Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spin The Black Circle: Upcoming Shows

*Shows in Madison unless otherwise noted
SAT, April 9 The Gusto @ The Crystal Corner Bar on Willy St.
SUN, April 10 Eddie Spaghetti with Metal Marty Chandler (from The Supersuckers) @ The High Noon Saloon $12 cover, 21 and up
FRI, April 15 Zion I + The Grouch @ The Majestic Theater $15
TUE, April 19 The Decemberists and Justin Townes Earle @ The Overture Center $32.50 - $36.50
SAT, April 23 Talib Kweli: Gutter Rainbows Tour @ Concerts at the Capitol $25
SUN, April 24 Stnnng( from Minneapolis, highly recommend) @ The High Noon Saloon $7 cover for 21 and up,$9 for 18 and up

FRI April 29 Deftones and Dillinger Escape Plan @ The Rave Milwaukee WI
SAT April 30 Hunx and his Punx @ The Cactus Club Milwaukee WI
FRI May 6 Dear Landlord and Banner Pilot @ 7th Street Entry Minneapolis MN

SAT, May 14 The Fiery Furnaces  @ The Majestic Theater $15
SUN May 15 Lyn-Lake Festival feat. Har Mar Superstar, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Mike Mictlan & Lazerbeak, E.L.NO @ Lyndale Ave. Minneapolis MN
TUE, May 17 Young Widows  @ Project Lodge
FRI May 20 Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson @ The High Noon Saloon
SAT May 21 Death Cab For Cutie @ First Ave. Minneapolis MN
SUN May 22 Hot Water Music @ Turner Hall Milwaukee WI
WED, May 25 Norma Jean @ The Majestic Theater $14.50 in advance

SUN May 29 Soundset Fest feat. Atmosphere, Big Boi, Doomtree, De La Soul, Brother Ali, The Grouch @ Canterbury Park Shakopee MN
THURS June 2 The Farewell Continental @ Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis MN
SAT June 26 Motley Crue, Posion and THE NEW YORK DOLLS @ Bradley Center Milwaukee WI

Projection Booth: Harry Potter: End of an Era

The final poster says it all.
And states it quite well.
After July 15th, honestly, what is geeks, nerds and dorks have to look forward to?
Saga is over and thank fucking god for that, the Watchmen was made and didn't get the end right like the uber-nerds would have liked, The Crystal Skull pretty much killed any future excitement for more adventures of Dr. Jones.
Yeah, I suppose one COULD say that there is the third Transformers movie but honestly who has looked forward to a Michael Bay movie since they were fooled by the first Transformers teaser. Oh ok, there is going to be a two part Hobbit movie but Randall in Clerks 2 was right, Lord of the Rings trilogy was fucking boring. I assume there will be more action in the two prequels but again "THE Saga" has deflated any prospect of a prequel being anything more than a letdown. I guess we have plenty of superhero movies to watch but even these are starting to feel like overkill. Hell the Punisher has been rebooted twice, Spiderman just finished a few years ago and is getting started over. For fucks sake, we don't even have the third Batman movie in the can nor is the new Superman and WB is talking about rebooting both it so they can make a Justice League movie.

I cannot say just how sad I am going to be to see this movie franchise come to its glorious end. I originally did whatever I could to avoid getting into the "cult of Harry Potter" but one slow day at a boring job left me with little to do but read a book that someone had left behind from the prior shift. It was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and immediately I was hooked. Starting in the middle of the series didn't phase me at all. I picked up the gist of it quite quickly and did whatever I could to get my hands on the rest of the books about as the time as the 3rd film hit DVD. So of course I started watching.
Thanks to Alfonso Cuaron's masterful blending of the seasons as well as giving the series its first real taste of darkness, I was a full fledged Harry Potter cultist.
The Goblet of Fire was intense and riveting it was a great way to follow The Prisoner of Azkaban. 
Sure there were some missteps in the film version of the series such as letting Chris Columbus direct the first two movies, the rewritten version in opening of The Half Blood Prince, um well actually pretty much all of The Half Blood Prince. The film version of THBP was the most anti-climatic of any of the cannon when it was actually one of the most emotional with exception of The Deathly Hallows, well I haven't gotten to see the second half of The Deathly Hallows, but after seeing the first half I'll trust that it just gets even better.
But as I was saying, the death of a major and beloved character was washed over and was missing the cathartic funeral scene that ended the 6th book. Not to mention flippant way they revealed who the Half Blood Prince actually was. Another terrible mistake was letting David Yates take over as director for the remainder of the series, they missed fleshing out the relationship between Sirius Black and Harry as well as not making Voldemort more frightening, the red slitted pupils would have gone along way, instead he looks more like a burn victim who lost his nose to the burns. Not the great evil villain I had imagined reading the books.

Even with all that said, the franchise is greater than the sum of its parts and spanning 10 years  give or take, it became something to look forward to each year to year and a half. I can't imagine how this must be to the kids who grew up reading the books first and then catching the movies after the fact. I understand that these books were written for kids and are kind of heavy handed and simplistic but as a film franchise they are near brilliant even if you know how its gonna end. A feat that George Lucas absolutely failed to pull off. We all knew Anakin ends up Darth Vader but no one cared because the prequel trilogy fucked over cheapened the original saga.
As much as I know I'll have the films on blu ray or dvd, the feeling of anticipation that the Harry Potter series gave at least me is going to leave me with a gaping hole. As a gore hound I still have World War Z even though I know it won't fulfill its potential, its still something.
I can only hope as a fan of the work and ingenious casting of this franchise the studios don't do something stupid like turn it into a television series or reboot it just to cash in.
Yes there is a lot of side plots that were left out for example the liberation of the house elves, which while not major exactly, did have some impact on the main story and fleshed out Hermione's character a bit more. Again this is nit-picking and honestly as a whole even the first movie as cheesy and cheap it seems now, its still worth watching. The height of the cinematic glory can be seen in Prisoner of Azkaban and I'm honestly hoping that it will be topped by The Deathly Hallows second feature. I know its most certainly has to be absolutely epic as far as the battle scene and needs to carry enough weight to mourn the characters that are lost which the Potter-nerds have vested so much into as well as let it collectively sink in that the series is at its bitter and hopefully fitting end. Reading this last book 4 or 5 times, I could still take comfort in knowing I had the movie to look forward to but now after July 15th it will be like looking down a desert road at sunset. Desolate and nothing on the horizon.
David Yates has a tall order and I hope he made the most of every morsel of plot given to him because worse than reaching the end of the series is reaching that end feeling like you missed making it to the hospital to say goodbye before a loved one passed away.
Its uber-geeky but when you invest that much of your life to reading and watching a group of characters, the payoff needs to feel tremendous.
Otherwise honestly just quickly reshoot the ending so we find out this has all taken place in the mind of an autistic child holding a snow-globe.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plugged In: Random Rock Band Rant

