Hi Kirk, Ralph and [J. Adrian] Stanley! I’m Nick with Movoto, a blog that talks about real estate and city-related news.
What’s up with Colorado Springs? Apparently, your city is missing a fashion sense, as it ranked second on our list as the worst-dressed city in the country: http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/worst-dressed/.
We took into account high-end clothing stores, jewelry stores and other style factors.
Interested in your feedback. Are we off? Do Colorado residents have other concerns besides style?
We're down there with Milwaukee, Tulsa, Albuquerque and No. 1, Wichita. As Motovo puts it, these are the places "where fashion dies."
Motovo came up with this by enlisting Yelp and reviewing how many high-end clothing, jewelry and shoe stores each city had per capita. It also looked at things like number of tailors and number of fashion schools. Somehow, this also put San Antonio on the list at No. 8. (Does La Cantera, complete with a Tiffany's and Burberry, not count? How about everyone in heels at the H.E.B.?) Naturally, New York City sits at the top of the list.
Anyway, that we're almost dead last seems kind of harsh, since, well, we can't help it no one put a Nieman Marcus here. Sure, if find yourself in a local Wal-Mart, our ranking may seem justified. But what you must remember is, people of Walmart are everywhere. Just what is it about the place that makes people think wearing dirty pajamas in public is a good idea? (Except for Lloyd, who can dress however the fuck he wants.)
But I digress. What do you think? Do we suck at this? Is this just another stupid Top 10 list (my vote)? Are we more fashionable than the metrics suggest?
Or, as one commenter on Facebook put it, "Or, 2nd least materialistic...based on the criteria use. Another win for COS!"
As the local promoters who gathered together for last week's Indy cover story pointed out, putting on house shows can be the gateway drug that leads to becoming a club or concert promoter. Of course, there can be obstacles along the way, like visits from the police due to noise complaints or vans being set on fire.
Residential rock and underground rave promoters should also be on the lookout these days for the likes of Joe Sly. At least, that's the concern of the Boston Globe, which posted last week about what appears to be the most clueless undercover cop on the planet.
With his green-mohawked "Boston Punk Zombie" avatar and Onion-worthy hipster jargon, the mysterious Mr. Sly has been infiltrating the city's DIY music scene with inquiries about under-the-radar events currently being targeted by a police crackdown. "Patty’s day is a mad house I am still pissing green beer," he wrote in one Google+ private message. "The cops do break balls something wicked here."
After being stonewalled by the Boston police department's press relations officer, the Globe filed a a public records request for info on any fake social media accounts the department may be using.
Since then, a number of parody sites have begun springing up. We especially recommend DJ Boston PUNK Zombie's Facebook page, where you can enjoy posts like these:
• "i like to do pot at a diy show. send me the names and phone numbers of some cool grass dealers"
• "yo dawgZ! im part of BOSTON BEAT GANG! and im ready to hit it UP! DIY Style, know what i'm sayIN???? 420 friendly."
• "Hey teens/adults, post all of your wicked pisser DIY shows/delinquent activity here! (Full names and addresses)"
As to whether the original Joe Sly is a cop or performance artist, only time will tell. (Or won't.)
Meanwhile, all you local DIY promoters and cool grass dealers out there, be sure to let us know if and when you hear from one of Punk Zombie's Colorado Springs counterparts.
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Hot off of comedy hits like Caddyshack, in 1980, Chevy Chase could do no wrong. And then 1981 happened. Under the Rainbow, at the time, was widely regarded as a huge bomb and, until Ishtar, was Hollywood’s go-to joke for overblown comedies. More than 30 years later, I just have one question to ask: Why? Under the Rainbow is actually a very solid, very funny, very clever comedy that, if anything, was a little too ahead of its time. It’s a kitchen-sink riff on the screwball comedy, with Chase playing a G-Man assigned to protect a traveling dignitary while constantly crossing paths with Carrie Fisher (the it-girl of the time, thanks to Star Wars, of course), who is an MGM casting agent in charge of rounding up a couple hundred drunken, horny little people who are to play Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz. There are also Nazis, assassination attempts, swordplay and a madcap studio dash that rivals that of Blazing Saddles. A sorely overlooked gem, Under the Rainbow is a yellow brick road to hilarity.
