Friday, June 27, 2008

Mercedes Sosa: Canta

Here's a (relatively) new one: an artist that's still alive! Born in 1935 of French and Quechuan descent, Mercedes Sosa is one of the most prominent artists to come of Argentina in the last century. Now this woman has been around the block. From leftist movements to dead husbands, Sosa has managed to survive the 20th century in South America while still releasing dozens of albums and performing throughout the Western Hemisphere. The album here, an LP released in 1974 as part of RCA's 'Serie Folklore Latino-Americano,' features a compilation of Sosa standards, several of which offer up accompaniment by V. Buchino y su Conjunto. While some of the tracks seem more standard, quite a few invoke an image similar to that of Judy Garland, with a soft but powerful sound, sassy piano and a 50's jive. Others carry just a glimmer of the 60's psychedelia scene with group backing-vocals and glam-y guitar. Mostly, I especially love the picture of Mercedes on the cover. She is clearly of Native descent, and the bleached tones, sweet outfit and her cute little guitar make this clearly an excellent album (in terms of world shopping, it is always better to judge an LP by its cover) . The LP is available at some locations online (~$15). If you're looking to download, I found an appropriately awesome blog with lots of Mercedes. And, if you feel that this rocks your boat in an especially sexy way, you just may also dig Chavela Vargas, a Costa-Rican lesbo powerhouse.

I deem it: "An epic chapter in the battle for more female superheroes."

John Doe (2002-2003)

Due to an intriguingly dry streak with regards to movie inhalation (blast you Battlestar!), I have decided to expand my post to that fateful arena of death also known as television (mostly because I've been watching a shit-load of it lately...and no, I'm not being brainwashed by commercials). There is a remarkable amount of underrated 90's-00's sci-fi tele and I've found imbibing it to be quite pleasurable. Hence, for my first post on these incredibly influential, meaningful and lasting-memory-forming episodic creations, I have chosen a series that only made it one fateful season, albeit highly entertaining, watchable, and interesting (and any other adjectival monument you'd like to choose) : the fateful John Doe. Starring a particularly hairless Dominic Purcell (now in Prison Break), along with a Whistler wannabe named Digger (played by Meatloaf in the pilot), some white chicks and a black dude, John Doe is a merge between the X-Files, Law and Order, and Dark Angel (substitute in any man-made advanced intelligence, bionic-oriented, freaky past, cult, sci-fi television) with a touch of violence and a lot of cold hard facts. Basically, Purcell is this dude who wakes up on an island with complete amnesia but with a brain stock-piled with any objective knowledge available to human beings and a serious amount of cash in his bank account (not to mention he can easily predict the stock market, win any trivia competition or just think people out of their money). Granted, this makes him pretty paranoid and just a little awkward with the homos (sapiens of course). But, over time, you grow to love said John Doe; with his big puppy eyes and his complete lack of understanding about himself but also with a genuine desire to help other people that eventually leads him to working with the police while simultaneously attempting to uncover the clues that may tell him who he is and where he came from. Ahhhh. There's a lot of blood and corpses, a high-ranking conspiracy and even some biogenetic engineering. Unfortunately, due to it's poor, poor, poor, poor placement in the Fox time schedule (right after Firefly, also a new show, also cancelled [even before the first season was over! I barely can even remember promo for those shows. What a waste!], also totally fucking awesome [oh Joss....]), we never even get to figure out the big mystery! The writers actually had to reveal it in an interview after the fact! And let me tell you, I was way off. Why, oh why, did they have to cancel such an enjoyable show? And for what? The Amazing Fuck-tard Race? Whew. Now that I've let out the rage, I am free to say, John Doe ROX! No, but really; good plots, good mysteries, good action, intelligence as a virtue, good conspiracy, good scenery (set in Seattle!); overall, just good. My advice, pick up the season. Or download it. Or watch most of it on hulu. Or buy it a garage sale or something. There are only 22 episodes, so you can definitely do that in a weekend. Or watch them every once in a while and drag it out for a month (also a beneficial way to appreciate the finer arts of long-term productions). That's the beauty of television: only 45 minutes per episode, so you can watch them when there's no time for a movie; on the other hand, there is ultimately more media, so you can watch it for a lot longer than a movie (pllus, you have to love those completely artificial photo-call images they stick on the fracking box). Win, win, win!

I deem it: "Udderly Irresistable"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ladyhawke (1985)

Ho, do I not quiver with pleasure after engaging in such a bless-ed event as the partaking of this film? Nay, do I not blather like a simpering fool in imitation of Sir Broderick himself?

-'Are you flesh or are you spirit?'
-'I am sorrow.'

