Thursday, August 30, 2012

Convenient Truths -- ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL


Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human. Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, Daniel Elkin curls up in front of the TV and delves deep into the bowels of Netflix Streaming Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.

Today he and his friend Jason Sacks found 2008's Anvil! The Story of Anvil by director Sacha Gervasi.


Elkin: Sometimes you've got the talent. Sometimes you've got the critical acclaim. Sometimes you've got a loyal fan base. Sometimes you've got the heart and the drive and the will to succeed.

Sometimes all this isn't enough.

Sometimes you still fail.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a documentary (Rockumentary?) about the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, the band you've never heard of. The film starts with footage from the 1984 Super Rock Festival in Japan which featured headliners the likes of Scorpios, Whitesnake, and Bon Jovi – all of whom you have heard of and all of whom have healthy bank accounts – the other headlining band at that show was Anvil.

Who?

Exactly.

Anvil just never caught on.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cheap Thrills -- THE SEA GHOST #1


This Column Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin
In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for the local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week Daniel Elkin randomly grabs a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang he can get for his two-bits. These are those tales.

You know, I'm beginning to think that either I'm one of the luckiest men alive or the rest of you people have no fucking idea what you are doing anymore. I base this solely on the fact that my random pick out of the bargain bin this week was completely awesome and it only cost me 50 cents.

So, let's look at this for a minute.

I got to have a whale of a time for just fifty cents. You can see how this might make me think that I'm a really lucky fellow. So lucky, in fact, that I have decided now to sell everything I own, hop the bus to Reno, and amass a small fortune which I can then turn around and reinvest in whatever the hell I want to because it is guaranteed to make me a ton of money because I. Am. So. Fucking. Lucky!

The other side of the coin is that I got to have a whale of a time for just fifty cents because the rest of you people found The Sea Ghost #1 to be of no value as an entertainment commodity anymore and have cast it off into the bowels of the bargain bin. What is wrong with you people? Have you no soul anymore? Can't you just have fun for the sake of having fun and then cherish that, hold on to it, value it for longer than thirty fucking seconds?

Ultimately, either of these options is a bit dangerous. The first one, if true, is a bit grandiose and, if untrue, will lead me to ruin. The second option is disheartening as hell and, if true, will start me glaring at you again, won't it?

Maybe there is a middle ground? Maybe I shouldn't worry so much about these things? Maybe I should just enjoy the fact that I got to read The Sea Ghost #1, do my little dance of satisfaction, and then put it on my pile of things that I know I can turn to on those sad days that will make me smile wide (a pile, I should add, that is growing larger and larger all the time – so suck it, Mr. Blues).

But... so... yes... to The Sea Ghost #1.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Awkward Tom Jones Duets 7 - The Art of Noise

While not technically a "duet", this is the perfect way to end a week of Tom Jones being awkward.

Friday, August 17, 2012

KING CITY - We Need a Good Sandwich

This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin.

Keith Silva: Let's begin with secrets, shall we? Way down, down deep in sub-basements of sub-sub basements, behind ''infamously unbreakable'' triple-level locks, an atypical Joe finds a ''real as toenails'' key to the city, a key to King City. Joe thinks: ''If the key is real, what else could be?'' Joe's thought keys in on an essential metaphor that unlocks the essence of King City, a quid pro quo that establishes a reality where: cats are weapons sharper than ''a drug knife you can have sex with'' or a ''two-fisted chainsword,'' gives ''mustache studies'' its overdue advancement and finds that the flavor of victory is always sweet while divorce tastes bitter even when it's sipped through a grape licorice straw; King City imagines a place of limitless inspiration and creativity. 
Creator Brandon Graham has built this King City to exist in a state (and with a style) of strategic hyper-spontaneity. Graham's story and art alike possess an "anything goes" aesthetic that fronts to look loose, a kind of constructed slouching indifference, all the while being simultaneously seamless, smart and put-together -- the Chuck D pose, sure assuredness. Locks, keys and hidden passageways abound in King City. Underground tunnels lead to secret networks, to places like ''Nowhere'' -- a sobriquet for a spy resupply station run by an old sasquatch (Lukashev) -- that's easy to find if you know where to look (hint: ''under the South Pipe freeway''). Why all the cloak-and-dagger, the games and the secrets? All rhetorical, I assure you, is nothing to fret about; puns for fun's sake. Locks are constructs like puzzles, barriers, literal gatekeepers designed to bar egress (ingress?) to a solution. A secret supposes a solution -- seek to find.  Going deeper; King City is a gestalt, a tight construction of sly catches, hidden hinges and clandestine compartments that reveal a unified whole of soul, scruples and love.         

