Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Let's talk about horror movies. As a kid, I was always afraid of them. I loved the Universal Dracula and Frankenstein but I stayed far away from Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I watched Nightmare on Elm Street in high school but was still a big wussy.

But now I'm an adult. Now I'm sophisticated. Now I love Evil Dead.

Here's my favorite clip from Evil Dead 2. By this point, the evil spirits in the house have killed Bruce Campbell's girlfriend and made him chop off his own hand. Now it's going to pick on him. What follows is probably the silliest and wierdest moment in horror movie history.

And this is just indulgent. Here's the famous "boomstick" speech from Army of Darkness. I first saw this on a blind date in college. I had no idea it was the sequel to Evil Dead 2. I had no idea what was going on.

Seven years later I caught it on Sci-Fi and it became my favorite movie. Go watch your favorite movie today. Your favorite movie of blood!!!!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Dates!

This week, a show NOT at the Improv!

Monday Oct 30 2006 10:00P
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Wednesday Nov 1 2006 10:00P
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Thursday Nov 2 2006 8:30P
Comma, D
Jimmy's 43
Seventh Street @ 2nd Ave New York NY

Friday Nov 3 2006 midnight
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Sunday Nov 5 2006 8:00 & 10:00P
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Tuesday Nov 7 2006 10:00P
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Thursday Nov 9 2006 9:00P
Lack of Etiquette
Improv Chicago City Limits 53rd and 8th New York NY

Friday Nov 10 2006 midnight
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Saturday Nov 11 2006 midnight
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Monday Nov 13 2006 8:00P
The World New York NY
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Monday Nov 13 2006 10:00P
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Tuesday Nov 14 2006 10:00P
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Friday Nov 17 2006 11:45P
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Saturday Nov 18 2006 midnight
The World
Improv Comedy Cafe 53rd and 8th New York NY

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sesame Street Bonus

I couldn't decide yesterday if I would use Stevie Wonder's "Sesame Street" or this. Here's Stevie banging out "Superstition" in the alley. It teaches children a very essential lesson; to appreciate good music.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sesame Street 5: Stevie Wonder

Let's wrap up Sesame Street week with a look at Sesame Street being a cool place to hang. Here's Stevie Wonder's original funky theme song. I've never heard this before but it's got a talk box on it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sesame Street 4: Fat Cat Sat Hat

When people talk Muppets, everyone mentions "Mah Na Ma Na". It was a showcase when Henson would appear on talk shows. It appeared early on "Sesame Street" and kicked off the pilot for "The Muppet Show". And yes, it was great. But it was just a first draft for this one. Weird, great character work with simple shapes and jazz punk song that will stick in your head for days.

Sounds like Jim Henson is both the hippie muppet and one of the bald guys. I wonder which he physically performed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sesame Street 3: Subway

As I said, Sesame Street in the early '70's was a surrogate for "The Muppet Show" and sometimes education took a backseat to entertainment. This song, for example, teaches nothing. Most of its lyrics are downright satirical. Looks like it broke the budget at the time too.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sesame Street 2: Wrecktangle

Sesame Street was a completely different show than what's on now (and not just because Cookie Monster can eat cookies). The incomparable chemistry of Jim Henson and Frank Oz combined with the freewheeling 70's gave the show a frenetic, hilarious air until Henson had a better outlet with "The Muppet Show".

Here's a perfect example. I'm guessing it's from the first season. Kermit teaches the audience about a rectangle but barely gets the information out. In fact, he gives no distinction between a rectangle and a square. Henson and Oz are way more concerned with having fun, as you'll see when Cookie Monster arrives.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sesame Street: The Count

Tomorrow SONY will release Sesame Street: Old School. It's a 3 dvd set collecting the best from 1969-1974 but I hope they don't include this. Here's the first appearance of the Count which, at the age of three, scared the living shit out of me. I liked the Count but thanks to this sketch, I had recurring nightmares about him biting the other muppets and counting new vampires.

