Sunday, February 26, 2006

post 214. the. coolest. thing.ever.

post 213. barprov debuts.

joanna (as marla) and i (as jean) performing our first conversational improv show out at geva. i made some god-awful drinks, but it was a good first crack at our -- geva comedy improv's -- take on conversational improv. i figured to make it interesting i would be a right-winger, which made for some ludicrously over-the-top offensiveness. like the pics? lemme tell you. this guy kevin leas? takes all the pictures of us at geva. he donates his time to us, and he's a brilliant photog. check him out, hire him, he's a great guy. especially if you like nine inch nails.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

post 212. that guy from the big lebowski. and all those other movies.

post 211. more stuff from found magazine.


post 210. victory over horseshit, part 2.

and now, mere days later, i cannot stop listening to it. "rules are different for dead men" has got to be my favorite song since "victory over horseshit." yeah. i know they're from the same album.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

post 208. victory over horseshit.

call me a terrible, terrible sell out. scissorfight's victory over horseshit (the album's artwork claims it to be "recorded in stereo fuck-o-phonic sound.") is the first album i've bought through itunes. yes, i still work at a record store. yes, i get 25% off. no, i didn't get any liner notes. whatever. i didn't feel like waiting around to get the latest from one of my favorite bands. i downloaded it -- cheap -- and listened to it on my way out to brockport. my first thought? "ehh. whatever. " i have to admit that the worries about having your ipod's volume too loud -- god, i'm selling out all over the place -- had the album, admittedly, as background music to my morning drive. but then i listened to it again, and again and yet again today at appropriate rock levels, and here we are, about fifteen hours later and the songs have snaked into my brain. suddenly, out on the town this evening, i couldn't wait to get back to my itunes and hear "rules are different for dead men" (a true scissorfight classic), the nashville pussy-esque "86 sucker," the signature breakdown of the title track (and that sweet little guitar solo). another tight little ep of scissorfight lagniappe.

post 207. the apothecary @ daily perks.

joanna and i perform an improv show called the apothecary, and we had our second show out at daily perks coffee house in front of a very friendly and reassuring crowd. good times: flying fish, trying to get some in a submersible, smuggling jesus through a crowd of nazis.

post 206. impatience is making me wait.

o goodness. vernon and his cohorts cover radiohead's "national anthem." when i saw him perform this here in rochester i nearly fell off my chair. april 18th can't come soon enough...but i'm also about to itunes new scissorfight and cracker's best of. (a collection they! that's awesome.)

post 205. late again.

already in its fifth season, i've just started watching 24's first season on dvd. unfortunately, i read the new yorker's latest ish, compleat with an article on the success of jack bauer and his preponderance of bad days. so i know about his wife, and i'm only at 2:00 pm. but what a great show -- always anxious for the minutes to pass quicker. and what's with mr. sutherland, perpetually looking as if he were in his mid-twenties?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

post 204. a visit from becky.

i was very lucky that becky of canadian improv duo iron cobra came through rochester on her way to atlanta where she was going to meet up with a) dad's garage for a week of improv shenanigans and b) her boyfriend. i felt like washington hosting a foreign dignitary. while in rochester, she participated in a craft fair / art show / rock show at door 7. becky makes buttons and 'zines, prints and even some tee-shirts, and her system for doing so is quite intricate.
i love it when people travel in crummy old suitcases. i've got one that we use in our apothecary improv shows, but i need more -- they have such an old-school feel to them, no?

becky at her table. we sat for a good five hours talking about improv and stuff. and buttons. paul even stopped by at one point and we ended the evening with a bunch of gci troupe-ers at macgregor's. good times.

a few of becky's sweetie pie press button jars. you can see, in the background, one of the exhibit's pieces of art: a lamp shining on a rotty old bush. But after a spell, we realized the shadow it cast was that of a person's profile. pret-ty nifty.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

post 203. listening to lots of johnny cash.

being in improv is about being boring and obvious; so i was listening to the essential johnny cash (saw walk the line last night, but still liked capote more in an oscar-winning sense) this morning and came up with these lyrics. i wrote it in five minutes, and tried to get my country cliches as right as i could without thinking too much. god, i'm glad i'm not a song-writer. by the way, i started this thought train while listening to "sunday morning coming."

i woke up this morning
there were three things missin’
my dog
and my beer

so i got my gun and my pickup truck
hopin’ i’d have some luck
lookin’ for you
my dog
and my beer

drove in to town and i looked around
heard from a bar a familiar sound
it was you
my dog
and my beer

i asked you where was gromit and my grolsch
you brought up all those dark things of old
so i shot you
and went looking for my dog and my beer

ol' gromit was sittin in an alleyway
he barked a question in a slurry way
you shot your wife
i said, listen here dog
where’s my beer?

he woofed i drank it all ‘cause i knew you’d be mad
but i was standing there, real happy and glad
‘cause i didn’t never done did like that dog no how

like that no-good maybelle i did shoot my dog
didn’t feel it was no wrong
'cause no woman
and no dog
can take my beer

but there were some men who didn’t think the same
while looking for my beer they called my name
the sheriff
the judge
and the warden

so let it be known that you should think
the next time you want to have a drink
that your wife
and your dog
ain’t more important than your beer.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

post 202. django.

