Friday, June 17th, 2011
56

Comic Hero Fanboys Make Terrible Comic Hero Movies

Once a refuge for the maladjusted and the childish—and a cool dip in the pop art pool for the rest of our tired masses trudging through another summer—the comic book movie has shed its pulp trappings. It now strives for middlebrow respectability as a box office tactic. The new pitch is: After a hard day of tooling around in your Prius listening to "This American Life," why not come to the theater and spend some time with your pal Iron Man (played by Less Than Zero star Robert Downey Jr., so don’t forget to get a head start on your 80s party!) instead of curling up in front of the [...]

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29

The Mechanic's Gay Panic

You’d be forgiven for thinking it the height of silliness to try and tease out some deep cultural truth from the contemporary action movie—an art form in which Sly Stallone mentioning that some kind of vague bad political and/or drug stuff sometimes goes on south of the border passes for trenchant political commentary. But then you may not be a fan of the action movies of one Jason Statham and you may not have had his most recent punch-fest, The Mechanic—an otherwise well paced, competently shot affair, with no wince-inducing dialogue and with plenty of stoic Statham ass-kicking—marred by the fact that the only gay character in the movie [...]

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16

Of Montreal, On Tour: Darkness Falls Across the Land

Of Montreal is wending its way up the seaboard, to Philly and Boston and New York this weekend-and yes, the exquisite Janelle Monae is opening, so get there on time. The band is doing a looparound of Michigan and Wisconsin and Chicago and Minneapolis, until they pop off to Dublin and Glasgow and London and Paris and the rest of Europe next month. In late October and early November, they'll finish America off and arrive on the west coast. Herewith, an early report.

After years working in the milieu of the indie band switching off instruments for songs and parts of songs in order to make that infinitesimally [...]

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21

The Problem of Conveying Punk Rock in Washington, DC

In the 90s music history We Never Learn, Eric Davidson (of the late scuzz-thrash combo New Bomb Turks) makes the case for what he calls "gunk punk." The term is as tossed-off and derelict as it sounds. A group of punk drifters from the late-80s took a heady mélange of horror comics and sci-fi b-movies, a fuck-all approach to recording, Cramps-worship (or -hate), Russ Meyer and Bettie Page, the Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs classic "Woolly Bully," and mixed them into an amphetamine and beer gumbo under the tutelage of figureheads like Billy Childish and Tim Warren. (The latter's "Back From The Grave" compilations-a Nuggets for forgotten [...]

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79

In Praise of 'Batman Forever'

The first time I heard Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was on the soundtrack for Joel Schumacher's 1995 Warner Brothers superhero blockbuster and subsequent cultural whipping-boy Batman Forever. Ol' Nick the Stripper has famously donned the hair shirt for his involvement in the album, calling it a cynical cash-grab. I think that's pretty stupid, given that the song he contributed to the record encapsulates, in just a few minutes, all the things I think are important about Batman. This is far better than director Christopher Nolan would later do with six whole hours.

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77

Sex Offender Week: Feminism for Young Dudes

This week, we'll be running an essay a day about the state of being men and women. Welcome to Sex Offender Week-it's just like Shark Week, but without sharks and with angry blog comments!

Hey man. Got a question for you. Have you ever, as a red-blooded hetero dude, had sex before? Yeah? Pretty boss, right?! Well, you should hug a feminist! If you happen to be dating one, this should be pretty easy. (Unless you've been a dumbass to her recently; and hey, we've all been there.)   Now, if you're thinking, feminist? Hey fuck that noise, I ain't huggin' any hairy-legged broad for nothing, my main [...]

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29

Drink Only When Drunken To: The Indie Totems, Mission of Burma

I have this problem with not wearing earplugs at shows. I can't get a bead on exactly what it is; some long-held childishness about needing to "authentically experience the music," which is probably just a cover for not wanting to look like "that guy" ("that guy who wears earplugs"?), or maybe just a willful and teenage-defiant attitude about the glories or total bodily desecration?

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38

No, I Didn't Mean That At All! This Is Why I Don't Care About Your Band

Last weekend, I didn't watch the Super Bowl either. But it was neither political nor an aesthetic preference for the alternate programming made available by the NFL's hydra-like presence and counter-presence in our broader culture. I had just come off the crippling debilitation of an internet-fast brought on by some malware thing, and I really just plum forgot! Reveling in the ability to stream things off the Internet, trolling YouTube, burning Camels with Teddy Pendergrass, I was bathing in the life that had felt so neglected lo those many (couple of) days.

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