Archive: March, 2011
Each day we dig into a different category of our listings database to compile a to-do list of our favorite entries. Today, appease your charitable side with a week's worth of volunteer opportunities.
ACTION AIDS BUDDIES Everybody needs a buddy sometimes, so be a buddy, will ya? This nonprofit provides support for people living with HIV/AIDS. Volunteers interact with clients via telephone and the Internet, and make monthly visits. Contact Anthony Morelli at 215-981-3324, Amorelli@actionaids.org or visit actionaids.org for more information. Action Aids, 1216 Arch St., 215-981-3324.
|HAM guy, Flickr|
AMERICAN RED CROSS Have you always wanted to work at Disney Land? The Red Cross seeks new people to fill the role of volunteer their mascot, Fred Cross. Call Sharon Jefferson at 215-299-4068, e-mail email@example.com or visit redcross-philly.org for the deets. American Red Cross, 2221 Chestnut St., 215-299-4068.
BROAD STREET MINISTRY The Broad Street Ministry is a wonderful facility, staffed with wonderful people, devoted to doing wonderful things. Get involved in any of their great programs ranging from community dinners to overnight shelter programs. Call Mike Watson at 215-735-4847 for more info. Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad St., 215-735-4847.
CAREER WARDROBE Since 1995, this local nonprofit has helped more than 45,000 women get back into the work force donning professional attire. Volunteers organize clothing drives, conduct educational workshops and staff the boutique. Call Heather Bennett at 215-568-6693 or visit careerwardrobe.org. Career Wardrobe, 21 S. 12th St., 215-568-6693.
CRADLES TO CRAYONS Cradles to Crayons is looking for volunteers to help organize donated goods. Tasks include matching clothes, testing toys and examining books before their given to kids in need. To sign up contact Brian Kindle at 215-836-0958, ext. 202, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cradles to Crayons, The Giving Factory, 30 Clipper Rd., 215-836-0958.
JANE ADDAMS PLACE This West Philly emergency shelter needs volunteers to help with childcare, tutoring and parenting classes. Call Jacqueline Berry at 215-426-8610, ext. 274, or e-mail email@example.com. Jane Addams Place, 25 S. 43rd St., 215-426-8610.
PHILADELPHIA ZOO VOLUNTEER PROGRAM Man, animals are cool. Zookeepers aren't so bad either. See for yourself by volunteering at the Philadelphia Zoo where you are bound to see things you wouldn't normally find waiting for the Market-Frankfurt Eastbound. OK, maybe you would. Call 215-243-5200 for more details. Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 Girard Ave., 215-243-5200.
|Philly AIDS Thrift|
PHILLY AIDS THRIFT Staff this nonprofit thrift store that benefits local HIV/AIDS organizations. Shifts are three hours long, and volunteers receive a store discount. Call 215-922-3186, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit phillyaidsthrift.com. Philly AIDS Thrift, 514 Bainbridge St, 215-922-3186.
WHYY Philly's public radio outlet seeks administrative volunteers to help with data entry, filing and assembling mailings. Call Nadine Vassallo at 215-351-1261 or e-mail email@example.com. Daily, WHYY, 150 N. 6th St., 215-351-1261.
WILLIAM WAY COMMUNITY CENTER Volunteers are needed for William Way Community Center's events, including peer counseling, seniors programs, book clubs, gallery shows and continuing education classes. Call 215-732-2220 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce St., 215-732-2220.
WOMEN ORGANIZED AGAINST RAPE Volunteers are needed to answer WOAR's 24-hour hotline and go to hospitals to provide support for rape survivors. Call Carey at 215-985-3315, ext. 191 or visit woar.org. Women Organized Against Rape, 1617 JFK Boulevard, 215-985-3315.For more ways to lend a hand, visit the Volunteer section of our events listings database.