Looking back at The Blues Brothers, it’s kind of funny how surreal that movie really is. But, then again, whenever Belushi and Aykroyd got together, be it on film or SNL, it always presented a decidedly skewed and dark comedic view of modern life. They reached their apex of these collaborations with 1981’s Neighbors, a befuddling, bizarre look at suburbia. Belushi is Earl, a haggard businessman whose life is the epitome of routine — and, to be fair, he likes it that way, much to his long-suffering wife’s chagrin. His whole world is turned upside-down, however, when a pair of swingers (Dan Aykroyd and Cathy Moriarty) move in next-door and wreak an insane amount of havoc. Who these people are, why these people are there, and if they are even real is never explained, as we are forced to go on this ride with Earl, experiencing all of his repressed frustrations exploding as he is taken advantage of, made fun of, and ultimately destroyed in order to ambiguously rebuild him as a new man. It makes little to no sense, but to see these two together on screen for a final time is a real treat, making one wonder what else they could have accomplished if Belushi had lived. Could it have been even weirder than Neighbors?
Every movie should have a talking horse. Every. Movie. Not only do they make films better, they just seem to make life better. Unfortunately, after reaching its apex with the television series Mr. Ed, Hollywood began to quit listening to the public, and an invisible moratorium was placed on loquacious equines. That changed, thankfully, in 1988 when Bobcat Goldthwait bucked the system and starred in Hot to Trot, a hilarious comedy about a ne’er-do-well who inherits not only half of his mother’s stockbroking firm, but also a horse named Don. But Don is no ordinary horse — he’s a wisecracking stock market wizard who loves to party and is even voiced by John Candy. As Bobcat and Don fight to save their firm from the clutches of Dabney Coleman as the buck-toothed, scheming, philandering step-dad, the boys throw parties where farm animals are invited, find romance with Virginia Madsen, sing “Tutti-Frutti” in a convertible, and even win the big horse race. Oh God, do I love this movie.
Here’s a unique challenge for all of our guitar-strumming readers who want to get maximum exposure this evening.
Chauncy Crandall has begun hosting a Thursday night open mic at the Blue Moose Tavern, which recently rose from the ashes of the Silver Tongue Devil in Green Mountain Falls. The weekly event runs from 8 p.m. to midnight, opening with an acoustic set by its exceptional singer-songwriter host.
Now if that isn’t enough, there are two other Thursday night open mics around town: Stolen Idol Productions starts its open mic at Manitou's Ancient Mariner at 8, while the Jerry Roskin Band hosts its long-running event at Benny's in Colorado Springs beginning at 9.
So here’s the challenge: Shuttle between all three open mics and perform at each. Remember that you typically need to sign up at the beginning of the evening, then be present when it's your turn to play. All of which adds up to some 60 miles of driving, with plenty of highway patrol for company along the way. (Actually, please don’t even attempt this, but do have fun at whichever venue you choose!)
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Are you into microfinance theories and the people who support them? Then To Catch a Dollar should be like financial pornography for you. Subtitled “Muhammad Yunus Banks on America,” Dollar follows Nobel Peace Prize winner Yunus as he puts his self-described revolutionary microfinance institution Grameen Bank into actual practice. I’m naturally skeptical about the whole thing, but when you actually watch it work over the course of the documentary, hearing the stories of the first borrowers and what they’ve had to go through to create their own sustainable businesses, that skepticism starts to fade away and you begin to wonder why this hasn’t caught on with more people, especially in a country where about 46 million people are currently living below the poverty line. But then you remember who is really in charge of the American financial systems, and all that hope melts away into pure depression.
Home invasions scare the hell out of me. Sure, burglaries are scary and leave you with a total sense of violation, but when it happens when you’re at home, it takes it to a whole new level of fear. As the family in Cherry Tree Lane learns, such violations can happen even in the most peaceful of surroundings. Three kids break into the family’s home, tie them up, and threaten their every move with death. And that’s just the beginning as the family has a long 77 minutes — the film is shot in real-time — ahead of torment, torture and shocking cruelty, leading to an extremely explosive ending that give the audience a nice sense of wish-fulfillment. The film drags in many areas — the story is admitted threadbare — but not enough to really enough to destroy the overall effectiveness of this extremely taut British thriller.
