Movie news: in other words, sidetracked for an hour.

Posted in Opinion on June 29th, 2010 by byronkho

1) Seth Rogen is the Green Hornet. Harrumph. He definitely needs Kato on this one – adds the only, sure, I can believe that, edge to the movie.

2) Chris Evans as Captain America… hmm… sure.
3) Kenneth Branagh is directing Thor? Granted, it has huge buzz. But Branagh? Hamlet? Thor?
4) They’re working on a Planet of the Apes prequel. Not necessary.
5) I don’t know if they are still working on it, but back in 2008, Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell were announced as the new stars of a Sherlock Holmes franchise. Worst idea ever.
6) Steve Carell is leaving the Office after next season.
7) Iron Sky looks fantastic. These are the Finnish guys who put together a fake trailer of Nazis who fled Earth at the end of WWII in flying saucers and are back to ravage Earth – after crowdsourcing the funding, they’re filming now. Good SFX on those fake trailers… on zero budget. Hooray for independent types! Though true, their donation funding on the movie would not have been possible in the US.

8 ) MJ’s zombie rears its head: Captain EO coming back to Epcot in Orlando (after already doing so in California). I remember seeing Captain EO as a kid. I’m not sure it should come back (as I remember it being kind of terrible)… but I guess it has lots of street cred: MJ himself, Francis Ford Coppola directing, George Lucas writing and producing. Also, most expensive movie of the 80s. Cost $17 million, or $1 million a minute. Many people have noted that Top Gun cost $15 mil, and that had real JETS in it.

9) Because MGM is having financial woes, many movies are being thrown into limbo. Including the next Bond. And Guillermo del Toro doing the Hobbit – he can’t wait that long for MGM to fix itself up and get him some money.

Bond 22 redux.

10) New Oz remakes look LAME. Get Spawn back on the job!
11) Meet the Parents 3: Little Fockers. WTF. Stop making these.
12) GOOD NEWS: Paul W.S. Anderson and Three Musketeers: Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Matthew MacFadyen as the Three Musketeers; Christoph Waltz as Cardinal Richelieu; Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort; Milla Jovovich as Milady de Winter (!). Logan Lerman (Percy from Percy Jackson… never saw this, no idea if he’s any good) as d’Artagnan. Casting looks super awesome.

Oops, this is the straight-to-bargain-bin exploitation version.

13) Spiderman 4 has no Sam Raimi or Tobey Maguire. Fail. No reboot please.

14) I don’t mind 3D releases… but please continue offering the 2D options. Don’t force everybody to see the 3D one so theaters can rapeage our pockets and everyone can go home with motion sickness and headaches.
15) There’s an X-Men prequel coming out, covering Magneto and Prof Xavier’s younger days. James McAvoy stars. I’m half-sold because of McAvoy but the IDEA just sounds like it’ll be horrible terrible.
16) RT: Amanda Bynes is into black guys.
17) Megan Fox (married in Hawaii!) out, Micaela Johnson in. Is it insulting for the girl role to have no name except for “Sam’s Girl” on the IMDB page? She does have a vague somewhat resemblance to Megan so the difference is not retardedly jarring.

Her being Miss USA 2008 helps out?
18) A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas. Thank you, Santa!

BTW, White Castle blows.
19) Scream 4 has Cheerleader, Igby (Goes Down), Nancy Drew. Dewey is the new killer. Filming in Ann Arbor? Perhaps BKII could make a cameo.
20) Paranormal Activity 2 the what what.
21) Pirates 4 the what what.
22) Footloose the what what. And when I say what what, I actually mean freaking hell, were they on crack, please burn the script and bury the bodies. Now.

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Amy Regan, Jer Coons.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28th, 2010 by byronkho

First time at Tin Angel. Was there for Amy Regan, though I didn’t mind listening to Jer Coons as well. I played a bit of Jer Coons’ stuff from YT and it was okay – commenters pointed out he was on the Hollister store soundtracks and I could totally see how that would be. Amy’s voice was great but she had some guitar issues for some reason. I liked the 2 new songs she did; apparently, they’re not recorded yet so can’t get a copy of it. Oh wells. I did like her previous show more, as the piano was there and somehow it was more of a cozy feel? I mean, the room was fine acoustically speaking (and of course nice mic-ing), but the rowhouse feel to the room (long, not wide) definitely made it seem a little less cozy. Had a chat with her after the show, she’s real down to earth. Jer Coons was a little too self-deprecating. He’s funny but would have made a much better impression if he didn’t keep saying every 5 minutes how uncool he was. I know it was nerves, but still. His songs were okay, and I liked how he slyly threw in a line of Party in the USA to one of his songs. His cover of No Air (“No Chair”) was funny. I DID like his guitar playing though, much more than his vocal stuff (which I hate to label… but there’s a reason he’s playing on the Hollister soundtracks). During his last number, he went into somewhat of a jam session and it was real entertaining watching the fingerwork.

