Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Denver Post Music Showcase

It’s really too bad that “Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead” was such a terrible movie. It’s forever linked with the city and not only makes Denver seem boring and unimaginative (like the film), it’s robbed us of a simple way of telling you what’s going on.

If you want to show just how out of touch and lame you are, title a column, “Things To Do in Denver...” Instead of being informative and hip you’ll have people running from your piece like it was homeless man, covered in shit, who just stumbled into the line at Burger King. No one wants that and no one wants your “Thing To Do in Denver” awkwardness.

If the movie had been better would it be ok to use the line? I don’t know maybe. It surely would have helped it, but I think some cocksucker from 5280 Magazine would have beaten it into the ground by now for sure.

So if you’re looking for something to do in Denver this weekend and you don’t want a clich├ęd tagline from a crappy movie no one saw, except for people in Denver hoping to see their house, check out the Denver Post’s Underground Music Showcase.

The showcase takes place down on South Broadway at five different venues including the Three Kings Tavern, the Hi-Dive, Irish Rover and the Skylark. I think tickets are like $10 and there are some all ages shows earlier in the day. More info here: denverpost.com/music and denverpostbloghouse.com/underground

I was sent a ballot and was actually a judge for this year’s festivities. I declined to do it last year because I have become so out of touch with local music that I probably would just be voting for the few bands I knew and that wouldn’t be fair to some of the bands that actually deserve it. It’s pretty cool because 10 years ago, there would be no way to fill up the ballot with good bands, let alone vote for 20 of them.

But I voted. Partly because I wanted to get out on the town and see some of these bands and partly because I have actually been keeping up with local music….a little bit. I did do a homer vote by selecting the incredible Black Lamb with my first vote. I knew they probably wouldn’t win, but I still think they are one of the best bands in Denver and dammit I was going to vote for them because I could.

I voted for Hot IQ’s second and they actually came in second so hey, I’m not that out of touch. Munly won the whole thing and I had him down a few notches at number 6. Not bad for somebody who hasn’t seen a local band play in many, many years. I was pretty close with most of the other top 10 as well. I won’t tell you who else I voted for because I don’t want to get anyone excited and/or pissed off. I will tell you that near the end I was running out of bands to vote for so I started to select them solely based on how cool their name was. Nightshark and Electric Side Dish got votes based on these criteria. I hope they’re good…their names are glorious.

I think what Rick Baca and crew over at the Post are doing is great for Denver. They’ve moved the big papers into the 21st century through their excellent music coverage. Back in the day (by which I mean 10 years ago), the music coverage of the big papers was just a fucking joke but now it’s credible, respectable and if you can throw a party like this (for the sixth year), they got my vote…..hopefully they don’t read this and realize how utterly oblivious I am to local music. But hey, I may not go to the shows, but I’m always listening.

JR

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Fat Guy Effect

I was thinking about fat guys the other day and what their role is in society. Fat guys are great. They’re either the jolly counterpart to a howling good time or the rotund whipping boy that gets dumped on like a county fair port-a-potty.

The fat guy in movies and TV has those two roles to fill and if he deviates from that, it causes problems. It’s like if a gay guy isn’t portrayed as a mincing fag on the various Bravo shows, you get confused.

When a fat guy is of the good natured sort, someone you want with you on a wild adventure, he’s more of the frat boy kind. The John Belushi character from Animal House comes to mind. You don’t fuck with this guy because he’s inherently tough and is his own man to the point that his size alone is intimidating.

Then there’s the whipping boy. This kind of fat guy is born to be abused. You blame him for your defeats and give him no credit for your victories. He gets whomped on the head a lot, ala Gilligan, and typically is found in crucial moments feeding his fat face when he’s supposed to be doing something important. Dipping back into Animal House, Flounder is the perfect example. If you’ve never seen Animal House, you’re either 13- years old or a complete douche bag. Don’t tell me which one.

Here’s how the Fat Guy Effect operates in movies and TV when race is involved: fat, white guys are not usually paired up with black people. I don’t know why this is, but I can’t really think of an example where this is the case. I think when you get the outgoing and aggressive fat guy (Belushi) he doesn’t pair up well with a black guy in a movie. The whipping boy style fat guy can, but it’s rare. A recent example would be the Will Smith movie Hitch where Big Willie slaps around the horribly shitty Kevin James. James is one of the worst fat guy’s in the business. He’s always eating in everything he’s in and you can literally see his dignity disappear with every bite he takes.

If a skinny white guy is in a movie with a tough, lean black guy watch out; he’ll get whomped on the head just like the incompetent fat guy no matter his race. Anytime the dreadful Steve Zahn appears in a movie with black people he gets abused like the charity candy box in an office break room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a sassy black woman (probably played by a man), the white man is getting slapped up like an inflatable clown.

