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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, March 22, 2005

On Seeing Sin City / more

I've been trying to write a full-on, in-depth review of Sin City, the upcoming adaptation of Frank Miller's killer comic stories that I was pretty lucky to see last week... but I'm actually too enthusiastic about it. I'm trying to resist the raising of your expectations (uh oh... it's already started), and the all-out gushing. It's a struggle... but here I go...

Well, of all the comic-property adaptations I've seen (superhero and non-superhero alike), this was easily the most literal, uncompromising, and loyal translation yet. For fans of the books, it opens with the short story 'The Customer Is Always Right', straight into 'That Yellow Bastard', onto 'The Hard Goodbye' (aka book one), then 'The Big Fat Kill', and back to 'That Yellow Bastard'. It finishes with a short and specially written epilogue that wraps things up with in a black and white bow. As a long-time Sin City reader, I feel like I need to give director Robert Rodriguez a big honkin' fan-to-man-hug. Or maybe just buy the guy a beer. He calls himself the co-director, along with Miller (the credits actually say 'Shot & Cut by Robert Rodriguez'), and the two of them together got nearly everything right... the visuals, the score, the pacing, the cast. They kept the best parts of the stories intact, taking exact panels and lines of dialogue from the books... it's eerie. It says a lot about Miller's visual storytelling that his books work so well unfiltered on the screen, and a lot about Rodriguez in that he understood that. Sometimes you don't need to fix what sure as hell ain't broke.

There's that perfect way the cars shoot down streets, grabbing just the right amount of exaggerated comic-book air. The way the beaten bodies fly further than normal after an extra-hard punch. The inhuman amount of pain each anti-hero can take and keep coming back for more. Speaking of which, Mickey Rourke is amazing... he's a Marv action figure come to life (yes, I've got one... call in the geek police). It takes a few minutes to get by the Dick Tracy-esque makeup job, but once you're in, you're so very in. And Bruce Willis... better as Hartigan in this than the whole of Hostage. Carla Gugino, not just a good performance as Lucille, but a very brave one, revealing more of herself than any other woman in the film. Just, um, wow. You'll see. Nick Stahl, also excellent, and keep an eye out for some pretty amusing line delivery from a bald Nicky Katt... didn't even recognize the guy at first. And Elijah Wood was actually frightening. Who would have thought that possible? Hell, even the occasional laugh-grabbing lines that worked on paper work better on screen. There were a few small character changes (secondary players get combined, an occasional small scene gets skipped), but the good stuff is all in there. It is Basin City, unfiltered, with all its ultra-violence, nakedness, and dark alleys intact.

My only minor complaints: Brittany Murphy's cringe-worthy moments, especially her goodbye in the window... not sure why the girl keeps gettin' work. Also, Clive Owen & Benicio Del Toro's (as Dwight & Jack) drive to the tar pit drags a little, the only slow moment in the thing. Other than that... cinematic perfection. I cannot wait to see this thing again on opening weekend, so I can put some of my money into the pockets of everyone involved.

Oh, and if you have to go out of your way to catch it on a digitally projected screen, do it. They set one up for us at the screening, and it was noticably gorgeous... the contrast, the deep blacks, the brief uses of color jumping out. Best use of digital filming and cgi-backgrounds (aside from LOTR) that I've seen yet.

If you're a die-hard fan of HBO's the Wire, you've already heard this... but for all of you who should be fans but aren't yet, listen up: It's coming back, and we're damn lucky for it. Apparantly it was a close call for HBO, who thankfully decided to look beyond ratings and ask creator David Simon to present his 4th season story ideas. Well, he sold them on it, so we get another bound-to-be-great 12 episodes. So excited, but it's going to be a long wait until early 2006. Between now and then, do yourself (and the show) a favor and rent the first couple seasons on DVD, or catch all the episodes in order through HBO on demand. I guarantee you'll be there for the fourth season premiere if you do.

It's been a long time since I visited the Indie Rock Photo Gallery, but I won't make that mistake again. Some amazing shots over there, including some fantastic photos from the Teenbeat 20th Anniversary. Very, very nice.

So you can get three semi-new American Analog Set songs thanks to... Tylenol? Yeah, it's true. Details are here at the Ouch website, although it looks like I'm a little slow on the uptake. The free split EP with White Magic, called 'Songs of Hurt and Healing', was available in certain magazines last month, and supposedly at records stores like Newbury Comics (although they had no idea what I was asking about). I'm on a mission to find this sucker, so if anyone has a clue, drop me a comment. You can listen to one song from each band here and read a pretty nice interview with AmAnSet main-man Andrew Kenny while you're at it.

