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by Chris Barsanti

20 May 2009

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.

by Mike Edison

20 May 2009

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”.

by Thomas Britt

20 May 2009

Dark Night of the Soul is a collaboration between Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse. Add to this already impressive pairing a dream team of assembled guests (Frank Black, Suzanne Vega, Gruff Rhys, Jason Lytle, Nina Persson, Iggy Pop, Vic Chesnutt, etc.), promised visual accompaniment by David Lynch, and details released on April Fools’ Day, and it is tempting to doubt the existence of something so potentially amazing.

Recent reports about the project suggest that skepticism is justified, though not because the project is bogus. Some “ongoing dispute” between Danger Mouse and label EMI is blocking the official release of the album. This dispute is possibly related to EMI’s disagreement with Danger Mouse over his Grey Album.

In what must be a music industry first, Dark Night of the Soul is being sold as a blank CD-R, and the following message appears at the store section of the project’s website: “Due to an ongoing dispute with EMI,  Danger Mouse is unable to include music on the CD without fear of legal entanglement. Therefore, he has included a blank CD-R as an artifact to use however you see fit.”

NPR is streaming the album in its entirety as well as offering individual tracks. The album is also showing up elsewhere on the Internet, apparently allowing those purchasing the blank CD-R to “use however [they] see fit”.

The CD-R (with poster) is available for $10.00, and another edition (CD-R plus exclusive book of original photographs by David Lynch) is limited to 5,000 copies and available for $50.00.

Various Artists
Dark Night of the Soul [Stream]

by Monte Williams

20 May 2009

I believe it was Neil Gaiman who suggested that writing serialized fiction is like jumping out of an airplane with a needle and thread and hoping you’ll have sewn a parachute before you hit the ground. Certainly there’s always been something of a slapdash, catch-as-catch-can, make-it-up-as-we-go-along feel to even the smartest and most ambitious of long-running television serials (Lost and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

This reckless approach lends TV series (and some comic book series) a thrilling, anything-can-happen sort of spontaneity, but it also exposes the seams at times. (Fans rightly dismissed Spike’s attempt to rape Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s seventh season as a transparent bid by the show’s writers to remind the audience that Spike was evil, after having slowly neutered him over the course of three seasons.)

What I find most intriguing and satisfying about extended serial fiction is that it is uniquely equipped to reveal the startling extent to which a character can change over the course of time; while your average film might devote two hours to a given character’s narrative arc, Angel gave us five seasons to marvel at its title character as he struggled his way through 20-some episodes at a go. Removing commercials, each ostensibly hour-long entry offered perhaps 40 minutes of real story, but even then, you’re looking at a narrative which lasts well over 70 hours; a talented writer can do a lot with a character in 70 hours.

by Bill Gibron

19 May 2009

Addiction is a terrible thing. Not only is it damaging physically and psychologically, but it destroys aspects of one’s life that they barely have direct control over. Families suffer, as do friends, careers, and acquaintances, and while the person under the spell of their own individual affliction has no real connection to said reality, the repercussions can be powerful and last forever. Of all the filmmakers poised to make a profound statement on such a compulsion, Giuseppe Andrews would be king of the shortbus list. By utilizing a cast of trailer park residents, some of whom have their own battles with the bottle to contend with, he has an authentic source of real human misery to work with. So what does he go and do with his examination of addiction, Monkey? He makes the most literally symbolic statement on the subject ever attempted.

Apartheid has been ordered to Green Hockers Rehab Center for excessive drinking. His habit is so bad that his life has become one continuous case of the DTs. As a matter of fact, a disembodied old man with the same initials seems to be controlling his attempt at sobriety. Forced to wear a monkey around his neck to highlight his problem, said simian comes with two bags of rocks around its legs. The longer Apartheid stays, the more rocks will be removed and the less weight he will have to be subjected. Of course, DT doesn’t help. He offers disquieting visions of smiley faced stones that punch people out, remote control apes that choke people to death, and others with equally oppressive addictions of their own. As he battles with the bottle, losing most of the time, all Apartheid wants to do is get away from this abusive clinic. Little does he know that, just like Hotel California, he can check out any time he likes, but he can never, ever, ever, leave.

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