A sub-division of oldpunks.com

Monday, October 31, 2005

Review: Iggy & The Stooges Live In Detroit DVD

Brought to you by Boy Howdy and Creem Magazine (!), this packed DVD is a treasure trove for fans of Iggy and The Stooges as a document of their reunion tour of 2003, featuring Mike Watt of Minutemen fame on bass in place of deceased Stooge Dave Alexander.

The Stooges were the best and most punk of the proto-punk bands, The Doors on a real death ride led by the world's forgotten boy, James Newell Osterberg. Barely eclipsed in numbnuttery by fellow Detroiters The MC5, they managed to release three incendiary studio albums from 69-73. Bowie gets the blame for the demise of the Stooges with his thin production of Raw Power, but it's not that bad. Their original run was short, sweet and ran its natural course.

Iggy and the Stooges - Live in Detroit contains two complete concerts: as a full band and with Iggy, Ron and Scott Ashton performing in a NYC record store. For drums Scott bangs plastic buckets and cardboard boxes. Both the plugged and unplugged shows are winners. Why they completely avoid Raw Power is beyond me.

The in-store show was filmed with a single, static camera and the sound is either mono or low-tech stereo. It works. The big show has multiple cameras and full stereo sound. The show wasn't lit for filming but it's good enough. The sound sincs perfectly and the camera catches everything it needs to. No muss, no fuss, no puss. It's a great show taped well.

By 2003 Ron Asheton aged and rotunded into Comic Book Guy. Scott Asheton looks like a behemoth zombie and Iggy is, of course, The Mummy.

Madonna Uses The Word PUNK In A Sentence

From Drudge, "It's actually very punk-rock to not watch TV".

These truly are the End Times.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Review: Peter & The Test Tube Babies - Loud Blaring Punk Rock

Peter& walked (and still do probably) the line between Oi and 2nd Wave British Street punk in the early 80s. Their niche was twisted humor, "Transvestite" their most popular laff/cringe-along. "Maniac" was the big hit on their other side, the one like the Anti-Nowhere League, who could be funny too but in a mock-nihilist vein. Peter& don't fit the common conception of Oi, but then again so don't Cocksparrer in a world that sees Oi only as a National Front stereotype. New Oi obliterated old Oi, revealing it for what it really is - pub punk for yobs. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Loud Blaring Punk Rock came out in 1994, a no-man's land in the career in any old punk band. I was going to be more harsh in my review until I came across this, where the circumstances of the recordings are explained. "So, we hit upon the idea of recording an album using their songs and some of our really old songs that were so bad we'd never had the front to record them before, stuff like 'I Lust For The Disgusting Things In Life' which lets face it, is awful."

Loud Blaring Punk Rock isn't bad - it's just doesn't stand out. It does everything right by genre standards but every song begins, middles and ends with no reason to give it much thought or a second listen. You only need to hear 15 seconds of anything to get it. There's a bit of The Exploited added and the tasteless level is high without the redeeming value of cleverness. "Pick Yer Nose (and eat it)" is about picking your nose and eating it, and the cavalier tastelessness of "Breast Cancer" might even offend Tesco Vee, who himself took it too far with "Crippled Children Suck". If anyone disagrees with me, come back if your own child becomes crippled and we'll share some yucks.

The only hits package with "Transvestite", "Maniac" and the live "Elvis Is Dead" is this one, the only one you should own, and also one you should own because it's a freakin' treasure trove.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Review: Gang Of Four - Peel Sessions

I find it odd that Gang Of Four's latest cd has them re-recording old hits faithfully to the originals. It may be good but I have the Peel Sessions so 15 bucks stay in ye 'ol vault. Compiled from three John Peel radio sessions, the sound is of course perfect. It slows down as it goes along, with the best material loaded up front.

