November 29, 2004

Clouds

Clouds

An odd cloud formation over Lawrence.

Posted by Wayne at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

Mary Jane

Mary Jane

This is my grandniece. She's a cutie don't you think? This picture really shows her personality.

Posted by Wayne at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

Bluegrass Band

Bluegrass Band

I don't know the name of the group but we saw them at the Bizarre Bazaar Christmas crafts show yesterday in Lawrence. They played some nice tunes. That I do know.

Posted by Wayne at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2004

Mojo India Pale Ale

Mojo India Pale Ale

This ale's taste is as colorful as its label.

Posted by Wayne at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

Ottawa Greeting

Ottawa Greeting

On our way south from Lawrence we passed through Ottawa, Kansas Thursday on the way to my sister's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Ottawa offers season's greetings to all who enter.

Posted by Wayne at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2004

Kansas Sunset

Kansas Sunset

I like Kansas sunsets better than New Mexico's (we just moved). You always have to consider context with any subject matter. This colorful sky was seen from the farm in Woodson County where I spent my childhood.

Posted by Wayne at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2004

Trees Lounge

Rockets Redglare is in this movie. Investigation and web searches reveal that he's been a crony of Steve Buscemi's for a long time. I didn't really know anything about Rockets before. I just had noticed his name several times in several places because it is rather distinctive.

The synchronicity here is that, as it turns out, RR used to be a body guard for the Sex Pistols, and Sid Viscious after their breakup. And I just wrote about them a couple of days ago. Rockets died in 2001. Buscemi has produced a documentary about him, that I may try to find.

Redglare's role here is minor though he does have a few lines.

Drunks in dank and smoky bars. Steve Buscemi's screenplay for a flick which he also directed, and starred in, uses the classic Bukowski premise. If I remember right, in the first scene Steve wakes up in a booth in the Trees as the barmaid is trying to close down. And immediately demands a shot.

This pretty much sets the tone for the story.

As is required of indie arthouse weird flicks that are written by directed and star the same semi-obscure actor (this was done in 1996. Buscemi was still at least semi-obscure, if not all the way obscure.) the story is a little hard to put your finger on. These films also require a list of actors who are a little closer to A list, who appear apparently as a favor to their almost famous buddy with whom they acted in a couple of other indie arthouse weird flicks that were written by, directed and starred some other semi-obscure actor who they both know.

Trees Lounge is no exception.

We see Samuel L. Jackson, Daniel Baldwin, Anthony LaPaglia, Chloe Sevigny, Michael Imperioli, plus Steve gave work to his brother, who plays his brother, and his son, who doesn't play his son.

Steve plays Tommy who has lost his girlfriend, who is now pregnant, to his boss who fired him for borrowing $1500 and not putting it back. Tommy is still unemployed, and to add to his tragedy, is a mechanic who can't keep his car running. This may be the only real reason he drinks.

There are more drunks in this story, and more to the story of these drunks. There's a death, a funeral, a too young hottie, an ice cream truck, a fight scene, numerous shots of Wild Turkey, and several cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

How could you go wrong with this? Check it out.

I've always wondered how in the hell someone can star in a movie they direct. How do you direct yourself? For that matter how do you direct other actors when you are acting in the scene? I guess I don't know enough about it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by Wayne at 12:32 AM | Comments (3)

November 24, 2004

Snow 2

Snow 2

Here's another from this morning. This one was taken out the front door. And earlier.

Posted by Wayne at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

View out our back door this morning

View out our back door this morning

We knew it would be colder in Kansas. But we didn't expect snow before Thanksgiving!

Posted by Wayne at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2004

Spongebob in Cans

Spongebob in Cans

Good old Spongebob Squarepants as a stack of cans seen at Kansas City's Union Station.

Posted by Wayne at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2004

Kansas City Skyline

Kansas City Skyline

Downtown Kansas City as seen from the Liberty Memorial.

Posted by Wayne at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2004

This is Spinal Tap

Twenty years ago I saw this film for the first time, and I was not too familiar then with improvisational comedy. I think I was only slightly aware that this film was a spoof. I remember being finally convinced when I heard the comment about the band's appearance at the "Isle of Lucy" festival.

