Concert review: Bad Religion

Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY – August 3, 2019

Dreamed last night that I saw Bad Religion play in an undisclosed space roughly the size of a meat locker. We as fans were uncomfortably packed in – social distancing was not observed – and the band noticeably pent up and airtight. BR unleashed a quartet of personal favorites I would’ve never expected to hear live, and don’t expect I ever will again, before exiting stage left as if seized by the realization that a horrible mistake had been made. I shook Greg Graffin’s hand on his way out, or at least grazed his shoulder in passing. As dreams go lately, I’ll take it. Don’t worry, though. I like to confine my concert reviews to the realm of non-fiction, and so what you’re reading isn’t some embellished field report on that figment of my imagination. The harsh logistics of life under self-imposed quarantine haven’t yet pushed me to the point of whole cloth invention of performances with which I might theoretically ply and impress you. (I repeat, yet.) Continue reading “Concert review: Bad Religion”

Movie review: “Carrie” (1976)

“Well, who should we vote for? They’re more your crowd than mine. (she thinks) I don’t even have a crowd.”

“Why don’t we vote for ourselves?”

“No!”

“Why not?”

“Please, don’t vote for ourselves!”

“Carrie. (smiles at her reassuringly) C’mon. To the devil with false modesty.”

(she thinks, finally smiles in return) “To the devil.”

I read Stephen King’s debut novel Carrie over the course of a single, white-knuckle weekend back in high school and haven’t revisited it since. Neither of those statements is particularly surprising in retrospect. King was my first, second, and third favorite author growing up. Whereas typical kids can be counted on to occasionally skip schoolwork to indulge in unconstructive extracurriculars, I too often found myself immersed in choice cuts from Night Shift or Skeleton Crew instead of my own assigned reading. The breadth of King’s literary domain has rendered his lesser tomes somewhat disposable, and Carrie certainly isn’t one of his best. Structured largely as a series of small town newspaper articles covering the aftermath and, retroactively, the background and lead-up to a sensational local tragedy, it reads like the growing pains of an ambitious first-time author manifesting in real time. Continue reading “Movie review: “Carrie” (1976)”

Live-Blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. VI – “Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives” (1986)

*Once again, I’m not going to pretend this is any sort of authentic “live-blog”. You caught me. Think of it, rather, as the written transcript of one of those audio commentaries you sometimes see inexplicably pop up on blu-rays from self-proclaimed “superfans”. “What the hell gives that no-name the right to talk about this movie?” you justifiably wonder aloud. That’s just it. There’s no answer. It’s just fun to do. And now it exists in the world. Enjoy!

Nowadays, I figure the most dependable movie marathons are curated at home. I’ve participated in some pretty great ones in recent years, though, not, of course, in 2020. And so, in a desperate effort to inject some pure frivolity into a singularly craptastic year, the Gateway Film Center’s 2017 Friday the 13th marathon (“immortalized” by DAE here, here, here, and here) continues on in spirit, live on tape delay from my fortified bunker in North Columbus, Ohio. My “live-blog” dispatches – which I recognize are now stretching that concept to its breaking point – resume where I left them off as well, with, interestingly, the two movies that, for my money, constitute the worst and the best the “pure” (i.e. non-gimmick) half of the Friday the 13th saga had to offer. Join me, won’t you? Continue reading “Live-Blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. VI – “Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives” (1986)”

Live-Blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. V – “Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning” (1985)

*Once again, I’m not going to pretend this is any sort of authentic “live-blog”. You caught me. Think of it, rather, as the written transcript of one of those audio commentaries you sometimes see inexplicably pop up on blu-rays from self-proclaimed “superfans”. “What the hell gives that no-name the right to talk about this movie?” you justifiably wonder aloud. That’s just it. There’s no answer. It’s just fun to do. And now it exists in the world. Enjoy!

Friday, October 13, 2017, Columbus, Ohio, and community jewel Gateway Film Center has devised the perfect way to celebrate the reason for the season – showcasing seminal Slashers Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part 3 In 3-D (in actual 3-D!), and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter back-to-back-to-two-more-backs in a 6+ hour marathon of bloody, and bloody fun, mayhem – and I am predictably second row aisle for the whole thing. The experience of seeing arguably four of the ten best known and most influential Slasher movies of the eighties, or, indeed, any era, on the big screen in a single sitting was irresistible and, aside from a technical gripe or two, also fairly spectacular, assuming you happen to be someone who, like me, unreasonably loves such unsavory confections. It was a blast I thoroughly documented in a series of “live blog” posts, one spotlighting and nitpicking apart each film. That was way fun too. Continue reading “Live-Blogging* the “Friday the 13th” Marathon, Ep. V – “Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning” (1985)”

