Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Dream Cast

Hello again, my fellow film buffs, I just wanted to give my two cents worth to you all once again... simply because a) I've recently picked up the pace again, thus rendering my writer's block a near extinct facet of my psyche/thing of the past, and b) I really dig this whole new series of dream cast lineups; which tends to keep the creative juices flowing long enough, simply when I can't think of something better to write. Not that this here piece is filler or anything, far from it... a lot of thought went into this dream cast lineup proposal, so pay attention!

As you may all already be aware, I hadn't written some blog posts in quite some time, and had to resort to the usual public service ads (i.e. filler material) that I let loose every now and again to help out some of my friends that are currently up to something, but ever since that incident with the old woman hitting the postal service entrance on Monday... I figured I might as well live every moment as if it were my last and every minute as if it were my first; before I spring myself off of this mortal coil and whatnot. So, since I'm still under the impression that I still have a few good ideas left in me, here goes... This here's my latest piece that I'd like to share with all of you fellow Hitchhiker's out there in the blogosphere.

Anyways, as you can already tell by the title, one of favorite books of all time, and its adaptation onto the big screen (without a doubt) is none other than: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I've always been fond of the original BBC production, which featured members of a yet even more original inception of the series, which was a BBC radio broadcast; going by the same name of course! The movie, on the other hand, had been in development hell for a little over two decades and finally made it to theaters in 2005. However, despite all the impressive visual effects, revamps, and little tweaks here and there to the original, it still doesn't match the brilliantly produced and awfully lower budgeted BBC television series, in my humble opinion. The shortcuts taken really didn't do the characters justice, such as that of Ford Prefect. His introduction into the story was almost completely butchered by the decision to have him wheeling in a shopping cart full of beer (or should I say pints of bitter?) so that he and Arthur can prepare for the hyperspace jump onboard a passing Vogon constructor fleet spacecraft... try saying that three times fast!

80's Cast

Gone was the clever exchange between the chief foreman of the demolition crew and Ford, which is one of the best moments from the television broadcast. What I do commend the casting department on was the actor that they chose as the demolition foreman; due to the fact that in the novel he's described as a far removed descendant of Genghis Khan, which is closer and truer to Douglas Adams' vision than the actor they chose to portray him in the television series. Another omission was the Dentrassi, which are in the in flight caterers responsible for beaming Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect onto the ship. That was perhaps one of the highly overlooked little tidbits, which may perhaps even be one the biggest plot holes out there. As some of you in the sci-fi geek community may know, Dentrassi dislike the Volgons and like to upset them by doing something like beaming stowaways aboard without the proper paperwork signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as fire lighters! I guess that's what happens when most of the budget for a film is spent on very gear looking Volgon costumes.

Another little gripe of mine is the trimmed down explanation of a Babel fish, omitting the whole God does not exist argument. It is featured in a deleted scene if you purchase the DVD, but I suppose the God fearing bible belt climate of film goers probably objected to it during test screenings, thus rendering it on the cutting room floor. What was clever was the substitution of the cow getting milked and falling in love with its farmhand. And cows, by the way are sacred in India... so maybe that was the best consolation prize they had to offer. Speaking of which, the character of Trillian Astra or Trisha McMillan as she's known on Earth was originally meant to be a slim, darkish humanoid, with long waves of black hair, a full mouth, an odd little knob of a nose and ridiculously brown eyes; to which I can only presume to be of an Indian-like descent; or to be more exact... in accordance with Douglas Adam's account; of an Arabic descent. Ford Prefect was described as being not conspicuously tall, with features that were striking but not conspicuously handsome. He had hair that was wiry and gingerish and brushed backwards from the temples. His skin seemed to be pulled backwards from the nose; all of this of course is almost the exact polar opposite of Mos Def, who's almost completely clean shaven for the film, and taller than you would expect Ford's character to be. The one thing that I do give him props for is the fact that he held onto his American accent for the film, making the claim that he was from Guildford seem yet even more odder than it actually was. The scene with him greeting an actual Ford Prefect automobile, under the impression that it was the highly evolved species on the planet, was also a very nice touch.

Still, I can go on and on about how I admire certain aspects from specific versions of this film and nitpick on a bunch of others. Everything is okay the way it is; and it will never be perfect, understandably. But, if the BBC does decide to perhaps consider developing the series once again (especially with its highly anticipated sequels) with a completely new cast, I'd urge them to consider this lineup. Arthur Dent should be played by Jack Davenport, simply because he's taller than your average apelike descendant (who probably knows no more of the history of the tea leaf than the East India trading company) while Ford Prefect could be best portrayed by David Tennant. Both of them hands down, are my number one choice. Oddly enough, Jack was also in the talks for playing Arthur in the movie version of this sci-fi classic, and Douglas Adams did write some episodes for Doctor Who, so it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to incorporate these two brilliant actors, based on that sort of obscure cosmic connection.

Dream Cast 1
L to R: Jack Davenport, David Tennant,
Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rhys Ifans

The characters of Trillian and Zaphod, on the other hand, are complete toss ups; heads or tails, that is. My first choice to play Trillian would be the gorgeous Emmanuelle Chriqui and Rhys Ifans could play the best interpretation of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Of course, in the busy world that is Hollywood, chances are that these actors and/or actresses can't make it due to some other kind of contractual obligation, which is usually why film projects take so long to make, or why sometimes you just gotta make do with what you got. So, let's just say that this project can't get the whole lineup together and they'd have to settle for alternate choices to play the parts and what have you. I, myself, couldn't think of anybody better suited for the main two roles, however I did a little thinking and thought up of some rather suitable second choices to play the parts for Trillian and Zaphod. And the nominees are (drumroll, please...)

Dream Cast 2
Alternate choices for Trillian and Tricia McMillan
L to R: Thandie Newton and Zoe Saldana

We ought to get Mick Jagger to play the role of Zaphod. No joke! Mick's no stranger to acting, for he has done his share of performances (pun) on film, and most importantly his flamboyant rock n' roll persona is almost the perfect embodiment of what Zaphod is, with just the right touch of bureaucratic incompetence to boot; which I'm definitely sure Mick can pull off ever so masterfully. And as for Trillian, it might be a good idea to enlist the services of Zoe Saldana and/or Thandie Newton, simply because she can easily bring just the right mix of brainy sophistication to the role (without a hitch). And also because people usually mistake them for one another... which would make perfect sense for the sequels to the first book, due to there being an alternate reality version of Trillian, so the inclusion of a celebrity doppelganger here would be brilliant! And the caveat to all this is that either one of them could play the role perfectly, that is... if the series were to last that long and not get canceled due to heavy production costs and what have you.  What would also be awesome would be to have cameos from the old cast. Like, for example, Mark Wing Davey can play Beeblebrox IV; ie. Zaphod's deceased great grandfather (as a great nod to the old series); and Simon Jones could play Max Quordlepleen while Geoffrey McGivern could play Hotblack Desiato, as they both suggested in this interview. So that's about it for me and this lame brained idea Hollywood... (which took about a month to write, since I'm such a literary slacker). Thanks for putting up with this fan's humble request.

And one more thing I almost forgot to mention... you must leave the soundtrack intact, so that the Eagles still get their fair due; because as you all know, it's their song Journey of the Sorcerer (hit play on the embedded video below) that was used as the main theme music for both the television series and the movie version.

