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Archive for the ‘Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries’ Category

Vince Chase’s character is based on Uncle Jesse

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on August 6, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Don’t even think for a minute that I’ve missed that fact that our Golden Boy has joined the cast of Entourage, playing a hilarious sore loser/one time candidate to be Johnny Drama’s co-star.  Looking as young and Uncle Jesse-like as ever no less.  It’s great to see America’s Favorite Uncle (this title is not supported by any sort of nonsense scientific voting) back on the small screen doing what he does best: being cool.  Looking as spry as he did back when he was dropping beats faster than he was dropping panties with the Rippers, Stamos on the show is a hardcore ping pong enthusiast.  With some pretty damn good moves, no stunt double needed, thank you very much.  This all reminds me of the Full House episode that I saw last week when Uncle Jesse lifts Nicki and Alex up, one in each arm, while he was leg pressing two thousand pounds.  Literally.  Don’t worry, Aunt Becky was spotting him.

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Four Days of Awesomeness Planned, 0/1 Thus Far

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on July 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

Like a movie pausing during a tornado sequence, I am in the middle of 4 straight* nights of utter and complete awesomeness**

*Mon and Tue pending availability of my physical person to leave work

** As you’ll see below, we did not get off to a stellar start.

Sat 7/24: M.IA on Governor’s Island.  Probably the worst concert experience of my life .  And I’ve seen a since forgotten band open for Modest Mouse where the lead singer just screamed animal sounds for half an hour.   For Governor’s Island, which is a three minute boat ride from Manhattan, we had an hour and a half wait in line for the ferry.  At the end of the line, then again when we entered the stage area, we endured a prison quality search.  We actually had to take OFF OUR F’ING SHOES to get into the field where the stage was.  Once in, we dealt with overpriced beer ($7 cans) and water ($4 bottles), an awful sound system that caused my roommate Jack and I to leave three songs into M.I.A, who on this night did, despite the awful sound of her music, shake her lady bits in such astonishing ways that it almost made me sad to leave Governor’s Island.  The overall  general misery that we endured does not speak well for NYC’s ability to hold a festival.   After our exit, we had to walk about half a mile around the island to an alternate dock.  The only plus was that for five minutes during our voyage, a rain so hard began to fall that people were literally acting like they got shot.  Ok, not literally at all, but it was a “wickahd hahd rain storm” in Boston speak.  But since we were on the covered barge used to ferry cars to and from the island, we miraculously stayed dry.  Along with this, Jack and I agreed, if it hadn’t been for late night falafel sandwiches from the Munch Truck near our apartment, it would have been a complete waste of a Saturday night.  Basically we paid $65 apiece to experience a summer night in prison.  But at least we didn’t become anyone’s bitch.

Sun 7/25: Yankees vs. Royals game.  Normally I wouldn’t be into watching Satan’s Army play a AAA+ team, but what the hell.  I mean, we are sitting in Mark Cuban’s seats.  But it’s not a big deal.  I’m going with my other roommate, Chris, and hopefully Yankee Stadium is more friendly than Governor’s Island.

Monday:  The first night of my NYC park tour.  Monday it will be The Flaming Lips jamming at Summer Stage in Central Park.  After seeing them in Montclair, NJ earlier this year, my excitement knows no bounds.  They are the ultimate trippy show.

Tuesday:  The second and last night of the NYC Park Tour occurs when I will venture nearby to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to see one of my favorites, The National tear it up in the Band Shell.  I’m currently obsessed with (and presently enjoying) their newest album, High Violet.

Whatever happens, at least one thing is for sure: the shoes will stay on for the duration of the next three events.

Palladia is awesome, Train (with a good amount of -wreck), and Maureen so hawny

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on September 20, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Upon returning home a few nights ago, I wanted to chill out and watch some fantastic HD music action on Palladia on the sweet Sully’s-renter’s-insurance-money-funded TV that is mounted my wall, and I wasn’t going to let anything deter that late night goal.  It started off fantastically, with back to back music videos.  The first featured Bruce Springsteen with the “ok, it just isn’t fair to other musicians when you get a full Irish backing band” rendition of one of his hits (Another example of this is the amazing Van Morrison album with The Chieftans), leading into a Foo Fighters video with the incomparable Dave Grohl and his silky screams.

