Monday, October 22, 2007

Things I learned today: 10/22/2007

The Duane Reed on the southeast corner of 57th St. & Broadway is not connected to the Duane Reed on the southwest corner of 57th St. & Broadway by underground tunnels.

When I started my new job at a little over a month ago, I spent my lunch break for the first few days walking around the neighborhood. My main goal was to find some good restaraunts where I could buy a delicious lunch at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, most places up here like to charge $7 for a sandwich. I don't like to pay $7 for a sandwich, so now I go to the Subway on 7th Ave. between 55th St. & 56th St., despite the painfully inept service staff, because I can get a sandwich for $4. Putting up with the ragtag bunch of fools bumbling around trying to figure out how to make a 6" cold cut combo on italian bread is cutting my lunch costs by 43%.

Anyway, in my travels I noticed that there was a Duane Reed on the corner opposite my building. "That's convenient", I thought. Then I noticed something strange, there was also a Duane Reed on the other side of the intersection. It was as if the Duane Reed was looking into a funhouse mirror and seeing a slightly different Duane Reed staring back. At first I was confused, but I assumed that there must be some sort of connection between the two stores. Why else would someone decide to put a Duane Reed at an intersection that already had a Duane Reed? Last I checked, that sort of thing was Starbucks' territory.

My hypothesis was furthered last week when I went into Duane Reed West to buy a hairpick for my afro. I noticed there was an escalator in the corner that went to another floor below street level. "Oh, that floor must go under Broadway and connect to Duane Reed East.", I thought. Having already made my selection of a three-pack of hairpicks and Stephen King's "IT" on dvd for $4.99, I didn't bother to test my hypothesis. I felt that my assumption was the only logical answer and decided to leave it at that.

Today I found myself in front of Duane Reed East on my way to Subway to buy another $4 sandwich made by retards (editor's note: they're not really handicapped, they're just stupid). I decided to go inside and see if they had any oral syringes, the kind you use to give babies medicine. My girlfriend needed some for her halloween costume (Dr. Dakota Block from Planet Terror). The first thing I noticed while walking around the store trying to find the "baby needs" aisle was the glaring absence of an escalator leading to the underground floor that connected Duane Reed East to Duane Reed West. How could this be? How would people travel between the two Duane Reeds if it was raining? What if there was a fire at Duane Reed West and there were people trapped in the underground floor? How would they escape if someone forgot to build the escalator in Duane Reed East?

I quickly left the store and crossed the street to Duane Reed West. I walked over to the escalator and found the 'down' side unoperational. Was this an attempt to keep more people from getting trapped underground in the inevitable fire? I was disappointed that there was no sign reading "Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the Convenience." I reluctantly walked down the stairs into the underground death chamber and looked around, thinking maybe I overlooked the escalator in Duane Reed East. Perhaps there was a hidden elevator, I hadn't even taken that into account. Unfortunately, no such elevating device was to be found.

This means that there are two completely unrelated Duane Reed stores less than 50 yards from each other. At some point, a man looked at the intersection of 57th St. & Broadway with it's lonely Duane Reed and thought to himself, "that little guy looks like he could use a friend."

That man... Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln at the dedication of Duane Reed West, November 12, 1863.
This event was greatly overshadowed by the following Sunday's dedication of the cemetary at Gettysburg.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

I've received an advance copy of the new Foo Fighters album 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace', so I thought I'd do a little write-up.

After listening to the album four times in a row, what stands out the most is that Grohl obviously took a lot away from the acoustic tour they did in support of the second (quieter) half of 'In Your Honour' (which provided the material for 2006's live album and DVD 'Skin and Bones'). The new acoustic arrangements of old Foo Fighters songs must have sparked something inside Grohl's head because 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' is full of orchestral touches that provide a whole new dimension to his songwriting.

Of course there are the standard rock anthems (albiet with new acoustic/orchestral touches) that you expect from Foo Fighters, like first single "The Pretender", "Erase Replace", "Long Road to Ruin" (my guess for next single #1), and "Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup's Running)" (my guess for next single #2). But what really stands out are the mellower acoustic/piano heavy tracks that make up the majority of the album.

