Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Matthew Morrison

If you haven't seen Broadway Bares yet, it's a good time. A good, clean, fund-raising time. Broadway chorus boys and chorus girls sure are healthy specimens, wouldn't you say? Here's an example with birthday boy Morrison.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Henry Winkler

A television icon, and also a member of the brilliance that is Arrested Development. When he left to do that sitcom with Stockard Channing (you remember that one, right?) and was replaced with Scott Baio, it was ever more genius!

And from every account Henry Winkler is one helluva nice guy.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Rand Paul suppoter has a hurt back

Which is why he stomped the girl, instead of bend over.

I wonder if Tim Profitt is on disability of some kind.

Atlas Stomped (the sequel to Atlas Shrugged)

Sorry, these are kinda random, maybe I should just tweet them.

"Don't let the days go by"

Birthday boy Gavin Rossdale, seen here rocking the shirtless look, sans tranny girlfriend and trannyish wife, has very good teeth. He does. I think we can agree about that. Great teeth.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Cold War"

Janelle Monáe suffered less than Of Montreal from the poor acoustics of the Roseland, but there was an entire intro regarding her android alter-ago Cyndi Mayweather that really had no pay-off for me. And because of the crowd, I paid attention and didn't drink (so as not to need to go to the bathroom through the crowd)... so I would have seen it if it came to a resolution.

Still, she's impressive.

Song: "Cold War"
Artist: Janelle Monáe

Friday, October 29, 2010

Send your camel to bed

Tuareg, my coworker's current Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy in training, came dressed up as his namesake to our office Halloween party.
Tuareg as Tuareg
He is dressed as a member of the nomadic Tuareg people (here). You can see his camel in the lower right corner.
Tuareg tribe member (for comparison purposes only)
Admit it, he's adorable! And authentic.

Check these out you should

(h/t Laughing Squid)
Steve Thomas made some bad-ass (in a good way) travel posters based on the Star Wars series. Check them out here.
Poster by Steve Thomas
Poster by Steven Thomas

In my mind, I'm much more Christian Bale than Adam West

And even that's kinda insulting to Adam West...
Fat-ass Batman with Fantastic Robin

Happy Birthday Kate Jackson

My favorite Angel. 3 Emmy nominations (2 for CA), no wins. Sigh.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Animal"

This song is a few months old and I've been remiss in posting. I blame the fact that I thought the band was The Killers or The Creamery Bravery.

It's not.

It's Neon Trees.

Me neither.

Song: "Animal"
Artist: Neon Trees

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Another cow!"

Happy birthday Jami Gertz.

Song of the Day: "Famine Affair"

Tonight at Roseland: Of Montreal and Janelle Monáe (my third show in 9 days)—here's another track from OM's False Priest. "Wish we weren't so complicated, Wish you weren't so medicated" = love it.

Song: "Famine Affair"
Artist: Of Montreal

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Chrysler Building, in the fog

Chrysler Building 10/26/2010
Rosanne Cash tweeted this picture she took from the 20th floor of the Waldorf Astoria last night. She's @rosannecash if you're interested in her licorice intake or other news.

I'm worried about the diminished spelling skills of today's SPAMMERS

Just a few of today's SPAM emails
Hmmm, this looks dubious, but I do want an errectioon. Maybe I will try vviavqra. Especially if it comes in ppliills.

Yes, that is a shark

For reals
Frank and Leann at Crazy Travelers (here) will tell you all about their "refresher" outing and how this guy came to be a pretty cool picture.

A quick clarification for middle-aged gay men in Oregon and Southern Washington

If you're confused as to why Joey Heatherton is visiting a boy in Portland whose illness prevents him from playing football, she's not.

Joey Harrington is. 

It's an easy mistake.

Happy Birthday Marla Maples

Back in the late 90s, when I started seeing lots of movies, I started writing lots of movie reviews that got emailed to friends. I wasn't geeky/narcissistic enough then to post those to the inter-webs, but now I wish I had copies. Some of them were pretty good (that's me being modest--they were hysterical).

One of the reviews was for Executive Decision, a movie I think I can conclusively declare is the best movie birthday girl Marla Maples Trump is ever going to make. I believe I said that Halle Berry needed to get a better agent, and Maples Trump needed to thank her agent very much for getting her such an ideal role.

And it is one of the 5 B.D. Wong movies I have seen. In addition to Wong, it stars recent birthday shout out J.T. Walsh. Do I have a thing for actors with initials as first names? I leave that to you to look up CCH Pounder's birthday.

If you recall the 90s, you might remember Steven Seagal movies. This is one of those, kinda. But it's actually as much an old school disaster movie, like Airport or The Towering Inferno (just with smaller name celebrities--I think Joe Morton and Oliver Platt are great actors, so they worked for me).

