OK. Give it a shot.

For true zestiness, try some delicious North African cuisine. Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya combine geographical influences with creative spice blends in genius food formations.

Remember Bad Manners? They were so zesty! They've reformed and are playing with The Uptones at The Uptown in Oakland on Saturday, May 21st.

Awww, Chihuahua! Playing pool!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Hamster in need of attention

Fifi lives for attention. Who knew hamsters could be so social? We made up this word, "poogy" to describe the look of extremely full hamster cheeks. And as you can see, she's quite poogy here. How she manages to climb up the walls of her cage without toppling over remains a mystery. Anyway, when she's not stuffing her face with every morsel of food in sight, she's trying to run away from us. Hamsters live to run--they apparently run six miles every night in the wild. So eating and running--that's what you get.

Whenever Fifi makes it to the blog it usually means I've not been able to focus my full attention to this online endeavor. Today is no exception. We had a series of duties to fulfill for the past several weeks that took precedent over everything else. Like: getting healthy; then getting healthy again; and still again--sure, why not? There was a need for doctors and much medication around here. Plus special dietary recommendations that had to be shopped for. And supplements--so many supplements.

I learned about two excellent pressure points to apply. One for pain: close up your thumb next to your hand/forefinger--see that fatty fold between thumb and hand? Press there against the hand bone slightly. Alleviates pain! Even though it hurts a little to press there--pressure-point irony in action.

Here's one for immunity: close up your forearm against your upper arm and see the fold where your arm bends? Press on the side of that fold slightly--ouch. That builds immunity. I could have used that one a month ago, but I'm storing it away in the old mental files for future reference. My acupressure friend showed me these and she knows her stuff. I hope she doesn't mind if I share. I just find this pretty helpful and there's no side-effects other than weird little sore spots from too-enthusiastic pressing.

Things are looking healthier now and we should resume our regularly scheduled nonsense post-haste. Maybe there's a pressure-point for absurdity and fulfillment. I think I know where that body-part is and it's NSFW. Heh.

In the mean time, please pay attention to this hamster for the next few seconds and I'll be with you shortly.