Ok, well I know this game is fallen out of favor lately but since I spent most of yesterday afternoon playing the game because it was the most ambition I could muster, I thought why not air some grievances I have come across.
First its an old one that I'm sure alot of veteran Rock Band players have noticed, namely that there is no way to calibrate the microphone. You can do so for the drums and guitars but not for the microphone. I think this is one that is essential. I mean I'd say a supermajority of the people brave enough to make an ass of themselves by singing AREN"T going to be American Idols. More likely we are going to be somewhat tone-deaf and are just singing for fun but if you really go for it, even with pitch correction on, you are bound to fail out of the song. Now I can see on the higher settings making it more difficult but at "medium" difficulty half the songs you either have to use a low mumble to hit the notes or you have to screech almost incomprehensibly to hit the high notes. If you try to sing along at the same volume as the actual track you end up missing most of the notes hence failing out of the song.
You should be able to calibrate it to your voice to maybe by doing a simple "fa so la tee doh" type register calibrater. That way when you try to sing balls out you can still have fun without worrying about ruining the chances of your other players to finish the song. It is most frustrating when you know all the words and get the timing right but because you have enthusiasm and are getting into the spirit of the song you end up missing the correct pitch or notes.
Hell, even if there were a way to go almost a karaoke route where if you hit the words at the right time it doesn't matter how loud or soft you sing you can still score points without fucking over your other bandmates.
My other and more pressing gripe seems to be with the fact that I've noticed The Rock Band Network which gave songs that might otherwise be missed out on get a chance to be made into the Rock Band format and to be downloaded separate from the Playstation Store's listings in Rock Band 3 designation, has been discontinued.
I might be wrong and they are just working on upgrading the way they offer songs through the RBN but the past three weeks we have missed out on songs being added. They add songs to the Rock Band 3 section but not the RBN. It really blows because the RBN was more for non-mainstream bands and genres to get some exposure. With bands such as Norma Jean and Converge having tracks on there it allowed for chances to play your favorite "deep cuts" that don't get radio exposure.  I also feel there was a missed opportunity as the punk genre missed out of a fair amount of content uploading. Its mostly comprised of metalcore bands where its almost pointless to have a vocal track because the lyrics come out as nothing more than howls and yelps. I was looking forward for some older NoFx, Against Me!, Lucero, Alkaline Trio, Thursday, Descendants etc... being added to have some more fun.
The beauty of the RBN was that the songs could be utilized by owners of Rock Band 2 as well as they could be in Rock Band 3.
So basically this seems a way of discontinuing support for Rock Band 2 and forcing people who have invested in the  equipment for the game to remain stagnant with what they have, or buy what amounts to the entire catalog of No Doubt or Foo Fighters. Its kind of disheartening.
I wouldn't mind upgrading to Rock Band 3 once it drops in price.

This brings me to my final annoyance. Preface this with the fact that I bought a brand new Rock Band 2 special edition(included microphone, drums, and guitar along with the game) ten months after it was released for 80 dollars which was a great deal.
Now they have added the option to buy a keyboard controller for use on Rock Band3 but here is the rub. The keyboard alone retails for $70. That does not include the game.  And in the America you cannot buy a keyboard/game bundle for PS3, you can for Wii and I believe even Xbox 360 but why or how Sony dropped the licensing ball on this bundle is beyond me.
So for one more instrument I have to spend what I spent on the entire bundle and I don't even get the upgraded game. Add the cost of that and even if you get a used copy of the game which hovers currently somewhere around $35 dollars, I'll have to spend over 100 dollars when all said and done. I find that a tall order to be asked of by Harmonix and MTVgames considering how much I've and I'm sure many others have plunked down in downloadable extra songs as well as the other instruments and Rock Band 2.
The keyboard should have been priced out at somewhere near $30 to make it an affordable jump and if they got their heads out of their asses maybe a bundle for $70 or $75. A much more reasonable and worth a jump to the newer version.
I've rented Rock Band 3 and it had some nice tweaks on the Rock Band formula. The addition to of the sporadic orange button use in "medium" difficulty was a nice touch to help make the jump up to "hard" difficulty a bit less daunting since in RB2 there was a huge learning curve between "medium" and "hard" so much so it was impossible to even attempt "expert" level, speaking for me anyway. I've hard friends who play piano who will only do "expert" difficulty.

I really want to upgrade up to the next level but also seeing as it was announced that they aren't  planning on creating a Rock Band 4 atleast not anytime in the near future, I'm a bit leery on not if but when they straight up discontinuing new downloadable songs for Rock Band 3. Fingers crossed that it isn't anytime soon but since Rock Band Network seems not to be getting any new content it might be sooner rather than later.

