Friday, November 30, 2012

All Out of More

Driving home last night, I saw this storefront sign for Lights & More that made me giggle.  I don't know why but I always find the irony of a Light store with only half of its sign lit to be hilarious.  The only thing better is a sign store that has sign problems.

At least the Light has light.

Stopping to take a picture, I was then a little saddened to see that the Lights & More store was closing.  I had never shopped there and probably never would, but it was still a little sad.  Maybe it was because people didn't trust a light store that couldn't keep their own sign lit.  Maybe they were already on the way out and knew they wouldn't get a good return on investment for fixing their sign.  My favorite theory is that they have sold of of the More and only have the Lights left.

Sorry you are closing, but thanks for the laugh.

Lit up in its former glory

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thank God I'm a Zombie Boy

In case you didn't realize, John Denver is now a zombie.

I love John Denver.  A lot of people think that is weird since I am mostly known as a heavy metal guy.  Admittedly, it was a little strange seeing both a John Denver concert and a Megadeth concert within the span of a month or so.  However, I have liked John Denver since I was a kid.  I am not sure when I first came across JD but I know I was young.  I know my mom had Take me Home, Country Roads 45 record and I am sure I listened to that (I still have it actually), and I remember him being on The Muppet Show several times.  But, I think I was familiar with him even before The Muppet Show appearances...and of course there was the movie Oh, God, and of course the John Denver Christmas Specials.  I'm not sure which influenced me to enjoy John Denver but I have for as long as I can remember.

I saw John Denver in concert 4 times...and one of those concerts probably ranks in my Top 10 concerts (maybe if I ever get around to writing that list sometime I will know for sure).  To me, John Denver just has this pureness to his sound.  I loved his voice and his guitar work.  I think he was a talented songwriter with songs that could be haunting, or beautiful, or both.  John Denver had more variety than most people gave him credit for ranging from his well known folk and country to jazzy bluesy work to children's music to comedy (seriously the Ballad of Spiro Agnew and his stuff with the Chad Mitchell Trio is hilarious).  I find his music uplifting and peaceful and still listen to it when I am looking to relax.

When John Denver died, I was sad that the world lost a musical talent, but also that it lost someone that really cared for the Earth.  

However, Ticketmast sent me an email last night alerting me to a John Denver: Rocky Mountain High Concert.  What?  It was the middle of the night and I was half asleep and just deleted it (as I do), so when I woke I wondered if I had dreamed the whole thing.  No, it has to be a tribute or something and I just missed that part of it right?  I hit up and searched for John Denver.

What?  John Denver has a concert on Feb 12th, 2013?

Who is in that picture?  John Denver really changed when he became zombie.  After looking into it, I figured out that this picture is a band called the John Adams Band.  They are pretty famous for doing a John Denver tribute.  I've listened to them before on youtube...they are OK, but for me there is something missing.  I think the John Adams Band plays everything a little slow, while John Denver often tended to play it a little fast live. (And the peculiar thing is this my friends,The song we sang on that fateful night,It didn't actually sound anything like this song!).  So you messed that up too Ticketmaster...this is not what is happening at this show.

Doing more digging, I found out that these Rocky Mountain High Concert is actually video of John Denver singing on big screens while some members of his original touring bands play live.  Not a bad idea, pretty cool actually and I would probably go if it was a little bit closer.  However, I strongly disagree with the way that they have it listed...and $50 (minimum) seems a little steep.

Dear Ticketmaster, 

This is not John Denver.  JD died in 1997 (unlike Elvis who is with the aliens).  Really this is not how you should advertise a show.  Are you really trying convince us that this is John Denver live?  Because the comparison isn't even close.  Think if you bought tickets to a live show and they set you down in front of a TV and said enjoy.  It could be good...but it is not what you expected.  Video is not a live concert.  You really need to say tribute.  Obviously, it is a tribute since John Denver is dead...a little clarity on this event is in order.  Please correct this in the future...otherwise I damn well expect to see the reanimated corpse of John Denver up there on stage performing.

People Who Care About Semantics

Thursday, November 8, 2012

When the Sky Falls

Last night, CT and I were able to attend a free sneak preview of the new James Bond film Skyfall.  I enjoy James Bond films (and books and video game) quite a bit, but I wouldn't categorize myself as a fanatic.  I'll watch the movies when they are on TV but rarely do I just suddenly feel in the Bond mood and need to seek out a DVD (although I do own a few).  In fact, most people think my favorite Bond film is an odd choice...On Her Majesty's Secret Service (with the oft forgotten George Lazenby as Bond...thank you Marge Simpson for remembering George).  It's just such a unique and interesting Bond story.

I did want to see Skyfall in the theater when it came out, but it wasn't something that needed to be done on opening fact, on our weekly movie night for next week I would have put it in about the fifth position after Argo, Flight, Cloud Atlas, Man with the Iron Fists...and possibly even Wreck-It Ralph.  Part of that has to do with fact that it is a new movie and I knew that it would be in the theater for a while, but part of it was also that I find it difficult to get super excited about a new (and the 23rd) Bond movie.  Eventually, it feels routine.  I know I will see it, and I know it will be good but the urgency just isn't there.  But I received free passes to a sneak that changes the movie priority list some...and once that change happened, I did start to get excited.  Plus it was at Jordan Creek Cinema and they have the best lineup in town of pinball machines.  When I walked the arcade before the show 3 pinball machines (out of 3) were being played, 0 video games (out of 20ish) were being played (hint, hint bars, restaurants  arcades, etc...when you keep your pinball machines in nice condition they will make you money).

