Monthly Archives: January 2012

Showdown: The Edge vs. The Grey

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This production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona had too much U2 in it, even for me.

Nick Dillenburg & Miriam Silverman, fine actors in a shaky production

Reviewed for the Washington City Paper.

When the Star Talks Himself Blue: Ryan Adams at Strathmore, considered

Adams: "I got a plan."

I saw Ryan Adams and the Cardinals open for Oasis (!) in 2008 (!!!) but I only caught part of their set from across a basketball arena and anyway it was not an especially memorable experience. But I quite enjoyed the talky, sloppy Adams solo show — and opener Jason Isbell — that I review in today’s Washington Post. Continue reading

More on Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball: Mistakes Were Made, by Me

Bruce Springsteen announced U.S. tour dates this morning. He’ll be here in DC on April Fool’s Day. So I’ll just get this over with: Bruuuuuuuce!

Thank you. And now, let us proceed.

When The Boss announced the title and release date of his forthcoming album Wrecking Ball last week, I just couldn’t see past its abysmal cover, an area in which he has been a career offender. I noted that Wrecking Ball is also the title of a very fine Emmylou Harris album from 1995. Dana Stevens, Slate’s superb film critic, noticed that too.

(When I was on the Filmspotting podcast the week after Stevens, I tried to say how much I admire her writing and how honored I was to follow her on the show, but it came out wrong. I apologize for that, Ma’am.)

Anyway, we exchanged a few Tweets about that title. “Title re-use doesn’t infringe copyright, but it’s crass,” Stevens wrote. I pointed out that Emmylou got the title from Neil Young, whose song “Wrecking Ball” (from his 1989 album Freedom) Emmylou covered on her album Wrecking Ball. Got all that?

“If Bruce covers the Neil Young song on this record, then the nab is vindicated,” Stevens concluded. Continue reading

My NPR Monkey See debut, sorta, on MMA star Gina Carano’s film debut, sorta

MMA star Gina Carano in HAYWIRE

I have a lengthy, discursive post up on NPR’s Monkey See blog today ruminating on Steven Soderbergh‘s action-cinema debut, Haywire. Continue reading

Bruce Springsteen to release another album with an ugly cover on March 6

You can’t judge an album by its sleeve, and that’s good news for Bruce Springsteen.

My admiration for The Boss is a matter of public record, and it was from a place of love that I took the occasion of his last album’s release three years ago to point out that nearly all of his album covers are terrible. Today he announced that his 17th studio album will be called Wrecking Ball and will be released for sale on March 6. Any resemblance to Emmylou Harris‘s great album from 1995, Wrecking Ball, is completely coincidental, probably.

That’s the cover of Bruce’s Finger-Painting With Bird Shit Wrecking Ball at the top of this post. Hideous, right? He probably paid Danny Clinch a lot of money to take the photo before scrawing his name over it in Wite-Out. What this says to me is Eh, only a fraction of those of you who bother to listen to this at all are actually going to pay for it, so why I should I sweat the packaging? Just sit tight, we’re gonna play “Badlands” later.

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Image of Zen: I Am Curious (Yellow)

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection’s Twitter feed, which says this is from a 1971 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. No. 101, cover date March ’71, it turns out.

I so enjoy referencing the title of this 1967 arthouse film, which was banned for a while in the U.S., that perhaps one day I’ll actually watch it.

Legendary art-punk Jon Langford coming this way to sing songs he wrote for Richard Byrne’s new play… in five months.

Jon Langford's portrait of Hank Williams

Here’s a little write-up I did about how one of my favorite songwriters who is also one of my favorite visual artists, the great mekon/Waco Brother/etc. Jon Langford has co-written some songs for a new play by DC-based playwright Richard Byrne. Continue reading

Bomb Out the Lights: Studio’s Time Stands Still, reviewed

Holly Twyford is a wounded photojournalist (SCOTT SUCHMAN)

The Studio Theater has kicked off 2012 right with a fine production of Donald Margulies’s Time Stands Still, a drama about two journalists’ uneasy return to domesticated life after separate injuries send them home from the field.

What I ran out of room to say in my Washington City Paper review is that the book the character played by Greg McFadden starts working on during his convalescence, an examination of the political subtext of horror cinema, sounds an awful lot like Shock Value, the one published by the New York Times’s Jason Zinoman — son of Studio Theater founder Joy Zinoman — last summer. Continue reading

Drive-By Truckers 9:30 Club Setlist Table II: The Secret of the Ooze

It’s not much of a photo, but it was a pretty fantastic way to spend New Year’s Eve. That’s Booker T. Jones, stage-right, performing at the 9:30 with the Drive-By Truckers, a band I love and that I’ve written about a lot. The first time I saw them play was at The Troubadour in Los Angeles in 2003 or 2004. All I remember about that show is that my then-girlfriend had a pain in her leg and we left early. Since then, I’ve seen DBT play the 9:30 probably 10 times. When they were there for a Friday & Saturday night stay last February, I made a table to show how different the two setlists were. Hey, some people care about baseball statistics. (DBT singer-songwriter Mike Cooley does not.) Continue reading