Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In The Name Of Journalism

Because I am a part of the esteemed print media, the people who bring you up-to-date and important news daily, I have a responsibility to cover events. Because of this obligation, I will be participating in the World Pong Tour's event tonight in New Haven.

Yes, a tour of beer pong tournaments is coming to the Elm City at 8 tonight. As such, I must be a good entertainment reporter and participate along with noted Counting Crows enthusiast and Play magazine editor Jeff Petrin. The two of us, under Jeff's favorite team name The Lazer Beamz, will compete for a treasure chest of prizes including a free spring break vacation. Now, I'm 29, so I don't think I'll be going on a spring break any time soon, and I've already told Jeff I refuse to travel with him, but we're journalists and must do this for you, the reader.

I will report back tomorrow on how a beer pong tournament goes. Jeff has only played like once, and while I have more experience, let's just remember that I finished up undergrad some seven years ago. We will see.

So what else? I guess the Boss doesn't like Halloween this year. If I went trick or treating at Bruce Springsteen's house, he'd better give me full-size candy bars. Anything less would be very disappointing. And I don't even like candy.

Jimmy Buffett will sing for Obama Sunday. If he could convince all the Parrotheads to vote for Obama, this election may be a landslide. I wonder if John McCain will try to use Obama's connection to Buffett to hurt the Democratic candidate. I mean, Jimmy's like a terrorist. Remember when he tried to bring all those drugs into the country?

I have this feeling, that if Fox ever brought back "Melrose Place," my mother would die of excitement. I've known the woman for a long time, obviously, and I've never seen her so into a television show, and she doesn't get into anything.

Um, why would anyone stalk David Caruso? In other news, why would producers choose Caruso to star in a show set in Miami? The dude would be burnt to a crisp by now.

Oh, poor Colin Farrell is "pained" over "Alexander" failing a few years back. Well, you know what? I was pained while watching the crappy movie. So pained I had to shut it off. So pained that watching half is one of my biggest regrets in life. So pained that reading this blurb is making me upset. Heck, I don't think I've seen more than one or two Farrell movies that haven't pained me.

If this story is true, I'd sure like to meet Monica Cruz. Yep. That's on the to-do list.

I guess that's all I got for today. Wish me luck at beer pong. I'm going to need it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Forgot ...

... but here's Friday's video, which, for some reason, I can't embed. Enjoy ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Politics Alert

We're going to get political for a second. I'm not going to go on here and tell people who to vote for or anything. You should vote how you feel, obviously. But this story troubles me.

So Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann went on "Hardball" and called Barack Obama "anti-American." OK, so that's a ridiculous statement and the Republican sort of beat around the bush and apologized.

But that's not even my real problem.

As the story goes on, you'll see that she claims to have never seen "Hardball." I don't care if you're a Republican, a Democrat, a Whig or a Bull Moose backer, if you're never seen "Hardball," you should not be in Congress. I mean, seriously?

Sometimes things amaze me. It's like me saying I've never heard a Rolling Stones song. I don't particularly care for the Stones, but I've heard everything the band's done. Man, no "Hardball" Michele, really?

Of course, this is a woman who blames any fault in children on public schools, and she's fought to have intelligent design given equal time as evolution in such schools. Yup. Oh, yeah, she's also spent a lot of time recently campaigning for traditional light bulbs over, you know, the ones that are better for the environment. Light bulbs?

Here are a couple of my favorite things that she believes in:
1. Favors an investigation of "anti-American" sentiment among members of Congress (um, McCarthyism?).

2. Opposes minimum wage increases (screw less fortunate folks).

3. Supports both a Federal and State constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and legal equivalent, and is a critic of any type of gay rights or civil unions for gay couples (so she basically believes that homosexuality is wrong. Even Sarah Palin believes in civil unions). Wow. A real, verifiable quote from Bachmann: the gay community was specifically targeting children and that "our children ... are the prize for this community."
These people work in Congress. Yep. I'm glad I don't live in St. Paul. She could get re-elected in a couple weeks. That's a scary thought.

Let's get on with the Hump Day now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cha, Cha, Changes

So Rolling Stone is changing its size after a couple of decades looking a certain way. I actually think this is a pretty good idea.