Django Reinhardt was the first hugely influential jazz figure to emerge from Europe -- and he remains the most influential European to this day, with possible competition from Joe Zawinul, George Shearing, John McLaughlin, his old cohort Stephane Grappelli and a bare handful of others. A free-spirited gypsy, Reinhardt wasn't the most reliable person in the world, frequently wandering off into the countryside on a whim. Yet Reinhardt came up with a unique way of propelling the humble acoustic guitar into the front line of a jazz combo in the days before amplification became widespread. He would spin joyous, arcing, marvelously inflected solos above the thrumming base of two rhythm guitars and a bass, with Grappelli's elegantly gliding violin serving as the perfect foil. His harmonic concepts were startling for their time -- making a direct impression upon Charlie Christian and Les Paul, among others -- and he was an energizing rhythm guitarist behind Grappelli, pushing their groups into a higher gear. Not only did Reinhardt put his stamp upon jazz, his string band music also had an impact upon the parallel development of Western swing, which eventually fed into the wellspring of what is now called country music. Although he could not read music, with Grappelli and on his own, Reinhardt composed several winsome, highly original tunes like "Daphne," "Nuages" and "Manoir de Mes Reves," as well as mad swingers like "Minor Swing" and the ode to his record label of the '30s, "Stomping at Decca." As the late Ralph Gleason said about Django's recordings, "They were European and they were French and they were still jazz."

A violinist first and a guitarist later, Jean Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt grew up in a gypsy camp near Paris where he absorbed the gypsy strain into his music. A disastrous caravan fire in 1928 badly burned his left hand, depriving him of the use of the fourth and fifth fingers, but the resourceful Reinhardt figured out a novel fingering system to get around the problem that probably accounts for some of the originality of his style. According to one story, during his recovery period, Reinhardt was introduced to American jazz when he found a 78 RPM disc of Louis Armstrong's "Dallas Blues" at an Orleans flea market. He then resumed his career playing in Parisian cafes until one day in 1934 when Hot Club chief Pierre Nourry proposed the idea of an all-string band to Reinhardt and Grappelli. Thus was born the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, which quickly became an international draw thanks to a long, splendid series of Ultraphone, Decca and HMV recordings.

The outbreak of war in 1939 broke up the Quintette, with Grappelli remaining in London where the group was playing and Reinhardt returning to France. During the war years, he led a big band, another quintet with clarinetist Hubert Rostaing in place of Grappelli, and after the liberation of Paris, recorded with such visiting American jazzmen as Mel Powell, Peanuts Hucko and Ray McKinley. In 1946, Reinhardt took up the electric guitar and toured America as a soloist with the Duke Ellington band but his appearances were poorly received. Some of his recordings on electric guitar late in his life are bop escapades where his playing sounds frantic and jagged, a world apart from the jubilant swing of old. However, starting in Jan. 1946, Reinhardt and Grappelli held several sporadic reunions where the bop influences are more subtly integrated into the old, still-fizzing swing format. In the 1950s, Reinhardt became more reclusive, remaining in Europe, playing and recording now and then until his death from a stroke in 1953. His Hot Club recordings from the `30s are his most irresistible legacy; their spirit and sound can be felt in current groups like Holland's Rosenberg Trio.

post 201. tomahawk, god hates a coward.

post 200. sometimes, i just wish i was smarter.

...that way, i could just watch lost and understand everything in real time, like these hieroglyphics. big ups to the brain that spent time looking all this up.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

post 199. aeon flux.

bought aeon flux on dvd and realized what the big problem with last year's movie was: it wasn't funny. in the show, there are moments when aeon and trevor act like foppy idiots, injecting an otherwise outlandish show with a nice touch of realism. in the film, trevor and aeon act like heroic cardboard cut-outs, manequins for the costume designer. and no disrespect, but seriously: if there was one part i could have played -- tall and skinny blonde -- it's trevor goodchild. marton csokas? hey, loved you in the bourne supremacy and lord of the rings. but that's just not what trevor's supposed to look like.

anyway, i'm a big fan of the animated shorts ("tide" makes me giddy) and the "third" season -- the first of the half-hour episodes -- but i find the shoddy, seemingly lazy animation of the final season a distraction that takes away from the stories.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

post 198. new school u2.

post 197. old school u2.

post 196. wallace and gromit: curse of the were-rabbit.

no cheesy (and superbly shitty) smashmouth-y covers, no bezillion dollar tie-ins, no fart jokes. just the damn funiest movie i've seen since toy story 2. and talk about suspense! my apologies to the neighbors; since i hear their conversations as if they were including me in their dialogues, i'm sure my guffawing (ralph fiennes was fabulous, and thank goodness they kept the original fella who supplies wallace's voice instead of finding some lunk hollywood-type) was quite evident. and this means i've seen two of the oscar nominations for animated film; the corpse bride -- as much as i hate to slag tim burton and his tribe of hot topic-doused followers -- was half-baked and a sad film-school-y copy of nightmare before christmas. and since howl's moving castle is anime (a genre i cannot possibly understand due to its...well...un-understandability and myriad plotmatic complexities), there's no way wallace and gromit can fail to pick up the honor.