But it gets tricky with the fat black guy. He falls into the same mode as any fat guy with there being an incompetent version that gets blamed for everything and one who is cool and nobody is going to tell him what he can or can’t do. That stays the same. The only difference between the fat black guy and the fat white guy is the fat black guy seems to be eating more during the course of the film. Where it gets weird, and this could be the opposite of the Steve Zahn Effect, is where there is a fat black guy starring with a lean, tough white guy. 100% of the time, the black guy is going to get abused. A recent film that comes to mind is the Cedric the Entertainer / Tommy Lee Jones opus, Man of the House.

I didn’t see this piece of poop but I can tell you that Ced gets slapped around by Tommy Lee so much it’s embarrassing. I like Ced; I think he’s funny and talented so it’s just cringe inducing to watch him humiliate himself like this. He falls into the category of the cool fat guy but by signing on with a dominating actor like Tommy Lee Jones, he should have known what he was in for. This has set his career back to its very beginning I’m pretty sure.

And then there’s Mike Golic and the whole reason I wrote this ridiculousness in the first place. Mike Golic is an ex-football player, ESPN analyst and radio host. He is a classic example of the shitty fat guy who has somehow found himself in the role of the cool fat guy. I don’t know how it happened because he even looks a bit like Flounder from Animal House.

Golic is a doughy faced pussy whose opinions carry no weight because we all know he’s the inept lard ass who would take a major beating from even the lowliest Hollywood leading man.

Golic must have a good agent because he’s been cast as the ex-football tough guy even though no one knows what team he played for. Tony Siragusa is a fat, loud jerk who used to play for the Baltimore Ravens. That guy is who they’ve cast Golic to be like but he’ll never achieve that status. Siragusa is a fat slob who fills the role of the obnoxious fat guy to a T. He wouldn’t be caught dead getting grief from anyone, let alone a skinny white who weighs 100 pounds less than he does.

Co-hosting his radio show is ESPN’s Mike Greenberg who is the “geeky” counterpart to Golic’s fat, tough guy. Greenberg is likeable and knowledgeable sports guy but has to play the weak dork to this poor man’s Siragusa. Greenberg has to lob softballs to Golic who will then hit them out of the yard by pointing out how uncool he is by showcasing the difference between the two. It’s strange to see (they put the radio show on TV…TV On The Radio?) the two interact because at any moment you expect Golic to look up from eating a pie and have Greenberg hit him over the head with his head. It never happens and I think someone should be fired over it.

I’m not sure why I hate Mike Golic show much but I always have. I’m all for people transcending their stereotypes but when someone is such an ill fit for their faux persona, I want to scream, “get back to eating out of that bucket of KFC and looking up surprised with a greasy face you corpulent bastard!”

My theory is that Mike Golic and Bon Jovi secretly employ Karl Rove to fool everyone into believing they are something they are not: Golic, a tough guy fatty and Bon Jovi a band that never sucked and is still making good music. Only the genius spin doctor Karl Rove could achieve two such incredible feats. Considering what he’s done for Bush, I have to point to him for the Jesus caliber miracles that have been performed for Golic’s broadcasting career and Bon Jovi’s inexplicable longevity. Bon Jovi sucks so bad they deserve their own post. But again, I digress.

If you’re a fat guy (white or black), there’s work for you. It all depends on how you’re perceived by the public. Are you the sassy fat guy or are you the punching bag? If you’re fat and you want to get into movies or TV I would first suggest hiring Mike Golic’s agent (Karl Rove) and of course bring your own bucket of fried chicken to the audition.

JR

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bushit

Everyone is up in arms about Bush saying "shit" to Tony Blair. Well, if you're upset by that, then you are a douchebag.

First of all, if you think the president is going to be doing clean comedy like Sinbad, you got another thing fucking coming. He, like all the others before him are as foul mouthed as the people you sit on the couch smoking bongs and playing video games with. The only difference is there is a camera on the prez most of the time and he has to clean up his act.

If you put a camera on me for most of the day and then "mistakenly" got me when I didn't know I was being recorded, the nation (most of all my mother) would be shocked and dismayed at the foul language spraying from my word hole. And that goes for the rest of you too. Everyone has a foul mouth and if you were recorded, it would take you back a few steps.

So Bush saying "shit" isn't anything to get riled up about. By all accounts, Bush is supposed to be a potty mouth, but it's important that his hypocritical religious base doesn't hear that side. He could have said worse.

If you haven't heard it, Bush says something about the Israel/Hezbollah conflict going on right now to Tony Blair. He says, "...then they can end this shit." To me that sounds like a conversation going on right now around the water coolers, the barstools and the raquetball courts. Surprisingly enough, it sounds like what an average American would say. Only, he's not supposed to be an average American.

