Saturday, May 30, 2009

Star Trek: Her Side

The only Star Trek anything that I had seen before seeing Star Trek was a partial episode of the original tv show where Spock and Kirk had a fight ("Amok Time"). I saw that episode because Ben Stiller referenced the episode during some behind the scenes stuff for The Cable Guy, and then I happened upon it one day. I also follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter. So, I guess you could say I am not exactly the target demographic that this movie was aiming for.

However, Glen and I have a deal. I will go see movies that he wants to see, and, in exchange, he will see movies that I want to see. So, for every Star Trek, there is also a Sandra Bullock movie. It works for us. I saw the previews for the movie, and I thought it looked pretty good, so we went to see it last Friday night.

My overall reaction was that, while there were probably a few inside jokes or plot points that I missed; overall, the movie was a lot of fun. It was visually stunning, the plot moved along at a good pace, and all of the people were very pretty. The cast was strong. It ranged from relative newcomer Chris Pine as Capt. James T. Kirk to Winona Ryder as Spock’s Mom. The casting was right on target, including, but not limited to, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg as Scotty.

This is a good date movie for couples who are tired of the usual romantic comedies. I think all but the true hard core Trekkie will appreciate the movie. If there are sequels (ha), I think I would probably go see them, but it doesn’t make me want to get all of the old Star Trek movies out and watch them in order or anything.

Star Trek: His Side

Dabney and I went to see the new Star Trek movie this past Friday and we both liked it. This is my view of the movie. As someone who has seen most of the orginal series and all the movies I was very familiar with the characters and major plots points. JJ Abrams managed to use the known world of Star Trek and re-invent some parts and add a few new elements.

As with the original it is all about Kirk. Chris Pine brought an energy and excitement to the role without doing a William Shatner imitation. In fact the whole cast brings a certain freshness to the roles such as Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, and Uhura. Zachary Quinto from the tv show Hereos did an excellent job playing Spock. In fact the movie has Nimoy playing old Spock and you have duelling Spocks. I also enjoyed Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead as Scotty. Overall they do a good job of using various catch phrases such as "I'm a doctor not a ______" and "I'm given you all I got Captn" without making the characters two dimensional imitations.

The story moves at a good clip, the movie starts off with a bang and utilizes the action well through the rest of the movie and as I said before it does a really good job of fusing the old and the new. By utilizing a time twist into the story it allows to use the same characters but to take them in different directions from the original source material in future sequels.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thanks 5 Dollar Cover

I would love to see Five Dollar Cover make the Memphis bands involved big stars, but I don't think that will happen. However, there is hopefully one major effect and it has happened to me personally. Dabney and I went to see Two Way Radio and Muck Sticky at the Hi-Tone Thursday night and are going to the Muck Sticky show in early June. This is probably something we would not have done before seeing Five Dollar Cover if for no other reason we did not know who these bands were. Other than seeing the Papa Tops a few times we have not really gone out to see bands in the time we have been together, but I feel like have I rediscovered the Memphis music scene. Within a short drive or walk of my house there are several venues that are featured in Five Dollar Cover and doing what they can to promote and support Memphis music. Thanks to Craig's efforts other people can see what is going here in Memphis, and I think this is as important for the people living here as well as other places in the country. It's easy to say Memphis sucks because there nothing to do here, but I think that is just laziness. In addition to bands and things like roller derby shown in Five Dollar Cover there is improv comedy, open mike comedy, trivia, karaoke, poetry slams, Indie Memphis movies, plays and tons of other things. Pick up a Memphis Flyer or Friday Playbook you may be surprised by what you find is going on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Can't Quit You

When you make a commitment to watch a show there always seems to be a point where you are forced to ask the question "Why I am I still watching this show?". Currently the show I am asking that question is Heroes. It is show that started off great but as the series has progressed it has become bloated, confusing, and at times downright tiring. So as we approach a new season next Fall I am tempted to ask the question so what, but in the end I will probably end up watching the new season.