So cute! What a romance! That's love for you! No curse from the depth of hell, not even species separation can keep these two lovers apart. And no, I'm not talking about Turner and Hooch. Instead, Matthew Broderick (as the Mouse), Michelle Pfeiffer (she's had her animal moments) and Rutger Hauer star in this (mostly) tastefully done period piece set in 13th Century France. The costumes look fierce, the sets are convincing (yay for [theoretically] on-location!); even the horses are on their best behavior. And who doesn't like a good sword fight set to the Alan Parson's Project? Throw in some dark magic, a few tacky transmogrification scenes, an evil bishop and some sweet animals (hawks and horses! wolves and weirdos!) and set the stew a-boiling! And I'm not just on one of my crazy rants here; this movie was nominated for 2 Academy Awards (does that make you feel better about it?)! I wasn't lying about the simpering fool part though. Broderick is especially scrawny in this movie (oh, how sad it is when he takes his shirt off), and he hams it up by having a pathetically pageboy haircut and crying at every interlude possible (we're not talking about scary, 'I'm in danger' sort of stuff either; it's the love scenes that get him teary) and then he goes around holding hands with old men. But then again, it's even more absurd when Matty-boy talks about his fantasies for Ladyhawke herself. Yikes. Good thing Hauer's around to actually be a man. In summation, this refreshingly realistic, religiously-inclined Medieval romance-action-fantasy is pretty dang sweet.

Final Verdict: "A numble-munching good time."

The Ice Pirates (1984)

Ahh, Ice Pirates, you hold such a special place in my heart. This brilliantly hilarious film is basically a blatant rip-off of Star Wars ('hologram portraying distress' scene...check ; 'cantina' scene [including a fight to the death and gross invertebrate appetizers]...check; two male characters getting out of a fix by being bought off the market by some friendly, future-protagonists...check; 'dude losing his hand' scene...check) with a much smaller budget, the worst wigs you've ever seen, a garishly flamboyant costume designer (everything from pirate to medieval to space-age to disco-fever to clairvoyant, all in the same frame! The fabric is just so cheap-looking!), some irresistibly bad jokes (ah the green frog tranny slut), Anjelica Huston, Ron Perlman, space herpes, castration and man slaves, a variety of small animals (dwarf donkeys, pigs, wild felines, etc.), bikini-clad female warriors defending an affluent, body-less freak, and, of course, robot pimps, lasers and trippy space-travel scenes. They also throw in sex in a virtual storm machine, a scene with rapid time advancement, explosions, car-chases, bizarro aliens, and, my personal favorite, a freeze-frame ending. Man, if they added any more low-budget action into this flick, I think I'd explode! It's like they thought, "we don't really have enough money to make a good sci-fi film, so let's just try and throw in as many sci-fi/action aspects (for a low low price) as is temporally possible and hope for the best.' Well let me tell you: it fucking worked; this movie is awesome! I've seen it so many times, and I still can't remember it all because so many super weird things happen. Super-Weird! I love movies that are super-weird, and, even better, that "attempt" to approach "new" and "interesting" sci-fi themes.
Overall, this is probably the funniest low-budget film that is actually amusing and still takes itself seriously [Anjelica is so serious! Even with that stupid claw hairpiece!] and even then has some good action scenes. It's even got a mildly meaningful message about human existence and ecology (right?) Oh, and did I mention: there are animals!

Final Judgment: "Animals + Action + Awesome Sci-Fi Adventure + Ridiculous Costumes/Plot + Aliens = The best night to get your not-so-stoner friends to smoke with you!"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Rocketeer (1991)

Man, talk about a classic (at least, a 90's family action classic...). It may just be another Disney film, but that doesn't stop it from also having a) serious Connelly Cleavage b) semi-automatic weapons c) Nazis d) simulated torture e) wise-cracking Feds and f) plenty of murder AND murderously good wise-cracks. Disney maintains the clear-cut good vs. evil battles that somehow make violence "ok," mostly by casting Bill Campbell and his 90's, high school jock, parted down the middle, long to the ears but shaved in the back hair-cut (a shimmering vision of a long-running trend soon to sweep the country), and having him fight the always dastardly Nazis. The best part (other than Timothy Dalton in tights [wait, he got another movie gig?]) is most definitely the German propaganda film, created for the movie, that shows a poignant plot to send rocketeers out into the world, across the Pacific and to DC where many American flags will be burned. AHHHHHH!!!!! Campbell could care less about the Nazis though. For him it's all about the pussy. An age-old quest for the poontang leads the protagonist through a series of explosions, bar-fights and, of course, acts of rocketeering genius, all while maintaining that sexy and playful, heretofore mentioned, all-together epic hair-cut. Throw in Jan from The Office as a lounge singer (she actually sings!) and a man known to his friends as "The Mountain," and you've got awesome action with family-sized morals (that's so you can feel good about the world).
In short,
I deem it: "A movie to get to stoned and watch, and to only tell your friends about when they're drunk; and/or 'you know, for the kids!'"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shoot 'Em Up (2007)

