Hall & Oates & Zeppo

The Walkmen-You & Me/Lisbon (2008/2010)

 

“Red Moon” came on an episode of “Breaking Bad” and The Walkmen popped back into my mind grapes.  This is a band that lives in that Yo La Tengo territory of knowing what it is exactly that they do, do it very well, and it never gets boring. That’s called consistency everybody and I admire the hell out of it.

Wilco-The Whole Love

The first four songs and the closer are the best aspects of “A Ghost is Born” and “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” smashed together. Experimental in a way that is non-offputting and fantastically hooky like Wilco knows how to be.  The rest is standard Wilco filler that would’ve come from any of their last few albums but the spread of them all in a row without high points to break them up is troublesome.

Mates of State-Mountaintops

The opener is the feel good song that is going to get people through the early autumn.  Fantastic fluff feel good cuteness for those who have the stomach for such things (which I do.)

Smith Westerns-Dye it Blonde

This is one of the times when I wish I had encyclopedic knowledge of music so I could drop reference bombs all about who these guys sound like and be the cool.  But I can’t do that and that’s my failure as a person for picking comic books over music as the “thing I know about.”  These guys should tour with Japandroids.

Stockholm Belongs to Us-A Labrador Record Compilation

Free on Amazon. The Swedish know how to craft super lush pop songs.

-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011

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What is nepotism called when it’s for your friends?

I have to assume that my readership is mostly local and people I know on the Facebag and random google searches with occasional cascading from other places.  So this is either paying it forward or whoring it out but here are a few local dealies to enjoy.

http://recessfest.blogspot.com/

Recess Fest is a, so far, semi-annual music festival that plays venues all over Charlotte for three days.  The quality of acts is high and diverse (and ever-improving) and the scheduling is top-notch (little to no overlap.)  They have two fundraisers on Saturday, a Yardsale in the morning and a show at Snug Harbor in the evening. Be a pal and fork over some dough.

http://shutter16.com/wp/

Is an online music mag that covers a wide expanse of the local and state(s)wide happenings.

http://charlottedoherty.blogspot.com/

A groovy blog of fashion, poetry, shirt-collars, and fussy cats, which are all things I admire.  Also check out her tumblr which like my own tumblr is a the concise dumping ground version of our obsessions + shit that looks cool.

-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011

The Oddball Hit-Man 2

An addendum to my last post.  Charley Varrick and No Country for Old Men have similar plot structures i.e. normal guys/who live in the desert who come into dirty money that isn’t theirs and must evade the law and the criminals the money belongs to in the form of an odd ball hit-man.  There are of course many obvious differences in details but where they diverge is in their opinions of  fate.

No Country is most vocal in its opinions of fate in the form of Anton Chigurh.  Life is a continuous road that brings you to where you are at that moment (he means this in reference to meeting with him, he is the Agent of Fate.)  Every character in No Country moves around trying to counteract one another never intersecting.  It is in trying to force this intersection that the characters never meet.  The fundamental rule of the world of No Country is unforced intersection.  It’s what brings Llewelyn to the site of the gun fight that just happened and brings in the killers from the cartel that actually finish him later on.  Anton’s last moment is the random car accident at the end.  Fate is random here because its impossible to track.  I wish I could say that better? I hope I’m getting this across.  The story itself is a fragment, where we come in late and leave early and there is no resolution.  I haven’t quite worked out how that fits with random fate but I’ll get there.

Varrick on the other hand is a paragon of free-will, force of will, and tremendous foresight.  As I wrote in the earlier post, Varrick’s ending is one that re-contextualizes the whole of the movie.  Once the entire film has been seen you can pinpoint from exactly what point Varrick, both the character and the movie, go into action.  Every thing that seems like either a reaction or a wrong action is revealed as action.  The forces of law and crime are no match for the crafty individual the proudly self-proclaimed “Last of the Independents.”

So I guess that actually is my point too.  It’s not just a difference in the opinion of fate that is at play here but the individual vs fate or the individual vs forces from the outside.  All the characters in both movies are independents, the only difference is whether or not that gets to be okay.

-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011

Comicdashery! or “That Black Woman is Not the Asian Woman We Originally Had Need of.”

Brightest Day #7

4 months in and the plot kicks in finally…and it’s the plot of the last season of Lost.  A bunch of people protecting a light white that gives life or something like that.  And it is just too soon to be invoking that again.  It just hurts too much.   Also all the costume alterations that have been happening in Blackest Night/Brightest Day remind me of that Lisa Lionheart episode of The Simpsons where Lisa’s doll is a flop because Malibu Stacy has a hat now.

“She still embodies all the same awful stereotypes she did before!”

“But…she has a hat!”

Batman Odyssey #2/New Mutants Forever #1 

I’m lumping these two forever because they are the Big Two’s version of a “thank you” book.  Chris Claremont made the X-Men, Neal Adams made Batman (and incidentally the X-Men a little bit as well because what is the Claremont/Byrne run but one big extrapolation of Roy Thomas and Neal Adams) and well,if they aren’t making the most of it?    So far I can’t accuse either one of them of going back the apple tree of there past successes for these new projects (X-Men Forever too of course).  Because other people have strip mined that stuff to fucking shit and they know it.  So does that make this stuff any good?  Kind of?  It’s not straight awful, it’s definitely not these guys at there peak.  But it is genuinely interesting and that works for right now.

Staying with the Old School…

Captain America: Forever Allies #1

I am so glad I live in a world where Roger Stern gets to do this sort of comic book.  Action/Adventure, succinct characterization, and plotting and y’know it’s not ashamed to remind you in a not stupid or ham-fisted way that racism is real and bad.  I could  hand this thing to a smart 8-year-old.  Which should be kind of the goal with superhero comics.  Go re-read so older Roger Stern stuff.  It’s aged like fine wine I swear to god.  He’s always gotten it.