I had my second viewing last night and liked it even better this time. Now, having become familiar with this troupe via their other films: Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, etc. I was able to appreciate even more the way this group plays off of each other. I think Spinal Tap needed Eugene Levy playing the band manager, although he probably would have had a difficult time with the British accent.

IFC showed a little documentary about the film before this showing and I didn't know how really cutting edge Spinal Tap was. They had a hell of a time selling it. Nobody wanted to take a chance on improvisational dialog and their general approach.

For me the best parts of this film are the stage shots. I saw Black Sabbath circa 1980 or so, and I think they may have used that Sabbath tour for their parodies. Sabbath had all kinds of stage props and heavy metal silliness. Of course the kids loved it. I was a little past teen age but I still enjoyed the show. And like Mighty Wind, the songs they wrote for this are hilarious.

During the documentary the film editor said that the original edit of This is Spinal Tap was six and a half hours long! I must find the DVD to see how many of the deleted scenes are on it. The deleted scenes on the Waiting for Guffman DVD are at least as good as what went into the film.

Perhaps Guest, McKean, Shearer & Co. should now do a sequel. Parodying a washed up rock band reuniting for the sake of paying off their dealers and ex-wives would be like taking candy from a baby for these guys now. Picture it. All with the same hair, only gray. (Shearer's mustache would be really funny in gray.) Still with their little mannerisms flicking the hair out of their faces. Various monologues about how some fans still follow their every move, and what it's like being a member of Spinal Tap.

All they would have to do is visit a Lynyrd Skynyrd tour to get their ideas.

Posted by Wayne at 03:16 PM | Comments (5)

House Clock

House Clock

During a drive to Topeka on US40 a couple of weeks ago I spied this house. And while my wife was driving I managed to anticipate and grab a photo from the car on the way back. If you look at the house you immediately notice a very large clock adorning the facade. Based on the times I saw both going and coming, the clock is a working clock. I would LOVE to get the story behind that. Is this guy just a clock freak and built it for fun? Did they acquire it somehow when a bank was torn down? Do they have to wind it? Is it electrically powered? It has to require some major maintenance. You can't exactly take it to the jeweler to have it cleaned.

Posted by Wayne at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Rooftop

Rooftop

I took this photo through an upstairs window from Henry's in Lawrence. We went upstairs to check out the "art party" advertised on the ground floor. Up there we met a fellow who blows glass and Lucy bought a couple of groovy Christmas tree ornaments. The glass man was a very personable fellow, and we discovered that his associate was born in my hometown. His father both graduated from and was a teacher at my high school. Small world. Or small state actually.

The art party was of course a crafts show with Christmas in mind. We used to attend these in New Mexico. There was no turquoise today.

Posted by Wayne at 02:41 AM | Comments (0)

Whistling Contest


Whistling Contest
Originally uploaded by RavenHawk.
We didn't go in to watch it. Or listen to it. The location is this funky cybercafe where you actually have to pay for time if you bring in your laptop. No wireless. You plug in to the LAN with a cable. I tried to tell the guy that he needed to be hip and offer wireless for free. He's an old hippie. Socialists don't make very good businesspeople unfortunately. I'm trusting that none of his friends read this blog.

I'm expanding this blog to include my photos. I need a regular outlet for them. This is actually a test post from my page on Flickr. Flickr is a pretty cool tool for sharing photos. It claims to support blogging photos; we'll see how it goes. Flickr also purports to allow me to email photo entries and post them directly to a blog (preferably this one). I'll try that next.
Posted by Wayne at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2004

The Filth and the Fury

The story of the Sex Pistols. They hated music. They hated to play their instruments. They hated fame. They hated their fans and their crowds. They hated each other. They hated the world.

