Monday, December 28, 2009

What I Want For Christmas: Mighty Mighty Bosstones Tour in 2010

The good friends at Read Junk posted earlier this month about this, but The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, you know, your favorite band that had a cameo in Clueless (take THAT Save Ferris in 10 Things I Hate About You) have a new album out called Pin Points and Gin Joints. For the cover art, see above.

Anywho, besides being at the crux of third wave ska with their biggest hit being "The Impression That I Get" (which I have told my significant other that their lyrics aren't cookie cutter haha), they were a favorite back in the day (I should change my blog's name to Bands I Really Liked In High School And Are Writing About It In A Timely Fashion Because Well They Are Getting Back Together Or Someone Died Or Joined A New Band Or I Saw Them In Concert) and what I would love to do is go see them live again. Suits? Plaid? Member that only dances and nothing else? Totally.

Anywho, they are currently doing their annual Hometown Throwdown in Boston continuing tonight and tomorrow at the Middle East. But what I really want is for them to do a proper tour next year if they are willing to do so. Seeing them live is like getting the biggest hug and kiss. Especially if that kiss was from a big mustached dude, like Ken from Union Hall. Awesome? I think so.
Here is their recent perf on Jimmy Kimmel, who has proven that more intimate settings are for losers when it comes to late night talk shows.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Me So Hungry Blog Presents - Cookie Contest and Full Slate of Bands This Sunday Dec. 20th

Union Pool off the Lorimer L stop (I actually like the Graham stop just as much if not more) is where hipsters go to occasionally meet non-hipsters, drink 4 dollar beers, and throw down to either great soul music or bearded fellas playing the gee-tar. Our good man Jason over at foodie blog Me So Hungry is serving up some mighty fine holiday spirit this year with a combo of cookies baked by whoever feels like bringing cookies (he described it as a cookie pot luck, but I see it as a chance for cookie hipsters to fight tooth and tight jeans over whose is better) and a whole host of bands for Sunday evening. For free.

Music will have plenty of recognizable holiday tunes, done in the bands' own styles, which could range from indie rock to indie rock, depending on how you see it. Here's the flyer:

Hey, any excuse to chill at the depression I've felt called Kellogg's Diner is good enough for me.

Resident Film Critic Chris Cabin Reviews: Avatar (One of those beneficiaries of 3-D)

Our very own resident film critic, Chris Cabin, of AMC's, gives his take on a whole planet full of Blue Man Group. As always, his opinions are his own and not necessarily reflective of the KCB, but I know I'll probably think this movie is gonna score a win in my book.

In his new film Avatar, James Cameron sets upon doing something monumental and, one would think, overwhelmingly tedious: Creating a new world. Which is to say where so many "massive" filmmakers have developed alternate realities or adapted the strange wilderness of lands found in literature, Cameron has both envisioned an entirely original ecosystem of flora and fauna, and given new emphasis to what it means to its inhabitants. Trees grow incandescent lines of communication to the dead and may house entire civilizations if let be. Appendages connect and bind through small hairs, allowing all manner of animal -- whether web-winged or heavy of hoof -- to download the moral and spiritual compass of one another. Everything is connected and everything burns radiant, even in the daytime.

Gestating in the day-glo terrarium of Cameron's frontal lobe for something like fifteen years, Avatar is the most enveloping and (no two ways about it) beautiful spectacle to find home at the multiplex since Peter Jackson's stroll to Mordor, and clocks in, thankfully, in only a third of the runtime. And like the warring tribes at its center, it is a film of two worlds with its seamless, brilliantly colorful mix of digital animation and live-action colliding, clashing and finally flowing with the power and thrill of a raging river. Giving newfound cred to the motion-capture technique so absurdly misspent trying to make human beings look just slightly less human in The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol, Cameron's alien western likewise lends defense to that other over-used marketing tool: 3D not only gives the imagery lift but highlights the depth of Cameron's worlds, evident from an opening shot of soldiers, scientists and missionaries floating upwards out of rows of sleep cells.

Set-up as a last-ditch replacement for his twin brother, Jake (Sam Worthington of Terminator: Salvation) pauses to glimpse at two floating pebbles of water before he is ejected into the same weightless space. His destination is Pandora, Cameron's ostensibly peaceful planet ruled by the Na'vi, a species of 10-foot-tall blue-monkey cat-people who ride reptilian horses with ant-eater noses. Crippled while serving in the Marines, Pandora offers Jake a working body in the form of one of the blue-monkey cat-people -- an avatar. His payment is the surgery to reconstruct his own dilapidated form. Jake works under a chain-smoking, green-as-can-be scientist (Sigourney Weaver) and chums it up with an eco-dweeb (Joel Moore) and later reports his findings to tough-as-coffin-nails Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang of The Men Who Stare at Goats) and a Fortune-500 architect of doom (Giovanni Ribisi, one-upping Paul Reiser's greedy brat from Aliens).