OK I digress and my next post should be much more upbeat and hopefully turn you on to some new bowls of radsauce.
Until next time. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Projection Booth: Superman Man of Steel finds nesting ground

Some preliminary news on Zack Snyder's Superman: Man of Steel production has fluttered its way out on the interwebs over the weekend. Coming from Crain's Chicago Business website that Plano, Illinois is going to host at least some of the production for WB's newest superhero summer tentpole will be doing some shooting under the production title "Autumn Frost", though they might be playing slick and changing that code name up now that its been leaked out.
With Warner Brothers looking to sink just south of $200 million into another Superman story for the big screen. Its still not as much as they pissed away at Bryan Singer's The Notebook-esque version of the last son of Krypton in 2006's Superman Returns (some wish it would go away) where WB dropped a whopping $209 million when all said and done.
Still the approximate $176 million said to be allotted for S:MoS is beginning to float about in hiring pre-production staffing in the Plano area. Looks like Illinois is gonna have some extra money coming in to the local economies thanks to this production along with the third Batman film prepping.
Christopher Nolan is producing this venture so it definately shows that Mr. Nolan seems to have a hard on for the "Land of Lincoln" as SUV's decked out in "Gotham City PD" paint jobs have been seen around the suburbs of Chicago in the past week or so which may be explained by the close proximity of the two movies so he can bounce between the two, supervise the Man of Steel shoot when need be while still giving his full attention to The Dark Knight Rises. 
Not much is known about the Superman shoot plot-wise which was written by David S. Goyer who also collaborated on The Dark Knight script for with Chris Nolan and his brother Jonathan. We are starting to get casting news trickling out including some heavy hitters and goes as follows:
-Superman:Henry Cavill( who had been up for the Batman role at one point along with many other prominent starring roles will finally get to show his leading man skills)
- Martha Kent: Diane Lane
-Jonathan Kent: Kevin Costner( honestly didn't see that coming but then again I guess seeing as how young Clark Kent grew up on a farm in Smallville  makes me think they are shooting for some Field of Dreams throwback memories with Costner's addition to the cast)
-Lois Lane: Amy Adams ( this one is freshly making the rumor rounds as of today 3/27/11, we'll have to wait on conformation in the coming days but sounds legit)

As far as villains roles being cast there has been talk of Michael Shannon(Revolutionary Road) in talks for a villainous role but no one has been named thus far officially.
I'm really hoping they aren't going for another "Vs. Lex Luthor" story even though no one has done the character right. Gene Hackman and even Kevin Spacey were far too wacky in their respective turns as Lex. I always thought that Superman had all the muscle and morals which were his strengths as a character then Lex needed to be treacherous, devious and almost Superman's intellectual superior which is what made him so dangerous. It wasn't the simple fact that he would just whip out Kryptonite and boom The Man of Steel crumpled like aluminum, more it was that he would outwit his "musclebound boy scout" nemesis.  Otherwise Lex Luthor is robbed of depth and in turn devoid of a worthy cinematic villain.

So if this is the case we need someone fresh to fight Superman.

Brainiac is a logical choice since he also is a super intelligent sentient being who knows Clark/Supeman's true origins and weaknesses.

Or perhaps since this is a Zack Snyder movie afterall we want action then there could be Doomsday, the one creature who "killed" Superman though to do the death of Superman story proper their would have to be crossovers with other DC characters to really show the impact of his death and a Christopher Nolan Batman really wouldn't jibe all that well with Superman vs another alien creature story, Green Lantern could show up and make sense since that movie looks goofy enough to work in that context.

Or Bizarro might be another way to go, again would make for good fight scenes but also a convoluted story in under 2 1/2 hours.

There could be a Darkseid as the villain but I am still left wondering if this version of Superman is going to keep in the spirit of Nolan's Batman trilogy as far as tone, i.e. set within real world guidelines. No wacky running around the earth against its rotation to turn world back time-wise, in essence time traveling. I'm guessing it will be more based in the current world of science and such.

EIther way we need lots of action because that was THE major downfall of the Singer Superman Returns. It was too much Lois Lane and Superman looking so sad. Not to mention that shitty scene where he flies up above the Earth and listens for someone who needs his help. He hears all this war and atrocities but instead decides to go for Kitty Kowalski's run away car( which was a ploy from Lex Luthor) Booo-urns.
We already know we will get some nice slo-mo fist impact shots which Snyder is becoming famous for.

Personally, I'm going to be very curious to see if Warner Brothers sticks with its original budget after Zack Snyder's "Girl Interrupted add a dash of Lord of the Rings meets Sin City and ground up Alice In Wonderland filtered through the steam punk aesthetic" movie Sucker Punch debuting in the #2 spot its opening weekend and general bad reviews minus the boys over at who seemed to get what Snyder's intent was.
One have to think that Warner Brothers would get skittish if Sucker Punch continues to under-perfom(relatively 19 million is hardly tiny money) or the execs at Warner Brothers have such faith in the property of Superman, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder or a combination of any of those three.
If that is the case I sure wish Paramount would get their asses in gear and follow suit with World War Z.
We'll see in the coming weeks what other coconuts shake out of the Man of Steel tree. Can't say I'm totally sold on another Superman story, besides Batman I've never really found any of the DC characters to have very engrossing villians. In the DC universe Batman got the most interesting foes. Maybe thats why Lex Luthor is everyone's default villain.
Not many people think Zack Snyder has what it takes to tell a enriched story. They see him more as an effects driven director who value's cinematography over an engrossing story.
After seeing The Watchmen I found more faith in him than most and with Christopher Nolan overseeing the production to hammer story over special effects I think I might walk out of S:MoS with my inner geek satisfied.
Fingers Crossed and keep your eyes on Illinois.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Plugged In: Batman Arkham City

October 19th can't come soon enough. I'm salivating just watching this trailer.
This will be a sequel to the absolutely masterful video game from Rocksteady Studios, Batman: Arkham Asylum that was released in 2009 on PS3 and Xbox360.
In "AA" The Batman fought his way through Arkham after the Joker set up an elaborate plan to trap Batman in the Asylum with a few notable and dangerous supervillians like Bane(who was dispatched far too quickly in my opinion), Scarecrow, Killer Croc along with the Joker's thugs whom some the Joker jacked up with a "venom" derived from the juice Bane uses to "hulk up".
I won't spoil the end for those who haven't played it or finished it. Its absolutely worth finishing.