Her two-song recent release. This time with a cover. And an autograph.

Jer Coons doing Legs. Is it bad that I think John Mayer?

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Imelda May, Samantha Crain, Frontier Ruckus.

Posted in Personal on June 24th, 2010 by byronkho

1) Imelda May, April Mae and the Junebugs. April Mae has an okay blues voice EXCEPT when she does those stupid slide notes. Which she does way too often. It’s especially prevalent on her CD. I like her band a lot though. The Elvis looking dude who played a box guitar had some really amazing solos, and her bassman did a great job of keeping everything moving. I hadn’t actually been to the Johnny Brenda’s upstairs space before – I’ve always just had drinks downstairs. I like their stage! Imelda May had a great LONG set. Lots of rockabilly, enough to whet my appetite for… a week. I wanna see another rockabilly show. She has an amazing voice but also has a killer band with her. Her vocals are way more polished blues than Kitty, Daisy and Lewis; on their side, they’re doing more of a 50s rock thing instead. Her band is more Mississippi delta and theirs is more “at the sock hop.” I can’t say any one of them provides a BETTER experience than the other, but my gut feeling is that Imelda May is more talented.

Mayhem.

2) Samantha Crain, Frontier Ruckus. Frontier Ruckus has a very fun sound: banjo, trumpet, zither, guitar, bass, very folksy vocals. Though listening to more than an hour of the guy’s voice and it starts to sound a little whiny. Best in smaller doses. They are very tight. They’re countryish folk rock with moments of blues, bluegrass and jazz thrown in. There was this one song where they had a nice intense jam session in the middle -the banjo guy is REALLY good though I don’t think they’re completely at ease with jazz improvisation. Which IS different from blues improvisation.

What You Are.

I definitely love seeing shows at WCL. It’s so intimate and I’ve been able to meet the performers every time. Some of them are more friendly than others, but they’ve all been pretty companionable. They’ll order drinks at the bar and have a chat, etc. Anyways. I love Sam’s songs but her set wasn’t as vibrant as Frontier Ruckus. She had a bunch of technical issues, which are fine, but her set definitely felt shorter if you took out all the pauses for dealing with said issues. She did reach out to the audience for a second with one of her stories: her electric guitar was apparently not hers, as she had to sell her own electric guitar to pay debts associated with hitting the road for this tour (which she told me was going to last the rest of this year… ouch) and so had to borrow an electric guitar. That proceeded to feedback a lot – though maybe that was the speakers. Her voice is powerful but she had SO many under the breath asides that it felt more like a practice session than an actual performance. Still, when she stepped off the stage to sing (and strum quietly) in the darkness without the aid of a mic – everybody listened. It was pretty powerful. Not many artists can pull that off. She has this real folk pop sound (especially on songs like Lions) but she also does rock out. I like those songs of hers a little less. I love Devils in Boston, which counts as rock, but is not a rock out song. BTW… Ann the drummer is a hottie. She had on a white-blonde hairdo with the bangs squared in front and she looked so 50s vamp. And she played drums like she was on speed (after, I swear, like 5 glasses of chablis before the set… I’m pretty sure I got the number right, sitting right by her during Frontier Ruckus’ set).

Lions… at the Kennedy Center!

Devils in Boston.

3) After briefly thinking about it, I don’t have enough estrogen to deal with an Idina Menzel concert, especially if it’s showboating her new pop CD. Not a fan. Though I do love her voice otherwise! Though some people are going to go and have a fabulous time…

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Future show schedule.

Posted in Personal on June 12th, 2010 by byronkho

Yeah, it’s a lot, and I’ll end up missing most of them, but here’s to wishful thinking. I need to use up my Ticket Philadelphia gift certificates, for one… but mostly it was me deciding that I miss SO MANY great artists that swing through town. No more. If I’m gonna spend money, I’d rather spend it on concerts than on more crap that I won’t value as much. (Looking at this huge listing, I notice that the end of July and beginning of August have… too many shows… yeah… a concert every day for like 2 weeks… hahaha.)

