The other day, Ty Burr posted an article for the Boston Globe called “Why Superhero Movies Leave Me Cold”. You can find it here:
I should note, that while I am a sci fi elitist, a purist and a bit of a jerk when it comes to my genre of choice, I am also a fan. It is because I am a fan that I come down so hard on comic book companies and movie production teams to do it right. And, while I will almost surely find things wrong with every movie to come out, and while I know that I have to sit in a theater with mouth breathing idiots who think they know who Thor is just because they saw the movie, I know that in order for the genre to survive, we have to get Joe Windowlicker and his bratty kids who can’t shut up in the crowd to come see this movie or my genre will die.
I’m not just thinking for myself here, this is for the public good. America NEEDS the superhero now more than ever. Superheroes on the big screen are not a new phenomenon. They go back as far as the 1940s with old Superman and Batman serials before main features would start. And it is important to note this because almost every decade, the world has faced a situation that has threatened the US globally and forces us to think about what we need to do. We need to focus on the “good guys” because more often than not, we can easily find ourselves playing the villain role. Movies have taken on a life of their own since their inception. They are modes of escape for some, a canvas for indie film makers to make art, but also our current way of storytelling. Yes, before movies, they told stories by books and oral tales. Now in our days of facebooks and twitter, nooks and ipads, we have replaced that interaction with movies. It is then safe to say, that the superhero genre has now become our modern fairytale. It is the fantastic, it is the strange, and there is almost always a point to it.
I am sorry if Burr thinks that all superheros are dumb. I am sorry he thinks that grown ups don’t go to these movies anymore. Indeed, that is probably why I can never become a “film critic” and will just settle to be a critic of people, because I happen to like these movies. (Even if they are done bad). Burr does a good job of name dropping comic book characters and indie books in his article throughout the evolution of the comic, but I don’t think he knows what he talks about when he tries to put it together. Yes, Indie books have their place in comics. Yes superhero books do too. Yes the writing has gotten more complex over the years, so has our situations over the years. But a hero is more than just someone in a pajama suit (ugh I get tired of hearing people who want to make light of comic books as referring to heroes wearing “pajamas”). I tire of people saying that being a real hero is much more boring. We all know that, that’s why there are not a lot of heroes in the first place. The series must constantly change and evolve. Toby Maguire could not be the new Spider-man again. Sam Raimi was done with his trilogy. Now… it is time for someone else to take over. Why does the series need to reboot? Because the first Maguire Spiderman movie came out 10 years ago that’s why… let’s let someone else have a crack at one of the greatest iconic heroes of all time. If we didn’t keep rebooting hero movies, Ang Lee’s Hulk would have stayed as the current example of my favorite Marvel characters movie, and I’ll be damned if that happens.
Burr asks that if we know evil can’t be rid of the world by having Superman spinning the planet backward, then why waste time thinking about it. He states that an industry built on daydreams and wish fulfillment can be the motor of a billion dollar industry, then what are we NOT thinking about. And I say, the world does have problems, this is true, I address them in this blog all the time. I also address that in order for America to be great again. We need great examples. If we can teach our kids fundamentally good examples of doing the right thing, even if it is a guy in a costume, what is wrong with that? The world is tough. Our heroes need to be tougher than it.
Let me tell you a little bit about this kid. He grew up in a rural setting. There wasn’t much for him to do in the land of dirt. One day, his parents took him to see a little flick called “Empire Strikes Back”. He knew that no matter what happened in the coming months, like Luke Skywalker, when he was old enough, he was going to get the hell out of Karnes County and go out in the great big galaxy and make something of himself. As he got older, he got into comic books. The Avengers were his first book and he read it faithfully. One of his favorite characters, was Captain America, who always went with the motto that “One man can make a difference.” Another was The Incredible Hulk, which taught him that he wasn’t alone in his dual personalities against the world. He kept looking to the stars for the fantastic and the strange because the world around him was so dark, untrustworthy and cold. It stank with other people’s contentment of their situation, and he could not wait to prove he could do more. As time went on, this kid became a man. Spurred by the motto of Captain America believing one man can make a difference, he created his own zine. That zine grew into other zines, then he started to freelance write, that grew to a few other gigs, and now, that kid who became a man is an old man, he co owns this nationally recognized podcast, he interviews cool and interesting new people all the time, and he has truly become a self doer, small business owner, and loves what he does on his own terms. That’s the American success story right? Being your own boss and loving what you do?