Ultimate Avengers 2 #6

or as it actually turned out to be inside

Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3

I’ll be honest, I picked up the former because I wanted to give myself the soft lob of picking on Mark Millar and his general fucking terribleness.  I’m not above such things.  When I got the latter I was like fine I guess.  And it was fine.  Not spectacular not at terrible in any way.  Very competent.  This a terrible review.  Fuck you Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 you ruined my Mark Millar rant you whore.  It was going to be great too.  I was really going to give to him.  Now I’ll have to give it to you.  Why do you make me get this way?!?

*SMACK*

I’m sorry baby you know how I get sometimes.  I don’t mean to hurt you, you know that right? Please just stop crying.

-Daniel Von Egidy, 2010

When Shit Fails

I guess the point of this blog is, at best, a means of tracking my obsessions?  No not obsessions I think that takes a few more years on subject matter than I’ve put in or have behind me.  As pop culture analysis maybe, pop that I like.  It’s definitely not as good as others who do it but I do have my fun doing it.

What brings me to this, this my first post that I can’t hang on neat visual aides is that this post is about another post you’ll NEVER see I think.

It was this thing and it was about how Marvel Two-in-One and The Thing were the precursors to Hellboy.  All of these things (ha) about Mignola translating the Kirby curmudgeon with a heart of gold and the old plot structures of Marvel Two-In-One replacing the histrionics of the Marvel Superhero universe into dense atmosphere of Old World mythology and gothic horror.  And when I explained it out loud or even jotted it down in a loose idea form (much akin to this paragraph you’re…reading…right…now) it made sense.

Good god I could not make that fucker hang together in essay form.

The first draft was fucking embarrassing.  I was full on in a James Ellroy high and that draft…I sent that to two people.  One of them was able to get some salvageable gems from that nonsense and the other person never got back to me on it and never mentioned, thank god.

I wish I had a better knowledge of writing process so I could explain in a technical way that no matter how I tried to shape and edit this piece of writing it just wouldn’t take.  So I finally just had to drop it altogether.  It had a good title though. Yeah.

BUT:  It does bring me just a bit closer to a subject matter that is close to my being.  Failure.  I am soooo interested in failure.  When shit fails.  Why shit fails.  How shit fails. The process of failure.  Because failure is interesting and interesting is just as often better than good.

I cite one more example and as promised I refer to Tati’s Play Time.  Go read about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playtime.  Again it’s one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen…and it bankrupted him.

Hey, I lied.  Here’s a picture.

Tativille

-Daniel Von Egidy, 2010

Polar Bear

So I finished up James Ellroy’s The Cold Six Thousand a couple of weeks ago. It was quite good.  Superior to American Tabloid it’s predecessor because it went into depth about the things Tabloid only hinted at.  It was just so incredibly dark, the racial shit was fucking hard to swallow sometime and there were times I admit where I had to remind myself that these were characters and not mouth pieces of the author.

For being nearly 700 pages long the thing moves fuck fast.  Every sentence is three worlds long.  Choppy/punchy/straight to the point.  I was ripping it off for weeks afterward in my own writing and it’s a little embarrassing because I’m not James Ellroy.  And a LOT happens and honestly a lot of it doesn’t matter and that didn’t bother me so much.  I wondered why that was the case, why was I even thinking in those terms at all.  I think I was thinking of Lost specifically and the fact that a lot of my self taught ideas of narrative structure/plotting/sub-plotting/character arcs whathaveu is derived from TV and comics and movies and my knowledge of novelistic structure is limited and that community college creative writing class was 250 bucks down the drain of the sink of not learning nothing.

I was going to tangent on Lost and then my tangent tangented.  The Lost finale by accident totally influenced how I read The Cold Six Thousand.  Holy shit.

Because the bee in my bonnet when it came to Lost wasn’t that they didn’t answer the mysteries it was that all the mysteries weren’t one mystery and nothing tied in together and the intersection of science and religion that was SOOO important really meant nothing and it was all just a bunch of shit that happened between Jack opening his eyes and Jack closing his eyes.  Well life is just a buncha of shit that happens between the time you open your eyes and close your eyes.  That’s what I would say if I were defending this.  What I actually say is that TV is not life asshole and if you’re going with the serial structure than it all has to go somewhere it has to mean something it has to build.  Lost can’t be like life because life is one person and TV is many people making up stuff.  Making it up within a structure.  That’s why it has to be more than the smoke monster.  The smoke monster didn’t create the Dharma Initiative, he wasn’t why people couldn’t have kids, etc etc.

I don’t know, am I conveying all this alright?  What my dissatisfaction is?  Shit.  That shit had to matter because they said it mattered.  Even at the end they said it all mattered because it happened not because it meant anything or went anywhere.  The moment I noticed the difference in The Cold Six Thousand was when we learned why Pete was having the headaches all through the first section of the book.  It’s resolved and then it doesn’t matter anymore and that’s okay.  It does act as a prelude to the other health problems that plague the character later on of a different nature.  I’m just trying to sort out why I liked this one thing and didn’t like this other thing.  I may be wrong comparing them at all any way. Again they have nothing to do with one another.  The Cold Six Thousand was all about what happens next, one thing leading to another.  Lost was about tying it all back. Except it didn’t a lot.  I can’t reconcile these things and I can’t bring this thing to a good close, a good thesis, even a good one liner or a bit of snark. So that’s that.

-Daniel Von Egidy, 2010