Jan 082017

I got Hardcore: Life of My Own as a gift over the holidays. Reading about the Lower East Side in the 80s is making me nostalgic for the two years that I spent down there in the mid 90s. Things had already started to clean up when I arrived but it was still a little sketchy. It was nowhere near as bad as in the 80s but it wasn’t the over-priced DisneyLand that most of Manhattan has become now.

In Googling around, I found a nice recap of the ghosts of NYC music venues on Buzzfeed. More for my own memory than anything else, but here’s what I remember about some of these places.

  • CBGB – I’m pretty sure it was still open when I lived there but there wasn’t really much happening at that point. I think the hardcore matinees had moved farther south. I remember going to at least one show at some other place down in Tribeca, maybe?
  • Electric Circus / Coney Island High – The former was clearly closed before I got there, but CIH was going strong. Again, I almost went to several shows there but actually never did. I walked that block all the time though and it was always very punk rock. There was at least one record store and then other stores selling leather and bondage stuff. That street was always busy on the weekends, especially Friday and Saturday night. I think there was a bar in that same grouping on the north side of the street and I remember going there a few times
  • Knitting Factory – I remember going to one show there. I dragged a couple of friends to an experimental jazz show with Charles Gayle. They thought I was from another planet for taking them to that show. Gayle was on one of the Rollins Band albums which is how I’d heard of him.
  • Limelight – The club kid thing was still going strong when I lived there. I thought about going in there once or twice since I used to walk past it all the time, but I was too scared of what I’d find in there. I wasn’t into the music or the drug scene.
  • Palladium – This place was pretty much dead when I lived in NYC, but still did host a few shows. I also used to walk past there fairly frequently. I knew it had hosted the early Club MTV episodes with Downtown Julie Brown (who you can hear on Sirius XM along with pretty much anyone else who was a VJ in the 80s).
  • Ritz – I went to a few shows at Webster Hall which is still in Ritz’s former location. I think they just hosted a Metallica fan club show there last year. It’s a nice mid to small-sized venue I worked with a girl who I also briefly dated whose college roommate lived across the street. I went to an after party for the premiere of Basketball Diaries here and watched Leonardo DiCaprio get really excited and run onto the dance floor for either NIN’s “Closer” or Beck’s “Loser”. I can’t remember which. It might’ve been both. I also passed that place on my way home quite a bit.
  • Academy – Searching for this place is actually what landed me on the Buzzfeed article. I remember seeing a show with the Beastie Boys that had Tibetan monks and Luscious Jackson as the openers. According to this stub on a Beastie Boys site, it was May 27th, 1994. I got in for free because the singer from the band that I was in at the time had also been a roadie for Luscious Jackson. I think I also saw a Fishbone show here. It was interesting because it’s pretty much right in Times Square.
  • Brownies – I’m pretty sure I saw Tad at Brownies along with a few other shows. It was getting some pretty good bands even in the mid-90s. I think Starfish from here in Austin played there right after I left and moved back to Austin.

Two more that aren’t on this list that I recall fondly:

  • Roseland – This historic ballroom was announced to be closing around the time the Buzzfeed post was made so it’s not surprising it’s not on the list. Looking at Google StreetView from this year, it’s now a hole in the ground. It’s just a block south of the Ed Sullivan Theater, famous for hosting the Late Show with David Letterman and now Stephen Colbert (I also went to an early Letterman taping there with Chris K. from graduate school). I saw an amazing show with Helmet there on the Betty tour. I also saw Faith No More on their tour supporting King for a Day.
  • Tramps – This was a place near Flatiron District if I recall correctly. I saw Sebadoh and Reverend Horton Heat here among a few others. I remember seeing Scott Ian from Anthrax in the audience at the Rev. show.

This guy also did a similar list to Buzzfeed’s and mentions Tramps along with a few that didn’t include my additions or Buzzfeed’s.

I probably should do one for Austin in the late 80s / early 90s.

Jan 022017

I managed to watch quite a few things over the break, a few things in the theater and the rest either on DVD or streaming.

