Friday, September 28, 2007

Un Deux Trois Dis Mirroir Noir!

Great two nights of music along the Wasatch Front. First the New Pornographers, then Arcade Fire. I've been listening to Arcade Fire since before they were even a band (so hip am I) and when I saw that they were playing their first ever Utah show I was so excited that I actually said "Hey, neat." Better still, opening the show was the acclaimed LCD Soundsystem.

Weirder still, the show was at the Waterfall Amphitheate at Thanksgiving Point, typically home to adult contemporary and slow-country acts [EDITOR'S NOTE: venue was chaged at last minute from Waterfall Amphitheatre to "a field."] I'm not sure where Thanksgiving Point came from, but it has a golf course and a cost-prohibitive public garden and a movie theatre and you can buy hand-crafted candy canes there. Technically Thanksgiving Point is in Lehi, a town I've hated for so long that I can't even remember why. Maybe it's because the movie Footloose was filmed there and the song "Footloose" is the worst song there's ever been.

The drive from Salt Lake County to Utah County was long and arduous. Ooh I hate that drive. Traffic was at a near standstill almost the whole way. I figured there was an accident or construction ahead, but nothing. Just the daily march out of town. Got there and Emily and I waited in line surrounded by hipsters in their strip-ed shirts and tighted pants. After being groped by security, like seriously molested, we went in and no sooner had we found an acceptable place to stand then the music started. 7pm sharp, right on time.

How to describe LCD Soundsystem? Electro-funk? Dance-punk? That makes them sound sucky. They're not sucky. They're good. If you like sick grooves and mad beats they are not to be missed. Just make sure to bring your dancing shoes (I had forgotten mine).

The singer for LCD is actually just a holographic projection.

Beautiful crisp fall night.

LCD's singer/mastermind James Murphy pointed out that he was getting the better end of the deal because we were all looking at the stage but he got a nice view of the orange mountains behind us. It's true. Those mountains were glorious. I didn't have the wherewithal to take a picture of them though.

I liked this guy. Nice and personable. Great show, full of dancy sonic madness.

During LCD Soundsystem Tai and Kirsten found us (they have a blog, now linked to over there>>>>>>>>)

Between acts we set off a wanderin' hoping to find some of our friends that we knew would be there. Didn't see everybody but I did meet an old internet friend and we spent some time talking about our internet cats.

(copywright: meh, 2007)

Also found Judy and Kylie, two characters from my life you've probably heard of.

The show started with looped footage of different public-access televangelists playing on four round screens. These went on for a while and the sound built up into a cacophony while the images slowly faded into the Arcade Fire's Neon Bible logo.

What do I love? NEON! And it was everywhere! In in in REDS!

and also blues!!!

all this lights and muzix is melting mines brain!

Um yeah, anyway. They opened with "Black Mirror," the first track on Neon Bible. Amazing! Ten musicians on stage, running around switching instruments as needed, banging on drums and symbols and throwing tambourines and playing a pipe organ and singing into bullhorns and filling the air with triumphant anthems.

Singer Win Butler said it was great to play here and revealed a Utah connection. His grandfather used to take him fishing in the mountains over yonder.

He jumped a line on the song "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)." "I went out into the nigh---ah shit." I like a band that's still loose enough to make mistakes.

Win's wife Regine Chassagne has such an incredible stage presence. Cool voice too. Also she plays the accordion and the hurdy-gurdy.

I couldn't get a clear picture so I'm borrowing one from The Salt Lake Tribune. Hope they don't mind.

(credit: Chris Detrick/The Salt Lake Tribune)

These guys were fun to watch too. The blurry guy on the right is Win Butler's brother William. I wish I had his energy. He runs around like a crazy man.

Also, cute violinists.

They played almost everything from the new album but found room for the highlights off Funeral too. They closed the main set with "Revolution (Lies)." That song is in my itunes Top 100 Favorite Songs playlist and is also featured on my myspace page which I never go to. Encore was "Old Flame" and the soul-stirring "Wake Up."