Despite the fact that you could probably use the exact script and play it camp, there's none of that here--I am flat-out recommending a fun b-grade action movie. And that's despite it's pre-9/11 depiction of an airline high-jacking by terrorists. And yes, there ARE chemical weapons on-board. That's the whole point, it's really cathartic.

It's also worth noting that Maples Trump appeared on an episode of Spin City. As herself.

She is in pre-production of a film co-starring Tippi Hedren, Cyndi Lauper and Ace Young, so look for Section B on Lifetime (maybe WE) in the Spring.

I do also want to mention that the second ex-Mrs. Trump might consider starting some kind of talk show with Ivana. I am guessing Melania will pass her "freshness" date within the next 5 years, and that would give them a 30-minute version of The View easily. They can be The Cougar's Den. OMG I am totally producing this show.

Happy birthday dude! Call me!

Song of the Day: "How I Left the Ministry"

I first heard the Mountain Goats at some point in the last year and a half. John Darnielle's  music is gritty and compelling--it's not for the easily depressed. I think I've listened to 4 of his albums and I'm still getting  oriented. He is 1/2 of The Extra Lens (originally The Extra Glenns).

Franklin Bruno of Nothing Painted Blue and the Human Hearts (don't know him by name, or either band) recorded on a couple of Mountain Goats albums (only one of which I've heard), so while I feel like I "know" Darnielle, I've got no sense of Bruno (who has a PhD in Philosophy, but then, don't we all, if you think about it?... no? okay at least you thought).

The Extra Lens have a new release called Undercard. 3 of the 12 songs are longer than 3 minutes--that's an epic release for Darnielle; this song clocks in  well under 2 minutes. Give it a whirl.

Song: "How I Left the Ministry"
Artist: The Extra Lens

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Well now I feel like I have to try this

People are blaming a bunch of party-goers being taken to the hospital (aka teenagers who can't hold their liquor) on a magical concoction with malt liquor AND caffeine that comes in flavors like watermelon and cranberry lemonade.

1 23 oz. can = 4 cans of beer?! That's some efficient shit!

And, AND, apparently it will fuck you up good!

I am going to crack-mart right now, where are my good slippers.

Of course, the university is calling for the product to be pulled from local stores. Which makes sense, cause when a bunch of my students  break my rules (and state and local laws), I totally want the product associated with that pulled from shelves too. That saves me from doing anything quasi-disciplinary.

Just remember, when someone does something stupid with your product, you have to suffer. Unless you make guns. Or are Halliburton.

Happy Birthday Bob Hoskins

Poor Bob. He won pretty much every precursor to the Best Actor Oscar for Mona Lisa, only to find himself losing to Paul Newman for The Color of Money. Now I love Paul Newman, and my recollection of The Color of Money is that it was, you know, just fine (it didn't induce vomiting or anything), but Hoskins is fantastic in Mona Lisa, a movie some might call "too subtle."

The 1986 movie was co-written, and directed, by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview with the Vampire, The End of the Affair), and also stars Michael Caine, Cathy Tyson, and Robbie Coltrane. There may or may not be a remake currently in the works (it is one of those movies that could be well served by a remake; Morgan Freeman's breakthrough, Street Smart, from around that time is too), and Mickey Rourke may or may not be involved... no, he is officially not, which is good. Mickey Rourke really is too ugly and old to play a high-class prostitute.

Now I didn't quite recall the "totally 80s" nature of that trailer, but I'm sure (or at least I hope), the movie is less dated. I think the trailer itself speaks to the US distributor, Cannon Films, the company behind every Chuck Norris movie AND Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Just think about that in the context of the trailer (cause the movie really is good).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"What if the animal looks really sad?"

It's Sasha Cohen's birthday and she is NOT to be confused (as I did just now) with Sacha Baron Cohen, who had a birthday a couple weeks ago.

So enjoy a delayed shout out to Ali G with one of the funniest things I've ever seen:

Belated happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Highway Scratch"

It starts like Lionel Hampton meeting the Violent Femmes, but it ends with Hampton meets The Replacement. The band is Sisters (their name taken from the hit NBC series from the 90s, as far as you know--it could happen, Swoosie Kurtz fans are devoted) and they are from Brooklyn. There are only 2 dudes in the band--not shocking, just interesting.

Sorry, according to their MySpace page (oh, btw, "angry Dave Matthews fan" from the party last week says MySpace is over and everyone [EVERYONE] is on the Facebooks now--which he uses to stalk women)... where was I? Oh, according to Sisters' MySpace page (here), they are not a band. "Sisters is rock pop collage with garage fallout." Think about that for a minute--here's what that sounds like.

Song: "Highway Scratch"
Artist: Sisters

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Craig Robinson

The Office has been surprisingly good this season--good, not great, but somehow it's better than I expect it to be these days. Which isn't really fair, the show's had some really solid writing and interesting twists, but I guess I expected them to be coasting at this point.