Getting inspired to write about that is a little difficult, but their story is nonetheless fascinating to me. The Sex Pistols of course weren't so much a band as a social phenomenon, spontaneously generating from an English youth who were very disaffected, and had little interest in Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

The film is very interesting in the way it was done -- intermixing clips from the film version of Shakespeare's Richard III. The modern-day interviews of the bandmembers have them in black like they were whistle-blowers protecting their identity, you never see how they looked in 2000 when the film was produced. A logical reason for this is to keep the film in the time of the band's heyday. Johnny Rotten and company only discuss what was going on then.

Johnny's words are the most interesting aspect of the film for me. ("I don't have any heroes.") That and the general coverage of Sid Viscious. What an asshole. We've all heard many stories about those who couldn't handle fame, but his story seems different. I think his situation was compounded by the fact that he didn't really know how to play bass. So he didn't have any art to escape into. He knew on some level that he was a fraud. His and Nancy's ends are well documented in this film.

The Sex Pistols' role in both rock and roll and social history is forever. The Filth and the Fury documents that in a very compelling fashion.

There's a nice quote on one of the pages linked above: "the sex pistols ARE punk, the rest are 'punk-rock', BIG difference...."

Posted by Wayne at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2004

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Drag queen movies, as I've said before, are not the first thing I look for on the movie schedule. However, this one is great -- hilarious. The costumes the "girls" wear are worth the price of admission. The velociraptor costumes are amazing, but my favorites were the emus.

For the uninitiated, this drag queen film takes place in the Australian outback, and has to have one of the most original premises ever. Three queens ride in a bus named Priscilla to a gig a million miles from nowhere. Terence Stamp plays an old transexual, and plays her to perfection. Guy Pearce, long before Memento, plays a particularly bratty girl, and Hugo Weaving (You remember him. Does Elrond "Ring" a bell?) plays the leader of the trio of female impersonators.

Naturally you can't have a story about driving across a wilderness without the vehicle breaking down. This of course is where the adventure truly begins. There's a nice backstory involving Hugo's character. He may be a queeny but he's got a wifey...and a son! The moral of the story seems to involve reconciling the son with his Dad's sexuality -- and what he does for a living. The son doesn't seem to have much of a problem with it.

I guess Priscilla Queen of the Desert actually replaced The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the midnight movie circuit for a while. The film gave drag queens a place to meet after the bar. I remember seeing this in the theater when it came out, and I attended with a lesbian couple. My, how times change.

Posted by Wayne at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2004

Prey for Rock & Roll

Drea de Matteo fans (Adriana from the The Sopranoes) should not see this movie. She looks like shit the entire time. Whenever I see a character whose hair isn't washed, I always wonder if the makeup people worked on it to make it look unwashed or if they just -- you know -- didn't wash it for a couple of days.

For those who are fascinated with tattoos however, this is a must see film. All the characters have extensive tattooing and you will be constantly trying to get a focus on the various skin images.

Drea looks like hell because she is descending into the depths of drug addiction as the story progresses. Gina Gershon, who is the lead singer for the all-girl punk band central to the film, sings better than she acts. (If the name of the band was ever mentioned, I didn't catch it.) Indeed, the best part of this film is the music. The story, though it picks up later in the film, almost caused us to bail about 30 minutes in.

Gina's frustration with being a 20-year rock musician who has yet to taste stardom, only goes so far for story value, and this film pushes its luck a little too hard in this respect. Later there's a rape and a death to give more drama but are too long in coming. The narrative is so dark and dour, as reflected by the characters, getting interested this flick is difficult. You'd almost have to be living the hand-to-mouth life of a low-level punk rock band to appreciate it.

Drea is the bass player in the band. The drummer and the lead guitar player are lesbian lovers (naturally). The drummer's brother gets out of prison and comes to live with his sister. Gina starts with a pretty hot lesbian love scene of her own but as it turns out she's not committed to that lifestyle.

I like the double entendre title. These women really are prey for the rock and roll monster, though no moreso than men at the same level. Prey for Rock & Roll was adapted from a play written by former punk rocker Cheri Lovedog, and she collaborated on the screenplay. I'm glad she was able to parlay her presumably similar experience into something.

Sundance had this one last night. They are showing lots of rock and roll films this week. This is an improvement over Al Franken.

Posted by Wayne at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)