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Saturday, January 22, 2011

STALKERAZZI





I know that you watch me.
Don't you think I can tell.
I know you creep on me.
I've felt your presence near.
I know you still think of me.
I think of you too sometimes.
I know you see me in lucid dreams.
In ways that you obviously can't help yourself.
But you don't think I see you watching me.
Watching from inside my eyes.
Conjured up in my dreams and night terrors.
Like a deja vu that I do not want.

The truly despicable part of it is
that I wanted you to see me- always.
I felt the empty, opaque scream of you without me.
A fracture that caused me tremendous pain.
Caused me to breakdown. To tremble before you.
Not anymore. Now I lick wounds once deep.
Now healing and hoping although cynical to the last.
You lash out from afar still clinging to your rage.
It's quite nasty and unbecoming.
But I expected no less all along.
This is the pattern. So boring and predictable.
I'm not sure what I did to deserve the ire of your i.
There was a time I thought about making it right.
But mending a fence I didn't breach didn't seem fair.
Consumed with self-doubt for a sliver of a second.
Reason prevailed and those moments vanished.
What is your motive? I cannot fathom a guess today.
The not knowing indeed vexes me. Hexes me.
Fate and bitterness took us down this road.
I quit caring a long time ago. Burned that bridge. Shut that door.
Grudges may weigh a metric ton in your soul.
But light as air in my mind.
You think you have some kind of upper hand now.
Sadly you've become the enigma you most feared.
The riddle no one attempts to solve.
The question not worth asking.
The security you cannot have and I would not provide
eludes you while insanity lives in your heart.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: LOUIS CK: HILARIOUS

Written, Edited and Directed by Louis CK (Circus Time Productions)


Massachusetts native Louis CK's new standup movie comes out today called Hilarious and I have been waiting patiently for it for a while. Louis is one of the premiere comics in America today and along with the sadly retired Dave Chappelle, George Lopez and Patton Oswalt is one of the top observers on male contemporary life. Louis' impressive resume includes a writing Emmy for his work on The Chris Rock Show, writing and directing some vehicles for Rock (Down To Earth, I Think I Love My Wife, Pootie Tang), roles in movies like The Invention of Lying, and Role Models countless stand up specials as well as his own highly regarded TV shows on HBO (Lucky Louie) and FX (Louie), and his numerous hit stand up specials and sold out tours.


Ricky Gervais guest starred on Louis Season 1
Hilarious has been winning praise from the jump off. It has lofty the distinction as the first standup movie ever to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and spent most of last year on the indie film circuit. I was lucky enough to see his last special live in Boston 2008's Chewed Up and I had high hopes to see more of Louis' unflinching and fearless style again which I honestly can't get enough of.


After an ominous opening where the music sounded eerily like LED ZEPPELIN's epic “No Quarter”, Louis tackles the most real and painful subjects of life with a deadpan, self-depreciating delivery. The way Louis takes on these topics is both funny and sad at the same time and shows how exasperated and vulnerable he can be. Like a small child with no lid, the laughter he draws out from the crowd is genuine since he says the the things we think, but dare not say. Sometimes there is a uneasy nervousness that develops since he broaches a lot of topics that seem off limits to other comics, but is in this facet of his act the Louis shines most brightly.



Louis causally discusses mundane things about life that vex him, death, his insecurity about being newly single following his divorce, sex, racism and stupidity of people, the antics of his children and problems with aging. By alternately toying with the audience's comfort zone he really uncovers a lot of the collective pathos that we all feel, but can't always talk about. He also discusses how we take modern life for granted and in this way he has become one of the great social thinkers of our time with an honesty that is lacking from the work of many other comediennes. One thing Louis incorporates in Hilarious more than his past acts is taking on the euphemisms and the modern cliche of over exaggerating soft language like his hero and mine, George Carlin. I saw a great interview a year ago where he talked about the album Carlin on Comedy where Louis talked about modeling his recent standup career on Carlin. Carlin's technique for creating his standup act was to constantly reinvents his act to become a more prolific writer and be more original over time. Louis has taken this up and admitted that he is better at comedy as a result.


There will never be another...
As I was watching the film I had a concept fly into my mind from my class at Boston University last year with historian Professor Joe Boskin. To sum it up I'll paraphrase from Steve Martin's memoir BORN STANDING UP from 2007:


Martin describes comedy and the performance of comedy as being the one place in life where the audience is in the dark and performer on stage is illuminated like a dressing room mirror that reflects back all of the audiences’ experiences. It is the collective understanding of this shared, immediate exchange that creates what is satisfying for both the comedian and the audience, which of course is laughter and understanding. In Martin’s opinion comedy is not safe, but rather daring and risk taking in its’ attempt to "shine a light back to society.” 


