Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zombies, Punks: some options for Halloween

For those not blowing off seasonal viewing to catch Shirley Clarke movies at the Cinematheque (see below), there are a couple of Halloweeny options to bear in mind tonight (ie., Wednesday night). Cinematically, the Vancity Theatre will be having a double bill of the funny, smart, only slightly silly Shaun of the Dead (which I'm ready to see again) and a very interesting-sounding Cuban zombie movie called - yep! - Juan of the Dead - described in some writing online as being Cuba's first horror film, though I cannot vouch for this fact. I would describe the film further but I'm keen to see it and will be saving myself for the experience. 
For those seeking a live music option, meanwhile, there is also going to be a delightful, seasonally appropriate line-up of tribute bands at Funky Winkerbeans. In wendythirteen's caps, cut and pasted direct from Facebook, we find the following bands listed (with a Bikini Kill tribute band replacing a prevously announced Plasmatics one). 
We believe that it is Siobahn Duvall of Duvallstar who is being Debbie Harry in the Blondie tribute band, and that former Black Flag vocalist Ron Reyes (who, should anyone not know, sang on the Jealous Again EP, under a monicker he finds offensive, and was the band's lead singer during the shooting of The Decline of Western Civilization; he also currently leads Piggy) will be taking the stage to sing with Black Flag tribute band Six Pack, which is what happened (I gather) the last time Six Pack played Funky's. I was stunned by the POWER of Reyes' voice the one time I got to hear him sing, at his 50th birthday party; he is an amazing, forceful singer, and seeing him really gives you a rare taste of just how ferocious early Black Flag must have been... HIGHLY recommended. This event, in fact, is a reprise of a very successful night of tribute acts at Funky's a few weeks ago, and it seems HIGHLY seasonally appropriate, spending Halloween at a punk club watching punks dressed up as... other punks! (Mr. Reyes will have the luxury of dressing as himself). This is an event I will not be at - simply not possible for me at this point - but it is bound to be a very good time indeed...
That's it, for now, though. Wanted to mention a couple of things, but I have my mind in other places than this blog again. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A wee rant re: CD and DVD prices

Just a thought: isn't it past time that CD and DVD manufacturers, distributors, and retailers faced up to reality and started LOWERING THEIR BLOODY PRICES, while there are still a few people out there who are willing to buy the things? It's gotten bad enough that it's getting hard to find retailers that even stock them in any quantity - the ongoing industry suicide is so thorough that it's driven most dealers out of business; because as much as the market for digital media has changed over the last ten years, the prices simply haven't. To use a film I'm actually interested in as an example - something I would happily buy if the price were right - Chernobyl Diaries hit the stands just recently, and the lowest price I've seen anywhere is $18.99 for the DVD. Who the hell has that much money to spend, especially knowing that a) the format is three quarters of the way to obsolescence; b) that DVDs no longer have any meaningful resale value; that c) these things are bloody cheap to manufacture; that d) if you wait until a given disc makes its way to used stores or discount bins you'll get it for a half price or less; and that e) with a bit of effort, you can find a torrent of it for free without ever leaving home? And neverminding any of the illegal means of acquiring entertainment, for those still attached to physical media, there's been so much product produced in the last couple of decades that you can entertain yourself pretty well just by scouring thrift stores, where the going rate for a CD or DVD is now between $1 and $3 (double that for Value Village). The speed with which these turn over demonstrates that there are still plenty of customers for physical media, if the prices are low enough; for a further example, observe stores like Zellers or Future Shop, where DVDs priced at $5.99 or less fly off the shelves, while those costing $6.99 or more tend to just sit. If Chernobyl Diaries hit the stands at $5.99 new - if retailers followed the same logic they used to follow for music and START with a low price, rather than a high - it would sell hundreds of thousands of copies across North America in the first week. At $18.99, it's hard for me to believe that it's selling any...  

A few cellphone photos

Made a night crossing to Vancouver Island on the weekend; somehow, crossing in the dark in foul weather was vastly more exciting than the usual sunny daylight trip. I generally spend those without even stepping outside, either tucked into a book, listening to music, or dozing in my seat, but there's a romance to walking around on the outside deck in grim weather that's rather lacking when it's sunny. (It's also vastly less crowded and noisy outside when the weather's awful). Also, on a nice day, there's no way to take photos of the islands, water, or so forth that don't look kind of trite and touristy and obvious, whereas there are all sorts of nighttime photo-ops that are mysterious and moody and exciting. The "fire" photos are simply industry viewed from the water; the last image is of a fern viewed through a misty window, taken at the end of my trip, with no special effects involved! 

The Rio Grind Film Festival: Dead Sushi, John Dies At The End, and MUCH MORE!

Oh, wow: I didn't even know about this. The Rio Theatre is going to be running a festival of genre films this weekend. What a great, timely idea! (It's almost like the return of Cinemuerte... I wonder if that's non-coincidental?). The Rio Grind Film Festival homepage is here, and the schedule can be downloaded as a PDF here. Or look at this JPEG that Videomatica has thoughtfully provided:
I don't know a lot of these films or filmmakers, but Dead Sushi looks like one fucked up, fun piece of cinema: trailer here, official website here, Wikipedia here, and a page on the director, Noboro Iguchi, here (I haven't been following him, but his diverse back catalogue includes AV titles like Beautiful Girl Excretion School, Enema Shame Zone 13, and Busty Costume Play Investigator; and he has also made more mainstream gore films with titles that translate into things like A Larva To Love and Zombie Ass. And of course, Robogeisha).
There's also Nightmare Factory, a documentary about KNB Effects company, responsible for some of the greatest effects in contemporary horror. They don't appear to have their own Wikipedia page (!?) but can be learned about briefly by reading about Greg Nicotero, the N in KNB, whom you may recognize from his small role as a soldier in Romero's Day of the Dead. (See his severed head here, if you forget). It was on that Pittsburgh-lensed film - which has a very warm, wet place in the hearts of horror fans - that he met the B in KNB, Howard Berger (David Cronenberg's joke in Videodrome that the signal is coming from Pittsburgh connects to the Romero films, but that was before the days of KNB).You can also find a Wiki page on the K, Robert Kurtzman, who no longer is with KNB, or visit the KNB Effects website, which has a bio all its own...
Also cause for excitement: I've been waiting eagerly for Don Coscarelli's John Dies At The End for awhile now - trailer here, official site here. I don't want to promote that film too heavily until I get my ticket, but if it's as good as it looks, it's amazing. The Rio Grind also features a program of shorts and a relocation for Spike and Mike's  Sick & Twisted Animation and a whole lot of films I've never heard of that sound just, well, swell; it's a little labour-intensive to post individual links for all of them, but seriously, just go here for more. See you at the Rio!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An entertaining movie review...