What a show. I can't really compare it to New Pornographers because I have so much more of an emotional connection to their music, but still. What's the point of comparing anyway? This isn't a contest. The only winner is me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Letter from an Occupant

I don't know about anyone else, but I've spent the past two days enjoying some amazing Canadian rock n' roll. Tonight was the Arcade Fire and I'll get to them next time. First up, porno porno porno!

To begin I ask, is there anything finer than fall in Salt Lake City? Some would say "yes," but to them I would counter with "no." It's just beautiful, and at 7pm when the air is crisp and in the deepening blue sky the full moon rises over the glowing orange mountains... wow.

I don't actually have a picture of that, but hopefully my words are enough. Here's a picture of my stairwell. Close.

Many months ago I heard that The New Pornographers were coming to town and playing at a venue called The Depot at the old train station. I flipped at this news. I don't like to use the words "best" or "favorite"... wait actually scratch that. I do like to use those words. In fact I use them way to much. I'm a hyperbole slut. Whatever. The point is, if I had to name one "favorite band" right now it would be the New Pornographers. I bought my ticket right away and I had been so excited for this show.

I'm writing under the assumption that you know who they are, but maybe you don't. They're a Canadian power-pop band made up of musicians that are in other bands or have healthy solo careers. A super group, as the media has dubbed them. I would dare to call them Beatles-esque, but less shimmery and jingle-jangly. I mean they don't really sound like the Beatles, I just make the comparison because they employ a lot of vocal harmony and very layered music... I'm just gonna stop right now. I'm an idiot when it comes to music reviewing. I could go back and delete this whole paragraph but I won't because I strive for truth in all things.

I have seen the NPs once before, at the Austin City Limits Festival last year. Great show but seeing a band play an hour long set in 100 degree heat with the sun in your eyes just isn't quite the full experience, you know? I did run into some of them at the Austin airport so we're totally friends now (not really friends).

I got there early, just after doors opened. There was no one else around and I ended up holding the door open for Carl Newman, the primary singer/guitarist/songwriter. I don't know why but I got all nervous. I was thinking, gotta say something gotta say something! and I said "Hi." in the meekest voice I have ever heard come out of my head. He nods and say "How you doin'?" "Good. Good. Real good."

Hung around on my own for a while trying to pass the time with a few brewed beverages. Finally I ran into an old film school buddy, Colin. Was good to see him. Been a while. Also ran into friends Kylie and Katie. Katie has pictures of me somewhere on her blog. The two Ks share my enthusiasm for the band so that was cool.

The first opening act was The Awkward Stage. What a pleasant surprise these guys turned out to be! I've been listening to their album and enjoying it but the live show really sealed the deal. Very dynamic, tight band which is cool because they've only been together about six months. They're going to start recording their second album soon and I have a feeling it will get some buzz.

Also the singer is George Clooney. See?

Actually he's a fella named Shane and he's really nice. Talked to him (bothered him) for a while after the show and he's a cool guy. I wish him the utmost success.

Another thing I liked about this band was the cute-girl keyboard player. HINT: if you want me to like your band, have a cute-girl keyboard player.

I think we could be friends. She's always taking pictures, I'm always taking pictures. Do the math.

Next up, Lavender Diamond. Interesting sound. The singer, Becky, has a great voice, and she's adorable. After the show I saw her picking up litter. She also helped me meet the NPs. More on that later.

Finally, the New Pornographers! Yay!

I was as happy as a monkey on a rock. The setlist was perfect and they had really brought their A-Game.

Here's the main guy, who would still be waiting outside the building if it wasn't for me.

This is sometime singer/songwriter Dan Bejar, who records on the albums but has never toured with the band before, so it was really cool to have him there. He only hung out on stage during his songs, and always had a beer in his hand. A local beer, which fills me with pride.

Keyboardist Kathryn Calder who sings the "ooh ooh ooh" part on the song "Bleeding Heart Show." That's my favorite part of my favorite song, so I like her. Also, cute-girl keyboard player. By the way, if you don't know the band you might still be familiar with this song from University of Phoenix commercials. "Hey-la, HEY-la, hey-la, He-ey laaaa-la."