This time former warden Quincy Sharp has become Mayor of Gotham City by riding the wave of Batman's success and marked off a section of Gotham as a giant version of the Asylum. Using Blackwater-type mercenaries as prison guards he has locked away some of Gotham's most notorious villians and evil criminals, basically giving them free reign in the quarantined area affectionally known as "Arkham City".
A few intrepid gamers who most likely out of sheer boredom or just explosive happy found a hidden room adjacent to Warden Sharp's office in Arkham Asylum that had a map of plans for Arkham City. There was no reason to blow up the wall that hid the map but someone figured it out. Gotta love the little easter eggs that Rocksteady added. And this was before they even planned on the sequel proper.
So far it seems as though Catwoman finds the danger of moonlighting in Arkham City enticing and may or may not be an ally to Batman in this game.

Keep an eye out in the trailer for a Flying Grayson's poster. Another wink at Batman mythology

Characters and villains we know of so far is as follows:
-Batman( obviously and again voiced by Kevin Conroy from the 90's Animated series which was amazing in it's own right.)
-Calendar Man( who reportedly if you visit him on holidays in real life will brag about evil acts committed on that specific holiday, there are those lovely easter eggs again)
-The Riddler
-The Joker ( Mark Hamil has said this will be his final turn voicing The Joker, sad news)
-Harley Quinn
-Dr. Hugo Strange ( who is said to be heading the mercenaries)
-Mr. Freeze
-Talia Al Ghul
- Victor Zsasz (returning also from Arkham Asylum)
I'm sure more will be revealed as the release gets closer or maybe they will be kept a secret for you to find on your own.

Its also been confirmed that there will be no multiplayer mode in the game but like in it's predecessor there is so much to keep you busy you shouldn't miss that mode any.
I do hope that we may get a turn at driving the Batmobile but I bet there is small chance of that.
Either way I am itching to play this. This game will keep me busy long enough that I can wait out the release of Christopher Nolan's third Batman movie: The Dark Knight Rises. Which once final casting commences I'll bring news about that one too.
Like I said before, October 19th cannot come soon enough.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spin The Black Circle: Hot Water Music in Beer City

Looks like Hot Water Music is going on a short jaunt around the country and there are only a scant few shows planned at this time. AND ONE OF THEM IS IN MILWAUKEE which we all know is Algonquin for "the good land".
Take the opportunity and clear your calendar to see this show.
Here are the planned itinerary at this time:

MAY 20, 2011
Hot Water Music @ Krazy Fest - Expo 5
Louisville, Kentucky

MAY 22, 2011
Hot Water Music @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
w/Fireworks, Make Do and Mend, Hostage Calm

MAY 23, 2011
Hot Water Music @ Magic Stick
Detroit, Michigan
w/Fireworks, Make Do and Mend, Hostage Calm

JUNE 16, 2011
Hot Water Music @ London Music Hall
London, Ontario, Canada
w/The Flatliners, Black Lungs

JUNE 18, 2011
Hot Water Music @ NXNE Showcase - Opera House Concert Venue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
w/A Wilhelm Scream, Mockingbird Wish Me Luck, Sharks

OCTOBER 28-30, 2011
Hot Water Music @ The Fest 10
Gainesville, Florida

Spin the Black Circle: In Defence/The Gillespie Killings at the Turf Club

April 9
The Turf Club, Minneapolis/St. Paul midway area.
In Defence, The Gillespie Killings Explode and Make Up (mbrs. of The Bomb / 88 Fingers Louie / The Methadones), and Shotguns Up!

If you are going to be in Minneapolis on April 9th this is the show to see.
Choose your side: taco pride or pizza power. It'll be a pummeling good time in the Twin Cities for sure.

If you have no clue as to who In Defence are, you best get wise brotha. These boys will thrash your ass and quiver your liver. If you dig Municipal Waste, Youth of Today, Death or bands in that vein you will not be disappointed. In Defence kills it every time they take the stage.

As for The Gillespie Killings, I'll let their facebook bio speak for itself
At a time when many of their musical contemporaries have begun to slow down and start alt-country bands or solo projects the members of The Gillespie Killings have decided to take the opposite route by forming a band that combined the best elements of the music they grew up on, mainly 70's / 80's rock and 90's era skate punk.
This wasn't a hard thing to do since the band features former and current members of such diverse groups as The Framed, Neverwill, Stateline Motel, Said The Shotgun To The Head, Gay Witch Abortion, and Countach. The resulting explosion of noise can best be described as Bad Religion starting a Guns N' Roses cover band with the members of Thin Lizzy. Add to that equation a twin guitar assault that would make most metal bands jealous and you have a force to be reckoned with.
This isn't a show to miss.

In Defence will also be playing at Midwest Hell Fest with From Ashes Rise, Cognitive Dissidence, Protestant among other rad bands in Kimberly Wisconsin at Tanner's the weekend of May 13th and May 14th. For def check that out if you got that weekend free.

Projection Booth: World War Z troubles...

News has been popping up in the past few days that the big wigs at Paramount are getting cold feet about sinking in the needed support to the Marc Forster( "Finding Neverland", "Monster's Ball") potentially helmed "World War Z". The adapted movie version of the bestselling oral history story by the same name written by Max Brooks. It's a masterpiece of zombie fiction that was written on the heels of Brooks' zombie killing guide "The Zombie Survival Guide". Its got Brad Pitt behind it in a producer capacity as well as attached to star in it which one would think would be more than enough to perk up and make this film happen. Instead Paramount is thinking of slashing the budget and not allow an "R" rated cut. I'm calling bullshit on Paramount's part.

The proposed $125 million budget needed to properly get this production up and rolling is being stifled by the fact that studios would rather sink short money on indie horror movies and that a great deal of big budget movies have flopped in the past few years such as "The Watchmen", "Grindhouse" even some the usually bankable rom coms are having trouble, take the James L. Brooks' (no relation to Max) "How Do You Know" which had a similar budget even though that was mostly for the high paid cast.