I mean, the current format is a bit cumbersome and harder to read, so why not just make it uniform, allow yourself to print better-quality photos and just lengthen the book to offset any space issues? This actually seems like common sense to me.

I understand that the old format helped the magazine standout, but if something can't stand out because of design and content and needs something trivial like a bigger size, it's something not worth buying anyway. Right?

And so it goes. What else? Well, it seems Marcia Brady did some interesting things after "The Brady Bunch" ended. I guess it would have been helpful for Mike Brady to have been there and said, "You know, Marcia, the thing with being addicted to the cocaine, is that you're going to have to use it all the time, it might make you prostitute yourself or date Michael Jackson. And, Marcia, that's not good for you or anyone else. So when you make those decisions, you're only hurting yourself, and should you want to hurt yourself? Remember these things."

This piece does a nice job summing up my fears about the current ALCS. Basically, the Red Sox need to win tonight. If they don't, I don't have faith that the team can win three in a row with the pitching questions it has. So ... go Tim Wakefield.

And that's about all I've got for today. Have a good one, fine friends.

Monday, October 13, 2008

'Lost Coastlines'

Okkervil River doesn't make many real videos, so I'm super excited for this video for "Lost Coastlines," a sensational tune from "The Stand Ins." Here you go:

It's Blurry, But ...

... This is what you can see at The Space Wednesday night. Here's the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour from a couple nights ago:

Monday Missives

So here we are, Monday the 13th. It doesn't have the same ring as Friday the 13th, but what if I wrote a movie about about a batch of very bad chicken being shipped from a warehouse on Monday the 13th and a bunch of people getting the poops from eating it?

Would that make for a quality, icnonic horror film? Probably not. It'd be one of those flicks that doesn't get screened for critics and ends up with a $15 million opening weekend and nothing after.

Anyway, so today is Game Three of the ALCS. My Red Sox badly need a win. With Josh Beckett looking injured and Dice-K being a crapshoot, this is about as big of a game as possible. Thank god Jon Lester is on the mound. If the Sox lose, now that's the premise for a frightening horror film.

What else? Well, there was no video this week for two reasons. Online didn't have time, and I had to jet to Boston Thursday for festivities. The picture at the top of this entry is me at a club in Beantown celebrating my friend Jenny's 30th birthday with other friends. I mention this for a couple reasons: The first is that today is actually Jen's birthday. So, happy birthday, Jen.

The second is more interesting. Even though I write about music, I hardly ever get to hear club music. Why? Well, because I never go to clubs and very rarely receive real club-music CDs in the mail. I would like to point out though that a club with a very expensive cover charge, I heard a 10-minute-or-so song that repeated one lyric over and over: "Face down, ass up, that's the way I like (to have sex)." Um, really? People listen to this? I'm no prude, but at first I found it funny, and then it went on for another 134 minutes ... or so it seemed.

Oh, and you know else is a knock on our culture? How about "Beverly Hill Chihuahua" topping the box office for the second straight week. I know it's a slow time for films, but a film about chihuahuas? Really? Um, I'm sad for us.

I guess that's about it on this end. Hope you all had a good weekend and will be rooting for the Sox tonight.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

From Mohegan Sun ...

... Here's a statement:

"Janet Jackson's anticipated return to her Rock Witchu Tour tomorrow (10/11) at Mohegan Sun Arena has been postponed due to doctors orders. Tickets will be honored for the rescheduled date. An announcement will be made soon regarding a rescheduled date for this show. For more information on Janet Jackson's Rock Witchu tour and other great events at Mohegan Sun, visit mohegansun.com. For information on this week's schedule, call the Entertainment and Special Events hotline at 1.888.226.7711, ext. 27163."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Okkervil In Northampton

Wednesday night was easily the best Okkervil River show I've seen since last year's concert at Pearl Street. The set list was thoughtful and the band seemed to be enjoying itself a lot more than the last two times I've seen it. That's mostly because, I would assume, the members are getting more accustomed to each other.

The venue was about 20 percent more crowded than Okkervil's last gig at the same place, so that's a good thing. Here's my review of the show. The set list is below.

A couple quick notes, though: Crooked Fingers opened and was really good. Oh, sure, the band may never be Archers of Loaf, but Eric Bachman's newest project gets better with each record. And the group's newest, which just hit stores, is really strong.

