Archive: March, 2010
Julius Caesar could tell you that your curriculum vitae is basically worthless when 50 of your buddies are stabbing you and making you seem like a total douche in front of, like, everybody in the Senate. The Ides: Caesar's Murder and the War for Rome is the latest by Stephen Dando-Collins (Tycoon's War), and as the title may have already given away, it's a brisk walk through Caesar's role in the withering days of the Roman Republic, his death and the irreversible political implosion that would follow the Ides of March, 44 B.C.
The narrative is driven by an intimate and personal look at the lives of those caught in the making of legend, drawing on the most ordinary of entries in ancient Roman manuscripts and reinvigorating a number of questions and characters left obscured by time. Opening a chapter aptly named "Caesar Awakes," Dando-Collins writes "Across the city, the breeze gusted so strongly at the Regia on the Via Sacra that all the window shutters and the door of Julius Caesar's bedchamber flew open. The wind was so strong that it even rattled the sacred spears of Mars in the shrine next door to the Dictator's bedchamber ... Sitting up, Caesar looked at his wife, Calpurnia, lying, asleep still, beside him." Each sentence is punctuated by an endnote that will refer you to guys like Plutarch, Dio, Suetonius and a whole host of other Roman historians to back up whether those spears actually had in fact rattled or not.
An attention to detail and emphasis on the most basic routines of life throughout lend type of driving momentum more often found in best-selling blockbusters than historical texts. Its rhythm is syncopated by splitting chapters into brief and succinct daily entries that give the reader bursts of compelling plot development without an overdose on factual information. The Ides is a masterfully insightful, dynamic and engaging book that breathes new life into the people and places it covers. It is a captivating interjection into a conversation too long dominated by worn out academic reflections on dusty and distant dudes old enough to have been Jesus' granddad, and makes clear that the harbingers of declining democracies, philosophical questions of freedom and justice and partisan exploitation of political power are not an adolescent phenomenon belonging solely to the modern world.
A concert a day keeps the doctor away.
Monday: Ease into the week with some mellow grooves from big time locals Disco Biscuits. This will be great if you're into live shows that boast epically long songs accompanied by a thick cloud of pot smoke just above the audience. Puff, puff, give.
At 8 p.m., $30, TLA, 334 South St., 215-922-1011.
Tuesday: Port O'Brien don't allow themselves to get pushed around. Their acoustic tunes are catchy and jangly, but with a sadness that seems to run rampant in the folkie rock world these days. It's like standing on the beach in the winter. It's a good possibility they'll put on a killer show, especially if they play "I Woke Up Today." With In Grenada and The New Motels, $10 - $12, 7 p.m., North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 215-684-0808.
Wednesday: Janelle Monae's beats are so infectious even the worse dancer can get down and probably look good doing so. She's soulful, with a Solange-y feel, but with a quicker lip and a sharper wit. No offense, Solange.
At 9 p.m., $12, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684.
Thursday: On Bellmer Dolls' MySpace it says under their name, "Lighten up, Morrissey." These guys are no Mary Sunnyweather, either. They're certainly down in the dumps, too, with heavy guitar riffs, dark bass lines and spastic howling vocals. But they know how to have fun with it. They're not shedding any tears. I still love you, though, Big M.
With Monozid, Bootblacks and Yeah Clemintines, $8, 9 p.m., The M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave., 215-739-5577.
Friday: Everyone's favorite (or most hated) woodland nymph has made her way to Philly. Joanna Newsom plays two sold out shows tonight and tomorrow at the church. Her magical harp plucking fingers and airy, six-year-old cooing leaves little room for people to feel meh about her. You either love her or hate her. With The Moore Brothers, SOLD OUT, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chetnut St., 215-563-3980.
Saturday: Atlanta's garage grit bad kids the Black Lips are coming. The self proclaimed "flower-punk" band will bring some fun fuzz for everyone, along with some wah-wah guitars and lyrics about all things timeless: drugs, cars and sexy chicks. They're part of the wonderful '60s throwback wave that King Khan and so many others are riding into the sunset. With Box Elders and Far-Out Fangtooth, $15, 9 p.m., Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684
Sunday: Weird and wild band, Hollow Bones' droning bass and wailing vocals sound like someone's face melting off. See another famed Philadelphia musician tonight, drummer and Free Form Funky Freqs member G. Calvin Weston. He'll be pounding the skins. No, no, he'll be destroying them. Oh, and then there's also Elliott Levin, Philly's everywhere at once Renassiance man. With Alex Obert, $5 - $8, 9 p.m., Tritone, 1508 South St., 215-545-0475.
"Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?"
Any Airplane! fans mourns the death of Peter Graves, who will be remembered for playing the deep-voiced Captain Clarence Oveur, although he made him true mark on television at the leader of the shadowy operatives in the Mission: Impossible TV series. Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly has a short overview of Graves's career, including a reminder that he was in the excellently Gothic Night of the Hunter, but the above video, which combines his parts in Airplane!, is enough.
