12.27.08

 

Life has slowed to a crawl this Christmas. Amy went out of town and my job and school both ended all at once. I felt as though I needed a break, but now I have NO responsibilities. But I have used the time to work on Cramhole #3 and poetry for an upcoming show in San Francisco. But there is loads of free time, and the holidays cause me to float down memory lane. Here are some eighties gems I have been revisiting. 

The Burbs: Remember Tom Hanks?? He was this zany actor that used to be in really weird movies before his dadditude set in. I maintain that The Burbs is a lost classic. Tom Hanks stars as an average suburban guy who takes a week off work to hang around the house to relax. His vacation is disturbed by neighbor induced paranoia regarding the strange people who have moved in next door. The new neighbors, led by the wonderful and overlooked Henry Gibson, are a weird bunch; but are they the satanists they are made out to be? This is a unique movie about suburban paranoia laid down by a great cast. 

Drugstore Cowboy: Yea, it is already a classic in most circles, but don’t forget about it. Gus Van Sant is a genius behind the camera and this very neutral story about robbery and redemption is the jewel in many crowns, including Matt Dillon and Heather Graham. 

Three O’Clock High: This is another unique story that combines the high school angst of Sixteen Candles with the pace and edginess of After Hours. The whole movie takes place over the course of a day while the main character, Buddy, is waiting to get his ass kicked by the extremely hyped new school bully. As buddy schemes to try to get out of an ass whipping, a host of new problems arise. The action and comedy often resembles Cohen standby Raising Arizona. Fans of the Cohen Brothers should check it out. If they had made a high school movie, this is what it would have been like, except no one gets kidnapped. 

Anyway, this is what I am up to. Drawing and watching movies. I am showing some poetry and there is a Basement Apartments show scheduled for January. Hope all is well with you.

 

11.27.08

There is a review of the Basement Apartments demo in the latest issue of Maximum RocknRoll. December 2008 #307.

There is also a long interview with Jay Fox about United Mutation who are re-issuing some of their old recordings in the near future. United Mutation was a good band from Northern Virginia. They had a couple of seminal 7”s in the early 80s. United Mutation sound was growly vocals over metal-esque punk riffs. They opened for the Dead Kennedys, Scream, Marginal Man, The Butthole Surfers, and the Meatmen during the burgeoning DC punk rock scene.  The music transcends the metel-esque punk trend of the past few years. People interested in grind and old farty punks like myself might find these recordings of interest. Highly recommended for punks young and old.

Also in issue #307 is the second part of an interview with Canada’s legendary Diodes. I went out and found a copy of issue #306 so I could read the first part it was so good. The Diodes are commonly thought of as having put out the first Canadian punk album. Their sound borders on power pop, but they are awesome and I don’t see much about them. This is an excellent set of interviews. The Diodes have a really comprehensive collection called Tired of Waking Up Tired that includes their first album and much of their later output. It’s an awesome buy.

I have been reading a lot of mags lately, I guess.

Later on…Billups

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11.23.08

The Resonars- That Evil Drone One of Tucson’s best kept secrets is the Resonars. Veterans of the retro 60s sound, The Resonars last year put out one of my favorite albums entitled Nonetheless Blue. Their latest release, That Evil Drone, goes to show that this is the time to get into the Resonars if you are into early 60s psyche. Much like its predecessor, Drone sound is psychedellia in the vein of the Beatles exiting the mop top phase or the early Byrds albums. Loads of good vocal melodies laid over jangly guitars and well placed fuzz. The Resonars have it down but do not ride on the contrived. Good song writing prevails.

