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by John Bohannon

15 Jun 2009

As Bonnaroo came to a close, it’s obvious this is an operation that sets the bar for the entire modern festival circuit. With supreme organization, arguably the most diverse festival line-up in America, and an atmosphere conducive to all walks of life, Bonnaroo births its own little civilization for a short period of time each June. While my body is moving like Jell-O and my legs have reached a level of pain I had once deemed unthinkable, there is a certain energy that carries you through the weekend. Another big advancement for the festival was the decreasing dependency on drugs, which can really change the experience (or maybe this was because I didn’t make my way to either Phish show). People seemed to truly embrace the music this year, allowing bands like Passion Pit and Portugal, The Man to play to the biggest audiences they have probably ever seen.

Bonnaroo 2009 also gave bands in differing genres—metal for example—a chance to expose their music to a completely different audience. The tent was pouring with love for Dillinger Escape Plan, who played the absolute craziest show I’ve ever witnessed at Bonnaroo. With a moshpit that took over half the tent, this festival, for a brief time at least, became less about peace and love, and more about angst and brutality. The band’s members were taking nose-dives into the audience and flying off the top of PA speakers, making sure the crowd didn’t lose interest for a second, and they did their job right. The highlight was their revered cover of Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy”, which doesn’t make its way on to just any set list. With all that peace and love, I guess you have to release your pent up anger somewhere. Bring on the metal, Bonnaroo.

While I said earlier that drugs seemed to be less prevalent this year, the stench of weed hung in the air long before stoner-metal legends High on Fire took the stage. The sound guys at Bonnaroo were adamant about the low-end, and thank god for this. The sludge from the depths of hell shook my guts in every direction humanly possible and the crowd’s faces looked like they had never seen anything so damn heavy in their lives—and I’m sure they haven’t. Frontman Matt Pike was in his element, roaring to a new generation of stoner metal junkies.

By the end of the day, the only remedy was a little bit of Neko Case. As I walked into the tent, I came across Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog ragging on Case. He claimed, “These people are so high, they’ve probably seen four talking dogs today.” Shortly after, Case and Triumph did a duet of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to a crowd of befuddled and amused Case fans. Needless to say, she was hitting the notes just slightly better than ol’ Triumph. For the remainder of the set, she was nothing but grateful of her fans. Her voice is so pure and lovely it was the perfect antidote for all the anger that engulfed the earlier part of the day, and it was also the perfect ending to another year at the Bonnaroo Festival.

by Bill Gibron

15 Jun 2009

It’s the 25th Anniversary of Buddy Giovinazzo’s cult classic Combat Shock and Troma’s new Tromasterpiece Collection is prepping a full blown two-disc Special Edition DVD to commemorate this monumental movie moment. SE&L will soon be tackling the extra-filled presentation. In the meantime, here is a look at the cover art, and the bonus features anticipated, direct from the company’s press release:

Nearly 25 years after its initial release, Buddy Giovinazzo’s Combat Shock returns from the cult underground to reclaim its title as perhaps the most shocking independent film of the ‘80s. Staten Island born punk rock drummer Buddy Giovinazzo made his indelible D.I.Y. debut as writer/director/producer/editor with this nihilistic, pitch-black saga of poverty, hopelessness and violence that remains as harrowing today as it was at the height of Reagan’s America. While originally marketed as a grindhouse shocker, Combat Shock was instead embraced by alternative audiences around the world as a searing portrait of urban despair and post-Vietnam horror. Troma’s two-disc set includes the original theatrical cut, as well as Giovinazzo’s never-before-seen Director’s Cut under the film’s original tile of American Nightmares. The DVD also features several of Giovinazzo’s ‘80s short films and music videos, and the all-new documentary Post-Traumatic that explores the continued impact and influence of Giovinazzo’s work on current transgressive filmmakers.