The studio reportedly wants "World War Z" to be delivered as a PG-13 cut which if you have read the book then you would know it would be as useless as a limp dick at an orgy. The zombie war movie has atleast one battle of epic proportions. If any movie needed to be bathed in gore it would be this one. How exactly do you kill a zombie? Destroy the BRAIN... which means lots and lots of exploding heads in creative ways. No possible way to accomplish The Battle of Yonkers for instance on a shoestring budget let alone in PG-13 fashion. I understand that PG-13 allows for more teens to get in without parent's permission BUT it loses all the edge and cache', plus despite my hatred for the "running zombies," or "fast zombies", the remake of "Dawn Of The Dead" did amazing at the box office and it was "R" rated.
Paramount HAD to know what they were getting themselves into when the optioned the rights to the book. If not they should get their head out of their asses... well either way sounds like they need removing their collective craniums from their nether regions if the reports fanning out over the internet.
With Zombies being "haute dish" in popular culture at the moment especially with the success of "The Walking Dead" on AMC, it is fucking ass backwards of Paramount not to strike while the iron is hot. If only someone had some balls in the higher echelon of the studio to see that sometimes great art comes with a price and even if they lost money in the short term, getting this film done proper will give it immortality and let it take on a life of its own for years to come.
If Paramount sticks to their guns and demands it to be a neutered PG-13 film it will alienate the die-hards and possibly draw a backlash hurting the box office returns either way. So why not display some big brass balls and go full bore into adapting this or just let the option lapse and then a studio with real pair on them will rescue it from a fate of similar fashion to "Ishtar" or "1941"
Please please please, do not ruin this masterpiece of modern day horror fiction by dumbing it down. I've worked at movie theaters and believe me, if those shitty "Saw" sequels could pack in the teen crowd then I am damn sure a properly done "World War Z" will pay for itself a few times over.
Paramount, you could even split the movie in two ala' "Kill Bill" and get twice the chance to hit the box office slot machine.
DO NOT FUCK THIS UP. From everything I've read and heard, if the script that exists in its current form is used, it has Oscar potential. Us horror lovers and gore-hounds have been salivating for a genre film with both buckets of blood and grey matter plus PRESTIGE to boot. And "Silence of the Lambs" wasn't true horror, atleast not in the sense to those of us who have multiple viewings of the Romero zombie films every year would call horror.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Projection Booth: Captain America the First Avenger

Check out the opening shots of Chris Evans looking like a 90 pound wuss. And holy shit there's Stanley Tucci along with hearing Tommy Lee Jones introduce "the man that will bring Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell."
Don't blink or you'll miss Red Skull's reveal.
For a period piece superhero movie it looks pretty rad though even though I will say that X-Men: the first class looks more interesting as far as a period piece. I'm just hoping that at the end of Cap America they show him in present day.
Guess I'll be holding my breath until July 22nd. Unless some spoilers show up before that. I can't resist a good spoiler.

Skin Ink: Artist Dave Nielsen

Finding a good tattoo artist is a tough endeavor, looking at portfolios can only give you so much insight but word of mouth can also give you details that are invaluable in choosing the right artist.
I've dealt with a lot of different artists and when I find one of the greater ones I'll do my best to give you a heads up.
One of those that I've had the pleasure of working on me would be Dave Nielsen.
Currently working out of Steve's Tattoo on Willy St., he has been a blast to have working on a piece for you. He's a pleasure with genial demeanor and his artistry is top notch, his skill with color blending and creating crisp lines without a heavy hand makes the time in the chair fly. Dave is one of the few artists that I trust to say, "have some fun with the design". I have yet to be dissatisfied with any work he has done for me.
It can be deflating when you find an artist who is judgmental when you come to them with a design but Dave has always listened to ideas and happily did whatever he could to incorporate ideas I had without talking down to me and enhanced the original idea to be the most aesthetically pleasing.

I found this excerpt from an article on the Isthmus' Daily Page website written in 2009...
After 11 years in the business, artist Dave Nielsen of Steve's Tattoo on Williamson Street knows exactly what to look for: "Smooth, clean, crisp lines. I look at how the color is put in. Is the color splotchy, or are there smooth gradations?"

Aside from technique, Nielsen recommends choosing an artist whose portfolio reflects the style of tattoo you'd like. For instance, if you want a portrait of your mother tattooed on your arm, make sure the artist has portrait work in his or her portfolio. Also, ask for photos of both fresh tattoos and healed tattoos, which can appear quite different from each other.

Nielsen has heard stories like my own many times before. The proliferation of tattoo shops makes it tempting to go hunting for the cheapest tattoo, rather than the highest-quality tattoo: "It shouldn't be about that; it should be about what the tattoo should look like at the end," he says. "The market is definitely over-saturated.... I assume people's eyes will eventually open, and the people who aren't as good won't last too long in the industry."
2010( still in progress)

If you get a chance stop into Steve's Tattoo and check out his portfolio and chat him up some. Trust me you won't be disappointed.
According to Steve's Tattoo's website Dave's hours are
Mon-Sat: 11a-10p | Sun: 11a-6p

Action Jackson: Tough Mudder Competition Wisconsin

Tough Mudder Wisconsin
Saturday July 23 & Sunday July 24, 2011
Looking for something to do in July that doesn't involve a waterpark so oversaturated with chlorine it leaves your eyes red for two days after, well here is something you found it. Its a mix between a Navy Seals bootcamp and Burning Man. Its coming to Devil's Head Resort in Merrrimac Wisconsin so you should be able to take a nice little ride on the Merrimac Ferry before ripping every muscle in your body while climbing through chest deep mud pits, rings of fire, crawling on your belly in a muddy patch, running up a ski hill to get to more mud.

(don't actually click on the picture go to the website below to get a real view of what you'll be in for.)

