Friday, March 31, 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Destroyer at the Black Cat in DC

Last night, went down to the Black Cat for my 2nd show this week. This one was much better- yet again stopped off at Ben's Chili Bowl for a Chili Half-Smoke- the jukebox was more mellow R&B this evening.

Opening was a pretty fun progrock group, Birds of Avalon. They sported 2 lead guitarists including a hot chick- they did the playing in unison gimick well. The singer jumped off the stage and ran into me. They were really fun to watch, and they ROCKED!
I love Dan Bejar, the lead of Destroyer. I love his stream of consciousness songwriting style and his "Big Bird a la Jad Fair" voice. This is the second time I've seen him in about 6 months, and he's a keeper. Supposedly, his new record, Destroyer's Rubies, is one of his most accessible, but I been a fan of his since Thief.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Annie at the Black Cat

Last night, after the last No.1 seed in the NCAA Tourney was eliminated, I went to see Swedish electro pop dj, Annie play at the Black Cat. When I got to DC, I went back to Ben's Chili Bowl and had a chili half-smoke and, this time, a vanilla milk shake. Real ice cream - delicious.
The opener was DJ DK- a mashup dj- he was ok. I read a book while he spun. The opener Shy Child had a lot of energy, but they were limited by the fact that they only have 2 members- one with a keyboard, the other with drums - a one not disco punk band.
Annie played late- short set, too. It was an average performance. She only has one record with 2 good singles on it, and although she played some new songs, they were only ok. I spent most of the time looking at her underwear cause her jeans kept sliding down. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Animal Collective at the Recher Theater

Last night, I went to see Animal Collective play at the Recher Theater in Towson, same place I saw Jenny Lewis. To think, this is one of the theaters I saw Star Wars in as a little kid. I remember lining up in the places lobby to get into movies.
Turns out Animal Collective are locals- they grew up around Baltimore County! Balitmore has a few other current cool bands - definitely check out Wilderness, too.
The band was introduced by one of the members' (Deaken) mom who was also promoting her breathing meditation center- very crunchy. She described the band as taking us on a journey to a world where we could be free and creative. My asshole lizard brain wanted to yell out "hippie, die" when she was onstage.
They played great- using a lot of mics and effects- it had a real acid rock feel. They were supported by an Icelandic band, Stórsveit Nix Noltes, with members of Mum- they sounded like a gypsy klezmer dance band.
I thought the accordionist was hot- she looked kinda like Zooey Deschanel- nice knees!
Great show. The audience, albeit very young, were really into it. That was good to see. Yeah, Baltimore. A funny thing overheard - while waiting to get into the place, a group of ravey-industrial kids walked by and looked up at the sign and said "Animal Collection is playing."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Recher Theater, Towson

Went to see the Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins show tonight at the Recher Theater in Towson, MD. First off, since they were not allowing any pics during the show, I lifted some of these from Flikr, but they are all of this tour. Sorry.
The show was pretty darn good - it was very country with a 70's feel- Jenny Lewis was super cute, but I was riveted by the Watson Twins- I gotta say this- twins are Creepy! They moved in unison as they sang in perfect harmony because they have the same voice! Aaagh.
Jenny pretty much did all the songs from her record, and she threw in some new ones- I liked one called "Jack killed Ma" - it ended with a real 70's country rock jam. I also liked when she and the twins sang acapella into this beautiful microphone- possibly the purtiest I ever saw. . .
I enjoyed the openers - Whispertown (formerly Vagtown - the better name) did "Look at Miss Ohio" by Gillian Welch. Jonathan Rice was like an Scottish Conor Oberst, but less whiny in his voice- I quite liked him, particularly a song called "Middle of the Road"

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

I wanted to see this film in the theaters last year, but missed it. I got the UK dvd this week and watched it finally. It's great - very noir in theme. It follows Harry (Robert Downey, Jr.), a thief turned aspiring actor, who hooks up with Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), a detective hired to teach him about P.I. work. They get caught up in a plot involving several bodies turning up and Harry's dreamgirl from the past, Harmony (Michelle Monaghan). It's funny and has a very self-deprecating style. Kilmer is great in it, and I actually enjoyed Downey as well. The real find is Monaghan- she was in the Hollywood Vanity Fair issue as The Knockout, and in this movie, it's very true. Waka waka.