...of Silent Hill: Revelation 3-D; this is the only positive review presently on Rotten Tomatoes, where the film has an 8% critical approval rate, as opposed to an 80% audience vote... and it's a pretty special sort of positive review, at that...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Two by Shirley Clarke at the Pacific Cinematheque: jazz, heroin, and self-reflexive cinema, plus the option of voluntary castration

Over the next few days, the Cinematheque will be housing screenings of films by Shirley Clarke: The Connection and Ornette: Made in America. The Connection is a very interesting piece of self-reflexive cinema in which a filmmaker and his assistant attempt to document the lives of a group of jazz musicians and junkies waiting in a Greenwich Village loft for their dealer to show up. The addicts - amongst whom are noted figures like Jackie McLean and Freddie Redd, tho' they don't get much dialogue - argue amongst themselves, play jazz, and lecture the director of the film-to-be about his presumption that he can capture anything of the experience of being a junkie while staying safely on the other side of the camera; somehow, these scenes were what my mind harkened back to when watching Frank "Poncho" Sampedro lecturing Jim Jarmusch about presuming to "document" the experience of being in Crazy Horse, during Year of the Horse. There are some great performances - including Warren Finnerty (later to appear in Cool Hand Luke, Cockfigher, and the much grittier heroin-themed film The Panic in Needle Park) and the ever-delightful, ubiquitous Roscoe Lee Browne (RIP; in addition to The Connection, I'm fondest of his appearance in the adaptation of Graham Greene's The Comedians, his work on the TV series Soap, and his role as narrator in Gregg Araki's wonderful pot comedy Smiley Face - one of Browne's very last projects). There's also cool music, gritty black and white cinematography, and probably my favourite appearance of a cockroach in a film (excepting Bug!). Not so sure about the accuracy of its depiction of heroin use - the film is from 1962, and somewhat dated in its language and attitudes - but it will please both jazz fans and, especially, people who like films that ask questions about films. Highly recommended; trailer here.
Also very interesting-sounding is Ornette: Made in America, Clarke's documentary about the free jazz/ harmolodics pioneer, which features appearances by R. Buckminster Fuller and William S. Burroughs (Cronenberg's film adaptation of Naked Lunch uses some of Ornette's soloing, embodied within Howard Shore compositions; Coleman can be seen playing some of this live on Youtube). Brion Gysin and the Master Musicians of Jajouka, with whom Ornette also recorded, may also be in the film, though as I say, I've yet to see the film, so I'm quite sure what's in it; apparently one sequence deals with Coleman's request to be castrated, so he could dispense with sexual feelings and focus on music, though I am unclear as to whether this operation was ever actually carried out. While I don't know the film (or much of Coleman's bio), I'm very, very fond of Ornette's early recordings with Don Cherry; of his harmolodics stuff, Body Meta is my favourite. Note: photo of Ornette playing at the Cellar in Vancouver in the 1950's, here.

NOTE: There was an error in the Cinematheque's listings for the 31st, and perhaps elsewhere. Please see here for the correct showtimes for Hallowe'en: there is no 5:10 screening of The Connection

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strange dream of returning to Japan

Dream: I return to Japan for work. My parents are both alive during this dream, and my Mom can speak normally; she makes me promise to call her when I arrive. I forget parts of this dream, but on the first night, I find myself in a bar run by gaijin in a suburban part of town (not sure what city it's supposed to be - on the outskirts of Tokyo, I guess). I agree to help out, because it's busy, and I serve food and drink to customers (apparently) for several hours; but I get restless. I gather someone I used to know is also in Japan, and that the Butthole Surfers are playing somewhere that night. I explain to people in the bar - all of whom seem to be foreigners like me - who the Butthole Surfers are, and that I never got to see them, and am considering it. Some customers familiar with them seem to chuckle and pitch in as I describe their live shows, but when I ask if they've seen the band, they also haven't. I'm chewing over seeing them, maybe with this person I know - a friend from elementary school whom, in fact, I have not known for decades and am not on good terms with. Still, here we are, both in Japan - why not see how he's doing?

As business slows, I decide to take a walk - maybe to see this person. I discover that I am, for reasons unclear, wearing only shoes, socks and underwear, am mostly naked as I walk down the street. I come to an office building and hear music coming out (not the Butthole Surfers); I go upstairs and see that there is a band playing, a tuneful, heavy jazz-rock fusion happening. It doesn't faze me that it's mid-afternoon and the concert is happening in an office building; I've seen that sort of thing before. The audience is a mixed gaijin and youthful Japanese crowd, seated; I watch the band for awhile and realize that my former friend is playing drums. I'm shocked, but he's good. I make my way to a space on the floor, give him a thumbs up when he spots me, and watch a few songs, thinking that maybe he'd join me for the Butts, wondering if he'd take a magic mushroom with me to enhance the weirdness of the show. Maybe; I contemplate asking him, but we have yet to talk to each other, and he's obviously busy.

I then start thinking that I should be getting back to the bar. I take advantage of a strange break - everyone disappears but one musician, and, continuing to perform a song on guitar, he leads the audience outside of the room, Pied-Piper-like. I make my break - I have to pee, anyhow - and, after finding a toilet (I think), I go back downstairs. It's gotten cold, and I think, "Did I bring a coat? Did I really walk here next to naked?" I see a coat that looks a lot like mine, and try it on, to discover that it doesn't quite fit and there's something in the pocket that I know is not mine. I don't want to steal a coat, so I take it off and head for the door. I step outside and find my appearance shocks a family of Japanese walking by. I say "setsumei wa muzukashii," which, though I'm not sure I could consciously remember the words if I tried, I think is pretty much coherent way of conveying the idea that "my appearance merits an explanation (setsumei), but it would be difficult (muzukashii)" - so apparently there is more Japanese still in me than I realize. I am less certain that my ending the statement with "naa" is appropriate, and I exchange a brief unfriendly couple of syllables with the Japanese mother, who hurries her children along. At one point, she says "go," though I'm not sure if this is English or something in Japanese...

I duck back inside the building, feeling now uncomfortable with my near-nudity. There are several trenchcoats inside the door. What should I do? I try one on, step outside, realize that the pockets are once again full, and feel guilty about stealing people's belongings. I go back in again, resolving to come out in my unclad state and just walk back like that - it didn't bother me before, obviously - but when I find myself once again on the street, walking back to the bar, it appears I have stolen a trenchcoat after all, the most threadbare one I could find, with nothing in the pockets and holes in it. I feel inner conflict about having done this: it's an old coat, so it's ready to be replaced anyhow, but on the other hand, given its condition, I deduce that whoever was wearing it either had strong sentimental attachment to it or else was quite poor. I resolve to get to the bar, get my clothes back, and return it. What if it belongs to one of the musicians?

