Archive: February, 2009
You're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool: Valentine's Day movies that won't make you want to vomit Sweethearts
So, it's Valentine's Day and you and the honey bunny are gonna keep it quiet this year: A bottle of wine, a little ambiance and the glow of your televsion set to keep you warm. Too bad a lot of the romantic fare pushed down your throat every V-Day is saccharine-y treacle (Love means never having to say you're sorry? BlechGagGargle). Never fear, romantics of Philly! Here's a list of lovey dovey cinemania to keep your heart afire.
Gangsta love: True Romance
Hands down the most romantic of the crime scene couple genres (like a Natural Born Killers that doesn't leave you thinking "Oh Oliver Stone. You are a fool. Now leave me alone."). Clarence and Alabama get married, steal her former pimp's coke stash and hightail it to Shangri-Los Angeles with the help of Spectre-Elvis. You'll fall in love with Clarence and Alabama during their sensual first sex scene, set to "Wounded Bird " by Charles and Eddie, which features a shot of them holding hands.
Animal Attraction: Microcosmos
A nature doc? For serious? Listings editor extraordinaire Holly Otterbein says the scene above is the most sensuous thing she's ever seen. Plus, it's a French movie so in the language of frogs is "L'amour d'Escargot." Someone needs to cut this scene to Barry White's "I am Qualified (to Satisfy You)."
Lust for Life: Harold and Maude
Talk about cougar love. Baby-faced/death obsessed Harold falls for septugenarian Maude. In the process, Maude teaches him how to love life and live it to it's fullest. For a movie in which Harold fakes his own suicide for fun, it's incredibly uplifting.
I love you so much, it's killing us both: Twister
Let's let Lauren Friedman explain: Most people agree that this is a pretty bad movie, but I think it falls squarely into the "so bad it's good" category. It is the kind of ridiculous plot that is a delight to make fun of with your loved one, and (bonus!) you get to see Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton reconcile like the soulmates that they are WHILE running from tornadoes and having to shout half of the dialogue over the deafening chaos. Amazing.
Related: Two for the Road (no one does love-hate like Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney), Barefoot in the Park, The Philadelphia Story (only Cary Grant could slap a woman and make it charming)
Grand Slam: Bull Durham
Because baseball is the most romantic of all sports … and because of the passion between Annie Savoy and Crash Davis. Listen to the "I believe … " monologue from above and try to argue for Annie picking Nuke over Crash.
Related: Somebody Up There Likes Me (the only boxing movie where the wife isn't an intolerable shrew. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Adrien.)
Daniel Day-Love: My Beautiful Laundrette
Pakistani-Briton Omar re-connects with his former BFF, skinhead Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). It deals with class and race issue without the Hollywood-style aggrandizing and is full of tender moments, like the one above, or the scene in which Omar and Johnny splash water at each other (shirtless). Sigh.
Love Down Under: Eagle vs. Shark
Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords gets it on as awkwardly as possible. Dianca Potts says, "this quirky New Zealand comedy explores all the awkward delicate complications and frustrations related to crushes and first loves."
Related: The Piano (for some deaf-mute New Zealand lovin')
Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?: To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
Tiffany Jackson explains: "Its a perfect valentines day movie because: 1. It's just great. 2. It's hilarious how basically everyone — the cop, the boys in town — wanted to get with the three drag queens, when they are CLEARLY men! (c'mon, Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo were horrible looking women.) 3. The part when John 'Chi Chi' Leguizamo lets Bobby Lee have Bobby Ray, and they go to the dance together... and then the whole town ends up hooking up.... ROMANTIC!!!" Bonus points because Patrick Swayze's character is from Bala Cynwyd.
Related: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (if you like your queens Aussie-flavored)
Love that wasn't meant to be: From Here to Eternity
Burt Lancaster loves Deborah Kerr. Montgomery Clift loves Donna Reed. Frank Sinatra just wants to take the fifth of whiskey out from under his flowing sports shirt and get laid. Nobody gets what they want and we're all the better for it.
Teen Time: …Say Anything
Lloyd Dobler … sigh. If anything, though, this movie best encapsulates how shitty it is to break up, and to cherish what you've got. "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."
This list is nowhere near complete. Tell us what we missed in the comments below. Best answer gets lucky tomorrow.
Admit it — you want more from this week’s Movies section.