This has been P.S. Elliott (or Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Dream Cast

Hello again, my fellow film buffs... I just thought I'd put up this post before it was too late; meaning, before they announce the actual finalized and official lineup for the movie adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and not just put out some publicly announced speculation..., which I'm slowly developing a taste for, ever since I picked up the complete DVD collection of this classic 60's show as an import made and shipped directly from China (please visit this link for more details). Yes, that's right... it's cheaper, but sometimes you can tell it's a real bad bootleg because the video freezes up or the disc has been burnt incorrectly (i.e. wrong episode on the wrong disc)! But who cares? It's fun to welcome randomness like that into one's life... along with some pretty cool factory error'ed souvenirs, that were produced by slave driven labor... Far be it from me to not directly make a contribution to China's wealthy economy; because after all is said and done... I'm an American, with a capital I- A,M- A,N- Idiot!

Well, you can argue economics all you like, but it's basically a double edged sword here, when you come to think about it. Because for every penny that's thrown their way, you can either help feed one of their starving villages (if you can find one!) or bid farewell to about say... a million or so dollars that we have currently tied up in their business ventures. Hell, when you really come to think about it; I wouldn't be surprised if Asia moves into our country and leaves an eviction notice on our homes, which had recently been repossessed by all of our banks... oh wait, they own the banks to, sorry my bad! But always remember, you're in good hands! And speaking of good hands, can you please massage my back just a little further down? Yes, that's right! Thank you Kim. Your name is Kim, right? Oh what's that? I'm under arrest?!? But this is a health clinic, right? No I wasn't asking for you to perform an unsavory sexual act... I was just blogging about a bitchin' movie idea!

Okay, well--- before I go off on that tangent and attempt to plea my case before a court somewhere in a Mormon community somewhere; let's take a look at what I'd envision to be the perfect Man from U.N.C.L.E. cast, should Hollywood decide to listen to my insanity, that is! Just so you know, I'm working on a couple of script ideas, that will most likely be revised, re-edited, and revamped into a more passively compromised secondhand draft that I'll openly disavow any knowledge of and inevitably disown as coming from my imagination. So, with all that being said... here's what would have been the perfect dream cast.

Dream Cast 1
Dream Lineup No. 1 (L to R): Kyle MacLachlan,
Ben Foster, the late Pat Hingle.

This first lineup, which includes Kyle MacLachlan (of Twin Peaks fame), Ben Foster (the badass from 3:10 to Yuma), and Pat Hingle (who sadly passed away a few years back) is primarily based on the semblance to the original cast of Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, and Leo G. Carroll.

See for yourself...

Of course, a lineup like this is hard to put together, mainly because one of the actors is dead; this actor is no more; this actor has ceased to be (thank you Monty Python parrot sketch!) and also because of how vain and shallow the industry is sometimes towards actors in their forties. Just because we live in the age of stupid, where lines of experience and sage wisdom can simply be removed by a botox injection or some kind of surgical procedure that involves stretching of some flabby skin over to the back of the skull; simply to look youthful. That's the price they pay for vanity, folks! Anyways, I wouldn't doubt that some hot shot Hollywood mogul out there would make the stupid assumption that Mr. MacLachlan wouldn't be a strong enough contender for the lead role of Napoleon Solo simply because of his age, or some poor excuse like that... even though he bears quite a striking resemblance to Robert Vaughn. All you need to do is squint your eyes a bit and look at his chin and how his look like whenever he smiles. It's almost identical to Robert Vaughn's jaw line and pearly set of whites! So with that being said, here's the more likely cast that Hollywood will almost certainly go with...

Dream Cast 2
Dream Lineup No. 2 (L to R): George Clooney,
Sean William Scott, Eddie Izzard

I figure that there's a good chance George Clooney will play the role of Solo, simply because of his previous work with Steven Soderbergh (i.e. Out of Sight, which practically made Clooney a household name!) and Sean William Scott will most likely wind up with the role if someone else can't make it, possibly due to some busy scheduling conflicts. Eddie Izzard will most likely play Waverly, simply because he has worked with Clooney before (i.e. Ocean's Twelve and Thirteen) plus he's English, which gives him all the credentials (and upshot advantage) which are needed to play the role of Alexander Waverly. So there you go...Personally, I think that the ultimate line up would involve Kyle MacLachlan as Napoleon Solo, Ben Foster, for his uncanny resemblance to Illya Kuryakin, and Eddie Izzard as Alexander Waverly, which may require some slight aesthetic in the hair and makeup department to make Eddie look a bit older, but I'm sure he'd be the perfect shoe in for the job, either way! Plus, he's one of my favorite comedians, so I just couldn't pass up the chance to nominate him in the name of the prime minister of Burundi, whilst planting a flag on the moon and then proceeding to ask: "Is this the sea of tranquility?" I'm not too crazy about Soderbergh directing it though, since the directorial responsibilities should be given to Richard Donner... I mean, after all, he did direct a number of episodes from the original series. So why wouldn't it make sense for him to direct the film?!?

Also, as a little bonus trivia; which may or may not be an actual piece of trivia, but a really big coincidence here... when George Lucas and Steven Spielberg penned Indiana Jones, it was originally going to be called Indiana Smith; which I'm sure you die hard fans already know, but they were considering doing a James Bond type spy movie as an alternate project. Doesn't this little tidbit strike you as monumentally coincidental that Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo in George's earlier project Star Wars bears the same last name as Napoleon?!? And furthermore, the prop guns used in the movie and in the show (which was later edited into full movies as well) were both of the same lines of guns that were developed and made possible by the Third Reich! Solo's blaster was a modified Broomhandle Mauser C96 and the sensational prop gun featured in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a Mauser Model 1934 Pocket Pistol, which was eventually replaced by a Walther P38 Pistol, simply because it was unreliable (i.e. kept jamming). Hmmm... just what is it about fallen dictatorships' choice of firearms that make for sensational movie prop weapons? I'll never know... There was even an episode where a character made a reference to a familiar group of unsavory characters (i.e. The Thugee cult) and later on the goddess Kali is mentioned. Ring a bell, folks? Looks like someone's liable to get sued here, folks!

Oh well, until next time... this has been Dr. Gonzo XXVII (AKA: P.S. Elliott; Special Agent in charge of Special Detail Section 7E - Northwest Sanitation Division) reporting for the International Agency of Smart Ass Remarks and Comments, otherwise known as the IASRC, but more commonly referred to as The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog. Open channel D!

P.S. Oh... and one more thing, this movie wouldn't be complete if it didn't feature any cameos by the members of the old cast, so Robert Vaughan and David McCallum should have to appear as a requisite, otherwise you shouldn't bother watching the film!

Top Seven Instrumentals

Hello friends, it's once again time for another top seven list live (or somewhat nearly declared dead) from our home office in Miami, Florida... the new tea bagger capital of the United States! Originally I had christened this blog post the top seven 60's Era Instrumentals, but due to the fact that I just couldn't keep the very popular Santo & Johnny tune on the list on account of a technicality (it was released in 1959... thus rendering any semblance of chronology here just a bit out of whack) so then I decided to re-entitle the blog post as The Top 7 Instrumentals of All Time, thus enabling me to include a number (or two) that didn't specifically pertain to the era of peace, love, and happiness, but may in fact cross over into the era of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. In the end I decided against the "...Of All Time" suffix, because it was just downright omitting and a bit arrogant as well (directly and/or indirectly of course... since I usually like to keep my ears open to all kinds of music out there, and close them immediately if the music sounds like total shite as the King's English may proclaim) of various other pieces of instrumental music out there.