Guess what? Captain America taught me that.
We’ve (by we I mean M Dawg and I) have been keeping tabs on Iron Man 3 pretty closely. One of my biggest disappointments was finding out new director Shane Black was not interested in putting the Mandarin character into the movie saying it was a racial stereotype. Turns out, new rumors have surfaced saying Mandarin may indeed be in the movie.
Website Neonpunch has reported that Internal Affairs actor Andy Lau is apparently in negotiations for a role in the film. NeonPunch has heard he’ll play an old friend of Tony’s that represents China’s technology sector – and will use China’s armored heroes to help Iron Man defeat “The Mandarin” who is seen as a terrorist against both the US and China. Whether that means an individual named The Mandarin or an organization with the name, no one seems to know.
But hey… even though it looks like everyone in Marvel’s camp has been a bunch of liars.. it’s still kind of cool right? I mean with a cool villain, Shane Black has an even harder time to screw it up.
We think Teflon Beast Records are pretty cool dudes. They release all their releases in cassette. That’s pretty awesome, especially for an analog man like myself.TBR is a cassette label founded on the idea that music needs to be experienced physically as well as aurally.
Its TBR’s distinct pleasure to announce the release of 100% Pur Sport (TBR08) by a group who call themselves Irureta. The full-length cassette is considered “regressive rock” by the band – we just think its cool. These sonic jammers from Trith St-Lywood, France are sure to make you groove when listening to this “sports” themed collection. An answer of sorts to Gary Busdriver (TBR01), Irureta have a lot of roots and we feel its best to let them speak for themselves:
“Irureta is a band I’ve been a part of for most of the last 8 years. It is an unkept secret that’s been at the back of our musical minds : Omar Garita, Otto Domingo, Bernold Delgoda, Zachary Oswald, Gilbert Térazas and Derec Lemago. These are our actual musical minds, yes sir!
It really started as a joke band in the early 00′s : we would simply record, play, get high and drink delicious beer, not necessarily in that order. Then recordings would be grossly edited in order to keep whatever was of interest to us during that session : glorious misses, spontaneous composition, weird readings and synth experiences. Around that, an aesthetic and abstract identity built itself over the years, mainly around the themes we saw fit to include in our research : old school / vintage sports (“Le Beau Jeu” is central in that respect, and is embodied by technical, collective playing soccer players from the 70′s, in contrast to the performance seeking, ego-tripping idiots we’ve got these days) like Football or Formula 1, charcuterie / sausages, pâtés, weed, cats, delicious beers, and red wine. Also : space traveling, Derrick, absurdist comic books and drawings, mad scientists worldwide, south american countries, exploitation films, early electronics (Ray Scott, Delia Derbyshire), etc. The 70′s and 80′s are a huge aesthetic influence, but probably not in a hipster way. No one knows or cares, actually.
Irureta shamelessly loots : indie-rock, synthesizer music, psych/post-rock, math-rock, afrobeat, sound collage, lo-fi music, and certainly more. That said, I do believe that all these years of playing together helped us mix all this in a coherent ensemble, and that Irureta, in the end, is just Irureta. An Irureta rehearsal happens just because it is planned, and only those who can attend do attend it. Then what happens happens, or doesn’t. I’ve played guitar, bass, synth. Except for a couple of us, we often change instruments. Several of us also have solo projects.
With time, what once was deliberately awkward, stupid, and extremely lo-fi became a little more sophisticated. Maybe even : shareable. Maybe! It just has to be fun, and it has to feel like Irureta. 90% of our track titles are made of the worst puns one could come up with in French. We take great pleasure in making those puns. In a nutshell? An experience in pleasure and (bad?) taste.” O.G. http://lafondationbacchus.blogspot.fr/p/irureta.html
check out a video from the album below
The documentary titled “one nine nine four” which is a look at punk’s explosion in the 90s mainstream was leaked onto youtube recently. Director Jai Al-Attas doesn’t seem too ticked off, his tweet read : So it’s true the doco leaked – go find it.