Alien outer space births, DMT trip sequences, facial spikes, and unicorns what will she (err Capital S-H-E) think of next? When Lady Gaga released her latest single, "Born This Way," a few weeks back the undisputed reigning Queen of Pop caught a bit of flack for its corny lyrics (that she apparently wrote in 10 minutes) and its countless similarities to Madonna hits like "Express Yourself" and "Vogue." On Monday, "Mother Monster" released the video to her LGBT anthem. As the over seven minute video played, I found myself repeating the same thing over and over again it wasn't any of the track's catchy lyrics, but rather a series of WTFs.
I watched, jaw and eyes open wide, as I was transported to a "government owned alien territory in space" where Gaga (complete with spikes on her face and third eye on her chin) gives birth to a race of infinite dismembered heads who are allegedly free of prejudice. This grotesque, abstract, kaleidoscopic birth scene is pretty hard to stomach as the "Eternal Mother's" servants help remove these goo-drenched craniums from Gaga's punanny. Meanwhile, elsewhere in space, a parallel evil Gaga pulls out a huge machine gun from her snatch and fires into the sky, a cue that drops the beat and brings the song in. I know, WTF?
It wouldn't be a Gaga video without her prancing around in leather underwear and bondage attire and "Born This Way" is no outcast to this formula. The songstress is seen in a variety of costumes and situations ranging from a vast production plant of the previously mentioned heads to a scene with a zombified Gaga dancing around a seemingly apathetic male zombie counterpart. It has quick action cuts, abstract shapes, colors and designs, and enough slimy residue to put Alien to shame. To put a cherry on top and end the video, Gaga struts into a dark alley in almost "Billie Jean" fashion only to ride off on a glittering unicorn. Yea, don't worry about reading that last sentence again, you read it right. WTF.
All of this space oddity makes you wonder if Gaga has lost her mind or if she is just from another planet altogether. People are sure to question what this video is about and be disturbed with it and its contents. People will say WTF. But upon further reflection, maybe that's what the video is all about. "Born This Way" is a song about being comfortable with who and what you are and it encourages people not to "be a drag" but to "just be a queen." While the lyrics may be corny, and some may argue elementary, the song message is an important one: That you can and should do whatever you want, create whatever you want, and be whoever you want regardless of how ridiculous it may be and despite what the mainstream has to say about it. So you want to be a strange alien queen that gives birth to a utopian society in space? So be it, go right ahead. And if the norm doesn't find you appealing, who cares? At least you have you and your individuality. One thing is certain, this bizarre video, like it or not, will generate tons of buzz and will get Gaga lots of press (here's an example of that right here). Lady Gaga won't change because people find her weird, in fact she runs with it and uses it to create a mystique around her. She doesn't just want all those WTFs, she thrives on them. She wants people to follow her lead and be over-the-top ridiculous, no matter how strange, disturbing, or rebellious that may be to society. Maybe that's why she is a true artist in an age where pop music is terribly lacking in creativity. Or maybe she is just an alien from another dimension. Only the "Mother Monster" knows that for sure. Paws up Lil'
Every Wednesday, Critical Mass pokes around the blog world so you don't have to.
Phawker occasionally puts together a little compilation of news that they can't believe is being reported as news. Well this little tidbit sure isn't news, but god, is it entertaining. Since Twitter started being used by celebrities, athletes, and politicians, there have been fake profiles. Usually they're nothing to get excited about, just weird examples of normal Joes and Janes trying to live vicariously through their favorite celebs. Such is not the case with the fake Rahm Emanuel twitter profile. This fake tweeter has been making news for their downright clever, yet absurd tweets. There you'll find profanity sprinkled accounts of "misadventures" of Rahm, David Axelrod, and Carl the intern such as: "Picked up Carl the Intern at Lane Tech, after his mathletes practice. Carl's first words: "There's not much time left." Motherfuck." Perfect.