Through the process of elimination, I personally feel that these are the songs that have withstood the test of time and can easily be identified in several parts of world; with the exception of the younger generation residing in America, whom think that their parents are all just simply bent ole' bastards. But screw them, I mean... what in the hell do they know about popular music anyways? I also regret not including The Surfaris groundbreaking hit Wipe Out... simply on account of the fact that there was some vocals (or spoken word preceded by some cacophonous laughter) but oh well. With that being said, here's yet another...

Top 7 List
(Of Classic Instrumental Tracks)

7) Frankenstein - The Edgar Winter Group - Released in 1973

6) Albatross - Fleetwood Mac - Released in 1969

5) Sleepwalk - Santo & Johnny - Released in 1959

4) Pipeline - The Chantays - Released in 1963

3) Green Onions - Booker T & The MG's - Released in 1962

2) Miserlou - Dick Dale & the Del-Tones - Released in 1962

1) Yakety Sax - Boots Randolph - Released in 1963

You have been listening to the smooth and soniferous sounds of P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reciting an ariatic piece from his debut album entitled The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog. Catch you on the flip side...!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Legend of Zelda Dream Cast

Greetings again my fellow film buffs, I just wanted to take this time to announce a new series of installments that all center around the usual nerdy/geeky movie buff's (such as me, myself, and I don't think so!) attempts to prove to the word that he knows a thing or two about the right casting decisions... more than the typical Hollywood machine would give him credit for--- or at least manage to pay some semblance of some pretty decent scale for.

I'd like to start off with this gem that I found whilst channel surfing the net. And that is the Legend of Zelda movie, which isn't exactly a movie, but more like a cruel practical joke (that just so happened to be put out there on April 1st) played by some pretty ingenuitive and highly elaborate production company. The actor portraying Link even looks like Jesse Eisenberg! You have to see this for yourself, so click on the player below...

Let's imagine, if you will, that there are not some pretty twisted sons of bitches out there who have nothing to do but to yank the proverbial cranks of some diehard followers of The Legend of Zelda franchise, and that some slick wheeling and dealing Hollywood producer would actually consider producing an actual live action film based on this highly successful gaming series. Well, let me just begin by offering you all what I believe to be the perfect dream cast.

For the role of the Elvin-like hero, the part should go (hands down) to Michael Cera. Reason being, that he's already had some experience playing an action adventure comic book superhero (i.e. Scott Pilgrim) so why not become step into the shoes of a legendary video game hero by the name of Link? It could happen...

As for our fair princess Zelda, let's give the part to our favorite cheerleader, whose world can be saved if we just save her in time! And that part should go to none other than Hayden Panettiere. All that's required here is just some minor adjustments to her ears (some left over Vulcan prosthetics should come in handy) and you've got yourself a heroine or damsel in distress (depending on how close the script will respect the source material and all)!

As for the villain, well... who better can fill the shoes of the evil wizard Gannon than Oliver Platt? Why not? He certainly looks like he can easily pull off the role of a pig-like demon, no? Well, technically, the character has a more boar-like appearance than anything. But still, Oliver did do a phenomenal job of making a pig of himself in the original Showtime series Huff (letter to the execs: why the hell did they have to cancel this show?!?)

And the part of the sage old man who guides Link along his quest (in the underworld dungeons, in the over world caves, and just about everywhere and anywhere else... kind of makes you wonder if they had hologram projection capabilities in Hyrule, doesn't it?) can easily be played by Sir Ian McKellen. I'm not exactly sure if he's been knighted yet or not, but what the hell? Any actor with a thick English accent deserves to be a Sir sooner or later in their career, no? All that's needed is some left over wardrobe from The Lord of the Rings films, with maybe some slight tailor made modifications here and there and you've got yourself some Oscar award winning material on your hands, here folks...

Who knows? Maybe we can get Tim Burton or maybe M. Night Shyamalan to direct it and/or write it (for that matter). And this choice of course, would mean that either Helena Bonham Carter and/or Johnny Depp would also be involved in the film. Perhaps, Johnny would be my second choice to play Ganon. Helena could easily pull off the part of the Old Woman. And my apologies if that last statement sounded like a jab against this actress' complexion... I'm simply going by the makeup work she underwent in the film Big Fish, when she was playing the part of the Witch. Anyways, this is just a crazy pitch of an idea that's most likely to go nowhere on my part (as usual). So don't take it too seriously, folks! After all, this farce may just be right on par with a Butterfly Effect sequel! One was perfect enough, Hollywood! In the meantime, stay tuned for our next dream cast installment...

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII; the Movie Guy?) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog..

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top Seven Reasons Why Your Job Sucks!!!

Hello again, my fellow prisoners, I'm slowly starting to arrive at the conclusion that my life is never going to get that much better than the sad, sorry, shape that it's in right now. This is (just like the movie) As Good As It Gets! So because of this, I realize that it's much better to blog about these things than to keep it bottled up inside of me, until it slowly eats its way out from inside me like some sort of unmentionable terminal cancer or something. So without any further ado, here's the..


7) Whilst at work, you are subjected to hearing long sermons (AKA: water cooler talk) about trivial unimportant stuff that's not even remotely related to your field of interests--- for example, the new Harry Potter film and how it may or may not remain true to the book; restaurant spots to take your date, fiance, and/or significant other on; (What significant other, motherfucker?!? That's my hand you're talkin' 'bout, you idiot!) some vampire meets werewolf and have some sort of illegitimate offspring together type of movie, that just so happens to be the bomb because some teeny bopper zine wrote about it in some high profile celebrity rag drab out there (and these movies, by the way, usually star some post adolescent Mouseketeers that are about long overdue for an almost certain trip to a rehab clinic of some sort); and/or just about any other annoying thing anybody out there with a perfectly sane mind can think of, that will and almost certainly manage to annoy the hell out of "normal" people like you and me; or simply yours truly over here... come to think of it, everything annoys me severely! So fuck you, too!

6) Your boss's idea of saving up on his electrical bill by constantly conserving needless energy (such as air conditioning) is at odds with your own level of thermodynamic self-preservation. In other words, the AC shall be cranked up to artic blast during winter and set to Beezelbub's room temperature during the summer.* No wonder personal electric fans are still a hot selling item this side of Scandinavia!

5) During your moments of clarity (that is when the voices in your head are not instructing you to stab your co-workers in the eye with any one of the office fax machines) you keep getting this repeat mantra, that goes a little something like this: "You've worked here for about seven years of your miserable pathetic life, and all your earning is just a few measly cents upon what you used to earn when you first got here! Why can't you find a better job for yourself? Why'd you quit college? It serves you right... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!" This, of course, will be preceded by a very low and continuous hum; sort of like what yogi gurus use to meditate in select parts of the western world, as they are constantly earning millions upon millions of dollars suckering some uptight corporate office drones out of their hard earned cash! Ohhhhhmmmmmmmmm! Ohhhhhhmmmmmmmm! Payday today, Master Chatbrakah Pandinger Singh? I thought that was yesterday? Ohhhhhmmmmmmm! Ohhhhmmmmmm!

5b) Raise? What raise...?

4) People who don't really care about you enough to do the proverbial meet and greet with you on the weekends and/or any and all bank related holidays at just about any typical garden variety watering hole constantly have the nerve to come up to you and ask: "So how was your weekend?" that is, after they interrupt your response by sharing yet another one of those status: unconscious via total inebriation stories that only make sense to them and whoever they invited to witness that spectacle firsthand... these invitees by the way, are usually every other one of your co-workers (minus you, of course!).

