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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

So Tonight, It Begins...

I make no predictions, I have no expectations. Us Red Sox fans may be made from sturdy stuff, but let's hope we don't have to find out exactly how tough we are. Oh, my achin' haaaht!

(beware, children, there be swearin' ahead!)

Caught Team America this past Saturday, and it is by far the funniest film of the year. I swear, my stomach still hurts from laughing constantly throughout. Takes no prisoners (hell, it just blows 'em up), crosses every line, the jokes go from low-brow to high-brow, from vomit-launching to veiled social commentary, and back again. And the swearing. Oh, the glorious, unrestricted cussin'. I laughed every time they said "Cockbag!". I'm so easy!

This movie could only have been made with marionettes, even using some of their inherant limitations to poke fun at itself. While it takes aim at all sides of the "America as World Police" argument, and also skewers every action film cliche it can, it is particularly brutal to outspoken Hollywood celebrities. Sean Penn, Matt Damon, Helen Hunt (?), Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Samuel L. Jackson (?!), George Clooney, Danny Glover, Janeane Garofalo, Martin Sheen, Michael Moore (natch), and especially Alec Baldwin are trashed and torn apart (some literally).

Trey Parker and Matt Stone have always found easy, generally deserving targets in South Park (Phil Collins, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Mel Gibson, etc.), but this time around their attacks seem so far over the top that the over-sensitive might bristle at a perceived imbalance. Admittedly, I felt a little of this... the targeting of the so-called left is more pointed and far more obvious than the overall criticism of over-enthusiastic flag-wavers and right-wing hawks. In the end, though, it doesn't matter... it's all just funny as hell, no matter which side you fall on. Both sides could find something about Team America that supports their beliefs... and they'd both be wrong. Or right. They'd also be talking about a marionette movie, so they'd sound pretty silly if they tried.

And the music... oh, man. Genius. Hysterical new songs, and the ressurection of my favorite song from the South Park series. Not gonna blow the surprise, just go see it. I double-dog dare ya not to laugh. A lot.

"Freedom isn't free! No, there's a hefty fuckin' fee!"

Speaking of T.A., and Mr. Sean Penn, you've probably read his unfortunate letter to Matt & Trey in response to their recent statements about voting (that there's "no shame in not voting ... if you don't know what you're talking about."). Here's part of what he had to say to them...
"I do mind when anybody who doesn't have a child, doesn't have a child at war, or isn't or won't be in harm's way themselves, is encouraging that there's "no shame in not voting" "if you don't know what you're talking about" (Mr. Stone) without mentioning the shame of not knowing what your talking about, and encouraging people to know. You guys are talented young guys but alas, primarily young guys. It's all well to joke about me or whomever you choose. Not so well, to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world. The vote matters to them. No one's ignorance, indcluding a couple of hip cross-dressers, is an excuse.

All best, and a sincere fuck you,

Sean Penn."
Now, I can understand where Penn is coming from, but his poor choice of words, and even poorer timing (as a target in Team America, it can only appear that he can't take a joke, and maybe he can't) come off as knee-jerk and just plain silly. If anything, it helps Parker & Stone prove one of the points (if there really are any) of the film. You'll know what I mean.

They responded to Penn in Salon yesterday...
According to Stone, "when you read it, the letter comes from such a high place of arrogance, you know, [deep, serious voice] 'You guys are young guys! If you don't have children, you can't say anything about anything!' And the whole voting thing. All we ever said was that we thought that uninformed people should not vote -- on either side of the political spectrum. It doesn't matter who you're gonna vote for. If you really don't know who you're gonna vote for, or are uninformed, or haven't really thought about it? Just stay home. Don't let people fucking shame you into going to the polls."
They're wrong, though... if you don't know who you're gonna vote for, are uninformed, or haven't really thought about it? Well, don't just stay home... how hard is it to spend a couple hours surfing the web, visiting both candidates' sites, their supporters, hell, just talking to your friends. Ignorance isn't an excuse, at least not this time around. In any other election, the differences between the two major party candidates might be small enough that abstaining makes a strange sort of sense, or that voting for a third party like Nader seems a wise statement. Not anymore. The political gulf is too wide, the basic beliefs too different. A side needs to be chosen.

Speaking of which, the documentary on John Kerry's time in Vietnam, and the aftermath in which he protested, called Going Upriver, is available as a completely free download. Here's a direct link to a torrent file if this site's link proves too slow. I've grabbed it at home and plan on watching this week... I've heard only great things.

So not only did George Bush's hometown paper, deep in the heart of Texas, decide to endorse John Kerry this time around, but they're standing strong under a barrage of whiny Republican letters and death threats. Their stance is inspiring, as are the letters of support amongst the negativity.