June 16: Imelda May, April Mae And The Junebugs at Johnny Brenda’s.
June 19: Grant Park Orchestra & Chorus at Millennium Park.
June 19: Cadillac Dave and The Chicago Redhots at the House of Blues.
June 21: The New Pornographers at the Troc.
June 23: Samantha Crain at World Cafe Live (competing with Andre Watts. I’m sorry, classical piano, Boston crooners win this round!).
June 27: Passion Pit and Tokyo Police Club at the Mann Center (I shouldn’t… probably won’t… but I do love their stuff. Just don’t know if paying to see them live is worth it.).
July 4: Goo Goo Dolls! The Parkway!
July 20: Natalie Merchant at the Merriam Theater.
July 23: Korn, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch at the Susquehanna Bank Center.
July 24: Deadmau5 at the Electric Factory.
July 24: O.A.R. at Festival Pier.
July 26: Tchaikovsky with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center. Fireworks? Hears hoping.
July 27: Chromeo at the Troc.
July 28: Seu Jorge and Almaz at the Troc.
July 29: La Roux at the Troc.
July 30: Shinedown, Sevendust, Puddle of Mudd & Chevelle at Festival Pier.
August 1: Katie Herzig at World Cafe Live.
August 2: Arcade Fire (only if I don’t go to Lollapalooza) at the Mann Center.
August 3: Robyn, Kelis and Dan Black at the Troc.
August 4: Paramore at Festival Pier.
August 6-8: Lollapalooza in Chicago (MAYBE… but seriously with this lineup, why wouldn’t I try to go?? Arcade Fire, Soundgarden, Green Day, The Strokes, Phoenix, Social Distortion, Switchfoot, The National, Spoon, X Japan, B.O.B., Javelin, Neon Trees, Dan Black, Semi-Precious Weapons, Nneka, Metric, MGMT, AFI, Blues Traveler, The Temper Trap, Raphael Saadiq, J. Cole, Chiddy Bang, Empire of the Sun)
August 7: Keane, Ingrid Michaelson, Fran Healy at the Mann Center (only if I don’t go to Lollapalooza.).
August 13: Beth Orton at World Cafe Live.
August 15: MGMT at the Mann Center.
September 4-5: Electric Zoo in NY (Fedde Le Grand, Erol Alkan, Joachim Garraud, Kaskade, Benny Benassi, ATB, Diplo, Armin van Buuren, A-Trak, HOLLA)
September 7: The Pixies at the Tower Theater.
September 14: Broken Social Scene with The Sea and Cake at the TLA.
September 22: Superchunk, Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice at the Troc.
September 25: Virgin Mobile Freefest (here’s hoping I can actually get tickets), Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Theophilus London, Yes Giantess… again. The rest I’ll have to research before I go, lots of bands and soloists I’ve never heard of.)
Oct 5-10: Jersey Boys at the Forrest Theatre.
October 17: Yo-Yo Ma at the Kimmel Center.
October 20-24: CMJ Music Marathon in NY (Jill Hennessey! Also, River Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman… Wanna hear Jahdan Blakkamore, Rahzel, Pitbull, Hesta Prynn, Katie Costello, Jupiter One, Moonbabies, Pepi Ginsberg, Pill
October 26: Dave Brubeck at the Kimmel Center.
Jan 18-23, 2011: In The Heights at the Academy of Music.
April 15, 2011: Orchestre National de France with Daniele Gatti and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet at Verizon Hall.
April 17, 2011: The Roots at the Kimmel Center.
April 23, 2011: Peter Nero and the Philly Pops at Verizon Hall.
Jun 21-26, 2011: Next to Normal at the Academy of Music.

Imogen Heap, Janelle Monae, Bilal, Erykah Badu, Sally Seltmann.

Posted in Personal on June 12th, 2010 by byronkho

Busy week for shows…

1) Imogen Heap. Tickets for $7 over full price of $45ish. Been a long time since I’ve been in Upper Darby, and hadn’t actually ever been to the Tower Theatre yet before that day. Yeah… weird, aint it. I love her voice, and it’s as great live as it is with high quality production. I did like that she tried to improvise a piece. Though she ended up failing, it was a really good start. Another day or two working on it and she could have had a nice track for her next album. She could bring me on as her producer, I could totally whip that into shape…

Imogen does Just For Now. At the actual concert, she conducted the audience, who sang the under-vocalisations while she sang the main melody.

