Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wisconsin joining the movie biz

Wisconsin is trying to get in the movie business by using a lot of tax credits. Not sure it will work. Wisconsin doesn't have the resources to support major productions. Plus, using tax incentives ain't exactly glamorous or sexy. Remember that scene in "The Godfather" when Tom Hagen dumps a horse's head in the movie mogul's bed so he gives Johnny Fontaine a starring role in that new war picture? That's how you get things done in Hollywood.

As the story points out, the last major film to shoot here as "Mr. 3000" starring Bernie Mac, a movie seen by about 3,000 people. Here is a list of other movies filmed here.

The Blues Brothers: You can see the Firstar Building when Jake and Elwood car drive over the then-incomplete 794 freeway spur.

Damien: Omen II and The Final Conflict: Omen III: Filmed in Lake Geneva, Eagle River and Delafield.

For Keeps: This forgettable Molly Ringwald flick was filmed partly in Madison.

Major League: Milwaukee doubled for Cleveland in this sports classic. County Stadium and parts of the Third World are given prominent air time. (I was an extra at County Stadium during the climactic game against the Yankees.)

Meet the Applegates: A bad sci-fi comedy starring Ed Begley Jr. was filmed in Neenah and Oshkosh.

Mrs. Soffel: Featuring one of Mel Gibson's first starring roles, opposite Diane Keaton, it briefly filmed in Freedom.

Novocaine: I always see this movie at the video store and kinda want to rent it, but never do. Anyway, it was filmed in Cedarburg.

Rudy: Another sports classic partly filmed in Milwaukee.

Semi-Tough: Some scenes in this Burt Reynolds football flick were filmed in Green Bay.

A Simple Plan: A great, underrated thriller directed by Sam Raimi and filmed in Ashland.

The Straight Story: David Lynch's G-rated masterpiece was filmed in Mount Zion and Prairie du Chien.

Uncle Buck: The John Candy film was shot in Lake Geneva.

Am I missing anything?

Bob Dylan's 1,397th Dream

When it was announced that Bob Dylan was hosting an hour-long radio show on XM, I thought long and hard about signing up for the satellite radio service. Which, of course, makes no sense because I already have Sirius, and I wonder whether I listen to THAT enough to justify the subscription. (Dating someone in a different state has definitely made it more worthwhile during those long car trips.)

Anyway, I decided against getting XM. But I was dying to hear those Dylan shows. Fortunately, I came across a Web site recently where the shows are available for download. As was the case with "The Eraser," I won't tell you where because the XM folks wouldn't be pleased. But if you cruise Dylan fan sites like Expecting Rain (cough, cough) you might get lucky.

Each radio show is centered on a theme, like the weather, alcohol or baseball. Dylan (I think) picks the songs and gives some background on the mostly obscure tracks. As an unadulterated Dylan fan boy, it's great to hear the man share his wide-ranging taste and musical knowledge. (The show has researchers, so much of it is probably handed to him, but still.) It's amazing how after his book "Chronicles" and the Scorsese doc "No Direction Home" Dylan seems so loose, warm and funny when he often is so stone-faced on stage.

There's a musical quality to the way he talks on the radio. The words tumble at odd intervals, flowing in and out of each other almost like rapping. (No surprise he digs LL Cool J, as evidenced by him playing "Mama Said Knock You Out" during the "Mothers" episode.) Dylan is quite the aging hipster.

Another favorite moment: During the "Mothers" show, Dylan reads a letter from an obviously unhinged fan complaining about his mother-in-law. The way Dylan delivers it, the insane screed sounds a lot like "It's Alright, Ma."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Shameless self-promotion

Wow! Blogger is actually working! Hooray! Here's my Under 30 column this week. It's on dopey summer fashions.

The column was basically an excuse to make fun of one of my great hates: jean shorts. The story I tell in the column about dating a girl who wanted me to wear jean shorts is absolutely true. She thought it would make my butt look cute. Don't worry, I'm as embarrassed typing that as you were reading it.

I just think jean shorts are the epitome of dorky white guyness. Especially with the tucked-in T-shirt. On women they work OK, because women always looks better than men.

I almost included a bit about sandals, which I love wearing in the summertime. A friend saw me wear sandals earlier this week and she said I looked sleazy. Sleazy? Was Jesus sleazy?

Shameless self-promotion

Here's a story on Fox Valley band Boxkar. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Definitely one of the better profiles I have written, if I do say so myself.

Sorry for the lack of postage lately ...