"Let it Die" starts out as a quiet, gentle acoustic solo piece with only Grohl's vocals and an acoustic guitar. But it slowly builds, growing more and more urgent until around the two-minute mark you're hit with a few bars of loud, crunch-heavy guitar leading into a full-on rock chorus/outro. This is Dave Grohl taking Jimmy Page's concept of light and shade to the extreme.

"Come Alive" is another example of this light and shade concept, building from a mid-tempo melodic piece to balls to the wall, bombast and howling rock.

"Stranger Things Have Happened" is purely acoustic with Grohl singing over one guitar, with a second guitar joining in occassionally to add accents with some nice acoustic licks.

"Summer's End" is a laid-back electric track with a California country aura and a chorus whose melody has hints of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Carry On".

"The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners" is an acoustic instrumental that sounds like 'In Your Honour's "Razor" at double-speed.

"Statues" is the centerpiece. It is by far the best track on the album and one of the most interesting pieces of music Dave Grohl has ever written. It's like nothing you've ever heard from this band before, but I hope Grohl's got more like this in him. The only downside is that it's only three minutes and forty-seven seconds long. I want more.

"But Honestly" is another acoustic>rock, light and shade song. They use the formula a lot on this album, but it doesn't get old because it works. If it was good enough for Led Zeppelin, it's good enough for me.

"Home" is a slow piano ballad in the vein of The White Stripes' "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)" from 'Get Behind Me Satan'. While Grohl doesn't have the raw emotion that Jack White spills out, it's still a really beautiful way to close the album. Though I am a big sucker for album-closing piano ballads (see Aerosmith's "You See Me Crying" from 'Toys in the Attic' and "Home Tonight" from 'Rocks')

Overall it's an amazing album. It really shows Dave Grohl growing as a songwriter and is a great end result of the experimentation on 'In Your Honour'. If 'In Your Honour' was their 'Physical Graffiti', then 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' is their 'Led Zeppelin III'.

When 'In Your Honour' was released, I thought it was amazing, but wondered if they would be able to pass the decade mark and still remain relevant. This new record shows that not only have they survived, but there's a whole new chapter that's just beginning.

'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace' hits stores on September 25th.

You can pre-order the album on iTunes for $9.99 and get an exclusive bonus track, plus a unique presale password for the upcoming tour (dates TBA so far).


You can pre-order the CD or Vinyl version from the Foo Fighters website for $25 each and get a free t-shirt with your order. I'm gonna pre-order the vinyl edition today, I have the 4-LP vinyl edition of 'In Your Honour' and the sound is absolutely amazing. So much richer than the cd, it's absolutely beautiful.


You can always pre-order it from Amazon for $9.99 or from Deep Discount for $13.97 (w/ free s&h).

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Ain't It Cool News is reporting some totally made up bullshit about 01-18-08/Cloverfield/Cheese/Voltron/Godzilla/Son of Kong/Captain Planet/Who Cares. "Sources" describe a new scene involving Rob, some guys from Army, and Nicole Richie bleeding from the eyes.

I dunno man, I'm kinda bored with this whole thing already. Feels like it totally blew its load way too early. Through no fault of the people behind it, mind you. I blame all the rampant "internet sleuths" for trampling this thing into the ground before it even left the gate.

Anyway, if you're tired of hearing about this too, here's something else for you.

Runnin' with the Devil

Hell is hosting the Ice Capades and pigs have taken to the skies, Van Halen is going on tour with David Lee Roth for the first time since 1985. Sort of.

Eddie Van Halen + Alex Van Halen + David Lee Roth - Michael Anthony ≠ Van Halen

Eddie is an idiot if he thinks this is going to work with his 16 year old son taking Michael Anthony's place. Michael Anthony was responsible for at least 50% of the vocal duties in Van Halen. All those high backing vocals, that's Michael Anthony. The fact is, David Lee Roth couldn't sing live even back in Van Halen's heyday. Michael Anthony was there to carry Dave when he was too drunk/stupid/bad at singing to hit the notes himself. Without that net, and with Dave being 25 years older, they don't stand a chance. Eddie fucks up yet again.

This is gonna be a train wreck of epic proportions. Sign me up!

On a positive note, Alex Van Halen will still probably sound excellent.

On a strange note, has anyone seen a picture of Alex Van Halen lately? He looks like an old black man.