Friday, February 10, 2006

post 195. barrel of monkeys.

i had suny brockport's fledgling improv troupe barrel of monkeys come in to class this morning so my kids could see their school's improv troupe. good stuff. above, the troupe plays "columns" using nathan (r) as one of their suggestion-givers.

the class watches in early-morning amazement.

Monday, February 06, 2006

post 194. his excellency.

mccullough's 1776 didn't even have a chance -- i saw the uv rays (arguably rochester's best band) saturday night at the bug jar with a pint of guiness and couldn't wait to scurry home so i could finish it. interesting to think that we've grown up with the idea that 1776 found the nation all independent-minded, valorous, and showing the brits the door. in truth the continental army was forever on the verge of disaster and our founding father, the iconic george washington, was...well, fuckin' up left and right. (although one has to give him a break, what with the aforementioned "army" he had to work with.) i loaned the book to adam and he returned the favor with ellis' his excellency. suddenly i've stumbled upon a pasttime: early american history.

post 193. because it's so ludicrously over-the-top. and it has babes. that's why.

benny benassi's satisfaction.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

post 192. the matador.

it was so much fun to see pierce brosnan totally dismantle the james bond mythos in a mere one-and-a-half hours. while watching this movie, one has to wonder, "yeahhh...why does 007 sleep with all those women? what's he hiding?" mr. brosnan's work here was more engaging, charming, and real than all his super-spy movies put together...with work like this, why would he want to be james bond anymore? if that tired serial had one iota of the character development that goes into mr. brosnan's julian, maybe 007 wouldn't be such a cardboard cut-out of a bygone era. and even though i felt the movie took a rick moranis-y turn when julian spends the night at danny and bean's house, it comes out aces in the end. great, great, great.

post 191. unfiltered writing; feeling the desperate need for typing lessons.

the garden gnbomes asked where we kjept the lawmnmower/. I looked at them all and was a little wondering. I=uh…I said, and slowly let the hopsze down, and suddnel;y my dfeet were wet. Oh, you got your feet wet! The gnomes a;; snapped their firnger and sudeen;y attatcjed ny showe.s I let outr a little yelp but there was no paot. One had taken my hose an dth eothern had pulled out a ghiant drying machine and just liejt that my showe s and feet were dry again,a nd the last gnokme gave a scented spray of my feet top give them a flowery scent. We’ll take care of all your lawn problems, but you have to let us live in your garage, the leader sai.d I looked at them for anotherw munbitter before I said, the garage is a little messy..they gnomes all, in unison , looked into the garage. No sweat, the gnome said, and lickety slit, with them all snapping their fingermm they sdet about, in a workforvce of fictty, to clean out the agaage. They dusted. They prganized the nila,s. they got rids of the sleds that ahd been brokenm. They fixed tommyt’s kbike, and then we saw, for the dofrts time, mt. snuffles tour tabby cat that had been missing for a week. Seems as if your cat was enjoying thwe freere rat suprlpes iun the bnack , by the gasoline. I was astonishes, and instantly told them tehey could work on the garden. They all cheered. The next week, smithers was loking at my lawn and whistling. Geezum poeetes, your lawn looks fantastic, he said, wiping the xsweat from his brow. The lawn morere he grinded on came to a chugging halt. When…I never heard your lawn omwer go…you havingprofessionals taking care of your lawm,m, gary?> I sadi I would never tell and that I was just ahppy to hasve taken care of the weed problem by my old elm. He looked at me suspicioyus ly. Are you hiring the Higgins boy to take care of your lawn? I could tell he was jealous, smithers, who spent hours of every day manicy=uring his lawnm as if he expected the president, at any moment, to give him the congeressional mecal of gardening. And landscaping, Nope. Nope. Not me.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

post 190. my new obsession.

having finished capote's in cold blood, i've finally moved on to the gift i got from my shear madness secret santa (who turned out to be margot) -- david mccullough's 1776. i'm devouring it: chapters late into the night, nibbling at bits whenever i can get the chance, speeding through the amerk's taking of dorchester while taking in the pizza hut lunch buffet this afternoon. that george washington was one smooth, confident mother fucker.

post 189. bowling and 'za will not work for a chick like that.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

post 188. colin meloy over at npr.

decemberists' lead man colin meloy has a full solo concert available for download over at, and it's hot like vesuvius. that is all.