The documentary is narrated by Tony Hawk, and features some good bands like Rancid, Lagwagon and Bad Religion. It also features some shitty bands like Offspring and Green Day, but you can’t have everything…
My feelings on this are mixed. 1994 for example was the year I started my first zine, first band, etc, so I guess if I had to be lumped into a category, you could say this was my era. I however, unlike some of these bands, had no ambition for commercialism and I am pretty sure you would never have seen my Oi! band The Blacklisted trying to get on Lookout. The opening lines hit a hard note of reality for me when it says all of a sudden punk was mainstream and what was OURS became theirs.
Some call me an elitist. I call myself a guardian. At any rate, I’m glad this period of punk is over, we can go back to having it in the basement again, and all the cool kids can move onto dubstep or whatever hipster trash is out.
For what it’s worth good or bad, here is the link to the movie on youtube. Save yourself some bucks and see it for free while it’s up.
I went to a social gathering this weekend.
It was a nice little hullabaloo.
While I was there, I ran across this one dude, he was my age, I think he may have gone to high school with me, I’m not really sure. The topic of high school came up and our ages in our quick convo and we both remarked at how our 2o year reunion was coming up. The thing he said to me was “I think the 20 year one is one I would actually go to, because I think we have all matured enough to not be jerks anymore.” I assured him I was not that optimistic and also pretty much still a jerk, we both laughed and that was the end of it.
The conversation left me with a lingering taste though. It tasted “not good”.
I didn’t like high school. At All. It’s a part of my life I try not to remember much. The social awkwardness, the unhearable cliquish- ness of everything around me. The dictatorship of the powers that be, and being an adult now, and having friends that are teachers, I can only confirm what I thought back then. The administrators didn’t know jack shit.
No… I did not like high school at all.
It was a piece of paper I needed. It was a piece of paper I got. I didn’t care for the mascot, the god awful marching band, the athletic teams, any of it. I was content to find the music I wanted, and be left alone, but there was no way of that happening.
I remember being put into in school suspension for trivial reasons, and constantly being patted down and searched by drug dogs. I remember teachers who didn’t care to teach, only about standardized testing. I remember being forced to go to mandatory pep rallys because our football team had to look good for the local paper and tv station.
I remember my hatred of “the man” and not having a good reason told to me why I had to take my piercings out, or couldnt have a wild color hair cut, or why I couldn’t wear a pocket watch to school. I just remember things didn’t make sense. I remember being shut out journalistically so I had to make my own zine. I remember I hated not having anything to do, so we started our own band. It was that place and my contempt for it that never made me want to be passive again.
When I walked that stage, I got that piece of paper and vowed never to return to those walls for any reason. I have stayed true to that. To this day the school colors make me turn into a bile throat launcher and the school song medley makes me think of doing horrible things as they raise their arms locked in solidarity. I am glad my Alma Mater no longer exists, that it has become the pawn of local politics. I would have rather it burned to the ground but at least I no longer have to see it’s stupid mascot on tshirts all muscle bound like something out of a 90s “extreme” corn chips ad.
I didn’t go to any of the reunions. My poor friend Megan works hard to try to get me to go too. She actually helps organize them. She even went so far as to try to book my band to play so I could be forced to go, but luckily for me, the band was on tour.
And that’s the point. I DID NOT peak in high school. My best years are ahead of me. Look at me. I am not a wage slave. I am a free man. I do what and when I want. I am punk rock, indie rock, and rock rock all in one. I do more in a month that some do all year, and I have never been better for it. So the answer (or question) is, why would I go to a reunion of people who mutually didn’t like me in the first place?
Maybe just to rub in how good looking I still am.
Here ya go… the newest video from Andrew Jackson Jihad. The song is off their new album KNIFE MAN.
Ok, we get it. You had a fancy hologram of Tupac come out and dazzle the crowd opening night. I’m not surprised, actually I didn’t even click on the link when I first saw it yesterday. It’s the sort of thing I expect from multi million dollar concerts like yours. You should wow somebody. I am pretty ok with that, I am even ok with the fact that the “modern” world is going apeshit over this little stunt.