Gang Of Four released Entertainment! in 1979 and by many accounts, including mine, it's one of the most influential records on modern music. It combines asexual funk rhythms, slashing guitars, disaffected vocals and cartoonishly strident Marxist polemics that have aged as well as Ward Churchill. Gang Of Four are either pushing or pushing back 50, so I wonder if anyone's asking them if they see the irony in their lyric "Repackaged sex keeps your interest". You know, as in selling old records seems a bit bourgeois.

Over its 11 tracks the Peel sessions start with songs from Entertainment! and moves to slower material (and material played slower) from Solid Gold, an over-rated record if there ever was one. The slower work has its charms but faster is always better and I don't want to keep reminding myself I'm not listening to Throbbing Gristle or Can on barbiturates.

One more thing: "I Love A Man In Uniform" was Gang Of Four's Village People moment.

Even one more thing: Allmusic.com claims GOF influenced Naked Raygun. No, Frigging, Way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

NY Dolls Movie Reviewed In The Onion

Read it here.

Review: Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin - The Untold Story

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane descended into a hate-spiral that's ruined his show. Whatever charm there was in the old series has been replaced with hostility and nastiness. Only 1/3 of the new season is worth seeing, and only 1/3 of this (string of three episodes) film is worth watching. I read raves about the new product, along with sorrowful laments from old fans. I can say with great surety that, if you love this film and most of the new episodes, you're either a child or a scumbag.

Something similar happened to John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren & Stimpy. On disc 3 of the DVD for seasons 1 & 2 there's "Out West", a non-stop mockery of Southerners with no jokes. The cartoon opens with one redneck saying "We're ignorant" and the other saying "And proud of it." It ends with one singing "I'm ignorant", the other "And I'm ugly", and then Stimpy chimes in "That you are boys." In the Family Guy movie there's a flashback to Condoleezza Rice in college. She's depicted as a crack whore screaming in a dorm room. No jokes, no nuthin' but depicting her as a skank. MacFarlane is very bitter about the show being jerked around and then cancelled by Fox the first time around. He can't get over it so instead of the old show that won over its following he now craps himself and throws it around the room.

Alex Borstein (Lois) wrote the middle episode and thankfully gave it some heart and soul. The first and last chapters are just crap, the third featuring a wife for grown-up Chris who curses non-stop. That would be hysterical if I was 12. Jeez. The payoff on "Like the time I..." setups have also diminished in direct proportion to the increase of their frequency. It's only funny now when they break up the pattern of obvious setups and punchlines.

The only good bits in the film are: calling Quagmire "Captain Syphilis", Peter advising his daughter "Shave a man's back and he'll purr like a walrus" and re: the Book The Joy Of Sex, "Evidently the razor wasn't invented till the late 80s". That's all folks. Nothing to see here. Move along now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dr. John Explains Things To Us Mere Mortals

Dr. John responds to my bitching about how bad bands sound in concert by talking down to me with his five dollar words and store bought shoes:

Live concerts DO sound worse than they did in the past. There are a couple of reasons I know:

1 - the guys working the sound board are listening with headphones and staring at real time computer sound graphs. They should take off the damn headphones and hear what the audience is hearing. And stop staring at the computers - the human ear is a way better assessment of pleasing sound than any computer printout.

2 - the concerts are WAY too loud. I come from the ear of LOUD concerts. But the sound was always limited by feedback. Now they have computerized "feedback destroyers" that immediately sense feedback and clip the frequency at which it is occurring, so the concerts can be much louder. If you don't wear earplugs (Hearos high fidelity are the best - $20) your ears quickly lose the ability to hear properly and that ruins the concert for you.

3. Subwoofers and the invention of the five string bass. A four string bass, the lowest note is an E at 40 Hz. A five string the lowest note is a B at 34 Hz. and some bands detune (tune their instruments lower to where the open B string is in the infrasound range - below the level of human hearing ) - but you can feel it. This produces what I call the "ghetto car boom box effect" - where you hear each bass note as a thud, not a musical sound. This combined with too many overpowered subwoofers turns the music into sludge.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hang With Ryan Cabrera

At a store in the mall there was a sign that read "Hang With Ryan Cabrera". Why, here he is now! I have NO IDEA who Ryan Cabrera is but someone's running a contest where the grand prize is hanging with him. I have only the slightest grasp of popular culture now and my knowledge of new punk bands is fairly dismal too, so I've resigned myself to the fact I'm hopelessly (and happily) out of the loop.