Shad Roe

With Galactica now finished until the fall, what am I going to blog on about. Well- this week it's food. I have now had shad roe two times in the last 7 days. I first heard about this from my cousin's friend, who used to eat it whenever she was ill. I researched some more on this local dish. The shad is a type of herring, and it's roe is considered a specialty on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It's seasonal- mostly harking the return of spring time. Preparation of the dish is simple - grilled with salt and pepper- some lemon sprayed on top. It has the texture of a ground chuck steak, but the flavor is much lighter.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Battlestar Galactica 2.20- Lay Down Your Burdens, Pt. 2

Shock and awe - amazing season finale to my favorite show. Sorry Kevin, if you don't want to be spoiled, don't read this post.
The episode picked up last week from the cliffhanger of Kara's rescue attempt on Caprica and the pending election.
The reveal of the new cylon was a little expected considering the events of last week, but the craziness of the athiestic priest cylon figure- zounds! Then, the election - wow- corruption on Roslin's side, the premature announcement of results followed by the retraction, and then. . .President Baltar!!
But not before, he spends quality time with Gina- her last moments before BAM - she uses his gift to her on Cloud 9. They decide to settle on New Caprica and then. . .One Year Later!!! Aaagh - a huge jump in time- we see crazy things like Adama with a moustache (Castillo RETURNS!), preggers Callie, Baltar 3-way orgy, Roslin taking care of the cylon baby, Dee promoted and on Pegasus, and if all that weren't enough - the cylons find the colony!!!
No surprise - the fleet bails and Baltar is reunited with both imaginary and real 6 (after surrendering). Also, Leoben cylon comes calling on Kara. I loved it! Ballsy move of the show to take such huge leaps in time and events. October can't come soon enough.

Dada and Hiroshi Sugimoto

Yesterday was nice and warm. Sue had come down for the Pogues, but we also decided to go to the Mall in DC to check out a few exhibits. First off, was the Dada exhibit at the National Gallery. It was an interesting overview of the schools of Dada that came up after World War I. I liked the self-consciousness of the movement, and how the artists involved never did seem to get along. Great stuff from my man, Duchamp - I love artists who have aliases.
I also found it funny that cool bands took their names from this art movement- Cabaret Voltaire and Merzbow. There were great pieces by Max Ernst, Man Ray, and a cool marionette called Dr. Komplex (a Jungian figure).
We then went over to the Hirshhorn Gallery across the Mall to see the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibit. He is an amazing photographer! Featured were photographs of nature dioramas, portraits of wax figures of famous people in history, and digital photos of his empty home. I particularly liked his photos of movie theaters- he left the shutter open through an entire film, and the end result is a white screen.
He also featured architectural pieces shot with the stop at twice infinity. My favorite was a room with his seascapes - it felt like you were on a giant black and white cruise ship looking at the ocean.

The Pogues at 9:30 Club

The Pogues reunited with Shane Macgowan last year, and we saw them perform in DC Friday night. They were really good- starting a bit slow, but I guess once Shane hit his groove (along with what looked like a bottle of blush wine), they were great. The band walked out to The Clash's "Straight to Hell" -that was pretty cool. They played many of their hits like "Streams of Whiskey", "The Old Main Drag", "Dirty Old Town", "Fiesta", and "Fairytale of New York" (with fake snow and Shane dancing with the female singer). Shane carried himself like an 80 year old man who was drunk. Hard living!
The opener, William Whitmore, was a Tom Waits wannabe, with songs only about death- he got boring really fast. Also annoying was he kept saying he was from Lee County, Iowa- how contrived is that? Just another way of saying he's from Des Moines or something. You won't hear me say I'm from Baltimore County, Maryland. Lame-o.

Ben's Chili Bowl

Before the Pogues show at 9:30, my cousin and I went to DC institution, Ben's Chili Bowl. Opened in 1958, it's your classic chili hot dog and burger joint. Supposedly, Bill Cosby proposed to his wife there. Sue and I ordered their specialty, the Chili Half-Smoke, a half smoke dog with onions, mustard, and chili - delicious!
We also got a heaping order of chesse fries- yum. The jukebox played great old school joints by Run D.M.C., James Brown, and Jackson 5, and the guys behind the counter clearly have been enjoying their own food. I need to get back to try their milkshakes sometime.

American Idol Makes an Athlete Cry

Contestant Ayla Brown, a 6 foot basketball player whose dad is a state senator from Massachusetts was eliminated this week. I felt she was eliminated a bit early because she sang a Natasha Bedingfield song quite well, but America voted.
Her personality was admirable. Simon was right in that she was the hardest working contestant in the show. I guess it's the type A athlete approach to the competition. She seemed to be embarassed that she wanted to cry, but she couldn't hold back. I love reality TV.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Last New Galactica until October!