3) You constantly find yourself glancing at your watch, your computer's atomic clock, and/or your telephone's clock digital display just to make sure you're still in sync with the times. Because the last thing you want to do is clock out a bit too late... that is, you want to be the first to get the hell out of here, when you're usually the last one to show up on time! Go figure...

2) Overtime? What overtime?!?

1) You have to continue doing this waking up in the middle of your prolonged weekend routine (AKA: doing the Monday morning grind) until you've managed to pay off the large amount of debt you accrued just by betting all your earnings at the roulette table that is Wall Street!

This has been P.S. Elliott (or the highly evaporated disgruntled office employee going by the pseudonym of Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog. Peace (frog) out!

* No joke here, folks... this is 99.9% true; with that 0.1% there for posterity purposes, which goes to give the head honcho some likely benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Interview with Lauren Reskin of Sweat Records

Hello again my fellow prisoners, after quite some time of being on this whole gloomy oil disaster trip, I've decided to shift gears and get back into Gonzo mode once again (before I get committed to chain link windows) and report a story of what I consider to be of great import; (and sometimes even export to, if you want to get technical about it...) specifically for the sake of the finest musicians this city has to offer. Of course, bear in mind that this interview was out there for quite some time, still gathering the much needed A section of a Q session. So for a while there, I guess you can technically say it was a one-way interview between myself and the unknown variable that is fate throwing some dice. And it just so happens that today I checked my inbox and lo' and behold... I rolled a seven! For I noticed that the interviewee (i.e. a one Lauren Reskin) had taken her time to fill out her responses carefully and to the best of her highly articulate abilities, and provided me with some pretty straightforward and directly to the point answers. No fluff here, folks... this is all bunny free, satisfaction guaranteed! And so it gives me a great privilege to share with you all the skinny on a pretty groovy record store by the name of Sweat Records. So without any further ado, here it is, folks! Enjoy...

PS: How long have you lived in Florida? Are you an original native of this land in the sun of ours?

LR: I was born in South Miami and have lived here all my life.

PS: What inspired you to open a record store?

LR: The fact that by the time I was getting out of high school, Miami didn't really have a sort of classic indie record store. The city is very spread out and I knew it would become a destination for music lovers from all over, not to mention visiting tourists looking for Miami culture beyond the South Beach scene.

Sweat Records Image 1
View from the inside...pretty cool for such
a sweaty place, dontcha think, folks?

PS: Why is it called "Sweat" Records? Is there a story behind that name? Did you come up with it yourself? Details please...

LR: My friend Sara who co-founded the store and I chose Sweat for several reasons. First is that it's Miami, it's sweaty. Second is that we do a lot of yoga together. Third is that the term can be used like "I'm sweating that new Broken Bells record so hard." It just works.

PS: What's your opinion of the Miami music scene in general? What do you feel are its strengths and weaknesses?

LR: The scene is on a massive upswing. Strengths-wise we have a TON of fantastic bands and artists making unique music and putting on great live shows, and lots of people actually going out to see these local shows. As for weaknesses, the scene in general could always use a few more venues, especially places that cater to all ages. A lot of bands I know could also use proper management to help guide them along. It's sad to see a band that's crazy talented but can't get their shit together enough to get merchandise made or properly promote their own shows.

Sweat Records Image 2
View from the outside...courtesy of Google Maps
street (AKA: roadside stalker) view.

PS: Do you feel as though your store serves a great purpose as far as turning the masses on to the local talent that Florida has to offer is concerned?

LR: Absolutely, and once we launch our local webstore (hopefully by the end of the summer), we'll have an even broader reach.

PS: Your store has been voted in The New Times best of category... what were the exact titles/nominations that you all received honorable mention for again?

LR: To answer your question... We've been voted Best New Music Store (in our first year); Best Record/CD Store a couple times, and recently Best Birthday Party for our Sweatstock event last April. They sorta stopped giving us "Best Record Store" because we're really almost the only record store.

Sweat Records Image 3
Ready? Set... Sweat!
(April 2010)

PS: Do you think that these noteworthy write-ups have succeeded in driving more customers to your store, or at least done something more beneficial for your place, in as far as getting some type of recognition for what you all do, or better put... have these votes gotten the word out about your venue?

LR: Not sure if it brings us a ton of new customers but it's nice to be recognized either way. They write about our events all the time anyways, so we love The New Times and totally support what they're doing.
PS: What do you feel as though your store has to offer that can't be found in any other typical record store?

LR: Well, local flavor for sure, and we're the only vegan coffee shop in South Florida so we've gotten a huge response from that. We're the only place in the whole tri-county area to carry Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallows from NYC, and we've started doing vegan brunch on Sundays. We also throw a ton of in-store events every month and do everything from stand-up comedy to circuit bending workshops.

Rachel Goodrich
And here we see a local musician (Rachel Goodrich)
who's definitely got her shit together... showing
her support for Sweat (and Heineken, too!)

PS: Aside from the aforementioned endeavor of yours, with the plans you have with the whole online store and whatnot, what else do you see in the immediate future for your store? Will there be more store locations, or do you plan on staying in the same location long enough to establish a sort of long term reputation, like say a mom and pop shop... you know, like something along the lines of what Tobacco Road and/or Churchill's has garnered for themselves due to longevity and all?

LR: In the immediate future we just want to stay here and hone and improve our location into the best record store it can possibly be. Longevity is our main goal so we don't want to dilute our resources just yet.

So there you have it folks; Sweat, Live Music, Stand-Up Comedy Acts, Vegan Eatery, and a pretty chill place to hang out at... all under one roof! Definitely worth checking out. You can visit Sweat Records at the following links listed below for more details, or if you're in the area, just walk on in and check the place out for yourself, live and in person! It's located at 5505 NE 2nd Avenue (directly situated right next to Churchill's Pub).




This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: the reverend of irreverence Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

P.S. No bunnies, rabbits, hares, or any other member bearing even the remotest semblance to the rodentia family were harmed during the making of this here interview. Well, maybe except for Mortimer Mouse, but he was dead long before he had a chance to make a household name for himself... that is, WAY before this blog piece was ever even conceived to be published! But at any rate, let's all bow our heads in unison, just so we can have a moment of silence for that aborted Disney concept!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top Seven Reasons Why Miami Sucks...

This here's my sarcastic ode to the city of the fun and sun (whatever that means) that pretty much sums up why Miami (in all its dull, lackluster glory) just plain sucks. Enjoy!

Top 7 Reasons Why...

Miami Sucks

7) The new stadium being built in the wake of the Orange Bowl's demolition. The damn thing looks like a combination high-rise/metro rail service station/excessive waste of taxpayer money. Need I say more?

6) The fact that we're each contributing to the local mayor's lease on his brand new BMW 550i Turismo Sedan and we're not even allowed to take a spin around in it. Maybe you can't really claim joyrides at your end of the year tax expenses, eh Mr. Mayor?

6b) And speaking of cars... doesn't anyone know how to drive in this godforsaken city? It seems like every idiot down here obtained their driver's license from their local bodega.

5) The fact that climate change is a problem to the rest of the world and only just another day in the shade to us third world natives over here.  Shall we continue...?

4) Calle Ocho, Flagler Street, and Miami Avenue playing host to a clean air harmonica bus that spews forth the most godawful carcinogenic mushroom clouds... on any busy day of the work week, typically during rush hour. Enough said!