If you're shocked by this, you suck. Go build a time machine and go live in the 50's where nothing bad ever happened, races were equal, sexual harrassment didn't exist, and most of all, no one said bad words.

What this really reveals about Bush is just how fake he sounds. If you listen to the conversation, he talks to Blair with all the conviction of a man talking to some jerk he just met at a BBQ he never wanted to go to. For two people who have backed eachother up on a lot of bullshit in the last six years, they don't sound very chummy. And it's not like it's a cold conversation. Like the kind you'd have with a guy who you knew banged your high school girl friend back in the day. No, it seems friendly, but the conversation just has a ring of fakeness to it. Like the kind you'd have with a neighbor you never go to know so well.

I don't care that Bush said this. Unfortunately it will make him look cool in the eyes of all the dullards who stil think he's a good man and doing the right things. They'll laud this as a John Wayne kind of attitude and tell "liberals" they should act more like this. Anything to distract you from the real issues I guess. Anne Coulter's going to run with this, proclaiming "liberals" worship the devil because they don't wan the president saying "shit." Meanwhile, someone is shocked to find out that Anne Coulter is still alive.

I just wish that it had gone down this way: "Damn Tony! Who'd thought me blowing up them twin towers and blaming it on them A-rabs woulda caused all this here mess!"

Well, he is being recorded every day, so there's always tomorrow.

JR

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"That's NOT What I'm Talking About"

There are at least three, maybe four movies out right now that have the phrase "that's what I'm talking about" in the trailer.

The phrase, which is pretty much the present day equivalent to someone exclaiming "You Go Girl!" or and old lady saying "fo-shizzle" right before she starts rapping. It's lame and incredibly played out.

Adam Sandler's latest pooper "Click" has him saying the phrase, the new animated movie "Monster House" has a cop saying it and the wonderous new film "Little Man" has one of the Wayans brothers crapping it out.

A lot of times, "that's what I'm talking about" is relagated to only black people saying it (the aformentioned "Little Man" and the clip for "Monster House" featured black guys saying it). Chris Rock has said it in like 20 movies so far. So I'm wondering if a black guy gets his script with "that's what I'm talking about" staring at him, is he like "shit, not again." I know actors are paid to say the lines written for them, but there has to be moment of embarrassment when they see this line in the script. The fact that it is so many movies right now should be a big red flag that it may have reached a point of no return.

It's just one of those dumb lines that took on a life of its own and now it's in tons of movies, TV and pop culture shlock. Every dork with a goatee and beer gut says it when his team scores a touchdown and stiff white dudes in suits say it to eachother when they close the big Johnson account...high fiving eachother at Shenanigans.

Somebody cool must have said it a long time ago and now it's just a stupid catch phrase uttered instead of doing the Macauly Culkin "YES/fist pump." But it's far lamer than that. Have you ever heard someone say it in real life? It's awkward and uncomfortable like someone you don't know very well telling you about the abortions they've had.

But thankfully all signs point to the phrase being on its way out. Just like when someone you know singehandedly sent "fo-shizzle" packing, "that's what I'm talking about" is now officially on its way out the door.

I did want to touch on the movie "Little Man" quickly before I sign off. It looks like they stuck a Wayans brother's head onto a dwarf's body to further the story line that he's a criminal hiding out pretending to be a baby...let the anal thermometer jokes and big dicks on a baby one liners begin!

Isn't this like employing a hispanic to play an Italian or a Chinese person to portray a Japanese geisha? Wasn't there plenty of black dwarfs available for this role? I know the one dude from Bad Santa was probably looking for work (shit, it may be his body they used) and what about the Geto Boys Bushwich Bill? I sure as hell would love to see him in a movie.

I know they have to feature a Wayans brother to sell the movie but jeez, cut the dwarfs some slack; they need to eat too. Bushwick Bill only has one eye for fuck's sake, you know he needs the cash.

JR

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cheetara!

Well, if you watched VH1's World Series of Pop Culture, you would have seen my cousing singlehandedly carry her team, Cheetara, through to the second round.

She did really well and I sympathize with her team mates who ended up getting some hard assed questions.

I don't think I could be on a show like that because I'm just not fast enough with the answers. My forte, as you may well know, is sitting back and thinking up witty responses and typing them out, not spitting them like an up and coming white rapper looking for credibility in the hardscrabble streets of East Denver.

I look forward to more Cheetara, and I'll let you know when she's on again.

JR

Monday, July 10, 2006

World Series of Pop Culture

I consider myself a master of useless pop culture knowledge, but I don't have shit on my cousin Erin.