2) Janelle Monae, Bilal and Erykah Badu. Tower again… Janelle is HOT in concert. And she can do her weird dance stuff too. Missed a few of the first pieces, boo… but came in when she was doing one of her slow opera-ish numbers off of ArchAndroid. She really got the crowd going as she finished up with Tightrope. Totally love the mid-piece jam session and dance-off. She didn’t milk it too much but so much more could have been done with it! Bilal was pretty good. For some reason, he got lackluster applause even though he did a great job. Weird. Maybe it was because his song choices were the more experimental and abstract sounding ones? He only had one of his let’s-make-love-like-Barry-White-or-Usher-excuse-me-miss numbers, the rest were the “weird” stuff. Kind of like going to see Foo Fighters and getting some Animal Collective – good, but not what was expected from a Philly R&B singer. Though don’t get me wrong, it was still R&B, just a different kind. Erykah also does the same stuff – let’s call it post-hiphop – but of course everyone knows her stuff. Including that white dude who looked like a girl, kept fluffing his hair and tucking it behind his ear every five seconds, swayed like a black woman at church during gospel hour but without any of the righteous moves and did all this right in the center of my line of sight. Had to look around him to see the stage. What a doofus, even his girlfriend (who was pretty, but much less girly than he was… god knows how that relationship works) was telling him to sit down and just gave up. As for her performance: Erykah really knows how to put on a show, let’s just leave it at that.

Janelle’s Cold War from the Tower.

3) Sally Seltmann. Honestly, I can’t believe there were so few people there. There were like 10 customers there at the beginning of the show. 4 turned out to be jerks who went to the small patio outside because she was being too loud or something. You could see them being exasperated. I was like you’re at World Cafe Live during hours when they have a posted show. Come on! 2 of them waited for Harmony to my Heartbeat (which sounded JUST like the recording, but you could hear her voice quaver sometimes… awesome) and then left. The others looked like they were there already, and were like, oh, a concert? Nice. As far as I could tell, it was only my table and these 2 old people next to us that actually were there to see her. I’m sure she was like WTF from onstage. I had to start the clapping after every song. I was like, show some recognition! She put on a nice show. No effects, just her and her piano (and a drummer and a cellist who did some backup vocals once in a while). Her voice is a little wishy-washy sometimes, but her earnestness comes through, as well as her musicianship and her GREAT songs. A few of them I was like DAMN this is some good shit, I need to hear how the produced version turned out! I talked to her a bit afterwards. She was real nice. I bought her EP, which of course made her really happy (since I don’t think anyone else bought anything), and then she offered to sign my copy. I said yes.

Sally as New Buffalo, doing Emotional Champ. Love this song.

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Nut jobs, Ohio being retarded, civil forfeiture, Maryland also being retarded.

Posted in Opinion on June 4th, 2010 by byronkho

Sack tapping: the 21st century prank of choice for high school boys. There’s something really homo-erotic about close contact with another guy’s balls. What is with the youth of America today? Also, whoever pulls a groin punch is really asking to get killed in retribution. No one injures a man’s ability to reproduce without suffering some wicked bad consequences.

This woman, however, wins the cake for best bust-a-nut move.

Is this right? In Ohio, a police officer can cite you for speeding… with JUST an eyeball estimate. No radar gun needed. Obviously, Ohio is hurting for tax money and needs some really bullshit ways of pulling in some money into their treasury. No word on civil forfeiture issues, but you know it’s on the way from these podunk state officials who think that abusing citizens and drive-thru visitors are the sure way to meet their budget this year… (oh, you were obviously gonna buy drugs with that wad of cash in your glove compartment. No one carries cash today, so you must be a terrorist drug dealer pimp. Yoink!) So much potential for abuse. Note to self, do not go to Ohio.

Of course, if you try to videotape an officer giving you a shady estimate of your driving speed, you can get sent to jail for 5 years. The cop can demand that you submit to a recording but not the other way around? Last I heard, outside your car was a public place. In any case, cops are public officials, and public officials don’t have any claim to privacy around actions taken while they are in the public service. Why is it citizens cannot record them while they are in the process of doing their duty? In a lot of cases, there are often no witnesses aside from the defendant and the cop, and the defendant can have a hard time proving wrongful arrest since it’s a he-said-she-said moment – unless you have video. It don’t lie. Well, unless you edit the video, but a good public prosecutor will analyze the tape to see if you tampered with it. So basically, a cop can stop you (and in this case, using a plain car, pulling a gun right away without identifying himself and waving a pedestrian over. That’s pretty illegal. A carjacker could do the same thing. The popo HAVE to introduce themselves! What a buffoon.); shake you down for cash and say it was because you were suspected of a crime (ie. dogs smelled drugs on your money… poor people tend to carry more cash than richer people do… and most bills have traces of coke on them… wonder who gets in trouble more often for “drugs” money?); pretend that you were speeding as either a measure of revenge, a threat or whatever; and then bring you to court on civil and criminal charges for trying to videotape the exchange. And his police buddies and union will pull whatever else on you to scare and/or bankrupt you in the meantime.

