Thursday, January 26, 2006


The first two movies I ever saw in theaters were Pinocchio and the 70s remake of King Kong. Up here in NY/NJ, Channel 9 (used to be WOR, is currently UPN, will probably soon be WOR again) showed King Kong, Son Of Kong and Mighty Joe Young back-to-back every Thanksgiving, and I remember watching them with my brother at my grandmother's house several years in a row. The only drive-in movie I've ever seen was Up In Smoke (double-billed with Reefer Madness), and this was first-run, so I was sitting in the back of the car with absolutely no idea what was going on while my dad laughed it up and my mom giggled a little at a couple of things. The movies that remain strongest in my kid-brain are E.T., which I didn't much like at the time and saw again recently because my wife had never seen it before (it hasn't improved, and she absolutely didn't give a shit when he died, which I kinda admire in a first-time viewer); and a bunch of the crappy early 80s 3-D movies (Jaws 3-D, Metalstorm: The Something Of Jared-Syn, The Last Dragon, and particularly Parasite, which scared my brother and me so badly we had to leave the theater while my dad made fun of us). Of all of those, the only one I still like is The Last Dragon, which was on Univision a few weeks ago - it's even better in Spanish.

In high school, when most of my nerdy friends were memorizing Monty Python dialogue, I knew every line from Repo Man. I still use "Plato Shrimp" as a pseudonym for porn stuff occasionally.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I work at a world music magazine. I get a lot of CDs in the mail. I get the occasional DVD, too, but usually it's a DVD that has something that has to do with, you know, world music. Not today. Today I got a DVD from "conservative" "comedian" Brad Stine. Here's the (slightly annotated) text of the accompanying letter:

Dear Journalist -

Hope this finds you well!

Indeed, I am well, Publicist. Thank you for your concern.

Enclosed you will find the newest DVD by comedian Brad Stine releasing March 23rd to coincide with his book release. This new release brings more of the modern stand-up comedy without the offensive language.

And who among us does not love the modern stand-up comedy?

Stine is as in-your-face as any modern stand-up comedian, but he never utters a curse word. He is an educated and challenging comic that strives to make people think and laugh about what life has to offer.

That's code. We'll come back to it.

Tolerate This!, the first Brad Stine project released by Warner Bros., is now available in Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and anywhere else comedy is sold. Brad Stine has brought side-splitting clean comedy to audiences across America and has been deemed "America's Conservative Comedian." From his candid profiles in the New Yorker and the New York Times to his TV appearances on Hannity and Colmes and Paula Zahn, Brad Stine is going where no other conservative comic has gone before,

Indeed, so few conservatives appear on Hannity and Colmes these days.

breaking new ground with his inspiring

Code, again.

in-your-face style that is seen full force with his latest DVD, Brad Stine...Tolerate This! Most contemporary comedy is from the left; Brad Stine is comedy for the OTHER half of America!

The half that enjoys pretending they're badass rebels, challenging the status quo...and yet wants their comedy profanity-free.

We will be contacting you for coverage, but in the meantime, sit back and laugh!

Oh, I'm laughin', all right...

In case you didn't pick it up from the very, very carefully coded references in the press release, Brad Stine is a fundamentalist Christian comedian. Check out the aforementioned New Yorker profile for the whole story. And this press release is a perfect example of trying to have it both ways. They play up his "liberal media" press clippings, emphasizing that he "works clean" like he's the next Seinfeld (who also never cursed on stage that I know of), and only hint in the most watered-down terms that he is, in fact, a foaming Bible-thumper. Too bad they had to include the actual product in the package. Track titles like "Eve Was A Shop-A-Holic," "Atheists Are Irrational" and "Christians & Southerners" pretty much give the game away.

I think I might actually take this thing home and watch it, if only because the guy's so damn weird-looking: he's like a cross between Denis Leary and Nick Zedd, and on the back of the box he's wearing what appears to be a leisure suit onstage. And who knows? The spectacle of a right-winger being intentionally funny could be diverting for a second or two.

EDIT: Upon examination of the cover of Brad's book, I have discovered that both I and his publicist have it all wrong. His name isn't Brad Stine, it's Brad St!ne. Just like P!nk!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Today I bought the CD reissue of Chi-Congo, by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and brought to a close an acquisitive quest that has taken nearly three years.

Between 1969 and 1974, the Art Ensemble recorded almost two dozen discs, for almost as many labels. And over the past few years, those albums have been drifting back into availability, again on a shitload of labels. And with the purchase of the Fuel 2000 reissue of Chi-Congo, I have every single one.

A Jackson In Your House: Check.
Message To Our Folks: Check.
Tutankhamun: Check.
The Spiritual: Check.
Eda Wobu: Check.
Les Stances A Sophie: Check.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago With Fontella Bass: Check.
People In Sorrow: Check.
Reese and the Smooth Ones: Check.
Live in Paris: Check.
Certain Blacks: Check.
Phase One: Check.
Go Home: Check.
Live at Mandel Hall: Check.
Bap-Tizum: Check.
Fanfare For The Warriors: Check.
Kabalaba: Check.
Brigitte Fontaine's Comme A La Radio: Check.
The 1967/68 box: Check.

Thanks to everyone at Downtown Music Gallery, Kim's Mondo Music, Other Music, the Sound Station, Amazon and eBay who helped me in this quest.

So now what? Someone has suggested collecting all the Ennio Morricone soundtracks, but I don’t think I’m quite that obsessive. Maybe I’ll just go back to filling in the gaps in my Cecil Taylor collection.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


The first review of my book that I've spotted (and someone else brought it to my attention) is up at I couldn't be happier. I hope it's a sign of what's to come.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


How to make ignorance a virtue: my Voice piece on Kompakt techno.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Reviewed their new one in the Baltimore City Paper. Check it out.

And one step down the evolutionary ladder from Maryland doom-rockers, check out The Year In Monkey News, courtesy of the L.A. Weekly.