Imagined Pitch Meetings: Sucker Punch

Posted by: on Mar 29, 2011 | One Comment


There are so many amusing reviews for “Sucker Punch” out there that it’s hard to pick just one. I will, however, suggest io9’s review, since it contains the best summary I’ve read so far:

If you like licking the goo out of a dormitory shower drain, you’re going to love the whack-a-mole subtlety of Snyder’s social critique.

Imagined Pitch Meetings is a webcomic about movies, Hollywood and cats.

Midweek Playlist: 3/23/11

Posted by: on Mar 23, 2011 | One Comment

This. Playlist. Is. Awesome. “Truth” might be the best song of 2011. I know it’s early to say that, but take a listen and I think you’ll agree. Also loving Megafaun’s “Volunteers” and Lord Huron’s “Mighty”.

    1. Alexander – “Truth”
    2. Deerhunter – “Coronado”
    3. North Mississippi Allstars – “Po Black Maddie”
    4. Atlas Sound – “Quarantined”
    5. The Growlers – “Average Man”
    6. Lord Huron – “Mighty”
    7. J. Irvin Dally – “Sun Room”
    8. James Vincent McMorrow – “This Old Dark Machine”
    9. Megafaun – “Volunteers”
    10. The Luyas – “Too Beautiful to Work”
    11. The Whitest Boy Alive – “Burning”
    12. Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr – “Nothing But Our Love”

Check it:

Show Review: Destroyer at The Great American Music Hall, 3/21/11

Posted by: on Mar 23, 2011 | 2 Comments

On Monday night, Destroyer took the stage alongside opening band The War on Drugs, for a sold-out show at The Great American Music Hall. This was my first time at GAMH and first time seeing Destroyer, so emotions and expectations were running high.

First off, a little venue information… The Great American Music Hall is breathtaking. It was constructed in 1907 as part of the reconstruction following the ‘06 quake, and was originally christened “Blanco’s” after a Barbary Coast brothel. In the years since it has hosted a wide variety of acts, including burlesque, jazz, and later, rock’n’roll. By mid-century it had been condemned by city building inspectors but was ultimately saved from demolition. It wasn’t renamed until 1972, with Maynard Ferguson as one of the first acts in the newly reborn venue. I love transportive spaces and environments, and you can really feel the history of GAMH when you walk through the door.

As for the show, Destroyer is a fantastic act to see live (even if you’re stuck behind Guy Who Subjects Everyone In His Perimeter To His Erratic Dancing). Singer Dan Bejar was backed by an amazing eight-piece band that included saxophonist and flutist Joseph Shabason, guitarist Nick Bragg, keyboard and vocalist Larissa Loyva, and trumpet player J.P. Carter. Though Bejar is undoubtedly Destroyer’s poster child and star, Shabason and Carter stole the show more than once, (reminding me of Jon Hamm’s “Sergio”), providing some downright mesmerizing performances.

One of the things that makes Kaputt so entrancing is Sibel Thrasher’s powerful backup vocals, so I was disappointed to see she wouldn’t be providing them live. Larrisa Loyva did an admirable job through songs like “Downtown” and “Blue Eyes”, but her voice was often drowned out by the rest of the band. The setlist was heavily weighted toward Kaputt, with only a few tracks from past albums thrown in, so folks pining for earlier stuff may have been let down. Bejar’s performance was energetic and passionate, coming across somewhat edgier in person. His reliance on lyric sheets may have been off-putting to some, but anyone familiar with Destroyer’s oeuvre knows those songs must be hard to memorize.

Overall an amazing show with a fantastic encore (“Bay of Pigs”). It sounds cheesy, but I really felt like I was witnessing musicians at the top of their craft, who seemed ecstatic to be performing in front of an engaged, supportive crowd.

UPDATE: Huge thanks to Pam Torno for these amazing pics from the show! Pam might have the best named blog currently online. You can see more pics from the Destroyer show on her flickr.
*The setlist:
Chinatown
Downtown
Gonna Take an Airplane
Blue Eyes
Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
Painter in Your Pocket
Song for America
Savage Night at the Opera
3000 Flowers
Encore: Bay of Pigs

*These were the songs as best I can remember them… If you were at the show and have a song or order correction, don’t hesitate to let me know.

“Downtown”:

A Battle of Outlaws: Waylon Jennings vs Willie Nelson

Posted by: on Mar 21, 2011 | One Comment

In a battle of outlaws, only the orneriest will survive. Willie and Waylon have a long history together in the “Outlaw Country” subgenre, but how does their actual cred hold up when pitted against each other?

YOUTH

Waylon Jennings: 
Waylon’s father played guitar in Texas dancehalls, and encouraged his son to pursue music. He started his first band at the age of 10, and was later kicked out of music class for not learning to read notes. At 21 he was asked to play bass in Buddy Holly’s band.

