Concert review: Billy Joel

Billy Joel Performs At BB&T Center

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – May 9, 2019

Lacking a traditional alternative to fill the role, I have long thought of music in practically religious terms. I play it; I listen to it; I know and revere its history. I share it with friends, and the bonds between us are invariably enriched by both the effort and the act. Music means the absolute world to me. Certain scientific studies have played up its druglike effects, and I suppose it’d be disingenuous as a longtime user to vociferously deny them, but I have always seen music more as a source of legitimate personal nourishment, an indispensable renewable resource, fuel or balm for the soul as needed. Rock and Roll in particular has been my constant companion since the year I turned ten, that proverbial source of comfort in times of trouble, as well as, for my money, the most damned fun you can reliably compress into the space of three minutes, or five, or twenty, or ninety, or more, however long your playlist or evening plans might dictate. I experience live music whenever plausible, and, sometimes, in my saucier moments, even take extreme measures to render the implausible possible. Think then of my journey, after near a lifetime of uninterrupted admiration, to see Billy Joel play the latest show in his historic residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden as something of a pilgrimage: Continue reading “Concert review: Billy Joel”

Movie review: “Pet Sematary” (2019)

Pet Sematary

“But it’s all okay. You’re back now.”

“Back from where?”

The specter of unimaginable loss hangs, as it should, like a pall over Pet Sematary – not merely the loss of a beloved pet, say, which would be awful enough on its own; nor the loss of a sibling, maybe one you loved, or maybe one of whom you were scared enough as a little kid to secretly, shamefully, wish dead; nor the loss of a spouse, nor a parent, nor, worst of all, the sudden and heartbreaking loss of a child – but of everything, the loss of seemingly everything you ever loved and fought for all at once, crumbling away to nothing before your frantic, helpless, unbelieving eyes. What would you do in that moment, honestly, without the benefit of foresight or rational thought, to get it all back? Wouldn’t you do anything? Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s stoic horror parable touches the heart with a clammy, room temperature hand and presses down firmly, until our breathing is rendered involuntarily shallow. Continue reading “Movie review: “Pet Sematary” (2019)”

Miscellanity #2 (5/2/19): The Revenge of “Capacity Weekend”

miscellanity 2

Of all the ideas for which I’ve sent up trial balloons over the five years and counting of darkadaptedeye.org – such as “Musings Deathmatch”, where I compare and contrast different versions of the same property (essentially an original vs. reboot firing range), or “Pilot to Bombardier”, where I review TV pilots three at a time in an attempt to determine whether or not to tackle the series proper – the one I most hoped would turn into a recurring item was always “Miscellanity”. Structured as a potpourri of snap reactions to an unreasonable number of pop culture, concerts, and/or sporting events dropping or landing or taking place within a limited time window, usually the course of a single weekend, “Miscellanity” posts are quick hitter compilations (for this blog anyway) – comparatively fast to write (though not this time), theoretically fun to read (knock on wood) – not necessarily designed to induce whiplash, though the risk is always present. They are also indicative of a life well-lived for a goof like me, Continue reading “Miscellanity #2 (5/2/19): The Revenge of “Capacity Weekend””

Avenge Winterfell! Conjuring Analogues (and Making Bets) Amongst the Thrones/MCU Survivors

Avenge Winterfell
GoT Cast Photo Property of Entertainment Weekly

NOTE: Let it here be affirmed on this date of publication – 4/24/2019 – that all predictions made as part of the folly below were offered with absolutely no advance notice of how the respective battles in “Game of Thrones” and “Avengers: Endgame” might or did play out this weekend, and are the intellectual property of the author insofar as they might, with the full benefit of hindsight, be worthy of nonstop ridicule, or, assuming pigs fly, reluctant praise from the smarter marks among ye. Enjoy the shows, all. ‘Tis a heady time to be a geek.