I remember as I near the bar that I'm supposed to call home, but I do a quick calculus of time zones - again something I didn't realize I remembered how to do, following the easy rule of adding thirteen hours while subtracting a day, which sounds about right - and determine that it's too early in the morning to call; my parents will still be asleep. I shouldn't call them until 9 or 10 at night. Then I spot a record and DVD store that I hadn't seen previously, with an "open 24 hours" sign on it, and elect to shop. I check my surroundings - I'm on the right road - and go in to look at their horror movies on DVD. They seem to have separate categories for regular horror and perverse horror, which they describe by some other term that I don't now remember, so I resolve to look at the perverse horror section next. The last thing I remember from the dream is looking at the movies on the shelves, head tilted to the side, still wearing the threadbare trenchcoat.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Channel 3, plus

One of my favourite-ever punk songs is "Manzanar," by ChThree (Channel 3), a highly unique song about the internment of Japanese Americans in California (lyrics here); to my knowledge, it's the only song to have been written, at least in English, about the Japanese internment here (but do correct me if there are songs I've missed). I doubt very much that I will be able to go see the band when they play Iron Road Studios October 27th - there are various complicating factors - but it's a sort of historic punk gig, since this is a band we don't get to see up here very often. I have sent questions for an email interview about that song and more to one of the members of Channel 3; not sure if that will happen, but meantime, check out some of their other great songs on Youtube -like "I've Got a Gun," "Strength in Numbers," or "Indian Summer".... 

That's about all I'll be able to blog for awhile, folks - other writing calls me. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

RIP Sylvia Kristel

...she was only 60! I was thinking, recently - after reading about one of those scandals where a teenaged boy was seduced by an older woman - about the 1981 film Private Lessons, which I saw theatrically as a horny 13 year old (not sure how I managed that, since it so obviously MUST have been R-rated; is it possible I asked my father to take me? I don't remember seeing it with him, but...). I remember it as a somewhat run-of-the-mill sex comedy, but wonder if, given the more hysterical public attitude towards such matters these days, it would seem daring or immoral or shocking, if revisited?

Also curious: damn, there have been a lot of Emmanuelle (and Emanuelle) films: Emmanuelle in Space? Is this really necessary?

RIP Wakamatsu Kouji

Revered Japanese filmmaker and shit-disturber Wakamatsu Kouji - whose excellent film on a fascinating chapter in the history of Japanese radicalism, United Red Army, made a fairly big impression here in the 2008 VIFF - was struck and killed by a taxi yesterday while walking in Tokyo. He was 76. I've only seen one other Wakamatsu film - his far sexier, jazzier, earlier take on the Red Army story, Ecstasy of the Angels (a very horny clip from it on Youtube, here; check out a bit of Yamashita Yousuke's powerhouse free jazz score for it here. By the way, some trivia fun for fans of J-noise: apparently Haino Keiji acted in some of Wakamatsu's films, which detail is nowhere yet captured on IMDB!). A recent interview with Wakamatsu is here; if all you know about the Japanese United Red Army is the vastly inaccurate (if colourful) depiction of their self-purge in Kichiku Dai Enkai, you owe it to yourself to check out Wakamatsu's infinitely more faithful telling of events from a few years back; it's out on DVD, three hours long, and both compelling and politically provocative, showing a young group of idealistic radicals, hell-bent on purifying their ranks, turning on each other and degenerating into a sort of madness. Includes the immortal line, "I criticise myself for eating a cookie!" A fascinating film.  

(Oh, and by the way, J-noisers, psych-drone gods Les Rallizes Denudes had connections to a Red Army faction, with their bassist, Wakabayashi Moriaki, participating in the hijacking of a JAL airliner to North Korea... Julian Cope writes about it, excerpted from the Japrocksampler, here).

Rest in peace, Wakamatsu-san.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CineAction 88 out now, featuring my Cronenberg article

Issue 88 of CineAction, featuring my discussion of Robin Wood's criticisms of David Cronenberg's early features, is out now. You don't need to have read Wood to appreciate the article, since I recap many of his arguments; you should, however, have seen Shivers, Rabid, The Brood, and, to a lesser extent, The Fly and Videodrome, to appreciate the piece. If you're a fan of these films, I think you'll find the article well worth your time, I'm quite pleased with it (and eager for feedback!).

The Carney-Rappaport affair: Jon Jost's petition

Jon Jost has created an online petition designed to pressure Ray Carney into returning Mark Rappaport's materials to him. (Go here for background, then follow Jost's follow-ups). 

Various people of note have signed it (most famously, Monte Hellman).

I am presently vacillating. On the one hand, stories of what has transpired between Carney and Rappaport - mostly based on accounts provided by Rappaport, with a few minor factual contributions, and many statements of impassioned opinion, offered by third parties - leave no room for doubt that the materials in question should have been returned a long time ago. I would like that to be how the matter ends. Even if Carney had been given these materials as a gift, as he apparently claims, given the circumstances, it seems unforgivable that he not give them back as requested. I can invent no good excuses for his behaviour, nor can I see the long-term results of the current situation, if he persists in his behaviour, profiting anyone (Rappaport, Carney, film scholarship, etc). 

On the other hand, there are statements in the petition which I find it very difficult to sign off on. For instance, the unequivocal, factual claim that "Carney has no rights to these films nor was he ever granted ownership of them." That may well be the case, but I have no way of KNOWING this, nor does anyone else who was not party to the initial agreement between Rappaport and Carney. Without either side having an agreement in writing, we have only two different versions of events - a contract dispute between two parties, one side of which dispute is largely known, the other side of which is largely not. NOTHING Rappaport may have said to Carney, when transferring possession of these materials to him, would justify, in my mind, Carney's current course of action - I'm not defending what he's doing - but all the same, I feel strange about signing off claiming I know something for a fact, when I don't. 

