Monday, May 25, 2009

Still, just not blogging about it

I have mostly come to the conclusion that anything I post over on Ing and Ed gets read only by Mr. B and La Fab, which is fine, but ... well. I really like the attention I get posting over here, so I am going to update my own and ...ed over here, because I like to delude myself that more than just La Fabulous reads this (Hi, Lady L!)


Terminator: Salvation
There were blowings-ups. And killer robots. And post-apocalyptic nonsense. And Christian Bale in a Messianic fury. And several inconsistencies which we are supposed to blithely ignore. It was fine. And noisy.

It was nowhere near as bad as I had feared. That is not to say that it was good. It was distinctly JJ Abrams-y. There were a few too many conversations in extreme profile close-up and a few too much cool shit for the sake of being cool. Christopher Pine is too pretty, too young, and not Kirkian enough for my tastes. There was no need for the clumsy and unnecessary love story (hmmm... have I said this before?) But Karl Urban was the epitome of the good doctor, and Zachary Quinto didn't make me want to strangle him. We will ignore the wretched plot holes and the facial tattoos on the Romulans. Also, the occasional stilted lines of dialog and stiff deliveries were easy to dismiss, as that is par for the course with Star Trek. All in all, it was not the worst of the lot. That honor, of course, belongs to Star Trek IV: The Journey Home. Neither is it the best of them - Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country tie for that in my book. It was solid, if blinding, thanks to Abrams' irritating adoration of the lens flare. I will save my gripes about the look of the bridge and the uniforms for someone who wants to tune out my ranting. I will probably watch it again on DVD, if only to point out the glaring discrepancies to my companion, who is not a Trek fan per se, and who is uncaring but patient as the day is long.
thaaaaat's more like it.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I always knew Lizzie Bennett had it in her. Any story is improved with muskets and katanas.

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America
This is an interesting examination of the cultural divide that occurred in post-war America between adults and adolescents, who for the first time were being recognized as something apart from either children or grown-ups. There were the first stirrings of the generational gap that would fully evidence itself by the late 1960's, and the outcry over true crime comics and, shortly thereafter, the newly fledged genre of music called rock and roll, presaged the unrest by more than a decade. Also, there were some cool full-color repros of old horror and true crime comic covers.


It might be mere coincidence that Steve Earle released an album of covers of songs written by the late Townes Van Zandt just weeks after Earle's son (and Van Zandt's namesake) Justin Townes Earle released his own sophomore effort. It might just be chance that there are echoes of Van Zandt's yearning outlaw country voice in the younger Earle's writing, which also recalls Hank Williams and a pinch of Bob Wills. It might be happenstance that both these albums were recommended to me in roundabout ways - one through an independent online music subscription service, the other the daily sale offering from a huge online music merchant. But all of a sudden, I am listening to a lot of serious country and western music written earnestly and unironically, and I am loving every minute of it. Sometimes there is an honesty in country music that is unparalleled in any other type; the lyrics cut through the bullshit to the heart of the matter in short order. The chorus in this song says what I haven't been able to spit out for the last month and a half:

And my favorite Townes Van Zandt song, which is one I have known all my life, is the rest of what I would say were I less of a coward:

All the rest is just the usual stuff. Go listen to that Justin Townes Earle song again. It's real good.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

You thought I was done talking about it

I'm sure someone thinks this is prom-worthy.

I am not dying, although I wanted to for a few hours. A few days, really. I was too ill to even do so much as watch horrible movies. I was too weak to hold up books. Music was far too noisy. Texas kicked my sorry rock and roll ass. But I looked real pretty while I was there. Not bragging, just saying - I had the impetus to look the way I would everyday if I lived someplace where it mattered. And the time, frankly, since I stayed in my room until a leisurely 2:30 p.m. or so each day.

apparently french fries are sacrilege.

I didn't eat often while I was there, but when I did, I ate a LOT. This gravy overflowed the plate and made a huge mess of the table. Also, the edge of the cup you see was a bucket of iced tea, or nearly so. I think it was a 44 oz receptacle, which is about three times as much as I wanted or needed. And bottomless refills, too. Welcome to Texas indeed.

well, hey, sugar!