  • Rogue One – Alamo South Lamar – Better than Force Awakens
  • Moonlight – Alamo Ritz – It was good. Maybe not as good as the reviews made it out to be, but it was very good.
  • Caught up on Walking Dead – DVR – Half season closer made up for the two throw away episodes earlier in season seven. I’m still not really liking the Neegan casting, but again, that last episode made me rethink that position.
  • Continued Season 2 of The Killing – Netflix – This is a pretty good series. I’m invested enough to keep going. My daughter and I have been watching it.
  • Trainwreck – DVD rental from Vulcan – This one is worth watching. Colin Quinn and Dave Attell steal every scene they’re in
  • Sicario – DVD rental from Vulcan – Wow. This one was a downer. I liked it though. Benicio Del Toro is a bad ass.
  • Nothing Left Unsaid – spontaneous viewing on CNN – This one was really interesting. I didn’t know all of the details about Gloria Vanderbilt’s life and I had no idea that Anderson’s older brother, Carter, had committed suicide. Really well done.
Aug 292014

I’ve been listening to Marc Maron on his WTF podcast for the past year or so. I forget where I saw it, but I got hooked with his interview with Dave Grohl at the beginning of 2013. He’s not particularly funny. He’s a great interviewer though. He’s less than ten years older than me, so he has a perspective that’s closer to my own age. I don’t know if it’s a combination of the podcast format and his ability to draw people out, but he’s gotten some really amazing conversations and interviews with a pretty wide ranging group of musicians, actors, and comedians. He recently re-released an interview with Robin Williams on the occasion of his death that was very revealing and intimate.

He’s recorded 528 episodes so far. You can hear the last 40 or 50 episodes via the app. If you want anything earlier, you have to subscribe. I’m tempted, but haven’t done it yet. I’ll probably cave soon. There are a lot of people that I missed and would like to hear. Highlights for me have been interviews with Bob Newhart, Leonard Maltin, Billy Gibbons, Chris Cornell, Vince Vaughan, Shepherd Fairey, Ivan Reitman, Lewis Black, Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley Jr, Artie Lange, Will Ferrell, Johnny Knoxville, Josh Homme, Lou Barlow, Maynard James Keenan, Elijah Wood, Baratunde Thurston, and David Sedaris. Very few of the interviews are duds. If I’m interested in the person, it’s almost always worthwhile.

I saw Fun. last September at Austin City Limits and it just so happens that Maron interviewed Jack Antonoff, the guitarist from the band who name checked Beerland during the show. He seems like a really great guy and, once again, I have a whole new perspective because of Maron’s interviewing skills. I also stumbled across this post as I re-listened to Some Nights. I think it’s an interesting perspective.  I can’t stand autotune and Nate Ruess certainly doesn’t need it.

Anyway, definitely worth adding to your podcast repertoire and catching those subjects that interest you.

Jun 212014

The Austin Chronicle is running a story this week about the 40th anniversary of the Hole in the Wall. The week of anniversary shows started this past Thursday and will continue through next weekend. It looks like I missed a great bill last night with Two Hoots & a Holler with Joe King Carrasco and LeRoi Brothers. The Wife and I were at the Tweedy ACL taping though, so that’s a tough call. I’ll have to try to make this Friday’s show with Pocket Fishrmen, Pong and Churchwood.

I may not have played in any well known bands, but I have quite a few Hole In the Wall memories of my own. I played there in the early 1990s with Daddy’s Drunk. The band started as a four piece but eventually dropped down to three with myself on drums, Casino El Camino (yes, that Casino El Camino) on bass and Billysteve Korpi from The Crackpipes and Churchwood on guitar and vocals. I attended more than my share of shows, seeing bands of friends like Death Valley. It’s where Joe Emery from Death Valley introduced me to Laika & The Cosmonauts. Daddy’s Drunk played election night in November 1992. I remember that we covered X’s “The New World” especially for the occasion. We used to go to the Flightpath on Duval near Casino’s place to wire up on caffeine before heading to the show.

When I returned to Austin in 1995 after a couple of years in NYC, I continued to see shows at Hole in the Wall. I sat in on drums for a rendition of Starfish’s “Kliff or Dave” with Jason and Ronna one night when the band’s future was uncertain. They were appearing as the F*ckAntones, a nod to Russell’s band, the F*ckEmos. I played there with the Bad Rackets a few times as well. This was all before the expansion to the stage in the back. We complained about the size of the stage at the front of the house, but it was always fun to look over my shoulder out the window to Guadalupe while drumming and see people stopping to listen. You used to be able to park in the alley between The Hole and the building to the south. We’d also walk up the road to Showdown, formerly Raul’s and now Local Pub for a change of pace and some extra space to play darts.