Saved by warrior princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the conflicted marine now finds himself a prophet-in-training to the warrior princess's father (Wes Studi) and her psychic earth-mother (CCH Pounder) and in rivalry with her betrothed (Laz Alonso). Streaming intel back to the Colonel, Jake is too busy learning to ride oversized neon-orange pterodactyls and tenderly mating with Neyteri -- the film's cheesiest moment -- to realize that the military and the corporate goons are planning to decimate Pandora in the hopes of mining it for a valuable mineral known as Unobtainium. Climactic war is waged with Jake and his pack of eco-friends backing the Na'vi and the brutish troops sporting their own types of avatars -- heavily-armed supped-up robo-bodies upgraded from Ripley's alien-fighting cargo-mover.

Replete with soggy allegories to every racial conflict in human history, though Native Americans are given the most blatant treatment, Avatar is essentially a film about the progress of film technology in a similar way that Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds confronted how we see the past through film. Cameron has conceptualized the act of motion-capture on-screen and given it immense visual muscle, making the Na'vi tribes not only the trippiest civil-rights advocates of the decade but the first convincing case of visual effects as a sincere conductor of human emotion not to involve the name Pixar. The humans are portrayed, primarily, as unreasonable creatures driven only by a selfish agenda and who see the Na'vi as nothing but a paltry nuisance; an opinion similar if not identical to cinematic purists who dismiss the advancement of technology as a threat to "real" filmmaking.

Of course, Avatar borrows heavily from cinema's past through a bevy of American westerns and, just maybe, the nature-themed animation of Hayao Miyazaki; the story is most obviously contrived from Kevin Costner's ludicrous Dances with Wolves. But even as Cameron uses these genre stereotypes and benchmarks to root viewers among the ruby-red mushrooms and dragon hounds, the director uses Avatar to cannibalize his own oeuvre: Elements from Titanic, The Abyss, True Lies and, most prominently, Aliens are redeployed under the canopy of his new technological frontier. It would be easy to cast off Avatar as a leftist parable aimed towards reckless red-staters but sweet love for mother earth is far from Papa Cameron's endgame. Assured and confident in his status as the preeminent living director of the motion-picture spectacle, Cameron's latest offers an olive branch between those who think that cinema is dead and those who think it's just rediscovering its own form.

Editor's Note (who am I kidding): Avatar made 73 million at the box office this past weekend. I went in the snowstorm to Astoria to watch in 3-D. While not without it's faults, namely being the cheesiest Cameron movie in certain parts, it is overall a fantastic adventure film with a universally appealing and uplifting message.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Subway Musings - Discman Like a Boss

I was coming back from work on the subway listening to a little Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and I was at the front of the train. Being at the front of the train is awesome because you can stare out the front window and with the help of side lights and the train headlights, you can see the trajectory of the train. It's like you're going through your personal cave tour.

Anywho, there was this twenty-something woman with jet black hair parted to one side, bob length. She had a bright purple, old school puffy jacket, kind of like a purple version of the jacket worn by Jennifer Lopez in her "Feelin' So Good" video.

She was quietly rocking a Discman. Large and in charge Discman. Obstructing her purse Discman. She changed CDs and was listening to an old MCA Records compact disc, and it was just kinda glorious to watch. The deliberateness, and patience, and slow pace was nostalgia and hypnotism at once. I would remember for the longest time, I had my old school water resistant Koss portable CD player, bought for cheap at The Wiz (none other) for 20 bucks. One of the best 20 bucks ever, because it was the baddest ass CD player ever. It had rubber on it, and didn't need skip protection because it was a beast of a CD player. It was ginormous. Even if I was a weirdo, everyone loved my CD player. I could submerge it in ze water and it would still play. I had to carry it in my hands everywhere because it didn't fit into any pocket. A tank wouldn't survive a head on collision with it.

So as I saw this woman with this Discman, and not for ironic or hip reasons, switch CDs out, from one full album to the next, I smiled. I bet I could still do it like that (I'm partial to listening to albums straight through). It's not just a technology thing, but the transition from tapes and CDs to something like an iPod is the patience with which we listen to music, the time we take to listen to musicians and the complete work that they record. Of course there are great singles. That's why we take the time to make mix tapes and CDs. The charm is there. You think about the music more. It's great.

Picture this CD player, but a snap on arm on the right and a light gray front. About twice as thick too. And large kooky rubber buttons along the bottom. And the word Koss was embedded on the plastic front.

Oh and before you forgot that I referenced a J Lo music video, BAM:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ludacris's "Fantasy" in Brooklyn classroom, Notes On A Scandal style

Talk about learning a new tongue (oh come on, that was from Tomorrow Never Dies). According to the Daily News, none to wise, two female high school teachers were caught naked with each other. Passions I guess were fervent a la Notes on a Scandal and the two teachers were immediately given the boot. And they were Romance language teachers. The jokes just sell themselves. Definitely wrong place wrong time sort of thing.

All of this went down (oh come on that's just an expression) at James Madison High in Midwood in our fair county. Famous alum include Joe Torre's brother Frank, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Loni Berman of Berman Bothers. Now social media is in on the case, as there is a Facebook fan page dedicated to all those rumors that have apparently come true: The Infamous Ms. Brito Rumor on Facebook. Not a lot of love for that janitor who initially caught them so far...