The Swollen Fox, a Philly music blog, has the latest from DIY venue The Ox. According to one attendee during the venue's annual Two-Piece Fest, "ten cops came to the Ox, ended two piece fest, and wrote down everyone's drivers license numbers." This was confirmed by one of the bands and then by The Ox, saying that they don't know the fate of their little venue. Shows scheduled for The Ox are currently being relocated. Poor Ox. Where's the love PPD?
If Craigslist has represented anything it's the weirdest and seediest aspects of American culture. No blog would be complete without bizarre Craigslist posts and Philebrity knows that. This one's a little tame, but still pretty damn funny as it is merely a man trying to track down a beautiful woman that farted near him in the bread section. You have to commend the effort of our 30-year-old Philly male, after trying to waft the fart away by "waving two loaves of ciabatta bread," most guys would give up. Not you sir, not you.
I set my iPod on shuffle. Here's where it led me
1. Alice Cooper - "Teenage Lament 74" From Muscle Of Love, the last album where "Alice Cooper" referred to the band and not the singer. I love depth tracks from Alice Cooper's early days, because they're not what today's Alice fans would find particularly shocking. This song features backing vocals from Liza Minnelli. It doesn't get much more shocking than that.
2. The Clash - "48 Hours" The US version of The Clash's debut dropped this track, which I guess was a fair move on Epic Records' part. Not that "48 Hours" is a terribly weak song, but compared to "White Riot" or "Career Opportunities," it's a little soft. Regardless, it's a classic blast of Strummer.
3. Les Primitifs Du Futur - "Valse d'Amour" A group of French musicians (and legendary underground cartoonist R. Crumb), Les Primitifs play a kind of French street music called musette. Just listening to the charming sway of the accordion and acoustic guitar is enough to transport you to the alleys of Paris. With your sweetheart, of course.
4. Simon & Garfunkel - "Patterns" I've always felt that Art got in the way of Paul's better songs. On this song from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Art interjects every few words, like a kind of New York folk hype man. Aside from that distraction are some pretty great bongo drums and violently snapped guitar strings.
5. Grandaddy - "Chartsengrafs" Last year, I interviewed former Grandaddy lead singer Jason Lytle with his new band, Admiral Radley. Lytle is a delightfully odd creative spirit, and this standout from Grandaddy's breakthrough album is one of his finest compositions. Strange images and beautiful melodies seem to come to Lytle in abundance, and he's made quite the career out of combining the two.
6. Johnny Cash - "Song Of The Patriot" As much as I love Johnny Cash, there are certain eras that are a little extravagant and embarrassing. His early days as a Sun Records outlaw? Badass. His last days as a weathered legend? Heartbreaking. His 80s stint as America's beloved troubadour? I'd rather hear him sing about shooting a man just to watch him die than about how much he loves good ol' Uncle Sam, thanks.
7. The Raveonettes - "Little Animal" When I saw The Raveonettes last year, guitarist Sune Rose Wagner did this song by himself. The opening line, "My girl is a little animal/she always wants to fuck," is so playfully subversive. It's a new, much noisier take on Warren Zevon's "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," reimagined as a feedback-swathed bubblegum gem.
8. Brazilian Girls - "Jique" No, they're not Brazilian and only one of them is a girl. Now that that's out of the way, OH MAN DO I LOVE THIS SONG. I have no idea what Sabina is singing, which might have something to do with her tendency to slip between languages mid-lyric. The only word I can use to describe the bass/drum rhythm of this song is punishing.' It's a hell of a track to dance to, I'll tell ya.
9. The Avett Brothers - "Laundry Room" I had been meaning to listen to The Avett Brothers for a number of years before I And Love And You came out in 2009. Though Emotionalism turned out to be my favorite, I And Love And You has some pretty terrific songs on it, this being one of them. They also draw a swarm of screaming lady fans to their shows, so fellas take heed.
10. Arthur & Yu - "Afterglow" A few years ago, I stumbled upon this album (and later into seeing the group open for the Great Lake Swimmers). Arthur & Yu is the project of Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott, two childhood-fixated folks with a devotion to reverby country pop. Think a super lo-fi Lee and Nancy. They've sadly released little material since, but I'll just continue to wait patiently.