Willie Nelson: 
Willie wrote his first song at 7 and joined a local band at age 9. He began performing in dancehalls and honky tonks as a way to earn money aside from picking cotton. Though he finished high school, his early success in music would pull him away from college and into our outlaw hearts.

INFLUENCES

Waylon Jennings: While working as a DJ, Waylon and friend Buddy Holly were influenced by the Mayfield Brothers of West Texas, as well as other early country and bluegrass acts.

Willie Nelson: Influenced by some of country music’s great forefathers, Willie drew inspiration from musicians like Lefty Frizzell, Hank Snow, Ray Price, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Django Reinhardt.

RUN-INS WITH THE LAW

Waylon Jennings: Despite his dangerous reputation, Waylon’s actual criminal record is limited to a 1977 arrest for cocaine possession that was later dropped. This of course doesn’t mean he never engaged in desperado-esque activities, it just means he never got caught.

Willie Nelson: Willie’s outlaw antics are also thin, with only one recent arrest for marijuana possession. Unfortunately, even this doesn’t impress much when everyone knows you’ve been a pothead throughout your entire career in music. Willie still has a few years left to rob a some trains though… just give him some time.

ORNERIEST LINE

Waylon Jennings: “Bessie was a lovely child from West Tennessee / Leroy was an outlaw hard and mean / One day she saw him starring & it chilled her to the bone / She knew she had to see that look on a child of her own / ‘Cause ladies love outlaws / Like babies love stray dogs / Ladies touch babies like a banker touches gold / Outlaws touch ladies somewhere deep down in their soul.”

Willie Nelson: “Cowboys are special, with their own brand of misery from being alone too long / You could die from the cold in the arms of a nightmare, knowing well that your best days are gone / Picking up hookers instead of my pen, I let the words of my youth fade away / Old worn out saddles and old worn out memories, but no one and no place to stay.”

COLLABORATIONS

Waylon Jennings: While Waylon’s most renowned collaborations are with his competitor in this post, he’s worked with many country greats, including Jerry Reed, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. He also provided his voice to Family Guy shortly before his death.

Willie Nelson: Willie’s collabs are straight out of country music heaven, and include the aforementioned members of the Highwaymen, as well as Bob Dylan, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris and of course, Waylon.

AND THE ORNERIEST IS: Are/were Willie and Waylon true outlaws? A cocaine addiction in and of itself is not particularly “outlawish” until it lands you in jail, in which case you’d better pray the charges aren’t dropped due to the DEA’s incompetencies (sorry, Waylon). Getting arrested for marijuana possession is nothing to shake a crusty, outlaw stick at either, unless you’re Willie Nelson and, like Snoop Dogg, you’ve built a cult of personality around your drug addiction. Regardless of their lack of true bad boy credentials like illegal gambling or bank robberies, Waylon and Willie are still two of orneriest outlaws in country music, which is why I’m calling this one… a draw. These boys work better as an outlaw team anyway.

Waylon Jenning’s “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean”:

Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River”:

Imagined Pitch Meetings: Limitless

Posted by: on Mar 21, 2011 | One Comment

For some reason hearing “Power” in the Limitless trailer makes the movie look intensely predictable.
Imagined Pitch Meetings is a webcomic about movies, Hollywood and cats.

Cocktailing 101: The Dirty Martini

Posted by: on Mar 19, 2011 | One Comment

Right off the bat, I should probably say that there are many, many different approaches to this drink. These happen to be my favorite proportions, but they are by no means martini gospel. Part of the fun of martini-making is concocting your own signature combination. This dirty martini is a little, well, dirty. I prefer gin to vodka since it’s so clearly superior, but go for whatever tickles your taste buds.

The Dirty Martini

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .3 ounces dry vermouth
  • .3 ounces olive juice
  • 2 olives
  • Lots of ice

Combine all ingredients (except olives) in a shaker and shake until your fingers start to stick. Strain into a glass and garnish with olives. If you’re using gin, spring for the good stuff (Tanqueray, Hendrick’s, Bombay Sapphire), and leave the well brands for mixed drinks.

Midweek Playlist: 3/16/11

Posted by: on Mar 16, 2011 | One Comment

Woah! Due to being knocked out by the flu (or similar virus), last week there was no midweek playlist. But that just means this week’s playlist is extra fantastic. Standouts for me are “I Want You”, “Horses” and “Vanessa From Queens”.

