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5/12/2005

Sheesh, I’m such a media whore this week. SW and myself posed in the T-bird for the Loafing’s Guide to Summer issue, due out next week. You’ll see me quoted in the AJC in an article about Star Wars sometime soon. And the AP called to chat about corporate rock and the state of the music industry for an article due out this weekend. Meanwhile, I’m headed down to WRFG to try to hustle my own radio show for local music. Guess I’m burning up my 15 minutes of fame this week! To counter all the mainstream media, how about stuff nobody else is covering? Read on!

EAR PLUGS
I’ve got a dearth of CD’s that have needed review for a while, everything from bluegrass to porn. (If you find a publication with more variation I’d like to see it.) So get your poison of choice and settle in.

First up, The Greencards. I get something from Dualtone about once a month. Sometimes it’s delightful, sometimes it’s dullsville. Rarely is it anything in between. This is one of those rare occasions, for me anyhow. The Greencards do bluegrassy stuff, very rootsy Americana touchy feely stuff that’s so well done I have a hard time finding fault with it. Yet it doesn’t touch me. It’d probably grab degenerate AA by the short hairs and she’d play it to death, but unless you know her that’s really not an effective review, is it?
The Greencards are led by pretty female voices doing music that would fit well on the Oh Brother! soundtrack. Their press kit includes quotes from reviews, such as “Best bluegrass I’ve heard in 20 years!”
A problem with bluegrass is the genre sort of played itself out. The best stuff WAS done more than 20 years ago, and done well. It’s tough to have anything new to say, at least with the sound, particularly when limiting your instrumentation to acoustic guitar, violin and banjo. I don’t hear anything new on Weather and Water, but it’s still a fine CD. Sometimes you don’t need anything new. An old standard is just fine. If that sounds good to you, this CD is excellent. I’m sure it’ll make an appearance on WRFG, 89.3 FM, during their Peach State shows, M-F 7-9PM, where you can hear hours and hours of this type of thing.
Weather and Water comes out June 28 (why the hell I got it mid-May I have no idea) and they’re on tour with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan beginning later this month. Find out more at www.thegreencards.com.

I also got a CD from Patricia Vonne, Guitars & Castanets. Looks like she’s out of Austin, so I don’t place her in the southeast and shouldn’t include her in an ezine about the southeast music scene, but we’re not exclusionary around here.
From the photos on the CD cover and song titles I half expected some serious acoustic music en espańol, or perhaps another Shakira. The album opens with an upbeat tune, acoustic guitars and castanets, full of drama that sounds like something off a movie soundtrack. So I wasn’t surprised to hear a cover of a tune from Once Upon a Time in Mexico soundtrack. (She also made an appearance on screen in Sin City.) The music on the CD reminds me of some of Los Lobos’ work. Most of the songs are in English but all of them have a Tex Mex influence, swinging from country to Latin from song to song.
Some of the tunes are a bit too slick for my tastes, though Rebel Bride made me giggle with its coincidental title mimicking recent news coverage of Jennifer Wilbanks. Unfortunately this and other songs sort of reminded me of various pop-rock faux-angry women, from Laura Branigan’s Gloria to Meredith Brooks’ I’m a Bitch. The punny Sax Maniac sounds like something The Muppets would’ve done.
The more acoustic/country tunes don’t really do much for me either. She’s got a pretty voice with a good range and some slick production behind it, but I listened to this CD twice and the cover tune was the only one I could remember. She’s a striking woman in her photos, but her music didn’t stick with me.
Guitars & Castinets comes out June 28. Find out more at www.patriciavonne.com.

Next up, Eleven Standing Still’s CD Turn to Rust. They’re an Atlanta band currently touring around the southeast. The CD opens with some interesting percussion but works its way into power chords and angry, growly metal. And I thought bluegrass had been done to death? Turn to Rust makes an honest effort. They mix quiet in with their noise so that you can actually hear the melody, something often lost in this genre. There’s harmony in the vocals from time to time. This could really make it big.
And yet again I’m just not grabbed. As each tune came up I could barely get to the bridge before I’d reach for the “next track” button. This may be a matter of taste though. I’m not a fan of Metallica and this screams Metallica. There are other groups on commercial new rock stations that sound a lot like this too, but I don’t listen to those stations enough to know the names. If you listen to those stations you should definitely check this out. There’s some good vocal work, power chords in abundance, some interesting percussion, and a sway from quiet to loud that works well. I don’t understand how I can feel too old for this, yet something like AC/DC or The White Stripes can make me feel young again, but it’s true.
For more info, see www.elevenstandingstill.com

FILM FLAM
A couple of weeks ago I discovered a DVD in our mail - Alternative Worldz Atlanta, “meet the South’s kinkiest web girls in this explicit XXX documentary – totally laid bare!”
I thought, “Wow, free porn!”
(Wonder how many spam filters I just triggered. Wait, it gets worse…)
Then I vaguely remembered some guy saying he was going to get me a copy of something he’d done when we next met at Fantasm, but that hadn’t happened and I’d all but forgotten about it.
I flipped over the cover and a bunch of familiar faces jumped out at me from the back cover, several long time degenerates in various states of undress, as well as other folks I knew from Fantasm in various states of sexual interaction.
It’s a collection of interviews, most of which I skipped through, about what various “alternative” types around town are into, sexually speaking. Most of the folks are tattooed and/or pierced, and there’s healthy doses of vinyl and leather and other fetish attire. I skimmed past the interview portions for the most part to get to the more hard-core action, of which there is a fair amount. Some light bondage, some girl-on-girl action, some pin-up style posing, bodypainting, toys, and even a little straight sex, all shot fairly well. I think the documentary format works well. It’s always the plot and acting that are the weakest part of any porn anyhow.
There’s a bonus DVD that features stuff that was left on the cutting room floor on the feature DVD, a few more interviews and behind the scenes footage that’s pretty much a waste of time. But the feature film is worth checking out, particularly if you’re into the pierced goth girls gettin’ it on, or want to see some of the ladies you’ve lusted after around Atlanta gettin’ nekkid.