Friday the 13th (2009)
If ever a series rendered a reboot superfluous, it's Friday the 13th — each installment already pushed the reset button, resurrecting its hockey-masked anti-hero and killing him off again at the end. But like Casino Royale, the fresh start allows the series to disown the ridiculous gimmicks — telekinesis, outer space, Corey Feldman — that increasingly cluttered each entry, and to reimagine its iconic character as an athletic and sadistic upgrade of the familiar old model. Once a force of nature, Jason Voorhees is here transformed into a deranged survivalist. It's obviously modeled directly on Rob Zombie's Halloween remake, but we need to know how Jason survived in the woods all those years even less than we needed to fill in the gap between Michael Myers' childhood killing spree and the night he came home. What hasn't been rethought is the fuck-and-die formula, though it's applied with smug, knowing irony. The standard teens-in-the-woods slaughter is briskly dispatched in a 30-minute pre-title sequence, but instead of freeing the film to veer off in unexpected directions it instead sequelizes itself, introducing a new batch and offing them in the expected order — the final girl is still chaste, and there are grueling deaths in store for the topless water-skiier, the stoner goof-off and, yes, the black guy. —Shaun Brady (Click here for showtimes and to purchase tickets for Friday the 13th)
Related: Freddy vs. Jason
Drawing from desperation, sketching out a chance for romance
“It's a fine line between 'hopeless romantic' and 'creepy.'“ So reads the final panel of the last comic in Julia Wertz's I Saw You... Comics Inspired by Real-Life Missed Connections (out last week from Three Rivers Press), and it's a good summation of why craigslist.org's Missed Connections section makes for such compelling reading. Any given posting, containing the often vaguely-sketched details of an anonymous encounter, could potentially come across as endearing or unnerving, hopeless or hope-inspiring, sympathetic or simply pathetic. As imagined and fleshed out by some 80 different comic artists, the episodes in this collection (taken from craigslist, print publications and other sources, but all ostensibly “real-life”) run that gamut and then some.
The comix medium is brilliant for presenting variably-interpretable situations with distinct and specific emotional overtones, and the wild array of styles on display here makes for a particularly broad range of inflections, but it still often allows room for varying responses, depending on how charitable or cynical you might be. The note from a 29-year-old male “thanking” his bank teller for a peek down her blouse is straight-up icky subject matter, but Corinne Mucha's simple, charming rendering of the story is so sweet and affable that it's hard not to appreciate, at least, the genuineness and humanity in his humble, fumbling message. Many of the artists use visual details to inject some wry humor and dramatic irony into their situations, like the fact that the English-accented “handsome male” for whom Dan Henrick's w4m swoons is reading “Out in Chicago.”
Some take mundane or cryptic messages merely as imaginative springboards for wholly invented scenarios, as with Shannon O'Leary's tight-assed English professor, pedantically correcting the grammar and usage of a missed connections post, oblivious that he is its subject.
Incidentally, there are relatively few recognizable Philly-area stories here — not surprisingly, San Francisco and New York locales predominate, though there also seems to be a particular abundance of D.C. inclusions — but local artist Josh Frees provides one of the collection's most heart-tugging pieces, which opens with his roughly-drawn protagonist sitting at an R5 station, reading the Inquirer.
Though editor Julia Wertz (of fartparty.org) definitely deserves credit for realizing an ingenious concept (so self-evidently brilliant that, despite her rebuffing an agent's interest in it four times, the book was sold less than a week after she finally relented), the great thing about I Saw You... is how completely, complexly collaborative it is. If feels not so much like the work of an individual or group of individuals as truly a product of its times (and places, especially urban ones.) A disparate assortment of everyday moments, arbitrary intersections with random strangers, captured by ambiguously-intentioned unknowns, and refracted through artistic sensibilities of dozens of writers and drawers, it adds up to a fascinating and multivalent overview of our society — or of certain cross-sections, but it gets broader than you might expect — and the strange things that happen when we find ourselves looking for love, and connection, out there in our weird modern world. Of course, that's only if you choose to see it that way. You might just find that it's good for a chuckle and a warm smile — but sometimes that's all you need.
The Pains of Being The Official Pains of Being Pure At Heart Blog.
As Sunday afternoon slipped into Sunday night, KungFu Necktie got comfortably crammed with show-goers from black wall to black wall. After a dreamy assemblage of ’45s spun by DJ Htshell, Philly’s Brown Recluse Sings took the stage, striking chords and belting out numbers from their forthcoming full length release. Beginning with “Mystifying Oracle,” featured on their Black Sunday EP, the Brown Recluse Sings’ set grabbed the audience’s attention and kept it captive with six or so songs, including the Lazy Bones” and “the Calm Before the Storm.” Rendered sweaty from the collective flash of cameras and KFN’s white hot stage lights, the six-piece pop sensation packed up their gear and joined the crowd, receiving compliments from strangers and chatting with old friends.