Maybe I should get over my discomfort here and just sign the damn thing. If it seemed likely that adding my name to the list would matter, I probably would. But to be honest, I'm more inclined to see if I can renew contact with Ray Carney. Who knows what he's experiencing through all this? He's been an object of ridicule for some years in certain quarters, often most unfarily, but its nothing compared to the current levels of vilification and abuse. I don't know what the hell he thinks he's accomplishing. Of course, he'll doubtlessly just ignore me, like everyone else who has written to him, but... I might as well give it a try.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Joe Strummer vinyl reissue

Copies of the limited vinyl first pressing of Joe Strummer's "comeback" LP, Rock Art and the X-Ray Style have been fetching a few hundred dollars on eBay over the last few years, but I imagine that will change now that the album has been reissued (on vinyl, taking up three sides of a double LP, with the fourth devoted to an etching; it's also out on CD, with bonus cuts - a CD which comes included with the LP, note). Joe died far too early; I'm privileged to have seen him four times in my life - once touring this very record, at Tokyo's Akasaka Blitz, photos from which show can be seen here. Awesome footage of Joe on tour in Japan and elsewhere on Youtube here - full songs used in Dick Rude's documentary about Joe, Let's Rock Again.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A few Neil Young notes

Just a few Neil Young tips for anyone who might care: Chapters is now selling the hardcover version of Young's autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, at $20 (the new price elsewhere in Canada is something like $31.50; can't beat that!). Also, there are now studio versions of songs off the upcoming album with Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill, on Youtube: "Walk Like a Giant" has not grown on me yet. "Ramada Inn" has.

Believe it or not, I was a bit disappointed to hear that Neil had a SECOND Crazy Horse album coming out in 2012 (Psychedelic Pill is slated for release at the end of October). I was all geared up to hear Americana - which I love - and some of his greatest hits and dark-horse contenders in November, and now suddenly there's a whole other album of new songs to come to terms with? ...songs which are going to be heavily featured in the November concert? But... what if it's another Greendale?  I think some of Neil's recent studio albums have been less than awe-inspiring, actually; both Living With War and Fork in the Road show a man with a very, uhh, relaxed, nothin'-to-prove approach to songwriting - someone who isn't exactly TRYING to craft masterpieces anymore, who doesn't seem that concerned about discriminating between wheat and chaff in what he lets get out there. And Greendale - man, I've tried to dig it, really, but I just can't get there. Last Neil Young album I really LOVED, prior to Americana was 1996's Broken Arrow - and that's from 16 years ago, now! (Le Noise was definitely a good, strong entry in the catalogue, as was Prairie Wind, but I didn't LOVE them, you know?).

Anyhow, like I say, "Ramada Inn" is great... I'm still a little concerned about this Psychedelic Pill...

Edited to add: do y'all know Mark Prindle's album review site? Now mothballed, but generally a very entertaining place to read rock review records, if you don't mind that Prindle is highly digressive, a little loopy, and tends to the profane and occasionally disrespectful (but always with great verve). Check out his reviews of Greendale, Living With War, and Fork in the Road (which I hereby quote: "Neil Young is back at his laziest, lazying out some lazy one-take lazy-bones guitar rock like Living With War without the choir or Greendale without the movie. And why the hell not? He's 63 years old, there's no MTV to play his videos, there are no radio stations to play his new songs, so why should he put forth anything like the time, money and effort he did in the 1970s or 1990s? What would be the point?"). We'll miss you, Prindle; now the world will never know what you thought of Americana or Psychedelic Pill...!

Skimmed Neil's autobio tonight trying to find bev.davies. I didn't but I did find Charlie Manson (around page 103).

Henry Rollins vs. Iggy Pop

Thanks to Judith Beeman, for sharing this with the world on Facebook - a hilarious Henry Rollins anecdote on Iggy Pop.

VIFF Notes: Gabrielle Rose, City Lens, Room 237, The Shining

It's kind of funny, after the list of people I've interviewed and interacted with - including larger-than-life figures like Lemmy Kilmister, Annie Sprinkle, and Michael Gira - when I still find myself intimidated by someone. I find I'm kind of shy about talking to Gabrielle Rose. Part of it may be the intense roles she's played - try Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster on sometime, or Speaking Parts, both of which have sexy and unsettling moments - and part of it may be that at VIFF conferences (at which I've seen her twice) she has a bit of a glamorous, inapproachable aura about her; or maybe it's just that I haven't ever had the excuse of being media to back up my approach (because as tiresome as journalists can be, most people you interview generally welcome the attention). All the same, I've always WANTED to speak to her, but been too nervous to attempt it. However, after a very well-received screening of The Crimes of Mike Recket yesterday, and a Q&A session featuring her, the film's producer, and some of her co-stars, I found myself quite accidentally walking up the aisle of The Vogue theatre beside her, and *she* began a conversation with *me,* so I really had nowhere to run: I swallowed my nerves and confessed to her that (ulp) she was my favourite Canadian actress, and that I greatly admired the brave roles she's taken on. She was quite modest in her reply, but I mean it: she's been willing to take on characters that are extremely unflattering (like the school bus driver in The Sweet Hereafter), has been made highly vulnerable and subject to on-screen humiliation (including in the new Bruce Sweeney film, but also in Speaking Parts - the image of her holding a gun to her head at the climax of that film is one of the most indelible moments in Canadian cinema, for me), has played everything from a nattering, controlling Mom worthy of a Woody Allen movie (in Sweeney's Excited) to however-you-want to describe her character, Mimi, in The Adjuster (perverse performance artist? ...The scene on public transit with Maury Chaykin, RIP, as a collaborator of hers, dressed as a stinky bum who places his hand between her legs, is ANOTHER of the most indelible images in Canadian cinema). While others of our actresses (Molly Parker, Jackie Burroughs) have taken on daring roles, they seldom have been willing to shed themselves of glamour in the way that Ms. Rose has; she's able to bring you very close to a fragile human core, without regard for self-protection or considerations outside the performance at hand, and I think she deserves credit for her gutsiness! (Hell, there's even a brief moment in The Crimes of Mike Recket where Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence comes to mind). I've only seen a small sampling of her work - she's had a long, busy career! - but she's just great in The Crimes of Mike Recket, as is, of course, Nicholas Lea (still likely best known as Krycek from The X-Files). Anyhow, I think she may have expected me to continue my conversation with her - I may have fled somewhat abruptly from The Vogue, after our brief interaction - but chalk it up to fannish nerves. Maybe someday I'll have the excuse to talk to her as media, who knows?
Truth is, I was very glad to make the VIFF at all this week - I was sick through last weekend and missed screenings of both the new Vinterberg and the new Haneke. (The Vinterberg film, The Hunt, about what happens to a man suspected of pedophilia, will be playing the Vancity Theatre on the 14th, 15th, and 17th as a VIFF repeat; Haneke's Amour screens on the 12th, but I'll be doing an interview that day). In addition to seeing Sweeney's film theatrically yesterday, I caught City Lens, screening again October 12th, which I interview Graham Peat about below. It's definitely interesting, but the best film in this program of Vancouver-themed shorts from the CBC archives is not the one I expected: "The Outsider" gives the fullest portrait of late 1950's Vancouver, which is startlingly recognizable, and has what appears to be an authentic narration from a youth who has had trouble with the law; stylistically it combines elements of social realism with film noir, depicting the narrator wandering the city. I'd expected the never-before-seen short "The Seeds" to be the most exciting of the films, based on the description, but its portrait of juvenile delinquents running amuck is quite kitschy and cliched compared to "The Outsider" - though it does have its audacious moments, cinematically, and a lively jazz score by someone whose name, I noted, begins with "Allan Mac" (MacIntosh? MacIntyre? I only recall that it wasn't "MacInnis"). The other two short subjects are interesting, if less exciting; the first in the program, which offers static shots of details of Vancouver architecture, features some startling gargoyles that I assume no longer exist here, alongside a couple that you'll recognize...
Several films playing over the next couple of days sound exciting, but one screening tomorrow (that is, Thursday) may lure me into the city again: Room 237, a documentary in which different film scholars look at The Shining. While finding Rob Ager's analysis of the film on Youtube fascinating and compelling, The Shining is a film I've had in quarantine for years, after I decided that Kubrick was a misogynist, largely based on what he does to Shelley Duvall in that film, but also on evidence scattered throughout his career: his truly hateful femme fatale in The Killing, his loathing for Shelly Winters in Lolita, the glee he takes in some of the rape scenes in A Clockwork Orange, and the very strange male-bonding-via-female-murder that closes Full Metal Jacket. As usual, my 40's find me revisiting and sometimes revising the blanket judgements I made in my 20's and 30's; since I can't be sure I'll be able to attend the upcoming screening of The Shining at the Vancity Theatre, I looked at the film the other night on DVD, and found myself compelled by how much it contextualizes and queries its anti-feminism, and how fruitful it might be - regardless of the indiginities visited upon Ms. Duvall - as a subject of feminist analysis. I still think there's something highly uncomfortable about the film, particularly when we're encouraged by Duvall's abased cringing to IDENTIFY with the desire to brutalize her - but these scenes may serve a larger and more moral purpose than I'd previously credited them as serving. Don't think I'd seen the film in 15 years, and am very glad I revisited it, and am really curious to see where the analyses in Room 237 lead; if nothing else, it will be interesting to see a film entirely devoted to the exegesis of another film! Read Adrian Mack on the film - he's actually seen it, unlike me - here; and if you want to prepare yourself for one of the further-out-there interpretations of the film discussed in Room 237, check this short documentary about how The Shining contains Kubrick's encoded confession that he helped fake the Apollo 11 moon landings...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Apologies to Golden Age Collectibles!

