Tag Archives: Jean-Claude Van Damme

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Separated-at-Infancy-but-Equally-Limber Identical Twin Brother: Reflections, 20 years on, on the twofold, um, legacy of Double Impact

Yeah, I'm shot a little bit, but it's ALL GOOD, brah!

My friend the noted film critic Ian Buckwalter shows movies on the roof of his building in the summertime. These are not, for the most part, bad movies, but they are perhaps misunderstood. What they share is a very particular aesthetic; one we’re still struggling to define, but Reaganomics doesn’t quite cover it. I think Ian will agree with me when I say that selecting films for Cinema sur le Toit calls to mind what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about pornography: “I really, really enjoy it.”

Anyway, I was campaigning hard for Double Impact to make the list this year. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that was the first — not the only, bizarrely! — joint in which Jean-Claude Van Damme appeared as identical twin brothers. Here is the unabridged text of my keynote address from last night’s screening. I regret only that I didn’t practice pronouncing australopithecine ahead of time. Trying to seat-of-my-pants that shit was flying too close to the sun. That was arrogance, my friends. That was folly.


Night of the Hunter . . . James Hunter

British soul man James Hunter’s support set for Chris Isaak at Wolf Trap Thursday night was one of the rare occasions when I get dispatched to review an opening act. (No that I count them or anything, but it was my 100th piece for the Paper of Record.) I hadn’t planned on sticking around for Isaak afterwards, but I did and he turned out to be pretty great, too. He had to be, to avoid being upstaged by Hunter. When Isaak took the stage half an hour after Hunter finished, 30 people remained in line at the top of lawn, sans a view of the stage, to have Hunter autograph their merch. Including my girlfriend, who an hour earlier had never heard of the dude. We’d politely declined when offered backstage passes earlier (which has never happened to me before, actually), but then we ended up standing in line, at Miss Crooks’s gentle insistence, to have Hunter sign the CD I bought and, er, the poster she wanted for her office. This spells trouble, methinks. But $10 for a cool Hatch Show Print poster is a bargain. (Isaak, meanwhile, was charging $10 for glossy 8″ x 10″ photos of himself. And people were buying them.)

I’m way too young, obviously, to have seen Mr. Dynamite in his prime, but I’ve seen Sharon Jones a couple of times now, and I bet Hunter could pull that caliber of show as a headliner, no problem. I worried I might suffer a vicarious groin-pull just from watching him dance during his last number, “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Love.” Hunter does look more than a little like a slightly softer version of the famously flexible Belgian martial artist and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, whose brief tenure as a star of films that actually got released in cinemas petered out around the same tim Hunter’s career was taking off. And it’s not like you’ve ever seen the two of them together in one place, is it? I mean, if Steven Seagal can have a career in music . . .

James Hunter at Wolf Trap, Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Setlist

01 She’s Got a Way

02 No Smoke Without Fire

03 Baby, Don’t Do It (Five Royales cover)

04 Hand It Over

05 Jacqueline

06 Don’t Do Me No Favours

07 Talkin’ ‘Bout My Love

The Band

Lee Badau — baritone saxophone

Damian Hand — tenor saxphone

Kyle Koehler — keyboards

Jonathan Lee — drums

Jason Wilson — bass

James Hunter — vocals, guitar