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Friday, June 29, 2007

EXCLUSIVE!!! EARLY TRANSFORMERS REVIEW


Let me state up front that I have absolutely never liked the Transformers because I always felt that they and others of the early-1980's wave of animated heroes such as He-Man and the G.I. Joe gang were toys whose TV shows served as nothing more than half hour commercials, to say nothing of the fact that the shows themselves were uniformly cheap-looking and, in my opinion, not worth the effort of turning on the TV set to watch. I was also of high school age when that ball got rolling, so I have no childhood memories or fondness that relate to any of them, unlike the target audience for the film, mostly a bunch of thirty-somethings for whom it holds the same resonance as stuff like SPEED RACER, THUNDERBIRDS, and ULTRAMAN hold for my forty-two-year-old ass. That said, the upcoming big-screen feature about the "robots in disguise" has been eagerly awaited by many despite the toxic presence of director/producer Michael Bay, the criminal mastermind behind ARMAGEDDON, PEARL HARBOR, and BAD BOYS II, all movies that made me want to stick my dick into an ocillating fan.

Anyway, one of my favorite people who frequents the barbecue joint, Big Mikey, just sent me the following early review, so if you are of a like mind then take his recommendation. If not, come and join Old Man Bunche and suck a lemon. Here's Mikey's two cent's worth:

Bunche, I just saw a prescreening of TRANSFORMERS and I humbly submit this unsolicited report of my viewing of said feature. There are plot details and possible spoilers. But you know I love ya Bunche. Perhaps our opinions will differ in the end as they seem to have been wont to do about film from time to time, but I had a great time at this flick and it was the mindless action flick I have been craving for some time!

- your portly brother in bear love,

Mikey

Let me dispense first with the minor details I have heard people bitching about:
A: Optimus Prime's voice is the same guy from the TV show- BADFUCKINGASS!
B: Yes Optimus Prime has lips, but during battle his traditional face shield is in place- BADFUCKINGASS!
C: Soundwave is not an iPod, but a boombox (more on this later).
D: yes, Prime does go samurai with his fricking sword- BADFUCKINGASS!
E: Yes, they kept the transforming noise-BADFUCKINGASS!

Okay, so “Spike” (I forget his name already, Pete or Pat or something) is the decendent of legendary arctic explorer Admiral Archibald Wicwicky (or something Polish). who makes a discovery in the arctic and goes nuts. Something is hacking the military networks. Spike gets his first car, a rusted out yellow Camaro (a "bitchin’ Camaro?" Anyone , anyone, Dead Milkmen??). Guess who that is. Spike also is the proud owner of a Chihuahua with a broken leg named Mojo, who requires a daily dose of painkillers (interestingly enough made mention of several times in the movie). Spike = dork. But cool dork. Like me. But better looking and obviously not a dork in real life cuz he’s a movie star. Spike wants hot girl. Hot girl is mechanically inclined, though this is not overused and clichéd out, just made mention of.
CUBE.
CUBE make WAR!
WAR FROM SPACE!
Well, not the cube, but Megatron with the cube’s power.
STUFF BLOWS UP!
BLOWS UP GOOD!!!!
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF STUFF BLOWING UP.
BIG ROBOTS BLOWING UP MORE STUFF.
George W. is an idiot who likes Ring-Dings.
Transformers are hard to hide in back yard without parents noticing.
John Turturo is an asshole from the Men in Black.

WARNING!!! SPOILERS!!! Skip a few lines.

Bumblebee pisses on Turturo-BADFUCKINGASS!
That’s all you need to know about the plot.

The last 45 minutes of the movie is army, Autobots and Decepticons destroying a city in awesome, ass shaking detail. Flaming cars flying everywhere, buildings being shattered, a jet plane flying through an office building and bringing all the desks and crap out the other side along with it. People screaming.

GIANT FRICKING ROBOTS!!!!!!!!

Soundwave (not actually mentioned by name as Soundwave) is the annoying fast-paced hacker alien, and he does transform into a boombox.

So I know you didn’t go to this movie based on a toy line and cartoon show expecting Cinema verite, straight from the well-plumbed depths of the arthouse’s butthole, so I can safely say that you will not be disappointed because the action, and CGI, and crap blowing all to hell is first rate and way beyond my expectations. The Transformers are well done, and my only real complaint about that type of issue is that Megatron does not actually transform into a gun, but he does form a huge gun out of his arms while fighting Optimus at one point, and he transforms into a spaceship/airplane thing. And he’s only in about 25 minutes of the actual movie. I like that. And also, Star Scream is a failure in this one too. Sweet.

Listen, get drunk on Red Bull and vodka, put up with the slight overuse of the shaky camera angles used mostly to hide the CGI (and mostly well done) and put you into the action, and go see this one ready to have a badass time, and get amped up, because even if the non-action scenes are a crappy afterthought it doesn’t matter. The rest of it is action like I’ve missed from the '80’s. And Optimus decapitates a giant fucking robot with his giant badass samurai sword… (the elipsis is here to let you soak in the absolute venerating grandeur of the previous statement) suck on that one whoever it was that cut the swearing out of DIE HARD 4.
-Big Mikey

Thursday, June 28, 2007

COMING SOON!

Last night, enjoying a birthday toast at the barbecue joint.

I'm stretching out this year's birthday celebrations for as long as possible and will recount the lunacy thereof when all is said and done, so look for a full report by Monday evening. The big pub shindig is on Saturday, so I'll take Sunday as a time of recovery and put off writing until I can once again see straight.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PIONEERS OF FILTH: LUCILLE BOGAN

Filth, thy name is Lucille Bogan.

There used to be an exceptional record store in lower Manhattan called Footlight Records, an establishment that catered predominantly to the showtunes crowd, but it also provided a vast cross section of musical genres on both LP and CD, and I filled in many gaps in my record collection thanks to their incomparable selection. But, in a textbook example of the continuing slow death of NYC, the rent on the place became too much to bear, so the mighty Footlight went the way of the dinosaurs about a year ago.

In the mid-1990's I visited the place in search of any compilation of old music that would offer a counterpoint to the wretched Queensryche that polluted the air of the Marvel Bullpen at the time, and discovered a CD entitled THE COPULATIN' BLUES COMPACT DISC-22 BLUES AND JAZZ CLASSICS. It featured twenty-two tracks of sleazy old 'ho-house tunes, most played on "pee-anny" and accompanied by febrile clarinet, and unless you paid attention to the under-the-influence singers' voices you would never notice that the tunes contained some of the filthiest lyrics imaginable, stuff that was way worse than what people got all bent out of shape about with the advent of rock 'n' roll and "Race" music. Subjects covered include adultery, homosexuality, on-the-couch molestation, prostitution, manual foreplay, nymphomania, and all that good shit, all unabashedly sung by sleazebags who make me proud to be Black; the few examples of similar material that I've heard performed by White country-western artists from roughly the same period pale in comparison (pun intended) next to the more earthy, raunchier mindset held by a people that the rest of the nation already hated anyway, so I guess Black artists felt they had nothing to lose, and such records were unlikely to be heard by most audiences comprised of Mister Charlie.

The whole collection merrily lets it all hang out, especially Jelly Roll Morton's rendition of "Winin' Boy," (sic) a sung he used to perform in houses of ill repute and self-admittedly didn't consider very smutty, despite lyrics such as "I fucked that bitch right there in the grass/then a snake ran up her big ass," and the stunning "I fucked her 'til her pussy stunk." If that shit isn't smutty, then what in God's name did this guy consider dirty?

But the track that really blew my mind was a "bolde ditty" by the name of "Shave 'Em Dry," written and sung by one Lucille Bogan, an outrageously obscene Chernobyl of filth recorded in 1935. There have been several recordings of the tune, but it's the unexpurgated version that blew my mind because it is not only about as dirty as a song from the period could get, the added bonus for me is that Bogan's vocals sound exactly like my late grandmother, Irene, a churchgoing piano teacher with a major devotion to "the Christ child." In fact, when I first heard "Shave 'Em Dry" I exclaimed, "Nana, no!!!"