My first thought was about if I won that contest. I'd say, "So, Ryan, it's nice to meet you. I understand you're a popular young singer. Gosh that must be great for you." Then I'd stare into space for a moment and say "Nice to have met you. Gotta go." Sure that's dull, but wouldn't that be better for everyone than a screaming 15 year old who won't stop crying?

Punk is littered with stories of people whose lives changed upon hearing that special punk band. Ryan went the other way:

Ryan Cabrera never planned on a career in music. His hobby turned into a passion after hearing Dave Matthews, causing him to turn his back on the noisy punk rock of his high-school band, Caine, and pick up an acoustic guitar for the newly minted Rubic's Groove.

Dave Matthews was Ryan Cabrera's Ramones, Sex Pistols and/or Clash. Somebody's spinning in their grave right now - I'm just not sure who.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Movie Punks

A punk and a skin gripe over movie minutia for 256 panels and counting.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Review: The Waitresses - Best Of

The Best Of The Waitresses is a nice little record. Best known for "I Know What Boys Like", The Waitresses was the brainchild of Chris Butler, who recruited Patty Donahue as lead singer once he secured a recording contract (Donahue died in 1996 at the age of 40 from lung cancer). They're more an interesting band than a great one, a part of the early 80s new wave sub-genre of hyper-nerd impulses, eccentric fashions and light frivolity which might have begun with the B-52's and ended with Cyndi Lauper.

A lengthy band history is here. You can't mention The Waitresses without thinking of Su Tissue of The Suburban Lawns. Both band's singers were nerdy, skinny eccentric art-types you suspected were both geniuses and totally nuts. Let's throw in Human Sexual Response, Holly Beth Vincent and Toni Basil for yuks. Donahue's voice was distinctive for its flexibility and comic abilities, often comparable to the B-52's.

The Waitresses were a large band with horns who switched styles to fit the bill. Their sound mostly adheres to the white funk of Tina Weymouth's Tom Tom Club, but they tackle ska beautifully on "No Guilt", keep up with the B-52's on "Jimmy Tomorrow" and sprinkle in what I can only describe as cabaret new wave. Cabaret new wave will never come back in style. It's Huey Lewis and The News being goofy.

This 15 track collection could stand to lose one or two but it's a fun record that holds a few surprises, especially "No Guilt", "Bruiseology" (like Romeo Void) and the perennial "Christmas Wrapping".

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Green Day's Spinal Tap Moment

At my gym this morning (L.A. Crapness) I was treated to a recent live version of Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends". Billy Bob Joe Clem Skeeter Armweak dedicated it to the victims of hurricane Katrina. Tears welled up in my eyes. Not because of the song but from the hairy, smelly guy next to me.

All of a sudden, Billy Chester Buford screams "New England!" and the barely teen crowd cheers. God, why didn't he yell "Northeast United States Six State Region!". I immediately flashed to Spinal Tap's David St. Stubbins' line "We are Spinal Tap from the UK - you must be the USA!"

I also thought "Hello, Cleveland!", the crown jewel of touring band inanity. Then I hit the can and missed the part where the guy in the bunny suit comes out and everyone dances to "YMCA" (true story)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Onion On The Feelies

From The Onion's latest edition. I agree AND concur:

Underrated defunct band: The Feelies

Why? The Feelies emerged from the late-'70s New York/New Jersey underground-rock scene and lasted until the early-'90s implosion of college rock, and in its day, the band was respected enough to rank in the upper half of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Albums Of The '80s" (for its tribal, trance-y debut album Crazy Rhythms) and to score an appearance as the house band in Jonathan Demme's movie Something Wild. The Feelies' jangly, moody sound was a major influence on Yo La Tengo and R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck (who produced The Feelies' best record, 1985's supple The Good Earth). And yet today, The Feelies barely get mentioned when people trace the alt-rock timeline, and all four of the band's albums are out of print.