...but I have been having major technical issues with Blogger. I'm surprised my right-wing yahoo thing even got up yesterday. Anyway, I hope to have more up today if Blogger doesn't mess with me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The latest in right-wing yahooism

We love right wing yahooism at Under 30 Blog and would devote more space to it if we could keep up with it all. Alas, we have to pick our spots.

We begin with underappreciated Fox News yahoo and Under 30 favorite John Gibson. As regular readers know, we are trying to give Gibson and his craziness more pub so they no longer are overshadowed by the likes of that "War on Christmas" stealing Bill O'Reilly.

Gibson's most recent "Big Word" commentary was on armed forces radio possibly dropping a talk radio format in favor of (dum, dum, dum) hip-hop. You know we were licking our chops when we heard Gibby was going to talk about hip-hop. It's a subject he and other Fox News conservatives have zero knowledge of. OK, maybe not zero. It's probably on par with their familiarity with the female orgasm. So let's just say miniscule.

Anyway, the thought of replacing Rush Limbaugh with Jay-Z has Gibby beside himself in ignorant indignation. Let's hear a non hip-hop fan talk about hip-hop, shall we?

In the hip-hop format, the ideas are misogynistic — women hating — plus some street guns, some pimpin' and the whole phenomena of fathering kids and moving on.

I know there are young service people who like hip hop. That's fine. They should be able to buy the stuff.

But does American Forces Radio really want to be pushing the ideas we hear in hip-hop?

It's bad enough that these ideas will be drifting into the heads of our service people, but American Forces Radio also reaches a lot of people in the countries where America has bases. Do we really need to spread hip-hop in more places than it has already spread?

We all know Rush Limbaugh would never be misogynistic or flippant about guns. Unless he's talking about feminazis and Dick Cheney shooting people in the face, that is.

In other right-wing yahoo news, class act Ann Coulter talks aim at a group that's just asking for it in her latest well-reasoned political screed, "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." I'm talking about liberals, of course, but I'm also talking about 9/11 widows. Coulter calls a group of widows critical of President Bush "witches." Normally this would be horribly offensive, but coming from Coulter, a certified witch expert and conisseur of scumminess, you have to give it some weight.

When their husbands were killed on 9/11, four New Jersey widows tried to find out why - and now no-holds-barred conservative pundit Ann Coulter is mercilessly denouncing them as "witches."

"I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much," Coulter writes in her new book.

Her brutal words were challenged yesterday on national television by "Today" host Matt Lauer - and she was slammed by the widows she derided as self-absorbed, limelight-seeking "harpies."

In "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," the uncompromisingly right-wing Coulter writes the Jersey Girls have no right to criticize President Bush or any of the failures that led to the terror attacks.

"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis," Coulter writes.

"And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy. . .

"These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them."

How dare these women treat a personal tragedy like a personal tragedy?! Coulter lost a lot on that day, too. You couldn't hail a cab in NYC for weeks after the towers went down!

Coulter also did an interview with something called Human Events Online, a Web site seemingly unaware of her insanity. The interview is great and chock full of yahooism. There are far too many howlers to mention here. I'll just quote from one of my favorites.

How did your own faith contribute to your book’s premise?

Although my Christianity is somewhat more explicit in this book, Christianity fuels everything I write. Being a Christian means that I am called upon to do battle against lies, injustice, cruelty, hypocrisy—you know, all the virtues in the church of liberalism. As St. Paul said, if Christ is not risen from the dead, then eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

I must have missed the commandment that called on Christians to denounce widows as "harpies." At any rate, I think Jesus just threw up.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blast! Another brilliant idea stolen!

I have long said that if I ever get around to writing a book, I would love to do something on the Christian rock scene. In my time at The P-C, I have covered Christian bands and visited festivals such as Lifest and Power of One. I also went to a ton of Christian rock shows as a kid. (Anybody else remember Degarmo and Key?) I find the scene absolutely fascinating for a number of reasons. One, it's a genuine youth subculture with its own stars and mores. A band like Audio Adrenaline can fill an arena and yet draw blank stares from non-Christians. Two, it is built on a pile of contradictions, the central one being that it's an industry for people who claim (and really do believe they have) no interest in stardom or money. Plus, nobody outside the Christian community has written about it, so it is fertile ground.

Was fertile ground.