I am going to see the reunited Pogues tonight in DC, but as soon as I get home, I plan to watch the season finale of season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, Lay Down Your Burdens, Pt. 2. They just announced that season 3, instead of starting in July won't resume until October. Great sadness. I heard there may be a new cylon introduced tonight. EEeee.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Life in the Steam Tunnels. . .

After a discussion with a friend of mine about how Napoleon's Uncle Rico was Lazlo in a previous movie life as well as a recent Thighs Wide Shut separated at birth comparison, I was excited to see Real Genius on Showtime HD. I had forgotten that Martha Coolidge directed this gem from my youth. She also did one of my favorites, Valley Girl- covering the span of iconic 80's misfits like Freaks and Geeks!
First, I realized that I had never seen this movie letterboxed - it's got an enormous aspect ratio which improves the film when you see it this way, as you don't need to see the Sarah Jessica Parker kid so up close.
Second, what happened to the career of nerd dreamgirl Jordan (Michelle Mayrink)?
The film is as good as I remember -a real throwback - great soundtrack ("All She Wants to do is Dance", Everybody Wants to Rule the World", "One Night Love Affair"), nerds partying with cosmetologists (which I should do), nerdy pranks, a wickedly charming Val Kilmer, and in the end, a message against the Military Industrial Complex. This is certainly no My Science Project, and has a little more heart than Weird Science.

I've got the McPhee-ver for the Flavor of a Pringle

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Belle and Sebastian Days

I love Belle and Sebastian. I have been a fan of them since 1998 when I bought The Boy With the Arab Strap (same year as Cat Power's Moon Pix). Unfortunately, I have always live in towns (Hartford and Las Vegas) where they never toured. I did happen to see them at Coachella 2 years ago, but that venue was just too big for their music. When they announced their spring tourdates on the east coast in support of their new record The Life Pursuit, I knew I had to see them. Because, I am such a gluttonous fan of theirs, I saw them in Philadelphia's Electric Factory March 4th, and again last night at DC's 9:30 Club.
The Philly show was pretty good. Electric Factory's acoustics suck, as the opening act, New Pornographers, sounded awful, but B&S had their own sound guy, so it wasn't too bad when they played. Their set included a lot of the new record, but highlights were also Me and the Major, Judy and the Dream of Horses (with a Indian girl from the audience singing along- she was good!), Slow Graffiti, Sleep the Clock Around, and I Don't Love Anyone.
The DC show was better. 9:30 club's acoustics were much better. In this set, B&S included The Stars of Track and Field, Jonathan David, A Century of Fakers, The State I Am In, a cover of the Beatles' Birthday (for their monitor engineer), The Fox in the Snow, and Get Me Away I'm Dying for the last song.
Tonight's show is going to be simulcast on

The Academy Awards 2006

Three 6 Mafia winning was a moment to enjoy in 3 1/2 hours of boring white people. I liked Jon Stewart. The attack ads were really funny- my friend Dan (here celebrating with Juicy Jay) helped produce them as well as the opening segment. Stewart did a good job as host, but he could only do so much with the stale format, and I get the feeling his sense of humor went a little over all those Hollywood bigshots.

Battlestar Galactica 2.19- Lay Down Your Burdens, Pt. 1

The penultimate episode of season 2 was again great- I love it when the story actually moves and changes. The new planet- my friend dave thinks sharon #2 might have been responsible for the stray jump that led to the discovery of this new planet. The election is heating up - I wonder if it will split the colonial fleet between those that want to find earth and those who want to stay in the new planet. Also, returning to Caprica makes me wonder if Sharon #1 and Baltar's Six will meet the rescue party. (and then maybe the chief will have his Sharon back!!?) Aagh - why does the season have to end?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Reason to Watch the Oscars

My friend Dan (here with red eye on the set of BSG- to continue the thread of most of my blog) is helping write jokes for Jon Stewart on this Sunday's broadcast of the Academy Awards. I should also note that he and his lovely wife are now expecting their first child - a CYLON! Unfortunately, he is not replacing Bruce Villanch, who still writes the uninteresting chatter of all the presenters.

A Good Omen?

So, while going to work, I stepped in dog doo. I left a smear in my car that I had to clean off- yuck. Luckily, I was wearing my Blundstone's boots- they were easy to clean off. I stepped in deer doo at my parents house a few months ago in the same pair of shoes.
Supposedly, though, this means good luck is coming. I think I need it. Thank you feces.