3) Miami's notoriety based primarily on its exotic hotspots, awfully warm climate, sunny beaches, and it's beautiful eye candy, is devoid of being notoriously written about (enough that is) when it comes to its plastic sense of indifference towards the local yokels (such as me, myself, and moi); petroleum ridden high tides; SPF-100,000* wide open testing grounds (where any and all applicants are free to test market this chemical sludge without any prior working knowledge and/or authorized consent for that matter...); as well as its lushly furnished living accommodations at the Stomata Inn, the number one choice touristic destination for any and all wayward transient stay meth lab pharmacists that the world has come to know and loathe.

2) The Miami Music Scene? What music scene?!?

1) Two words: Tar balls!

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: his holiness of wholesomeness Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

* This new sun block formula has been known to cause mild headaches, cramps, fatigues, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the glands, loss of motor skills, potential brain damage, and sporadic instances of going into an extended interpretation of the Macarena without any form of musical accompaniment whatsoever. Patients should consult their doctors before use. If a rash occurs, don't say they didn't warn you! Don't try to sue us either, for we have an army of lawyers at our disposal with air tight limited liability contracts drawn out that are systematically designed to fuck over the little guy and keep us in power. So suck on that, bitch! Caution: keep out of contact with the eyes and/or mouth. If accidental swallowing or ingestion of this product occurs, contact your local hospital immediately before permanent blindness occurs. And then continue to suck on it some more, bitch! Continued side effects varies from patient-to-patient usage. If you have passed your recommended dosage (er... I mean, clearly defined and stated skin application) chances are you're now hooked on our designer brand patented formula, which technically makes you an expendable statistic as far as we're concerned. How you like me know? You like that, huh? Now suck it off and wipe yourself after you're done, ya skank! Patients that are prone to migraines, seizures, salsa, merengue, and bachatas, should refrain from use of this topical (and/or tropical) cream. They should just pass it by on the isles of their convenient store and look for something better, if not practically cheaper. And if all else fails, it's probably best to look at the expiration date, for chances are you probably applied it about a year and a half after it's terminal shelf life. SPF 100,000 is not sold in stores and can only be purchased illegally in some third world country, and flown in overnight on an ultralight craft by a certified pilot named Pepe Fracaso. He only works on weekends and holidays for the going rate of about $1,000,000 an hour, so please be sure to contact your tax preparer for any and all potential IRS audits that are and will be sure to ensue after your purchase.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop vs. Observe and Report

Hey gang, I just thought I'd change things up a bit and write a piece on two ridiculous movies that I like watching over and over again 'til I've practically memorized every line in them to the point where I'm in immediate need of professional help. So instead of forking over a year's work of wages to get hooked on some over-the-counter and potentially highly dependent laboratory pharmaceutical, I thought it would be best to do another versus style blog piece on the similarities, or pros and cons (if you will) between the sensation you get from watching Paul Blart Mall Cop versus the reaction you get out of watching Observe and Report. In a nutshell, it's kind of like whiskey and soda---not mixed together, of course, but rather taken in short visual installments. I don't recommend actually paying attention to either of these movies, because well... there's nothing to learn out of them, other than how to make a fundamentally high grossing income from shooting a movie in the form of a tried and tested dick and far joke formula that never ceases to amaze the likes of the general public. It's like celluloid opium for the masses, I tells yah! And here's my personal toke, no--- take on these two movies.

If you like watching a movie that's silly, with an almost Disney like vibe, it's wise to choose Paul Blart, however... if that's a little too tame for you, I'd stick with Observe and Report, which has more of an adult college humor vibe to it all. But here's the clincher folks. These two films are basically the same, and I'm not talking about the fact that they both center around two distinct hapless and almost half witted/dimwitted security guards, but there's a lot more to it than that. So I've taken the liberty of compiling a list of strange similarities that I've observed myself... and am reporting for that matter! Sorry for the cheesy pun, but let's get to it.

Beginning with the most obvious one, take a gander at the movie posters below. Notice how they both include a close up of the protagonist (or would be, and sometimes unlikely hero) of the picture. Maybe there's not much to go on there, but I just thought it was highly coincidental that these particular movie posters are relatively the same; in that both of the principal roles revolve around security guards that are engaged in the same exact job (i.e. guarding a shopping mall). The only difference of course is that Ronnie is head of security, while Paul is just a regular underling. And the odd part is that Ronnie's uniform matches the rest of the security guards that work for him. Usually the head of security wears a white uniform, like Paul does! Go figure... can anyone please get a technical consultant more involved on these sets?!?

And then there's another little tidbit which seems to have lost its footing in reality. And that is security guards carrying guns in Observe and Report. Normally one would need a G license to handle those sort of things, which would imply taking some sort of psychological evaluation or general competency test. And since Ronnie is bipolar (a near borderline delusional here, folks) it only baffles the mind as to how this yokel got his hands on that type of license in the first place! The fact that got fired and managed to make his way to the gun locker (which is in and of itself yet another typical example of pure Hollywood bullshit) is beyond absurd, because normally one would have to retire any and all standard issued weapons that their security outfit provides them with (if any) upon getting fired. And even still, it's not up to the security department to be issuing those types of things in the first place, because it can very well imply a liability. I mean, let's face it, we've already got a psycho handling a gun on our hands over here, so what else do you need?!? And more importantly... they're not cops!!! They're freakin' security guards! This I find very comical because it's quite a farce in and of itself. Then again... the twins (i.e. two of Ronnie's subordinates, and not his ding-a-ling) did say that it would be cool "if" they could be outfitted with these types of things. And a little later in the film, we get to be treated to the site of Ronnie with a taser; to which I ask... what kind of security outfit is this anyways? And on that note... both principal characters seem to have something wrong going for them, in as far as their chemical makeup is concerned. As mentioned before, Ronnie is bi-polar and takes medication for his symptoms (which he shares with his infatuation... kind of makes you wonder how he doesn't lose his job doing this, huh?) while Paul Blart suffers from hypoglycemia (i.e. lack of sugar intake) and resorts to eating sources of sugar coated nourishment for his ailment (such as a lollipop that's been stuck to the floor and covered with what appears to be cigarette stubs) just so he can get up and get back in the swing of things.

Next we have the love interests for each picture. Upon seeing Paul Blart for the first time, I could have sworn that the actress who played the role of Amy (Blart's love interest/infatuation/what have you) was actually Anna Faris, but then I realized it wasn't, after doing a second take and wondering if it was or if it wasn't. Anyways, I was evidently mistaken, since the role was actually played by actress Jayma Mays. So aside from there being a love interest (i.e. someone who would actually care for these two big palookas) in each film, both of them look almost identical. Maybe they were cloned in some kind of Hollywood test tube facility. Who knows?

Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report Lead Actress Images

Of course, Anna is not really Ronnie Barnhardt's (that's the Seth Rogen's character in Observe and Report, by the way) primary love interest, because this slut (that is her character Brandi and not the actress herself! Duh!) will bang just about anybody. And on that note, Paul Blart and Ronnie Barnhardt both have similar last names, which both end in the same pronounceable syllable (i.e. art). And if you take away their last names, you end up with Paul and Ron, which is coincidentally also the name of two popular local disc jockeys (that is, Paul & Young Ron). It's a Hollywood cloning conspiracy I tells yah!