Louis does this with great aplomb and never condescends to the crowd, always placing himself in the same boat as us and giving us back a “we're all screwed and we're in this thing together” kind of vibe. This may be his greatest gift of all.

Lucky Louie was such a dark and underrated show.

Even though Louis singled out the word genius as prime example of modern abuse I think it is safe to say history will show the term accurately describes him. Please go buy the DVD and CD today so as Louis might say his childrens' futures will be somewhat less shitty and rotten.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

SILENCED




When your #1 weapon has been taken away,
what do you do?
How do you cope?
Like a knife that's been dulled.
Sometimes no whetstone will aid it.
I've no implement to strike with.
The iron is cold and dead.
Left alone in the vast quiet nothing of my mindseye.
Alone and unattended.
Jaws been flapping since I escaped
the watery primordial ooze of The Cave.
Ranting and rambling for anyone to hear
for as long as I could remember.
But primarily to please myself. My self.
The ocean of uber consciousness crushes on.
Flooding the shores of knowledge, inescapable tides rise.
Drowning out the sands of reason.
Nowhere to go with my thoughts, but deeper inside.
Endless cycles of analysis. Paralysis. Ouroborus.
Mostly by a design I am not equipped to fight.
Perhaps if I listened more carefully to others
I might hear more than the rumble of my heart, lips and lungs.
My ego and intellect imprisoned by a virus.
It's not sympathy I crave.
Adulation is what I need to survive.
But a soul on display is hard to appreciate
when all you hear is so much bullshit.
It's your actions, not words that make your heart true.
Stop kidding yourself for one bitter minute.
And learn from this one thing, if anything.
The cost of bulimic mental expulsion
is the absence of the very understanding
you most desire.  


Saturday, January 8, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: ARSON ANTHEM (written in November, published in December)

Insecurity Notoriety (Housecore Records)



As we near the end of one of the best years in recent heavy music releases, I wanted to make sure I uncovered every important band or record to review that came across my greedy ears. Music is my life, but sometimes things try to interfere with my goal of reviewing as much tune-age as I possibly can. One album that almost slipped by me is the full length debut of ARSON ANTHEM. A bastard child made of hardcore, deathmetal, crust and doom; ARSON ANTHEM is an underground super-group of sorts. The band consists of Mike Williams on vocals (EYEHATEGOD/OUTLAW ORDER), Hank III on drums (ASSJACK/HANK III/SUPERJOINT RITUAL), Philip H. Anselmo on guitar (who needs no introduction), and their mutual friend Colin Yeo on bass.

Recorded at Nodferatu’s Lair at Phil’s house and released on his own Housecore label Insecurity Notoriety is a snarling, feral spin on old-school hardcore punk with cool twists and turns tossed in for good measure. Not claiming to be strictly punk like so many pretenders, but exuding the raw feelings and chaos of the music they cut their teeth on this album is true in spirit. Surely this group of talented guys could write music in several different styles of music and likely come away with gold. However, they really bottled the honest to goodness vibe of bands like BLACK FLAG, D.R.I., NEGATIVE APPROACH, POISON IDEA and MINOR THREAT and funneled it through their own deep mojo.

The songs are sharp bursts of furious anger and righteous dismay. Opening with the noisy and brusk “Naught”, it is everything I thought this album would be and it only lasted half a minute. And was an instrumental! Classic sounding punk guitars, trap-like snare sound and a decidedly on purpose lo-fi aesthetic.“Foul Pride” is next punctuated with fast riffs and Williams’ exasperated yelling. After a short, weird detour the song again pummels you dead. The end results are very impressive. “Isolation Militia” is unrelenting and harsh. The awesome gang vocals and intensity of the track reminded me of my favorite NYHC band ever, GORILLA BISCUITS. With most of the tracks coming in at under two minutes “More Than One War” is one of the longer tracks at just under three. The lyrics are a fairly collaborative effort between Phil and Mike. There a a bunch of really smart ones, but I must single out the HENRY ROLLINS-esque list-o-mania of “If You Heard This…”. Check out lyrics like “nicotine/gasoline/ ephedrine/submachine/thorazine/benzedrine/vaseline/libertine”. Awesome! Other standout cuts are the title track, “Crippled Life”, “Death of An Idiot”, “Co-Dependent and Busted” and the final, slow boil-over of “Teach The Gun (To Love The Bullet). Sometimes the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented as much as it’s original design still demands your respect and honor. You may bow down now.