Terse Verse O’erheard

August 31, 2011 by

“Yo, check out Vinny. He’s going

Out to get girls, I think. Look:

He’s even got his teeth

In.”

-South Philly gothic, August ’11

Terse Verse O’erheard

August 18, 2011 by

I. Woman

“I never think when I

Write

My songs. That’s how I wrote,

‘My enchanted kingdom,

My castle in the sea.’

It just came out.”

 

II. Man

“My imagination is crazy. I dreamt

My head was

Shaved.

My hat was

White.

I was in this room of

Mirrors.”

- subway passengers simulateously insulting the creative process and making compelling case for me to jump from moving train and seek refuge in the rain-slimed tunnels beneath the city. Aug ’11

Terse Verse O’erheard

August 17, 2011 by

“I once heard that if you

Cut a vegetable

While listening with a high-powered

Microphone

You can

Hear it

Screaming.”

- Pathmark butcher. Northeast Philly.

Straight Heat Encore: August 12th, 2011

August 12, 2011 by

Bill Withers…Use Me…BBC in Concert 1973…Mowgli in Heat 2011…I would kill a homeless person to be this awesome…It would have to be a gun though…knives are too personal…plus I wouldn’t want to get my hands dirty…that would be gross…

Straight Heat of the Day: August 12th, 2011

August 12, 2011 by

Little Feat…Spanish Moon Live…Rainbow Theater…London, 1977…Whiskey, Women, & Bad Cocaine…recipe for a night to be remembered…If you like Phish, you clearly never heard of Little Feat…good luck with all that.

Robert Palmer…Spanish Moon…hide your girlfriends…

Cerebral Reckoning: Lazy?

August 12, 2011 by

As a lazy, apathetic man, I seriously hope this isn’t the consequence of my inability to do anything.  I’d seriously hate to have a genocide hanging over my head.  It would be almost unbearable:

If, instead of decapitating his army, he [Stalin] had intellectually prepared it for war, Russia might have defeated Germany in a matter of weeks.  Such a course of action, while no doubt entailing grave consequences of its own, would have saved about 40 million lives, including the vast majority of the victims of the Holocaust.

(Martin Amis, Koba The Dread:  Laughter and the Twenty Million, 2002)

Cerebral Reckoning: A Call To Action

June 25, 2011 by

Sadly, just as true today as it was 55 years ago…so much for progress:

Young people of America, awake from your slumber of indolence and harken to the call of the future!  Do you realize that you are rapidly becoming a doomed generation?  Do you realize that the fate of the world and of generations to come rests on your shoulders?…Oh ignorant youth, the world is not a joyous place.  The time has come for you to dispense with the frivolous pleasures of childhood and get down to honest toil until you are sixty-five.  Then and only then can you relax and collect your social security and live happily until the time of your death.

Fearfully and disgustedly yours,
John J Righteous Hypocrite

(Hunter S. Thompson, The Athenaeum, 1955)

Ga…ga…gone!

June 23, 2011 by

Lady Gaga’s record sales continue to spiral downward into the abyss.

Weird.

People don’t want to buy records from a drag queen covering 30 year old Madonna songs?

(LINK)

Terse Verse O’erheard

May 18, 2011 by

“I used to have

Onetwothreefourfivesix

Pets but they

All

Got

Tooked.”

- wee neighbor’s unprefaced tale of woe relayed to me from his doorway as I passed on my way to work.  Like if Edward Gorey wrote dialogue for Ralph Wiggum.      S. Philly.

Terse Verse O’erheard

May 5, 2011 by

“My one daughter is 14. She’s a real

Picky eater. She only eats

Like lettuce and canned foods.

She always dresses

In hoochie dresses.

I’ll bring in some

Pictures.”

-coworker causing me to fear his approach forevermore, May 2011

Straight Heat of the Day: April 4th, 2011

April 4, 2011 by

Justin Townes Earle…Live on Letterman…bow tie’s generally not hip, but today, it is…

Finally…Fat Ho Burgers

March 31, 2011 by

Sloppy Ho’s are no longer just a clever (and generally descriptive) name…I’ve waited years to request a “Supa Fly Ho” in a public setting…Wish #1 down…may god have mercy on the universe if I get two more…

Emasculation Station

November 3, 2010 by

Republican House Leader, John Boehner, has a modern-day meltdown while discussing the huge gains his party made in the Congress yesterday.