The great Neko Case. She can really belt out a tune.

Such a great show. I didn't want it to be over, but I couldn't have asked for anything more. New stuff sounded great, played all the old favorites, tons of energy, funny stage banter. Man. Five stars.

R2-D2 mailbox!

Conversation I had with a homeless guy while standing near the box:

"Can I have a cigarette? Don't smoke? Can I have a dollar? Maybe two dollars? Oh okay, thanks. Can I have a light? Oh right. R2-D2. That's pretty HAHAHAHA that's pretty good. When I saw Star Wars I thought. that. was. it. NO! Then Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. But but but then! *whoooosh* Naboo? I though, I mean, it was, and then Anakin [gestures as if chopping off arm] that was Anakin! He was just, Darth Vader! He was just little! Anakin. Okay thanks for the dollar take care."

I waited near the tour bus with a couple of other folks for the band to come out. I felt like a dipshit standing there, 27 years old and trying to get autographs, but I don't care. The New Pornographer's Twin Cinema is one of my favorite records of all time and I wanted to get my CD cover autographed (I wish I had the vinyl though). Got the autographs one by one and found the band to be friendly and personable. I mean, it's not like they're super famous or anything, but still. Becky from Lavender Diamond came by and saw what I was doing and went and fetched the remaining members of the band so I could get everyone's signature. That was really cool of her. Neko Case was last and she was pretty funny. Nice to meet her. I got a picture but I'm not gonna post it here.

So I felt like a geek standing there with a sharpie and a CD, but now I have a copy of Twin Cinema signed by the band and I'm so excited about that. I'm gonna get it framed. No I'm not. But I going to display it prominently.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate your indulgence.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

perhaps the muse has left me

I had a great idea last night for an Orson Welles themed blog entry. I was convinced that it would be hilarious! At least, hilarious to me, which is all that matters. Actually not all that matters. I want my readers to enjoy everything here too, but ultimately I'm the Decider (topical humor, get it?)

This morning when I went to work on it, eeehhh not so much. Maybe I had just forgotten everything I was going to write, or maybe it wasn't at all funny to begin with. We may never know.

My point is, blogging is hard sometimes.

Don't you agree, Orson?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Word Association Weekend

The movie Eastern Promises: Viggo Mortensen's johnson (johnson?) flopping around all over the place.

Greek Souvlaki #3: Still delicious.

Work at 7am on a Saturday: Sucks.

Spending the entire workday making ridiculous jokes about the movie The Prestige: hilaaaaarious.

Super Tecmo Bowl III: No longer the champ.

Hot n' Ready: hottest n' readiest I've ever had.

Monk's House of Jazz: might be cool but the lighting is too harsh and I was only there for five minutes and I don't like watching other people do karaoke unless I have also taken to the spirits, which I hadn't.

the band F*** the Informer: I knew that punk rock was alive and well when the singer tumbled off the stage during the second song. Later they got shut down by the bar's management. Sounds like a trainwreck, but it was awesome.

Freaky Dee's at 2am: delicious.

Little People (midgets): people too.

The guy at Freaky Dee's who was parading his little person friend around like a puppet: WEIRD! Don't call it Freaky Dee's for nothing.

Sundays: I hate them.

The novel I've been working on for almost two years: comin' along.

This morning: FREEZING!

Sleep: none.

Work: sucks.

Friday, September 21, 2007

mirror in the bathroom please talk free

So my idiot brother is on his way to Denver right now for school, taking the Wyoming route as described in this old blog entry.

I recommended stopping at Little America on the way, since it's the only piece of civilization for thousands of miles and also they have free ice cream and a stuffed penguin. I looked up the pictures from my brief time there and found this.

Greenest bathroom I ever did see. It occurred to me that I have a lot of pictures of interesting bathrooms, and that it would be a real shame to just keep them to myself.

This here is one of the creepiest bathrooms ever. It was an outlying building at a lonely truckstop on the way to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. My camera settings make it look very bright, but in fact it was dim and dank, with no lights in there at all. It was freezing and the *drip* *drip* *drip* of the faucet made me think I was going to be chainsawed to death any moment. Fun fact! Immediately after stepping out of this bathroom I took the picture that appears on my profile. It was a beautiful dusk out there on the range.