The Depreciation Guild later filled the on-stage vacancy left by night’s opening act, projecting pixilated colors onto the wall behind their backs. Starting off with the frenetically explosive “Sky Ghosts,” the Depreciation Guild’s shoegaze orchestration kept their crowd of 20-somethings quiet and assuredly amazed. With fluxuating hues and abstracted four sided shapes, the Guild’s “Sky Ghosts” and “Darklooming” played out like a digitized daydream full of reverb 8-bit madness and crashing waves of guitar riffs. Appreciative of their audience’s attentiveness, the Depreciation Guild’s set came to a close with “Dream About Me,” leading to applause and a swift and semi-hurried exit by the evening’s second act.
Replacing the empty stage, the Pains of Being Pure At Heart’s Kip Berman conducted a discreet sound check and set up of the band’s equipment, while keyboardist Peggy Wang sipped a drink offstage. Within a tolerable count of minutes, NYC’s latest twee-pop sensation began “Doing All the Things” without a formal introduction or a shred of hesitation. Wang, sporting a hot pink scrunchie on her right wrist and smiling wide, swayed back and forth while Berman thrashed his white and brown guitar. Both sporting plaid, drummer Kurt Feldman and bassist Alex Naidus were equally engulfed in the moment, cheerfully rocking out while keeping the song’s pulse pumping as the crowd watched with wide and greedy eyes. A former R5 show-goer and Philadelphia area native, Berman took the time in between songs to thank Sean Agnew for all his work and announcing that the Pains of Being Pure of Heart plan to return and play an all ages show.
Extracted from the tracklist of their well-received full length debut, the jangly riffs of “Young Adult Friction” and fetchingly energetic “Come Saturday,” the Pains of Being Pure At Heart shined bright, giving their all during each songs flawless performance while obviously having the time of their lives. Repurposing nuances from the 1980s underground, the remarkably polished “Tenure Itch” washed over show-goers feeling intuitively relevant and familiar, like the Smiths or Joy Division, while simultaneously sounding modern, exciting, fun, and new. The band’s current single and prime suspect for everyone’s favorite, “Everything With You,” was almost magic, inciting their giddy and grateful audience to feverishly bob their heads and sway throughout the song’s duration. Ending with their namesake song, the Pains of Being Pure At Heart graciously thanked the crowd for coming out and stood for a moment on the checkered and tiny stage as the audience cheered, clapped, and begged for one or two more songs. Politely insisting the set was over, indie-pop’s latest buzzworthy band left the stage, merging then disappearing into a crowd of newfound fans.
- Doing All the Things
- This Heart Is Fucking Right
- Young Adult Friction
- Come Saturday
- Tenure Itch
- Everything with You
- Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan
- Pains of Being Pure At Heart
|Photos | Dianca Potts|
Backed by a ginormous dream catcher (see photo), the Black Keys' set was lengthy and top-notch. Playing most of the songs in their discography, Ohio natives Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s two-piece riot sold out the E Factory wowed drunken fans with psychedelic tuneage (“I Got Mine,” “Strange Times") and a two-song encore. Only thing was that the impressive performance was marred by the venue's spotty acoustics. Perhaps next time they’ll play the Troc.
|Saving the world with Japanther|
Every Monday, The Showdown tells you who to see and where to see ’em.
Monday: Two-piece noise rockers Japanther shake things up in support of their latest, greatest release Tut Tut, Now Shake Your Butt. This Pratt alum duo’s art punk and back beats will def. change your life and totally save the world. With Ninjasonick & Totally Michael. At Kungfu Necktie. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $8
Tuesday: Weird metal from California with a quirky sense of humor, Goblin Cock is not a joke band. We swear. With Warship & Wizard Eye. At Johnny Brenda’s. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $10
Wednesday: NY indie rock with mellow chord progression. Chill out to Finding Fiction with Controlled Storms, Lunch With Beardo, Lansdowne & Northern Valentine. At the Khyber. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $8
Thursday: Super suave and sort of ancient, Barry Manilow is back. At all costs, resist the urge to join the Conga line when he belts out "Copacabana." At Sovereign Performing Arts Center. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $19.99-79.99
Friday: Fond of Kafka and James Brown, Everything Now! is like David Bowie plus the Midwest, minus the spandex, glitter and glam. With Wes Matteu and the New Way Down, Woodlands & Nicole Erin Carey. At the Danger Danger Gallery. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $5-10
Sunday: Damien Derose’s latest album, On the Ground finally gives you a legit reason to quit dogging Elliott Smith’s Figure 8. Catch this Doylestown troubadour in action at the Northern Liberties Music Fest. With KaiserCartel, Toy Soldiers, Perkasie, the Armchairs, Circadian Rhythms, Dangerous Ponies & Bruce Lucy. At the Fire. Doors at 3 p.m., tickets are $7
|Photo | Hisham Bharoocha|
I forgot to bring my camera to Danger Danger, so you're missing out on seeing (mostly) the backs of a bunch of heads. I also forgot my earplugs, so I'm currently missing a decent portion of the audible frequency range. Turns out High Places puts on an pretty ear-splitting show.