Looking back, it's not terrifying but man is it creepy. Just look at the way he hypnotizes Bert and Ernie.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bill Burr

Alex Grubard just put up a blog about his set last night. I saw it and I think he's being a little hard on himself. Ironically, he also told me about the following video of Bill Burr having the worst set I have ever seen. This comes from Opie and Anthony's tour where the audience was monstrous to every comic. Bill had enough and went after them until his time ran out. He even counts his time running out. Proof it could always be worse.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

FF Plaza

Batman is my favorite superhero. Spider-Man is the most fun. But my favorite book is the Fantastic Four.

Maybe it's because it's not everyone's favorite. I can lay claim to its one long-running series, flawed movie and spotty merchandising because everyone else is over at the X-Men table. When Wolverine sells out, there's always the Thing.

They're a great secret. Anyone into the Silver Age of Comics knows this was the best book throughout the sixties. It even outsold Spider-Man. That's because Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were hitting ideas they (or the genre) would never touch again. It was like listening to Hendrix play. No one would get this good for another decade.

That hurt the book for the next generation. Creators were so in awe of Stan and Jack's ideas no one wanted to to change them. Luckily John Byrne, Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo proved there's still a lot of life and imagination in the characters. And I've read every issue ever printed hoping someone will do it again.

There aren't a ton of FF websites but the best is FF Plaza, which celebrates its tenth anniversary. Ten years on the internet. Can even Amazon say that? Find me an X-Men site that can boast such a legacy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Now this is a band who can play together.

I bought tickets back in Japan and almost forgot about them. Almost. Last night Renee and I drove through the pouring rain to the Continental Arena (luckily an indoor arena) to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Mars Volta opened. I'd heard good things from RG and they had a lot of energy on stage. What they didn't have was dynamics, precision or the ability to know when enough's enough. They played three songs in an hour. One was a half-hour jam. Where they all soloed at full blast. All of them. For a half-hour. It quickly went from curious to punishing.

The Chili Peppers took the stage with a jam themselves. That lasted two minutes then straight into "Can't Stop" and "Dani California". Even the volume was perfect.

The crowd was a mix from high school kids to fans ten years older than us. There was an awkward air in the stands that made me realize the teenage girls were controlling the crowd. The audience loved the Peppers in a totally self conscious way. Still, it's a testament to a band that at this age should be enjoying a comeback. The Chili Peppers never went away.

They were exactly what I hoped. They were full of energy and could stop on a dime. They explored every inch of the stage but were totally connected. Every now and then they would gather in a tight circle and play. Those moments weren't for us. They were private moments we were able to eavesdrop.

I've always thought John Frusciante is an underrated guitarist. Now I know he's an underrated guitar hero. He rolled all over the stage. Solos where he was supposed to play a melody line, he shredded. While the media spends all their time watching Anthony and Flea, the room was drawn to John. Flea was the virtuoso you'd expect (and almost take for granted) but John was with him note for note. Thank God heroin can be beaten.

The band was a complete unit. Anthony wasn't even a frontman. Everyone got a chance to speak, everyone got a moment to shine. No one was more important than anyone else. That's what I appreciate in a band, and what I almost never see.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The World for the Rest of October!

Wednesday Oct 18 2006 10:00P

Thursday Oct 19 2006 10:00P

Friday Oct 20 2006 12:00A

Tuesday Oct 24 2006 10:00P

Wednesday Oct 25 2006 8:00P

Friday Oct 27 2006 12:00A

1/2 off!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Guitar Tapping

Here's Erik Mongrain beautifully tapping on an acoustic guitar. Looking at this footage makes me realize why I never made it as a musician.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Departed

Last year I wrote a review of "The Corpse Bride", saying that Tim Burton had finally returned to his strengths. The same could be said about "The Departed". Except Scorcese is ten times a director than Burton.

RG says this is Scorcese's best movie ever, better even than "Goodfellas". I can't agree with that yet. I've seen that film at least 30 times. I even wrote my term paper for film class on it. I can't compare a film I've seen once.