There have been two shows that I can think of where I have asked that question. Alias that had several major changes in plot and direction and for the most part got sillier and sillier as it progressed. Yet I ended up watching from start to finish. On the other hand I watched X-Files through all the twists and turns until I simply could not take it any more, and just stopped watching the show. However X-Files is the exception to the rule, usually I will stay with a show until the bitter end. The question is why do I do that, why is so hard to say this show is terrible and I can't take it any more.

I guess deep down in the end you come to like or love a show because of some combination of story, characters, or premise. However as the show changes a lot of times they change the factors that originally drew you to the show and in some case multiple changes. The logic side tells you this is pointless and time to stop watching, but the romantic side still remembers that love and somehow hopes it can return to the salad days of the first couple of seasons. So next year we will face new Heroes, the last season of Lost, and maybe another season of Fringe and Dollhouse. While I think Heroes is close to being a lost cause, but I have hope for the other three.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I went to a party/memorial for a friend this past weekend called Kiahpalooza and it was kind of a hippy version of the Irish Wake. In Spring of 2008 my friend Kiah Pickering got sick and after a lot of testing it was found out he had cancer. He was going to try and fight it but within a couple of months of that he was gone. The progression from seemingly healthy to dead was very disturbing to a lot of us. The funereal service was very nice but was not the way we wanted to say goodbye. Getting all dressed up and being in a church was not Kiah. We had talked amongst ourselves and decided a big party was the best way way to see Kiah off.

The name Kiahpalooza was decided on almost from the start because he had a party of the same name years ago. After some searching they found a place to have the party. It was in a small town east of Memphis in a town called Saulsbury, TN in a big open field. Many of Kiah's closest friends were there to enjoy a day of music, food, booze, and good times, and was the perfect way to memorialize him because he loved to travel and camp to see music. Most people seemed to have a good time and it did not get overly sentimental or sad. It was just a group of friends saying goodbye to someone they missed. The weather co-operated because it rained Friday and Sunday but the rain stayed away most of Saturday. Central BBQ donated some food and Saturday Dabney and I packed up the car, picked up the bbq and headed out to the event. To get to the place where the party was we had to drive on this long and very muddy dirt road. At one point we thought we become the victims of some elaborate prank but we reached the place where the party was being held. People were milling about and chatting, it mostly the people they had come Friday night to set things up. After we got settled a bit we set up our tent. The bands started playing late in the afternoon. We hung out, ate food, listened to music, and just enjoyed the scene. After the bands they had a girl twirling fire which was pretty interesting. They set a big sheet and showed one of Kiah's favorite movies The Big Lebowski but Dabney and I went to bed before they showed the movie. The morning we woke up and it was raining. From the looks of things a lot of people left over the course of the night. We drove back into Memphis and had breakfast with Austin, Ted, and Jode. We went home bathed all the field muck off and took a nice long nap.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Specter Spectacle

So first, Arlen Specter wants to be a Democrat, but not a loyal Democrat.

Now, he is just waiting for his good buddy Coleman to rejoin him in the Senate.

The Democrats need to run someone against him in the Primary. I don't care what the promise was. Specter has not done one thing to help the party at this point. He doesn't even really get us to the Magic number of 60, because I guarantee for every issue that Specter votes with the D's on, there will be one of our Democratic Senators who crosses the aisle to support the R's.

This is like one of those high school chick flicks, that I love and Glen hates. At this point in time, the Democrats are acting like the shy girl who is asked to the prom by the quarterback, only to find out later that he only asked so that we would do his biology homework for him. Just because he asked us to prom, it doesn't mean we have to sleep with him later. But, if we do, and he then shows up drunk and will only honk the car horn from the driveway it is time to get rid of him.

If Specter is so fond of fair elections, then he shouldn't mind having to run in the primary. No one is asking him to tattoo a donkey on his forehead and only vote the party line, but we are telling him that if he can't stand with us, we can elect someone who will.

We don't need another Lieberman. We already have one too many.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interesting Week

The past week has had a quite varied set of activities and for the most part of have been a lot of fun.