Thanks to groundbreaking sequential art dissections such as The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, for superheroes to be taken seriously they have to achieve a real-world level of grittiness that does its best to tear any classic superhero trope to shreds. It’s kind of sad, really. That brings us to All Superheroes Must Die, which manages to mix the aforementioned Watchmen with the timed torture-games of the Saw franchise. Four de-powered, questionably heroic heroes find themselves in a strange town, surrounded by civilians with explosives tied to them, all as part of a revenge plot by the evil madman Rickshaw (the movie’s real bright-spot, James Remar). Director Jason Trost, whose previous film, The FP, was an irritating disaster, works hard to redeem himself here and mostly succeeds, even despite the annoyingly ambiguous ending.
When most of us over, say, 30, were bullied in school, it tended to be a non-snitching affair that usually ended with some kid either taking his lumps or finally fighting back. Times have changed, however, and especially in the post-Columbine age of pharmaceutically enhanced shotgun-wielding Goth kids and the new form of harassment known as “cyber-bullying,” kids can no longer keep quiet about it. They’ve decided to fight back using awareness and wrist-bands and homemade posters. The recent controversial documentary Bully — released in an edited, PG-13 edition for kids and families — chronicles this meaner age of bullying and how it affects a new generation of hyper-sensitive kids. As harrowing as it is heavy-handed, Bully works well as tool in the fight against fighting and should be watched by today’s youth, but the cynic in me knows that it also reeks of headline-grabbing opportunism. (Don’t hit me for saying that, please.)
With this year’s Oscars nothing more than an image getting farther and farther away in the rearview mirror, it’s starting to seem that Paul Thomas Anderson will never receive the award-form accolades he deserves for every subsequent masterpiece he writes and directs. The latest snubbing comes in the form of The Master, his kinda-but-not-really-controversial take on the early days of a Scientology-like cult and the charismatic minds behind it. But when it gets down to the meat of it, that’s not really what The Master is about at all. Homoerotic love story? Fight Club-esque battle of duality? Jesus Christ allegory? Much like the way that the founder of the cult is accused of making this all up as he goes along, so does Anderson. There is no linear story, no definitive plot, just one big acting master-class exercise after another. Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman prove they are masters in their own right.
We’ve had many a prehistoric creature cloned and resurrected in this recent spate of on-the-cheap science-fiction disaster flicks, but plants? That’s a new one, and thank God, because the change of pace really does breathe new life into an increasingly tepid and rote sub-genre. Seeds of Destruction is about a group of kooky scientists who plant an ancient seed and watch it bloom into a destructive monster plant that threatens to take over the world. Now it’s up to a tough-as-nails G-man (Adrian Pasdar) and the world’s greatest plant expert (Stefanie von Pfetten) to bring out the napalm-dipped pruners and cut this beanstalk to pieces before we’re all at its chlorophyllic mercies. As far as cheaply CGIed, low-budgeted eco-horrors go, Seeds of Destruction is pretty captivating. I'd encourage you to just sit back and let your mind wander as the movie plants seeds of trashy entertainment in your brain.
If there is a moral to every episode of the television series Femme Fatales, it’s this: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Like a filmed, anthology version of those sexy stories of murder and revenge ripped from the cover of 1950s pulp magazines, this show is a rollicking good time that is definitely too hot for regular TV. So of course it’s a regular series on late-night Skinemax. Hollywood starlets behind bars, hostage situations, dead male strippers, and female assassins chasing down a geek with fraudulent online personals ad — Femme Fatales has it all, with thrilling, Twilight Zone-esque twists. Hosted by the ravishingly dark Tanit Phoenix — who I’ll take over the Crypt-Keeper any day — Fatales is filled with the soft-core sex that you’ve come to know and love from Cinemax. But the best thing about this is that even if the dirty bits were edited out, it’d still be a massively entertaining series.
As reported in yesterday’s IndyBlog, Shocked actually has a substantial history of more outrageous, if largely forgotten, incidents that suggest a pattern of insensitivity toward minority issues. Among them was a treatise, co-written with then-husband Bart Bull, that equated hip-hop with minstrel shows. The couple also filed a lawsuit against the musician’s label, bizarrely invoking the anti-slavery 13th amendment as a ploy to get out of her record contract.
In the midst of the current uproar, venues across the country have now cancelled virtually all the dates on her upcoming tour. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which cited its 20-year relationship with the artist as reason for delaying a decision, pulled the plug last night.