Dear occasional reader/confused tourist,

In case the rock you’ve been hiding under is wired for neither cable nor internet, the (as of press time) upcoming final weekend of April marks the happy, if terrifying, convergence of the two arguably most popular ongoing properties in all modern pop culture, HBO’s armies + dragons + zombies medieval fantasy phenomenon Game of Thrones and the 21-blockbuster (and counting) Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) of quirky, quippy, cooperative superheroes. The following mash-up post operates under the questionable assumption that, in spite of, ahem, Stark surface differences, there is considerable common ground between not just the franchises’ respective fan bases but the two creative behemoths themselves, in terms of characters, motivations, and high, high stakes, and seeks to explore and exploit them for the amusement of its author and entertainment of its readers. Mostly the former. Continue reading “Avenge Winterfell! Conjuring Analogues (and Making Bets) Amongst the Thrones/MCU Survivors”

Concert review: Kiss

kiss1

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH – March 16, 2019

Some people are natural born rock stars. Paul Stanley is one of them, a strutting, preening, painted master of ceremonies with a (still) million dollar arena rock voice and potent if occasionally perplexing mixture of heart-on-sleeve earnestness and winking three ring-ready showmanship. The giant, black, eye-enveloping star that dominates his otherwise flat white facial makeup (minus the cheeky, fire engine red lipstick) as the frontman of Kiss might as well be a window into his soul. Gene Simmons, his business partner and bandmate of over 45 years, is not a natural born rock star – nor, some would assert, noticeably possessed of a soul – but built himself into one anyway via a combination of dogged persistence, shameless, in-your-face theatricality, indefinable, at times creepy, charisma, and blunt, dependably macho chutzpah. Offstage, Stanley seems a bit more person than persona, with Simmons the exact opposite. Onstage, they are a literal fireworks display. Continue reading “Concert review: Kiss”

Movie review: “Captain Marvel” (2019)

captain-marvel

“What is this?”

“It’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. logo.”

“Does announcing your identity, with branded clothing, help with the covert part of the job?”

“…Said the space soldier who’s wearing a rubber suit.”

Captain Marvel, the latest but hardly last in the current glut of attempts to shoehorn yet another theoretically resonant new standalone superhero into our already righteously taxed moviegoing consciousness – bookended at the box office by DC’s Aquaman and, gulp, Shazam! – arrives at a precarious moment for the formerly sturdy Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), whose equally hyped and hype-worthy Infinity War event saw an unprecedented, slightly ridiculous number of Avengers assemble across multiple worlds in a last ditch effort to beat back the intergalactic threat posed by jewelry enthusiast/genocidal sociologist/city planner run amok Thanos. Sorry, but I think we’ve evolved well past spoiler territory here. Continue reading “Movie review: “Captain Marvel” (2019)”

Post No. 200: Pay Attention to the Road

pay attention
Photo credit: “Full Moon Over Death Valley” by Donna Kennedy

Every 25th post, darkadaptedeye takes a planned break from normal business to plumb the shallow depths of its author’s psyche and/or overtly explore the locked attic of memories it only ever really dabbles in otherwise. You might think of it as a pit stop, or maybe a soft reboot. In “Danse Macabre”, Stephen King termed his own such digression “An Annoying Autobiographical Pause”, which I choose to think was kind of charming. Please know I take seriously the challenge of making patent self-indulgence interesting – actual results be damned – and I appreciate you being game. We’ll return to our irregularly scheduled programming shortly…

Professional musician, professional counselor, semi-professional cheerleader – it was my father who, long ago, instilled in me the central tenet by which, though so far removed now from the rolling hills where I spent my childhood, I have nevertheless carved out some semblance of a happy life as an adult: always have something to look forward to. Through repeated and jarring market fluctuations in both the professional and romantic sectors, I have intermittently thrived but stayed consistently afloat, clinging to that piece of advice like driftwood on the open sea. I’ve always been a solitary sort – introspective and dry, shy and goofy, practitioner of deadpan sarcasm and proponent of laid back empathy – more conversationalist as counterpuncher than raconteur. Continue reading “Post No. 200: Pay Attention to the Road”