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cheap Thrills -- BLACK DIAMOND #1

THIS COLUMN ORIGINALLY RAN ON COMICS BULLETIN
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin 
In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for the local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week Daniel Elkin randomly grabs a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang he can get for his two-bits. These are those tales. 

Sweet begeezus – First off, how do you do a comic book adaptation of a movie that was never made? I mean, what sort of parallel dimensions does this open up suddenly? It seems this would suck all rational thought right out the chute and into a tight leather outfit – BAM!


I'm talking May 1983's Americomics release of BLACK DIAMOND #1 – Sybil Danning is Tianna Mathews is Black Diamond created by Mike Frankovich, Jr. but written by Bill Black and Don Secrease. You got that? Seriously? It's a hell of a monkey barrel to ride over the falls, I'm telling you.

Sybil Danning? That hot blonde featured in films such as Battle Beyond the Stars, Chained Heat, Reform School Girls, and Howling II. In 1983 Sybil Danning was the woman that you pictured in your head when you thought about those kinds of women.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Men Throwing Rocks With The Other Hand


Argentinian filmmaker Juan Etchegaray created this humorous video of men awkwardly throwing rocks with their non-dominant hands.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ESSENTIAL BLACK PANTHER with DON MCGREGOR -- part 3

This Column Originally Appeared on Comics Bulletin
This week in Classic Comics Cavalcade, Daniel Elkin and Jason Sacks welcome a very special guest: the legendary Don McGregor dropped (or Skyped) by to join our intrepid Cavalcaders for a special trip down Wakanda way to talk about Don's classic work on the recently-reprintedEssential Black Panther. Don was an absolute treat to talk to, and as you'll see in this really special conversation, Don is still just as passionate about this work as he was on the day it was created.
Elkin: You talk about the introduction of the home life, which really did add a whole other dimension to the character as well as it echoed the larger theme that was happening at the time. So it just struck me as being just right. It didn't strike me as being forced in any way or a nod to needing to have the character fit in with the whole overall thematic thing that was happening.
McGregorI know. Jason, you wrote about this series and you write about how it feels like a 1970s book, but I don't know of any other 1970s book that was … it certainly wasn't emulating any other books that were around. Not better or worse. Whatever it was, it was its own identity.
Sacks: You know it does stand out as its own thing. There are so many elements that are so unique in that kind of post-underground, pre-corporate time frame that you were just discussing that really makes the book have a completely different feel. It's so much more timeless than a lot of the other stuff that you read from that era. So much of that comes from the energy and spirit and intensity that you bring to the stories.
McGregorThere are certain human elements that are timeless. Whether it's the relationship between couples or the relationship of what you owe society in terms of your personal life. Those elements are eternal.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

THE ESSENTIAL BLACK PANTHER with DON MCGREGOR -- part 2

This Column Originally Ran On Comics Bulletin
This week in Classic Comics Cavalcade, Daniel Elkin and Jason Sacks welcome a very special guest: the legendary Don McGregor dropped (or Skyped) by to join our intrepid Cavalcaders for a special trip down Wakanda way to talk about Don's classic work on the recently-reprinted Essential Black Panther. Don was an absolute treat to talk to, and as you'll see in this really special conversation, Don is still just as passionate about this work as he was on the day it was created.
Sacks: Okay, Well … I've read these stories I don't know how many times now and I'm always taken aback by a few things. One is the fact that the Panther goes through literal hell to get back home and fight this revolution. Everywhere he goes throughout Wakanda, he fights creatures and people and he's literally ripped to shreds in order to preserve his kingdom.
He really goes through a hero's journey, literally through blackness and into light again, in order to save Wakanda. I always just thought the character arc is just beautiful in this and the story arc is just extremely powerful in Jungle Action. I'm curious what Daniel thought as an educated teacher about that whole arc?
Elkin: I was struck by what you just said that the hero's journey aspect of it and how so much of what was happening in the physical world was reflected in his interior, but as well, through this whole thing, I was incredibly impressed with how you were able to blend those two things together so seamlessly.
McGregor: Well, thank you. “Panther’s Rage” truly was conceived as a hero’s journey. T’Challa wins the important battles that, obviously in less physically incredible ways, we all, as human beings face on some level. I appreciate that. My feeling about it was I wanted to make it as real as possible. The bad thing about the Essential being in black and white is that there was so much work done on the coloring, because color was so much a part of creating that ambiance of Wakanda and making it a special place.
Elkin: I notice in your narrative, you reference colors quite a bit so adding that juxtaposition to the black and white was a little disconcerting.