The evidence: Those hard-to-find LPs are worth paying eBay prices for—even the all-but-ignored, band-killing final album Time For A Witness. For a quicker dose of The Feelies, download the trailer for Noah Baumbach's The Squid And The Whale, which prominently features The Good Earth's "Let's Go" in the middle. Better yet, see the movie, where the song is used to symbolize how much cooler Anna Paquin is than the hero's Bryan Adams-loving girlfriend.

Review: David Bowie - Outside

1995's Outside is an odd disc that reminds me of The Resident's last cd, Animal Lover, a bit in sound but also in that they're both decent records in need of trimming and reorganization. Too long and not very coherent, Bowie and 70's collaborator Brian Eno combine their Berlin work, Peter Gabriel's world music, and ambient/techno beats to create a nice sound that, if cut and pasted correctly, would be a highlight of his catalog. The piano work comes right out of the Aladdin Sane period.

Outside tells a story but then again it doesn't. Five spoken segments break up the cd and after the first listen they just fill space. They would work better in shorter form and lesser quantity. Towards the end there's a pile-up of techno tunes that could stand to lose a track or two.

On the plus side, "Outside", "The Heart's Filthy Lesson", "Hallo Spaceboy", "I Have Not Been To Oxford Town", "No Control", "The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction", "We Prick You" and "Strangers When We Meet" are good to great, and if Bowie wants to revisit this recording he could use these as stock to help make Outside an all-around winner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More On Mao

Mousey Tongue - Butcher of Beijing and favorite tattoo on Mike Tyson's homeless shoulder. Here's a review of a book on the man who made both Hitler and Joey Stalin look like amateurs in crimes against humanity.

Click here To Read

Monday, October 17, 2005

Concert Review: Bob Mould, the El Ray, Los Angeles, CA 10/15/2005

I'm the same age as Bob Mould, singer and guitarist for my favorite band for a decade, so when he walked by on his way back from a bad Baja Fresh dinner I just smiled. He, friendly as can be, stopped, and I thanked him for being in Husker Du. If I was 18 I'd probably just gawk and mumble "Hommina Hommina Hommina".

The El Ray is a bit seedy but it looks nice if you can't see well. This was the end of Bob's tour to promote Body Of Song, an excellent cd that sounds less electronic the more you listen to it. Shiny Toy Guns opened and they alternated between electronic dance music and the post-emo stadium rock I hear in my gym between slow jam hip hops. The female singer looks like Buffy and the hairy drummer like Animal from The Muppets. They're obviously a Big Thing band and if they make it, well, good for them. I went outside during their set and stared at Wilshire Blvd. Up the street, H.I.M. was playing, and their fans were young, dumb and lumpy. Here at the Bob show there were two groups: skinny kids to see Shiny Toy Guns and middle age fuggs like me here to see a an old hero only to look around and realize, hey, we're our parents now!

Bob and band came to pun crock, so "I Am Vision, I Am Sound" was rendered like "New Day Rising". The show opened with a few Sugar tracks, veered into Body Of Song, went back to Sugar and then ended with an emphasis on Husker Du classics, starting with "I Apologize", "Chartered Trips" (I laughed/sobbed with joy on this one) and "Celebrated Summer".

The band was great but the sound was lacking, which is how it is for me at most large shows. Either the sound check is designed to only sound good at the control board or it's just a given that most live shows sound like crap. Bands should tour with their own PA system and sound board. Volume should be secondary to a good sound. Like in martial arts, you work first on speed and accuracy, and then power.