Here's a brief bio of Miss Bogan, from redhotjazz.com:

LUCILLE BOGAN (1897-1948)

Hardcore might be the best way to describe the Blues singing of Lucille Bogan. While many of the Classic Blues singers of the 1920s tackled risqué and controversial issues in their songs, Bogan almost exclusively focused on explicit sexual themes, like prostitution, adultery and lesbianism, and social ills such as alcoholism, drug addiction and abusive relationships. She was born in Mississippi but grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1923 she made her first recordings in Atlanta, Georgia. The records apparently didn't sell well because she didn't record again until 1927 for the Paramount and Brunswick labels after moving to Chicago. Between 1933 and 1935 she performed and recorded under the pseudonym Bessie Jackson and worked with pianist Walter Roland. Bogan's recording career came to an end in 1935 and she eventually returned to Birmingham where she reverted to her real name and performed in and managed the group Bogan's Birmingham Busters but did not appear on either of the group's records. In the late 1930s or early l940s, Bogan moved to the West Coast. She died in Los Angeles in 1948 of coronary sclerosis.

That pretty much sums it up, so here are the lyrics to "Shave 'Em Dry," a song that I would love to see performed by Queen Latifah in a sleazy blues setting:

SHAVE 'EM DRY (unexpurgated version)

I got nipples on my titties big as the end of my thumb
I got somethin' between my legs'll make a dead man come

Oh daddy, baby won't you shave 'em dry?

Aside: Now, draw it out!

Want you to grind me baby, grind me until I cry.

(Roland: Uh, huh.)

Say I fucked all night, and all the night before baby
And I feel just like I wanna fuck some more!

Oh great God daddy!

(Roland: Say you gonna get it. You need it.)

Grind me honey and shave me dry!
And when you hear me holler baby, want you to shave it dry.

I got nipples on my titties big as the end of my thumb
Daddy you say that's the kind of 'em you want, and you can make 'em come

Oh, daddy shave me dry!

(Roland: She ain't gonna work for it.)

And I'll give you somethin' baby, swear it'll make you cry

I'm gon' turn back my mattress, and let you oil my springs
I want you to grind me, daddy, 'til the bell do ring

Oh daddy, want you to shave 'em dry!
Oh great God daddy, if you can't shave 'em baby won't you try?

Now if fuckin' was the thing that would take me to heaven,
I'd be fuckin' in the studio, till the clock strike eleven!

Oh daddy, daddy shave 'em dry!
I would fuck you baby, honey I'd make you cry!

Now your nuts hang down like a damn bell sapper
And your dick stands up like a steeple
Your goddam ass-hole stands open like a church door
And the crabs walks in like people!

Aside: Ow, shit!

(Roland: Aah, sure enough, shave 'em dry?)

Aside: Ooh! Baby, won't you shave 'em dry

A big sow gets fat from eatin' corn
And a pig gets fat from suckin'
Reason you see this whore, fat like I am
Great God, I got fat from fuckin'!

Aside: Eeeeh! Shave 'em dry

(Roland: Aah, shake it, don't break it)

My back is made of whalebone
And my cunt is made of brass
And my fuckin' is made for workin' men's two dollars
Great God, round to kiss my ass!

Aside: Oh! Whoo, daddy, shave 'em dry!

Eat your hearts out, Lennon and McCartney!

I MUST OWN THIS!!!

Let's have a shout-out to Gilson the Great for alerting me to this most ludicrous of novelty items. Yes, it's a HOKUTO NO KEN — that's FIST OF THE NORTH STAR to you — bottle opener that screams out Kenshiro's signature "Waa-Taah!!!" when you crack open a cold one! Now you can save the post-apocalyptic wasteland while getting your drink on. Brilliant!


Item Hokuto no Ken Bottle Opener [JPN Preorder]
Sega
Have you ever busted out a bicuspid because you used your teeth to pop the cap on a bottle of cola? Chomping on the jagged edge of a bottle cap is a dangerous proposition in the first place but wrenching it open with mouth strength can cause major damage. That's where the Hokuto no Ken bottle opener comes into play. Jam the clenched Hokuto fist on top of a bottle cap and let it do the hard work and save your teeth. You know, those teeth that you'll have to rely on for the rest of your life. Preorders ship in November 2007 at US$9.50 per fist.

THE ANSWER TO LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING: 42

Yours truly, approximately seven months old, 1966, before I was ruined by potables, pussy, and pot.

It's June 27th, 2007, and today I am forty-two years old.

Forty-Two, the number that is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, according to the late Douglas Adams, author of THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY and its subsequent volumes. Yet despite its status as a supposedly universal catch-all for any question posed, I still find myself with many, many unanswered queries at this stage of my existence. But then again, that may be the whole point of Forty-Two.

You see, in THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY there was this computer named Deep Thought that was created by a hyper-intelligent race of pan-dimensional beings to suss out the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, a task that took it some seven-and-a-half-million years to complete.

Production illustration of Deep Thought from the feature film adaptation.

When all was said and done, the answer turned out to be 42. That may all have been well and good, but such an answer is useless without a question, something that the programmers failed to take into account, so Deep Thought's creators were pretty much right back where they started: with bubkes. Since even Deep Thought had no clue as to what the Question might be, it offered to design an even more awesome computer, one comprised of biological components, called the Earth. So Deep Thought creates the Earth and thus begins a ten-million year calculation in quest of the Question, but five minutes before the calculation is completed the Earth is wiped out by an alien constructor fleet to make way for an interstellar traffic bypass. So, again, bubkes.

In my own case I, too, have come up with the existential equivalent of bubkes in so much as that I've yet to figure out exactly what the fuck I'm doing with my life. But I am taking the steps to forge a new standard of living and endeavour, by getting off my ass and letting the creativity flow unfettered, allowing myself to rediscover what a social life is, and actively chasing women again in earnest (I have my eye on one in particular...). It's all good, and other than the occasional lapse regarding the usual day-to-day bullshit that we all have no control over I've been doing pretty well.

And on that note, folks, since it's that time of year again, come on down to BUNCHE'S DIVE BAR BIRTHDAY BASH!!! It's gonna be held at Park Slope's legendary O'Connor's, an absolute dive if ever there was one, complete with dirt-cheap drinks, a decent jukebox, and easy train access for eight different subway lines, so whaddaya waiting for? Presents are not required — you being there is present enough — so come on down and help me celebrate another year of my excellence! The place is dank and dark, so keep an eye out for me in this shirt:

So here's the info:

WHERE: O'CONNOR’S
39 5TH Avenue in Brooklyn
(between DEAN STREET and BERGEN STREET)
(718) 783-9721

WHEN: Saturday, June 30th
8:00 PM - ???

TRAIN DIRECTIONS:
Take the 2, 3, 4, 5, D, N, R, or Q trains to ATLANTIC AVENUE/PACIFIC STREET. When you are above ground you should be on 4th Avenue, so look around until you see a clock tower with the clock obscured by construction netting; if you see that tower, face in the opposite direction and walk up 4th Avenue until you reach DEAN STREET and hang a left. Walk over by one avenue and you’ll be on 5TH AVENUE. O’Connor’s is right there, across the street from a restaurant called EL VIEJO YAYO. The place looks like a no-frills bunker, and it pretty much is.

Yours truly during the Great Tequila Drought of 2006.

I hope to see you there, and Happy Birthday to me! I just wish JWP was here...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE: "Yippee-Kai-Yay, Mister Falcon"-LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD GETS A PG-13 RATING?!!?

When I first heard that another DIE HARD movie was coming out, I greeted that bit of news with apathy. Let's face it: the first DIE HARD set a gold standard for what we consider "action movies" and is deservedly considered a classic, and I actually liked the first sequel better than the original, but then the third one came out and it sucked a royal hemorrhoid. So why make yet another one, twelve years later? And to add insult to injury the fucking thing's rated PG-13!!! WHY?!!!?