Monday, August 6, 2012

THE ESSENTIAL BLACK PANTHER with DON MCGREGOR -- part 1

THIS COLUMN ORIGINALLY RAN ON COMICS BULLETIN

This week in Classic Comics Cavalcade, Daniel Elkin and Jason Sacks welcome a very special guest: the legendary Don McGregor dropped (or Skyped) by to join our intrepid Cavalcaders for a special trip down Wakanda way to talk about Don's classic work on the recently-reprintedEssential Black Panther. Don was an absolute treat to talk to, and as you'll see in this really special conversation, Don is still just as passionate about this work as he was on the day it was created.
Don McGregor: It's a bizarre kind of thing. You guys going to actually review Essential Black Panther and the creator is going to be there; that's kind of an unusual thing. Here's the first thing that you should be aware of. You guys read this stuff, I'm assuming, fairly recently, and the last time I would have read "Panther's Rage" was when I was writing "Panther's Prey," and I wouldn't have read all of it. What I would have done was, when I was coming up to a character, say for instance Monica Lynne, I would go and just read all of her scenes, so I would get her voice in my head and I would make sure I hadn't forgotten any of her background. And then the same thing if Taku was coming in, I would read all of Taku's scenes. So that as I was coming into his character, you know a lot of people say, "I want to get the voices out of my head," but for me as a storyteller you actually have to do that. Get the voices in your head, speaking in their voices, not yours.
Daniel Elkin: Hey Don, you mentioned Monica Lynne, I have sort of a strange question for you about her. The character's such an outsider in "Panther's Rage" would you say that she might be the narrative center of the whole story?
McGregorI have so many wildly inappropriate comments that come to mind.
Jason Sacks: We're adults here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Convenient Truths -- THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH

THIS COLUMN ORIGINALLY RAN ON COMICS BULLETIN

Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human. Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, Daniel Elkin curls up in front of the TV and delves deep into the bowels of Netflix Streaming Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.

Today he and his friend Jason Sacks found 2011's The Pruitt-Igoe Myth by director Chad Freidrichs.


Elkin: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is a thoughtful, albeit dogmatically one-sided, documentary about public housing, urban development, the role of government in social engineering, racism, suburbanization, politics, hopes, dreams, and failure.

The film focuses on the Pruitt-Igoe public housing development in St. Louis, Missouri, a complex of thirty-three eleven story buildings that were built in 1954 to great fanfare and promise, which were then subsequently taken down twenty years later, vandalized, crumbling, and crime-ridden. The film-makers state that the downfall of Pruitt-Igoe has been mythologized over the years to become the public face of the perceived failures of public housing polices, the perceived failure of the welfare state, the perceived failure of modern architectural design, and the perceived failure of African-Americans in the 1970's. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth seeks to debunk what it sees as the misconceptions of the causes of Pruitt-Igoe's demise and draws attention to what it sees as the real causes of its failure.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Poets You Should Know -- TERRI KIRBY ERICKSON

The Following Was Taken exclusively from As It Ought To Be
Terri Kirby Erickson is the award-winning author of three collections of poetry, including her latest book, In the Palms of Angels (Press 53), winner of a 2012 Nautilus Silver Award in Poetry and the Gold Medal for Poetry in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the 2013 Poet’s Market, Ted Kooser’s American Life in PoetryJAMAThe Christian Science MonitorstorySouth, and many other publications. She lives in North Carolina.