Meanwhile, Shocked has finally ended her silence by issuing two back-to-back statements, in which she contends that her comments were actually critiques of other Christians' anti-gay views that she does not share.
“I may disagree with someone’s most fervently held belief, but I will not hate them,” writes the musician. “And in this controversy, that means speaking for Christians with opinions I in no way share about homosexuality. Will I endorse them? Never. Will I disavow them? Never.”
Shocked also insists her support for the LBGT community “has never wavered” and that activism has always been part of her work. “I'd like to say this was a publicity stunt,” she adds, “but I'm really not that clever, and I'm definitely not that cynical.”
You can go here to read the artist’s statements and listen to a recording of the incident that touched off the controversy.
For anyone who hasn't yet heard about it, the once-celebrated alternative folksinger's profile has dramatically risen in the wake of anti-gay remarks reportedly made at a San Francisco performance on Sunday. The Change.org organization claims its petition launched by LGBT rights activist John Becker has resulted in promoters pulling the plug on nine of the artist's upcoming performances. (Colorado's Telluride Bluegrass Festival is still weighing its decision, citing a 20-year relationship with Shocked as reason to avoid a rush to judgment.)
Yet for Shocked, this latest outburst isn't as out-of-character as it may seem.
Early on in her career, the alt-folk singer and her then-husband Bart Bull stirred up considerable publicity by likening hip-hop artists to minstrel show performers.
And then there was her trivialization of slavery: In the mid-90s, Shocked filed a $1 million lawsuit against her label, invoking the anti-slavery 13th Amendment as justification for release from her record contract.
Fans of the singer-songwriter may also be surprised by her characterization of black speech patterns at the end of this excerpt from a 2011 New York Magazine profile:
"Shocked spent a few years living in New Orleans, where the congregation called her 'our unique sister.' They vaguely knew she was a singer but weren’t sure what type. Then one day, Shocked appeared as a question on Jeopardy!—Alex Trebek identified her as having sued her record company by citing the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. The church’s phone started ringing off the hook: 'Pastor, pastor, Sister Shocked on Jeopardy!'"
And while it's less outrageous than the "God hates fags" statement Shocked supposedly made onstage this week, her views on the issue have been circulating since at least 2008, when Edge Dallas ran an interview with her headlined "Michelle Shocked believes being gay is a sin."
All that said, Shocked's disconcerting behavior still needs to be viewed in the context of a career that includes involvement in progressive events like the all-woman Lilith Fair, widely acclaimed Grammy-nominated albums, and collaborations with soul and blues legends like Pop Staples and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. It may also be worth noting that, according to her bio, the artist was committed by her mother to a mental institution and underwent a series of shock treatment that would subsequently inspire her stage name.
On Saturday, Colorado Springs' new venue on the block will be hosting the English Beat, hot on the heels of the seminal ska-pop revivalists’ five-CD retrospective. (You can read this week’s Indy interview with frontman Dave Wakeling here.)
Then on Sunday, Rawkus will present its first Colorado Native Showcase, featuring local favorites El Toro de la Muerte, Claymore Disco, Murder Hat and the Knightbeats.
In honor of the above, here are some videos to get your in the right and proper holiday spirit:
In this week’s Reverb, we interview Fuel/Friends blogger Heather Browne and Changing Colors musician Conor Bourgal about their Chapel Sessions, the intimate recording project they began two years ago this month.
One of the earliest sessions featured recent Grammy darlings the Lumineers. The Denver-based group has now returned the favor by including two bonus tracks — which come directly from the band’s Chapel Session — on the European pressing of its debut album. The latest Chapel Session, meanwhile, features Colorado Springs’ own Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds.
You can read the Reverb interview here. And also, for the more audio-visually inclined, here are four videos from the Sugar Sounds session.
“Losing My Cool”
"Take a Chance"
"What Lovers Do"
But what’s been lost in the media frenzy is the fact that the new pope has also released his first music video.
OK, fine, that’s not Pope Francis. It’s actually Papa Emeritus II, corpse-painted crooner of the Swedish band Ghost, who recently instructed fans to “participate in the papal conclave” and help elect him to the post.
As of this writing, 7,624 Ghost followers have made their voices heard. And while it’s obviously too late to sway the Vatican, you can still click here to stream the band’s new track, “Year Zero,” in exchange for a belated vote in Papa’s favor.