How the hell did I miss the news that Toni Halliday disbanded Curve? Sad to hear, but not too surprising, I s'pose. They hadn't played live in years, their latest releases were compilations of sporadically recorded and internet-posted tracks that were largely ignored (but sure as hell not by me). I held out hope they'd hit the road, but it wasn't to be. Since Curve was always, at it's core, a duo... it's not hard to imagine her and Dean Garcia working together again someday, but as she wrote: "I do intend to do small one off projects in the future but nothing that needs the time and commitment of a full time band." Hope to hear her voice again sooner rather than later.

While it's still available, grab what may be the last internet-released Curve mp3, 'Weekend', from their mp3 page.

Scrubs guy and Garden Stater Zach Braff totally got Punk'd. (waitaminute, that show is actually still on the air?). Click that link, watch the video clip, and witness normally easy-goin' Braff prepare to deck a pre-teen for messin' with his ride ("That's a 100,000 car!"). Semi-embarrassing, yes. His Scrubs co-star Donald Faison is so dead when the revenge comes around.

Psyched to find out that Braff directed is appearing in the April 10th episode of Arrested Development, and that he's using his blog to spread the word. Please. Watch. That. Show. If it dies, and you didn't watch, I'm totally going to send a hungry seal after you.

Buy the new Spring issue of Venus magazine. Features on both Sarah Silverman and Mary Timony? Serious swoon-age.

In case I don't get around to mentioning it before then, you might wanna watch the Thursday night premiere of the U.S. version of The Office. As a huge Office fan, and a lover of all things Steve Carell, I'll be TiVo-ing it (even though I've, um, seen it). Before you write it off, you've gotta watch at least one, right? Me, I thought it was better than expected, and I'm glad to hear they start using original scripts (rather than adapting the BBC versions) after the pilot episode.

Instead of being in front of the TV on Thursday, though, I'll probably be at the Matt Pond PA show over at Brandeis University. Just $5 for non-students, and since it's free for Brandeisers, it's probably gonna be packed. MPPA is on at 11, and openers Lincoln Conspiracy are on at 10.

Hey, look, it's a Magnetic Fields KVRX radio session from 1998. And hey, over here you can stream every song from the new New Order album. Thanks, um, random forgotten mp3 blogs (sorry). You'll also be able to stream the entirety of the new British Sea Power album at starting this Friday. Until then, grab three tracks at their official site.

Allow me join the chorus of love for mp3 blog Tofu Hut, especially now that they've gone daily.

The Screen Savers, the long-running and formerly tech-centric show that died a symbolic death last year when G4 assimilated their network, TechTV (and the content turned more towards cheesy celeb-interviews, usually-bad live bands, bikini-wearing babes, and video game reviews) is now dying an official death by changing it's name on March 28th to the fairly terrible 'Attack of the Show'. Yeah, might as well abandon any pretense at being computer-centric, even though you still let Kevin & Sarah do the occasional tech-or-web-related piece. Those two are the only reason I still have that TiVo Season Pass, although it now takes me about 10 minutes to cruise through each hour-long program. So farewell to The Screen Savers, and here's hoping another tech-heavy TV show comes along sometime soon.

And for longtime TSS fans, you'll be happy to know that the kilt-wearing, Dropkick Murphys-loving former host, Patrick Norton, now has a blog. The fact that the guy resisted having any web-presence was always a source a humor on the show, but he finally gave in. It'll be nice to see what he's up to, assuming he keeps up the content.

Picked up some music today... the new Yo La Tengo 3-disc collection, 'Prisoners of Love', and the new full-length from Laetitia Sadier's Stereolab side project, Monade, called 'A Few Steps More'. They had the Monade disc playing in the store, and it sounded very, very good. If you've got a Newbury Comics near you, both discs are on sale, as is the cheaper 2-disc version of the Yo La Tengo collection... but who'd wanna miss out on that 3rd disc of outtakes and rarities? Not I.

Oh, and Yo La Tengo returns to Massachusetts on Saturday, July 9th for a show at the Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, performing live accompaniment for the films of Jean Painlev�. Sure to be a pretty interesting show, but it's a bit of a drive from Boston... might make a nice weekend trip, though.

And speaking o' Stereolab, we're just a month away from the release of 'Oscillons From the Anti Sun', the 3-cd-1-dvd collection of previously import-only EPs. 35 songs (28 of which have never been released in the U.S.) and a DVD of rare videos and television performances. Hot dayum.

Also out this week: A new trade paperback collection of one of my favorite comics, Greg Rucka's excellent spy-story Queen & Country. 'Operation Saddlebags' is the name of this seventh volume, and Rucka's writing makes it pretty tough not to buy each individual issue on a monthly basis. Any week that sees the release of another multi-issue collection is automatically a good one.

Work has kept me from updating this place lately, but I'm playing catch-up and should have this week's mp3(s) up sometime soon.

On deck for us tonight... tickets to a 'Secret Screening' at a local theater, but since the pass lists 'Fox Searchlight' on it, I'm guessing it's the new Woody Allen movie 'Melinda & Melinda'. I'm up for that.

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

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