It started Tuesday when I did trivia with Dabney and our team won again and getting ready to take on the best in the city for prizes and cool stuff. I think our team has a pretty good chance because we have a lot of areas covered with different people in the group. We play trivia at Tug’s on Mud Island and on five game winning streak, when you win you get a $50 gift card which makes for a pretty inexpensive night out.

On Wednesday Dabney and I went to Drinking Liberally and there was lots of talk about Arlen Spector becoming a Democrat, Al Franken trying to become a Senator, Tenn State Democratic politics and variety of other topics. For the most part it was the usual gang at DL, and we had a good time talking about this and that.

Thursday The Paridiso had a preview of the new Craig Brewer project Five Dollar Cover. It is a series of 15 5-7 minute videos that are about several Memphis musicians. We saw all the segments shown back to back and it was excellent. The project is all local with the crew, actors, and musicians all having local ties. In addition performing several of the musicians such Al Kapone, Amy LaVene, Valerie June and Muck Sticky play fictionalized versions of themselves. I would assume of the story draws from their real lives, but some is completely made up. I was very excited about this project. It does a really good job of showcasing the local Memphis music talent and the various venues in mostly midtown and downtown. I will be very curious to see how Five Dollar Cover will be received outside of Memphis. They will be showing it on MTV in 30 minutes blocks and will have web site with additional information and music from the performers. All indications are if this goes well it will be a template for other cities.

Friday I went with my friend Jubal downtown to see what turned out to be the only dry of Beale Street Music Festival. Dabney did not want to go downtown, which why Jubal got her ticket in the first place. Dabney is not into big crowds and something like music fest is a nightmare scenario for her. I have mixed feelings about big shows like that, they can be a lot of fun but they can be a big pain in the butt too. Jubal and I saw most of the set of Medeski, Martin, and Wood and a good bit of The Cult and G Love & Special Sauce. We decided not to stay for any of the later acts like Ben Harper or Steve Miller Band. For the most part of that group MMW was the group I wanted to see the most and since they were one of the first bands to play the crowd was pretty small. They are kind of jazzy jam band and were good for me because it is band I can listen to with my jam band friends without getting the urge to shove things in my ears like I do sometimes with the Grateful Dead or Widespread Panic. The Cult was interesting too even though it was pretty much setting the wayback machine for 1985 when The Cult was at the top of their game. I think a few hours without rain and a couple of bands that I wanted to see was about all the music fest I needed.

Saturday night Dabney and I met with Jubal, Elisa, and few others at the Young Ave Deli for dinner and beverages. The important thing to remember about going to the Deli is do not get in hurry because they are going to be slow if it’s packed or empty. A couple of the people complained and did not seem to get it when we said they were slow. All in all it was a good evening for me. I got to catch up with a couple of friends and also got to see game 7 of the Bulls/Celtics series (Celtics won BOO). There was some conversation but it got tricky at some points because it does not take much for Deli to get very loud.

Sunday was a pretty full day for me. Dabney and I met our friend Katie at the Hi Tone for Sunday brunch. If you are in midtown and looking for a good brunch place I would consider the Hi Tone. They have good food and reasonable prices and a bonus is the two times we have gone there have not been big crowds. So we ended up staying a couple of hours talking about this and that. That afternoon I had a Running Gag rehearsal and we had the second part of auditions we were having to get one or two more new members. I thought the people trying out did a really good job and I will be curious to see what the other guys think about how they did. I think we have a good chance to bring some exciting new blood into Running Gag. The day ended with our friend Liz Ricon throwing us a wedding shower at her apartment. Dabney knows Liz because they both worked on the 2006 Cohen campaign and I met her through Drinking Liberally. It was a bit odd because many of our political friends were out of town at Tennessee State Democratic retreat, but we still had a good time and it was very nice of her to throw us a party like that.

This coming weekend we are having a memorial party/ camping trip for Kiah, Kiahpallooza. All of us will be getting together on this big plot of land in Salisbury, TN. According to Kattie there is going to be at least 100 people showing up for this, and really I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to our friend.