All the generic conventions of undead humor come undone when the Dawson Street Dramatic Society (DSDS) rouses its signature horror (or horrifying) shenanigans and sketch comedy, finished off with a dose of bluegrass twang. Oh, and brains.
Headed up by playwright Greg Day and South Philly flamenco singer Antonia Cruz Arias, the DSDS will be holding its mixed-bag Winter Freaky One Act Showcase on March 5th at the Meetinghouse Theatre.
Since 2008, the company, born or unborn of the Zombies Aint Shit Co., has brought off-beat undead theater that pushes the limits of the grave, as well as your tolerance for flesh-eating free-for-alls.
At the Winter Showcase, the DSDS will present two original, one-act pieces: the first, a deep South story of corpse re-awakening back in the days of voodoo and jazz, and the second, a contemporary tale about a temp whose desk job answering the phones is so monotonous it could be done by zombies you know where that's heading.
If you have any inkling for some absurd escapist theater (that's assuming you don't believe the zombie apocalypse is nigh), then you should come by for the DSDS's one-time performance of these brain filled shows (previous DSDS works include Dead Air and Trickster). And, after the gore, the New York-based sketch comedy crew, Jamie and the Machine will pun their way through a decade's worth of nostalgia. That's right, it's 2011 and about time to do some serious reflecting on all the ways years 2000 to 201o screwed up anyone coming of age in the era of AIM. Luckily, they'll get at these questions with vaudvillian routines and musical numbers.
The evening will take the form of a variety/cabaret show and finish off with strong drinks and tunes from West Philly's acoustic bluegrass band, Sour Mash.
Each day we dig into a different category of our listings database to compile a to-do list of our favorite entries. Today, calm your busy brain with a week's worth of mind and body haps.
BEGINNER'S FLOW YOGA Need straighten up a crooked back or work on your breathing? This beginners-friendly class covers the basics. Every Thu., 5:45-6:45 p.m., $15, Yoga Schelter, 3502 Scotts Ln., 215-991-9642.
|lululemon athletica, Flickr|
DYNAMIC FLOW VINYASA Learn how your body is meant to be aligned at this weekly yoga session. Every Tue., 6:15-7:45 p.m., $15, Dhyana Yoga, Rittenhouse Square, 1611 Walnut St., 215-496-0770.
IMPROVISAT.IONAL TRIBAL BELLY DANCE WORKSHOP (LEVEL I) This beginners' class teaches the seductive art of tribal belly dancing as it's practiced in India, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. Students work in groups to develop routines. Every Thu., 7:15-8:30 p.m., $15-$144, The Moving Arts Institute, 7425 Old York Rd., Elkins Park, 215-205-1292.
INNER FIRE YOGA Shiva Das's weekly class combines asanas, pranayama, mantra and meditation to spark your inner fire pit. Open to all levels. Every Tue., 6:30 p.m., $10-$15, Moving Arts Institute, 1750 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park, 215-205-1292.
INTRO TO CIRCUS ARTS WORKSHOP This class for adults 16 and up teaches trapeze, tightwire, juggling and plate spinning. Have a little fun while tightening your toosh. Every Sat., 2-3 p.m., $25, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, 5900A Greene St., 215-849-1991.
SIMPLY MEDITATION This will be the easiest class you've ever taken just relax. Every Mon., 7-8 p.m., $8, Amitayus Kadampa Buddhist Center, 814 Chestnut St., 215-923-1727.
STRIPTEASE AEROBICS Tone up while you learn new ways to drive your partner wild in the bedroom at this aerobics session that teaches the art of stripping. Every Fri., 5:30-6:15 p.m., $10, Fitness Works Philadelphia, 714 Reed St., 215-334-8190.
