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When I walked in the door Friday night at Echo Lounge just before 11 and the joint was half-empty I was worried. The opening act came on - Exit 86. It's the exit somewhere between metal and punk on the noise highway. Good if you like that sort of thing, but you'd better catch them soon 'cause the lead singer's vocal cords can't take this kind of abuse forever. I must pause here to rant about fashion. If you're not interested, skip the next paragraph.
Ladies, there is a damn good reason they give rounded plastic scissors to pre-schoolers - so they won't cut their bangs in the too-short, uneven, crooked style that has somehow become the fashion of the moment. It looks fuckin' AWFUL. Your forehead looks huge. I can't recall the last time I looked at a person of either gender and said "Wow, nice forehead!" It distracts from the rest of your features. You face looks fat and washed out. What can I say to convince you? Stop it. Please. Now. I'd rather you just shave your head!
Back to or normally scheduled program, already in progress.
In the back bar I ran into some friends and sat for a chat. Next to us were the illigitimate sons of Cheech and Chong, no kidding. The short, ethnic guy is going on and on, "Dude, I just got out of prison - IN TIJUANA! It sucked! They thought I was a Mexican! I didn't have my ID, I spent 3 months in that place!" His friend, a taller guy with a beard and little round glasses, just sat there and grinned. It was freakish. I kept waiting for them to break into the "Dave's not here, man" routine.
Jucifer came on after the break, the lead singer in a very mod Star Trek getup, with a big 60's wig, odd makeup, a lime green dress, and huge shoes. The drummer went for a different decade in his "I shot JR" t-shirt. They started right into it. The drummer must go through hundreds of drum heads in a year - he doesn't play the drums, he *attacks* the drums. He started with headphones on but within a few seconds his flailing about had flung them off. Meanwhile, the lead singer is droning into the microphone, letting her guitar do the real talking - or yelling. The amount of noise that comes out of just these two people is astounding. I hadn't seen them in a while so the shock was fresh and new. It's not for everyone - either you'll like it or hate it. (I stayed through the encore.) Halfway into the first set one of the fans got a little too fanatic and leapt on stage. The band didn't pay him much attention so he went to the back of the stage and cavorted around for a minute before Cole dragged him off. He was back in the crowd a while later trying to start a mosh pit but the crowd wouldn't have it and I smiled as Cole hauled him out. He didn't come back. Jucifer raged on, took a short break, then raged on through a short encore and it was over. A few fans were still trickling in the door, disappointed it had ended so early but I don't see how the drummer keeps it up as long as he does. His energy and intensity makes any other rock band you care to name look like a pack of folk singers on valium!
In other news, we got Amy Ray's solo CD "Stag." It kicks off with a traditional-sounding number with only Amy's voice and a mandolin, a fun little number about having a brother sent to the electric chair. The rest of the CD features a who's who of Atlanta music on backup, from The Butchies to The Rock*A*Teens to Danielle Howle to David Barbe. Amy's voice is strong and works well on all the tunes, but I have a personal bias towards "Black Heart Today" with the 'Teens, which even includes Kelly Hogan's voice in the back somewhere. Good stuff.

We caught "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" last week. It's a Coen brothers piece that has the usual odd characters in a weird adventure with fun music. This time it's a modernized version of Homer's "Odyssey" with George Clooney as Ulysses. It doesn't hold to the original too closely, but many of the challenges that face Ulysses are recognizable. I'm not a fan of George Clooney and I think someone else might have played this role better, but he works well here. Definitely worth seeing, but catch it soon - it's only in a few theaters in Atlanta so it probably won't stick around long! If you like bluegrass and old spirituals you'll like the soundtrack too.
Sunday we caught another limited release film, "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon." It's gotten rave reviews all over and the theater was packed with folks I wouldn't normally expect for a kung fu flick. But this one has more than just cool fight scenes, there's romance and comedy and big budget cinematography. Personally, I prefer impressive skills in the actors over an impressive effects crew so the endless flying by wire that this film features got on my nerves. I'd rather see Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan amaze me with their talent and speed than Yun-Fat Chow fly by gracefully as if suspended from a trapeze harness. But it is nicely shot, the acting is well-done and the plot is enjoyable, not something you'll get often, if ever, in your average martial arts film. Again, if you're interested catch this soon, it probably won't be in the theaters long.

If, like the DP staff, you're thinking of skipping the country check out this report on CNN about finding work abroad:

"i'm definitely interested in a threesome party! what a great idea. i'm trying to think of some single friends i have, but they're not coming to mind, but i'm sure i can find someone who's interested in getting drunk for free! we'll be there!" degenerate LK
"I'd be interested in such a party. If only I had a friend (other than Andrea) to bring along. Too bad you no longer live clse to Ponce... then, for our third wheel, I could just pick up one of the winos on my way in." degenerate MAC
"By all means count me and Liz in for the the 33-1/3 party! We'll find a third person or three to bring with us, fer sure." degenerate GN
"33 and 1/3 party sounds cool to me. You could even decorate the walls with a vinyl records type theme. Let me know if it's a go and I'll dig up a couple of peeps to some with me." Degenerate SOS

Sheesh, if only we got so much response to all our party plans we'd plan more! So it looks like Thunderbirds Are Go! or Threesomes Are Go, or whatever: On March 3, that's 3/3, it will be the editor's 33 1/3 birthday. In celebration of the occasion, we're having a threesome party! (Pause while your mind runs amok in the gutter.) That's right, you MUST bring two other folks with you! Yes, one of them can be your significant other, but you can't come alone, and you can't bring just the significant other, and you can't make it a damn double date. Folks showing up in non-multliples of three will be held behind the velvet rope until they can assemble a unit of three. No costume required, no specific soundtrack is planned, but you gotta bring that odd person. Or that odd number of people. Or that odd number of odd people. Anyway, you get the idea.
BONUS: bring someone single and we'll get 'em drunk for free! That's right, to console those that spent Valentines alone, we'll wash their depression away with a depressant - alcohol! Contact us if with your postal address and how many you need if you'd like paper invite. They're gonna be hilarious, as always. A web and email version will appear sometime between now and March.

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