Two weeks ago I was in a Barnes and Noble and came across "Body Piercing Saved My Life," a book about (you guessed it) the Christian music scene by former Spin writer Andrew Beaujon. I haven't read the book yet, but it sounds like Beaujon takes a very empathetic look at the artists and fans. I'm relieved by this, and surprised. Rock journalists probably dismiss Christian music more uniformly than any other genre, a practice that shows obvious bias and clear stupidity. Sure, a lot of it is dorky, but a lot of it is also really good, and there's a case to be made for the overwhelming influence of religon on secular music, from Elvis Presley to Al Green to Prince to U2 to Beck. Besides, even if you hate the music, it's still a culture worth looking at.

Here's a good interview with Beaujon from Fluxblog. Look for Beaujon's comments about the difficulty of getting the book published.

I haven't completely ditched my Christian rock-related writing. I'm currently working on a story about the connections between local bands in the Fox Valley and local churches. I already have some really good stuff from Cory Chisel of the Wandering Sons and Greg Sampson of San Damiano, a church group that meets at Appleton music club Tom's Garage. Look for it later this month.

Is it a rage disorder, or are stupid drivers the ones with a disorder?

This story caught my eye because I'm obviously afflicted with road rage. At some point during a long drive, I will get angry at some dope parking in the passing lane and say words like (expletive), (expletive) and especially (expletive). Apparently this makes me mentally ill.

By definition, intermittent explosive disorder involves multiple outbursts that are way out of proportion to the situation. These angry outbursts often include threats or aggressive actions and property damage. The disorder typically first appears in adolescence; in the study, the average age of onset was 14.

Four a couple of decades, intermittent explosive disorder, or IED, has been included in the manual psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illness, though with slightly different names and criteria. That has contributed to misunderstanding and underappreciation of the disorder, said Coccaro, a study co-author.

Coccaro said the disorder involves inadequate production or functioning of serotonin, a mood-regulating and behavior-inhibiting brain chemical. Treatment with antidepressants, including those that target serotonin receptors in the brain, is often helpful, along with behavior therapy akin to anger management, Coccaro said.

Most sufferers in the study had other emotional disorders or drug or alcohol problems and had gotten treatment for them, but only 28 percent had ever received treatment for anger.

So maybe I'm screwed up. I won't disagree. But don't morons deserve some of the blame here? The passing lane is a PASSING LANE. You don't sit there going the same speed as the people in the right lane. This is plain wrong, not to mention dangerous. And you deserve to be called a major (expletive) for the offense. Am I wrong? AM I WRONG?!?

Check out Thom Yorke's new album (though you didn't hear that from me)

When it comes to Radiohead albums, there are release dates and there are Internet leak dates. It's no different with Thom Yorke's much anticipated solo album, "The Eraser," due for sale July 10 from XL Recordings but available now online.

A friend alerted me to a blog where the album was available for download last week. I'd love to tell you where I got it, but it ain't exactly legal and the corporate bosses where I work wouldn't be too keen on this becoming an MP3 trafficking site. But you can probably find "The Eraser" without trying too hard. Heck, the Associated Press did a story on the album being leaked early online.

So, how is it? Surprisingly great. I say surprisingly because I haven't really cared about Radiohead for a while. Sure, like most rock fans of my generation, I worship at the holy trinity of "The Bends," "OK Computer" and "Kid A." But I thought "Amnesiac" was only half-good, and "Hail to the Thief" sounded like a band trying to recapture former greatness and failing. But "The Eraser" makes me want to go back to those records and look for something I might have missed.

Yorke made "The Eraser" by himself with long-time producer Nigel Goodrich, but its icy electronic textures are not far removed from Radiohead's post "OK" albums. Yorke stopped writing actual songs long ago. He writes atmospheres now, but what atmospheres! In fact, this sounds to me like the proper follow-up to "Kid A." The songs are spare and ghostly, composed of sketchy piano parts, gurgling beats, disconnected synths and Yorke's trademark cooing. (There is virtually no guitar on the record.) Unlike Radiohead's recent material, the disparate parts acutally add up to something greater than well-made aural wallpaper.

For Radiohead fans, "The Eraser" is a revealing look at how much Yorke contributes to the band's overall aesthetic; apparently it's almost all him.

For a good track-by-track breakdown of "The Eraser," go here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Holler if you hear me

Hey dudes, sorry I haven't posted yet today but I just got in the office about 20 minutes ago. Working a late shift today. Anyway, I'm curious who's out there. If you are reading this blog, post a comment wiht something wacky in it. Anything. My definition of wacky is pretty liberal.

P.S. Yep, in case you didn't know, the abovie pic is what comes up first on Google when you put in the word wacky. Google doesn't lie, does it?