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.

 

12.22.08

I have begun to empathize with religious types that don’t want certain things taught in school. After a astronomy class that shows what a speck in the universe I am and a philosophy class that explains that all of my actions might be pre-destined, I am ready to believe in something else. I guess I realized a long time ago that I didn’t matter, but I wasn’t ready for a guy with patches on his elbows to confirm it. 

I am feeling pretty small right now. I had my ass handed to me during finals to the point of feeling like I don’t even belong in school anymore. Part of me thinks that school is not for everyone and the other part thinks that anyone who pays attention enough should do better. Hence, I feel like an idiot. But I didn’t do THAT bad. College is just another arena for learning about heavy rejection. School has become a gigantic editor with a endless series of self-imposed rejection letters. Only this time, I am paying for it. 

Still, any complaining seems like bitching to me. I sets my teeth on edge to hear crybaby students talk about how their professors are idiots because they are not doing well.

I guess I can take comfort in that crap that they tell writers: “It’s just one editor’s opinion.” 

12.14.08

RAINED OUT!!!Our yard sale got rained out today. I think we are gonna try for next week. I will write in again, but probably Saturday at the same address. 

Thanks to everyone who came out the Hangar this weekend to see us play.  The Hangar is my kind of place. I hope they keep it going. 

I have been enjoying MOJO a little too much this past few months. I equate reading MOJO with being completely inept at having a conversation with a real person. While people are doing normal things, I am wondering what Johnny Rotten and the keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer said to each other during lunch. However, this month I gave it a miss as James Hetfield was on the cover ready to talk about The Black Album. I really don’t have as much against Metallica as the average record dork, but I just couldn’t get interested. Instead I bought Uncut, or as I like to call it, MOJO light. They won out this month for having Leonard Cohen on the cover instead of in the border (where MOJO had him) peeking over Mr. Hetfield’s shoulder. Both magazines claim that people are finally discovering Leonard Cohen. I feel like he had been “being discovered” for twenty years. As far as popularity goes, he is no Bob Dylan, but I hardly think Leonard Cohen is playing empty pizza parlors. Insound also has Paul Weller’s 50th birthday interview.  

I have never been to England, but it must be a pretty amazing place to support two magazines like MOJO and Insound. Rolling Stone just changed their format to a regular sized magazine. They STILL could not fill it with anything interesting. Why am I telling you these things? I am recreating what happens when you are waiting to see if the rain stops so you can have a yard sale. Likely, I am incapable of holding a reasonable conversation. Of all the worries Arizona brings, rain is not usually one of them. Ninety pound poetry teachers, yes. Rain, no.  

12.13.08

I hate Christmas Stuff. Every few years or so, I feel like sitting through A Charlie Brown Christmas, but generally, call me a Scrooge, I hate all the songs and imagery associated with the holiday. But if you have to watch a schmaltzy Christmas thing, I recommend Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. This Jim Henson vehicle is sort of a “Gift of the Magi,” only with otters who have a jug band. What more do you need to know about it? I am a pretty big Henson fan anyway, but Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas is brilliant and a model for how we should be living our lives. If I am any judge of that sort of thing. Which I am not, don;t get me wrong. It is the best Christmas special ever except I have not seen the Stephen Colbert one that everyone is raving about. I also like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. These three will probably be my Christmas eve sit in. I know it is fashionable to take a shot a Christmas, so here are my positive notes about it: Henson, Chase, Clobert. Christmas.

12.10.08

 It goes without saying that some disgusting traits come out in commercials during the holiday season. One that particularly pisses me off is one that speaks for me (as a man) and makes the claim that men do not like to receive scarfs as gifts, but would prefer to get gadgets. This sentiment is for all people who feel as though you can wrap an electric razor around your neck to stay warm. Just for the record, I LIKE getting scarves for gifts. Not only that, but aren’t ‘gadgets’ often fleeting and stupid. Think about the electric tie rack. The same fucking gadgets are not around from year to fucking year, but I have scarves from four years ago at least. Do men like gadgets? Aren’t we lazy enough to forgo a few gadgets? I say yes. Bastards want us buying their useless gadgets because we are in a recession. The point is we are screwed and we are going to have to fire up those electric razors with saliva and fire if we are not careful. Fuck your gadgets, except for the IPOD which is the single greatest achievement of mankind. And that is not to say you should replace your music collection with an IPOD. That would be lazy. 

12.06.08

This week, I drew the last three On the Lam from Reality strips of the semester for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. I don’t know if I’ll be back next semester, but I am gonna try. Thanks to everyone who has commented about it. The weekly grind has been a learning experience. I hope to do it again.Cramhole #3 is in full swing this month with artwork coming in from Danny Martin. I am excited about adding his art to the zine this year. Scripts have gone out to other people. I am looking forward to  getting to it myself. I have been taking drawing lessons.  The Basement Apartments have a show and we are having a yard sale this month. The excitement never ends. Later on….billups  

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11.30.08

 

December is going to be pretty busy for me. But I’ll always have time for you. And by you, I mean YOU specifically. That’s right. YOU!!! 

I don’t know where i am going with that… Cramhole drawings are coming in. I am excited about this one. New artists and stories are confirmed and in the works.  And we are finally working on the zine project that I have been writing about for months and re-assuring people who put work into it that it will be done. That is on the table. I hope it is going to be a fun one. It is called You Know What Us Parsons Are Like. It will include fiction and writing about old stuff. A nice little zine for laughs. 

WE have a yard sale planned for mid -December as well. It will be on 5th avenue with multiple households involved.That is what is on with me. Later on… 

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.


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