Combat Shock launched the career of one of the most unique and enigmatic artists on the international scene. As an author, Buddy’s four celebrated novels had critics hailing him as “the Hubert Selby of the ‘90s”. As writer/director, his 1996 feature No Way Home starred Tim Roth, James Russo and Deborah Kara Unger, and was acclaimed by European audiences for it Cassevettes-influenced realism. When the Berlin film scene embraced Giovinazzo’s provocative output in the ‘90s, he moved to the German capital where he currently directs television crime dramas while writing German-language novels. Giovinazzo recently returned to Los Angeles to direct his first English language film in ten years, Life is Hot in Cracktown, based on his celebrated 1993 novel of the same name. The ensemble drama, which stars Ileana Douglas, RZA, Shannyn Sossamon, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kerry Washington and Vondie Curtis Hall will be released theatrically this summer.

“Maybe the best thing I can say about Combat Shock is that it seems more relevant today than it did when I made it,” Buddy now says. “From the very beginning, I wanted to make a film that showed a slice of life that was not so pretty but always present. Looking back on the film now, there are many things that I would have done differently. But the overall tone, the vision of society and what can happen when we stop caring about each other, I wouldn’t change that for anything.”

Set for a 28 July release, you can pre-order your copy from Amazon.com by clicking HERE

by shathley Q

15 Jun 2009

Following the cataclysmic events of the previous issue, Kyle Rayner returns to Earth not as the universe’s sole remaining Green Lantern, but as the supercharged Ion. His new powers make him near omnipotent, giving control over all matter and energy conversions. He can speed up chemical reactions, just as easily as he can suspend gravity, or cause a mind to not pick up a rock to throw. What’s more, using the Ion, Kyle can duplicate his presence multiple locations. Within the first few pages of the comicbook, Kyle has feed starving masses in Africa, restructured soil there to allow for crops to grow, prevented a drive-by in Oakland, slowed a careening truck in Mexico, DF and foiled a bank heist in London. His power is at once incredible, and fearsome.

Instead of focusing on the exhilaration of Kyle’s newfound powers, writer Judd Winick chooses to present “Day One” as a character study of Kyle himself. Readers easily dismiss the early fears of supporting characters, particularly the fears of Jen, Kyle’s girlfriend and daughter of Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Surely it is simply a case of other characters being unable to comprehend the full scope of Kyle’s powers. Surely the Kyle Rayner readers have come to know over the past 100 issues remains unchanged?

As the pages turn, readers find increasing validation for Jen’s fears. If Kyle could easily, and perhaps innocently, “suggest” to his roommate’s subconscious the desire to buy coffee, what else is Kyle doing to manipulate human minds? Is Ion suddenly becoming a beloved superhero a natural response, or is Kyle himself nudging public opinion? As these question’s around Kyle’s influence and values mount, his dark side is glimpsed at when he brokers a peace on the distant planet Tendax by simply preventing any act of violence. To what lengths would Kyle go to ensure peace? And at what cost to personal freedom would such an enduring peace come? Is this the beginning of Kyle’s transformation into a tyrant with universe-wide reach?

In the closing stages of the book, wholly unaware of the events on Tendax, Jen stages an intervention. Can Kyle prove his humanity to her by foregoing his power for just one night. Ultimately Jen concedes the point of his simple vanity in giving himself a haircut is the most human of things to do. The book ends on a melancholy note as Kyle and Jen enjoy a movie together, with Ion nowhere in sight. It is not until the final page that Kyle himself confirms Jen’s and readers’ worst fears. He has not only lied about using his power, but is now completely addicted.

by Matt Mazur

15 Jun 2009

Katey Rich (Cinemablend) and Nathaniel Rogers (The Film Experience) take on the finest offerings of the year, so far, in an engaging, funny vodcast.

by Joseph Kugelmass

15 Jun 2009

Over on MySpace, a scruffy little band called the Heaps emerges from the flaming wreckage of Elvis Costello (now spending several lifetimes in the purgatory of talk show hosting) and Belle & Sebastian (or, How I Found God and Lost Most of My Audience, by Stuart Murdoch) to make two irresistible songs: “Casual Encounters” and “William Baldwin: A Lament”.

The other posted songs work well enough, but these first two gems are not only tuneful, they’re therapy for the unbearable lightness of pop culture and Craigslist. Have a listen.

The Heaps
“Casual Encounters” and “William Baldwin: A Lament” [Streaming]

//Mixed media