And as an added bonus, here's DLR drunk onstage at the US Festival in '83. The single greatest moment in live Van Halen history occurs at the 1:37 (-2:55) mark.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

From Grindhouse to Shithouse

Soooo, Planet Terror and Death Proof are being released on dvd separately and a month apart. Each gets a two disc set with extra footage (plus the “missing reels” restored), but no mention of a theatrical version and a restored version without all the aging and stuff (as previously rumored). Also, no trailers. At all. On either set. Totally lame. I’ll netflix it. Way to fuck up every aspect of releasing and promoting this movie Weinstiens.

If they were disappointed with box office sales, they’re gonna be even more disappointed with dvd sales. They lost a huge amount of their potential box office audience because their marketing/advertising on the internet was completely non-existent. Everyone in the movie was running around to every talk show they could get to. They had the entire cast on the fucking Tyra Banks Show! (this is a shitty clip someone made from their tv with a webcam or something, but you can see that everyone is there) But there was absolutely nothing online. No ads, no myspace, I’m not even sure if there was an official website.

Did someone really think the housewives that watch Tyra Banks’s show were going to jump at the chance to see Planet Terror? And who watches Late Night talk shows for news about upcoming releases? I watch them because they’re on every night and they’re easy to fall asleep to. Most of the time I don’t even make it to the first guest on Conan. So they totally missed about 80% of their audience right there. If they had so much as a myspace page, I bet the box office would have doubled. And even the advertising and marketing they did apparently didn’t do its job because people were walking out after Planet Terror because they didn’t realize there were two movies. Theatres were posting ushers at the exits to remind people that there was another movie coming up.

So, take the number of people who went to see the movie, subtract those who mistakenly walked out after Planet Terror, then subtract the people that stayed but hated Death Proof, then subtract all the people that were going to buy the dvd until they heard it would cost them $60 to get both movies and even then they wouldn’t get the trailers (which were some people’s favorite part), and you’re left with very slim pickings when it comes to dvd sales. And bad dvd sales do not equal second edition.

This was a fuck-up of gigantic proportions. There are so many ways this could have been handled better.

On a lighter note, I saw this Grindhouse book the other day and it looks really cool. I may have to pick it up in the future.

Grindhouse Book

Friday, August 10, 2007

Holy Viral Marketing Batman!


I’ve been reading all about it on AICN for weeks. Almost getting tired of hearing about it because people just won’t give it a rest despite the fact that nothing significant has come to light for a couple weeks (the latest big revelation? The title they’re using on set is “Cheese”. Big fucking deal). But it’s been kind of quiet this week, so that’s been a nice break of sorts. Guess there was some other news happening so everyone could stop repeating the same theories ad nauseam.

That said, the trailer was cool. The website with the movable pictures isn’t as interesting to me as it seems to be to everyone else. I haven’t even bothered with the Slusho site. Too much garbage to sift through when I could just wait for someone else to find something significant.

Viral marketing’s cool, but it’s annoying when something is talked about so much that it gets old within 24 hours and you’re tired of hearing about it before it even has the chance to do anything but put out a mysterious trailer. Especially when people are so desperate to figure it out instead of waiting patiently and letting it play out, that they start grasping at anything that might potentially be a clue and end up wasting countless hours on what turns out to be a puzzle site for a completely unrelated video game’s viral marketing campaign. Which is thereby ruined once it comes to light that it has nothing to do with the original project everyone is scrambling to figure out. “Sorry a bunch of rabid lunatics ruined your viral marketing by mistaking it for someone else’s viral marketing.” That sounds so absurd. But watch, when this viral marketing shit isn’t just a few and far between deal, but everyone is using it for everything, there will be situations like this all the time. One campaign will accidentally be absorbed by another, completely ruining one or both in the process.

Now, an example of a viral marketing campaign done right in every way: The Dark Knight. Everyone knows about it, but it’s not over-hyped like “Cloverfield”. It’s being done in a very calculated and genius way. The games, the cooperative scavenger hunt at Comic Con (including skywriting, creepy recorded phone messages), the anonymous defaced playing cards and dollar bills being randomly scattered across metropolitan areas, the mysterious websites. Pure genius. If someone were to write an instructional book on viral marketing, they could just outline this campaign. The End.