Dude?  Seriously?  Weeping in public?  On televsion?  Brutal…have some self-respect.  His father needs to give him a good kick to the chops…

Vampyr (Carl Dreyer, 1932)

October 31, 2010 by

I’m going to end the  horror countdown with an eerie vintage black&white whisper rather than a slicked-up bloody slasher bang.  Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr is one of my favorite silent(ish)* films, at once both arcanely ancient and avant-garde, and I love giving in to its gauzy ominous spell this time of year.  Dreyer’s  images and shot compositions defy both the cinematic conventions of his time and ours, which lends a deeply unsettling characteristic to this early tale of vampiric drama.

In pursuit of his occult studies, young, wide-eyed Alan happens by a forlorn hamlet, steeped in death and mist.  Almost immediately upon arrival he’s approached by a hoary old man who in fear for his life and his daughters’ draws Alan into his confidence in hope that the young man will be their salvation, as nobody else seen thus far is to be trusted.  Seems that all the other villagers have been culled from a Goya painting, especially the country doctor who is cagily harboring a vial of poison and an ungodly arrangement of facial hair.  

Although this sounds like a solid plot set-up I don’t want to give the incorrect impression that this film is in any way substantially plotty.  Vampyr‘s immense strength is the sinister, oneiric atmosphere that arises from the accumulation of deeply striking images softly piling onto one another in a dread quietude.  As you watch Alan wander through this film its as if slipping into the hazy netherworld ‘twixt wakefulness and dream. 

*Vampyr is not technically a silent film, although that was Dreyer’s intention. However, dialogue is very limited, and so much of the development driven by text, that it pretty much is silent anyway.

May (Lucky McKee, 2002)

October 29, 2010 by

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Although May’s titular leading lady, played to chilling pitch-perfection by Angela Bettis, stands in the same pantheon as such deeply damaged cinematic girls as Carrie and Carol from Repulsion… the film is something altogether unique and engaging, a strange, unsettling concoction of tones and genres.  It starts out as an inky black comedy where we’re almost invited to laugh at Angela Bettis’ assortment of tics and issues both emotional and physical but as the movie edges into its gruesome final act (an ending long seen coming but still no less effective) the viewer’s assessment of May becomes a mélange of conflicting feelings…I’m not quite comfortable with the pity and sympathy I have for her, but they’re there all the same.  May is a girl who is too weird for the movie’s microcosm of society that ostensibly wallows in oddity and the macabre but understands the difference between appreciating it from a safe distance, and the horror being internalized.  Its heartbreaking to see May encouraged, embraced…”I LOVE weird!”, they all say… and then immediately turned out as a freak the moment that she thinks she’s finally made a profound connection.  But then again, they’re right.  May is scary as shit.

We’re first introduced to May as a child, alienated from the other kids because of her overbearing mother’s insistence on her wearing an eyepatch to cover up her lazy eye.  She is gifted with a friend, a creepy doll with sunken, forlorn eyes named Suzie, but forbidden to take Suzie out of her glass box.  “She’s special!” May’s mother insists.  May grows up to be quite the alluring beauty, obviously a kook at the onset and obsessed with people’s ‘pretty parts’ but keeps just enough of her thoughts and fancies and neuroses hidden within that she attracts attention both from a scruffy gent she falls for hard, and from her sexed-up lesbian co-worker (hilariously played by Anna Faris, whom I adore).  However, once it becomes apparent that May’s version of weird trumps theirs, she’s pushed away, and May’s fragile, tenuous grasp on sanity finally splinters like glass.  And then comes the final act, which I shan’t spoil.

The film is great fare for this countdown ticking to its conclusion, as the horrifying finale is set on Halloween night, but more importantly because it exists on the outside fringes of public cinematic consciousness (Poor Lucky McKee can’t really catch a break today).  It’s a highly enjoyable, blackly funny film but it leaves you with a dark sadness and sympathy for the poor demented girl who just wanted a friend, which is quite a feat.  Many horror films can scare you but not many can make you care.

The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)

October 28, 2010 by

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

The 2000s have produced only two movies that have scared me to the point of trauma: Verbinski’s The Ring which I saw opening night in theatres, and Neil Marshall’s The Descent which I saw last night, cowering behind pillows.  I woke up this morning, still scared…which makes for immediate grounds to enter it into the horror countdown.