Robinson plays Darryl on The Office, and I'm picking him as today's birthday in an attempt to learn the man's name. Apparently I can't remember it, ever. He's been in a lot of funny movies recently, and always it's "that guy who plays Darryl on The Office" which is, and I cannot stress this enough, NOT AT ALL RACIST. I swear.

The don't have any of his best stuff from The Office (teaching Michael new slang, trying to keep Michael for disrupting safety training--actually, anything where Darryl has to be the grown-up around Michael; and the Princess Unicorn ending). Robinson has a low key delivery that sells the writing.

Here he is covering "Creep" because... why not?

Here he is inviting you (us) to get sexy with him.

And finally, he is your screen saver for the day.

Craig Robinson.

I will try to remember that.

Craig Robinson.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"Faces of Strummer that fell from your wall"

Okay, that was quick. It is now winter. And by winter I mean "rainy season." Rainy here, snow up on the mountain (technically we have a few mountains, but Mt. Hood is the alpha mountain).

Fall in Portland is really wonderful, and I feel like we only had like 3 weeks of it. Curse you, Obama! (It's his fault, right?)

Anyway, I've had Roddy on my mind ever since the Trashcan house party, so here he is with "Walk Out to Winter":

Song of the Day: "Boy"

Ra Ra Riot from their second full length album, The Orchard. I like these guys enough to have deleted random shit I was typing that wasn't about them but could have been misconstrued as a dis.

That much!

Song: "Boy"
Artist: Ra Ra Riot

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Notes on the Trashcan Sinatras house party (third and last)

It amused me enough to want to share that my general personality is one that, when I'm at a show, I function just fine on my own. I do less well interacting with other humans.

And the downside of the house party to me was that is was a party. Which is going to sound excessively harsh, because everyone I talked to was nice. But we were all kinda "on our good behavior" and certainly any one of them who meets me later might wonder what happened. And my philosophy on parties is "first in, first out." Also "never go to parties where you only know 1 person" (but that didn't apply, since I didn't know anyone).

My "favorite" part was that I got lost on my way (trying to avoid Hwy 26 traffic put me on Skyline Drive which is curvey and confusing) and was stressed. That plus 49 strangers filled me with a shitload of nervous energy, so the first half hour was me in the backyard, literally pacing, drinking a beer, and surfing on my phone. If this had been any normal music venue, you wouldn't have noticed me at all.

Did I mention that the host remembered everyone's name? How do people do that? (Maybe caring is the first step.)

Notes on the Trashcan Sinatras house party (second)

I love this house party idea, although I'm starting to wonder about the little business things that concert promoters clearly know (insurance and electricity, for example--where there concerns about either?).

But something tells me that social networks will get fans together to arrange their own concerts with musicians who aren't super-hot A-list artists. You'll never do this for Madonna or Melissa Ethridge (yet), but maybe Corey Hart or Toni Childs will take your call.

I think the part I need to figure out is finding a location that works for the artist and the crowd.

I'm sure the host's ability to pay the band up front (and to own the venue) helped lock them in, and folks who need to sell tickets first to pay the band will end up flaking out a lot of the time. So I don't want the lucky alignment of the stars that worked here make this seems easy.

I think artists needs to reach out to their fans with this idea as well. This works for bands that are still playing together (instead of trying to create a reunion--sorry Uncle Green), and solo artists, I guess. The less equipment, the better.

All things considered, I may try this format in an attempt to coax Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera) over to the states. Even if (sigh) I have to join Facebook to do it (ugh).

The unbearable whiteness of being

I enjoy, and regularly watch the show How I Met Your Mother. And I totally get that the sitcom world isn't a good representation of the real world. Especially New York City: giant apartments (and all of them IN Manhattan, no Brooklyn, let alone Staten Island or Hoboken, no sir), white collar jobs, and relatively polite people (seriously, WTF?). And all of them white.

Super white.

The 5 main actors on How I Met Your Mother are all white. 100%. One of them is Neal Patrick Harris (love him), so 110% white.

The narrator is Bob Saget. 140% white.
HIMYM "Subway Wars" screen cap--white people at a white people's bar

All of this, weirdly, I can understand and forgive. I mean, in its own way, the "white people exclusively knowing white people" thing is honest. So it's not like the producers would even want to put a racial or ethnic minority in the background there. And to be honest, I think there was someone off to the left (the camera pans left in this scene) who might have qualified had I waited 2 more seconds, so assume that there's an actual minority just outside any of my example screenshots, to be fair to them.
OMG, wait a minute, 2 black guys! In a single frame! It's like Where's Waldo!!!

But I just couldn't handle it any more when, in the episode where the 5 cast members are racing to see Woody Allen, we got to see the streets, buses and subways of Manhattan. And OMG are they all white!