You do pay a small price in convenience for these sneak previews...mainly, they give out more passes than seats or tickets because they want a full theater.  So you have to get there early and stand in some lines for a bit...but hey, I am hanging with friends so it is all good.  Sometimes you will even have to surrender your phone or leave it in your car because they are afraid of piracy (I guess)...we had to do that for Looper.  At Looper, Cam telling the rent-a-cop security checking people's phones "Well, I'm certainly not leaving it with you..." was so dripping with disdain that it still makes me giggle to think about.  At Bond, there was not a phone surrender (thankfully because that was a slow process) but the security guards were watching the people in the theater to make sure no one was filming...of course, they could use their phones and cause the annoying glow in the peripheral of your vision several times throughout the show.

Skyfall was good.  Really good.  At the time, I thought a few parts dragged a little; but I think that more had to do with me being incredibly tired from barely sleeping the night before.  Skyfall is gritty and action packed like all the Daniel Craig Bond movies have been.  If you like Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace, you should love Skyfall.  Skyfall did have a few things that I found interesting and somewhat unique for a Bond movie.

  1. Skyfall doesn't really have many gadgets.  All the Daniel Craig movies have tended to have fewer Gadgets than the movies of 70's, 80's, and 90's (which were getting a little ridiculous at times)...but this takes it to even another level.  Bond's gadgets consists of a radio transmitter (with a single button to turn it on and off) and a Walther PPK pistol (which is coded to James Bond's palm print so that only he can fire it).  That is pretty much it for gadgets.  Bond (and his cohorts) have to make due with their surrounding and Macgyver-izer their surroundings for their defenses.
  2. Skyfall tells more about James Bond's past than I think the the previous 22 films have ever told.  Truthfully, I am not one hundred percent sure how I feel about this.  I mean Bond was always kind of an "every man" in my mind precisely because I didn't know anything about his past before joining MI-6.  It did make the movie interesting though, so I guess my judgement will probably have to wait to see how this plays out in the future.
Skyfall has a lot of classic Bond in it too.  Bond being cool under pressure; crazy, creepy villains   Bond doing whatever it takes; amazing locations; Bond butting heads with M, lovely ladies who want to get on James; and Bond just being a total badass.  Skyfall did a good job of expanding the Bond timeline to the past while setting it up for a bright future.  However, I think my favorite part of the movie was the theme song/credit sequence in the was just totally epic and awesome.  Really well done and interesting...and I even appreciated the Adele song (which I had avoided up to that point).

You may have seen this Heineken/James Bond commercial...CT and I were pleasantly surprised to find out that Heineken was not only a Bond sponsor, but was also having a premiere after party at the local Champps restaurant.  Everyone who attended got a free Heineken and then had special pricing after.   I didn't even have to ask to have my Heineken given to Cam when I ordered a Pepsi, the waitress/bartender did it automatically.  It was nice to sit and chat for a bit after the movie, a nice end to a good evening.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gory Days are Here Again

Stage West Iowa (you may remember them from my post on Hedwig and the Angry Inch) is currently performing Evil Dead: The Musical.  You should go see it.

I've wanted to go see Evil Dead: The Musical since I first heard about the Canadian production in 2003.  Being a big fan of the Evil Dead movies and musicals in general, it seemed like something made just for me...but also one of those things that is such a strange abomination that it would die shortly after birth (I'm looking at you Lestat).  But it didn't, much like a Kandarian demon infected college student, it would not die.  I remember looking a few years later and being very pleasantly surprised that Evil Dead the Musical (EDTM) was still playing in Canada.  Ah Canada, you are so, curling, and EDTM.  

I kept trying to find a way to justify a trip to Toronto to see the Evil Dead, but it just wasn't happening...someday Canada, someday I will ride a moose.  Finally in 2007, Evil Dead made the jump to Off-Broadway.  From there, EDTM has had all kinds of productions across the US.   But not Iowa.  I kept hoping but was continually let down by the lack of demon possessed plays.  Finally, this was announced.  Evil Dead the Musical would be coming to the Stoner Theater.  I was very excited.  Les Mis and the Evil Dead within a month's time...amazing.  I set out to buy tickets as soon as I could...but for which performance?  That is always a tough question for me, but this was easy.  Of course, I would have to see it Halloween!  Oct 31st, what better day to watch the Evil Dead.  

I was sure it was going to be awesome, Angie was not so sure...but willing to give it a try (this is just one of the many things I like about her).  Unfortunately, Angie has some unavoidable business come up and was forced to miss the show at the last minute...luckily my brother Ryan and his wife Hedda were happy to step in.  We had a great time and laughed throughout the show.  I would suggest you check it out within the next week (performances end Nov 11th).  

If you are unfamiliar with the Evil Dead - it is a horror movie about teenagers who stay at a cabin in the woods and inadvertently conjure demons when the find the Necronomicon.  Then it is a fight for survival with shotguns, chainsaws, and lots of blood...your typical, scary stuff right?  Not really.  It does have some scares and creepiness but it has even more campiness (on purpose) and humor.  The musical adaptation expands on the camp and the humor to make it a very fun viewing.  It isn't just sex jokes, foul language, and blood tries to answer the tough questions in life like "How did a housewares employee land the perfect girl?" and "How did the perfect girl land a housewares employee?"  OK, it is mostly just sex jokes, foul language, and blood...but the show knows that is all it is and owns it.  You'll enjoy songs like - What the Fuck Was That?, Bit-Part Demon, and Do the Necronomicon.

Check it out for a laugh, I don't think you will be often do you get to see a singing moose head?  Not enough, in my opinion; so you shouldn't pass up the opportunity.