Huge gearshift here...

Really, really psyched to read that the Cure will be reissuing their first album, Three Imaginary Boys with lots of extra tracks, and even a few I didn't know existed, on December 9th. It's never been released in the U.S., and my vinyl copy melted in the "big burn of '92", so I'll be glad to have it back with bonuses. From Bitchfork, the tracklist...
Disc 1: Three Imaginary Boys
01 10:15 Saturday Night
02 Accuracy
03 Grinding Halt
04 Another Day
05 Object
06 Subway Song
07 Foxy Lady
08 Meathook
09 So What
10 Fire in Cairo
11 It's Not You
12 Three Imaginary Boys
13 The Weedy Burton

Disc 2: Rarities 1977-1979
01 I Want to Be Old (demo - previously unreleased)
02 I'm Cold (demo - previously unreleased)
03 Heroin Face (live)
04 I Just Need Myself (demo - previously unreleased)
05 10:15 Saturday Night (demo - previously unreleased)
06 The Cocktail Party (demo - previously unreleased)
07 Grinding Halt (demo - previously unreleased)
08 Boys Don't Cry (demo)
09 It's Not You (demo - previously unreleased)
10 10:15 Saturday Night (demo - previously unreleased)
11 Fire in Cairo (demo - previously unreleased)
12 Winter (studio outtake - previously unreleased)
13 Faded Smiles (studio outtake - previously unreleased)
14 Play With Me (studio outtake - previously unreleased)
15 World War
16 Boys Don't Cry
17 Jumping Someone Else's Train
18 Subway Song (live)
19 Accuracy (live - previously unreleased)
20 10:15 Saturday Night (live - previously unreleased)
Wow. I can only hope the future reissues, like 1982's Pornography, contain half that much treasure.

Gothamist talks to rockstar Ted Leo about NYC. A great little read. (thanks TRJ via CW)

Fans of good sci-fi, don't forget to set the TiVo: This coming Sunday brings the two-part Farscape mini-series that fans were hoping for. Titled "The Peacekeeper Wars", it promises to wrap up a bunch of loose ends (the biggest being the abrupt death/abduction of the two main characters), and will no doubt leave a few open for followups. I'm damn glad we get at least these four more hours with the characters. I found the Farscape bandwagon late, but devoured every episode (the great and even the not-so-good ones) furiously once I jumped on. Sunday is the two-hour first part (airing three times in a row, starting at 9 o'clock), and Monday is the two-hour conclusion.

One of my favorite Sealab 2021 episodes is "All That Jazz", in which Captain Murphy gets stuck under a soda machine and gets befriended/tortured by a scorpion. Well, someone went and wrote down every flavor of jazz-inspired cola available from the machine, including John Cola-trane, Dave Bruberry, and Fizzy Gillespie. Aces.

I heart Jessi Klein from VH1's Best Week Ever. Look, she blogged the presidental debate over on CNN.

X-Box Gamers rejoice: HALO 2 is finished. Done. Gone Gold. Shipping November 9th. Bring it.

If you're like me, you enjoy the magic that is a perfect piece of cheddar cheese. Well, here's my new favorite: Grafton Village Cheese, and it's from my own home state. You can find it in most Whole Foods stores, or in finer cheese shops... but order it direct, it's cheaper. MmmmMMM... cheeeese...

So, it's safe to say that I've got an interesting evening ahead of me... I somehow got invited to this. Two hours of free snacks and Johnnie Walker drinkin' after work. This promo-fest "features a guided whisky education led by a qualified Johnnie Walker Ambassador. You'll have the chance to sample some of the extraordinary single malts used in Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch, and learn everything you need to know about the exquisite blend." Whisky and I don't have much of a relationship, but maybe that's about to change. Edumacate me, oh J.W. Ambassador!

And whaddya know, when it wraps up at 8 o'clock, we'll conveniently already be in a South Boston sports bar (sorry... spohuuts baaahhh) for the first pitch in game one of the Sox vs. the Yanks. Yes, I know a Southie bar for such a big game may be a risky proposition, but I'm soooo up for it. Plus, won't have to drive anywhere after the free whisky action. Might as well get a buzz going before the stress settles in to stay for a week or so. The emotional scars of last year are still with me, and I'm not sure I'm ready to relive it. Everyone else can do their part and 'keep the faith'... me, I'll be over here in a fetal position, waiting for a big pin-striped anvil to drop. I know, I know... I'm weak, but I do so fear for my sanity...

featured mp3 download
neil halstead
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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