Nov 262011

Several friends posted the link to the NY Times article yesterday on the upcoming release of the Fugazi Live Series. I went and dug up the shows that I’ve attended over the years. Only one of them is already available. I may check that one out before I download any of the others. I’ll almost certainly download the one at Irving Plaza , the only non-Austin show that I attended. I remember it being pretty amazing.

Here’s the ones that I went to over the years. I’ve got ticket stubs scanned for two of them along with pictures for one. Several of the Austin visits were for two nights. I don’t think I ever went to both nights. I was able to figure out which one I did via the ticket stub for the 1993 and 2002 shows. I’m not sure about the 1995 shows.

Mar 242009

It looks like they totally screwed up the US DVD release of Let The Right One In (Icons of Fright via io9). The subtitles are simplified and lose a lot of the nuance of the film, something you already have to fight against when adapting a book to the big screen.

This is a big mistake. I was considering buying a copy, but now I’ll wait until a better version can be found. If I have to, I’ll buy a non-region 1 dvd to get the right subtitles. This is just dumb, dumb, dumb.

Dec 182008

I saw Bettye Lavette at an ACL taping earlier this year and was blown away by her performance. According to the Anti blog (her record label), she did a cover of The Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me” for the Kennedy Center Honors this year and blew away people there as well, including Dave Grohl and Pete Townshend himself . I’m not surprised. The performance airs on December 30th on CBS. I need to set the DVR for that one.

Feb 242008

Scott Heim’s third novel, We Disappear, will be released this Tuesday. I met Scott at KGB in NYC just after his first novel, Mysterious Skin was published and we’ve kept up a correspondence over the years. His novels have always included some autobiographical elements, but We Disappear, a novel he’s been working on for the past ten years, morphed into a kind of fictionalization of the rougher spots of that time period including a bout with crystal meth and the death of his mother. Scott’s linked a couple of reviews on his blog. If you order from Amazon before it’s released, you get an extra 5% discount. So get going!

[tags]scottheim, book, wedisappear, harpercollins, fiction, novel[/tags]

Nov 252007

I’m a pretty big Coen brothers fan.  I haven’t liked all of their movies, but I consider Millers Crossing, Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, and Fargo to be some of the greatest films made in the last 25 years. No Country for Old Men shares more in common with Fargo and Blood Simple than the others that I mentioned. It has elements of both southern gothic and film noir. It’s incredibly tense and probably their most violent film. The performances from the lead actors and supporting cast are excellent across the board. There’s some gallows humor to be found, but not much. This is definitely not the feel good movie of the year. That being said, I highly recommend seeing it. It deserves the buzz that I’ve been hearing about it. The fact that we talked about it for a couple of hours after and that I’m still revisiting scenes in my head almost a day later is a testament to the film’s power.

I’ll leave plot points and summaries to the pros, but I’ll say a few things about the performances. The Anton Chigurh character reminds me of The Misfit from Flannery O Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. He takes on mythical proportions by the end of the story, a metaphor or the worst evil that you can imagine in the world. Javier Bardem, who hasn’t acted in very many American films is amazing and Tommy Lee Jone is pitch perfect as the world weary law man who feels he’s overmatched by Chigurh’s evil.

I’ve got a practice of not reading reviews of films before I see them. I don’t like to have any preconceived notions if I can help it. I read three reviews after seeing it: Marjorie Baumgarten, Roger Ebert and Kenneth Turan. I agreed mostly with Turan. I think Ebert missed part of the movie because the plot hole he describes is explained. I do agree with him though that many of the scenes are so flawlessly constructed that you never want them to end. I felt that way at many points in the story. I did feel that the ending was a bit abrupt and is one of the only flaws. Maybe because I didn’t want it to end, I’d find fault with any ending they chose.
[tags]movie, review, coenbrothers, joelcoen, ethancoen, tommyleejones, javierbardem, nocountryforoldmen[/tags]