KC's record shops were a busy delight Friday morning and afternoon. The Black Friday installment of Record Store Day might not inspire the sort of fervent capitalistic enthusiasm of its better-known April counterpart, but this particular cold gray morning seemed to keep people at home drinking coffee a little longer than usual.
Read a round-up of the goings-on at various KC record shops at the Pitch. Published 11/28/16
With Black Friday just around the corner, we know you’ll find yourself beginning to seek out cool and interesting gifts for friends and family. Rather than buying another iTunes gift card for that stocking stuffer, we suggest you head out to one of the many excellent local record shops to buy an actual physical release from a local act. Whether it’s a benefit album, pop, metal, or lo-fi punk, there should be something for all tastes in this roundup of the latest local releases.
Read a round-up of the best local releases to snag on Black Friday, also at the Pitch. Published 11/22/16
Last night's LKxRR show at the Granada, organized by Treet Ward of Lawrence's Young Bull, ably demonstrated that a solid bill can pull a hundred people out on a holiday weekend. The show was stacked top-to-bottom with the finest heavy music the Lawrence and Kansas City areas have to offer, and there was no finer way to starting kicking 2016 out the door than with a big, metal boot.
Read the full review and see more photos at the Pitch. Published 12/31/16
In one of the cruelest imaginable displays of fated timing, David Bowie died just three weeks before last January’s debut of the Band That Fell to Earth. The tribute act, organized by Michelle Bacon (Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds), was put together to pay homage to the musician while he was very much alive. Then came the bad news, and Bacon was joined by Nathan Corsi (Not a Planet), Steve Tulipana, Betse Ellis and nearly a dozen other local-music luminaries.
Read the full feature at the Pitch. Published 1/3/17
On its new album, Moon Birth — released this week on the Whatever Forever label — Lawrence folk trio the Ovaries-Eez reaches for ethereal sounds. Granted, the group's gorgeous three-part harmonies are still the focus and the joy, but the new CD also finds room for Cloud Dog’s Brett Grady and Jim Martin, who add further texture to the lush singing with, respectively, viola and percussion (among other things).
Read the full feature at the Pitch. Published 1/6/17
Watching the actors of Card Table Theatre rehearse the beginning of Bertolt Brecht’s 1941 play, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, you get an immediate sense of the work’s gravitas. From the back of the ballroom inside Lawrence’s Eagle’s Lodge #309, you see the all-female cast move around as they work out Brecht’s menagerie of “the underworld’s most-fabled malefactors.” As one of actor Jeanne Averill’s characters — Barker — puts it, these folks are “rotten,” “ill-begotten,” “butchers,” a “bloody brood.”
Read the full feature at the Pitch. Published 1/19/17
Movie critic Joe Bob Briggs is known for his reviews of drive-in movies, even if there aren't all that many drive-ins around these days. He's become something of a go-to guy for films with exploding heads, car chases, nudity, and all aspects of action, be it kung-fu, car-fu, or chainsaw-fu. While he was once best known for his hosting duties on The Movie Channel and TNT, introducing films as part of Joe Bob's Drive-In and MonsterVision, he's now an author of some repute, with the essential movie guides Profoundly Erotic: Sexy Movies that Changed History and Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies that Changed History.
Read the full interview at the Pitch. Published 1/21/17
The Phantom Menace was released the day I finished my sophomore year of college. Thanks to some amazing friends who sat in line for weeks, I was able to snag a ticket to the midnight screening in the biggest theater in Kansas City. I moved all of my stuff out of the dorms, drove it home, took it into my parents’ house, and then drove to sit in line for seven hours, in order to secure a seat.
It’s weird to think about the fact that despite having watched all of the movies with my friends (including a Labor Day marathon a year or two prior, wherein we watched all the Special Editions when they were released on VHS), in addition to having friends from college get my ticket, I watched the movie essentially by myself. A sold-out theater, yes, but I sat by myself.
Read the From the Stereo to Your Screen column on John Williams and The Phantom Menace at Cinepunx. Published 11/18/16
Despite the fact that I’d rabidly followed the Bryan Lee O’Malley graphic novel series on which it was based, I didn’t get to see Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World film when it was in theaters. Firstly, I think it ran for maybe two weeks in my town, and it was dead-smack in the middle of back-to-school season.
Given that at the time, I was raising two kids, finances and time were at a premium, and they never became available simultaneously. So, I waited four months for it to come out on video, and then promptly watched it every day for a week. This coincided with me downloading the soundtrack and listening to it every day at work for a week, as well.
Read the From the Stereo to Your Screen column on The Clash at Demonhead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World at Cinepunx. Published 12/6/16
Despite its many iterations — musical, movie musical, live televised musical — John Waters’ original version of Hairspray, released in 1988, remains the best. Now, I’m a fan of musicals, and I’ll admit the Tony-winning Broadway version is pretty damned solid, with opening number, “Good Morning Baltimore,” being the best of the bunch. I’ll even cut some slack to “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” despite it being almost insipidly cloying.
That said, Waters’ film is just so perfectly bizarre and fun and joyous, with a perfect selection of Cameo Parkway R&B sides soundtracking everything. The plot, if you’ve never seen any of the various iterations, revolves around Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad getting on The Corny Collins Show, dancing, then becoming more racially aware, dancing, fighting for integration, and more dancing.
Read the From the Stereo to Your Screen column on Rachel Sweet and Hairspray at Cinepunx. Published 1/10/17
The latest film from Uncork’d Entertainment comes from I.D. Entertainment. It Watches is directed by Dave Parker, best known for the “Sweet Tooth” installment of 2015’s horror anthology, Tales of Halloween. That opening salvo of the film was one of the anthology’s highlights, mixing strangeness, humor, and not a little gore into an effective mix. Given the director’s work in gory, effects-laden projects – such as The Dead Hate the Living! or The Hills Run Red – it isn’t without a little curiosity that one watches Parker’s newest film, with it’s rather more sedate and restrained concept.