I don't know about you, but if I'm gonna pay good money to see a DIE HARD movie I had goddamned well better get all the graphic violence and Jersey Boy cussing that John McClane provides with his singular eloquence, so when I hear about this PG-13 horseshit I just get apoplectic. McClane without the full-bodied "Yippee-Kai-Yay, motherfucker!" is like Luke Skywalker getting into a lightsaber battle with nothing in his hands but his dick (although that would still be more entertaining than the last three STAR WARS flicks). I guess they're shooting for a bigger audience by lowering the age restriction, but at what cost? Even the ads plastered to the sides of buses here in the good old Rotten Apple feature a shot of bald-as-a-wall Bruce Willis next to four-foot high letters that read "Yippe-Kai-Yay, Mo" at which point the catch phrase is cut off at the front of the vehicle. The very idea is laughable. Protecting New Yorkers, some of the most creatively profane people in the known universe, from the word "motherfucker?" What the fuck is that about? "Fuck" is a word used with such frequency here in NYC, even by kids, that it might as well be the word "the." There's even a well-known floating party circuit actually called "Motherfucker" and it's openly advertised as such, for fuck's sake!

My buddy Chris gets a big kick out of watching the edited-for-television versions of ludicrously violent and profane films like SCARFACE in order to laugh his ass off at the idiotic re-looping of bad language into phrases that no one would ever utter, and a while back he told me that when the original DIE HARD got the TV treatment they redubbed "Yippee-Kai-Yay, motherfucker" into "Yippee-Kai-Yay, Mister Falcon," a permutation that actually manages to outdo the bit in the cleaned-up version of USED CARS where Gerritt Graham's frequent shouts of "Jesus Christ!" became "Cheese and rice!"

So if the DIE HARD gang knew from the get-go that they were gonna pussy out to such a degree for the latest installment, they should have just named the sumbitch YIPPE-KAI-YAY, MISTER FALCON: DIE HARDLY INTERESTED and been done with it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

SABRE-TOOTH (1966)

This second novel in the series is a great step up from the rather routine MODESTY BLAISE (1965), which is not a bad book in and of itself but it can't help but pale in comparison to the subsequent stories that reveal O'Donnell to be a master of both characterization and page-turning suspense.

SABRE-TOOTH has to do with a Mongolian military megalomaniac (Ooh! Alliteration!) who is assembling and training an army of mercenaries with the goal of seizing oil-rich Kuwait (can you say "eerily prescient?"), but he needs two utterly badassed commanders to lead his men. Aware of Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin as ideal choices for the role, and equally cognisant of their retirement from professional ass-whuppin' and criminal activity, the blackguard kidnaps a child dear to our heroes and uses her as leverage to ensure their cooperation. Thus pressed into service, Modesty and Willie must figure out how to survive leading an army of cutthroats, rescue their young charge, defeat the hand-to-hand skills of "the Twins," stop the invasion of Kuwait, and somehow escape from an absolutely escape-proof training ground.

This one's as serious as a heart attack, and there's even a sequence in which Modesty endures...Well, let's just say that I had to put the book down for a while before I could continue reading what she was going through, an experience that made me respect her mental and physical skills all the more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR "IMMODESTY BLAIZE!!!"

I love me some Modesty Blaise. I also love me some burlesque dancers. So imagine my elation when Red Stapler pointed me toward a combination of "two great tastes that go great together" the likes of which hasn't been seen since chocolate collided with peanut butter. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Immodesty Blaize, winner of this year's Miss Exotic world title:


Hachi machi! And here's the amazing Miss Blaize a bit less chastely clad:


Yep, nuthin' wrong with this at all. I just love that she's British, so her nom de burlesque was most likely a knowing homage from a gal who grew up with the daily comic strip, and hopefully the even better novels as well.
And for more info on this ecdysiastical goddess, we go to the kind folks at PRICK Magazine for this profile:


All hail the queen! Immodesty Blaize reigns over London, England as the undisputed queen of British burlesque. Although she spent most of her life as a Londoner, her ethnic heritage is mixed European with a little Mediterranean, Eastern, and a drop of Irish. An absolute professional, Blaize has preformed her trademark elaborate and opulent shows for clients such as Dior and Cartier – not to mention across Hollywood, Vegas, NYC, Cannes, and back again. Needless to say, this lady is true-blooded British burlesque royalty.


"Gaw-DAMN!!!" sayeth the Bunche.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER...OR HOLLYWOOD COCKSUCKER?-SURF'S UP (2007)


Following fast on the heels of the sickeningly treacly HAPPY FEET (2006, and inexcusably directed by the guy guy who gave us MAD MAX and THE ROAD WARRIOR) comes SURF'S UP, the latest feature catering to the public's apparent obsession with penguin movies. But unlike the others, SURF'S UP succeeds on a variety of levels and is a lot of fun because of that.

The film's clever framing sevice is that we're watching a documentary chronicling the Cinderella-story odyssey of a young misfit surfer from an Antarctic fishing community who wrangles his way into the big surfing competition on Pen Gu Island (think of it as a cross between Hawaii and New Zealand)and after a savage pre-contest wipeout learns several important life lessons from a legendary surfer hwo has been assumed dead for the past decade (the competition is being held in his honor). During the course of the story we see interviews with the hero's family, neighbors and other assorted characters intercut with the more linear main narrative, and in about five minutes I completely forgot that I was watching a CGI cartoon about surfing penguins (and other poultry); each character is quite well realized and interesting in their own right, and the main lesson that winning is insignificant when measured against friendship and the sheer joy of doing whatever it is that turns you on rings true rather than sappy.

Hero penguin Cody Maverick (oy, that name!) is a plucky protagonist who is perhaps too focused on taking the competition's prize, and his monomania about it blinds him to all else around, including the incredible beauty of the island, the friendship of stoned-beyond-belief Chicken Joe, and requisite gorgeous lifeguard Lani (and her silent Humboldt squid floatation device). Embarrassed and licking his wounds after his earlier wipeout disgrace (against the hulking world-champion surfer asshole/bully, no less), Cody meets the Geek, a portly recluse hiding out in the deep jungle who proves to be Big Z (Jeff Bridges, pretty much reprising his role from THE BIG LEBOWSKI), the allegedly dead master surfer who faked his own death upon realizing that the time of blissed-out wave-riders like himself was passing, and that the era of the all-for-money-glory-and-endorsements surfer had dawned. Having found the Master Po to his Grasshopper, Cody sits at the feet of Big Z and basks in his knowledge and skills, impatient at first, but soon learning the zen of the surfer from a shredder whose effortless style is boddhisatva-like; there's a beautiful touch when, after explaining the perfect wonder of where one's consciousness can go when shooting the tube, Biz Z rockets out of a colossal pipeline, turns his body around one-hundred and eighty degrees around on his board , and bows in reverence, hands steepled together, to the awesome majesty of the wave.

During their time together, Cody and Big Z bond and their relationship yields benefits that neither could have foreseen; moved by Cody's zeal and hero-worship, Big Z leaves his self-imposed exile and rediscovers his place upon the water, both as an inspiration to others and as a mentor, while Cody learns to have fun and discovers a father figure in Big Z, an ideal replacement for his biological sire who ended up as a snack for a Killer Whale. Cody also grows closer to Lani the lifeguard - who is also Big Z's niece - but as the competition looms Cody's new enlightentment wars with his desire for glory, and it's a toss-up to see which will triumph in the end.

SURF'S UP has much to recommend, but here are the things to note in case you need a more concise guide before seeing it:

- The CGI animation is seemless to the point of completely placing the viewer firmly within its digital reality. Seriously, the shit looks real. Every image and location is a feast for the eyes, so I urge you to see it on the big screen before it loses much of its visual punch thanks to the inevitable loss of scope and scale when seen at home on DVD or cable, although huge plasma screen TV's may eliminate some of that problem.