"The infamous Ms.Brito rumor. Excuse me, but for those of you that wants this page deleted that will not happen unless Facebook says to do so. For one thing, this page does not tell you anything that nobody doesnt know. It is here so we all can talk about a rumor. Second, we are not exploiting the teachers any more than the students already are."

It's like this, except they weren't angry, they were naked, and they were younger and in a classroom:

And of course, every male high school student is probably wondering if this was in the background:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bar Spotlight (Football Season Edition): Kopperfields

Photo courtesy of Kopperfields Bar.

8910 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Jim: "Hey, I stole these beets from the DJ"
Lady: "Why does the DJ need beets? I don't get it"

This sums up the awesomeness that was Sunday at Kopperfields. Heavy accents, some shouting, lots of ball busting, and a genuine warmth and "join us" attitude.

When it comes to extra perks, you have to hand it to Bay Ridge. Inexpensive beer, and in the case of The Salty Dog, hilarious cover bands and half a fire truck.

Kopperfield's exists on a quiet stretch in the early 90s and 5th avenue; it's quiet because it's one of the few non-residential blocks in the area, so its easy to miss if you're not paying attention (Christmas lights notwithstanding).

It's a very nice bar; the inside is warm and the bar is long, sturdy and clean. Tables are lined up on the left wall opposite the bar, but then you go farther back and it's kinda romantic, the lighting fixtures, Italian-ish/Mediterranean interior, the loungy couches, and nice wood backyard...with the grill straight from heaven. Just a nice looking, spacious bar, and now with more TVs (I'm going to venture that adding the sports element will give the bar even more appeal). According to Jim Shaffer, the owner, they are working to get NFL Sunday Ticket very soon. There are plenty of bars in the area and the more features the better. The jukebox drains out conversation a little, but according to pictures from the usual weekend nights with (DJ Frankie Finesse, Screwy Louie, etc.) a party hardy atmosphere, it's fitting to get the crowd doing a little fist pumping.

I walked in with my girlfriend and my friend Pat and his wife Jessica to catch the end of the Giants game. The Patriots lost earlier in the day and well, that sucked. Jim was sporting a Romo jersey ("Don't be Romophobic", he stated) and the lovely bartender Jackie was big on the G-men as they pounded out a solid victory. A Hasidic was chillin' with a beer at one of the tables along with several couples and single persons. Basically your average Sunday at any establishment.

The reason why we came in the first place was they were sporting 5 dollar pitchers. I've had 5.50 pitchers at The Patriot and Yogi's, but 5 is an all-time low. Coors Light (which I prefer to Bud Light, but that's just being fickle). The other kicker was free food. Now I've also munched on free grub at plenty of bars, and if you haven't, you should get to the nearest one because there's something wonderful about getting something for free at a bar, and since food is awesome, a bunch of people eating for free while drinking is probably the next best thing to free drinks.

This food was crazy good. Jim and his cohorts not only served us some fresh meats, but treated us to a pitcher on the house as well. We had fresh cheeseburgers (I had provolone on mine, GTFO), bratwurst (punch me in the face), sausages (stop this shit), homemade jalapeno poppers (you don't even know, you don't), and chicken kebabs (we're done here). All of it freshly made on the grill, proudly served by Jim who was ecstatic about still grilling in December.

Eating beets (photo courtesy of Kopperfields Bar on the facebook).
Jim couldn't get enough of these pickled beets. He was parading it around, and we had to try one. It definitely perked up my insides for a while, very strong stuff. Lots of jokes around "beets" were made; Michael Jackson, wives, the aforementioned DJs, art scenes, football, etc.

We came in not knowing what to expect and got so much in return and I would definitely suggest if you're far in to Bay Ridge, this would be a great place to go. You'll want to check out their hilarious Facebook profile and plenty of photos (the bar is female....I guess).

They have a serious happy hour on Fridays as well as lots of specials and event nights (retro, pajamas, you know, themes that run deep, like literature). End of the R line, meet the beginning of your late night of drankin'.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Brooklyn Stands Up...for gay marriage...well at least one dude

Below is Brooklyn's very own, former NYPD sergeant Eric Adams, a state senator now, giving his two cents at the gay marriage vote. It's a speech said with conviction, respect, and heart, and you have to give props to him for bringing it all together well at the end. The bill to legalize gay marriage was voted down this week.

Props to Rod 2.0 for putting it up yesterday with some commentary.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Football, or Ted Leo on Sunday December 6th at Bowery Ballroom?

Since the show is sold out at the Bowery (I'm glad I have seen Ted Leo and the Pharmacists on more than one occasion, because they are pleasant in that they take less time to set up than most and have a blend of hyper rock and roll that spells out words like conscience and progressive and empathy and meaning) I'm going with football, but they will most likely be spilling the beans on their new record out on March 9th of next year called The Brutalist Bricks.

Brooklyn Vegan has the artwork and the free mp3 from indie patron saint Matador Records, who is putting out the album, all the tracks, as per usual with albums.

Free mp3 called "Even Heroes Have To Die". Sounds heavy. Here's the artwork. It's just mostly yellow.