    1. jj – “New Work”
    2. Toubab Krewe – “Area Code”
    3. Wye Oak – “Civilian”
    4. Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”
    5. High Highs – “Horses”
    6. Sleep Over – “Casual Diamond”
    7. The Miracles Club – “A New Love”
    8. Millionyoung – “Replicants”
    9. Summer Camp – “I Want You”
    10. Therapies Son – “Touching Down”
    11. Destroyer – “Looter’s Follies”
    12. Stephen Malkmus – “Vanessa From Queens”

Écoutez et répétez:

Dinner and an Album:Lamb with Mint Pesto and Elis Regina’s Como & Porque

Posted by: on Mar 4, 2011 | One Comment

Last week I found myself in possession of a very fancy bottle of zinfandel, and wanted to make something that would serve as a nice pairing. Most foodie experts recommend dark meat to go with zin, and being the lamb fanatic that I am, I decided to expand my repertoire beyond the Moroccan slow-cooked approach.

If you’re not a lamb person (or don’t think you are), this dish might just turn you around. I ended up adapting an Emeril Lagasse recipe for grilled lamb chops with mint pesto, and they were d-e-v-i-n-e. The marinade and pesto managed to transform the chops from a mediocre weeknight dinner into a savory, delectable heap of lamby deliciousness, the likes of which you could find in only the finest of Michelin rated eateries. OK maybe that’s a strength, but if you’re trying to impress someone, this is the recipe that will do it.

Though the ingredients in the marinade and pesto are robust, they weren’t overpowering and definitely did not detract from the subtler flavor of the lamb. In fact, the biggest takeaway I got from this dish was that buying a decent, often pricier cut of meat (from an actual butcher or a Whole Foods-esque establishment) makes a huge difference in tenderness and flavor, especially if you’re grilling rather than slow-cooking. Just bite the bullet and go for the high-end stuff. You’re worth it.

Jump over to Another Freaking Cooking Blog for the recipe.

If you want to push this meal to its full potential and create a real dinner experience, you should pop in Elis Regina’s Como & Porque (Here and Now) whilst savoring your lamb and zinfandel. The compliments from your guests will be ceaseless. “This lamb, it’s positively heavenly! And this music! How can one man/women have such good taste in food AND music?” They’ll be in the palm of your hand.

For the uninitiated, Elis Regina was part of the Brazilian Tropicália movement in music during the 60s and 70s, a stylized mixture of traditional African and Brazilian rhythms with rock and roll and bossa nova. Released in 1969, Como & Porque was Regina’s 12th album, full of light arrangements, smooth rhythms and her clear, at times breathtaking, voice.

The horn, percussion and string arrangements by Roberto Menescal are breezy and joyful, and have a soft stream of consciousness quality that perfectly compliments Regina’s vocals. The malleability of Regina’s sound is striking on this album. In “Casa Forte”, her voice is layered over itself again and again to create a powerful, wordless harmony that connotes a beautiful sadness and longing. In “Canto de Ossanda”, it slithers quietly at first, only to build to a loud, fantastic finish. In “Vera Cruz” it ebbs and flows between a quavering fragility and a powerful intensity.

Aside from her music, Regina was an influential cultural and political figure as well, openly critical of the Brazilian military government and its incarceration of other musicians and leaders of Tropicalismo.

Check out “Canto de Ossanda”:

Imagined Pitch Meetings: Beastly

Posted by: on Mar 4, 2011 | 2 Comments

The early reviews of Beastly are in, and it’s already a hot contender for more than a few Razzies. It’s kind of a shame Neil Patrick Harris and Peter Krause got dragged into it, but maybe they were suckered into thinking it was the next Twilight. Or maybe they needed the money. Or maybe they were blackmailed.
Imagined Pitch Meetings is a webcomic about movies, Hollywood and cats.

Cocktailing 101: Ramos Gin Fizz

Posted by: on Mar 4, 2011 | 2 Comments

Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras, and what better way to celebrate than with an authentic New Orleans cocktail!

Last week when I attempted to make this drink the results were… interesting. I suppose the lesson learned was that with certain drinks (or recipes in general, for that matter), if you don’t follow the ingredients, proportions and instructions very carefully, you’ll end up with a concoction that must be drowned in Arancia soda.

The Ramos Gin Fizz (a.k.a. the Ramos Fizz or New Orleans Fizz) was invented by Henry C. Ramos in 1888 at his bar in New Orleans. It was a time of growth for America: we’d just received the Statue of Liberty from France, the telephone and light bulb were still relatively new inventions, and the first “skyscraper” was erected in Chicago at 10 stories. But perhaps most importantly, at least for the purposes of this post, the Temperance movement had begun in earnest, with Kansas being the first state to go dry. The Ramon Gin Fizz obviously survived prohibition, and is still one of New Orleans’ best known cocktails.

Ramos Gin Fizz 

  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 2-3 dashes orange flower water
  • Club Soda

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with a few ice cubes, and go at it. This is a great drink to make when friends are over… because you can hand it to them to shake for a while. As with all egg drinks, the longer you shake the more you’ll emulsify your egg and the better your drink will be. Once you’re done shaking, strain into a tall glass with club soda and toast to Fat Tuesday and the Big Easy.