- Jeff Bridges steals the movie as Biz Z, and it's a joy to watch a corpulent penguin ride the waves with a totally believable, near-mystical grace.

- John Heder (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) as the voice of Chicken Joe turns in the most obviously stoned character ever to be seen in a "family" film, a turn that will go right over the heads of the little ones and cause parents to knowingly giggle to themselves.

- And while we're on the subject, SURF'S UP is an ideal smoke-a-blunt movie thanks to its leisurely pace (which may bore the kids), mellow surfer vibe, and eye candy visuals, so if you feel inclined, smoke 'em if ya got 'em!

- Though marketed as a family film, SURF'S UP is really geared to a grownup sensibility, and the proceedings may not have enough belly laughs or fast-paced silliness to keep the tykes interested, especially once the penguin angle becomes a moot point and the viewer accepts the protagonists as characters and not merely cute, anthropomorphized flightless marine fowl. It's perfectly suitable for all ages, but the under-tens may find it hard to stay quiet or sit still for what is mostly a character study, so keep that in mind.

Bottom line: the first film I've genuinely enjoyed this summer, I recommend SURF'S UP, and will definitely buy it when it comes out on DVD so I can enjoy repeat viewings with a hookah full of tasty buds at the ready. Definitely NOT a cocksucker, so TRUST YER BUNCHE!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

FOLK STYLINGS OF THE LYCANTHROPIC


Does anyone out there know how I can get my hands on this LP? I mean, how can my life go on without a live recording of folk music from 1964 performed by an actual werewolf?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

PILLOW BITERS THIS SATURDAY!!!


Fuckin'-A, how I love the arts!

My pal Kate has informed me that this coming Saurday night she's hosting one of the burlesque shows for which she's notorious, and having seen many of her live performances I gotta tell ya that she's a total fucking riot, as are the talented ladies she associates with. The show's info can be found below:

PILLOW BITERS!!!

Join Kate and her revolving cast of weekly guests for a night of hilarity!

Featuring Kate Rigg, Bradford Scobie, Laura Sweeney, Dynasty Handbag, The World Famous BOB, and Sharon Needles!

LAFFS! Music! Dancing! And…More Laffs!

Every other Saturday beginning June 23rd, 2007 @ Joe’s Pub 11: 30 p.m.
Tickets $15.00

Next shows: July 7th, July 21st & August 4th

www.myspace.com/pillowbitershow
www.joespub.com

So don't just sit there beatin' yer meat with yer greasy grand-pappy over the lady's redheaded goddess-hood; get off yer ass and check out the show!
TRUST YER BUNCHE!!!

COMING SOON!


Back in 1975 when I was an impressionable lad of ten, I sat down to watch TV and was stunned by a commercial for a new Western movie featuring a Black sheriff blasting the living shit out of scores of the melanin-deficient. This was the height of the blaxploitation era, so such a trailer was no surprise, but what made my jaw hit the ground was the jingle accompanying it; a semi-funky bit of wakka-jawakka guitar riffed away while a deep, soulful voice sang, "They call him Boss...Boss Nigger!!!" at which point the title BOSS NIGGER was emblazoned across the TV screen, followed by a funkified brutha's voice proclaiming, "BOSS NIGGER! Rated R!" He said that shit with such vehemence that I almost expected him to get away with adding "Muthafukka!!!" at the end of the ad.

My mother and I sat there, gobsmacked, and then my mom unconsciously imitated her father's oft-used expression of acceptance after the initial incredulity: "Mmph, mmph, MMPH. If you live long enough, you'll see anything!"

NOTE: you can see a slightly longer version of the very same ad I saw back in the days at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTIklFsMjjU

From all that I've heard since, BOSS NIGGER is pretty much the same plot as BLAZING SADDLES only it's not supposed to be funny, and THAT is a movie I'd want to see! But despite my long history of seeking out and viewing such noble cinematic expressions of the Black experience from the time, works such as DR. BLACK & MISTER HYDE, THE BLACK GESTAPO, MONKEY HUSTLE, and other like classics, BOSS NIGGER has eluded me for over three decades.

Until now.

I found BOSS NIGGER on eBay this afternoon, from a questionable source and for a dirt-cheap price, so what the hell? When I receieve it I will review it as soon as possible, because I know you're as breathlessly excited about this one as I am.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'VE GOT THE HORN!!!

Everything created/under earth and sky
Wants to be mated/it must couple or must die
-Devo


Lately, everywhere I go I'm visually assaulted with beautiful women happily walking about town, enjoying the warm weather and the sporting the skimpy outfits and acres of nubile flesh that goes with that. Mouthwatering curves fill my field of vision, the world around me becoming an endless sea of juddering breasts and swaying bums, each surmounted with a laughing, smiling face that promises sweetness and tender pleasures, agitating my loneliest, darkest, most primal places in the worst of ways.

Everything I see inspires lewd thoughts, even something as seemingly innocent as a gumball machine.

My civilized mind reels and my senses flare to the point of torturous agony.

I can't help myself.

I must give in to that primal beast.

Yes, there's no doubt about it.

I've got the Horn.

I am a rapacious, slavering beast. I want to tear chunks of raw, bloody meat from sides of beef with my teeth and taste its coppery tang upon my palate, fueling myself as I lope out on the prowl in search of a She.

Oh, yes. A She.

When I find me that She, I sniff about her quivering form, my nose brazenly nuzzling into her most intimate places and savoring her intoxicating bouquet. My clever paws search about her body and revel in her flesh's welcoming responses, the turgid nipples and humid wetness of her female center erasing any mote of propriety within me. Overcome with raw, animal need, I throw She over my shoulder and haul her back to my waiting lair, her anxious body clinging to mine in anticipation of giving herself over to this wild thing that I have become.

But just as She lays upon the furs, arms open in greeting, her warm thighs wantonly splayed and a besotted smile playing upon her lips, I return to the all-too-solitary reality that I have known for far too many months.

No soft, supple curves to touch.

No warm, wet girlstuff to taste.

No She.

God DAMN, I need to get laid.

HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER…OR HOLLYWOOD COCKSUCKER?-FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER (2007)


Nothing galls me more than when Hollywood filmmakers take source material that was kickass to begin with and apply the mentality of, "I can make this better because I'm in Hollywood," and, that said, I am deeply galled by FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER. I'll get to my litany of complaints shortly, but first a little background for those of you who have never read a Fantastic Four comic book, especially one from the fertile period that spawned this film's source material.


First published in 1961, FANTASTIC FOUR was the series that ushered in what would become known as "the Marvel Age" of American comics history, a refreshing change of pace away from the somewhat-stolid archetypes that the genre was founded uopn. The Fantastic Four were a quartet of neurotic New Yorkers whose superpowers enabled them to save the world on an almost daily basis, that is when they weren't fighting amongst themselves. Their recognizable flaws made them easy to identify with, superhero avatars for the everyday person, and they very quickly assumed the role of an anti-team team of good guys who weren't even superheroes by definition; what the FF were was a family first, and a team of metahumanly-gifted scientific explorers second. Saving the world was usually just something that fell into their laps because, let's face it, other than relying on their own unique skill sets, these four were each a mess in different ways, the family unit equivalent of watching two monkeys trying to fuck a football, a state of confusion compounded by adding two more monkeys to the equation.

While Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Girl (later the Invisible Woman), the Human Torch and the Thing handled the ever-escalating threats and intrigues posed by the likes of the Red Ghost, the Sub-Mariner, the Hulk, the Frightful Four (including the regrettably-monikered Paste-Pot Pete), the Impossible Man, the Inhumans, and of course, Doctor Doom, we got to know them as individuals, both for better and for worse, and we learned to care about them.

Then came the day they met God.






The Galactus Trilogy covers (1966)

After pitting the FF against just about every kind of threat they could come up with (and then some), creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby figured their dysfunctional super-family could take on just about anything and win, so what was left? That stumbling point was solved by the introduction of Galactus, a nigh-omnipotent, gigantic cosmic being who survived by absorbing the life-energies of entire worlds, and his visually-spectacular herald, the Silver Surfer, another vastly-powerful extra-terrestrial whose role was to find planets for his master to consume.