TAI CHI Led by Tai Chi master Seung Song, this class is aimed at both beginners and experienced practitioners. Every Tue., 6:45-8 p.m., $15, Won Institute of Graduate Studies, 137 S. Easton Rd., Glenside, 215-884-8942.
TAI-FIT AEROBIC KICKBOXING CLASS A total-body workout combining martial arts, aerobic exercise and kickboxing. All levels welcome. Every Tue. & Thu., 6-7 p.m.; every Wed., 6:30-7:30 p.m.; every Sat. & Sun., 9-10 a.m., $15, Urban Defense Center, 725 N. Sixth St., 267-974-0287.
WORK WEEK YOGA Start your workday calmly, before the 9-to-5 pains set in. Every Mon.-Fri., 7:15-8:30am, $15, Dhyana Yoga, Old City, 68 N. 2nd St., 215-378-6784.
YOGA MEDITATION WORKSHOP Learn to get in control of your chi with this lesson of meditative yoga techniques based on the teachings of Sri Chinmoy. Every Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., FREE, International House, 3701 Chestnut St., 215-895-6543.Need more "om." There are more Mind/Body listings here.
For what was once a crude art form has now gained the status of a science by way of Illuminati's two-part series, A**holeology and most recently, A**holeology The Cheat Sheet" because who wants to read the full text book, anyways. A contributor to Ask Men, Penthouse and Maxim (to name a few), Illuminati has sought to rework the negative connotations surrounding this term. When correctly applied, assholeology is a nuanced stratagem for getting what you want and not taking no for an answer that's one of the Illuminati's "demandments." The Cheat Sheet puts such principles into practice, be it ditching those dead-weight relationships or hard-to-get-out-of chores. Although the heavily asterisked titled can be found in the humor section, the book might as easily be considered self help reading.
In preparation for his signing at the UPenn Bookstore on Fri., March 3, Illuminati took some time to chat with us. So this morning, with my emotional armor ready for a battery of asshole abuse what else would you expect? I called up the man, only to find that, like many scientific principles, assholeology only holds true under certain conditions. As it turns out, Illumanti is a pretty nice guy.
CIty Paper: Why'd you write a second book about a**holeology?
Chris Illuminati: In the first book, we said it was the science behind getting your way and getting away with it.' But the one thing people kept coming back to me with, as far as comments, was, okay we get why a person would want to be an asshole but you didn't give enough specifics the when and how.' So the second time around, I decided to make it very specific and break down how to be an asshole in certain situations. The first book is the why, and the second book is the how.
CP: You call it a cheat sheet
CI: Yeah, well not many of us did well in science, so here's a cheat sheet to work with; for example, you say, I have a bad situation at work, and you go to the cheat sheet to figure it out.'
CP: So is the premise that it's good to be an asshole?
CI: In certain situations, you just have to take that asshole approach. And I think everybody can use it; it's not necessarily saying you should be an asshole in every situation you encounter. But there can be tough spots in life, and you don't know how to handle them. At those times, you just gotta' pull up your boot straps and take charge, whether it's in relationships, at work, or with family. One of the first scenarios is how to cut off a friend you know that person who has been in your life for 20 years. You're friends, but you're not really sure why anymore. It will give you the asshole approach to getting rid of that person.
CP: Would you say that **holeology is a way of life more than just a state of mind?
CI: It can be both. Some people approach any situation as an asshole, while other people can compartmentalize it you can still be a nice guy or a nice girl and do asshole things. It's just a way of looking out for yourself.
CP: Are all the scenarios in the book self-tested?
CI: Some are self-tested, and some are tested by other people. When I wrote this book, I was in a different state of mind: I had just had a baby, so I was dealing with a two-month old; I was working a full time job, plus writing jobs on the side, and I would write all hours of the night. Sometimes, certain things came out that I would have never considered. I would pretty much just sit down at my desk and say, okay, what's the most asshole scenario I can think of right now.' And for that reason, in the front of the book, there's a note from the publisher that says, you should not try some of these thing.'
CP: Was the disclaimer put there at your request?