Oh, but let me stop and show you this, the actual racial profile of Manhattan (per the pre-9/11 2000 Census, but I did look at CPS estimates that are more recent and this existing pie chart is close enough that I won't make my own, potentially offensive update [I probably would have used yellow for Asian and that might not have been smart])--image from here:
Demographic profile of Manhattan, 2000 US Census
If you don't know that Hispanic is an ethnicity and not a race, OMG turn off the internet and read a book.

Okay, so the context is that real Manhattan is 56% white (actually less so now), but many of those are also Hispanic. Compare the pie chart to this representation of a typical Manhattan subway:
HIMYM "Subway Wars"--typical NYC subway
As many Maury Poviches as there are blacks. Also, all but Maury are female, so perhaps someone is just using a casting couch. A really weak casting couch.
HIMYM "Subway Ways"--the bus to Melrose Place?
HIMYM "Subway Wars"--you can really taste the diversity
Here's what's sad: these extra roles should be an easy way to have a little diversity on super white shows like this. Unless the producers are worried that putting, I don't know, 5 black actors on that bus somehow suggests that all blacks ride the bus, there's no reason they couldn't have given them even token parts. I know token parts are bad, but they're not even doing that much... shit.

I'm not the "PC police" but you can watch 2 hours of sitcoms on CBS on Monday nights, shows set in New York, Chicago, and Malibu, and you will see 3 racial minorities represented as cast regulars: Adhir Kalyan on Rules of Engagement (he's of Indian descent but from South Africa, so maybe they think he's African American), and Reno Wilson and Nyambi Nyambi from Mike & Molly (which I never invested in, sorry Melissa McCarthy, sorry Swoosie).

For fuck's sake, the cleaning lady in the show set in California is white?! Really? I do love Conchata Ferrell, and have ever since she was a regular on L.A. Law, and I'm not trying to second guess all this casting (oh, yeah, maybe I am), but OMG really?

Are they so concerned about not showing a minority as a cleaning woman they don't cast one at all?

Television's most inclusive cast is from a show set at an Ohio high school (the demographics of that county are 71% white, by the way, so they are w-a-y overdoing it on Asians). It's great that those producers cast such a wide net and even depict a physically disabled character. It probably doesn't seem important, but if you're eager to see someone that looks like you on TV, it's actually a big deal.

And to the credit of the producers of How I Met Your Mother, check out this screenshot from near the end of the show--MLK Jr's dream has come true:
40% non-white actors in a single frame!!!!
Okay producers, try to suck a little less at something so stupidly obvious.

Happy Birthday B.D. Wong

I can't really characterize myself as a big B.D. Wong fan, since I've only seen 5 of his movies, haven't watched any of the TV series on which he's been a regular (not even All-American Girl, sorry Margaret Cho), and haven't seen him on Broadway (he won a Tony for M. Butterfly and was part of the ensemble of the 1999 revival of You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, as Linus to Kristin Chenoweth's Sally).

But the guy's got talent, and it's nice to show the world that George Takei isn't the only gay Asian in the world (there are actually 2). Oh, yeah, and he's really kinda handsome, which never hurts my selection process (sorry F. Murray Abraham, maybe next year).

Here's a poor quality video of the cast of YAGMCB on with Rosie O'Donnell:

From an episode of Oz that featured musical numbers in lieu of its traditional narrative format, here's Wong's character singing Tori Amos's "Leather":

I can't embed the clip of his performance with John Lithgow at the Tony Awards, but you can watch it here. Instead, here's Wong's take on "it gets better" (it does):

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Quarterlife Crisis"

Medford, Oregon-based band The Nautics may be doing themselves a disservice by calling themselves a surf/rock band. Zap the lyrics (we'll come back to that), and the shimmering guitars play nicely over some rock solid drum and bass on this song--this could easily be an early track from Echo and the Bunnymen or The Ocean Blue.

They've got the exuberance of youth and some solid chops, but the thing their music is begging for is an editorial ear for the song writing. A mentor to help trim and frame the lyrics, to find the right balance: a musical Tim Gunn. This might be the right producer for the next outing, or an opportunity to open a tour for someone more established who can spend a little quality time with them. Or they may just find it on their own.

There's a homecoming show in Medford on Friday, 10/29, at the Craterian Theater, which Leland tells me has a cool history, but I've already forgotten what it was. If you're in Southern Oregon, consider yourself alerted.

Post script: Of course Alanis Morissette didn't heed my musical advice (I'm sorry, but "and are you thinking of me when you're IN her" works better, it does--and I love the word "fuck") and she did just fine... for a while. So ignore these words and risk becoming a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum recording artist. Tim McGraw also ignores my advice, but I'm sure I'll get through eventually.

Song: "Quarterlife Crisis"
Artist: The Nautics