And try not to be turned off because I mentioned The Byrds. I have just been into them lately. I have decided that the only reason I didn’t like them before was that they are overplayed and my contrarian mind would not allow it. But if you can turn off the switch in your brain that triggers the hippy love vibe that is so repellant, The Byrds are actually alright. And if you really hate the Byrds, still give the Resonars a chance. Liking the Byrds is my problem. Later on…Billups

 

Movies that I watch, but would not necessarily recommend: 

Psycho II

Why do I like PsychoII? It is sort of a crappy movie, but it was made during a time when sequelfever was first hitting Hollywood. We take sequels for granted, but we forgetthat sequels didn’t rule the screen until the 80s. The much-anticipated sequelto an obscure film called Star Wars reallyopened the floodgates in 1980. Psycho IIwas made during a time when sequels were just becoming ensconced in theHollywood arsenal, but franchises were not yet abundant. And that is what Ilike about Psycho II.  It is written without any assumption.You can tell movies nowadays are written with the idea in tow: “what if we haveto make another one?” Have you ever been watching a sequel and realize thatfifteen minutes have gone by and you have not seen any of the fucking charactersyet? They have come to assume that everyone is sitting anxiously waiting for an“iconic” face to appear. Psycho II picksup right where it left off. However it DOES start with a recap of the showerscene from Psycho. Why? Because you might not have seen it? Who knows? Videowas not as rampant as it once was. It was the early 80’s, so in case you wereunable to bone up on Psycho beforeseeing Psycho II, here is the shower scene. The story begins with Norman Batesgetting out of the insane asylum twenty-two years since his arrest (and twentytwo years since Psycho was made) and an unlikely and implausible story begins. Itis unclear why his property was never forfeited to the state, but Bates, in anorgasm of bad planning, is returned to his residence at the Bates Motel. VeraMiles returns as Lila Loomis, the sister of Marion Crane (the character killedin the famous shower scene in Psycho). She protests Bates’ release from themental institution and sets about driving him crazy again in hopes of gettinghim locked up again. Not a very good exercise in logic, but it makes for agood, low-budget horror story. Perkins is one of my favorite forgotten actors.His reacting to his own psychotic disposition is always golden. The line: “I’mbecoming confused again, aren’t I” is delivered with understated brilliance.The film also stars Robert Loggia and Meg Tilley, just so you don’t forget itis an 80s movie.  They are facesyou want to see in this type of low budget fare. Psycho II is a good movie to watch during one of your overnightshifts at the gas station and when you haven’t eaten all day so you eat KitKats and drink Mountain Dew all night.

11.10.08

 

Thanks to everyone who came out the first annual Tucson Comic Con and made it such a success. I was glad to get some comics in people’s hands. There are limited outlets for independent publishers. I was psyched at the turn out and appreciative of those of you that took interest in what I was up to. Any type of con can be intimidating when all I have is a stack of colored flyers and some Xeroxed zines. YOUR interest is a shot in the arm to me. Thanks. All the scuttlebutt I heard was positive.

Last night I went to see Tab Hunter speak about his career. He was signing his new book at a screening of Paul Bartel’s Lust in the Dust. Paul Bartel is a favorite writer/director of mine. He has directed such classic as Eating Raul and a little known movie that is a favorite on my list called Get Crazy. Bartel had a slapstick approach to crass humor. There is a sort of magical, late night quality to Bartel’s movies in that he is able to make mature humor out of lowbrow situations. His handling of taboo subjects is unique. Many of his films are standards of 80s cult classics. Lust in the Dust is an excellent example of his filmmaking. Lust is a western that combines Bartel’s dark humor with the strange chemistry that Tab Hunter and Divine had in the John Water’s movie Polyester.

Tab Hunter was charming to see in person. His book, “Tab Hunter, Confidential” has just been released. His spoken word last night was an excellent event. If he comes to your town, it is worth seeing.