All the information you will need to know is at including a training regimen if you feel so inclined to actually prepare. If not, there will be a few medic and rest stations scattered along the course.
It looks like oh so much fun even if you take your sweet time. I mean how many times do you get to destroy a golf course at the height of the golf season.
I've worked at that course and some of those ponds will be a load of fun to trample through, hell you might even collect a few errant golf balls along the way. If you run under the ski lifts check for item people lost as they were riding the lifts during the winter, you're assure to find atleast one gem or two that disappeared out of pants pockets.
Good luck and hope to see you there, its gonna be a gigantic part afterwards.

Projection Booth: Color Me Obsessed

Color Me Obsessed: A Film about The Replacements
directed by Gorman Bechard
There will be a showing Sat, Apr 02 | 6:45 pm at the Chazen Museum of Art as part of the Wisconsin Film Festival.

From :
With COLOR ME OBSESSED, the first documentary on the influential '80s
indie-rock band, The Replacements, director Gorman Bechard brings an
extraordinary vision to a unique filmmaking challenge. Told through
the eyes of fans, friends, and contemporaries, the film breaks from
the traditional music documentary format of music and performances.
“Not wanting to make a VH1/where-are-they-now style documentary, I
decided to present the band in a more iconic way,” the director
explains. “I thought, people believe in God without seeing or hearing
him but rather through the passion, faith, and stories of others.
After watching COLOR ME OBSESSED, I’m pretty sure music fans will
believe in The Replacements in much the same way.”

Combining over 140 interviews with rockers (Colin Meloy of The
Decemberists, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Tommy Ramone, Grant Hart
and Greg Norton of Husker Du, all three members of Goo Goo Dolls),
journalists (Robert Christgau, Legs McNeil, Ira Robbins, Greg Kot, Jim
DeRogatis), and fans both famous (Tom Arnold, Dave Foley, George
Wendt) and not, Bechard delivers the obsessive tale of the most
influential band you've never heard of, to many the greatest rock band
of all time, The Replacements. And though containing not a note of
their music, COLOR ME OBSESSED is a documentary that really rocks.

I cannot wait to see this film probably on the same level of excitement for seeing "X-men: the first class", "Thor", "Captain America: The First Avenger" and the final chapter of the "Harry Potter" series. Yes I'm that much of a Marvel nerd but I love the Replacements even more than superheroes. Paul Westerberg's sarcastic yet insightful lyrics, the evolution from a couple of sloppy kids playing for beer money to becoming a tight unit then the slow disintegration, its what I think of when I conjure up an idea of a great rock and roll band.

Plugged In: Tuesday Playstation Network update

Its Tuesday and we got a few demos to take out for a spin. As you can see by the picture above first up is WWE Allstars. In this demo you get the choice of The Ultimate Warrior with massive hair that would give C.C. Deville a run for his money or Rey Mysterio who for being a tiny guy looks about as jacked as The Hulkster in his heyday.
The gameplay is pretty frenetic, much more fast paced especially if you are use to the Smackdown VS. Raw series. Its hard to get a grasp of the controls initially because you have two attack buttons and two grapple buttons with the R2 trigger being the run button so its hard to use running attacks straight off the bat. Every move is blown so far out of proportion for maximum damage and flashiness.
I first used TUW against Rey and I could keep up with the fight but once I switched characters, I was thoroughly decimated time and time again. It was pretty cool watching Mysterio use the ropes to vault off of towards Warrior. The move set was pretty limited as I kept seeing the same grapples over again and again. I'm really hoping that this is simply dumbed down for the demo but we still have a week to see for sure. I still feel that there is potential for some fun bouts, I'm most looking forward to playing as The Macho Man, Jake "the snake" Roberts and Mr. Perfect. At this point I'd have to recommend this as a rental at best, atleast until I get my hands on the full version.

Next demo I downloaded and gave a go was Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime.
If you've played the underrated "Ghostbusters: the video game" that came out a two years ago, don't expect the same type of gameplay. This time you don't get the original cast's wonderful voice acting. Its been replaced with a comicbook style cutscenes with word-bubbles instead of audio and fully animated cutscenes. Also instead of a third person view its more of an omnipresent viewpoint. Dungeon crawling almost like "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" except with less detail. The controls are left stick moves, right stick shoots proton beams or whatever other weapon they want you to use. The enemies get to you quite often and the other three Ghostbusters( all new recruits) have to revive you very often. Personally it feels like a quick cash-in instead of refining the gameplay engine that the previous game used. Not to say that game was flawless, far from it but the banter between the original Ghostbusters made you ignore the flaws because if you happen to be as big of a Ghosbusters nerd as me it really felt like the third movie that we have been wishing for since we were letdown by the hokey Ghostbuster 2 movie. Well until Bill Murray finally reads that actual Ghostbusters 3 script which everyone involved claims is the one roadblock to us GB dorks finally getting our Trilogy finale. Even if you are a GB dork avoid Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, even the demo is not worth waiting for it to download whatever you do PLEASE CROSS THE STREAMS instead of playing this.
You can spend it rewatching Ghostbuster for the millionth time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weary Traveler: Vegas Punk House

Usually crash on friend's couches?
Wanna get drunk in style?
Getting a bunch of your crusty little buddies for some Vegas craziness that would put "The Hangover" to shame?
Looking for a flophouse that is more your taste than the touristy feel of Circus Circus and a better record collection to boot?
Well, check out Fat Mike's Punk house.

Hi, I’m Fat Mike and this is my house. My punk house. This isn’t the house that I live and sleep in; it’s the house that I visit and don’t sleep in. It’s my house that’s for adults that live like teenagers.

This is why it’s awesome:

It has 3 bedrooms, but it sleeps 10 cuz one bedroom has 6 bunk beds. There’s a full kitchen, sunken living room with an even more sunken bar, poker table room, game room with pinball, record player with a shitload of records, a pool table, and walls covered in thousands of old school flyers that I’ve collected over the years.

The outside has a salt water pool, a cave hot tub, a water slide, a tiki hut, and a 9-hole putting green. That’s a lot of cool shit… for a foreclosure.