CI: No, that was the publisher, after they received my final manuscript. They were trying to cover themselves. The first time around, I did get a lot of feedback from people because the book is found in the humor section, but people would tell me that they could really see it in the self help section as well. So I think the publisher thought they should probably make it clear that you shouldn't take everything literally.
CP: When your friends or family read this book, did they say this really sounds like Chris? Or did you have to learn to be an asshole?
CI: I really did have to learn. And I think the reason that I was so good at it was because I've come across so many assholes in my life. A lot of times people will say you don't seem like the kind of person that would do this.' But like I said, you don't have to practice **holeology in every situation. At times, I would go with, maybe, a nicer approach. For example, at a recent book signing, an older coupler probably in their 70s saw the title of the book, the poster and me standing there. And before the signing, they told me that if you took a lineup of five guys and asked which one of these guys wrote the book, they'd probably pick me last, because I don't really look that way which is actually a good thing: you don't want to come off looking too much like an asshole, or, in fact, you'd probably look like a douchebag
CP: What's the difference between the asshole and the douche?
CI: Basically, if you don't know the difference between the two, the good rule of thumb is to think about the person. If you can't think of two or three redeeming qualities, then he's probably a douchebag.
CP: You write for a lot of men's magazines. Is this book primarily for men?
CI: It is hard to write for women when you're a guy. I'm sure it's the same for women writers. But I do believe that women can use this book to their advantage; a woman can learn from this and be considered an asshole. There are plenty asshole women who men are attracted to. It's just that you call them a different name. Asshole is pretty gendered.
CP: Who are some iconic assholes?
CI: If we're going to go way back in history, one example we used in the first book was the Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt, because they got the entire civilization to build monuments in their likeness. Also, you had General Patton, who was a classic asshole. As for current examples, in the sports world, there's Bill Belichick. In entertainment, Donald Trump used to be a good example, but he's kind of chartering douchebag territory. Dennis Leary is also a good example of a classic asshole with his comedy, but then he also does a lot of things for charity.
CP: How would you respond to the person who says you're encouraging our society to be rude?
CI: I would say that I'm not really encouraging people to be rude. I'm encouraging them to take control of the things they don't like. If it's a situation when a person has to be rude, then so be it. But if I told someone to start being nice tomorrow, it's not going to change very many things. But, if I told someone to be an asshole, they'd probably see some result. The person who says that I'm being rude' probably has some things in their life they wish they could change. I'm really saying be more aggressive, not rude.
CP: How do you go about being an asshole at home with your family?
CI: Well, you're friends with people because of certain situations. Your family is your family, and you can't choose that. There may be some people in your family you would never have any association otherwise. You have to remember that. There are some people who are going to drag you down, even in your own family. So if you can take the emotional part out of it, and just realize, okay, this person is no good to me everybody has that douche cousin.
CP: What do you think about Philly's rep as an asshole city?
CI: I'm a New York sports fan just to put that out on the table. But I do like the Philadelphia approach to sports this is our team, good or bad, and if you don't like it fuck off. Even if their team isn't good, Philly fans will find a way to one up you. I like that the whole city is passionate in that way: they take hold of something, and I gotta' admire them for that Another thing I like about Philly is that Philly has bought the most books for the last three or four months.
Behold, the lineup for this year's Roots Picnic! As usual, it's anything but your average day-festival lineup. As always, The Roots Crew themselves will offer a performance (and will undoubtedly show up during Nas', Wiz's and Yelawolf's sets, at the very least). Other delightful curiosities include beloved oddball Ariel Pink, reunited indie-punks The Dismemberment Plan and Esperanza Spalding, who won a Grammy the other week for not being Justin Bieber. Local folks Man Man will take a break from their recently announced tour, and Little Dragon (who are no strangers to Philadelphia) will bring their international synthpop to the sweaty, sweaty masses.
Though the bash isn't until early June, tickets go on sale later this week. Keep an eye on this site for that business.