Erin is competing on VH1's World Series of Pop Culture and the episode she's on will air this tuesday (7/11). Not sure what time it's on in your neck of the woods, but if you don't catch it then, I'm pretty sure VH1 will re-run it until the end of time.

I had to make sure my Tivo is set NOT to record every goddamn episode of Flavor of Love considering they re-ran it around the clock a few months back. So I'm thinking the WSOPC will be on a few times.

But if you do watch, cheer on my cousin and her team "Cheetara" as they take on some bonifide trivia geeks for a prize of $250,000. I don't know how she did, she couldn't tell us. But she was wearing a solid gold crown that said "Queen of Trivia" when I saw her last....who knows.

Shit. And I thought winning a $50 bar tab when I go out and do trivia was pretty sweet. Oh well, maybe I'll just stick to free hot wings and Budweiser, that might be more of my speed.

JR

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Baffling Smoke Signals

I’m so not one to endorse the erosion of personal liberties. I’m the first one to let loose a wail of displeasure when some jerk off is trying to kill my personal freedom buzz. But when Denver enacted its smoking ban earlier this month, I bent over and said, “take my freedom please.”

I am not a smoker. Sure, I smoked in high school but buying cigarettes seemed ridiculous when my money was needed for beer, weed and new skate decks. What I got out of smoking was paltry compared to the other things I needed to spend money on. And besides, there was that one time I drank a bunch of wine coolers, smoked five cigarettes and got woefully sick in the deep, shadowy recesses of “Norman’s.” (if you were a teen in the mid/late 80’s in Denver, you know what I’m talking about)

So, smoking stinks. I fucking hate it. I hate going out and having to take a damn shower before I go to bed. I don’t know how I did it for so long. I was a bar fly in the utmost and I would crash out every night reeking of smoke. As I got older the smell was too much and I’d have to wash it all off before I hit the sheets. I don’t even want to think about what it was doing to my lungs.

Denver pushed through a smoking ban and everybody flipped out. There was an article in the local paper about the people who run ‘Billy’s Inn’ way up in Northwest Denver. They were upset because they feared business would drop off due to the ban. The jury’s still out on that one. My gut feeling is if people want to drink, they will drink. The fact that they have to get up and go outside to smoke really doesn’t have any bearing on whether some drunk bastard will choose not to come in to your bar. The story on ‘Billy’s Inn’ was hilarious though because that bar is one of the smokiest, grossest, cloud-of-death bars in the city. You literally walk in to a cloud of smoke when you enter that den of smolder. It’s so nasty, it has to be a health hazard, yet the people who run the place don’t care or don’t notice anymore.

And that my friend is the main issue with the smoking ban; cigarette smoke is a health hazard. I’m terrified I will end up with lung cancer simply for the fact that I sat my ass in countless bars over the years, killing my liver while killing my lungs with other people’s smoke. Yes, I could have stayed at home. Yes, it was my choice to be there. Save those comments for someone who gives a shit. But this is a situation where if the bar isn’t going to do something about it, the city government (unfortunately) has to.

Asbestos is not good for you. They packed it in everywhere at some point in our glorious country’s history. It stopped fires so it was good right? No, it wasn’t good. It causes cancer and it was eventually removed from wherever the jammed it in. Asbestos is a health hazard and it took a government mandate to get it out of the buildings and out of people’s lives. I think smoking is the same as asbestos; if someone doesn’t step up and do something about it, it will just keep killing people….sorry, it will just kill me. I don’t really give a shit about the clown sitting in a bar smoking himself to death, let’s be honest here. I don’t want myself, or people I like, to die because the like to sit and have a drink. Fuck the loser who chooses to smoke; he can do that all he wants. I just don’t want to go down with him.

I believe people should be allowed to smoke. I don’t give a shit if they want to do that to themselves. Every tax paying adult should be allowed to fuck themselves up in any way they can imagine. Shove big, spiky dildos up your ass, put nails in your balls or whatever the fuck you’re into….just don’t let it affect the person sitting next to you. I am 100% for the legalization of ALL drugs. Rock it out man. Do your worst, just don’t let what you’re doing bum out your neighbors and the public at large. If you got ‘em, smoke ‘em, just do it outside. If you’ve been to a bar that doesn’t allow smoking, it’s an amazing feeling to come home not smelling like ass and ashtray.

Extreme anti-smokers are lame. They are self righteous and act like someone let off a mustard gas canister when someone lights up. Fuck those people. This ban is not for them because they would never be caught in a bar in the first place. This is for people like me who enjoy the sometimes friendly confines of a bar and don’t want to breathe in someone else’s death.

So in this particular case, I’m thrilled that personal liberties are being taken away. Why? Because it makes it fair. I can now go out to a bar and not have some dickhead who’s smoking one cig after another, dictating my declining health. I’m doing that just fine on my own.

JR