Well, actually Anna is the first love interest, but the film also featured a great performance by Collette Wolfe (just watch the scene where she breaks down in tears which was absolutely the most convincing tear jerker of a performance that this fool here has ever had the pleasure of witnessing!). Her role is the typical "Oh, I didn't see you there" overlooked love interest/surrogate mother of a lover, and she plays the part very well. It's a shame this film didn't pick up any sort of academy nomination or award for that matter! I definitely would've cast my vote for her. And why is she crying? Because Paton Oswalt (i.e. Spence Olchin in King of Queens, which was practically Kevin James' launching pad for his acting career) torments her at her place of work due to the cast on her leg, which is brought on by some sort of chemical deficiency. Where do they come up with these things anyways?

Then of course, there's the differences (yet still notable similarities to a degree of patheticness) between each of these security guard's modes of transport. On the one hand, you have Paul Blart riding about all over the place in his segway, while Ronnie drives around in a golf cart, which could probably pass for a segway one of these days, but for the time being it's just an electric golf cart; plain and simple. The closest thing resembling this thing is a two-seater segway, however the one in the film has four wheels, which makes it a golf cart. So basically it's all just a matter of being close... but still no cigar! Both of these modes of transport have their share of almost equal screen time in the two films, but the segway is featured a little more prominently (specifically in Blart's online dating video sample!). Coincidentally, each of the films feature a sequence where the main protagonists are taking their love interest out for a spin with them, of course Jayma's character Amy is a little less reluctant to go on a ride than Anna's character Brandi is.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report Riding Images

Then of course, you have a couple of other similarities which may or may not be hard to spot, depending on how read up you are on your IMDB movie trivia. Both films feature a pair of brothers sharing some acting duties. In the case of Observe And Report, it's more obvious since you can easily see a pair of identical twins (no it's not a digital camera trick) playing the part of Ronnie's security team, while in Paul Blart, you see Kevin James' real life brother Gary Valentine (who played the part of his cousin in King of Queens) doing a cameo of a highly deluded Karaoke singer with a weird looking set of receding hippie hair on him. Bang up job on the makeup department there! I didn't even know it was him the first time I saw this film!

Then there's the (what I can only refer to as Hollywood's idea of affirmative action) part of the film that decides that it's necessary to include at least two actors of Indian decent for the film, just so the American audience can use them as an excuse to make fun of, for some hitherto unbeknownst and highly boneheaded line of reasoning. In Observe and Report we get to see Aziz Ansari get attacked by Seth Rogen's character, for no apparent reason, other than the fact that the two hate each other due to what can only be a stereotypical racial profiling excuse on Ronnie's part. But I must say that the line "Fuck you Ronnie, nice hat, you stupid motherfucker!" during the undercover sequence was without a doubt one of the funniest lines from that movie. That and Aziz's character getting punched in the face for no apparent reason whatsoever other than he was simply in the way; in the wrong place, at the right time, was also just satirically brilliant on that blatant scripting of blatant dick and fart jokes level. Then you had the other actor Eddie Rouse (which sort of looked like a reincarnation of Sammy Davis Jr.) getting tazered, which was a sad display of what idiots in authority can do to the innocent, but then again... it's the poignancy of this particular film which I liked the most. It's blatant honesty and lack of consideration for the actual safety of fellow human beings is what makes Observe and Report the better laugh riot; in short... it's a a hell of a lot less of a mile's worth of bullshit, and a hell of a lot more casually dramatic realism. I think if I had to buy into the concept of choosing between would be terrorists/heist robbers that ride skateboards and bicycles and a streaker terrorizing random women in a public mall and an inside criminal (who turned out to be one of the security team's own lieutenants) I'd probably go with the latter because it's seemingly more realistic.

Paul Blart of course, featured Adhir Kalyan (of Aliens in America fame) as the stalkerish boyfriend of the daughter of one of Blart's drinking buddies, played by Erick Alvari (of the two or three? minutes to nuke a perfect burrito Encino Man fame). I'm still trying to figure out how they become all buddy-buddy so quickly (and over the phone, no less), especially if you consider the premise of their first encounter over the phone; which was basically the typical "What the fuck are you doing with my girl's phone?" sort of plot element. I guess it must have been one of those deleted scenes which ended up on the cutting room floor and lost in a vault somewhere.

Another coincidence that I've noticed between these two films is that each of the film's protagonists have to reckon with their share of unruly superiors, or at least people in a position that are of a higher authority than they are. For example, in Observe and Report, you have Ray Liotta playing Detective Harrison who's minute long explosive tirade on Ronnie; with the old school cop phrase: "'re a fuckin' faggot!" was just priceless! And in Paul Blart, you have a more of co-worker being an asshole when you (that is, the hapless protagonist of this film) needed it the least, as performed by Allen Covert. Aside from that coincidence, both films also feature relationships between the lead roles and their mother figures. In Paul Blart, you have Shirley Knight playing it straight with her role as momma Blart, while in Observe and Report, the audience gets treated to a highly dysfunctional (and usually passed out on the living room floor) booze hound that is Ronnie's mother, as portrayed by Celia Weston. I tend to prefer the latter's performance because as fucked up as it is, one can't help but to laugh out loud at the general deterioration of this character on the screen. Don't get me wrong, I like Paul Blart too, but it was just too tame as compared to Observe and Report.

The other bitchin' part about Observe and Report that sold me more than Paul Blart was its soundtrack. It was great to watch up to the part where Ronnie and Brandi hook up for the first time, just to get treated to the song "Brain" by the band The Action (note: play the video below...) And who can forget the take a walk on the dark side sequence that Ronnie's lieutenant (2nd in command)/temporary partner-in-crime Dennis (as portrayed by Michael Peña who wears a haircut that eerily resembles a Welcome Back Kotter star Gabe Kaplan...with a tan, that is!) leads him into? Just listening to The Yardbirds in a movie, performing "Over, Under, Sideways, Down" is downright Kool and the Gang in my book. And who can forget the director's nod to Flash Gordon's "The Hero" theme (as performed by Queen) during the hilariously funny confrontation between Ronnie and the local law enforcement? I mean, the guy practically took out the whole army of pigs all by himself... and with a flashlight, no doubt!

I guess what really makes a good film work in the end is its plot; and in order to have a good plot, you need clever writers, and more importantly the right actors to portray the film's roles. Paul Blart seems to be one of those movies that you can laugh out aloud, but only in short temporary bursts, because it tends to be more silly; an almost G rated comedy, to say the least. I mean, come on! A Yellow Kitty band aid?!? That's just cutesy humor, whereas in Observe and Report you're treated to a full frontal male nudity shot (and in slow motion out of all things!) that just begs the question--- What in the fuck were the producers smoking when they agreed to film this and make it available for theatrical release?!? It just boggles the mind, really... but it's hysterical. And the fact that the streaker's mad dash across the mall is punctuated by a highly unexpected gun shot to the chest area (oh I'm sorry... I forgot to say SPOILER ALERT!) is completely unexpected. And that, my friends, is what makes a good film worthwhile in my book.