Providence's The What Cheer? Brigade opened. When I was talking to the Courant's Eric Danton at the show, he called them the Hipster Rebirth Brass Band. I thought that was pretty accurate. It was a bunch of indie folk who decided to make a marching band. For about 10 minutes, it was kind of cool (the group performed not on stage, but in the crowd). But after 30 minutes, I wanted to shoot myself. Yep. Anyway ...

Set List
Plus Ones; Singer Songwriter; A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene; Black; All The Latest Toughs; On Tour With Zykos; John Allyn Smith Sails; Pop Lie; A Stone; Blue Tulip; Lost Coastlines; Black Sheep Boy; For Real; Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe; Unless It Kicks.

Encore
Girl In Port; Okkervil River Song; Westfall

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Okkervil River Set List

Here's the set list from Okkervil River's show in New York Monday. I will write a full review about Wednesday's show at Pearl Street in Northampton.

Set List
Plus Ones; Singer/Songwriter; A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene; Black; The Latest Toughs; On Tour with Zykos; Pop Lie; The War Criminal Rises and Speaks; A Stone; Blue Tulip; Starry Stairs; Lost Coastlines; Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe; For Real; Unless it Kicks

Encore
Girl in Port; Okkervil River Song; Westfall

Monday, October 06, 2008

Jenny Lewis At The Shubert

So, here's my review of last night's Jenny Lewis show at The Shubert. Overall, it was a decent performance, although I'm not sure if it was worth missing the first seven innings of the Red Sox game.

As many of you know, I'm just not a real fan of "Acid Tongue," her newest record, and when she played the fast tunes from that disc, they just sounded bad, with a couple exceptions. Anyway, here's the full set list for those of you interested.

Deer Tick opened. I really dug them, even if it wasn't the most original of bands; it just totally did the whole alt-country thing that I just love to almost perfection.

Set List
The Next Messiah; Pretty Bird; The Charging Sky; Rise Up With Fists!; Bad Man's World; Carpetbaggers; You Are What You Love; Melt Your Heart; Acid Tongue; Jack Killed Mom; Sing a Song for Them

Encore
Love Hurts (cover of Gram Parsons); Godspeed; See Fernando

Death Cab At Chevy

I was going to do a full review of this show, but I had a busy week and weekend. So, here, a day late and a dollar short, is a brief nugget of info on Death Cab For Cutie's show at the Chevrolet Theatre in Wallingford Saturday night.

I was looking forward to this show, but not too much. I like Death Cab, especially "Transatlanticism" from 2003 and the new record, "Narrow Stairs," which will probably have a spot in my best-of-2008 list. But other than those two discs, I just think the rest of the band's output is good, not great. The last time I saw the band on tour was sometime around 2001, in Providence at the old Lupo's. So it'd been awhile.

First of all, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard lost a ton of weight, didn't wear his glasses and talked to the crowd way more than he did seven or whatever years ago. But bassist Nick Harmer is clearly the star of the show. His low end was basically the lead instrument on more than half of the tunes. He, seriously, killed.

All in all, this was one of the best shows I've been to lately. I feared that the guys would have sounded too much like Coldplay live, like they would have lost too much of their oomph, their masculinity. But that wasn't the case at all. I mean, all Death Cab songs feel like they're on the brink of exploding into heavy rock, but they never do. But the edges weren't cleaned off any of the tunes like I feared. I had a good.

Here's the 21-song set list. I may have missed a song, but I don't think so. Oh, and by the way, after a couple decent songs, opener St. Vincent really failed to grab me in the least bit. I could have fallen asleep. The band, which is a project for Annie Clark, was much better at The Space 18 months ago.

Set List
Bixby Canyon Bridge; The New Year; Why You'd Want to Live Here; Photobooth; Crooked Teeth; A Movie Script Ending; Company Calls; Summer Skin; Soul Meets Body; I Will Follow You Into the Dark; I Will Possess Your Heart; Cath; We Looked Like Giants; Long Division; The Sound of Settling; Scientist Studies

Encore
Technicolor Girls; Title and Registration; Expo '86; Marching Bands of Manhattan; Transatlanticism

Friday, October 03, 2008

In Today's Section

So it's Friday. You know what that means? Well, it's the day the Weekend section comes in the New Haven Register. You know what's exciting about the Weekend section? Well, it's what I do all week. If you were to pick up the paper today and look at Weekend (doesn't the cover look pretty?), this is what you'd read:

I talked to her. Yes I did. Jenny Lewis is at the Shubert Sunday.

