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It’s all so unnecessary. When he made Terminator 2: Judgment Day, franchise founder James Cameron delivered the ultimate action statement on his killer from the future formula. Combining then state of the art F/X with the storytelling acumen that often surpasses the subject matter, the man who made Arnold Schwarzenegger into a certified superstar provided the kind of closer that defies “easy” sequelization. Proof arrived 12 years later with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, a wholly empty attempt at recreating the success of the first two films. And Fox has given a TV version the axe after a couple of successful seasons. Now Hollywood is back again, hoping it can resurrect the material and make it into a new commercial cash cow. Sadly, without the original artists at the helm, all we wind up with is hallow bombast - and far too much of it.
It’s 2018. The nuclear annihilation of the planet by Skynet - also known as “Judgment Day” - has occurred. There are packs of human beings left, but the machines, led by those android assassins the Terminators, are systematically rounding them up and wiping them out. Under the leadership of John Connor, the Resistance is trying to overcome the computer system that’s controlling these monsters. A shut off signal buried deep within the Skynet programming may be the key. In the meantime, someone named Marcus Wright wakes up to find himself in the future. He was originally part of a prison program helping cancer-ridden scientist Serena Kogan find a cure for her illness. Now, he’s part of a movement to keep mankind from dying out all together. Along with wannabe rebel Kyle Reese, he must make his way to Connor. Unfortunately, they all end up at Skynet, battling the faceless AI for control of the planet.
Dan Deacon’s seminal solo tours became the stuff of indie legend: One Humpty Dumpty man clad in Sally Jessy Raphael frames; a DIY table covered in lo-fi electronic equipment and electrical tape set up in the middle of the dance floor; and raucous dance parties with Deacon’s idiosyncrasies at the epicenter. Much has changed since his breakthrough electronic album Spiderman of the Ring’s and its accompanying tours, however. Deacon, musically and financially liberated, composed an epic album, Bromst, of sweeping instrumentals and densely rewarding layers with the help of a 14-piece ensemble—his very own Baltimore Gamelan if you will. Naturally, the size of his new arrangements invite new constraints into his live show and so Deacon was resigned to performing onstage at the Bowery Ballroom.
Going to the late show of a double header was also dubious. Given the energy of his shows, it was unsurprising that his entire ensemble couldn’t keep up and some were performing on fumes, despite Devo-inspired jumpsuits. Deacon himself—repeatedly comparing the later show to previously successful gigs in Brooklyn and the night’s first show—was easily frustrated by the late crowd’s inability to follow his instructions for crowd participation and interactivity, lashing out, “Did I eat show poison before this?” While those in attendance put forth a fair amount of effort, Deacon was irked by the crowd’s ineptness (inebriation?) and his frequent substitute teacher-like berating cast an awkward shadow on the show at times.
Regardless, Deacon seems incapable of committing any wrong towards his fans. They danced, soliloquized, and jumped on command all night long, reveling in the throbbing mass of sound coming from onstage. But the late set took its toll. Exhausted from dancing to the ironic Enya and Lisa Loeb house music before the show, the crowd seemed drained by 3am. From Deacon’s questioning it sounded like many had been to all three of his shows over the weekend. The others must have been more coherent. Songs like “Of The Mountains” and “Woof Woof” lacked the dynamic punches and gradations that so greatly enhance their recorded counterparts. Next time, I’ll have to make sure and catch him earlier in the night.
Are we just counting the days until the announcement comes that Mad Max IV is on again, only now with Christian Bale replacing Mel Gibson as the burned-out wanderer of the endtimes? The casual and authoritative ease with which Bale (already the new face of Batman) slips into the warrior skin of Terminator Salvation‘s John Connor clues you in to the fact that he\‘s the new millennium’s action-hero everyman.
Not for a moment does Bale’s Connor seem anything less than the very soul of the human resistance against the machine apocalypse. When he stands up to his superiors to stop a bombing raid that could cripple Skynet but also kill many human prisoners—saying that to do so would make the resistance no better than the mindless machines they fight—the heart jumps a little with pride in the race. It’s a proficient but not particularly moving performance, even much of the plot revolves around Connor’s trying to save the teenage Kyle Reese (aka, his father, eventually) from Skynet. Bale keeps his eyes lidded and his powder dry, exploding only on command. This is a man you would follow into battle and do stupidly heroic things for, but probably could never know.
The unsinkable Mike Edison — former High Times Publisher, Screw editor, Hustler correspondent, and professional wrestler of no small repute — is hitting the road to promote the new paperback of his outrageous memoir, I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World.
Next week he begins his “I Have Fun in Brooklyn Tour”, a five-neighborhood odyssey that he promises will be “more fun than the circus”. He’ll be blogging his adventures here. (See below for dates.) This is his first entry, a tune-up of sorts.
Of Swimming Pools and Strip Clubs, Oh How Publishing Has Changed
Last year, when the hardcover of I Have Fun came out, my Big Time New York Publisher sent me to the West Coast on an author’s tour. The first stop was Los Angeles. I had offered to crash at a friend’s house to save a few bucks, which I figured could be put to good use, but they insisted I stay in a rock star hotel on Sunset Boulevard, the rationale being so they would “know where I was”.
// Notes from the Road
"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.READ the article