Archive: September, 2009
Patrick Swayze wasn't a great actor. I don't think anyone is going to lament in their obits that he was denied meaty roles because of his chiseled good looks and dancing skills or the roles that might have been if hadn't died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 57. Instead, here's a guy who embodied a brainless (said with both love and respect), fun time at the theater: Dirty Dancing, Red Dawn, Road House, Point motherfuckin' Break. You can go through his filmography and giggle out the utter camp of it all but you can't deny enjoying each and every one of those. Did he make great movies? Not really. Did he make awesome movies? Hell yeah. When I asked a friend if he could remember any movie other than Point Break where Swayze is the villain. He answered, "Black Dog? I can't remember if he was a bad guy or just a badass." (Verdict: Badass.) That spirit embodies Swayze's legacy. Here was a guy you wanted to root for, you wanted to win, even if he wasn't supposed to. At the end of Point Break, you're glad Bodhi gets to catch that one last, gnarly wave even though he robbed banks. He just seemed like a good guy. Favorite Swayze scenes? There's the obvious: a Dirty dance sequence, the pottery scene in Ghost; (siiiiigh), when he rips that dude's throat out in Road House, pretty much all of Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar and, once again, Point motherfuckin' Break. But beating out all of those is this SNL skit where he goes head-to-head for Chippendale's gig with Chris Farley. Farley gets all the credit for this one, but Swayze's ability to keep his shit together as Farley jiggles and gyrates is Emmy-worthy. And at the end (SPOILER ALERT), when Swayze lands the Chippendale's job, he seems genuinely sad it didn't go to Chris. Because he was a nice guy. And sometimes that's all that really matters.
|Courtesy of James A. Michener Museum|
|Photos by Brion Shreffler|
Time Cop, oh dear Time Cop Combining the lighter elements of Meatloaf, Ben Folds, and Elton John with two-handed metal horns rawk is .357 Lover, led by Corn Mo (vocals/keyboards). Two songs on the night are strictly Iron Maiden send-ups that are gleefully respectful of the metal legends ' with requisite and well employed shrieking ' while being wholly irrelevant in regard to everything else. On one of them, Hava Nagila Monster, there's Maiden style expository verses that dramatically build to a repetition of 'Hava Na, Hava Na, Hava Na,' before lead singer Corn Mo unleashes a high, curling 'Gila Monster,' his face growing improbably more metal with each ensuing guttural utterance of 'Monster' that he carries on in echo. On 'Time Cop,' a simultaneous ode and meditation, Jean Claude Van Damme's character from the titular film is beseeched to help him because he can't 'afford the expensive worm holes,' following a shift in composition that, as with their predecessors, peppers many of their tunes. The song contains both atmospheric building and soft whimsical piano work by Corn Mo with an interlude ' 'Time Cop, oh dear Time Cop' ' that briefly transitions into hilarious children's sing-along territory shortly before the intercession of a thundering rush of guitar chords.
Like the straight faced banter, the music ' whether soft piano pieces, a grandiose homage to the most histrionic of Meatloaf tracks, or metal laced tracks combining all elements ' pulls you in, carrying you along with the silliness as you're being beseeched to enter Corn Mo's world, with gems like, 'German lady paper bag special,' sung in falsetto on the chorus of a song about a hitchhiking old woman who gave him and his brother candy while they sat squished together along the backseat of the family station wagon. At such times, the well plied notes from the piano, in conjunction with expert vocals and accompaniments, seem to be a transitory element, as you're taken by whatever premise the song contains, laughing your ass off along the way.