Galactus is the big guy with the purple helmet and cool "G" breastplate.

But where Galactus was a cosmic force of nature personified, the Surfer was a tragic slave whose long-forgotten humanity resurfaced after plummeting through the skylight the Thing’s blind girlfriend’s apartment.


Alicia pleading with the Surfer.

With Galactus’ arrival imminent, all manner of unnatural hell breaking loose in the environment, and the Fantastic Four facing a disaster that they haven’t a hope of overcoming, the blind sculptress gets through to the chromed-up alien and awakens in him the realization that all life is precious, a notion that enables him to turn on his master and buy the FF the time necessary to receive help from the Watcher, another cosmic entity, but one who the Fantastic Four befriended years earlier. When all is said and done, Galactus agrees to leave the Earth alone forever, but he also strips the Silver Surfer of his trans-galactic travel abilities, vindictively stranding him on our violent, intolerant world.

For a mere comic book, a trifle aimed at kids and enjoyed by adults as well, that’s some pretty epic shit, and it kick-started the “cosmic” genre, a story form that would become Marvel’s stock-in-trade with such yarns as the Kree-Skrull War, the Thanos Saga, Adam Warlock Vs.The Universal Church of Truth, the Dark Phoenix Saga, and many others. But it was the Galactus Trilogy that was the first, and, in many ways, the best, a true watermark in the grand superhero myth.

Which brings me to the movie version.

I did not enjoy the FANTASTIC FOUR (2005), a half-baked attempt to expand the Marvel Comics movie stable in the wake of the success of the first two SPIDER-MAN films, and went into the sequel expecting absolutely nothing, although it had to be a step up from the first film. But while the FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is an improvement over the first film, don’t forget that a gilded turd is still a turd, and the few improvements are rendered utterly moot by a number of sour notes that sink the cosmic opera like it was the goddamned Bismark.

The new film finds Reed Richards and Sue Storm about to tie the knot, but that plan gets the kibosh when Reed is more or less press-ganged/guilted into working for the military in tracking an incredibly fast UFO that causes strange environmental phenomena wherever it goes. By this point you pretty much know the rest thanks to the earlier recap of the original comics, but the film removes nearly all of the elements that made the story a classic, leaving little more than the Silver Surfer standing when the smoke clears.

I could go on for days about why I hated this film, but I’ll spare you that rant and break it down to concise points, both pro and con.

THE CONS

There are many, especially if you’re already a fan, so I’ll just hit the major ones:

IT’S A KIDDIE FILM. This film is aimed squarely at the little ones, and that artistic choice robs the story of all dramatic impact. The first two SPIDER-MAN films are a prime example of films that both kids and adults can enjoy, and the filmmakers would have been wise to take ther lead, but such was not the case.

DOCTOR DOOM RETURNS, AND SUCKS EVEN WORSE THIS TIME AROUND. Doctor Doom was handled incredibly poorly last time around, and his treatment somehow manaaged to degenerate even further. The guy playing him is a total non-entity, a complete void of presence that sucks all life from the movie whenever he's onscreen. There's none of Doom's personality evident at any point of the film, and if this guy's supposed to be the monarch of the European country Latveria, why does he sound like he just stepped off the Metro North commuter express from Fairfield? Even more annoying is when Doom manages to remove his trademark mask and wanders about looking just like the Emperor from the STAR WARS flicks (although, let's face it, Darth Vader owes a lot to Doctor Doom, so I guess turnabout is fair play). Seriously, Doom is a big fucking zero in this film, and isn't even worth notice after he robs the Surfer of his powers and starts hanging ten in the sky over Siberia (don't ask).

ALL OF THE FF SUCK, AND ARE MERELY CRIB NOTES VERSIONS OF THE CHARACTERS. Little of the rich characterization that made the FF classic characters is found here, the actors' performances coming off like the poor schlubs who are paid to don costumes and serve as whatever hero is needed for shopping mall appearances.

THE WEDDING OF SUE AND REED ADDS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO THE STORY. There's much made of the tension between Sue and Reed as their wedding looms since he's totally absorbed in his research, and she wants a fairy tale wedding. I don't know about you, but considering that the entire planet is about to be rendered lifeless by an approaching whatchamawhoozits, their personal issues are totally insignificant, so not only do the viewers not give a flying fuck about that bullshit, Sue and Reed come off like a pair of utterly self-absorbed shitheads.

DISCO REED RICHARDS. Following hot on the heels of SPIDER-MAN 3's execrable dance sequence, this film gives us a painful bit taking place during Reed's bachelor party — an event that the character would never have allowed to happen, as it would cut into his research time and he has no friends other than his teammates — in which we see Reed get his freak on and dance with a bunch of hot club bunnies, using his elastic body to dazzle onlookers and perform "cool" moves. I was appalled.

STUPID BITS INVOLVING SPEED AND TIME. When the Surfer shows up in NYC, Johnny takes of in hot pursuit (sorry), and in no time the two of them are in Washington, D.C., a distance I can totally buy the Surfer traversing in seconds, but not Johnny. And when the FF need a ride out of Siberia, Reed summons the Fantasticar, which makes the journey from Manhattan in about five minutes. Five minutes? From New York to fucking Siberia?

THE THING STILL LOOKS LIKE A HUGE, HIGH-FIBER SHIT IN SWEAT PANTS. Considering the incredible things tht CGI has wrought in the past decade alone, to say nothing of what the top-level effects makeup artisans are capable of, there is absolutely no excuse for the Thing makeup. He looks like a "rear admiral," one of those super-solid doodys that stands up and salutes as it swirls down the bowl, and it's impossible for a turd to look heroic. Imposing in its sheer fecal horror, yes, but heroic? No fucking way. Ben should look like the bottom of a dried riverbed, and while humanoid, his proportions are distincly non-human, and one eye is considerably larger than the other, a disconcerting image if ever there was one. The guy's a fucking monster, people, and he's supposed to be both hideous and frightening. The tragedy is that a beautiful soul exists trapped within that horrible body, and the version in the film is downright cuddly. Just what the world needs, a cuddly doo-doo man...

ANNOYING AND OBVIOUS PRODUCT PLACEMENT. There are numerous sightings of the Dos Equiis beer logo, and we find out that the fantasticar is a Dodge, complete with the "ram tough" logo embossed onto the seats.

JOHNNY STEALS HIS SCHTICK FROM BOOSTER GOLD. Johnny is portrayed as an avaricous douche who thinks it would be a good idea for the FF to wear corporate logos on their uniforms and do endorsement deals for some extra scratch, exactly the kind of moves pulled by DC Comics hero Booster Gold. And while Johnny was always an attention-seeking dick, this was out of character.

WHAT WAS DONE TO GALACTUS SHOULD BE PUNISHABLE BY FEDERAL LAW. Galactus is a cosmic giant and a sentient being, so although he's sort of a force of nature he's also totally aware of his actions. The problem is that he doesn't give a fuck about the "lesser" life forms he wipes out, much like a blue whale doesn't stop for a second to consider the tiny organisms that filter through its baleen. The filmmakers have transformed Galactus on an enormous cloud — yes, you read that right — with no sentience, so while a natural disaster like a tsunami or a volcanic eruption may be scary, robbing Galactus of a face and voice renders the threat void of awesomeness and personality. I've read that the effects people claimed that there was simply no way to make a giant man look beliveable, but that's a load of motherfucking horseshit, and to those effects men I say the following two words: TIME BANDITS. Oh, and a very firm "FUCK YOU!!!" to whoever it was who made this "creative" decision.

And the few good points:

THEY NAILED THE SURFER. I never cared fr the Silver Surfer past his intitial appearance — a story in which he actually served a purpose instead of being a whiny pussy-boy — but at least he was done the justice that his master was denied. Visually interesting, sleek, and voiced by Laurence Fishburn, he's pretty damned cool.