Joe Amarante's column about the CW network.

I wrote a feature on Death Cab For Cutie, which plays at the Chevy Saturday.

Mark Zaretsky wrote a preview of blues legend James Cotton's show at StageOne Sunday.

We've got your weekly dose of album reviews.

Andy Carey from Hand Grenade Serenade is Making A Mix.

It's World Series of Poker time, and our poker column has some hints on how to play.

We look at 'de Blob' in our video games story.

And, of course, there's a poopload of movies opening this week. Harris McCabe tells us about "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," then there's "Blindness," and "Religulous," and how about "Flash of Genius," or Simon Pegg in "How To Lose Friends And Alienate People," and also there's, um, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," and, lastly, a "Battle In Seattle."

Oh, how can I forget my column on my favorite band, Okkervil River? I can't.

So that's the Weekend section. Oh, sure, there's more in it, but that's what is online. I'm excited because in a few hours I'm heading to Norwalk to "The Dark Knight" on an IMAX screen. I'll let you know how it is.

Friday Video!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Playoffs Are Here!

It's annual tradition here at Blog Like An Egyptian, so just before the first pitch of the 2008 MLB Playoffs, we're here with some picks. As per usual, I got Little Nicholas to chime in as well. Here we go:

Little Nicholas: I expect the Brewers to win one game, the game when C.C. pitches. Sheets is hurt, naturally, so his next game pitching will probably be as a Yankee. Might as well start calling him Ben Pavano. Pick: Philly in four.

Me: I can talk my way into believing any team can win any of these series, except this one. I don't see how the Brewers win this. The team's pitching is all messed up and C.C. can't keep this up; he was bad in last year's playoffs. You know what would be competitive? A hot-dog eating contest between C.C. and Ryan Howard. I'd like that. Pick: Phillies in three.

Little Nicholas: I am thinking upset here. Manny is going to come through in a big way. He is playing for money, therefore he will try. When he tries, there is just no one better. Well besides Barry Bonds, but his head is too large to play in baseball anymore. Anyway, in a five-game series, I can see Manny carrying the team to three wins. And, hey, Andruw Jones is still alive, right? Pick: Dodgers in five.

Me: I think I agree with Little Nicholas, here, but I don't know if I have the guts to pick the Dodgers. Look, both managers are horrible with in-game decisions, so that evens things out a bit. I would pick the Cubs in a sweep if I thought Zambrano and Harden were healthy, but I don't think that's the case. Plus, I desperately want a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series. So I'm going ... Pick: Dodgers in five.

Little Nicholas: Until something changes, the Red Sox own the Angels in the playoffs. I don’t like the Red Sox as much without ManRam, but, again, the Angels cannot beat the Red Sox. Kind of like how the Yankees can't beat the Angels. Weird how things work, huh? Chone is leading off tonight though, so Angel’s fans have hope. He is pesky (and pretty). Pick: Red Sox in four.

Me: I think I would choose the Angels objectively, but, of course, there's no way I'm going against the Sox here. Nick's right: The Sox absolutely have made the Angels look like little girls in the playoffs, little girls that cry and pout. Even with Teixeira, that lineup isn't that great and even if Joshie is hurt, the Sox still have the best pitcher in the series with Lester. Oh, and Jason Bay is Canadian. Did you know that? Pick: Red Sox in five.

Little Nicholas: I am really not sure where to go with this series. Personally, I think Chicago’s pitching is a pile of poop and the lineup, without Quentin, isn’t much better. Playing Griffey in CF is just stupid; Carl Crawford is going to be legging out triples all series long. Tampa’s overall team is much much better, but the only problem is they are so young, Normally I don’t consider that a factor, but Kazmir did literally poop is pants on the mound during a big game against the Red Sox in early September. Not a good sign from the supposed Ace Of The Staff. But I have Rays fever, baby. Pick: Rays in four.