Somewhere around the time of Resident Evil (1996), video games were taking a turn for the cinematic. People weren't simply looking for exlopding alien brains anymore, they wanted the artistic and narrative aesthetics of RPG's with the kinetic intensity of first-person shooters.
The unfolding era of cinematic video games was a natural result of technological advances and a steady gaming market. Eventually, advertising these blockbusters started taking on Hollywood feel as well. Trailers began to emerge which mimicked the flavor of epic the motion picture industry's coming attractions. The first one that I particularly noticed was the relatively recent Gears of War. The contrast between the music (Gary Jules' "Mad World," which you know better from the Donnie Darko soundtrack) and the action (monsters and dystopian bullet-spraying) created a particularly engaging affect for the neurons.
Dead Island (developed by Techland and to be distributed by Deep Silver) has been lagging in a wake of its own hype since the trailer debuted at the E3 expo in 2007 to an almost problematic amount of hysteria 3 million YouTube views, no depiction of game play, no scheduled release date, and mixed critical reactions saying everything from "the trailer is too extreme" to "it's the single greatest trailer ever made."
It's going to be a zombie survival horror, offering both open-world "sandbox" and "on-track" gameplay. First-person melee with RPG elements, Dead Island will offer up to four-player, co-operative play. Set on an island resort in Papua, New Guinea, you will have one of four characters to chose from: Xian Mei (a staff member at the hotel), Logan (a surfer), Sam B (a former rapper) and Purna (?).
Part of the game play buzz which, again, is barely a footnote under the trailer buzz is that you won't have an unrealistically ample cache of heavy weaponry. You will have to customize "homemade" weapons, and these weapons will degrade over time. And you will be kept on your toes, required to make boyscout-esque use of your environment.
Originally slated for 2008 and then delayed (which may have been for the best so Deep Silver didn't deliver the most monumental disappointment in gaming history), Techland has had plenty of time to beef up Dead Island to be the best it could possibly be.
In the meantime, check out the trailer and lemme know what you think. Also, what are your favorite video game trailers thus far? Discuss ...
|The Low Anthem|
The band began with "Ghost Woman Blues," the opening track off their new album. For this song and others scattered throughout the 17-song show, frontman Ben Knox Miller and company grouped around a single condenser microphone standing at center stage. Accompanied by Miller's guitar and Jocie Adams's clarinet, the four-piece sang in close harmony with remarkably precise pitch for a live show. Next, they spread across the stage, taking up a variety of instruments. Over the course of the performance, every member of the band played multiple instruments; Mat Davidson, for example, covered bass, harmonium, fiddle, clarinet, banjo, and a wood saw played with a violin bow. Like his bandmates, he played them all with such clarity and natural flair that I couldn't have guessed which was "his" instrument.
Despite the variety of instrumentation, however, the show was hampered by a lack of variety in the songs themselves. Almost every one was slow, including songs that were recorded at faster tempos. Lacking real familiarity with each tune, I was at times hard-pressed to tell the difference between them; the concert occasionally dragged and I craved something more upbeat.
Overall pacing aside, though, there were excellent individual songs. Highlights of the concert included "This God Damn House," a song written by Dan Lefkowitz, a former member of the band who opened for them on Friday and later joined them for a song. The song tells the story of a man alone in bed after his lover has left; though she asks him to spend another day there, he grapples with a feeling of suffocation. In this and other songs, the band excelled at producing an atmosphere, both lyrically (the vocals were clear enough to understand, as they always should be but rarely are at shows) and sonically. The harmonium provided a foundation for many of the songs, while the bending of the saw added a ghostly whistling on top.
In one song, Miller asked the audience for help. It wasn't the usual clapping along or singing: he told everyone to call the person next to them and then hold their phones together, both on speaker phone, creating a cricket-like chirping sound. Instead of sounding futuristic, the noise blended with the acoustic instruments onstage, and the audience was drawn into the performance.
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