The house is 4 miles from the strip (10 minutes) and is on a cul de sac in a really nice neighborhood (used to be till I moved in). That’s about it. Check out our gallery to get a better feel for the place. Have a really good/hedonistic time! The first case of PBR is on me.

Cheers, Fat Mike

If I needed some time in Las Vegas this might be the place I'd wanna stay.
Sure as hell would beat the the faux-Egyptian decor at the Luxor. That shits for Kentucky hill folk.

Plugged In: Mortal Kombat 2011

I've downloaded the demo for the new Mortal Kombat video game for Playstation 3 and it is hot damn fucking amazing.

It only includes two levels, the Forest and the Bridge(Both stages that first made their debut in MK2). You get to use Sub-Zero, Millena, Johnny Cage and of course Scorpion.
I've used each character and each one has slightly a different feel, for instance Millena seems to be a little slower than the others.
What struck me immediately was damage from the first round on the character's appearance continues to the next round. You see bits of brain and muscle and blood as the fight rages on.
A new feature is the X-ray attack where once you charge up a meter at the bottom of the screen you can unleash a slo-mo up close and personal attack where you see organs ripped out and bones cracking in great detail. What you notice is that each character has different look about them in X-ray again using Millena as an example you see her sharpened teeth protruding from her jaw when her face gets smashed unlike Sub-Zero who has normal human set of teeth when the same move is applied to him.
The difference in body make up carries over to fatalities as well. The fatalities are extra gory and just what you'd expect from the Mortal Kombat series. Maybe even more-so.
In the full version there will be a classic "test your might" mini-game as well as a Tag Team mode. I'm looking forward to exploring this mode once the full game is released which happens in full on April 19th.

Bonus Mortal Kombat news: according to the webisodes that are to lead into a new movie based bringing the fantastical elements of the MK series to the real world, somewhat in the vein of what Christopher Nolan did to the Batman franchise. The webisodes will be directed by Kevin Tancharoen who shot a fan trailer now lovingly known as "Mortal Kombat: Rebirth" which I have included below.
The according to his twitter page he left this message... "To all that are asking. The first episode will premiere before the game Komes out...see what I did there?" Like I said above we get our grubby little mits on Mortal Kombat the video game April 19th so it looks like we will be seeing the first of the webisodes in a scant few weeks. If these webisodes live up to the "Rebirth" trailer, these are gonna be amazing. And if they fail to generate the same fanboy hard-ons as the trailer then this might be the closest we will ever get to a movie that can finally wash the stink of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation out of my memory.
Fingers crossed. Feast your eyes below

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spin The Black Circle: Madison Upcoming Concerts

Coming soon to Madison so drop what you are doing and check a few of these out.

SAT, MAR 26 Sims The High Noon Saloon $10 in advance
SUN, MAR 27 Henry Rollins The Great Hall UW Campus
MON,MAR 28 Jeff Tweedy The Capitol Theater $35
SAY, April 9 The Gusto The Crystal Corner Bar on Willy St.
SUN, April 10 Eddie Spaghetti with Metal Marty Chandler (from The Supersuckers) The High Noon Saloon $12 cover, 21 and up
FRI, April 15 Zion I + The Grouch The Majestic Theater $15
TUE, April 19 The Decemberists and Justin Townes Earle The Overture Center $32.50 - $36.50
SAT, April 23 Talib Kweli: Gutter Rainbows Tour Concerts at the Capitol $25
SUN, April 24 Stnnng( from Minneapolis, highly recommend) The High Noon Saloon $7 cover for 21 and up,$9 for 18 and up
SAT, May 14 The Fiery Furnaces The Majestic Theater $15
WED, May 25 Norma Jean The Majestic Theater $14.50 in advance

Projection Booth: Hobo With A Shotgun

This started out as a fan fake trailer to be shown when "Grindhouse" was shown at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Tx but there was such a groundswell for the fan made trailer that it found financial backers and began principle photography April 19th 2010.
Rutger Hauer will play the titular character who only dreams of owning his own lawnmower but finds pimps, pushers and pedophiles and using his trusty shotgun commences to rid the city of these lowlifes.
It will also feature Molly Dunsworth( sister of Sarah Dunsworth from Trailer Park Boys fame who also served as costume designer for the movie), Robb Wells( best known as Ricky from Trailer Park Boys)

The title of the movie seems to explain everything you need to know. If you like gore, mindless violence and some Charles Bronson bravado then this looks like the movie for you. From the trailer alone it looks like something that would make Rodger Corman proud and probably has Lloyd Kaufman kicking himself for not getting the distribution rights. If the buzz coming out of the festival circuit is more than just buzz then this could give "The Room" some strong competition for screen space at Midnight showings in cinemas across the country.
Looks like starting in this coming May it will come to life on Video on Demand before a limited theater engagement.
Keep your eyes peeled for this gem of ultra-violence.

Wall Hangings: Quentin Vs. Coen

Occasionally I'll run across an artist or piece of art that I really dig. Recently I came across the "Bad Dads" gallery showing put on by Spoke Art, which was a paintings and such inspired by Wes Anderson films. Later on Spokeart
was selling prints and even some originals from that show. ( I personally bought a print of Bill Murray as "Papa Zissou" that Greg Gossel created and its fantastic)
Well now coming up April 7th through the 9th at the Bold Hype Gallery in the "Big Apple" these same lovely folks are hosting "Quentin vs. Coen" an art tribute to the films of both Quentin Tarantino and The Coen Brothers.
I'm sure some there will be prints available sometime after the show. I wish I could be in New York to be there in person but at you can see some previews of the amazing interpretations that will be shown. Seriously go check em out or " I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger".
Here are a couple examples courtesy of Spokeblog

Norma Jean at the Majestic Theater

Opening bands are going to be:
After the Burial
Motionless in White
For the Fallen Dreams
Stray from the Path

Norma Jean the metalcore band from Douglasville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Born in 2001, the newborn Norma Jean was an image of achievement, releasing the highly praised debut "Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child" in 2002, recorded completely live, everything from the urgency of vocals to the unveiling of enthusiasm through their instruments. The vessel to a distinctive sound of pummeling time signatures and contrasting maniacal chords. Placing them on the map as an influential musical outfit, with one of the most intense audio and visual live performances around.
Norma Jean released their album, Meridional, on July 13, 2010 and it looks like this what they will be promoting on this round of shows.
May 25th
Show is at 7pm with doors at 6pm
At the Majestic Theater on King St.