This was my first show in maybe two years. I don't like concerts anymore. The thought of standing in a crowd of smelly, inconsiderate loudmouths doesn't have the appeal it once did.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Survey Says

I get e-mails from students writing class reports. They sometimes want me to answer very long and detailed questions, in essence writing their reports for them. Sometimes it's a survey like this one, which I completed and added to. It, like most punk academia, is based on the false assumption punk was and is a political movement steeped in Marxism. Note the opening kiss-ass line to flatter my fragile ego and make me cooperate. If you want to send Rob your own completed survey, he's at robfromtheband@hotmail.co.uk:

Hi I'm am currently studying media at A-level, your website has offered me some valuable information on the history of punk, could you fill in this internet question and send it back to me. Thanks in advance... Rob

Questionnaire: The Punk Movement

This questionnaire has been adapted for use on the PC. To chose an answer place a capital X within the square brackets. [X]

1) What is your sex? (Male) [x] But on the internet I'm a hot blonde teenage girl into sports and Japanese animation

2) Of Which decade where you born? The 19 – (60’s) [x] I was a youthful baby

3) Where you born in our outside London? (Outside) [x] Way outside, Brooklyn, NY

4) What class do you consider yourself to be? (Working class) [x] Worker Drone Level Two, State Smasher Level B-46

5) What is your favourite genre of music? (Punk Rock) [x] and the white noise my fan makes that helps me sleep

6) Have you ever heard of The Punk movement?(Yes) [x] I've even had a number of punk bowel movements

7) Of which region to you think the British punk movement originated? The Groin [x]

8) How much do you think the punk movement originated from class differences? (1) Being the lowest and (5) the highest.(1) [x] The Marxist view of punk history is a laugh but it does help smash authority by making people really dumb and angry

9) Do you think the Punk movement is as strong today as it was around the 1970’s?(Yes) [x] In both body odor and dead lift strength

10) How much do you think punk was copied or was a trend? (1) Being the lowest and (5) the highest. (5) [x] Especially by those bastard Amish!

11) How strong an effect did you think the punk movement had on the youth of the 1970’s? (Some Effect) [x] In the UK it replaced god and porn. In the US it affected nobody.

12) Do you think punk was controversial and was it on purpose?Controversial (Yes) [x] So was jerking off on the bus. Purposefully (Yes) [x] I did jerk off on purpose, but officer, what's your point?

13) Do you think the Punk movement had any opposition to the political opinions and laws of the government of the day?(Yes) [] (No) [] Pretentious, loaded question [x]

14) Do you think 1970’s punk bands tried to influence the political views of youth of the day?(Yes) [x] The political ones did. The others cared only about pudding

15) Can you as an individual relate to punk music, lyrics and fashion?(No) [x] Most punks are idiots who dress like morons. I like some of the music though.

16) What is your favourite punk band/ can you name a punk band Leatherface, and I'd like to name a lo-fi band Ped-Xing (as in Pedestrian Crossing). In the US that's clever.

17) Do you consider yourself to be a punk or uphold its ideologies? (No) [x] Why would anyone want to call themselves Punk? Do rednecks call themselves "Country"? Do classical music fans call themselves "Classical"?

18) What is your description of punk ideology (Beliefs)? Pretentious and often violent fantasies held my rich children and mentally defective adults.

19) How much importance/relevance do you think the punk movement gave each of these elements? (1) Being the lowest and (5) the highest.(Politics) (3) [x] Whatever side punks are on are usually the most destructive and least effective (Music) (3) [x] Everything's punk if you say it is. (Fashion) (3) [x] Right up there with Lumberjacks and cross-dressers

20) How much do you think The Punk movement changed the world for future generation? (1) Being the lowest and (5) the highest. (3) [x] Without punk the world would like totally suck.