What a fine stock of Dr. Who material they have! They even have a Dalek plush toy that, when you press a button, goes "Exterminate! Exterminate!" just like the Johnny Rotten character in Sid and Nancy, who I guess was making a Dr. Who reference, which, until today, went right over my head. My dreaming head (see below) obviously doesn't have a clue what it's talking about.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Scott Smith's The Ruins: a tip for horror fans

An ill-timed cold has ruined plans to attend a friend's birthday party and catch some VIFF films (though it has helped me get some writing done); for entertainment, instead - because one can't stare into a screen all day - I've been reading Scott Smith's The Ruins. I enjoyed the film quite a bit, and have revisited it a couple of times. Part of that is down to my being a bit of a Jena Malone fan, actually, having loved her in Donnie Darko, and liked her in the GMO-themed horror film Corn and in this; she's also got a very quirky musical career going, and seems like an interesting, talented young woman. But The Ruins is interesting horror fare regardless of her contribution. Despite seeming to be a globalized variant on the urban-rural horror film - four American tourists in Mexico, and one German, encounter great danger in the jungle and have to fight for their survival - what The Ruins (the film) really seems to me to be about is gender roles -  how women and men are expected to behave in certain situations, particularly when facing a crisis. We see the men through the women's eyes, and the women through the men's, and have cause to mistrust both; audience members are invited to feel this mistrust and to interrogate and/or overcome their own prejudices, and sort out their own values, based on the sort of gut-level, pre-conscious punch in the viscera that good horror can so well-deliver. Some belief needs to be suspended along the way, since certain aspects of the premise don't bear deep investigation, but the premise is not to be mistaken for the point of the affair. It's a film that bears some thinking - though the ending may be more pleasing for male viewers than females; it's not without its own biases.
What's surprising and somewhat delightful about the book, which I'm only now discovering, is that the story is significantly different from what appeared on-screen. Scott Smith, who adapted his own material from novel to screenplay, appears to have consciously decided to rethink elements of the plot, so people familiar with the book won't see certain things coming. There's an added character; there is a considerably longer section dealing with the Mayan villagers; different people descend into the mine; and the first characters to die and the last to survive are different from book to film. Delightfully, this change-up works both ways; people for whom the film is the primary text won't see certain things coming in the book. I'm not quite finished, but have greatly enjoyed reading it, and recommend the novel to fans of the film, if they haven't already gone there. There's a bit more suspension of disbelief required than in the film, which wisely omits certain details, to make things more plausible, but again, if you accept that the premise is not the point, and approach it in a forgiving way, there's a lot to think about; it's also a fast, fun, easy, and highly compelling read (which is sometimes exactly what one wants). Going to burn through it and hopefully get to sleep by 6am: I have a long day of writing ahead of me and need to get some sleep...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Granville Cinemas shutting down

I mustn't be the only person who saw this coming. The Empire Theatres Granville location - AKA the Granville Seven, currently housing the VIFF - is shutting down in a few weeks time... but to be absolutely honest, if it weren't for the VIFF - which absolutely, positively needs a space like the Granville Seven to flourish - I wouldn't be at all moved. I think, in fact, my last attempt to see a (non-VIFF) movie there was a second-run screening of The Grey, and it was frustrated by an annoying labour-saving policy that made ticket buyers line up at the concession stand, to vie with the popcorn people for entry; I stood in a needlessly long line for a few minutes, decided I felt offended, then reconsidered and walked out. Before that... I know I saw Darren Aronofsky's 2006 film The Fountain, or started to, there, until there was a technical error that stopped the screening at midpoint; they offered us refunds and I leapt at the chance (since the film was so baaad). I think I've seen one or two (non-VIFF) movies there subsequent to that - I think I caught Monkey Warfare there! - but those too were beset with technical difficulties, and I've long since written it off as a cinematic backwater best avoided.

