Archive for June, 2008
Lots of fun stuff is set to transpire in the near future, so I thought I would update you on what’s happening.
Tonite I’m catching a couple of shows. Last week I read in the Riverfront Times about a musical based on one of my favorite books, High Fidelity.
Making a musical out of a book that is primarily about music has the potential to be simultaneously great and awful. I’m hitting that show first and afterwards I’m planning on catching the New Music Spotlight at the Pageant tonite. Not sure if I will make it to both, but I’m sure both will be entertaining.
Also tonite I am planning on picking up tickets for the just announced Vampire Weekend show at the Pageant on September 10. Their self-titled album is arguably the best album of the year thus far, and I hear they put on one hell of a live show. I get the feeling that this show will sell out pretty quick, so grab the tickets while you can.
Tomorrow nite I’m thinking about hitting the midnight screening of Spaceballs at the Moolah Theatre. This is my wife’s favorite comedy, and I have yet to check out the Moolah, so this seems like a win-win.
Tuesday nite I’m attending an event that sounds like it was designed specifically for me. A zombie double feature is playing across the street from my loft. Two locally made zombie movies are showing at 9pm at the Schlafly Tap Room. Beer drinking and brain eating all within walking distance, how freakin perfect! Anyone interested in attending please let me know.
Next weekend is our America, Fuck Yeah! Party for July Fourth. On Saturday, we’re catching the Cards-Cubs game which will also feature a great view of the air show. Anyone else who will be in attendance at the game should get a hold of me.
I decided last weekend that I need to start going out more, so here’s how I plan on getting started. If anyone has other hip suggestions, please let me know.
This weekend I had to travel back and forth from Downtown to North County a few times, so I decided to try the Metrolink. I had not ridden public transit in a few years, and I had yet to ride Metro since the expansion into South City. Quite a bit has changed since I last rode on St. Louis’ light rail system. Here are five things that I learned this weekend thanks to Metrolink.
1. Metrolink is no longer just a traveling method, but is now a destination. This observation is based on the large number of teenagers I saw carhopping. Granted, it was Friday nite at 10pm. Still, I had no idea that teens congregate on the Metrolink to socialize. When I was that age, my peers spent their prime loitering hours at the mall.
2. Lots of people still use Discmans. Seriously. I’m still surprised that people even buy CDs, but seeing Discmans is even more surprising. Not only are Discmans big and clunky, they skip constantly and drain batteries in less than two hours. I completely skipped over Discmans. I went straight from a Walkman to an Ipod, much like I went from VHS to DVD and Floppy Discs to Flash Drives. Discmans are the equivalent to still using Laser Discs or Zip Discs.
3. White men have encroached on Native American territory yet again. Specifically, on the new $1 gold coins. The Metrolink is known for providing change from ticket machines in $1 coins. This has been the Sacagawea as long as I can remember.
Unbeknownst to me, the Presidential $1 Coin Act began in 2007 and will feature four new presidents every year. According to Wikipedia these coins are “intended to create renewed interest in the coin like that seen during the 50 state quarters program.” Creating renewed interest in coins seems like a ridiculous goal for our Government Almost as ridiculous as putting more dead white guys on our currency.
4. The west-bound Metrolink has two separate trains and requires travelers to pay attention to easy to read directions. Now, I knew that the new Metro has two end destinations so it would stand to reason that I would get on the right train. Instead I decided to completely zone out and board the wrong train. I didn’t notice my mistake until the rail passed Clayton. Luckily I wasn’t the only one to make the mistake, so I didn’t feel quite as clueless.
5. I am really white. I already knew I was white thanks to this highly informative guide. However, I apparently am much whiter than I realize. On Friday nite a thugged-out young entrepreneur was walking around the Metrolink car attempting to sell a bottle of CKOne for $10. Well at least that was my assumption, since I was listening to my Discman and could not hear his actual sales pitch.
He managed to get rejected by everyone on the car except me, despite his offer for “a free sniff.” At this point he pointed at me and said several words I did not hear. All I managed to gather was him mouthing the words “White Boy.” This was followed by laughter by him and most of the rest of the train. Apparently my whiteness is so blatant that strangers will laugh at me. So if you ever need to borrow a sweater or a scarf, want to go snowboarding, or would like to share stories of difficult breakups, please give me a call. I am officially that white.
As I’m sure most of you already know I am a huge fan of the mix tape. I made numerous mix tapes back in my college days, eventually making the switch to discs1 back in ’02.
In my mind, the most important two songs on any mix tape are the first one and the last one. The last song is usually the most memorable, but the first song has the difficult task of setting the mood. The first song has to make the listener want to listen to the next twenty songs, which is a tall order. First songs are usually full of hooks or clever bits, and the best really draw in the listener for the ride. They are a tricky bunch; here are my favorites.
Top 5 Songs To Start A Mix Tape
This little gem is smack in the middle of Check Your Head, but is the quintessential first song. It’s quick, quirky, and quotable. The track actually feels like a party about to happen.
Eighties songs are always a great way to start a mix tape, and this one is probably the best. Originally released on Youthquake in an edited version, it was eventually released unedited in a far superior version. This song is not only a great way to start a mix tape, but also a great way to start a movie too.
The mellow and moody little beauty is off of 1997’s Trailer Park, and is unfortunately the best song on the album by far. The first time I heard that irresistible and oft repeated intro I was hooked.