JOHNNY DOES A “SUPER-SKRULL.” An idiotic plot twist that allows Johnny to switch powers with any other member of the FF if he touches them is put to good use when he absorbs all of their powers to take on the now cosmically-empowered Doctor Doom (even though it was clearly established that he would switch powers with someone else, rather than absorb said powers and still keep his flame abilities, but since no one appears to have edited the script why nit-pick?). Armed with all the powers of the Fantastic Four, Johnny becomes a stand-in for the Super-Skrull, a shape-shifting alien warrior who has gone toe-to-toe with not only the FF but Thor as well; Super-Skrull is a badassed motherfucker if ever there was one, and the ass-kicking that Johnny hands to Doom is worthy of the big, green mofo.

BEST STAN LEE CAMEO EVER. Stan Lee, co-creator of the FF, shows up in a tux for the wedding of Sue and Reed, and when asked by the usher who he is he replies, "Oh, I'm Stan Lee. I'm on the list." The usher looks at him with disdain, says, "Nice try, buddy," and kicks him out on his ass. Priceless.

JESSICA ALBA IN HER FF JUMPSUIT. I know that Sue Storm is supposed to be the textbook example of a White chick, but Jessica Alba is very easy on the eyes, even in that terrible blonde wig. At last you can put that fake popcorn butter to good use, if ya know what I mean...

So the bottom line on FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is that if it were any more of a flat-out cocksucker, there would be a great big, hairy pair of balls bouncing off the film's theoretical chin. And if you don't believe me, check out James Belardinelli's scathing review at http://www.reelviews.net/movies/f/fantastic_four2.html for some vitriol that makes my opinion look like a puff piece.

Oh, and special mention should also be made of the trailer for UNDERDOG, the latest TV-to-film adaptation, the trailer for which makes it look like it could be the worst movie ever made. Track it down online and be prepared to know the true meaning of despair.


Galactus eats the Skrull homeworld, a classic moment from John Byrne's 1980's FF run. If only he'd stopped off in Hollywood...

Monday, June 18, 2007

WEEKEND ADVENTURES: BLOWFLY (and other miscreants)-LIVE AT CLUB EUROPA

Last night, my buddy Chris and I made our way to Brooklyn's remote Greenpoint section to see the immortal Blowfly live in concert, and it proved to be rather an unimpressive event.

You may remember a few days ago that I’d heard about BLOWFLY’S PUNK ROCK PARTY, an album where Blowfly, one of the dirtiest “singers” in the history of Western civilization, applied his particular parodic talents to a selection of punk rock/new wave classics, thereby making it a must-have for the tasteless/offensive section of my music collection.

I found a copy of the CD at the Virgin Megastore on Times Square — after being told in no uncertain terms by their customer service representative that it was not in stock, I might add — and took it home to give it a spin.

BLOWFLY’S PUNK ROCK PARTY, like the majority of his twenty-three (!!!) albums, is a very mixed bag, but let me tell you straight up that some of the tracks had me laughing my ass off. The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” devolves into “Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho?” with predictably vulgar and puerile results, and while it’s funny enough as a Clash spoof what really sends it over the top is a bit where for no apparent reason the song’s point of view is commandeered by an “Aaar, me hearties” pirate (?) who proceeds to describe the corpulent object of his desire as being akin to Moby Dick, but he wants to take her back to cabin regardless and “clog her blowhole with me fuck-pole! Aaaar!!!”

The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” becomes “I Wanna Be Fellated” (a title I’m kicking myself for not coming up with twenty-eight years ago), in which Blowfly bemoans his urgent need to find a “ho” who charges “twenty twenty twenty twenty dollars a blow” since his wife won’t help him out. Antiseen’s “Destructo Rock” of course morphs into “Destructo Cock” (a title that greatly appeals to the eleven-year-old in me), “Stuck in the Middle” by Rocket From the Crypt ends up as “Fucked With a Dildo” (in which Blowfly relates his first experience with being “pegged,” the song concluding with him cheerily stating, “And I liked it!”), my beloved Devo’s “Whipit” gets the treatment as “Suck It” — although I would have bet money on the opening “Cuh-rack that whip!” line getting rewritten as the obvious “Suck my dick!” or "My big fat prick!" Blowfly instead surprises with the infinitely more subtle “Grab my dick!” — and so it goes for twenty-five tracks, six of which are radio-friendly versions (why?).

Also of note is Blowfly’s take on Generation X’s “Dancing With Myself,” which becomes — you guessed it! — “Playing With Myself;” there’s just something hilarious about an old black man in a masked supervillain outfit sunnily singing about jerking off like a monkey at the zoo, complete with his horrible voice mimicking Billy Idol’s “Oh oh oh oh” during the chorus. Guaranteed to bring a smile to even the most dour of countenances, this fairly cries out for a video. Although where such a questionable short could be aired without the FCC taking immediate action is open to debate…

But the hands-down funniest thing on the record is “V.D. Party,” a remake of Black Flag’s landmark “TV Party” (1981), in which Blowfly and a gang of merry, drunken louts happily brag about their lifestyle of going out and fucking like maniacs, sans prophylactics, because “We’ve got nothin’ better to do/than spread V.D. and have a couple of brews.” These sick fucks actually enjoy their menagerie of venereal afflictions and just can’t wait to share them with the world — and a number of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and J-Lo, who receive shout-outs — a noble quest brought to an abrupt end when the doctor slips them some Prozac, a state of affairs that they pathetically whine about. Without question, “V.D. Party” is one of the most irresponsible songs of all time, right up there with GG Allin's "Expose Yourself To Kids" and the timelessly evocative "I Wanna Rape You," but it’s so infectious (pun intended) that there’s simply no way it can be taken seriously.

Bottom line on BLOWFLY’S PUNK ROCK PARTY: definitely worth adding to your collection if you’re a Blowfly fan, it’s an intriguing departure from his usual funk/soul/R & B/disco leanings, and the sound of his old-assed voice laying ruin to some of the classics of my misspent youth made my day. Far from a perfect storm of filthiness, this is nonetheless a valiant effort and should be given to every twelve-year-old whose parents you hate.

After I posted the piece on the album’s existence, my buddy Mark G. emailed me to inform me that Blowfly was playing in Greenpoint on Sunday night, which I shouldn’t have been surprised by since he played in my neighborhood on Friday under his real name, Clarence Reid, as part of a tour of old school R & B/soul legends. That show didn’t interest me, but an opportunity to see the master get his punk on was too tempting to miss, even though I had to be up early for work the next morning, so I called my buddy and fellow Blowfly fan Chris and we hauled ass to Club Europa.

After a disastrous attempt to follow directions to the place obtained from the club’s website, we ended up in the ultra-boring realm that is Greenpoint, a largely Polish and Ukrainian nabe that is being overrun by trendy, hipster douchebags who inevitably fuck up every neighborhood that they infest (I should know; the shit’s been happening to Park Slope for the past eight years, and I am exempt from such criticism because I am so obviously excellent in every way). The place was so desolate that it could have passed for a location from THE OMEGA MAN, the few locals on the street standing in for the film’s vampires/zombies.

Upon arriving at the club, Chris and I were annoyed to find that the information regarding the show on the club’s website was wrong; the tickets were slightly more expensive than advertised (though still cheap), and the doors to the club’s performance area opened at least an hour-and-a-half later than stated, so Chris and I killed the time by hanging out in the joint’s street-level bar.

Yours Truly, in the Club Europa men's room.

By the time that we were allowed upstairs, there were perhaps twenty people in attendance, excluding Chris and myself, and after a few more beers the opening acts came on.

First up was “Despot” — nee Alex Reinstein from Queens — a diminutive White rapper whom both Chris and myself were completely disenchanted with, his every gesture and vocalization being every bit as wretched as MARRIED…WITH CHILDREN’s Bud Bundy during his “Grandmaster B” period, only this guy wasn’t supposed to be funny.