A group of intrepid, thrill-seeking female friends reunite in the Appalachian mountains for a caving adventure and to support one of the women, Sarah, who lost her husband and young daughter in a car accident.  There’s much chatter amongst the women, a small subplot that hints at the late husband having an affair with one of Sarah’s friends but really, this doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that these women descend into a monstrously large and labyrinthine cave system that, as they will soon find out, is unmapped by man.  And they get lost, trapped.  And then the creatures appear. 

Frankly, this movie didn’t need a bunch of bloodthirsty, slimy pearlescent Gollums picking off the ladyflock to be scary; the frights that come along with their creeping entrance into the movie are your cheapest horror jumps ‘n bumps.  However, you’re gonna fall for them anyway because of the spell cast by the overwhelmingly smothering horror that the film carefully develops in the first hour.  Shrouded in blackness broken only by headlamps, the women wedge themselves through impossibly narrow cave tunnels as they wend their way through the system, only to find out after the harrowing collapse of their exit route that the ringleader of the group has led them into a cave system that is uncharted, ostensibly to give them the eventual glory of ‘discovering’ it for themselves.  As the weight of the true peril of the situation hangs heavily on them, panic rises up…both theirs and ours.  And then the cavethings show up to lead the proceedings more along the lines of your rote horror film formula.

This isn’t a perfect film, but it is un-be-liev-a-bly terrifying.  I’ve never, ever seen a movie so effectively manipulate everyone’s inherent, even dormant, claustrophobia so well.  Neil Marshall, I am duly impressed.  And traumatically scared.

The Hater Report #58

October 27, 2010 by

1)  Nothing like a heated election to bring out the best in people.  Watch as a grown man curb stomps a young girl’s melon.  It’s important to note that he is now demanding that SHE apologize to HIM.  Nice work America…nice work (see above video)

2)  Impending global extinction crisis hangs heavy over the Earth.  Number One most threatened American species on the list?  Common Sense:  (LINK)

3)  Charlie Sheen caught with a face full of blow and a bleeding hooker locked in his hotel closet.  What day is this?  Wednesday?  Oh, ok…sounds about right then:  (LINK)

4)  Katie Couric has been documenting her travels through the Midwest, or as she lovingly refers to it as, the “great unwashed middle of the country.”  Ouch!…biting remark by the so-called, Queen of Mean.  To be fair, while totally accurate, her comment  implies a conscious decision to be dirty on the part of the Red Staters when, in reality, their lack of cleanliness is out of their control.  They’re simply too fat to wash themselves.  Shorts arms and round bodies…terrible combo:  (LINK)

5)  The Family Research Council President has been getting wild recently.  Apparently emboldened by the rabid hate and anti-intellectualism that’s infected a depressing percentage of the American population, he is now claiming that gay teens commit suicide because they know they are “abnormal.”  It’s amazing the type of beliefs a man can rationalize in the name of God.  Amazing:  (LINK)

6)  A Republican candidate for Illinois state senate, Al Reynolds, silenced a crowd at a recent forum when he said that black men, “find it more lucrative to be able to do drugs or other avenues rather than do education.”  Nothing like an unfounded, ignorant, inflammatory, wide-sweeping, negative generalization to jump-start a floundering campaign!:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: October 27th, 2010

October 27, 2010 by

John Lee Hooker…Hobo Blues…Live in 1965…American Folk Blues Festival…this song makes me wish I was sitting by a camp fire, spinning yarns, drinking moonshine, and smoking a pipe…builds steam like  a train…

Cabin Fever (Eli Roth, 2002)

October 27, 2010 by

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.


I love Eli Roth.  I love his smug face, cheeky smirk, his arrogant wink.  And I love his debut feature Cabin Fever, which chronicles the eventual demise of a group of college kids camping in a cabin in the woods by an aggressive flesh-consuming virus.  I know in some circles admitting such is akin to sporting a John Wayne Gacy tee and bumping off some neighborhood pets, but I’m going to unabashedly carry on because I feel he is often unfairly maligned for his films, a handful of which are some of the most enjoyable and well-crafted horror flicks to come out of the 2000s, in my opinion.