Cruise ship.

No tighty whities, McDonald's shakes, full rolls of toilet paper, or toothbrushes. I was getting ready to flush a clock radio but then I saw that sign. Good thing it's there.

This is my old prison toilet. The nice thing was that it was right there in the bedroom for added convenience.

From prison to the Ritz! I am living proof of the American dream. The Ritz is nothing like prison. Nothing at all. Unless you work for them. Even then, it's probably still better than prison.

"We got you a present!"
"It's toilet paper."

The urinals at McSorley's Old Ale House in NYC which I have mentioned before and will someday blog about. These are very old and featured in the top ten list over at (seriously).

I didn't take this picture, but I have seen it in real life.

Lastly, here's my bathroom. The outside part anyway. That guy in the reflection is me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

National Why Don't You Just Talk Normal Day

Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'm probably going to ruffle some (parrot) feathers with this post, but I think NTLPD is stupid.

You can only go so far with the "Yarrrrrs" and the "Arrrrrrghs." Kind of like "yo mama" jokes. Those things can get out of control pretty fast.

"Hey, do you know what time it is?"
"Yer mama knows what time it is."

I had to leave my old job because the Yo Mama jokes got out of hand.

That gives me an idea... I'm going to start making Yo Yo Ma jokes and see how far that takes me in the world.

"Yo Yo Ma is so talented, that when he plays the cello people stand and applaud!"

Needs some work.

Also I swear I just thought of that joke, but I'm sure someone else has thought of the same thing, somewhere.

Back to Pirates. Thing is, I love Old Timey things. I love sea shanties and old lanterns and rickety ships with ladies carved onto the bow and that made-for-tv adaptation of Moby Dick that came out a few years ago and all that. I looooooove Pirates of the Caribbean (the ride, not the movies so much) and I even went to the Pirate Museum in Key West and saw Blackbeard's dinner plate. So though I am an NTLPD hater, I'm clearly no pirate hater. I don't know what it is that gets my goat so much. Is it because I hate puns? Is it because I feel a propriety sense over all things pirate, and that because I was a pirate for Halloween at age six and perfected the pirate voice way back in the mid-'90s that I feel bitterness toward all these Johnny Come Lately Pirateers? Maybe I just don't think it's funny?

I think Pirates are on their way out anyway. Pirates were the new Ninjas, but I think by this time next year Zombies will be the new Pirates. Keep your eyes open. The signs are there.

After that, who knows?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Slings and Arrows of Outrageously Mis-Spent Fortune

Couldn't wait to get out of the office on Friday. Rough week, probably. I had no plans as I walked out that door, but luckily some adventuring happened with minimal effort on my part.

First up, dinner at the Navajo Hogan. I've never been there but I've driven past it time o' plenty. A lot of my friends rave about it, but I know that one time Lee found a grub in his food there so I was a bit hesitant.

Upon walking in the air was thick and heavy with the scent of deep frying. I got the cheese flatbread because I'm worried that my cholesterol might be too low.

It was plenty tasty. Afterward someone had the bright idea to go to the Nickelcade.

The skies overhead were tumultuous. Michelle "Ron" Hoon tried to get struck by lightning in the parking lot. I'm worried about her.

Nickelcade isn't quite as fun as I remember. It's been at least ten years since I've last been and I fully expected them to have the same games as last time. I was really hoping for TMNT and maybe Twilight Zone pinball, but it was not to be.

They did have Cruis'n World, a driving game I'm fond of (though I still prefer Cruis'n USA). I got bored after a while but since it was only ten cents a game I was determined to ride it out.

Are you ready for something wonderful?

The last race takes place in Miami. I won that race, and upon winning the magic happened.

A helicopter came and picked up my car with a giant magnet.

Then it put my car into the space shuttle.

It dropped my car off on the moon.

On the moon was a hot tub.

In the hot tub was a man, with two bikini ladies.

The man? President Bill Clinton.

The ladies? Paula Jones and Hillary Clinton.