Tickets are $14.50 in advance and $16.50 day of the show.

Snap into some Macho Madness

FINALLY Randy Savage has come back to your game console in WWE All Stars.

I have been playing wrestling video games ever since I owned an original Nintendo. This game looks like its made more for fighting gamers rather than people who religiously watch WWE programming and usually I don't enjoy cartoonish arcade-y type fighting games but getting to unleash some Macho Madness makes me very interested in giving this one a whirl.
The graphics looks like someone spilled a vial of anabolic steroids on their PS3 but it looks like it could be a bowl of rad sauce.
On Tuesday the demo is suppose to be released on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live. Once I download it and give it a spin I'll update on if its worth your time or if it ends up being like that Playstation 2 series "Legends of Wrestling".

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weaselmania or Wrestlemania???

I missed South By Southwest but seems the prevailing story out of Austin Tx, seems to be Ben Weasel going "Axl Rose" on some girl out in the audience who threw something at him while Weasel was on stage playing.

Shouldn't be surprising seeing as how on Screeching Weasel's new album "First World Manifesto", one of the songs "Follow Your Leaders" bemoans the current punk scene and its' audience. Can you really be shocked, as he's been known for his surly demeanor, probably just a matter of time. I say that's what is needed these days. More danger at rock n roll shows, I can remember coming out of a shows with blood falling from some part of my face probably more times than I'd like to remember and that was the late 90's. I've heard stories from the 80's punk/hardcore scene that make my experiences sound lame.

Last year it was outta SXSW it was the staged tequila mixed with piss shots that were passed out tot the audience while Fat Mike as Cokie the Clown did a solo set. If you can see the video of the set you can also see the audience heckling Mike while he tells real stories, some quite sad, between songs. The set concluded with the audience being shown a video from the stage of what appeared to be Fat Mike whipping out his member and pissing in the tequila bottle and recorking it, then taking the same bottle and pouring shots for the crowd. Some people freaked out realizing they had just downed "tequila cock" shots while others laughed being had. Fat Mike gets banned from the venue and everyone has a good laugh. The last laugh came a few months later when it turns out it was a fake dick and fake piss. No harm, no foul. Even if it ended up really being a ruse, it should have stayed behind zipped lips.
The unpredictability it demonstrated was something sorely needed in punk rock and rock n roll in general these days. Safety shouldn't be a guarantee. There should always be a charge of "anything's might happen at any moment" in the air once you enter a venue.
Granted death shouldn't be one of those things that might happen, like as at Altamont during the Stones set, but barring life threatening actions we need more chaos and insanity. Those elements make going to a show worth the experience.

We need more explosiveness from the stage at shows. Audiences need to learn to "fear and respect that escalator". As much as people like to fault Ryan Adams for his onstage tantrums he's thrown while in Minneapolis I kind of enjoy it as an idea.

Rock and Roll is suppose to be dangerous and unpredictable, thats what made it so popular over the years. Granted GG Allin has been relegate to a punk rock footnote but the reason why more often than not the exact reason people went to see GG Allin and the Murder Junkies was to see some shit go down, sometimes literally and sometimes the unpredictable antics that could ensue.
Rock and roll has gotten soft, the barricades make the audience feel too safe, safe enough that they feel they can get snotty but when it comes back to bite em back they get so offended. The visceral interplay between band and audience has become so sanitized that everyone gets up in arms when someone like Ben Weasel flips his shit after having junk thrown at him. This isn't the zoo and as an audience you don't get to play the role of the bratty kid who tosses pebbles in the monkey cage and doesn't like the what happens next.
Now I'm not defending Ben Weasel jacking a woman as it seems thats what happened but being in the audience doesn't entitle you to act like an asshole to someone you come to see play a show so they can make a living.
I remember being at the 400 Club in Minneapolis ,in 2008 I believe, to see Connor Oberst's new band play the first of a two night stand to try out new material. My friend and I were pretty near the stage in this small venue and you could almost not even hear the band play because everyone was talking the entire time, to the point that Connor had to stop midsong to tell some hipster jerkoff to take his cellphone conversation to the back of the bar. I don't get it personally. Here are the headliners playing an atypical show, something special and everyone would rather hold asinine conversations while they played. Rock and roll audiences are too complacent and almost think they are better than those they come to see.
To paraphrase David Cross' comedy album title " Shut up you fucking babies and enjoy the show" Otherwise sit at home and listen to the album or wear a helmet and elbow pads so the rest of us know you are fragile to be there in the first place.
To the rest of you sissies, Welcome to the Jungle motherfuckers.

Torchwood rides again.

Recently thanks to Netflix Instant I discovered the BBC show Torchwood

After finishing the series with "The Children of Earth miniseries I then, in a backwardsy way, discovered Doctor Who.
I've enjoyed the slightly more serious tone that Torchwood had over Doctor Who's sometimes wackiness. Torchwood had much more of a british X-Files type of tone to it with just enough dark humor so not to take itself entirely too seriously. I high recommend giving it a go, by the third episode you should be throughly hooked.
And I was sad when I finally finished the series but I am getting jazzed from the news I found on IMDB that this summer they are resurrecting the show for another miniseason.

Dubbed Miracle Day it looks to add some known American actors, Mekhi Phifer ("House"), Bill Pullman and Lauren Abrose ("Six Feet Under") to the cast along side known Torchwood agents Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper.
From the press release:
One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next,and the next, people keep aging — they get hurt and sick — but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight.

With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four month’s time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?”, he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.

I gotta say I am salivating to feast my eyes upon this new entry into the Torchwood cannon.