But in the opening sequence, when the camera sweeps into a run-down deli to the sound of "Gimme Shelter" we know we're home again. That and the violence. Scorcese speaks the language of film so well, English could be his second language. He always knows just when to use a zomm, dolly or a cut. There's a surprising amount of contrast in this one. Songs drop into silence and shots freeze frame at unexpected moments.

It's impossible to discuss the plot and stay spoiler free. So let's avoid the plot and just say that the story (based on the Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs") twists and turns until it folds in on itself. It's a film that you need to see a number of times. Then argue with your friends.

The cast is perfect. I've spent years defending Jack Nicholson to people. Some say he does the same thing in every movie. And while he does play to his persona, Jack can always deliver a layered performance with a surprising emotional range. He plays his age here and for the most part plays it close to the vest. I've always dreamed of seeing him team up with Scorcese and the result does not disappoint.

DiCaprio is another actor that deserves defending. Since "Titanic" he's been unfairly maligned as an overhyped, over handsome movie star. But DiCaprio was never Tom Cruise. Even as a young actor he was capable of performances such as "The Basketball Diaries" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". And this is the third time he's worked with Scorcese. Only DeNiro and Pesci have done more. Matt Damon's gives his usual solid performance, proving once again that he needed to get far away from Ben Affleck.

Other critics are raving about "The Departed".

Friday, October 13, 2006

John Clarke Is a Famous Comedian

Here's an interview with John Clarke. I don't know what's stranger; the fact that he's 57 and an Australian, or that the interview was conducted on my birthday.

No, it's that he looks like my dad. It's like looking into my future. A bald, Australian future.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sinatra and Elvis

This blog has been getting a little nerdy, so let's cool it up. Here's Frank Sinatra singing with Elvis Presley in 1960. Elvis had just come back from the army, so Frank "threw" him this special. Sure, it was self-serving and a transparent attempt to win over a younger demographic, but Frank treated Elvis better than Elvis would the Beatles.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

Yes, it's started again this week. And again, it threw so many curve balls I have no idea what's going to happen.

But let's not talk spoilers. Let's talk about the episodes you probably missed. Sci Fi put up ten webisodes that take place between seasons two and three. I'm watching them now and I'm hoping they set up some of the craziness I'm experiencing during season three.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Paris and Nicole Make Up

Add this to the long list of things I don't give a fuck about.

The real news is buried down three paragraphs. There's talk about how much people love "The Simple Life" and how many people want to see these two talentless, selfish idiots together again. But it won't air on FOX. It'll be sent to the basic cable pit of "E". Public demand has spoken.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Nobody wanted to hang out with C3PO. People ditched him every chance they could. Anakin quit building him. Luke gave him to Jabba the Hutt. R2D2 crash lands with him on a desert planet and goes the other way. The only ones who appreciated C3PO? The Ewoks. And that is not worth advertising.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Biff sings

You've probably seen this since it's on the front page of youtube (unlike anything I've ever done)but it's still worth mentioning. Here's Tom Wilson ("Biff" in the Back to the Future movies) singing a mariachi number about what his life is like now.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Star Trek auction

Bill mentioned this on his blog some time ago but now Christie's has listed all the costumes, props and set pieces on auction. Looks everything from "Enterprise" and "Nemesis" is up, including three captain's chairs. Even with Abrams' new movie in development, this feels like Star Trek is really over.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Studio 60: Episode 3

It's online now.

Perfect line this week:

"No comedian you admire has ever been afraid of silence."

By the way, there's also a fake website for the NBS show. The links are alive but don't link to anything. Still, it's a cute little side marketing idea.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I Got a Raging Face!

I've been reading a great humor website called the Raging Face for awhile. Long enough that they asked me to contribute something. I came up with this.

Read "I Don't Have Time For My Time Machine".

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Learn English the Violent Way

Bill updates his blog every day. I always stop by there and he always stops by here. You should too.

But really go today. Seriously. He's posted a Japanese video of speaking English in New York that is paranoid and silly at the same time. I thought of stealing it and posting it here but he deserves the hits.

Take a look.