Monday: If you like your lyrics with lots of 'la la la's' and sing-a-long choruses, then you'll love Jack Penate. Upbeat indie-pop delivered with a charming British accent. With Miike Snow and aderbat, 8 p.m., $10, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684. Tuesday: One of those weirdly vaudevillian girl/guy duos I love so much. First The Kills, The Dresden Dolls, The White Stripes and now Experimental Dental School. They produce so much sound for two people that you've just got to see it. Study up: The whole album is downloadable for free off their website. With Grandchildren, Alexis Gideon, Shelley Short, 8 p.m., Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave. Wednesday: Two girls from L.A. crank out some seriously badass electro-pop. Go see Chop Chop so they'll get big enough to afford better recording equipment. Free downloads to be had through their Last.fm page. With Goldcure, 8 p.m., $8, The Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888. Thursday: The Ecstatic Tour brings together two titans of 'socially conscious hip-hop' (Sorry, I know they both hate the term). Check out former Blackstar bandmates Mos Def and Talib Kweli. With Jay Electronic and Medina Green. 8:30 p.m., $37, Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., 215-569-9400. Friday: Weird, experimental, orchestral, and local! Make a Rising will confuse your ears this Friday, complete with accordion, deliberately out-of-tune violin and Philadelphia spirit. With Golden Ages, Whales and Cops, and Buffalo Stance. 8 p.m., $5, Pilam, 3914 Spruce St. Saturday: If you go see The Dave Matthews Band, I will be very disappointed in you. With Robert Randolph and the Family Band. 7 p.m., $77, Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd. Camden, NJ, 856-365-1300. Sunday: The most popular drone-metal band ever ' although, that's not saying much. See Sunn O))) in all of their black-robed glory create their walls of tonal music and pure unadulterated feedback. Fun fact: Q Magazine called their album White1 the 18th heaviest album of all time. The 17th was Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced? and the 19th was AC/DC's Back in Black. Not bad. With Eagle Twin. 7:30 p.m., $18, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 215-563-3980.
|Maryann sees the glory
of the coming of the lord.
True Blood, re-capped. See you next season.
Damn, what happened True Blood? The show saw more suspense five episodes ago than it did with its season finale.
Maryann gets her followers to trap Sookie for the Dionysus summoning ceremony. Instead of replacing Sam with Sookie as the supernatural sacrificial vessel, Maryann uses her as Sam-bait. Her plan works, sorta.
Bill brings Sam to Maryann and gets Sookie in return. Maryann then has her muscleman Eggs gleefully stab away at Sam's heart. But before any type of God can appear, Sookie attacks the mob's meaty-tribute to Dionysus. Pissed, Maryann reaches her hands into the dirt and they turn into claws. She chases Sookie through the woods. Suddenly, a majestic bull appears from the shadows, stopping and stunning both ladies. Maryann is ecstatic at the sight of what she believes is her God. She doesn't mind when the creature begins gutting her with its horn, honored to be his 'vessel' instead of Sam. But Maryann doesn't realize that Sam is the bull. While the girls were busy running, Bill let Sam drink his blood and heal. He tears out the maenad's heart, plopping it on the ground. Maryann implodes into a tar-like mess of skeleton. Hopefully she's gone for good, no need to weigh down the plot with that much crazy anymore.
With Maryann's death, Bon Temps comes out of the spell, and all former conflict is wrapped up in the first half of the episode. Eggs, distraught over his blackouts, asks Sookie to help him remember using her mind reading abilities. Flashes of Eggs cutting peoples hearts out horrify both. Sookie dumbly tries to soothe him by insisting that it wasn't the real Eggs that murdered all those people, but to no avail.
A distraught Eggs approaches Andy in the parking lot of Merlottes with the murder weapon ' a giant knife. He begins to demonstrate how he killed people with it, leaning over Andy in hysterics. Suddenly, Eggs is shot in the head, the camera panning to reveal Jason as the culprit. Andy helps out his ol' buddy, grabbing the gun from the Jason's hand. Wiping the weapon down Andy tells Jason to run and pretend he was never at Merlottes.
Sam takes off to find his parents, stopping by the home of his adopted folks first. His mother warns him that his bio 'rents are 'bad people,' which is neither all that intriguing nor surprising. Also, Jessica is off playing the 'innocent virgin' so she can get a gulp of trucker blood. Hoyt meanwhile finds her not at home when he stops by with 'Sorry I went with my mother' roses.
Meanwhile, Sookie and Bill go out to a French restaurant. Pretty in a purple dress that Bill bought, Sookie gets flustered when her vampire beau pushes a little black box across the table towards her. She flees to the ladies room to collect herself. Deciding to say, 'yes' to the proposal, she returns to find Bill gone, his chair strewn on the floor and the door ajar.
What Sookie doesn't know, is while she was contemplating her life as Mrs. Compton, someone took a silver chain to Bill's neck and dragged him away. Probability is high that it was Eric or a minion. Vampire Queen Anne, who is secretly having Eric sell vampire blood, requested Bill be 'taken care of' since he knew something about the enterprise.