Where Paul Blart falls short is it's face of a plot device. I mean, out of all the places that a group of highly skilled bank robbers (or possibly even BMX extreme sports rejects) can hit... why a mall? These are thieves; their primary concern with life is stealing, not kidnapping and extortion. Pretty farfetched, but okay, I suppose. Now Observe and Report on the other hand, has a stronger foothold in reality. Nude streaker terrorizing (if you can call showing off your godly physique to any immediate stranger a terrorist activity) the mall, that's really a possibility. Just how long he can get away with it, is kind of sketchy. But still, it's definitely a lot more believable. And the fact that there was an inside job, involving one of the security guards (Oops! There I go again... I'm sorry; SPOILER ALERT!) is very realistic. This movie makes no excuses and it is what it is. Totally funny if you have a penchant for understanding a highly dysfunctional comedy. Just the scenes where Seth Rogen's character Ronnie completely breaks the silence and launches into the poignant and laconic universal salute of "FUCK YOU!" is priceless and very carefully measured. And let's not forget the exchange between him and Aziz's character, which was an ode to yet another one of my favorite comedic (and highly dysfunctional in its own right) classics Bad Santa, during the negotiation scene between Tony Cox and the late great Bernie Mac. Simply put, just substitute the words "fuck you!" for "half" and you've got a gem on your hands there, my friends! Now that I think about it, Paul Blart did feature an homage to Bruce Willis' trapped in an air vent scene in Die Hard. So I guess that's yet another similarity right then and there, folks! In that both films contain some sort of homage to other movies.

So what's left? Oh yes, I've heard there are rumors of a potential sequel to Paul Blart. It kind of figures as such, when you consider that Happy Madison Productions is notorious for making films that are highly grossing office blockbusters. What would be cool is that if they could work out some sort of deal and pit these two characters against each other somehow. That would really be the kind of project that would be really worthwhile to see. Can you just imagine Paul Blart squaring off against Ronnie Barnhardt? That would be awesome... So until next time, I'll leave you with this highly concocted visual aid just to get you started on the laughter that will most likely be sure to ensue soon enough...

Paul Blart: Mall Cop Versus Observe and Report Image

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: his holiness of wholesomeness Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, tha is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

P.S. I also forgot to mention that both films featured hilarious sequences with the main protagonists applying for the police force... so much so in fact, that they both have to endure a set of challenges along them standard issue police endurance test type obstacle courses.

Furthermore, both films also feature a first date between the protagonists and their love interest. While Ronnie technically scored on the first date (well...sort of, considering Brandi's state of heavily medicated inebriation and all!) and Paul Blart blew it by royally fucking up Karaoke night for everybody within earshot... just who actually won in the end is subject to conjecture; since Paul does get married and Ronnie just gets the secondary love interest. Oops! There I go again! SPOILER ALERT! How long the two of them will last together, however, is anybody's guess... considering that Nell is one of them born again virgin nutbags and all that jazz.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top Seven Signs You Have Writer's Block

Hello again my beloved fans and avid readers alike... recently I've noticed that I hadn't really followed up on that idea of constantly adding to the reader's digestive tract of lighthearted comedy novelty writing by continuing to post blog entries that included the Top Seven List Tags that were introduced a little while ago. So sorry about that, my fellow prisoners... but it appears as though I've been suffering from a heavy case of writer's block, and well--- enough said! Let's leave it at that. So in an effort to keep this blog concept of mine going, and prevent it from being left unattended with blog entries dating back to the stone age and all, I think I'll give it another go, all right? So here is the:


7) You keep telling yourself that one day you'll be most remembered by you're highly anticipated follow up to your one and only literary offering, which was possibly just a three lined dedication to someone up on a website somewhere, most likely a guestbook entry! No wonder writers haven't got any friends!

6) Your ego's currently obsessed with the fact that you must publish that manuscript that's been boiling in your head ever since childhood, and yet you never get around to writing it because you just don't have any free time! Excuses... excuses! HA!

5) In an effort to try and jump start and get yer' literary creative juices flowing again, you resort to watching your favorite movies, reading the books that have the most profound affect on your writing style, or any other activity that spurs your creativity over and over again to no avail and wind up playing your favorite video games (even if you already beat them) until you've developed some sort of acute short term memory loss, and realize... damn, where was I again?

4) You try and try, but just can't get past writing the perfect draft in the dedications portion (or general acknowledgments section) of that book you've been planning on publishing for well over eight years now. Somehow, the line I would like to thank God for the gift I inherited as a writer doesn't seem to strike the right chord with the publishers, for this holy deity most likely has a consortium of lawyers out there, all gunning for you; demanding some sort of royalties for every original copy sold, just because you had the brilliant idea of using His glorious name in your book. And to that I say: "GODDAMN IT ALL TO HELL ALREADY!"

3.) During the brainstorming portion of laying out your proposed work of literature, your outline turns into a likely candidate for an index section for any garden variety Encyclopedia Britannica volume out there.

2) You try, try, and try again but just can't get anything worthwhile, or seemingly even worthy of being remembered and commented on upon by a group of readers out there. Kind of reminds me of this dreaded blog post. Did someone say desperation writing? Anyone? Anyone at all?

1) You're currently engaging in the writing, revising, rewriting, last minute tweaking, double checking, proofreading, omissions, edits, reedits, and finalized proof session for a blog piece about... you guessed it! The top seven signs that you have writer's block! Need I say more?!?

This has been P.S. Elliott (or the artist formerly known as Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Interview with Alex Cordovi

Months ago... no scratch that---almost a year ago now, I had wandered into one of those occasions where I pondered the ever enduring question of: "What the hell am I doing here?!?" The reason behind that question was that a group of "friends" had asked me to borrow my PA for their night's set, and I only showed up to find out that they already had one, courtesy of the house (or should I say Churchill's?) and so I found myself just taking up space, to put it mildly. There's nothing worse than filling in time when you can be doing something else, far more worthy of being constructive. That night I bore witness to, or should I say was treated (mostly against my will, that is) to an open mic rendition courtesy of an oddball cast of characters that were strictly not ready for prime time.

I recall seeing this cat that I personally believe was doing his impression of Cat Stevens (or should I say Yusuf Islam?) before he massacred my ear drums with a very bad acoustic guitar performance (strumming away at a classical guitar, by the way, not a steel string... go figure!). Prior to that he pulled out a book of poetry and recited some verses that nobody wanted to hear. I could have sworn I saw some beer cans being thrown his way, and all I can think of was wow! Maybe he shouldn't quit his day job. A little earlier in this set was another cat who eerily resembled an old acquaintance of mine from way back in the daze. Perhaps he is now going by a professional on stage alias with a crazy Spanish accent to boot. This cat was none other than José El Rey. Now this cat rocked for a bit, but the whole performance was somewhat hindered by the fact that he openly admitted he was just doing it to prove to a friend of his that he could play guitar. So even though it was fun to listen to, you just couldn't take it too seriously... and all the while I could only think this could use a bit of polish to be really radio worthy. But then again, I'm not a critic nor am I record talent scout or some shit. So bear with me, I'm only paving the setting for this blog post.

Somewhere in between that musical sandwich (that could have used a little more audio friendly mayo) I spotted this really gorgeous looking gal with a fire bird guitar, which I mistakenly referred to as a thunder bird guitar (which is actually a bass) the next time I would run into her. She played an incredibly loud and slightly out of tune power chord driven set, and yet somehow the beat, which was cleverly masterful and hypnotic was still hidden, woven tightly under the sonic tapestry that she laid upon the audience with a tongue-in-cheek demeanor about her, that was only second to none for all these emu punks and black clothed gothic looking freaks. Somehow the noise she produced on stage didn't match her at all. I couldn't help but think that something was out of place here. Ironically enough, it would be months later that I found out what the deal was. Normally she plays in a band, which would explain the somewhat inexplicable impression that was left upon yours truly that night... which was likened to a sort of: Is that it?!? Is that all you've got? Surely, there's got to be more. Little did I know that there was, and that she was only playing to a barely packed house for the evening, and at an open mic night out of all things! Most of the crowd that night must have been personal friends of hers that she probably hadn't seen in ages; mostly there simply drunk out of their heads, and eager to take a snap shot or two before the moment expired in their fleeting brain cells. These are the same type of pictures that would most likely be put up on their personal web profiles (i.e. MyTube, YourFace, whatever), most likely under the heading of good times, and all that jazz... nothing serious.