There is nothing in this world that captures my attention like a shiny room sized bullet full of frosting. This might be my favorite place in the whole damn city.

That's it, folks. Now you know nearly as much as I do about the city of Austin. Maybe next time I'll see a few more of the sights, and a little less of the inside of a beer can. HA! Funny joke, huh?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not JUST pictures of bass players

The Queen of Rockabilly still has it, bitches

I know I talked a lot about it when I returned from Viva Las Vegas last year, but I will say again: people in the rockabilly scene are the nicest, most genuine batch of folks you will ever have the good fortune of meeting. Here are some observations about Texas Rockabilly Revival that I made:

1) The musicians who come to these things do it because they, too, really, truly love this music. I shook hands with members of nearly every single band that performed; bass players were happy to chat with me about their set ups, lead guitar guys passed out hugs and autographs; drummers sat at your table and bought you beers. They talked about being on the road and about venues good (thumbs up to the Continental in Houston and Austin both) and bad (the shitty place in Houston in the strip mall without house sound.) They roamed the crowds, and stood behind the security fences, and played while feeling less than 100%, and still posed for pictures at 1:30 in the morning - because they realize that they are lucky to do what they do. They love the music, and the people who love the music.These two boys (Kevin on the bass and Walt ON the bass) can drink their own weight in Jagermeister

2) It is not very hard to make friends. By definition, the folks who show up to events like this have something in common. Aside from mile high hair and coloring books for arms and legs and backs, fans of rockabilly (as shorthand for all the 'billy genres out there, no slight intended) also love: fast cars, old shit, ladies who look like ladies, and people who can DO things, not just talk about doing things. That is how, within ten minutes of shaking their hands, Brandon and Emily took me under their wings and spent the remainder of the weekend driving me from place to place, feeding me, giving me drinks, assuring I was well away from the wrecking pit, and generally making sure I was secure. I can't thank them enough, and I am very, very grateful that we found each other. They are solid, through and through. And my dance card was filled by the fine gentlemen from Atlanta and El Paso, who on respective nights made sure I had a twirl or two on the floor.

3) Bartenders deserve every damn penny they make. This goes without saying, but I want to give a special round of applause to LindZ, who went out of her way to find my lost card, and gave me water when she saw I had had perhaps a beer too many. When I returned on Saturday, she also checked in with a huge bottle of ibuprofen and looked relieved when I asked her for a glass - JUST a glass, thank you, not a bucket - of iced tea.

4) Unlike so many other subcultures I can think of, the ladies who inhabit the world that surrounds the music have no qualms about telling each other how lovely they are. I heard compliments about dresses, hair, shoes, make-up... Mostly I saw women look each other over, and rather than deeming each other lacking in some way, admiring one another and acknowledging it. Rockabilly girls are PRETTY, there is no denying it, and every last one of us tries our hardest to look that way.

5) Unlike so many boys I can think of, the gents who frequent events where these lovelies gather have no qualms about letting their admiration be known. They say it gallantly, like Brandon to Emily when we stepped out at the car show: "Someone has to take your picture today, because you look real pretty in that dress." They say it easily and well-practiced, like Steve saying to me: "You sure are in fine form today, what ever your name is!" (he couldn't remember my name was Stella, not Sylvia.) They say it wheedlingly, like the Gretsch guy to me and Emily as we walked past the booth; "You ladies both look so beautiful! You NEED your picture taken with one of these guitars!" It was a revelation to be around men who were not afraid to tell a women he appreciated the hours of work it took her to turn his head.

The crowds never got ugly, just a little rowdy when the Rev played Ace of Spades for Lemmy, who had to cancel. Even the usual suspects were mostly respectful and subdued. Any hard feelings were soothed with a cold beer. It's weird that a rather small genre of music could restore a good deal of my faith in humanity.

I came home after three days on my own in the big city to a family who was very happy to see me, and a boy who was as well (somewhat to my surprise.) I showed them all how much I loved them by promptly passing out with a fever of 102 and an assful of penicillin first thing the next morning, courtesy of a wicked strep infection I picked up along the way. There is always a price to pay. You know what, though? I met Slim Jim Phantom, and was backstage for the last two songs of Wanda Jackson's set, so it was totally worth it.

Yep, they did. Yep, it was.