Even with some questions left needing answers, the second season's final episode is tied together pretty neatly. So much for the 'I CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT SEASON!' cliffhanger.
Every other Friday Monday this week, I'll bring you more from my column Last Chance.
This photograph is part of Philly boy Matt Hollerbush's exhibit "Passage of Time, Passage of Place," which is currently up at Group M (1050 N. Hancock St., Suite 61, 215-546-1995) through September 17. Though it's hard to tell, it was shot in the Divine Lorraine Hotel, a gorgeous, giant structure on Broad Street that embodies several conflicting aspects of the city ' it once housed the nouveau riche industry kings, then it became a beacon of the civil rights movement, and now it's in re-development limbo. One of the most compelling things about Hollerbush's photos (more of which you can see in our online photo gallery) is that he zooms in on the little things ' china, cracked paint, dirty carpet ' that could turn up just about anywhere. It has the strange effect of making every place feel the same, which is at once terrible and comforting.
City Paper: I assume not just anyone can get into the Divine Lorraine. Did you sneak in or gain permission somehow?
Matt Hollerbush: I gained access in 2006 and 2007. The first time via a caretaker and the second during the "deconstruction" phase. Both times at your own risk but with permission.
CP: Can you describe walking through the hotel for me? Were there parts of it that were unsafe to walk through?
MH: In 2006 everything was surprisingly intact,'as if the tenants had just left. Rooms with furniture, personal belongings and lots of peeling paint. The first and top floor were the most notable and beautiful in architectural and preserved details. 'The lower floor being the reception, lounge and dining area ' old-school luxury with the patina of age and changing uses. The top floor held a grand sanctuary with theater seats and another dining area. From the glass block sections of the roof to the ornate bar, the sense of what was once was inspiring.
In general, the building was in great shape structurally ' the only danger being navigating the pitch-black stairway without a flashlight to get to the next floor. In 2007, everything including the floor boards was being salvaged for resale. It was stripped of the luxuries and details, but still held the essence of past grandeur and clues of its inhabitants and history.
CP: Much of your other work is of foreign states and countries. Why shoot the Lorraine, which is in your hometown? Did you see it as being as unfamiliar as those other places?
MH: I am drawn to the unfamiliar, something outside my daily visual diet. Thus foreign places and especially visual gems like the Hotel are appealing subjects.
CP: What was your original inspiration for photographing the Lorraine?
MH: It was an opportunity to visit a time capsule.
CP: Much of your work hones in on tiny elements in a scene ' glass ware, Cheerios strewn on the ground, clothespins ' or interesting geometrical shapes and patterns. What interests you about these things?
MH: I like the sublime, the subtle suggestion or clue of what or who once was. The essence vs the obvious.
CP: By honing in on the tiny elements, you also make it difficult to tell where the photograph was shot in a larger sense. Is this on purpose, and if so, why do you do it?
MH: I don't think it's a conscious effort. I'm a fan of timelessness.
True Blood and Twilight may be enough to satiate your vampire cravings, but neither have that Philly flair. Enter Bleeder, a web-based vampire series filmed in Port Richmond.
Malvern-based indie film company Liberty Bell Films released the first episode of the series in July, which revolves around the newly-formed friendship between hemophiliac Alex Daub (Mark Kochanowicz) and a group of lady vamps.
Kochanowicz says Bleeder differentiates itself from other fangcentric shows because of its main character's deficiency; Daub and the vamps have a symbiotic relationship based on their mutual need for blood. Kochanowicz, whose co-creator Wade Ballance takes on the director and producing credits, is shocked that his series is the first to mix the two concepts.
The first episode, which runs just under 10 minutes and is embedded below, began filming in March and took about four months to edit and publish. Even such short, Kochanowicz says, cost real money. 'We're talking about $300-$400 a minute to make one episode,' says Kochanowicz.
To help with the production costs, Kochanowicz is hosting a vampire-themed party and fundraiser on Saturday, October 3rd. If all goes well, he says, the second episode could be up and running by November.
For future episodes, Kochanowicz says to expect a Kolchak's Night Stalker-meets-The Wire feel (it even boasts Philly-born Wire alum Brian Anthony Wilson as part of its cast). 'We're focusing less on the gore and making it more of a crime/horror genre."
Bleeder fundraiser, Sat., Oct. 3, 8:30 p.m.-mid., CDG, Inc. (warehouse with a steel door), 2823 E. Schiller, bleederseries.com.