Try not to giggle, I dare you.
So, what are you going to see this weekend?
Green Zone B-
Green Zone didn't screen in time for critics, but we sent Drew Lazor anyway:
Paul Greengrass' frenetic, Adderall-addled visual style isn't for everyone. But it works well in the context of Green Zone, screenwriter Brian Helgeland's fictional interpretation of Rajiv Chandrasekaran's 2006 true-life take on the costly U.S. blunders that took place inside the violence-insulated Iraqi headquarters of our country's Coalition Provisional Authority. Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon), jaded after coming up empty-handed in a series of WMD raids organized around supposedly air-tight intel, begins questioning the true purpose of his presence, only to be rebuked for falling out of lockstep with The Mission. He decides to check up on the source an anonymous Iraqi insider named "Magellan" on his own, and stirs up a hornet's nest of bureaucratic double-dealings, with Pentagon suit Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) and CIA firebrand Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) jockeying for his loyalty. (Amy Ryan, as a WaPo journalist following the same scent as Miller, is underused.) The movie is exhilarating as an action entry, but its leanings, however representative of stateside opposition to the conflict they may be, are childishly oversimplified it places blame for the deaths of thousands on a single individual, when in reality thousands more are culpable. Damon's granite-chinned white knight may be the American all of us would like to see staring back at us when we look into a mirror, but Green Zone fails to portray war through the eyes of a soldier, since Damon's Miller is not a soldier but an ideologue.
Trailers for the other movies opening today after the jump.
Prodigal Sons A
Red Riding: 1974 B
Red Riding: 1980 B+
Red Riding: 1983 B
Remember Me D+
|(l-r) Amy, Anthony, Ben
Emilio, Jay, Johnathon
Maya, Mila and Seth Aaron
Has it really been a week already? Yep, and now we're down to only nine cuddly designers, fighting for Fashion Week in Bryant Park.
Jay had immunity for this go round, but Heidi informed everyone that this would be the last time since the competition is (finally) heating up. The crew were taken to the rooftop of their posh apartment to meet all drug deal-style with Timmy and Garnier Fructis stylist Philip Carreon. The designers learned that they'd be getting down with a little Earth, Wind, and Fire ... and Water: Each contestant was given an element to draw inspiration from. Because Jay won last week's challenge with his chic dumpster-ass trash bag pants he was allowed to choose his element air. The others had to follow Tim's orders and pick from a hat. Seth Aaron and Jonathan were also given air, while earth was doled out to Mila the Crone and Emilio the Hater. Water went to Maya and Ben, leaving Amy and Anthony with fire.
One Mood trip and $150 later the cast was back in the studio dreaming up visions of minerals, laughter, sirens and, apparently bowls of fire. Maya channeled sultry sirens of the deep when she made her slate colored long sleeve mini, which was just okay. Emilio produced a boring little greenish-brown number for the earth card. Wow, how original. Seth Aaron, that hobo rocker poetess, made a black leather suit that was inspired by "midnight air in New York." How deep. He mentioned the stars, too. Uh, Seth Aaron? You can't see stars at night in New York City, bub. Not in the sky at least. His design was futuristic with a Barbed Wire throwback, only with less skin showing. A lot less skin. In fact, only the model's face and neck were showing under the layers of black.
Amy went with all things black, too, despite the fact that she was dealt fire. She was hoping to embody "contained chaos" through a sad, sad jumper thing that swooped up around the model's shoulder. As if this wasn't clumsy enough, she stuffed the floppy top with hair extensions. I'm so not even kidding right now. An Amazon with a hairy chest and stiff, wobbly shoulder is somehow supposed to represent fire?
Amy's design, inexplicably, was not the loser of the night. Water designer Ben confessed that his first thought was sharks, so you knew this was going to be bad. But nothing could prepare you for the disproportionate suit that looked like a heavy (read: wet) diaper in the crotch and had shark's teeth details on the cuff. Ben, honey, this shit just won't fly on Project Runway. Ben was sent home last night, which is a shame because while his design was poor, he's proved himself in weeks past whereas Amy ... not so much.
After hearing Jonathan say that he wanted his air dress to be "a swirl of uncontrollable laughter," it seemed likely that he was going to let things get hot mess-y, too. Somehow, though, he managed to translate this funny idea into a luscious and romantic mini with a wispy shoulder that enveloped the model. It was obvious (or coincidental) that Jonathan considered his model's skin tone when he made a dress that complimented her perfectly. "Pale understands pale," he said. Congratulations, Jonathan, for finally getting approval from the judges and winning this week's challenge. This win proves that, as he says, he is a threat as a designer.