Then the hot tub zoomed off into space.


I cashed in my ill-gotten tickets for the following spoils:

But what I really wanted was this.

After Nickelcade, how about some archery why not?

Chris bought a sweet bow on ebay and we went over to The Budd to test it out for the first time.

Coincidentally enough, the Budd's backyard was perfect because the stack of bricks (!?) and the errant battle axe (?!) made it reminiscent of Helm's Deep. If you're into that sort of thing.

Awwwwww, even lil' Gretel wants in on the archery action.

After archery some events transpired that now prevent me from claiming to be the Tecmo Bowl Champion of the Budd. I'm not willing to say that I "lost" the title per se, but it is definitely under dispute. Check back next week and I'm sure we will have a definitive answer.

s-s-s-Saturday night went to a wedding reception for a homeboy named Jed. He is the world's leading advocate for the Positive Energy Vibe Zone and also designed my very favorite t-shirt that I wear all the time.

In fact before the reception I was wearing that very t-shirt but Emily was dressed to the nines and looking good enough to stop a truck (like the one on the t-shirt, get it?????) so I went home and threw on a dress shirt and my blue velvet jacket which looks totally rad. Upon seeing this Chris, ever the wiseacre, cracked "Are you going to a velvet jacket convention?" Right then Andy walked in wearing his black velvet jacket so I guess the answer was yes.

The reception was in a barn so I guess it was casual anyway but whatever.

After some too long square dancing called by a fascist square-dance caller (I declined to participate) we got into a too long argument about who the modern day equivalent of Paul Simon would be. We never reached a conclusion.

Oh! A shout it to two of my favorite people, Tai and Kersten. I was surprised and delighted to see them at the reception after an absense of a few years. They said that they read the blog so, hey guys!

Outside under the watchful eye of this creepy faceless disgustingly-bearded limp bodied creature, I declared my intentions to throw down (provided I could arrange a dedicated driver).
Plans were quickly made, dropped off my car, and off we went to Hog Wallow, my favorite bar in the valley, although this is the second time I've been borked over by them.

Doorman, who no doubt answers to the name of Bro: "Just need to see your IDs guys. Also it's a $7 cover tonight. Also there's no waitress so you have to grab your drinks from the bar. Also the beer is out of bubbles. And the ladies room is out of service. And now the cover's $9, you waited too long."

So we bounced on out of there. After some discussion of where to go next, we settled on Zanzibar, a red-lit Jazz club sandwiched between a lingerie shop and a movie theater/pub. Zanzibar is a cool place, but the loud music makes talking difficult. Once Jed showed up we went over to Brewvies (play on words, that) so we could engage in conversation.

I said I wanted to throw down, and I threw down. I was already lit by the time we left Zanzibar, but at Brewvies I left the group and went to the bar and spent like an hour trying to order some beer and food. Win-win for everyone, as I'm sure by that point my conversational skills were... lacking. I ended up downing too liters of Guinness served by a girl named Mandolin. Also had some amazing artichoke dip that for all I know was actually terrible but it sure tasted good that night.

I made it home but was seeing quadruple, like a cartoon character after getting hit on the head. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to respond to an e-mail from Joy and sent this:

"omg am so spnny rfight now. no idea what has type. speed racer a minute ago i was like 'what i sth it s stpeed racer browsr I dunno" but now I am like joy has sent it " o geez I gota go a bed"

Here's a picture.

Does it sound like I'm glorifying alcohol abuse? HARDLY! For you see, Sunday I engaged in battle with the worst hangover anyone has ever had throughout history. I think you are allowed only so many hangover-free drinking experiences in your lifetime, and my credit limit is full. The spinning, the headache, the sick feeling. Awful! Really no way to live. No matter what I did, it wouldn't go away and lasted all day long. Really one of the worst feelings ever.

I guess that's it. I'll end with some applicable lyrics from the song "Take Me to the Riot" off of the new Stars album (which is amazing by the way).

Saturday nights in neon lights
Sundays in the cell
Pills enough to make me feel ill
Cash enough to make me well

If I knew how I'd post the song here.