The only sad part is that it's a great space if properly used - as the VIFF abundantly demonstrates; it would surely do much better if it had adventuresome programming all year round, rather than poorly projected, cut-rate multiplex leftovers of films that anyone with any interest in has already seen, sprinkled with the odd "repertory screenings" of films that are easily available on DVD (or circulating in the torrentsphere). Really, the surprise here is that they survived as long as they did, all things considered; they didn't actually offer an alternative to the programming at other cinemas, just more of the same, with less quality, after the blush was gone. I'll save my mourning for The Ridge... 

Meantime, here's a positive suggestion for the city of Vancouver - why not buy the space and, when not housing festivals, hire local filmmakers and cinephiles of note to curate repertory screenings on a rotating basis, to support Vancouver culture? Treat it as a place to program fare too risky or controversial for the Vancity or the Cinematheque... I for one would make a trek to the city to see Cinema Sewer week onscreen, or if someone brought Kier-la back for a Cinemuerte or two. Give Adrian Mack a shot at programming a week of Eurotrash, or Alex Mackenzie a week of experimental cinema, or run programs curated by the likes of  Graham Peat, Michael Turner, Yuriko Iga, Susanne Tabata, Leonard Schein, Elvy Del Bianco, the VIVO people, even, um, ME. Hell, even though my recent experiences of Film Studies at UBC left me kind of pissed off and hurt, there is enough talent that has come from that university alone - Bruce Sweeney, Lynne Stopkewich, Mina Shum, Reg Harkema, Tom Scholte, and a dozen other filmmakers and actors that I'm missing, that you could program a months' worth of cinema there. Treat it like the art gallery - a place to support local culture, either by playing BC films, or having BC notables curate events... 

It won't happen, of course, but it would make a lot more sense than letting the space stand derelict for a year... and it would give the arts in Vancouver a badly needed shot in the arm. Anything but another bloody nightclub, okay? 

...One wonders what the VIFF will do in 2013?

RIP Big Daikon

When I lived in Japan, I used to post on Big Daikon, a site for English-speaking foreigners living in Japan - mostly brought over on the JET Programme - to rant, blow off steam, exchange ideas, and so forth. I was on the site from near its inception - I started in 1999, I think. It was the first internet community I belonged to, and even though I gather it got quite ugly (it gets described in one entertaining read as an unmoderated bad-taste extravaganza) it mattered to me for awhile. Also, one essay of mine, "My Life with the Nanking Massacre," was published by the site, dealing with aspects of my culture shock, acclimatizing to a singularly unusual coworker; I see that it has actually appeared in teaching materials at Tokyo Gakugei University, and gotten referenced by at least one blogger. Alas, with Big Daikon being shut down, my essay no longer exists anywhere - I took for granted that it would remain available and didn't save it to my hard drive. (Trying to track down a copy now). Goodbye, Big Daikon (and thanks to the anonymous commenter who pointed out that the site was gone).

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Strange Dreams of Haggling with an Asshole

Having some bizarrely detailed, realistic dreams lately, dreams which highlight mundane, daily life activities. I had one elaborate dream a couple weeks ago where I was picking my nose deeply and happily, then getting bits in my beard, which I had to pick out; given the fantastic, conflict-oriented scenarios I usually dream - battling faceless evils - to highlight such a banal detail in a dream seems strange indeed. What could my subconscious be trying to tell me? I even dreamt a dream that was located in my own apartment, the other night - I can't remember what the rest of it entailed, but I so rarely have dreams that are set in the actual spaces I presently live that it makes it sort of a landmark moment; I've lived here three years now, and never once before, to my memory, had a dream actually located here.

The dream I relay here - from a couple of nights ago - involved a quest for a Dr. Who collectible. I had finished working at a bookstore I sometimes work at, and was on my way to a party, where I was supposed to give someone a Dr. Who-themed gift; I've held back from publishing this post until today because there was actually such a party that I was to go to, actually such an assignment, giftwise (a cold is keeping me home). Anyhow, in the dream, I hadn't found anything in any shop I'd been to - there was a strange deficit in Dr. Who-themed merch out there - so I made a special trip by bus to Golden Age Collectibles on Granville Street - the actual shop, which my sleeping brain more or less accurately recreated (though I haven't been in there for years). I *think* I sold them something, and had $15 credit to spend. I went through the entire shop, trying to find something appropriately Dr. Who-related: comic books, t-shirts, action figures, you name it. The kid behind the counter - a dark haired, obnoxious youth named Gareth Wrigley, completely manufactured for the purposes of this dream but entirely credible as a character - helped me look a bit, but in so doing, was rude in such a way that I ended up off my balance, insecure, trying not to lose my cool. I'd comment on the absence of cool Dr. Who memorabilia out there and he'd say something just slightly cutting and sarcastic, about how it might have something to do with how hip and current Dr. Who was, meaning just the opposite; but he continued to field my requests to show me stuff, so he was nonetheless doing his job. In the course of my shopping, Gareth showed me one book that had a Tardis photo in it, but it was too small a part of the book to count. Instead, I found three copies of a hardcover art book relating to Vancouver punk, with Jim Cummins' (I, Braineater's) painting for the Pointed Sticks' Perfect Youth on the front cover; they were $30 books at least, but selling for $1 apiece (with red and white sale stickers akin to the ones Oscar's Art Books uses). I decided to buy all three: I could give one as a gift in lieu of the Dr. Who item, keep one for myself, and give another to someone else I knew who was also going to the party (in the dream and in life - there's a bizarre amount of real-life stuff worked in, here).

Problem: the two guys behind the counter, Gareth and this other fella - vastly less sharp - wouldn't sell me all three art books, but nor would they share that fact with me; they just wrapped up one copy of the book in newspaper so I couldn't see what was in the package and rang me through as if I'd paid and gave me a receipt. I completely forgot that they owed me money, but I noticed that they forgot to actually take any money from me; I put the package in my backpack and left the store, feeling like I'd gotten away with something, then got outside, checked what they'd given me - tearing aside a corner of the newspaper - and realized that it was only one copy of the three books. No wonder it was so thin! I went back into the store and commenced to give them shit, but Gareth held firm: it was store policy, when they had a sale item, not to sell multiple copies to one customer, so other bookdealers couldn't take advantage of their sales. But I wasn't actually trying to do that, I assured him; they were gifts for friends at this party! Frustrated, but finding them adamant - and still needing a gift - I went on one last scour of the store, looking for Dr. Who stuff; I encountered a girl in the back room who was making realistic, super-sized sculptures based on insects, and asked Gareth if he had t-shirts with insects on them, as I recalled the store had sold at one point; I thought a cool beetle t-shirt might suffice as a gift, but alas, none were in stock. Look, I explained; I've tried like hell to find a gift to buy for my friend, and the only thing you have in the store that I like, and that my friend might like, is this one dollar artbook. Let me buy one for myself, and one for my friend! We haggled for awhile, me threatening to lose my cool, and finally we arrived at the agreement that he would sell me ONE extra copy of the book; I would keep another for myself, give one to my friend (being sure to remove the pricetag - you can't just spend $1 on a gift for someone), and I'd just TELL my other friend about the item, to get him into the store. Somewhere in there Gareth tried to jack up the price of one of the books - "I'll sell it to you, but not for a buck" - but he could tell that made me really angry, so gave it up.