As happy for Jonathan as I am, my favorite ProjRun moment this week came when Mila was dumped down to the bottom three. And take a good hard look at the bottom two, they were pretty godawful. You're in with that crowd, Mila, and don't you forget it. For her earth design she looked to minerals. Ok, at least it's a more original color pallet than Emilio's. She wanted to show the judges that she could work with textures, but they weren't sold. With a vest that hinted at color blocking, paired with a plain old Gap-looking long sleeve top and blah trousers, her outfit showed that, oh! maybe she can't do anything but black and white color blocking. How did the judges not see this sooner? Maybe she would be best suited to make a few choice black and white color blocked pieces for a Target line. God I'm so sick of typing black and white color blocking. Mila, make it end.
CP designer extraordinaire Alyssa Grenning runs Friday Fill-in, an audience participation caption blog. It's easy: All you gotta do is use MSPaint or Photoshop to insert hilarious/bonkers/what-the?! captions for the above photo and send them to alyssa[dot]grenning[at]citypaper[dot]net. A. Grens will post the cream of the crop on her site. Don't have MSPaint or Photoshop or simply want to show off how fucking funny you are to the world? Leave comments below and we'll forward them along to the Fill-in Goddess herself.
Today's fill-in: Watership Down? Peeps on a rampage? You decide.
RELATED >> Friday Fill-In: Brain and Heart
We like American Idol. Too much.
Molly Eichel: Well, that was a shocker. Tommy, run down last night's show for us.
Tomm Button: For those who haven't heard the news:
Didi Benami Safe! More Seacrest hand jobs!
Siobhan Magnus Safe! Heeeeeyy....
Katelyn Epperly LOSER! Cut your hair!
Paige Miles Safe! Still sucked last night.
Tim Urban Safe! Fuck!
Todrick Hall LOSER! For the first time I'm glad I was wrong.
Lee Dewyze Safe! Of course you are!
Casey James Safe! Own your stool!
There was a Matt Giraud & Scott McIntyre intermission where they played dueling pianos to break the tension. They performed Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It." I don't know about you but I love listening to happy Billy Joel songs and thinking about how he tried to kill himself by drinking turpentine. Good times.
Powersox Safe! POWERSOX!!!
Big Mike Safe! No shit!
Lacey Brown Safe! Well, we can't send all the shitty people home at once, I guess.
Aaron Kelly Safe! Second time I was happy to be wrong.
Alex Lambert LOSER! Somebody call a wambulance! Or a banambulance. Have 'em swing by Siobhan first. Looking at those waterworks, I'd bet dollars to donuts her and Adam were touching sex parts.
Andrew Garcia Safe! Man, I've never loved being wrong so much!
Katie Stevens Safe! I do not understand.
Lilly Scott LOSER! WHAAAAA?! I don't think anybody saw this happening. And the people that did call this probably thought John Kerry was going to win too.
Besides the Lilly Scott thing, I'm glad the Top 12 worked out the way it did. Andrew and Aaron are safe and Todrick Hall is gone. Except Tim Urban is still on the show. That's pretty annoying.
ME: Lilly had a good run but you were clearly gonna split votes with everybody's girl Powersox. Go get yourself some indie deal, tour a ton and be happy with your lot in life and silver hair. So long Baby GaGa/White Storm. Same sentiment toward Alex Lambert. There were just too many white boys singing slow songs on stools this year. I'm going to blame the mullet and leave it at that. Despite Tommy's sentiments, I'm glad Paige is sticking around. Idol is beginning to look a little white power this season with all of the minorities getting kicked off.
|Google Maps is the Best|
At 15th and Walnut, apparently.
That's where you'll find the Brooklyn twosome Fan Capturing like right now soon. They just posted the clue (as expected, it was a set of co-ordinates: 39.949707 -75.165456). So run, little kiddies! Run! Only 6 of you will get to be like captured or whatever!
Oh yeah: The password is "kidneybean" so yell that like a maniac at everybody you see. Or type it into a secret dance-pop kiosk. Not sure.
UPDATE: Hmm, the MGMT site for this wild goode chase says the password is "kidneybeans" but their Twitter says it's "surfbum." So, better yell/type both things. Also their tweet takes the fun our of geocaching by giving the address (1429 Walnut) along with the longitude/latitude. Kinda lame. Either way Google Maps give you the location right away.
Also: I guess MGMT won't technically be there until 3:30.
Oh: When you get there, look for the soaking wet person with a flag. That's the person to yell at. You should yell something like "Kidney bean is two words, you surf bum!"
And: If you are one of the lucky six, you gotta have the next two hours free to hang with MGMT on an adventure. I heard you're all gonna go see The Hurt Locker.
@citypaper If by MGMT you mean a record label interns playing the new MGMT cd in a van
This has been: An update to my earlier post today: MGMT Mystery! Publicity Stunt! Geocaching!
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