Speaking of porn stars, we caught Paris Hilton in House of Wax at the drive in this week. I had low expectations from this film, as I do with any remake. But I’m happy to say my expectations were exceeded. Paris plays a shallow, annoying twit so she doesn’t really have to do any acting. Fortunately she only has a few lines before she gets a pipe run through her head (not a fatal injury to Paris, I’d argue) and is barely on screen, compared to the hype her name has brought the film. (Christ, the woman is a walking corporate icon for any product that can license her name.)
But most of the other characters are equally annoying. 90 seconds into the film we were already anxious for the killing to begin. Fortunately the film gets going in a hurry with little unnecessary backstory or side plots getting in the way. My only complaint is the lack of T&A. You get a few seconds of bony Paris dancing in her underwear, and Elisha Cuthbert spends most of the film in a bone-dry tank top, but I expect some bouncing boobs or some skinny dipping in my R-rated slasher films, dammit!
In the end, most of the annoying youth are butchered in satisfactorily humorous ways and the slasher(s) are brought to justice in satisfactorily ironic ways. It’s interesting to see that an 80’s style slasher film can still hold up after the 90’s humorous ironic versions a la Scream. Sure, it’s predictable, empty calories. But it’s nice to eat junk film once in a while.

Then Wednesday I slipped into a preview screening of Lipstick & Dynamite. It’s sort of a foul-mouthed Ladies’ Wrestling version of League of Their Own, documentary style. Director Ruth Leitman "shines a spotlight on the forgotten first ladies of the ring," including Gladys 'Killem' Gillem, Ida May Martinez, Penny Banner, and The Fabulous Moolah. The PR I got from the theater said, "Each woman reflects on her own remarkable life with fond and bitter memories, reconciling a wild, flamboyant youth with the reality of getting older and fading away.” But I think these ladies are just as flamboyant in their old age. These women still hold grudges from their wrestling days, and it shows. Often they talk about their former opponents as if they’re about to step into the ring again.
There’s plenty of archival footage to show them in their prime, and lots of interesting tales about how they got into the business, but the modern day women they’ve become are equally as fascinating. Killem Gillem is the old Southern woman you wish was your grandmother, “I’ve been happy. I’ve slept with a man on the ground with a bottle of whiskey, and he loved me, not because I was a lion tamer but because of who I am.”
Leitman has an eye for capturing characters, particularly women who’ve led challenging lives, and the film doesn’t stop charming the audience for a moment, even with villainess The Fabulous Moolah who doesn’t know when to quit the business. Leitman is in town for the opening this Friday, along with a couple of the ladies, and local roller derby girls Atlanta Rollergirls, so see www.LandmarkTheatres.com for show times and check it out.



MORE EAR PLUGS
After the movie, I headed over to the Earl for the Rollergirl Riot, a benefit to support Atlanta’s roller derby team. I missed opening act Untied States (no that’s not a typo,) but The Liverhearts were on stage doing noisy, sorta repetitive almost math-rock kinda stuff, plenty of energy and talent there, guitar-heavy with few vocals, good stuff that's worth checking out.
Meanwhile, the room was packed with blistering-hot girls and the trendy East Atlanta Villagers that pursue them. For $5 you could get your picture with the Rollergirl of your choice. For $1 you could bend over a stool and get spanked by one (or two, or three), or for $5 you got to be the one holding the paddle (or flog, or crop.)
Luigi was next on stage, doing music that sounds very familiar to anyone who heard Ultrababyfat back when they were still around. Michelle was half of the female lead of that group and Luigi sounds a lot like her former band. Michelle’s voice doesn’t have the soft tone of her former bandmate, Shonali. Frankly, Michelle sounds a bit strained and flat, but the songs are interesting and she always sounds earnest, which is more important that having a great set of pipes (Christina Aguilera.)
In between acts the Rollergirls were raffling off prizes, from Space Ghost DVD’s to sectional cushions designed for varying sexual positions.
Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around for the final act, Bang! Bang!, so I rolled myself home. I took a few photos and may get around to posting a review of this show later in the week. Meanwhile, check out www.atlantarollergirls.com for info, including photos of some of the supafine ladies.

BLASPHEMY
Amen(sic) to the the quoted commentary on devout atheists. The only form of
immortality I don't have to take on faith is the memory of people who are no
longer corporeal. I have always thought of devout atheism as either whistling
past the graveyard or intellectual bullying. Equally cold, rigid logic applied
to arts funding would result in no/zero/zip/nada public funds for same.
degenerate SR


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