Like other bands whose recordings come off as gently hazy swirls of psychedelic noise, the Brooklyn duo's percussive attack is a lot more prominent in person. It's noisy in a good-natured, even celebratory way; it's hard to detect any aggression in Robert Barber and Mary Pearson's mild-mannered stage presence. Nevertheless, their multi-layered thumping and clattering — derived from a tangle of electronic gadgets along with shakers and wooden temple blocks, played into mics with massive amounts of delay — felt unruly and unfocused, and grew wearying after a song or two.
Some kids next to me were waxing awesome about seeing them in a grassy Brooklyn lot on a summer afternoon, and I can see how the gleeful racket might be a lot more enjoyable under those circumstances. To be fair, though, the biggest problems with the set could have been due to audio-related technical issues. There was hardly anybody in charge of running sound at the down-and-dirty DDG, something crucial for music as complex and layered as HP's. Furthermore, as Barber announced before their set, they'd been having some mishaps with equipment lately. Things did appear to be going smoothly once they got started, but the noise level made it almost impossible to hear Pearson's cooed vocals, the semi-melodic glue that binds the band's avant-twee compositions.
More enjoyable, though even harder on the ears, were the two acts that preceded them; Los Angeles DJ/noise-terrorist Kyle H. Mabson and High Places' NY-based touring mate Soft Circle.
|Hisham Bharoocha, aka Soft Circle|
Mabson, an unassuming chap in a grey sweater, manned a table full of pedals and samplers and pummeled the crowd with an unpredictable barrage of jackhammering industrial noise, interspersed with fragments of pop hits. Like a sadistic Girl Talk in a particularly bad mood, he'd tease us with snatches of Kanye West, Soulja Boy and Rich Boy's "Throw Some D's" before unleashing his sonic assaults, usually in the most manner jarring possible. It was a pretty heavy-handed exercise in contrast — switching, for instance, from a serene recording of a church choir to a thrashing Rage Against The Machine riff laced with an electronic breakbeat. It would have gotten old pretty quickly if he hadn't come up with some additional ideas, or at least managed a more skillful execution (his occasional moments of shakiness might have been more deliberate aggravation, but more likely they were just clumsy). For the 10 or 15 amped-up minutes that his set lasted, though, it made for some decently enjoyable WTF.
Soft Circle is Hisham Bharoocha of the band Black Dice. Though he's only one man, his performance carried the intensity and fullness of a four-person band thanks to his coordinated use of looping technology. It was hard to always tell just what was going on on stage and how it related to the music, a torrent of hard-edged, hippie-ish grooves that felt like psychedelic punk-funk reinvented as electronica, or possibly vice versa. Bharoocha was continually turning in all directions to handle his elaborate set-up, playing and looping guitar riffs, calling and chanting into his headset mic, and fiddling with gadgets, but he spent the bulk of his set banging on a drum kit right at the front of the stage, ensuring maximal visceral excitement. He worked the crowd like a DJ, seamlessly transitioning from groove to groove without a pause, sometimes dropping out on drums only to build the energy back up with a series of manic fills. Bashing away and watching as the crowd cut loose, he let the music lead us to some truly high places.
(L-R) Kurt Feldman, Kip Berman, Alex Naidus, Peggy Wang
|Photo | Annie Powers|
Alex Naidus, bass
City Paper: What was the recording process like for the latest album?
Alex Naidus: It was pretty relaxed — we recorded at our friend's house studio, so there were lots of coffee and sandwich breaks and joke crackin'. We took a bit more time with this recording than the first EP, but nothin' too crazy or Spiritualized/full gospel choir style. The recording part was pretty simple. We'd been playing most of the songs for a good while and knew what we wanted, but the mixing (with the super-great Archie Moore) was kind of eye opening and helped make the album sound way better than we imagined it could. Shout outs to Honeyland Studio and Archie.
