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by Lara Killian

27 Apr 2009


The eye-catching cover of Joe Meno’s 2004 novel, Hairstyles of the Damned puts together one of my favorite color combinations: hot pink and jungle green. This read was a serendipitous find, calling my name from the ‘new arrivals’ shelf at the library. Put out by Punk Planet Books, an imprint of Akashic Books, Hairstyles is the kind of indie fiction that could never be published by the mainstream houses.

Between the colorful covers lies the coming-of-age story of Brian Oswald and the assorted punks, skinheads and DnD geeks who cross his path as he veers wildly from one teenage boy activity to the next: chasing tail, trying to get a job, getting high, and making mix-tapes. Brian has trouble getting any of these things quite right, but that’s what being a teenager is all about, right? Meno paints his characters in vivid detail and documents their emotional states through the telling art of mix-tape assembly, mostly heavy metal and punk rock tunes the target reader is likely to be very familiar with.

Brian’s best friend is Gretchen, she of the hot pink hair on the cover, and he has a huge crush on her, even though she has a less than desirable figure, swears like a sailor, and loves to beat people up. Their unlikely friendship is destined for disaster, and as Brian struggles to replace Gretchen’s unique presence in his life, he moves through different strata of the underage party scene in Chicago’s south side, never quite finding his niche. Meno’s authentic language (not intended for the prim and proper) and style changes between what Brian is thinking, remembering, writing, and listening to keeps things very interesting.

Whoever wrote the blurb on the back of the paperback said it best: “Joe Meno’s pitch-perfect prose illuminates the tumultuous realities of American adolescence, the disintegration of the modern family, and the way a mix-tape can change a person’s life.” Not for the faint of heart. Highly recommended.

Meno’s newest novel, The Great Perhaps, is due out in May 2009 and I’ll be looking for it.

by Thomas Hauner

27 Apr 2009

This night found Messieurs James Ford and Jas Shaw bringing their British brand of minimalist electronica to the Highline. Though their ascent, and hype, in the electronica scene has paralleled that of French duo Justice (they also like to remix each other and release albums on the same day while sounding completely different), they are decidedly geeky and focused in concert, eschewing the rock-star pranks the Parisians flaunt so effortlessly.


by Colin McGuire

27 Apr 2009

The ongoing saga that is the Boston Globe vs. the New York Times Company took an intriguing, if not unnecessary turn Friday as workers at the Globe held a rally at Boston’s Faneuil Hall, the Associated Press reported.

For those of you who may not know, the Times Co. is looking for the Globe to face concessions that amount to nearly $20 million in cuts. The Globe, on the other hand, is asking for the Times Co. to share some of those cuts, somewhat lessening the blow the Globe may receive should the Times Co. move forward with their cutback plans. The Globe has recently set a May 1st deadline for the Times Co. to take another look at the desired concessions plan. If the Times Co. doesn’t budge, the Boston Globe runs the risk of shutting its doors after over 130 years of service.

Got all that? Good.

“I daresay that Boston would lose some of its distinction as the Hub without the Globe,” Dorothy Clark, a Globe news copy editor, told the news-gathering service Friday. “It’s been here since 1872. When an institution has had the fortitude to last that long, you don’t toss it out like old news.”


This infighting between two humongous newspaper names is both childish and counterproductive. As if the newspaper industry needs another hurdle to clear, it now sees two of its five biggest names sparring back and forth in front of the public eye. How good could this possibly look to anyone who may still cherish their morning newspaper? It’s as if the industry wants its clientele to give up on them by showcasing some back-and-forth verbal affair that does nothing more than show exactly how stubborn and selfish anyone in the newspaper industry can be.

Sure, it’s reasonable for the Globe to take the stance it has cemented itself in. Nobody wants the fear of death hanging over their proverbial neck after they have been forced to understand how to live with the possibility of non-existence inching closer to its head with each passing second for the past three years. But come on, guys. Does fighting this out in a public forum make anyone feel any better about a medium that has enough problems of its own?

What’s going to happen if this all gets ironed out behind closed doors and everyone comes away smiling? Or, moreso, how about if it doesn’t get ironed out and the Globe is indeed forced to shut its doors? Then what? In regards to the former, your problem is solved, but not without paying the price of looking like children fighting over the last piece of pizza at a middle school sleep-over, forcing observers to classify you as brats. In regards to the latter, not only do you lose an extremely important major metropolitan daily newspaper, but you also look like you are contributing to the death of a form of media that is in dire need of anything but a black-eye-moment.

“We’re not the reason the newspaper business is failing, but we’re willing to do our part to cure it,” Globe reporter Brian Mooney said Friday.

If that’s the case, then do your best to prove it, big-newspaper people. Quit taking your squabbles to the streets and focus more on unity than division. Because if this ship does finally make its way fully under water someday, it’s not going to matter who’s fault it was. In fact, the only thing that’s truly going to matter is the reality that it won’t have a hope of resurfacing in the future.

by Mike Schiller

27 Apr 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the Xbox 360

X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the Xbox 360

The constant slow-burn of publicity that Activision has been leaking over the last couple of months for X-Men Origins: Wolverine has been nothing short of really impressive.  The trailers, particularly, have been well put together, with early trailers indicating an exciting (if run-of-the-mill) superhero game, while later ones allow the possibility for a game that is darker, more exciting than any X-Men game has a right to be.

Then, it becomes clear that the game is not based on the movie; the movie, rather, was made based on the game, and that’s when anyone keeping an eye on this game realizes there could be something here.

by Jason Gross

26 Apr 2009

News from Idolator courtesy of editor Maura Johnston:

“As you might have noticed, this is a bittersweet week around here; because of budget cuts, we’ve had to say goodbye to pretty much all the Idolator contributing writers, from columnists to daily bloggers. The site is going to go on as a solo project of sorts, although the news cycle might run at a slightly slower pace.”

Idolator hasn’t always agreed with me (and vice versa) but they’ve provided some valuable info and commentary about the music industry and the journalism associated with it: this recent article about pre-releases was great.  This means that the dialog’s been cut down again and diminished a bit… and scattered more.  The writers will continue to do work elsewhere but the beauty of a site like Idolator was that it was good place to find a solid set of writers.  I think that’s part of what we lose when publications cut back or close- there are less central points to find good writing.  It’s still out there but you’ll have to do a lot of digging around to find it.

Good luck to the rest of the Idolator crew, where ever they go on/off-line.

//Mixed media

Supernatural: Season 12, Episode 2 - "Mamma Mia"

// Channel Surfing

"A can't-miss episode completes the start of the new season.

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