The saddest part of this was that the guy not only proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Eminem has nothing to be concerned about, but the only people on the dance floor during his seemingly-interminable set were a group of about ten people whom I think may have been friends and former schoolmates. It reminded me of seeing little kids playing “Rock Star” for one another, each taking turns at doing the rock schtick to music blasting from a nearby boom box, especially during the so-bad-it's-good "Puppet On A String." Strictly amateur hour, I was glad my pal and rap-expert Senter was not present to witness this talent-free mess because he would have beaten the guy about the face and neck with a beer bottle, simply on general principle. And while I’m all for cultural exchange and have accepted that White American culture has co-opted the living shit out of Black forms of just about every goddamned thing under the sun, I herewith proclaim that White people are forbidden to use the phrase “Keep your eyes on the prize,” especially when employed in weak-assed raps like the ones witnessed here.

Next up came a DJ named Mista Rare Groove, and he worked the wheels of steel to great effect, setting the pre-Blowfly mood with skillfully mixed funk and soul classics.

The guy was really good and I was dismayed to see him crafting his sounds for an assemblage of what was by that point about fifteen people on the dance floor, the most disturbing of whom was a thirty-something White chick who had absolutely no concept of rhythm or how to move her body to the beat. Beer clenched in hand like a scepter proclaiming her rule over bad dancers everywhere, she was an embarrassing sight to behold, causing most of the spectators and the few Black folks present to either shake their heads in sorrow or turn away out of common decency.

Then Rare Groove was joined on stage by some guy who went by “Blueprint,” apparently a rapper of some (very) small fame. Blue print wandered to the platform, with a rocks glass in one hand and a beer in the other, and sat on the steps, occasionally sipping his drinks. He’d sporadically interject pointless bits of commentary during Groove’s set, the only amusing bit of which was his assessment of the sorry breakdancing moves pulled by some White stoner; after the stoner had pulled every clichéd move that had been considered stale since 1983, Blueprint sat silent for moment and then simply stated, with no trace of mirth, “That sucked.” Thus chastened, the stoner didn’t attempt to dazzle anyone with his moves for the rest of the night.

Then Blueprint stood up, grabbed the mic and launched into a litany of some of the most boring rap I’ve ever been subjected to, actually beating out Original Concept’s infamous “Knowledge Me” for dull awfulness, and only rousing the sparse crowd with an in-praise-of-fat-chicks number entitled “Big Girls Need Love Too,” a song that appeared to have a following since it was requested by two big girls who obviously knew it. It sucked too, and the situation was in no way helped by Blueprint not having a planned set, instead repeatedly walking over to his laptop computer and randomly choosing whatever songs he felt like performing, figuring, not incorrectly, that it didn’t matter since there was almost no one in the place. Finally giving up, Blueprint left the stage, but not before urging the crowd to buy his merchandise and stating that he was leaving to continue his drinking at the bar, a fact punctuated by his graceless stumbling down the five steps to the floor.

Then began a loooooooooong wait for Blowfly, presumably allowing time for more paying customers to show up, and finally, at 11:45 PM, the Old Man took the stage, announced by his drummer (decked out in an impressively imbecilic Uncle Sam getup)

and escorted by a pale, skinny white guy in an equally-white Afro wig.

The announcer begged the crowd — which had topped out at around sixty bodies — to huddle close to the stage, in order to make it look like a real audience, which allowed me an excuse to get right up next to the stage and snap photos, and in no time the band began cranking out signature Blowfly classics, starting with the deathless “Shake Your Ass.”

Other than one or two samplings from the punk rock album, the set was pretty much the same as when I last saw Blowfly two years ago, and despite one girl having the moxie to join him onstage and dance to “Rapp (sic) Dirty,” the lack of an enthusiastic throng put a major damper on the mood, affecting both the audience and the performers. But the band soldiered on, their theatrics consisting of a vision-obscuring smoke machine, and a bass player with a plastic lobster hanging out of his fly.

The funky groove shook the venue, and the women in attendance took zero offense at Blowfly's constant utterances of "pussy," "ho," and "cunt," instead getting into the "dirty grandpa" vibe that is so hard to resist.

Blowfly's down with the kids!

Sure, Blowfly’s a fringe act, but when I saw him at Southpaw the place was damned near packed, so I chalk up last night’s sparse attendance to two factors:

1. Club Europa’s a bit of a bitch to reach unless you have a car, or are willing to pay the exorbitant price of cab fare to get there.

2. The show was booked for a Sunday night, and Blowfly’s is a show that thrives on rowdiness and drunken lack of inhibition, both fun things, but not necessarily something to indulge in the night before the work week begins anew.

Seriously, this is about as crowded as it got.

After several profane numbers — most of which couldn’t be heard clearly thanks to the atrocious work of the soundman — Blowfly doffed his mask and abruptly left the stage, presumably disappointed by the turnout.

The set had lasted a total of forty-four minutes.

I went to sound booth and asked the technician if that was it, and he wearily said, “Yeah, that’s it. I gave the guys the opportunity for an encore, but they just fucked off.” So with that Chris and I made our way back to Park Slope, stopping at the White Castle on 4th Avenue for some late night sliders, perhaps the perfect way to cap off a night of semi-disappointing and annoying shenanigans. And during that repast Chris reminded me that during the Blowfly tour of two years past, he actually played a show in a hole-in-the-wall record store in Danbury, Connecticut that was about twice the size of my studio apartment, and there were perhaps twenty people present at that, so Blowfly had a lot of nerve storming out of Club Europa the way he did.

I will continue to be a Blowfly fan, but this was definitely the last time I’ll be bothered to see him live.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

BLOWFLY GOES PUNK!!!

In these troubled times, we need all the laughter we can get, and once more the mighty Blowfly comes to the rescue.


I just found out about this album five minutes ago, and the mere idea of Blowfly lending his singularly foul — and downright hilarious — talents to an album of punk rock covers made me snicker. Then I read that Jello Biafra is on the album, and that Blowfly had turned the Ramones classic "I Wanna Be Sedated" into "I Wanna Be Fellated," and I nearly laughed myself to death. And it just gets better from there, as these samples from the playlist clearly illustrate:

Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho? (The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?")
V.D. Party (Black Flag's "TV Party")
R. Kelly In Cambodia featuring Jello Biafra (The Dead Kennedys' "Holiday In Cambodia")
I Wanna Fuck Your Dog (The Stooges' "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog")
Playing With Myself (Generation X's "Dancing With Myself")

The guy's a fucking senior citizen, a famous producer/songwriter when not in his Blowfly persona (I'll let you do the research; it's quite a story), looks like the sweetest granddad in the world, and to top it all off he's a born-again Christian to boot (!!!), yet he merrily continues to record some of the dirtiest records on the face of the earth. I'm telling you, folks, the man is a hero. I even had the honor of meeting him, a tale which can be found at http://buncheness.blogspot.com/2005/02/i-saw-blowfly-you-muthafukkas.html

Considering my love of both punk rock and Blowfly, I'm going to order this album the second my direct deposit paycheck goes through in the morning, and I'll write an in-depth review once it arrives.

God bless you, Blowfly. God motherfucking bless you.

GOD DAMN, YOU'RE HOT!!!-LYNDA CARTER

Many kids of my generation fell madly in love with Lynda carter during her run on TV as Wonder Woman in the 1970's for her sweetness, wholesome appeal, and considerable awesomeness at filling out her red, white and blue superhero togs, but I found myself entranced by her stop-you-in-your-tracks classical beauty.

Carter's Euro-Latina gorgeousity was worthy of a Roman goddess hewn from marble by the hand of a worshipful sculptor, and at the same time as being consumed with a futile adolescent lust for her, I was quite content to know that such a perfect creature strode the earth, a lighter analog to the other perfect Seventies woman, the mighty Pam Grier. And while many had Lynda's famous Wonder Woman poster adorning their bedroom walls, I longed for a poster of the image found on the back cover of her LP, a simple, unpretentious shot of her looking like the officially-appointed goddess of the 1970's. I mean, check this out:

That shirt tied up under the boobs look still gets me, and on a woman as spectacular as Carter it's hypnotic. As Kelly Bundy so eloquently put it, "the mind wobbles."