Aaahhhhhhhh.........!!!!!!!!!........ (that's me orgasming just thinking about this brilliant piece of "gun porn"). We're talking, non-stop, balls-out, no-holds-barred, raunchy, spicy, salty and most definitely 21st century blood and gore. Think of Jessica Rabbit (Bellucci) come to life and turned into a wet-nurse whore meets Bugs Bunny (Owen) with a serious penchant for the quick-draw, ass-kicking and booby traps, while simultaneously maintaining an intelligent and ecologically-friendly existence, and then there's Giamatti as Elmer Fudd, bringing death and stupidity (as well as a ridiculous accent) to the live-action universe with his sadistic ways and creepy submission to necrophilia related activities. Whew. I don't know how this supernaturally superb sideshow made less than a third of it's budget while in theaters, but I'm going to have to blame it on bad promo. I mean, this movie is AWESOME. It knows exactly what it wants to accomplish (a new generation of the action flick combining a cartoonish extreme with surprisingly realistic blood-and-guts [they always dumb it down], a desire to wrench every last bit of sweat out of that R-rating, a comically impressive protagonist and a new-found respect for the shortened attention span [be it socially or drugically induced]) and it sets out like there's no fucking tomorrow. I mean, DAMN. Whoever came up with this shit is genius! You have to give credit for the concept of attempting to make a certain kind of movie (not a fucking money-making, pathetic, ugly, white, comedian piece of shit OR an award winning piece of shit or anything else that attempts to appeal to a wide audience at all) and actually going through with it. It made it past censors and producers and whoever else tried to stop it's unholy conception, and yet still, Victory! I don't really think you can appreciate it until you see it (carrots through the cranium, shooting off umbilical cords, fucking while fighting, and that's just the beginning...), and it's only 88 minutes long. it! Why are you still even here weirdo?

I deem it: "A Revolution! Quite possibly the most ridiculous and simultaneously sensational movie you've ever seen! Beyond words! Beyond Earth! Beyond the Galaxy! It's Out of this World!" ....what more can I say?....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cerberus: The Guardian of Hell (2005 [tv])

Man, I didn't even know that this beaut was made for TV until I looked at the imdb page, although I should have guessed based on the abysmal quality of the special effects (not to mention everything else). Then again, have you seen the new Indy movie? And that piece of shit cost a whopping $185 million! How is that possible? Well, at least Cerberus has an imdb page. Some of the actors even have little profile pictures next to their names. That's how you know it's classy. Basically, this is a really awful sci-fi/horror/action movie, although there wasn't much action (and no titties!), the horror was primarily self-inflicted (has my judgment really gotten this bad?) and the science-fiction part is the fact that people (myself included) actually paid to see this movie. Damn. To be fair, I was reliving a high school tradition of renting the most terrific (as in terror-inducing) movie possible (it's not your money anyways...), getting intoxicated and sharing some giggles. Unfortunately, this movie was barely even cheesy enough to laugh about, let alone bake into enchiladas. You're watching a shitacious drama with shitacious dialogue that is mindless and simultaneously mind-frying, and then bang! a tremendously fake CGI hell-hound appears on screen. This happens sporadically for approximately 92 minutes. Can you believe this was 2005? I mean, what, did they use JC equipment for this shit? The point is, it sucks. And even though it was made for TV, I'm sure they don't actually show it anymore, so the only way of actually seeing this crap is either finding somewhere to buy it or renting it (why does Blockbuster carry Cerberus and yet no Dark Angel? Jessica Alba is clearly more attractive than a 2-dimensional computer graphic of a disgusting beast from the supernatural bowels of the earth. Yes?). I guess that gives it a little charm, right? Oh wait, a simple google search reveals several copies available online. Who are these people???

Final Verdict: "Thank god I didn't buy it!"


Well, I have been gone, long gone, for the last couple of weeks. I was chilling up in Olympia, taking in the sights with my bud Charlie, and attending other events (eg. graduation!). Now that I'm back and cemented to my couch, there will no doubt be more media medleys to come. Until then, enjoy my pics here.
You can also entertain yourself with some awesome Carnaval Parade field-recordings that I made in late May.

Peace and Love!


Sunday, June 1, 2008


This album, released by the Scandinavian Music Company (associated with Harmony Music Records ["an insurance that you possess authentic selections from the Scandinavian Countries' Music and Folk Songs"]) in 1948, goes by everything from The Music of Scandinavia to The Old Fashioned Dance Melodies, and finally, Dance Music, Played by the Scandinavian Boys. Unfortunately, the LP, with it's sprightly waltzes, hambos, polka and schottische, is no longer available online, so keep digging through those sale bins! The tracks are traditional tunes selected by Hans Berggren ("known for his activities in radio and recordings" [I can't find anything on him in English!]) and then performed by the Scandinavian Boys Orchestra at his behest. Very fun, very cheerful, very uplifting, yadayadayada. Originally priced at $3.98 (it was 1948!).

I deem it: "A Scandinavian barrel (trumma, cylinder, [gevärs] pipa, eldrör, fat, valse) of fun!"