I also saw the Cohen Brother’s latest film Burn After Reading this week. It seemed this movie came and went. I saw it at Crossroads, the $3 theater in Tucson, which is one of my favorite hangouts in Tucson. The interest in NO Country for Old Men must have made this one a difficult one to promote, but Burn was packed with manic Cohen goodness and deserves another look. Burn features George Clooney and Brad Pitt, who both often make my ass clench. But to their credit, both can shine when in the right hands. For a couple of mega-hunks, you gotta give them some credit for occasionally doing something good. Burn shined with all the quirky humor that used to send me running to the theater every time the Cohen Brothers made a movie.  I still can’t bring myself to see the Cohen remake of The Ladykiillers (the original being one of the greatest movies ever made in my opinion), but Burn After Reading is a new Cohen classic.

We are doing some restocks this month at retailers and working on Cramhole #3. Also trying to wrap up a little lit style zine we’ve been working on called You Know What Us Parsons Are Like.

That’s the Goings on.

Billups.

09.28.08

 Vinyl Scrapyard will be shown at the Tucson Film and Music Festival on Sunday, October 12th 2008.
Information about the schedule for the Tucson Film and Music Fest is up at their website. Take a look. They have some terrific looking stuff playing that weekend.
I will be at the short docs screening. I hope some of you will make it out to say hello. Here are some links about the Sunday Short Docs Program. Drop me a line if I can provide you any info. I still have not seen any ticket price information, but I am sure it will be up at their website.  

Tucson Film and Music Schedule:
http://www.tucsonfilmandmusicfestival.com/html/festival_schedule.html

Link to the program http://www.tucsonfilmandmusicfestival.com/html/festival_films.html#7d

09.26.08

The Eat- It’s Not the Eat, It’s the Humidity- Alternative Tentacles

Punk rock can often be the gift that keeps on giving. It’s funny to me that I am now almost forty, I still identify as a punk rocker although I show almost no outward signs. Neither do I relate to much of the music being called punk rock anymore. But I never wanted to go down the old fart road. I just let the kids have their fun and enjoy my own records and rhetoric. But one thing that the world never seems to run out of is nostalgia, and somewhere right now, at least I hope, someone is making a retrospective of another band I never heard of. This week, it’s the Eat.

I’m out of the loop when it comes to The Eat, but that makes it so much better for me. You might trust my opinion more if I said that I had been into this band for years and have been anxiously awaiting a retrospective. But I live to walk blindly into old punk bands. It’s what keeps the magic happening for me. This album does not disappoint.

This treasure from Florida the late 70s smokes all the way through.  A double album for a reasonable price from Alternative Tentacles, this collection doesn’t even peter out into lame live stuff at the end. This band had an amazing output that rocks for punkers and punks for rockers. The best money you can spend. The first song, “Communist Radio” seems sort of familiar as if someone has covered it in the past. I could do a quick Google search and pretend to have encyclopedia knowledge, but I’m not gonna. I’m gonna leave this bit of trivia to the gods of ignorance and hope that I keep walking blindly into bands as good as The Eat.

08.30.08

The Shirks-s/t 7″
Virginia’s Big Neck Records has given new hope to the 7″ with the release of one of the tightest rock bands around. The Shirks’ self-titled 7″ is one of those records that revitalizes the use of the 45. The Shirks deliver Saints style riffs at blistering speeds. All three songs are catchy and full of attitude. Fronted by the singer of the late-great Problematics, this slab is bound for glory and surely an indication of what’s to come from a kick ass band.

08.26.08

Without a doubt this is the best money you can spend on a book about underground culture. For fans of underground film, this collection of articles from the magazine Cinema Sewer is absolutely essential reading. I am so uncool as to be uninitiated to Cinema Sewer Magazine. Sewer covers a wide range of genres including lost and forgotten horror, low budget science fiction and classic pornography.  I am not a big fan of pornography, but Sewer’s painstakingly detailed profiles of the early players of the porn industry makes for fascinating reading. Among my favorite entries was an article rating made-for-TV movies. A description of movie scenes that take place in parking garages also stands out. The writing goes beyond simple nostalgia; the writers are informed and have a deep reverence for the material. This book brings back the thrill of my first time through Hollywood Babylon. Not just a great book, but a document of the forgotten. 


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