Monthly Archives: June 2009

Okay, Bono, Even I Think This Is Pretty Weird

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese agitator for democracy, is now Aung San Suu Kyi, the Halloween mask.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese agitator for Democracy, is now Aung San Suu Kyi, the Halloween mask.

U2’s big — stadiums-only big — tour opens in Barcelona tomorrow night. Continue reading

Rorschach’s Brainpeople preview’d


I am, generally speaking, a fan of Rorschach Theatre Company. I don’t love everything they’ve done, but I love their ambition. Here’s my preview of their new production of Jose Rivera’s Brainpeople, which’ll be in tomorrow’s Weekend section.

Live Last Night: Beyonce

Beyonce 'I Am' Tour 2009

Sorry, Washington, but after careful evaluation of the evidence submitted by our esteemed panel of experts, it is the finding of this commission that you simply are not ready for this jelly.

Gliding down from the pop firmament, then Baltimore, then finally from the Verizon Center ceiling, Sasha Fierce had a tough act to follow last night: her own. ‘Twas mere months ago she came to serenade the new President, albeit in her more modest alter ego of plain old platinum-selling Beyonce Knowles from Houston. Continue reading

Patterson Hood Backs Up the Truck


My preview of Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood‘s gig with The Screwtopians at the Black Cat tonight is in today’s Examiner. It’s always a delight to talk to Patterson. We had an even longer, more freewheeling conversation two Sundays ago than when I interviewed him for DCist in May of 2008. Though the Examiner piece was focused on Murdering Oscar, his new-but-not-really “solo” album, we talked a lot about upcoming DBT projects, too. I hope I’ll be able to get that material out sometime soon.
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SilverDocs: Facing Ali

Ron Lyle, one of 10 boxers interviewed in "Facing Ali."

I wish I’d had time to write a more thorough review of Pete McCormack’s superb Facing Ali. But here‘s the quickie I did write, for DCist.

SilverDocs: Supermen of Malegaon


I’m off the AFI to catching the screening of Facing Ali in about an hour-and-a-half, even though Ali, sadly, has bailed. Meanwhile, DCist has posted my Supermen of Malegaon review.

Live Last Night: No Doubt

No Doubt

The band had seasoned their bright FM pop with just enough reggae to make it seem mildly exotic. It won them the world, then they retreated at the height of their fame. Their comeback roadshow dispensed with the usual, dreary half-dozen new songs (they hadn’t written any), instead having their gorgeous blond singer – now a fully formed solo star – cut straight to the old favorites. Continue reading

Elvis flipped at Bonaroo


Wait, why didn’t I go to Bonnaroo again? Just about all my favorite music-makers are there. A few of my friends, too.

We talked plenty about the utility of the flip camera on the NEA fellowship I just did back in April. And that talk was not just talk. Behold (via link, as I can’t embed video in my WordPress blog without ponying up some extra coin) what I could do if I was sweating it out in Tennessee with a flip camera. And I was a cute brunette. Continue reading

Live Last Night: Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes

Elvis Costello 2009
No matter how many Will Ferrell flicks or Stephen Colbert Christmas specials Elvis Costello turns up in, the circa 1978 image of him as the logorheic and self-immolating Angry Young Man endures.

But in the latter two-thirds of his wildly eclectic career, he’s evolved into something more like the Martin Scorcese of music, as much a historian and curator as he is an original artist. Continue reading

Enter SilverDocs!

silverdocs_logoI’m just getting going on the screeners for the 2009 SilverDocs entries I’ll be reviewing for DCist, but my first batch of reviews was in today’s CityPaper. All but one are shorts: Behold my notices vis-a-vis Voices from El-Sayed, My White Baby, The Solitary Life of Cranes, and The First Kid to Learn English from Mexico.

Next week, I’ll have reviews up of (at least) Best Worst Movie, Winnebago Man, Supermen of Malegaon, and Facing Ali. I’ll be attending a screening of the latter next Tuesday with Muhammad Ali himself in attendance. He’s so bad he makes medicine sick! Can’t wait.

Live Last Night: The Decemberists

The Decemberists

So, have you heard this new Decemberists record, The Hazards of Love? Dude. It’s an hour-long fantasy rock opera about a young squire who once suffered a vexing enchantment by a vengeful sprite of the wood, and whose lady faire — hey, where are you going? Come back! It’s good! Really!
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And You May Find Yourself in a Beautiful House: David Byrne at Wolf Trap

David Byrne
Every long-lived pop musician who achieves success as a young artist eventually confronts the legacy problem: How much of your back catalogue do you take with you when you hit the road to promote your new music?
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Live Two Nights Ago: X at the 9:30

X, with John Doe in a terrible shirt

The big, sad news out of Camp X last week — the great Los Angeles punkabilly band X, that is —was that singer Exene Cervenka, 53, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. But there was neither sign nor mention of infirmity at the quartet’s typically rocket-powered gig at the 9:30 club Friday night, and not a lot of other chithat besides. The seminal foursome played just as they always have, and as every punk band should: Like they’ve got someplace else to be, five minutes ago.
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Shazam, Man!


No surprise, surely, that there’s a certain benign, solar-powered alien to whom the management of this fine publication is partial. Maybe more on account of his iconography, and for the way he was was so generously embodied by the late Christopher Reeve in the movie-and-a-half directed by Richard Donner in the late 70s — and for the uber-salient fact that his newspapering alter-ego shares my initials — than for the actual comics.
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I’m Speechless RE: Synetic’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

Alex-Mills-as-Puck-photo-by-Ray-GniewekAlex Mills as Puck. Photo by Ray Gniewek.

Elvis Costello: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” (Attribution apocryphal.)

Bob Christgau: “One of the many foolish things about the fools who compare writing about music to dancing about architecture is that dancing usually is about architecture. When bodies move in relation to a defined space, be it stage, ballroom, living room, gymnasium, agora, or congo square, they comment on that space whether they mean to or not.” (Attribution solid. He was sitting four feet from me when he said it.)

Klimek: “Oh, crap. This play is actually a dance show.”
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Press and Release – The Beatles: Rock Band

The Beatles: Rock Band
I’ve never been much of a gamer. Well, not never, but not since I was about thirteen. Yes, I know that video games are the healthiest segment of the media business nowadays, and that some bands — Aerosmith is an oft-cited example — make more licensing their old hits and their likenesses to the makers of Rock Band than they do on their new music. (I also know that Little Steven loves it, or has at least said that he does in public.)

I’ve played Rock Band a handful of times, and I expected to dig it, but mostly it just makes me feel silly. Sillier than singing karaoke in a crowded bar does. Continue reading