Some professor from Eastern Kentucky University noted that there has been a 1500% increase in paramilitary police raids (aka SWAT) between early 1980s and beginning of this decade. Apparently, we like the police state.

I seem to be blaming the police. There are abusive cops, sure, but there are also GOOD cops. Haven’t had too much direct communication with any police (aside from a theft report in college which I never got any update on after I filed my complaint. Lost a computer and some stuff, and nobody ever got back to me about any leads. Not that I expected any… you can unload stuff like that real easy.) so can’t really say anything about how good or bad they seem to be in “real life”. However, many apocryphal stories from neighbors make it clear that urban black people do not like the popos, and for good reason. What’s worse than bad cops (as opposed to good ones) possibly being corrupt, racially profiling or whatnot… is the fact that the courts are allowing the police ever-expanding powers that have extreme potential to be abused. In effect, the court is encouraging abuse by allowing eyeball estimates of speed when a working radar gun can do it better, and to the point – more accurately. But of course, the courts don’t want accuracy. They just want to shovel offenders through on shoddy evidence, and take free money. You don’t have to be a libertarian or an ACLU member to note that some of these developments are abusive and should be shot down. Who wants to take bets on whether Ohio will be embarrassed into reversing the decision? Smart money is on Ohio saying screw you, we made the decision, if you don’t like it, get the f*** out of our state.

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Current events? Lots of suckage.

Posted in Opinion on June 1st, 2010 by byronkho

Rand Paul: what a dumbass. You wasted the goodwill you had from being Ron Paul’s son (with hopefully smart policies like his dad had) and went with pandering to racists. Now, I don’t see any hope for good coming from Tea Party candidates. You were the bright star and now you’re in the slag heap. Nice JOB!

Over the last 50 years, over 1.5 million tons of oil have been spilled in Nigeria by all the major oil companies, though Shell and Exxon Valdez seem to be the worst culprits. When BP chairman Hayward states that the spill is “relatively tiny” (though he was actually referring to comparisons with the water volume), he’s right – spills all around the African continent have been much larger, and on an annual basis… essentially, the oil companies have let enormous catastrophes affect poor Africans without any blame or punishment getting attached to them. It must be horrible for those in Nigeria as they watch BP doing all they can for a “relatively tiny” spill on the more (evidently from BP’s response) politically and economically important side of the ocean. In Nigeria, the affected population riot against the oil companies and lash out in the only way they can, buy sabotaging the pipelines. Unfortunately, the sabotage only adds to the environmental damage, the government is corrupt and doesn’t listen to the rioters anyways, and the oil company security guards frequently put down the riots violently. I wonder why it’s the oil company security guards and not the Nigerian security forces. That’s already… suspicious.

An AP photo of Guatemala City:

The EU is trying to force Ryanair to compensate its passengers who were stranded during the Icelandic volcano debacle, during which European airspace was closed. Like all compensation for delays, the amount includes expenditure on food and lodging during the delay. Kind of torn about that: the airline wasn’t responsible for the delay, but at the same time, it has a responsibility to take care of passengers who can’t get to their destination because the airplane can’t fly. So yes, they should support food and lodging, but not the extravagant claims that are showing up. Paying 30 pounds for a ticket shouldn’t make you entitled to 3000 pounds in compensation for 6 days of waiting. You don’t get compensated for missing events, only for food and lodging – and 3000 pounds worth in 6 days? That’s incredible. If I stayed at the Ritz and ate at the Capital Grille every meal, I could spend 3000 pounds in 6 days too! On the other hand… by demanding that airlines always pay EXPENSIVE compensation for any delays, including weather (which is out of everybody’s control), the EU is actually incentivizing airlines to force flights during unsafe conditions. It may be more expensive for the airlines if the plane crashes, but the potential cost of compensation is enough to possibly force the risk. It also points to an attitude of entitlement in general: if something goes wrong, somebody has to pay. If you didn’t buy any travellers insurance (most people don’t for 30 pound cheap tickets from Ryanair), then you should have to shoulder the risk if there’s a storm – especially for the WEATHER, which again NOBODY can control. Unless weather wizards exist… which could be cool. The risk in this case is not the actual flight – the airline still has to give you that as soon as possible, or give your money back – but the waiting around if the flight is delayed to weather. As a passenger, you should be glad you weren’t forced to fly into the ash and then die. I don’t like the fact that people think that somebody always has to pay, regardless if there is an actual culprit or not. BP caused the oil spill, so they have to pay. But the airlines didn’t cause the volcano to explode, so they shouldn’t have to shoulder nonsensical compensation claims. Even though Ryanair’s chief is a dick.

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