However, in the months that followed, she made an appearance at The Only Right Left Night (which is another story all together that can only be likened to a never ending opus). And on that night, the general consensus was that she just killed! The delivery this time around was sharper, deadlier, and well strummed with a more in-your-face enthusiasm and no regrets and/or apologies to follow. The crowd went nuts this time, and they hadn't even finished their first round of drinks for the evening! We spoke outside very briefly to which I asked if she was the one with that Thunderbird guitar (hence my musical faux pas... and I have the nerve to call myself a musician? Hah!) She corrected me, and we got to talking somewhat, which is how I found out about her band called Boy.

I was more surprised to find out that I already had her as a friend on my profile without even knowing it. That's when happens when you FriendBlast to death! Sorry folks, I'm not doing this anymore... promise! Eventually MySpace would lose it's flare for yours truly, and so I wound up with a Facebook profile, which is right around the time I sent out a request to her, which she accepted and then I approached her with the notion of doing an interview for my blog, because after doing some research I found out that she had been in the group Outreviolet, which is actually an earlier inception of The Pretty Please, as well as being the drummer for Noveltype, which included members of The Only Right Left. Yes, my friends, you can almost hear the "It's a Small World After All" theme playing in the background, eh?

Anyways, after a week or two went by (from the time of my sending out these here interview questions, I got a reply with the following message as an opener:

"I know it's taken me a long time to respond to this. I've been quite the hermit this past month and am slowly resurfacing. Let me know if you need anything else. Thanks!"

What follows is a copy and paste (or should I say actual blog piece? {and should I quit with all these desperate attention getting rhetorical questions in parentheses already?!?}) rendition of some insightful words, stemming from the creative genius/musical history book in high heels that is Alex Cordovi. Enjoy!

PS: How long have you been involved in music, how did it start, and at what point did you decide to pursue this passion of yours as a potential career? And more importantly, are you still pursuing it, or is it just a hobby?

AC: My earliest memory of somewhat properly using an instrument was when I was in second grade. My parents got me this toy keyboard and I would figure out really fundamental songs on my own. I didn't really "reconnect" with an instrument until I was fifteen when I got my first drum set and eventually moved onto guitar when I was nineteen. Music is a hobby for me, although the word hobby doesn't really do music any justice. It's my therapy and it's how I bond with a lot of other musicians. I'm not really looking to get signed, but if it ever falls on my lap it's definitely something I would go for.

PS: What artists, be they literary, visual, musical, and/or otherwise would you say have the most profound influence on you as a musician?

AC: Musically, in no specific order, PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Fugazi have had and continue to have the greatest influence on my music. Photographically, I would say that Barbara Ess, Mario Testino's personal work (not anything he's done for Vogue), Joel Sternfeld, and Nan Goldin.

PS: Are you originally from Miami? If so, can you tell us what your opinion is about the local music scene down here in general is like? What would you say are its strengths and weaknesses from the point of view of a working musician?

AC: I am originally from Miami - made, born, and raised. I don't really know where to begin on describing Miami's music scene. The only music in Miami I'm familiar with is the indie, punk, and hardcore scenes. I think that there's a lack of community and a low level of consideration as far as getting people interested. Miami is just more of a club scene and that's just the reality of it. I'm not trying to denounce Miami's music; I think there are plenty of talented musicians and bands. It's hard to change an entire culture that's been around for decades.

PS: How many bands have you played with prior to the formation of your music group Boy? And how different would you say that the sound produced in those groups (i.e. Outre Violet, Noveltype) were compared to what you're doing now?

AC: Outreviolet, Mariel, and Noveltype are the only other projects I've been involved with. Noveltype was my introduction to performing live and really gave me a sense of what it's like to play someone else's music and not your own. I think it was a good first experience and I learned a lot from it. It also lead me to play with Outreviolet. Outreviolet (formerly Devotchka) was a completely different sound from Noveltype. It was more pop-influenced, but still had a rock element to it, and sounded like female rock. As unintentional as it was, it just turned out that way. We came together with no specific "sound" in mind and let it develop on it's own. For some background on the name, Devotchka was the original name of the band. We broke up for about a year and reunited as Outreviolet. Mariel developed when Devotchka broke up. It was kind of like shoegaze meets post-hardcore meets noise. It was an experiment for everyone involved; we all had such musical differences which gave the band its own personality and eventual demise. Although, the music I thought was kind of smart and simplistic with a lot of layers and interesting sounds. boy started a few month before Devotchka broke up. It's gone through a lot of different paths. The music started off shy, sad, simplistic, unstructured, and emotional. Then it evolved into a more structured and droney feel and later angry and now it's just a combination of all that... one big ball.

PS: How do you see yourself more as... a musician, or a music artist? And what would you say makes the distinction between the two?

AC: This is kind of a hard question. I don't really think of myself as either. I just play what I think sounds like an expression of how I feel or want to feel.

The definition of both musician and music artist depends on what you consider to be music and what you consider to be art. Personally, I feel that any sound, including silence, is music, whether it be the trees rustling in the wind or someone honking their horn on 49th street. It's an expression and it's movement being expressed through sound naturally, instinctively, systematically, and purposefully. Music is a form of art, and art is any form of expression of yourself, including your values and morals, emotions, perceptions, how you perceive other people's emotions or anything. I may even go as far to say that someone flicking you off in traffic on 49th street is art, or maybe I'm just way in over my head and full of shit. So, to answer your question, I really don't have a definitive answer.

PS: Can you describe to us what the creative process is like for you when it comes to writing a piece of music? Do the words come to you first, is it the music, or both?

AC: Typically the music comes before the words, but I have done it the other way around as well. I usually have to be feeling an extreme emotion, like anger or sadness, for a song to come out of me, or be jamming with other people that take a jam session to where I feel inspired. I'm not easily inspired, so when I am I indulge and marinate and let what's supposed to happen happen.

PS: Where do you see your career heading towards in 2010?

AC: Currently, I'm in NYC in grad school studying Urban Policy and am not working. I do have to do an internship, so I guess I'll end up doing some work involving art policy or development. I plan on doing music and photography on my spare time, so we'll see where all this takes me.

PS: Are you of the opinion that online social network sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc. is necessary for a band to make a name for themselves in this day and age or it all just hype?

AC: I think it depends on how you go about things. We definitely are in a point in time where we're extremely dependent on technology, and all those social networking sites and definitely blogs are necessary if any band wants to make themselves known. There's other ways of getting your name out there, like playing everywhere and anywhere and advertising/marketing yourself by word of mouth and what not. But you definitely need all these things if you want to have your fifteen minutes or more.

PS: If not for music, what else would you see yourself doing for a living?

AC: I'm torn between the political world and the art world, and I think they definitely go hand in hand and are both extremely influential. Maybe I'll end up doing both. Maybe I'll "sell out" and be a politician or work for one, or maybe I won't "sell out" and work for a grassroots organization on getting more rights and benefits for artists or humans in general. I'm letting life determine that for me.

This has been Dr. Gonzo XXVII (or P.S. Elliott for short) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... (and will always be) The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

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