But now comes good news courtesy of Soundset Festival organizers, who announced their 2013 lineup earlier today. Billed as the world’s “biggest (and best) indie rap festival,” this year’s nine-hour event will feature headliners Atmosphere and Snoop Dogg, as well as performances by Brother Ali, Tech N9ne, Mac Miller, Busta Rhymes, Blueprint, P.O.S., and Aesop Rock with Rob Sonic & DJ Big Wiz.
Better still, among the three dozen artists listed on the festival poster is none other than Colorado Springs hip-hop duo the ReMinders.
Now in its sixth year, Soundset will take place May 26 at Canterbury Park, located a half-hour outside Minneapolis. With some 20,000 hip-hop fans attending last year’s festival, this latest ReMinders coup represents just one more step in Colorado rap’s slow but inevitable march to world domination. Or, at least, that’s what we’re hoping.
Meanwhile, for those with a sense of history, here's a clip of the Reminders playing Harlem's Apollo Theater a few years back.
The petition was launched by Derek Nance, an Eagle Scout and former Boy Scout Camp leader, and directed toward Carly Rae Jepsen, a massive pop star.
Jepsen announced on Twitter this morning that she’ll be cancelling her appearance at the festive jamboree: “As an artist who believes in equality for all people,” she tweeted, “I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer.”
In so doing, Jepsen is following in the tracks of former co-headliner Train, who pulled out of the event last Friday.
Meanwhile, in tangentially related news, a mashup of Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” went viral this week.
Earlier this winter, my boyfriend and I were at the Broadmoor for some reason or another, taking a walk around the lake. We met up with a man and a dog sharing the front seat of a golf cart. The man, Troy, introduced us to the dog, Ruger, who lazed on the seat that was just a tad too small for him.
Troy drove him along the sidewalk toward a patch of geese honking around the lake, and Ruger snapped into hound-mode and leapt after them, baying and barking.
We thought that was a hoot, but it's actually Ruger's job. He's the official "mascot/water fowl control officer" of the Broadmoor. Ruger is an eight-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer mix (probably), the hotel outlines in a recent blog post tweeted today.
Ruger came from a shelter, whose staff insisted he'd be good for the job the Broadmoor needed done, wrangling the geese and keeping them from the golf course, where they could get hurt. But let's be honest, if you're golfing there, you don't want to step in poop. Ruger also helps guests feel at "welcome and at ease."
Troy is Ruger's human, and takes him home when Ruger's done for the day. According the blog, you'll often find them together, just as we did, with Ruger in his "co-pilot" spot in the golf cart.
That said, I’m pretty optimistic about the email I got this morning from Questlove's publicist saying that he's got a memoir called Mo’ Meta Blues coming out this summer.
I actually got to sit in on a colleague's interview with him once, where we all hung out on the tour bus and listened to the unmastered version of a forthcoming Roots album. And as you've probably heard, he's one of the nicest, smartest, coolest musicians you’d want to meet.
"More than just a series of remembrances,” says the press release, “Mo' Meta Blues is a book that also questions the nature of memory and the idea of a post modern Black man saddled with some post-modern Blues. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.”
Great Peter Max-style cover, too. Plus, there’s this bit of bonus trivia about everyone’s favorite hip-hop Renaissance man:
“Recently making his way into the culinary world with his signature ‘Love's Drumstick,’ Questlove began his own culinary quest with off-premise catering, featuring Creole and Korean inspired soul food with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and “on-a-stick” decadence, for hi-profile exclusive events.”
Mo Meta Blues comes out June 18. Meanwhile, here's a video of Questlove talking about his Fallon show gig, and the special requests it sometimes entails. ("Give me something like Public Enemy, but also like the Brady Children trying to sing 'Let the Sunshine in.'")
Mind you, this is not just any Primus tour — it’s a “3D-enhanced live musical performance,” which means you’ll get to stare at the band through paper glasses for two full sets of what critic Joe Gore once dubbed “thrash-funk meets Don Knotts, Jr.”
If all that’s not enough, the show will be presented in Quad Surround Sound, a technology that's come a long way since the Flaming Lips’ late-90s “parking lot experiments” (see second video below), where audiences were surrounded by cars all blasting variations on the same album from their dashboard cassette players.
Click here for show details and tickets.