CP: Favorite song off the LP?
AN: It changes a lot. For awhile it was "Everything With You" (above), but at the moment I think it's "Come Saturday." It's a nice little sugar rush — simple and fun and loud like we like it.
CP: Are there any countries that you're dying to visit?
AN: Man, a ton. Australia and Japan are probably the most exciting to me at the moment. Maybe because they seem alllllllmost within reach. Crossing my fingers!
CP: What's your favorite day of the week? Explain why.
AN: The junior high me would be so mad at this, but right now it's probably Sunday. I just like that it's totally normal and acceptable to do nothing all day. If you drag yourself out for Bloody Marys at 2 p.m. that's considered mass effort for a Sunday. I suppose I cherish long, slow downtime-full days like that. Also, [guitarist/vocalist] Kip and I watch football together on Sundays when it's on and that's always a good nerdy time.
Kip Berman, guitar/vocals
CP: Who was your favorite band in high school?
Kip Berman: Weston, or maybe Plow United.
CP: What was the last movie you watched? What'd you think of it?
KB: Teen Witch! It was awesome! It's about a nice but sort of awkward teenager who discovers she is a witch.
CP: How long have you all known each other? How'd you all meet?
KB: We've all been friends since before the band for sure. I met Peggy at an indie pop dance party at Cake Shop, and Alex sat next to me at work and would listen to Exploding Hearts and The Dirtbombs a lot. We all met Kurt later — he came to our shows when we had a drum machine and he had cool Sarah Records, Blueboy and Field Mice badges. Plus, he's the only person that loves Galaga as much as I do.
CP: What's the music-making process like for you and the band?
KB: I write the songs and then see if Peggy likes them. If she wants to play a song 10 times in a row at practice, it's usually a good sign.
CP: Excited to play Philly?
KB: Definitely! I went to so many R5 shows growing up, that it's totally strange and awesome to get a chance to come back and play. I just wish it was all ages, but hopefully we can come back and do that, too.
Kurt Feldman, drums
|Photo | Pavla Kopecna|
CP: As a kid, what'd you want to be when you grew up?
Kurt Feldman: A motorcycle racer.
CP: What kind of kit do you play?
KF: A Pearl export. I've had it since I was 12 or 13. It's a pretty bad kit, but I'm a pretty amateur drummer, so it makes sense.
CP: What are rehearsals like for you guys?
KF: Fun. We practice at our friend Danny and Derek's house, in their studio in the basement. sometimes Kip presents us with a new song and then we try it out. If Peggy dances around enough while we play it, we keep it.
CP: Which songs are your fave to play live?
KF: "The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart" and "Everything With You."
CP: Do you believe in UFOs? Why or why not?
KF: I don't think so. I'm too pessimistic to believe in anything I haven't seen firsthand. Not to mention all the "evidence" I have seen has been so ambiguous anyway. I think there are other planets out there in our giant universe that have life on [them], but I don't think there would be a reason to cover up aliens making contact with Earth if they already have.
Peggy Wang, keys/vocals
CP: What's the story behind your band's name?
Peggy Wang: It's from a short story by one of Kip's friends from Portland, Oregon. His name is Charles Augustus Steen III.
CP: If you could be any fictional character, who would it be?
PW: Harriet the Spy? Or maybe Claudia Kishi from The Babysitters Club.
CP: How do you feel about the Pains of Being Pure At Heart's sound being described as New Wave?
PW: I'm into it! It's definitely not something we ever get, and I don't think we fit the preconceived notion of what New Wave is. But I think there's something dark about the songs, and the EP (the first thing we put out) has a mechanical feel, primarily because of the drum machine.
CP: If any, what themes would you say are prevalent in your songs?
PW: Obsession, not running away from home, doing forbidden things in secret — general teenageryness, I guess.
CP: If you could have any super power, what would it be?
PW: I think I'd be a lot more motivated to leave my house if I could just magically transport myself anywhere.
Should you go check out New York twee-rockers Pains of Being Pure of Heart on Sunday? Dianca thinks so, but you should listen and figure it out for yourself.
Pains of Being Pure at Heart plays Sun., Feb. 8, 8 p.m., with Brown Recluse Sings and The Depreciation Guild, $10, Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St., 215-291-4945, kungfunecktie.com.
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