Yeah he wrote The Basketball Diaries, but I'll always think of "People Who Died," when I think of Jim Carroll. According to the New York Times, the punk-poet-singer-author died of a heart attack of Friday. Sad to hear, but given the hard life he'd lived (drugs, prostitution, more drugs), 60 probably seemed like a long shot early on. Dude was a fighter.
I remember a real video for this, but I can't find it online.
Remember way back in the glorious days of a couple months ago when the likes of Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert and whoever that white dude is that beat Adam Lambert serenaded us weekly on American Idol? Tommy Button and I, your faithful American Idol re-cappers, certainly do. There's been a lot of action in the Idol camps in the off-season and I've coaxed Se'or Button out of hibernation to comment on the hub bub. Take it way Tom-Tom:
I don't know whether it was her thinly veiled alcohol and drug abuse or fourth grade vocabulary but when I heard Paula Abdul was leaving American Idol this summer part me died inside. I was inconsolable, having to go to extra AA meetings every week. Sometimes one every day. And with Glenn Beck as my sponsor, needless to say, I had a few relapses. When rumors started up that Victoria Beckham might take Abdul's spot permanently, I became an ever-erupting alcoholic volcano of hatred--spewing my burning anger juice on all that disturbed me. Posh Spice? Really?! What red blooded American really cares about what Victoria Beckham has to say? Her husband's abs are probably the best thing about her. I mean, I'll occasionally pop Spice World into the DVD player but only because I have serious self-esteem issues and need a constant reminder of how painful life can actually be. Not to mention if she got the job half of American Idol would be British. Unacceptable.
Anywho, it's been confirmed that the lovable lesbian Covergirl Ellen Degeneres will be taking over Paula's spot and I couldn't be more tickled. I like Ellen and I think most of America likes her (they just don't wanna see her get married). I'm happy there will be a judge now that can go toe-to-toe with the wit of Mr. Cowell. Paula, while I love her for her outlandish and alien-like behavior, was a fucking moron. The shit that came outta her mouth hurt my head. Also, Ellen will fill the 'nice' void Paula left. I can't see Ellen being a bitch to any contestant; she's just too damn happy. And that's my main qualm with Ellen ' her perpetual happiness. People who are really happy all the time tend to wind up irritating me. My other concern: Will there be enough crazy on the show to give it that spectacle we love so much? There's no longer guaranteed crazy. AI is going to have to hunt it down with their GPS guided crazy-detectors. But for some reason, I think they're going to be able to find it.
January, get here already, dammit. I got some blogging to do!
I gotta agree with Tommy here. I think Ellen will fill the 'nice' spot well. And to the detractors who say that Ellen has no connection to the music business, I think they never really understood Paula's role: She was there because she is a performer and not a musician. Her expertise is in stage presence, charisma and other rock star intangibles.
Thoughts on Ellen's hiring? Will you stop watching because of this denigration by Degeneres or will you start because you simply don't have enough lez in your Tuesday night viewing schedules? Parse it out in the comments.
The Scenester: Whiteout pales, feminists should skip Sorority Row but they may learn something from The September Issue and more
Admit it, you know you want more from this week's Movies section.
Drew Lazor braved two movies that didn't screen in time for print so you don't have to.
