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SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 15, 2021] The Prox Transmissions

I had recently seen Starset live and decided to check out lead singer Dustin Bates’ books (which I had gotten for my son for his birthday and I think he hasn’t read).

All of the CDs have a theme and the story of the Prox Transmissions is meant to tie into the album called Transmission.

My understanding was that the graphic novel was an adaptation of the novel.  I couldn’t find the novel in his room, but I did see the graphic novel, so I started with that (even though I’m sure it would have ben smarter to read the novel first).

The most impressive thing about this to me was that it was published by Marvel.  Not because I’m a Marvel fan boy but because I just assumed it was self published.  That being said, I think a thing or two was lost in the abridgement.

There are double crosses and possibly triple crosses and seemingly minor characters come to have major roles without a very satisfying explanation.  Basically it feels like a story that has has a lot removed (which it is).

The actual story line is pretty cool though. Continue Reading »

[POSTPONED: January 14, 2021] Guster / Ben Kweller

indexCOME ON!

In March of last year, Guster was supposed to come to NJ to play An Evening of Acoustic Music & Improv–a tour that had been going great.

Then it was cancelled.

The band waited almost a year to reschedule a NJ show–who knows if they were going to do an acoustic show or not.  (Probably not as the last show all tickets were seated).

And then the jackasses who didn’t get vaccinated caused the virus to mutate and infect all of us.

I tested positive last week and tonight was going to be the date I was allowed back into society.  I don’t blame the band for cancelling–literally everyone is catching it.  I blame the idiots who trust Facebook more than science.

Who knows when they’ll want to come back–although come back they will because Guster doesn’t give up!

UPDATE: Until Maryann commented, I didn’t realize (or I forgot) there was a special guest (I didn’t look at this poster very clearly, obviously).  I know Ben Kweller from the compilation The Bens, which has Ben Folds and Ben Lee on it.  I didn’t think I knew much else from Ben Kweller, until I just saw that he sings lead on “I Hope Tomorrow is LIke Today.” which, how did I not know that?

I hope that he is still the opener for the rescheduled date.

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 13, 2022] The Genius Under the Table

Why would anyone read an autobiography of someone they’d never heard of?

Well, in part because it’s a children’s biography, and therefore a fairly easy read.  But mostly because Eugene Yelchin grew up in the Soviet Union under the watchful eyes of Lenin and his KGB informants.  And it’s a fascinating look at a world that is as bizarre as it is unsettling.

And it’s a well-written and interesting story, too!

Yelchin was the youngest of two sons.  His older brother was on track to become a national figure skater.  His mother worked in the ballet, assisting the ballerinas and having a close up view of the amazing Mikhail Baryshnikov.  His father was a working man as well–they needed all the money they could get (which wasn’t much).  And what of Eugene (Yevgeny)?  He had no talent.

He couldn’t play sports (not even chess).  He couldn’t dance.  He wasn’t super smart.  He wasn’t exactly a disappointment to his parents (although he was, kind of), but they knew that the only way to get out of the squalor they lived in was to be great at something.

And he wasn’t great at anything. Continue Reading »

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 12, 2022] The Bad Guys Episode One

A movie is coming out about this book series (Scholastic must have SO MUCH MONEY!).  S. brought it home from the library and I figured I’d give it a read.  And five minutes later I’d finished it.

It’s pretty funny (although not as funny as I would have liked).

It’s also clearly designed for young readers since there are usually no more than five words per page.  I guess it’s a graphic novel, although there are chapters.

The book opens with Mr Wolf staring at us and telling us to come closer.  But we are smart, we know he is a monster so we do not get any closer. Continue Reading »

[CANCELLED: January 8, 2021] Nap Eyes / Kiwi Jr.

indexNap Eyes opened for Destroyer in the last show I saw before the quarantining.  I really wanted to see them headline a tour and do their own thing.

They had scheduled a show at Johnny Brenda’s for May of 2020 which was cancelled.  Then they bided their time and waited until 2022 to schedule their new tour.  But people are jerks and wouldn’t get vaccinated and now the virus had transformed itself so that everyone is going to get it.

I actually tested positive this week and wouldn’t have been able to go to this show anyhow, so I guess I’m glad the tour is on hold for a bit.

But damn, I want to see some Nap Eyes!

Kiwi Jr. is a fun Canadian band, recently described as “clever, easy-going jangle pop” that I’d really like to see live. So I hope this lineup stays the same when Nap Eyes comes back to Philly again.  Some day.

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: December 20, 2021] Weird Accordion to Al [Vanity Edtion]

This book came to my work and I said, Hey I have this!  And then I said, but my cover is orange.  What gives?

And then I saw that Rabin, inspired by Al’s Ill-Advised Vanity tour expanded this book.  Or actually, since there is very little information about these books, perhaps he wrote them at the same time and released a shorter and longer version.  But why would he do that?