Post No. 225: Destinata Non Grata

Think of the internet as a universe. I’ve heard it described before as an ecosystem – what sentient being, by the way, would accept caretaking responsibilities for such a sprawling, labyrinthine mess?* – but, in reality, it’s a universe. Cold, distant, infinite. In this self-serving and admittedly limited analogy, every person and business entity becomes a planet all their own. Some of these veritably teem with “life”, being located closer to the sun – some of them so prominent (read: popular) they practically generate their own additional heat – though the majority exist in a state of imposed isolation tucked away on the margins, just so many thumbtack pin pricks struggling for light and oxygen against an enormous expanse of black felt. Continue reading “Post No. 225: Destinata Non Grata”

Steelers Thoughts #19 (9/21/20): Mid-Preseason Form

Remember the XFL? Boy, those were the days, weren’t they? Authentic, post-Super Bowl winter football played with some semblance of competence and professionalism. A reasonably cool way for a decompressing sports fan to occupy their Saturday, one you could even admit to watching with a minimum of rationalization necessary. Everything was fresh and new and full of possibility, back before reality blew a Covid-sized hole in the world in mid-February and our collective sanity and security began gushing out as if from a breached dam. The XFL was the football world’s first Coronavirus casualty, followed in no particular order by NFL rookie camp, voluntary camp, team conditioning activities, and capital-T Training camp, the Hall of Fame Game, the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, full college seasons across the board, the Pac 12 season outright, the Big Ten season outright (later redacted, fingers still crossed), both my fantasy football leagues (I’m only the least bit somber about losing one of them), and, finally, the NFL Preseason. Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #19 (9/21/20): Mid-Preseason Form”

DVR Hindsight #19 (9/13/20): Cobra Kai Season One

“Cobra Kai” – “Mercy” – Season 1, Ep. 10 (Netflix)

My favorite indicator of the quality of a bingeable television series is a subtle but critical one, and occurs naturally – almost a reflex – as the end credits roll on the season finale. The music swells triumphantly, and the goofy, ubiquitous little clock that counts down to trigger impending autoplay appears in the screen’s bottom corner. How fast in the moment during which you begin processing what you’ve just seen do you instinctively click through to start that next season? Sure, you have other things to do, theoretically, but this decision seems more pressing. Do you dispense with formalities and pick up the story in which you’ve just finished investing five or ten or more hours of your time again, simultaneously new yet also already in progress? Do you linger a beat or back out momentarily, maybe read the synopsis of Ep 2:1 first before committing? Or do you think, “that was pleasant”, and just leave well enough alone? Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #19 (9/13/20): Cobra Kai Season One”

Movie review: “Dirty Harry” (1971)

“Have you been following that man?”

“Yeah, I’ve been following him on my own time. And anybody can tell I didn’t do that to him.”

“How?”

“Because he looks too damned good, that’s how!”

One measure of privilege that sticks – one definition, since so many are being bandied about and test driven during the hopefully transformative turbulence we as a nation are currently experiencing – might just be this. Be it white or class privilege, you learned most everything you know about the police and policing from the movies. I came to my own realization abruptly, landing with a crash. The journey was not a pleasant one. Released in 1971, as the interminable, fiercely divisive Vietnam War lurched on toward its ignominious end and the hippie movement had given way to a vociferous protest arm locked in combat both tangible and symbolic with Nixon’s fabled “Silent Majority”, Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry is a crucial pivot point in how stories about the relationship between the American people and the law enforcement professionals charged with protecting them would be told, and tinted, for decades going forward. Continue reading “Movie review: “Dirty Harry” (1971)”

Housing (out) – A Father’s Day Field Report

Rarely, if ever, does someone voluntarily set out to perform a personal accounting, of faults, of foibles, of general things that, yeah, it might be helpful to change in some way. Too long have I defined myself as much or more in terms of the many, many, MANY things I love than through the people I love. If the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the various hardships and restrictions it has heaped by the double-handful upon modern life – which have amounted to an unqualified hard stop for me on so many of those “things” in question – has had any silver lining (and it would be unseemly to linger on them, if so), it would be just the one: I talk to my parents much more frequently now than I did a mere four months ago. Nothing else really changed, in terms of scheduling. My priorities just reset, more or less spontaneously, in accordance with the current world order. Continue reading “Housing (out) – A Father’s Day Field Report”

Keep Yourself Warm – A Placeholder

Dear friends and family, Romans and countrymen, treasured occasional readers of DAE:

Greetings from an unfortified bunker on the north side of Columbus, Ohio – where, in terms of the varied entertainment options it seems I’ve been long curating in unconscious, grimly ironic preparation for this exact moment, hey, it’s 1984 every day (or 1994, or 2004)…though time has largely lost all meaning otherwise. An introvert who apparently gets what he didn’t realize he was asking for and then some, I now spend 98.9% of my time alone and indoors, and haven’t had an in-person conversation longer than the two or three words I say to the masked lady at the Burger King drive-thru in months. After three days of contentious protests downtown, there is currently a citywide curfew in place for Columbus from 10pm to 6am. I hope this dispatch finds you well.

Continue reading “Keep Yourself Warm – A Placeholder”