They should. I mean it cost enough. But let’s be honest, it’s not a true hologram. It’s actually a projected 2d image created by the Digital Domain Media Group that also uses a visual trick called Pepper’s Ghost. “This is not found footage. This is not archival footage,” Digital Domain’s chief creative officer Ed Ulbrich told the Wall Street Journal. “This is an illusion.”
That’s why I can’t figure out what the big fuss is about. There is so much of it, after 5 minutes of dancing around and rapping, there is talk of a full scale tour. And for the life of me, a music tour, is about… well performance. It’s not about a pre recorded optical illusion right? I mean that’s what I thought. But America doesn’t mind paying for boy bands and pop acts that lip sync, I guess paying top dollar for an act that isn’t real isn’t a big deal. Me on the other hand, I like the shock and awe of what may or may not happen at a live show.
But since we are on the subject, I think the powers that be chose poorly. If we are going to spend 6 figures for a five minute performance, let’s see something that would be really cool. So without further ado… here are three things I think we would have been better off seeing.
#1 Run DMC (Jam Master Jay)
Picture this… You got today’s rap in the mainstream that is pretty much samples and autotune, and no lyrics just a hook over and over and you got all these guys talking about stuff I don’t have… They talk about Escalades, sitting around in hot tubs with big booty chicks, too much money, their mansions, traveling to Europe to shop for suits they have to wear on court day (but they’ll never get caught) etc… It ain’t me. I can’t identify with mainstream rap. I like underground hip hop. Stuff that I can relate to. On another note, I love eighties hip hop because it was just fun. And what better rap act to bring back than RUN DMC? This is one of the most influential acts in history, the first to make a solid connection about the MC and DJ relationship, and speaking of DJ… Imagine Jam Master Jay in hologram form. That’s epic.
#2 SKINNY Danzig
Yeah… we know Danzig ain’t dead. But he kind of is. If you had seen last year’s horrible effort at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 in Austin you would know that according to festival organizers a fatter balding man who claimed to be Danzig showed up, made impossible demands, wanted french onion soup, wind screens, a stage heater, better lighting and refused to go on until he was 45 minutes late, THEN when the park was shutting down at 10pm and they told him he had 5 more minutes, he proceeded to tell the crowd how he just wanted to play for you guys and how oppressed the show was stalling for more time. This ain’t the Danzig we wanted to see. The Danzig we remember from the old days. A better in shape and dark soul has been replaced by less hair, a prima donna attitude, and the only muscle that got bigger was the table muscle. So imagine Danzig Legacy touring with a hologram young Danzig. Word. Holograms can’t complain about the lighting… they are light.
Check out this footage of Danzig now and you tell me.
#3 THE TRONS
I don’t want to see these guys as a hologram, but if you are going to have non humans on stage. Make them Robots. I fell in love with The Trons a few years ago, and interviewed their creator about them. This band is a total garage robot band, built by their manager who is also a musician, they play their own instruments, have developed voice and “personality” and have even gone on tour. It’s not 6 figures… it’s real life garage rock. You could do way worse…
You remember our friends and last month’s featured artist, Museum Mouth?
They have a new video for their song “Blood Mountain” off their “Sexy But Not Happy” album which is available for free download on their bandcamp page!
Actors Patrick Stewart, Val Kilmer and TV’s original Dynamic Duo – Adam West and Burt Ward – join a long list of comic artists and media guests for the largest Dallas Comic Con yet on May 19 and 20. Presented by legendary comic book writer Stan Lee, the show will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the 300,000-square-foot Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas.
“This is definitely our biggest show thus far,” said producer Ben Stevens. “Not only do we have a huge line-up of artists, actors and other guests, but we’re using every square foot of the facility so we can bring in some new and exciting surprises for our fans. There will be more things for them to do and see at this show.”
Mr. Lee, a guest at last year’s Dallas Comic Con, signed up for this year’s show immediately afterward. In addition to being the former president of Marvel Comics, he’s well known in the industry as a writer, editor, actor, producer and publisher.
Comic artists appearing at the show include Neal Adams, co-founder of Continuity Comics and legendary artist of Batman, Conan the Barbarian, Green Arrow, Superman and X-Men; Superman artist George Perez, also known for Wonder Woman; Len Wein, co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing; and Marvel artist Arthur Suydam, award-winning creator of the smash hit Marvel Zombies series.