The first 366 pages are the same but, (and here’s the thing that messed with my head) they are not exactly the same.  Now, I didn’t read the same text in both books and compare them (that would be really insane). But I did flip through the book comparing paragraph and chapter breaks.  The text appears to be the same in both books.  BUT, the paragraphs are not!  For reasons that I don’t understand, in book 1 some pages end with paragraph F, but in book 2, with the same exact text, the page now ends with paragraph E.  Like the spacing of a period threw off all of the justification (Users of Word will know what I’m talking about).

So I’m assuming that both books are the same.

And then the new stuff was added to Book 2 (or taken out of Book 1, whatever).

Starting on page 368 we move on to Other Stuff. Continue Reading »

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: December 20, 2021] Weird Accordion to Al

After writing the “Weird Al” biography, with “Weird Al” himself, Nathan Rabin dug even deeper into his “Weird Al” fandom to write a detailed account of, as the subtitle says, “Every ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Album Analyzed in Obsessive Detail.”

“Weird Al” wrote the (short) introduction and then Nathan drops the needle on “Weird Al” Yankovic, Al’s 1983 debut album.

Nathan goes into varying degrees of detail on each of the songs.  Nathan was a rabid “Weird Al” fan from when he was a little kid.  And when he talks about how much he loves Al, you can see his deep abiding appreciation for everything Al has done.

Some songs get a paragraph, nut most get a page or so.  He usually talks about how much he likes (or loves) the song (and occasionally dislikes).  There’s nostalgia in the older songs and jokes and observations about contemporary things as well (Rabin’s politics poke through once in a while.  Good thing he’s a smart guy.

Because he did the Al biography with Al, he presumably got a lot of insight into the man and his work.  So although sometimes his insights seem like maybe he’s reading too much into a goofy parody, perhaps he’s on to things.  Maybe Al’s depth is deeper than rhyming Sharona with Bologna.  Which is not in any way to diminish Al’s intelligence.  He’s obviously very smart, especially as his later songs indicate.

Rabin’s tone throughout the book is smart and snarky.  He talks about the songs and the video (if there is one).  He talks about the production quality (or lack thereof) on the first album.  He references Dr. Demento (because the Dr is essential to Al’s career).  He also references Don DeLillo’s White Noise and says things like “Al is in deconstructionist mode.” Continue Reading »

This is kind of a downer post to start the year, but I’m going on the idea that the year can only get better.

2021 promised to be the year that concerts came back.

And they did, in a pretty big way.  However, there were random shows that were cancelled or postponed.   I’m not going to list every show that was postponed in 2021 (that list is way too long), but here’s a few shows that were supposed to happen once concerts came back but which for one reason or another didn’t.

Sometimes it was even because I had a better show to go to (or had tickets to the other one first).  Reschedulers seemed to enjoy placing all of the rescheduled shows in the same week for me.  I wasn’t necessarily going to try to see all of these, but they caught my attention.

Continue Reading »

The Concerts of 2021

2021 promised to be the year that concerts came back.

And they did, in a pretty big way.  However, there were random shows that were cancelled or postponed.  And then, the year ended with a huge number of shows being cancelled, which had already leaked into 2022.

The terrible irony is that some shows that pushed back their dates from the Spring of 2021 to the Spring of 2022 might get pushed back again because of the omicron variant.  I swear if that My Chemical Romance show gets pushed back again, the kids who want to see it will be out of school already.

As for me, I saw a lot of shows in the middle of the year and then kind of burnt out and blew off a bunch of shows.  Now with shows getting cancelled again, I’m wondering how much I regret not going to the ones I skipped.

The only real regret I have is missing the Stars/Kevin Devine show at World Cafe Live.  I’ve wanted to see Stars for a long time and they don’t tour all that often.  This show happened to be on a day that we were hosting a small get together and while I probably could have made it to the show afterwards, it would have been really tight.  So I just have to hope that Stars comes back around in 2022 (or 2023). Continue Reading »

[POSTPONED: December 29, 30, 31 2021 and January 1, 2022] Phish [moved to April 20, 21, 22 and 23, 2022]

index

So I got totally shut out for the New Year’s Eve lottery.  The four of us would not go to see Phish.  I knew that no one else in the family wanted to see them on the other nights, so I snagged a ticket for January 29 and 30 for myself.

Although after an exhausting run of shows at the end of November, I was rather burnt out and had every intention of selling these tickets.  I felt like it would be good to stay home for a couple weeks.

I wasn’t going to try to make any money off of them (I’m a strictly cash or trade kind of guy). but I never got around to setting up the trade.

As it got closer I did consider that I might be willing to go to maybe one of the shows.  But as Omicron got worse, I decided that nope, I’m skipping it.

So it was good that they rescheduled, because I still get to go.  Although the shows are the week of S’s birthday, and that’s a pretty busy week,  So we’ll see.