In the end, I got two out of three of the books, at $1 each - except I continued to forget that they owed me $15, and they weren't about to remind me. In contrast, I'd explained to them that they'd forgot to charge me for the book I bought previously, and gave them money for both copies I was buying. I made some sort of peacemaking gesture with Gareth, shaking his hand and getting his name, congratulating him on driving a hard bargain, and left the store feeling like I'd won the fight. It was only after I got out and was on my way to the party that I realized that I'd screwed myself - that they owed me $15 that I now realized I hadn't a hope in hell of collecting. Besides, I had no time left; I'd have to live with it, I'd been screwed.

Note, in case anyone  wants to sue my dreaming brain, in no way does the above reflect my experience of shopping at Golden Age Collectibles. They're a great little store with a lot of cool stuff and doubtlessly helpful and professional staff, none of whom do I presently know or mean to impugn. For that matter, nor do I mean to impugn anyone named Gareth Wrigley - I know of no such person, although a Google search of the name reveals that several people by that name actually exist. Weird when a dream is so specific to a place and to people that you end up worried you might get sued for telling it, eh?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

VIFF Documentary: Persistence of Vision

Kevin Schreck's documentary, Persistence of Vision, playing tomorrow at the VIFF (also on October 7th and 12th) sounded fascinating before I read Adrian Mack's article on it, and sounds even moreso now. Mack turned me and at least a few other people on to Bill Fiegenbaum's delightful Hugo the Hippo, a film of which I knew nothing, when it screened at the Cinematheque awhile ago; I now defer to him with total trust when it comes to matters animated, and if he describes this film - about the failed struggle to realize what could have been the greatest works of animation in history, The Thief and the Cobbler - as a must-see, it surely must be. Trailer here; there's actually a Kickstarter campaign afoot for the film, and even a Facebook page. Below is an image from Richard Williams incomplete film; that this could be the background for an animated feature is rather mind-boggling, eh?

Dead Kennedys in Vancouver, October 20th, 1984

Wow. Thanks to the SFU library, I finally found the gig poster for the Dead Kennedys show I saw at the New York Theatre (aka the York Theatre) on October 20th, 1984. I was aged 14 years, having commuted in from the suburbs for my first ever punk rock concert (having only just discovered punk about a year previously, thanks to a friend who had the Sex Pistols album). Finally, seeing the poster again after all these years, I can set my mind at ease: THIS is the show where I saw House of Commons and The Bill of Rights (I always remembered seeing I, Braineater that night, doing, as I recall, a solo set in a leather jacket with an electric guitar; someone hit him on the head with a beercan and he kept right on singing. I was never clear which gig I saw those other two bands at, tho', since I went to at least one other show in my teens at the York). Also resolved: Colin Upton is right, this was NOT the show where I saw The Haters (though I wonder who the hell Bags of Dirt were? Googling the term seems to bring up a lot of gardening sites, and I have no memory of them at all, unless they dressed in black hoods and cut things up on stage with power tools. I think that was probably the Haters on some other night at the York, though - maybe the night when I only barely recall seeing Death Sentence and the Spores). Horrifying revelation: if I'd come to the DKs the NEXT night, instead, I could have seen the Crucifucks! (Obviously I had no idea who THEY were then. Note - Steve Shelley, later of Sonic Youth, was their drummer at that time!).

Everything I remember about the October 20th show (bearing in mind that it was 28 years ago):

The band entered single file through the front door of the club, to the awe of punks waiting outside (including myself). They were coming from the direction of Hastings...

Joey Shithead was serving as roadie and a few people in the audience took to chanting his name, and he sort of glowered at them, his head cocked to the side, acknowledging the attention but not exactly revelling in it, then went back to doing stuff with wires.

A friend of my youth whom I'd talked into going with me allowed his Mom to dress him (she wanted him to look nice for a concert in the city); he was wearing his best pants and shoes and wore his ZZ Top Eliminator T-shirt, much to my dismay. At some point he was ridiculed by the punks and came to me quite upset and I think I bought an In God We Trust Inc. t-shirt and told him to put it on over the ZZ Top shirt, saying it was his own damn fault for dressing in such an uncool fashion, didn't he understand anything about punk? Myself, I'd worn a green surplus workshirt, tattered at the edges, that was either military issue or a prison shirt, and an olive drab jail issue jacket that I got from my dad, I think (he was a jailguard) - the same stuff I used to wear to high school, because it was like a prison, right? My only poor choice in attire was my running shoes, which I guess were a little too loose: at one point, attempting to mosh, one of them came off, and I had to scramble about in the pit and try to find it, which I did, eventually, my sock-clad right foot getting righteously tromped on a few times in the process.

I remember as I watched the show some adult woman put her arm across my shoulders from the back and leaned on me. I liked the way her arm felt against my bristly short hair and I think I glanced back and gave her a smile, and she smiled back (though she was obviously with someone, and I was obviously underage; it wasn't a flirtation). It seemed a very friendly gesture, if a bit surprising. Is this what punks do? Hm!

I remember thinking Klaus Flouride was pretty short; he stood to the left, and, if I recall, handled most of the backup vocals. I don't think I knew that DH Peligro was black before seeing that show - it wasn't indicated on any of the album art that I'd seen. I have almost no memory of East Bay Ray, except that he was tall and stood on the right.