21) In what area do you consider the movement to have changed things the most? (Politics) [] punk hasn't changed politics at all. It's just another front of the same idiocy. (Fashion) [](Music) [x] Now even babies have lines of punk fashions

22) State three words you most associate to the punk movement? 1) - Attitude 2) - Childhood 3) - Trend

23) Of which description do you most associate punk?(Loud, fast and aggressive music paired with unique fashion.) [x] There's also a cute dance you can do to it.(A direct assault on the government of 1970’s Britain) [] Ah yeas, and how effective it was!(A method of alienation from society, dramatising the modern crisis) [] What Gnome Crapsky textbook did this come from?

24) What do you think is the most likely reason for punk’s existence? (Type Here) - The Ramones

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Obvious 101

I guess everyone has to be told everything at least once in their lives so they can't say they never knew, but isn't this a bit too obvious?

Exercise can trim deep abdominal fat


It's about Poop and France. What else do you need to know?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


There's genres of music where there's no such thing as understandable lyrics. I don't listen to any of them, but I'm ok with songs I can only partly understand. I sing along with hundreds of songs even though it's often only phonetically. Lyrics are hugely overrated but there are rare exceptions for me. Husker Du's Zen Arcade comes to mind.

On his blog, Tesco Suicide posted a picture of Darby Crash of the Germs overlayed with song lyrics. There's even a link to an MP3. Darby's the American Sid Vicious and there's a documentary coming out that'll send his Q Score soaring! Without the lyrics all I can decipher is a word or two here and there, and Darby sings in a wah-ooo wah-ooo style that reminds me of the Kipper Kids in The Forbidden Zone. So I laugh.

The Germs Anthology is ok but the live album blows. There's probably more to "the story" of The Germs than there is in the music. Just like GG Allin.

Tesco Suicide, by the by, focuses like a laser on the three Ps: Punk, Porn and Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Review: The Libertines - Up The Bracket and The Libertines

I nice fellow from the UK e-mailed to recommend The Libertines since I'm a follower of sorts of the new retro-new wave bands. Check out this band history. Seems this Pete Dogerty character is a real fugg-up.

I listened to Up The Bracket and The Libertines and they left me cold. I tried working out to them and I kept having to remind myself to pay attention. It was as interesting to me as background noise. Allmusic says they're influenced by The Clash, The Kinks, The Jam, The Smiths and The Cure. I NEVER would have picked any of these bands, especially The Clash.

The faster (and better) songs were either like The Strokes (a band credited with NYC influences that don't exist) or Iggy's "Lust For Life". The slower tunes I think are trying to be blues rock or something. Their ventures into quiet all fail and the vocal harmonies are horrible. There's a scene in This Is Spinal Tap where the band visits the grave of Elvis Presley and they can't harmonize on "Heartbreak Hotel". The Libertines suffer a similar fate.

I'm not going to say this sucks because they have a following and are reviewed well elsewhere. I take that to mean it just has no appeal to me. I can say with conviction that The Libertines are not a a great retro-anything band. In this style I highly recommend Stiffs, Inc.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Review: The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic

While I recognize the talent and cleverness that went into making Mass Romantic I also have no reason to listen to it again. I'd recommend it to someone I think might like it, but that's not me. It's five times as cute as it is clever, and it's seemingly made by people who only claim their love of The Archies is Ironic, and who can both differentiate between Belle & Sebastian songs and stay awake in the process.

The cd opens well enough with "Mass Romantic", even with it's "Feelin' Groovy" fa la la's. Someone wrote that "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" sounded like Bowie. Maybe Stanley Bowie, but not David. It's a glam meets Beatles number, and "Jean Genie" only fits half the bill. The songs aren't bad - it just seems it would appeal to people who think 90s bands were a lot better than 80s and 70s bands.

In this category I much prefer The Anniversary's Designing A Nervous Breakdown. Maybe to New Pornographers fans they're in no way alike but I know better because I write a blog. And I delete dissenting comments. (moo-ha-ha)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Che Sucks, Part XI

Ten che guevara myths shot to shite. Why people idolize mass murderers is beyond me.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Review: The English Beat - In Concert At The Royal Festival Hall

I'm sad to report this 20-song live set is a minor disappointment. While perfectly rendered it's somehow dull and slightly off-kilter. The English Beat are out of this world fantastic but this thing does little more than exist.