Roth’s more (in)famous film, Hostel, has almost been entirely co-opted as a portent that society is rotting from voyeuristic bloodlust and the mere act of watching Hostel (never mind enjoying it!) implicates the viewer as complicit in the plot’s grotesque perversity.  Oof!  There have been films that I might personally condemn as being utterly soundlessly depraved but Roth’s films, especially Cabin Fever, are bursting with a deliberate trashiness, a stylish self-aware breezy sleaze that is both inspired by and is in homage to the energy of the grindhouse pictures upon which Roth feasted growing up and into his own as a filmmaker.  Sometimes a good, clean, funny, gory romp through the woods with some dumb co-eds getting picked off one by one by a flesh-eating disease is exactly what we need!  Especially when it’s so splendidly cinematic.  Eli Roth is a very fine director, with an eye for excellent angles, composition and editing.  I know it sounds odd to say, considering the nature of the film, but I don’t see any overarching and alarming sadism in Cabin Fever, there’s not that steely-edged hardness that makes your stomach curl like a strip of paper held up to a flame….rather, you’re churning with queasy delight when an infected girl decides that now would be a good time to shave her legs.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy Cabin Fever.  I think its loads of horrific fun.

Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

October 26, 2010 by

Leading up to Halloween I’ll be hashing out some of my favorite horror films ranging from shlocko B-horror to luminous, elegant & eerie Gothic masterpieces, mainly focusing on those that may not have such prominence in pop culture consciousness as, say, Halloween does. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

While it’s more a drama than a straight-up scary flick, Roeg’s supernaturally tinged tale of a married couple mourning the loss of their daughter encroaches quietly with such an ominous foreboding atmosphere  that the terrifying coup-de-grace of an ending just about does one in; it out-horrors most horror films in terms of mood and shock.  The setting is Venice- but not at all a Venice usually shown on film; it is a deserted, shuttered city on the brink of winter, shrouded in grisaille, silent but for the lapping of water on the cold, ancient stone.  The parents, played with dignity by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, relocate for a restoration project to Venice after the drowning death of their daughter, Christine.  In their new setting water is pervasive, always there to reflect the glimmers of associative memories of the young girl slipping beneath the surface of their homestead pond in her carmine red slicker.  One day, the specter that hangs over the grieving couple materializes into tangible form in the eyes of a blind clairvoyant and her sister, who share a vision of a laughing girl in red with the wife.  She finds excitement, happiness in this sight, and feels alive and at peace after many months of a gnawing dull emptiness.  Rational Sutherland greets it first with a heavy-hearted skepticism but then with suspicion as his wife takes to spending more time with the women, and thus the film winds forward as he feels a mounting unease which he cannot understand, unease about his safety, the clairvoyant women, and the constant flashes of a figure in a carmine raincoat he sees just out of the corner of his eye.

Nicolas Roeg was a cinematographer before he began directing films, and his images and editing show an impressive personal style that for another narrative would be somewhat heavy, but fits this story perfectly, poignantly.  It’s quite a feat of filmmaking, and will fill you with dread and horror like the best of ‘em.

Terse Verse O’erheard

October 26, 2010 by

“No

Problembo.”

-coworker denies existence of problem, convinces no one.   Oct. ’10

Terse Verse O’erheard

October 25, 2010 by

“So on my Facebook page

He’s all like,

‘Don’t let your mouth

Write a check that your

Fists can’t cash.'”

-subway rider providing the latest developments, Oct. ’10

The Hater Report #57

October 22, 2010 by

1)  A Texas Republican congressional candidate says that he will consider a violent overthrow of the government if he’s not elected.  Fortunately, he’s from Texas so all of his fellow constituents are too fat to get off the couch, let alone put in the effort needed to launch a coup:  (LINK)

2)  Italian trash crisis gets out of control.  Citizens enraged!  The world acts stunned, although I can’t figure out why… do you really expect to have a government run like a well-oiled machine when the country’s  men live with their mothers until the age of 40?:  (LINK)

3)  America is facing an impending diabetes epidemic.  According to a recent study, the number of diabetic fatties could triple by 2050.  Nutritionists are up in arms, but I say let it be.  By 2050, those of us who are still skinny will be considered super human.  Our ability to get around without the help of a scooter will render us the top of the food chain:  (LINK)

4)  Christine O’Donnell can’t name a single Democratic Senator.  Not one.  Nobody.  Just a note – both of her state’s Senators are Democrats.  Do you we really have to continue to pretend that this woman is a legitimate human being?:  (LINK)

Straight Heat of the Day: October 22nd, 2010

October 22, 2010 by

Keller Williams…Thirsty in the Rain…Live at The Oregon Country Fair…7/9/99…cover of a Peter Rowan classic…an unbelievable amount of sound coming from one guitar…beastly twist on a bluegrass masterpiece…

Note to all the performers out there:  Children dancing as your backdrop = instant & overwhelming positive vibes…free cool breeze.


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