Jello, however, made quite an impression. I remember him ranting about the electoral choice then being presented to Americans of Reagan and Mondale, and holding forth that they were all just puppets for megacorporations and that voting couldn't change anything, that it was all just a fake choice given to the masses to give them the illusion of participating in how they were governed. (He made comments about Canadian politics, too, but I have no recollection whatsoever about them). I remember him looking at kids waving their fists in the air in a sort of solidarity gesture and calling that, too, into question, as a mindless image of power: "Fist, fist, fist - big fuckin' deal," he'd said, and I later tried to describe the moment verbatim in a journal I was keeping for my Grade 10 English class, and though I rendered "fuck" as "f--k," I still got in a bit of trouble for it from the teacher, who thought I was trying to impress him with my profanity; I was actually trying to just describe Jello's refusal of the gesture, and my understanding of his reasons for it, and to document my lived experience, which I thought was what journals were about. In between encouraging the audience to think for themselves and question authority and so forth - I don't remember the specifics of any other speech he gave, though there were many - Jello stage dived dozens of times, and spent half the concert riding the audience, shirtless, singing into his mike as he was passed from hand to hand. (I think I'd gone through my shoe ordeal at that point and was staying well out of the moshpit, so I viewed this all from the outer peripheries). I must have known about stage diving from having seen Suburbia and The Decline of Western Civilization and such, but I had no idea that MEMBERS OF BANDS did it, and I was completely impressed by the lack of any barrier between himself and the audience - he just plunged fearlessly right in, seemed even to be enjoying it. While the songs the band played that night are a little foggier, someone has a setlist from the second night online. There's a lot more Frankenchrist stuff on that list than I recall from the night I went, but I do remember "Goons of Hazard" and "MTV Get Off the Air" (a link to a live performance recorded four months prior to the one I was at). I *think* the band did "Nazi Punks Fuck Off," too, and maybe "Too Drunk to Fuck," neither of which are on that list. Other than that, the one song I vividly remember is actually one they hadn't recorded yet: on the 20th, they did "Dear Abby." I could actually make out some of the lyrics, was most amused, and I was excited to hear the recorded version, when Bedtime for Democracy finally came out (an album that disappointed me as much as anyone, though I tried hard to pretend it didn't).

There aren't many other specific details still in my head after all these years, but all of it was eye-opening in the extreme. Growing up in Maple Ridge, without a late night bus or anyone to drive back from shows, meant that punk rock was something I listened to on records and tried to piece together from Discorder and Open Road and lyric sheets and liner notes and bev.davies photos and videos I saw on Soundproof, but it wasn't something I could fully participate in (I always felt a bit like a fake, a poseur, compared to the street punks I'd see on the steps of the art gallery, but what can I say, I had a comfortable home and bed and caring parents and the start of a good record collection; I wasn't about to give that stuff up!). Bigger shows were actually a lot easier to see, in fact; I could catch the last Pacific Coach Lines bus out of the city after a concert at the Pacific Coliseum (and thus saw Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and Van Halen and the Kinks and the Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio - though my Dad drove me to that, and attended, and didn't much enjoy it - he kept complaining about how loud the bands were, and musing on how short Dio was). But if I could see bigger shows whenever I wanted, punk gigs ended too late, and were too small to warrant Pacific Coach Lines adding a late bus, which they sometimes did for bigger events (there was no public transit to be had between Vancouver and Maple Ridge, in those days). The list of shows I could have seen and didn't is long indeed - I never saw DOA or Nomeansno until years afterwards, and was very aware of chances to see The Clash (before Mick Jones got the boot), Motorhead, Black Flag (with Henry), and several other big shows that I had no way to get home from. I did manage to see The Cramps, with Slow opening, out at UBC, one night when I was staying over with friends; Robyn Hitchcock (with No Fun); the Replacements, touring Tim (I think) and drunk to hell at the Town Pump; and John Cale and Pere Ubu at Club Soda. It wasn't until grunge hit, when I was hanging out with other people who liked live music (and had cars!) that I got to see a fair number of shows - Tad, Nirvana, the Melvins, Tankhog, Helmet, All, the Volcano Suns, Facepuller... To some extent I may still be compensating for all the gigs I wanted to see as a kid and couldn't...

Still: I couldn't have picked a more exciting first punk gig than the Dead Kennedys at the York. It was an identity-forming moment, and essential to my sense of what punk was supposed to be. For years after, I had a tattered, staple-gunned flyer for the gig on my wall... No idea where it's gotten to, but I'm happy to finally have uncovered a scan of it online...

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Wild Dead Kennedys news

Photo by Crystal Walts, as lifted off Facebook...

Apologies to Jello Biafra, but this is turning into a show people kind of need to see, BECAUSE (apparently) the ringer singer his former bandmates brought with'em ISN'T APPEARING - he forgot his passport and is stuck on the other side of the border! - and Willy Jak of the Dayglo Abortions is (apparently) filling in, which suddenly sounds... really fuckin' appealing, actually. Thanks to Kristina Mameli for posting this on Facebook! My suburban condition makes my attendance unlikely but goddamn if I'm not a LOT more curious than I was...

EDIT: actually, this suggests a new way that the Dead Kennedys could reconfigure their act: just ditch the ringer singer and tour around allowing members of the audience and local punks of note to play Jello. They could even pitch it as a reality TV show! Heh.

EDIT #2: Ah, man, I wish I could go to this now, but suddenly I wonder if it's not some weird hoax/ prank? My source is just a photo viewed online - Chris Walter tells me he thought the whole band got in. It'd be funny if it's a scam to up ticket sales, but I'd MUCH rather see Willy Jak sing DK's songs than Skip... Hope he's having fun memorizing those lyrics... as many times as I've heard these songs, I don't envy him the prospect!

Let's see how much I remember of "Holiday in Cambodia." Off the top of my head:

So you've been to school for a year or two
And you know you've seen it all
In daddy's car thinkin' you'll go far
Back east your type don't crawl
Play ethnicky jazz
To parade your snazz
On your five grand stereo
Braggin' that you know
How the niggers feel cold
And the slums got so much soul
It's time to taste what you most fear
Right Guard will not help you here
Brace yourself my dear
Brace yourself my dear...

It's a holiday in Cambodia
Where you'll do what you're told
It's a holiday in Cambodia
Where the slums got so much soul...

(NOTE: I got that wrong - that's a later chorus! Three choruses, all unique - this is the "pack a wife" one. Yikes!).

You're a star-bellied Sneech (NOTE: is this really the only punk rock reference to a Dr. Seuss book?)
You suck like a leech
Want everyone to act like you
Kiss ass while you bitch
So you can get rich
But your boss gets richer
Off you
(NOTE: completely forgot this line!)
For a bowl of rice a day
Slave for soldiers til you starve
And your head is skewered on a stake
It's time to go where people are one (NOTE: not quite)
It's time to go where they get things done
Brace yourself, my son... (NOTE: nope! "What you need my son"...)

(Chorus - NOTE: forgot the specifics)

Pol Pot... Pol Pot

...of course, I've now seen Jello sing this live three times now (with the DKs in 84 or 85, with the Melvins, and with the GSM, so that kinda helps). The original single version here. Good luck, Willy!

So it's Halloween
And you feel like shining
And you feel like dancin'
And you feel like lettin' loose
Well whatcha gonna be?
Babe you better know
And you better plan
Better plan all day
Better plan all week
Better plan all month
Better plan all year...

You're dressed up like a clown
Puttin' on your act
It's the only time all year you'll ever admit that..


Song here!