English Beat - In Concert at the Royal Festival Hall was taped on February 7, 2003 and everyone's old. Dave Wakeling looks like Burt Ward playing with the Beach Boys. Ranking Roger is thin but healthy, his energy level AARP-tastic! Saxa's still on sax, which is great for him but find me three people who thinks he's still collecting social security.

It's hard to tell there's even an audience. You can see them out there somewhere, but while people are dancing thirty yards away you also get the sense many are waiting for the main act, Quiet Riot, to come on already. Roger's constantly provoking them to get involved but the audience isn't miked so it appears he's being ignored.

This would have worked better in a hot, packed small club on a tiny stage -- like the olde days. There's nothing wrong with the band. It's the venue. This is the same problem with Devo - Live.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Review: The Nomi Song DVD

When I saw this documentary on the shelf I literally thought "Now they can make one about Jim Skafish!" Seriously, Jim was the Klaus Nomi of Chicago. He couldn't sing soprano falsetto but they both put on a campy and self-limiting theatrical stage show, and, my god, that nose must have come from Mars too!

The Nomi Song passes the 90-minute test and in doing so elevates the status of Nomi's career from minor cultural event to minor cultural event with grander implications. 90 minutes is a feature length film's normal running time and not all subjects yield 90 minutes of viable content. The Nomi Song moves along nicely, and it helps that Klaus (born Klaus Sperber in Germany) and friends obsessively taped shows, rehearsals and behind-the-scenes numbnuttery like their idol Andy Warhol.

Nomi is known for three things: his appearance with Bowie on SNL in 1979, performing "Total Eclipse" in Urgh! A Music War in 1981 and dying from AIDS in 1983. He was a talented performer but stuck in his iconic persona and a stage act that came from and was stuck in the genre swamp of verboten vaudeville (see 1972's Cabaret and the unsung godfather of punk, Joel Grey, for more).

The Nomi character was great but offered the longevity of a sketch. Near the end he sings a beautiful aria like Maria Callas with a massive orchestra behind him, and only then does a lasting career present itself. IF he had lived long enough and maybe IF he could stop being an otherworldly character so unapproachable people were only half joking when they wondered if he really was from outer space.

The Nomi Song, as expected, tells a rise and fall story. Klaus was a minor act so the impact was limited. It's still a good story. Thankfully the film doesn't pretend Klaus Nomi was bigger than he really was. Klaus had a real (though constricted and eccentric) talent. He's presented as very sweet and determined so it's sad he died alone, or so the film implies.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Review: Night Of The Living Dead With Mike Nelson Commentary

Sorry to say, but this DVD, the 473rd edition of Night Of The Living Dead to hit the market, isn't worth the money. Maybe it is for the restored film and enhanced sound, but the commentary is weak. I enjoyed this one much better with its informative commentary by director George Romero and cast. Mystery Science Theater 3000 host Mike Nelson talks over this new color version and while he is clever, intellectual and a swell guy, he's grasping for things to say and what he does say is at best mildly whimsical.

There's a certain War Of The Worlds feel, as a solid hour deals with little besides radio and television news coverage of the unfolding horror. The tension in this is much higher, and the horror gore pretty rough for 1968. In the early to mid 70s Night Of The Living Dead would play on television in New York and I remember being around 12 or so, flipping back and forth between the movie and professional wrestling, both of which made me run around and scream scared poopless and excited beyond all measure. Even then I couldn't believe they were showing it on tv.

Contrary to the claim on the box this isn't the first colorized version, a process they might as well call Pastel-A-Vision. The B&W version is of course better but a lot of people won't watch B&W just like they prefer full screen over wide screen. I'm so superior to anyone who likes colorized full screen versions of films.