Mr. Lee charges a fee for autographs, and many of the artists draw small sketches for a fee. However, most artists will sign autographs at no charge
Actor Kevin Conroy, the voice of “Batman/Bruce Wayne” in both animated film and video games, also will be signing at no charge throughout the weekend.
Patrick Stewart and Val Kilmer top the media guest list that will appeal to fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Batman and even the recent hit movie, The Hunger Games.
Mr. Stewart is best known to sci-fi fans as Star Trek’s “Capt. Jean-Luc Picard” and “Professor Charles Xavier” in the X-Men movies and video games. Mr. Kilmer took on the iconic lead role in 1995’s Batman Forever, played “Doc Holliday” in Tombstone, and nailed the role of “Jim Morrison” in Oliver Stone’s The Doors.
Other media guests include actors Adam West and Burt Ward, aka “Batman” and “Robin” in the 1960s Batman TV series; actress Kristanna Loken from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; John de Lancie, who starred in both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stargate SG-1; and Dallas native Tim Taylor, who plays “The Gamekeeper” in the recent smash hit The Hunger Games.
Star Wars fans will welcome back perennial favorites Dave Prowse, who played the villainous “Darth Vader” in the original trilogy; Jeremy Bulloch, portrayer of favorite bounty hunter “Boba Fett;” and Englishman-turned-Texan Peter Mayhew, best known as the gruff but lovable sidekick “Chewbacca.”
During the two-day event, the actors will be available to sign autographs, talk with fans and answer questions during special panel discussions, which are free to attend as space allows. Guests charge a fee for autographs.
In addition to meeting the actors and artists, fans may peruse more than 200 exhibitor booths featuring comic books, movie memorabilia, old and new toys, clothing and other merchandise. For an additional fee, fans also may have their photo taken with select actors by a professional photographer.
Admission to Dallas Comic Con is $20 Saturday and $15 Sunday when pre-purchased online, and an additional $5 if purchased at the box office. Online sales end April 20. VIP and Priority passes for this show are sold out.
Show hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 20. The Irving Convention Center, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd., is at the intersection of SH114 and Northwest Highway in Irving, Texas.
For more information or to pre-purchase tickets, please visit the website at http://dallascomiccon.com.
Iron Man 3 is slated for a May 2013 release, and it’s missing something… a villain. Never fear Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast) is in talks to play the next villain, reportedly yet another corporate bad guy with a hankering for new technology (yawn). But that’s pretty much on par. One of Iron Man’s original comic themes was the implications of the Cold War, and the struggle of the American Inventor to hold on to his own technology in the modern world of government acquisitions and teams ruled by companies where all intellectual properties belong to business not people.
Which is what made Iron Man’s main super villain so cool. Alas we may never see Mandarin, the martial arts magic ring welding, alien technology using criminal mastermind. Even though Original Iron Man director Jon Favreau did hint before we may see Mandarin in part 3, new director and all around buzzkill Shane Black (and honestly Marvel this better not be the guy who had ties to “Last Action Hero” are you guys hurting for money? This guy hasn’t done anything since the turn of the 90′s right?) dismissed Mandarin as a racist caricature at Long Beach Comic-Con last fall. Apparently with China Box Office numbers racial sensitivities matter, and I guess if you have the guy who wrote box office bomb “The Long Kiss Goodnight” you’re going to need all the help you can get, even if it is Iron Man.
And while I make fun of this, because I am sure Marvel will certainly shut me up as they have before by putting out a decent movie, let me go on record as saying I have never heard anyone in my circle call Mandarin a stereotype. You can always shave off his fu manchu. You can’t do much about the accent because well, the character is Asian and he’s also called Mandarin, you definitely want to keep him as a martial arts master, I don’t know man, I just see a badass, I never really thought of myself as a racist because I like the way Mandarin looks, acts, and kicks ass. Maybe you guys are just filled with personal guilt. I mean, I’m a Mexican, but I love Mexican wrestlers who play their stereotype well, I love the bad guys in Three Amigos, I never leave in a huff about it, I love Mexican spoof bands like Manic Hispanic. And if someone wanted to make a villain, dress him up in Dia De Los Muertos facepaint or a sombrero (or both) and call him “El Bandito” I’d be so down for that. Just saying.