Whiteout ' C-
Visually stunning but lacking punch, Dominic Sena's adaptation of Greg Rucka's graphic novel is more of a screen saver than a movie. Haunted by a double-cross in her professional past, U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) takes the worst job for folks of her ilk ' the only law enforcement official in Antarctica. Right as she's about to wrap up her self-prescribed exile and head back to society, though, she finds a dead man in the ice, miles from what's considered "humanity" on the continent. It's up to Stetko to dig up the conspiracy behind Antarctica's first murder, with the help of pilot Delfy (Columbus Short) and U.N. inspector Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht). Rucka's 11-year-old comic series, which debuted in 1998, has earned praise for its adventurous approach to setting ' letting a body-count-heavy murder mystery play out on the brightest, cleanest stage on earth means the fresh blood looks that much more red. But while Sena (Gone in Sixty Seconds, Swordfish) does tremendous work maximizing the impact of an unforgiving environment, he's unable to draw the same level of stimulation out of his dullard cast. 'Drew Lazor
Sorority Row ' B-
What should one expect from a movie whose top-billed actress (in order of appearance) is "Bra-Clad Sister"? Awesome things, dammit. And Sorority Row, a remake of the 1983 cult classic The House on Sorority Row, mostly delivers. Goofy as hell, gender-marginalizing (really into Le Tigre? Don't see this!) and thoroughly enjoyable as a slasher flick, the movie kicks off after an elaborate prank involving roofies (seriously, girls?) results in the slaughter of Theta Pi sorority sister Megan (The Hills' Audrina Patridge, somehow more natural here than in her reality show). While Cassidy (Brian Evigan) and Ellie (Rumer Willis) are reluctant about covering up the murder, the rest of the soon-to-matriculate senior girls have no trouble dumping homegirl's carcass down a mine shift. This, of course, kicks off an innovative killin' spree that begins as soon as the guilty parties turn their tassels. There are plenty of guffaws to be had, many of them thanks to "Chugs" (Margo Harshman), a drunken floozy who screws her therapist to get anti-depressants. The best lines, however, are reserved for ice queen Jessica (newcomer Leah Pipes), who rattles off quip after alpha-bitch quip even in the worst of circumstances (after finding a rotting body hanging in the shower: "She looks terrible!"). 'Drew Lazor
The September Issue ' B+
I had the opportunity to talk to September Issue director R.J. Cutler about his time with Anna Wintour, aka, the devil in Prada herself. His reaction to Wintour was certainly different than her myth has made her out to be:
CP: I kept thinking that if Anna were a man working in a masculine industry, instead of a traditionally feminine industry, do you think she would have this reputation?
RJC: No. I think it's more complicated because she is a woman. You can't really go there. But I do think that a guy who had her leadership approach and her management approach? No way! Do you think Morley Safer would interview a guy on 60 Minutes with a guy who dominated a $300 billion global industry and would ask him if he was a bitch? Morley Safer would be like, [affecting a funny voice] "Hey buddy, you're the greatest, let's go play golf. Look everybody, tough guy loves me!" But because he's with a woman, he's like, "You're a bitch." It's cowardly to me. And it's sexist. Absolutely, there's no way with a guy with Anna's approach to running her business would be the subject of that kind of inquiry. No way. Tell me an instance where anybody gives a shit that fill-in-the-blank is an asshole to the people who work for him. It doesn't happen. Not that I'm saying Anna's an asshole to the people who work for her, don't get me in trouble. I'm not saying it at all. But she's tough. We know she's tough, I made a movie about her. She is tough! She is demanding. No tough, demanding guy gets asked by Morley Safer, "Are you a bitch?" Or even "Are you too tough?" What a silly question. You a run a publication that makes tens of millions of dollars. She should have said, "Fuck you, you asshole. You pussy. That's the question you're going to ask me?" She should have said that.
More trailers and reviews after the jump'
9 - C
Produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted), 9 is based on Shane Acker's Oscar-nominated short film about a post-apocalypse inhabited by nefarious machines (think Terminator, minus John Connor) and little burlap bags with extremities trying to survive amidst the wasteland left behind after human extinction. Read the rest of the review'
Beeswax - A
Near the beginning of Andrew Bujalski's film, Lauren (Maggie Hatcher) breaks up with Scott (David Zellner). He's startled that she's taken him up on his un-serious challenge to do so, while she seems pleased that he's given her the opportunity ("OK, we should. We should try to break up"). Read the rest of Cindy Fuchs' review.
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Der Baader Meinhof Komplex) - A-
Uli Edel's dispassionate dramatization of the short, violent history of the Red Army Faction (RAF) depicts the German domestic terrorist group as a historical inevitability, if not a necessity. Neither condemning nor celebrating, Edel frames the group's activities with news reports of the war in Vietnam, the assassinations of RFK and MLK, Che Guevara's death and student uprisings from Paris to Kent State. Read the rest of Shaun Brady's review.
Five Minutes of Heaven - B
Alistair Little is a real person. As a teenager and member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, he killed James Griffin, a young Catholic man who allegedly threatened Protestants. Little spent more than a decade in prison for his crime and continues to be weighed by the guilt. Now, he runs workshops to heal the wounds of countries torn apart by political strife. But that's where the truth ends in Oliver Hirschbiegel's (Downfall) film. Read the rest of my review.
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