Truly one of the classic Babes of Yore, Lynda Carter still holds her own against women young enough to be her daughters; see SKY HIGH and her recent guest turn on SMALLVILLE for proof of that statement.

And now I have to go wank myself into a drooling stupor. Thank you for your time.

LET'S HEAR IT FOR FAGGOTS!!!

My buddy Tom reminded me of this news item that I first saw four years ago, and even though it's 100% serious I figured it would be a perfect tongue-in-cheek entry to coincide with Pride Month (I know C.C. will certainly find this amusing). And as if the article weren't enough of a crack-up, the family's name is Doody, for fuck's sake!

I'm so mature...

From the BBC News online world edition:

Monday, 27 January, 2003, 14:42 GMT
FAMILY OF FAGGOT FANS FLY THE FLAG

The Doody family hope to raise profile of faggots.

A West Midlands family is playing a central role in the quest to raise the profile of a forgotten British dish - faggots.

The Doody family from Wolverhampton has been crowned The Faggot Family in a national competition, and to kick off their reign they will launch National Faggot Week. The family will be touring the country extolling the virtues of the dish, which is best-known for its links with the Black Country.

The Doody family were chosen to front the campaign after impressing judges at the Savoy Hotel in London in November. They displayed their fanaticism for the delicacy during quizzes, role-plays and mock commercials.

"The nation knows that the Cornish pasty, Yorkshire pudding, haggis and fish and chips are great British dishes, but all too often the faggot is left off that list," said Janet Doody. Her husband Fred added: "It's unfair because faggots were a British delicacy long before any of the others. "The great British faggot is full of flavour and a great belly warmer at this time of year."

The family, including Lewis, 13, and Grace, 7, eat faggots twice a week, with mashed potato and mushy peas, and will be launching the awareness campaign on Tuesday at Liverpool University, followed by visits this week to Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.

The competition was organised by faggot producer Mr Brain's Faggots.

Faggot facts:
Faggots were called "savoury ducks" in the Middle Ages
Faggots were named after the Latin word for bundle
Faggots were originally made with pig's liver and offal
Faggots are now made from pork liver and pork
Fans have published the Good Faggot Guide

BUNCHE NOTE: I'm sorry, but "The great British faggot is full of flavour and a great belly warmer at this time of year" is simply one of the greatest quotes ever. And just so we're perfectly clear on what we're talking about, here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the subject:

A faggot is a kind of meatball, a traditional dish in the UK, especially the southwest of England, Wales, and the Black Country. It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork. A faggot is traditionally made from pig heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and sometimes breadcrumbs. The mixture is shaped in the hand into balls, wrapped round with "caul" (a membrane from the pig's abdomen), and baked. A similar dish, almôndega, is traditional in Portugal.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A TASTE FOR DEATH (and a casting game)

"There's this to say for blood and breath, they give a man a taste for death."
-A.E. Housman

As Souvenir Press continues to reissue Peter O'Donnel's Modesty Blaise novels, I gobble up each one with the eagerness of a puppy stumbling across a spilled plate of filet mignon and Yorkshire pudding.

Cover to the original paperback edition.

I just finished 1969's A TASTE FOR DEATH, the fourth entry in the series of prose novels featuring the character (as opposed to the collected editons of the Daily Mirror comic strips), and it may be my favorite next to LAST DAY IN LIMBO (1976). Once again ex-criminal mastermind Modesty Blaise and her right hand man Willie Garvin are drawn into a violent maelstrom of intrigue, murder and international mayhem when Willie accidentally stumbles upon a young blonde getting kidnapped on a secluded beach in Panama. Horrified to witness the sadistic demise of the gril's companion at the hands of two thugs, Willie mercilessly signs off the two goons and discovers that their kidnapping target, though quite lovely, is as blind as a brick, so what would her abductors be after? The man behind the plot turns out to be Gabriel, a scumbag whom Willie and Modesty had put out of commission years earlier and had presumed dead in prison, but now he's back and up to more lowdown shit, so Willie contacts Modesty to help get him and Dinah — the hot blind blonde — out of the country after Gabriel recognizes Willie's handiwork on the corpses of his hired help and posts lookouts at every possible Panamanian exit point. Once Modesty enters the proceedings we're off to the races, and the action barely lets up for the rich character development that sets O'Donnel's crime fiction apart from that of most of his contemporaries. More murderous personages are introduced — most notably Simon Delicta, a truly scary psycho who gives Ian Fleming's Red Grant a run for his money and actually puts the frighteners on Willie Garvin, and that's really saying something! — Modesty's sometimes-boyfriend Steve Collier makes a return appearance and nearly steals the book with his from-a-poltroon POV, Dinah reveals hidden talents of an unusual nature, and the whole crew weathers a harrowing series of deceits, double-crosses and death traps before the book reaches its breathless conclusion. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Whenever I read a Modesty Blaise adventure I am caught up in a desire to immerse myself into her world, and I surf the internet in hope of finding some new tidbit of information or analysis that will float my boat untl I tackle the next book. This morning I found a site where famed comics writer and novelist Peter david mused about who should be cast in the role of Modesty should a good feature film about her ever be made. That morsel can be found at http://peterdavid.malibulist.com/archives/002996.html so check it out.

NOTE: let me tell you immediately that the 1966 Joseph Losey feature MODESTY BLAISE, very loosely adapted from the first novel, is an outright steaming pile of painfully campy dogshit and should be avoided by anyone who may have the slightest interest in Peter O'Donnel's unique creation.

A waste of quality graphics heralding a cinematic atrocity.

Watching that film was like witnessing a good friend getting raped by at least four hopped-up thugs in Halloween masks, raucously laughing amongst themselves while the violation took place and expecting you to find their misdeeds highly amusing. O'Donnel himself reportedly hated the film so much that he has publicly railed against it on several occasions, and I don't blame him one bit. I strongly urge you to avoid that film like you'd avoid urethral irrigation with Naval Jelly (look it up).

Anyway, Peter David suggests a choice so obvious for Modesty that if it had been any more in my face it would have bitten me. Modesty is supposed to be very easy on the eyes, have a effortless, confident physicality/sensuality, and a somewhat exotic, possibly Mediterranean look (her exact point of ethnic origin remains unknown thanks to her being amnesiac regarding her past prior to the age of approximately twelve). I don't know what you think, but that sounds a lot like Angelina Jolie to me.

This promo still from one of the TOMB RAIDER flicks even looks like one of the 1970's/1980's Blaise book covers, for fuck's sake, with Angelina looking qite right with her hair pulled back, resembling Modesty in her trademark bun. And take a look at this shot from MR. & MRS. SMITH:

Modesty's cool focus fairly drips from this image, although her hair would be pulled back so as not to obstruct her sighting of her target, so I have to agree with David on this one.

But the tougher bit of casting is that of Willie Garvin. At first glance Willie is a blonde Cockney lout with a semi-thuggish demeanor about him, but once you get past that first impression, the man reveals a highly intelligent mind of near-superhuman clockwork precision, a kind heart, and the physical skills of the most fearsome of professional killers. Not at all a guy you'd want to fuck with, yet involved in the most unique male-female friendship in literature, Willie's a very tough call, and had it been 1965 I would have chosen Michael caine for the part without hesitation.

Michael Caine, circa 1965: the ideal Willie Garvin.

His performance in the original GET CARTER (1971) is not far off the mark, save for Carter's much more dour personality, and the scene where he's completely nude — he was in the midst of some righteous osh-osh — and ushers two hitmen out of the flat into the street at shotgun-point in broad daylight is exactly the kind of smooth move I could see Willie pulling.

But that was then and this is now, so who to cast? I'm woefully ignorant of much of the current stable of British leading men, so I confess to being damned near totally clueless. If there are any fans out there reading this, what do you think? Help a Bunche out!