Me: I actually heard Evan Roberts go on and on on the FAN this morning about how Chicago's going to the World Series. I almost laughed too hard to drive. I almost pulled over and had to wipe the sweat from my brow. I laughed, dude. A lot. Maybe the Sox win this series, but that's it. And I don't think that's happening either. Pick: Rays in three.

Yep, The New Kids

So I've been bad at updating this here blog for a week, but, you know, I've been a busy boy, writing stories and going to shows and seeing horrible movies (cough, "Miracle at St. Anna," cough). But, I'm back.

And, one more thing before I write this entry and then go to bed: The online department couldn't do a video last week, so I'll be back with another of those Friday.

But I'm writing now because I got back from Mohegan Sun Arena a couple hours ago, having just seen a reunited New Kids on the Block. You can read my review of the show here, but I wanted to do a little blog entry about the funny stuff I saw, the things I couldn't include in a straight, mostly positive review.

So here goes:
  • I have never seen so many women concentrated in one place. Seriously, not even at a Madonna show was there this many ladies. We're talking 95 percent, easily.
  • And with women comes cleavage. I'm a guy, but I think I speak for most of us, ladies, when I say ridiculous, over-the-top push-up bras don't do much for us. Am I right?
  • So you're thinking that I could have picked up some women, and you're probably right, but I'm not the kind of guy that hits on grown women who wear shirts that say things like, "MILF's love Donnie." And yes, that punctuation is incorrect because the homemade shirt featured incorrect grammar.
  • Besides me and my friend Ryan Thomas Dixon, there were very, very few straight men at the show not with a girlfriend. Of the few I saw, one had a T-shirt on that said, "I support single moms." The back of said shirt had a drawing of a woman on a stripper's pole. Yep, this the kind of dude who goes to a NKTOB show without a lady friend. Sad.
  • I did meet Meghan Conlin and Erin Morran of New Britain. Conlin won a radio contest to meet the group before the show. Joey McIntyre broke her camera and then took her name and info to send her a new one. Now that's a nice New Kid. I asked Meghan how the guys looked up close. Her response? "They all look great, especially Joey!" I think Meghan was serious.
  • Way too many women were wearing prom dresses. Um, did I miss something? Was "Hangin' Tough" a popular prom song back in the day?
  • Two women who saw me writing in my reporters notebook asked me if I was a behavioral scientist. Well, not exactly, but, hey, that'd be interesting. I could figure out answers to deep questions like, "Why are 30something women crying during a song at a concert?"
  • One guy had a "Law & Order" T-shirt. I almost ripped it off his back.
  • A lot of sleazy scalpers were walking the perimeter of the Arena. I think one middle-school student was actually scalping. It was kind of weird. You know what else is weird? Sweat pants with elastic legs.
  • At the merch tables, they were selling different T-shirts with each NKOTB members' name on them. Um, I wonder how many Jonathan or Danny shirts were sold. The answer is not many, of course.
  • I wish people couldn't smoke inside the casino. It makes me unhappy.
  • Right as the opening act was going to start, I was still waiting for Ryan and overheard an older man, easily in his 70s, walk over to a trio of younger women and say, "I may be old on the outside, but I'm young in some places and on the inside. So do you girls want a drink?" I couldn't listen any longer, but that's what happened. Scary. I have no idea what that quote means.
  • It's happening at bars lately, but the concert featured one of those screens that people could text messages on to. My two favorite posts: "Jesus, you were my first love. My husband understands" and "NKOTB, thanks 4 getting back 2together for my 31st, luv U." Um, OK, really?
  • During the concert, there was a death montage, just like at the Oscars or something. With Heath Ledger and everything. Why? Well, to fill time, of course.
  • Joey McIntyre wore shoes that included three-inch lifts, at least. I'm telling you fans: He's at least three inches shorter than it looked.
  • There were so many crotch grabs throughout the show. And each time any member did it, the crowd went nuts. I feel like I know what a bachelorette party is like now.

That's about it on this end. I'll write more tomorrow, including some baseball playoff predictions. Hopefully, I'll have some from Little Nicholas too. I'll also have a photo of Little Nicholas and his friends, who saw NKOTB in Boston. At that show, Paul Pierce of the Celtics came on stage with the championship trophy during "Hangin' Tough." Yep, that happened.