Instantly recognizable, this song is guaranteed to make any group of people start dancing within thirty seconds. Why the producers decided to put ABC as the third song on the album of the same name is beyond me. Should have been as easy as 123.
This sublime song is the first song on the vastly underrated soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides. It feels familiar yet somehow sounds brand new. There has never been an easier way to start chilling out.
1 I’m as guilty as anyone for referring to burnt cds as mixtapes. Something about mixdisc just doesn’t sound right.
Friday nite marked the first in a series of Carlsberg brand beer tastings. First up was Carlsberg Elephant Beer. It’s classified as a “strong pilsner”, which is something of an understatement. With an alcohol content of 7.2%, it is quite a bit stronger than original Carlsberg and most other beers in general. Apparently the beer has been on the market for 49 years, yet I hadn’t heard of it until last week. After knocking back five Elephants,
my drunken mind produced a brilliant comparison using one of my favorite bands, The White Stripes. Carlsberg is like White Blood Cells: it’s the first album by the Stripes that I fell in love with and by far their best. They both have a simple formula combined with classic style combines everything I like about music and beer
Carlsberg Elephant is like Elephant by The White Stripes: It has a heavier feel than the original, but still maintains much of the flavor that I love. At first it seems considerable heavier, but eventually it appears remarkably similar to the original.1
While I did enjoy both Elephants quite a bit, I still prefer the originals. White Blood Cells will remain one of my favorite albums, and the original Carlsberg is still my favorite beer.
On a random side note, my taste test was performed at Club 1709, my former residence in St. Charles. The party was mostly the No-Co crew, but featured a Loch-Ness caliber appearance by Mark, the phantom roommate. Since I vacated my room at 1709 two years ago, it has been taken over by two notoriously absent roommates. The first occupant, Anne, was known for spending most of her time out with her boyfriend.
Anne was replaced by Mark, whose whereabouts are always unknown. I met him once briefly before he moved into 1709, but had never actually seen him in the house. I was starting to believe he was a red herring.
On Friday nite Mark went from Boo Radley to Oprah in my book. He showed up at midnite-thirty carrying two full racks of BBQ ribs and a vat of fresh potato salad. After a drunken gorge, he proceeded to break out his homemade, full size Craps table and started throwing dice. Free ribs and a fully-functional Craps table are perhaps the two coolest party activities ever. Mark is no longer a red herring; he’s an urban legend. This Elephant’s for you.
1 Never is this more apparent than on “There’s No Home For You Here”, which is uses the same riff from “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”
Eight years ago this week I caught a dollar show screening of a film that profoundly changed my life. That film was High Fidelity. At the time, the three “music elitists” in the film and the ridiculous discussions/arguments they have hit way too close to home for me.
These same discussions/arguments were the focus of most of my social life in college. I was equal parts thrilled and horrified how these guys were portrayed in the film. I spent the next few days reading the book from which the film was based, which only reaffirmed these feelings. Not wanting to come off as an elitist, I decided to give-up my music snob ways and try to embrace all kinds of music.
This plan completely back-fired. While I did learn to embrace several new genres of music, mostly I just discovered what artists I didn’t like in any given genre. Instead of saying “I don’t like classic rock” or “I don’t like county”, I now say “I like said genre, but only these artists.” Learning more about all kinds of music made me like a majority of it even less.
Eventually, I have learned to identify my music snob ways and learned how to control these impulses. This has mostly been due to necessity, since this elitist behavior has spilled over to my views on pop culture in general. I can now appreciate a song, film or television show more on a whole without worrying as much what it says about me as a person.
However, since I know my inner snob has a habit of sneaking out from time to time, I have decided to use my favorite part of High Fidelity as an outlet for these impulses. I’m adding weekly Top 5 list to my blog to help alleviate my elitist ways. Hopefully this will allow me to channel my snarkiness online and to be more pleasant in person. Since I just spent several paragraphs claiming to have great taste, my first Top 5 is intended to showcase that everyone has bad taste now and then.
Top 5 Embarrassing Songs Currently On My Ipod
1. Send Me An Angel – The Scorpians
Blame this one solely on the movie Rad. The slo-mo bike dancing scene in the movie set to this song was the most rewound section of any movie I watched as a kid. I still get chills. And as an early hint, anyone wondering what to buy me for my 30th birthday should go here.
2. Lady – Kenny Rogers
The cheesy lyrics combined with the drop-dead serious way The Gamblers sings them make this still a classic in my book. He’s lovin’ on that microphone so much you can almost hear the microphone scratching against his beard.
3. I Need A Hero – Bonnie Tyler
I’m still a big fan of the over-the-top synthesizer sound from the early Eighties, and this is about as over-the-top as it gets. Everything about this song is ridiculous, and yet I find it irresistible. Plus, it gets bonus points for being the focal point of the big climax scene in Short Circuit 2.
4. Opposites Attract – Paul Abdul and MC Skat Kat
Not gonna even bother to try and defend this one. Instead, I will fess up to owning the full length MC Skat Kat tape “The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob” when I was 12 and move on.
5. Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
Everything about this song is trashy. The ratting out your ex-girlfriend lyrics, the faux-operatic beginning, the shameless Timbaland plug for himself. The video even tries to make stalking seem arty. But damn if I don’t love it.