I don’t know if this 1-18-08/“Cloverfield”/“Cheese” thing is going to end up being anything special, or just another big spark with little bang. But I can guarantee you that The Dark Knight is gonna be awesome. That has a lot to do with the people involved, but the excellent marketing sure isn’t hurting.

The Joker

Monday, June 25, 2007

Concert Season (Summer Edition) UPDATED


Friday June 22
Dave Attel
with John Mulaney, Joe DeRosa, Amy Schumer, Kurt Metzger, Ted Alexandro
Central Park Summer Stage

Saturday June 23
MC Chris
Passout Records
131 Grand St. (btwn. Bedford & Berry)

Sunday June 24
Ted Nugent
Nokia Theatre
7pm doors
(this one's almost free. If you go HERE and use the password "catscratch", it'll give you the tickets for free, you just have to pay all the bullshit Ticketmaster charges. Which comes out to about $9/ticket if you buy two. The more you buy, the cheaper each one is. Who wants to get a group together and party with The Nuge? C'mon people, you know he's gonna play "Cat Scratch Fever", "Stranglehold", and "Great White Buffalo". Maybe he'll shoot something with an arrow!)

Monday July 9
MC Hammer, Doug E Fresh, Slick Rick & MC Lyte
part of Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series
Wingate Field
at Winthrop Street (btwn Brooklyn Ave & Kingston Ave)

Wednesday July 11
part of River to River Festival
Rockefeller Park
(at River Terrace & Warren St)

Thursday July 19
UCB Theatre's Comedy Cabaret
featuring Human Giant, Demetri Martin, Rebecca Drysdale, The Defibulators
Central Park Summer Stage

Saturday July 21
Siren Music Festival
Coney Island
All day
Lineup (so far & in no particular order)
New York Dolls
White Rabbits
We Are Scientists
The Black Lips
Dr. Dog
Lavender Diamond
The Detroit Cobras
Elvis Perkins
The Twilight Sad
Matt & Kim

Sunday July 22
Brazilian Girls
with Cat Empire, HIMALAYAS (conducted by Kenny Wollesen & Jonathon Haffner)
Central Park Summer Stage

Thursday July 26
part of Seaside Summer Concert Series
Asser Levy/Seaside Park
(at West 5th St & Surf Ave)
Lineup includes (in no particular order)
Iron Butterfly
Mountain (featuring Leslie West & Corky Laing)
The Turtles (featuring Flo & Eddie)
The Zombies (featuring Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent)
Country Joe McDonald
Felix Cavaliere's Rascals
Denny Laine (co-founder of Moody Blues & Wings)
Joey Molland's Badfinger
Mitch Ryder
Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad)

Sunday August 5
Blonde Redhead
with I'm From Bercelona & The Coy Dogs
part of the Helio & JellyNYC Pool Parties
McCarren Park Pool
at Lorimer St (btwn Driggs Ave & Bayard Ave)
(requires rsvp, see the site for details)

Monday August 6
Lauryn Hill
with special guests
part of Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series
Wingate Field
at Winthrop Street (btwn Brooklyn Ave & Kingston Ave)

Thursday August 9
The B52's
with Patty Smyth and Scandal
part of Seaside Summer Concert Series
Asser Levy/Seaside Park
(at West 5th St & Surf Ave)

Sunday August 12
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
with The Thermals & Birds of Avalon
part of the Helio & JellyNYC Pool Parties
McCarren Park Pool
at Lorimer St (btwn Driggs Ave & Bayard Ave)
(requires rsvp, see the site for details)


Friday June 22 & Saturday June 23
Violent Femmes
with John Kruth
261 Driggs Ave (btwn Leonard St & Eckford St)

Tuesday July 24
The White Stripes
with Grinderman
Madison Square Garden
$49.50 ($39.50 for the upper level 400 section)

Wednesday August 8
Beastie Boys
Central Park Summer Stage
7pm-10pm (doors 5:30pm)

Thursday August 9
Beastie Boys
McCarren Park Pool
at Lorimer St (btwn Driggs Ave & Bayard Ave)
5:30pm doors

Thursday August 9
The Black Crowes
Central Park Summer Stage
6pm-10pm (doors 4:30pm)