But the Irish backing band is not the story here, dude.  It’s the amazingly flamboyant – more Adam Lambert than Freddy Mercury – lead singer of Train.  Now I had never heard anything by Train except their poppy, catchy, I’m embarrassed to admit I know the words to 1999 single “Meet Virginia,” so I initially didn’t know what to expect.  (I would later learn that not only did I know several more songs by Train, but also I knew the words.  If only my brain worked for worthwhile things the way it does for song lyrics and movie quotes.)

As he continued to belt out the songs and prance around the stage, the lead singer continually commented on how beautiful the ladies in the audience were and how he was falling in love.  Oh the foreshadowing.  So, when he moved to the edge of the stage and pointed to one special lady, asking “Are you here with anyone?” she answered by extending her arms.  We later learned her name was Maureen.  The rest was history.

Maureen's face is obscured by the light that is reflecting off Rock Jesus

Maureen's face is obscured by the light that is reflecting off Rock Jesus

This girl Maureen just ate up the t shirt over the shirt with a collar combination, and she was not ashamed at all by it.  What followed was a lot of awkward hero worship swooning on her part.  And the lead singer played the part of rock star, singing into the mic with his cheek against Maureen’s.

Oh sweet nothings in the ear for an entire audience to hear. . .

Oh sweet nothings in the ear for an entire audience to hear. . .

Honestly, at times I felt like I was watching late night Cinemax.  At the end of the song, Maureen would jump off the stage, completely satisfied.  You don’t believe me?  Gentlemen, I challenge you to consider whether you have ever made a girl look like this.

O face.  Oh. Oh

Maureen's O face. Oh. Oh

But while watching this exchange, I couldn’t help feeling like somone else there that night had eyes for Maureen.  Eyes that were undressing her in a way the lead singer never could, with his gentle mannerisms, girlish figure and soft voice.  Yes, those eyes were resentful and powerful.  They were the the eyes of Train’s keyboard player.  Who appears to be related to Charles Manson.

At least this isn't a creepy look or anything

At least this isn't a creepy look or anything

Cast Spells does just that. I like witchcraft

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on August 28, 2009 at 10:31 am

The tall and epically gorgeous lead singer of AGU recently turned me on to a solo project that does just that.  Anyone who has read JSF knows my affinity for the band Maps & Atlases, but the lead singer Dave Davison is absolutely dominating while recording under the name Cast Spells.  So go on, click away, and let the sweet sounds of Davison whisk you away to a magical wonderland.   (Also, click through for the rare chance to listen to someone who actually makes having his first name be the dervived from his last name cool.  Such a risky move by the Davison parental units, but he makes it work).

If you ask nicely, there are two bonus tracks available: the incredible “American Quilts” and “War Story Heroes.”  Just email johnstamosfever@gmail.com and before you know it, including myspace, you’ll have access to 5 gems while we anxiously await Cast Spells’ first EP to drop.

Dave Davison: Aggressive naming by the Davison clan, but with his skills his middle name can be David

Dave Davison: Aggressive naming by the Davison clan, but with his skills his middle name can be David

If Farrah Fawcett died in a bed three hours after Michael Jackson, would the media make a sound?

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on July 8, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Admittedly, I had no idea how much Michael Jackson meant to people until last week, when his death was almost followed by the internet itself dying as bloggers, twitterers (tweeters? assholes?) and virtually every other news outlet rushed to print their opinions.  Growing up, before I remember hearing any of his other music, to me he was the guy who sang the Free Willy theme song, a title that spurned hilarious punch lines during recess in elementary school once he was accused of child molestation. Then there was a period of about a decade or so that he spent gradually getting whiter and weirder, becoming more or less, for the lack of a better word, a freakshow.  Then he held his baby over a balcony.  Then he died.

That’s how the end of MJ’s life played out for me.  The songs will always be there, and videos of his sicker than sick dance moves, but the man who sang them had been gone a long time.  Sure, I love Thriller, I absolutely love the Jackson 5, I love the moonwalk more than Frank’s Red Hot Sauce but not as much as Gatorade, and I love the fact that he made the ying-yang unbelievably cool for a brief period of time when he sang about wanting someone to hold him like a river, but I can’t say the passing Michael Jackson was shocking.  In fact, I was surprised he made it this long.

Enough about the King of Pop though- he has been covered by billions of words, millions of images, and at least a dozen tears from Joe Sargent.

In what is perhaps the shortest “Celebrity death that was going to be on the cover of 75% of magazines at the cash register the following week,” Farrah Faucet passed away the same morning.  She was only the biggest news story of the day for approximately three hours before someone more famous than her died.  Sure, that’s three hours more than any of us will get when we die, but it still really sucks for her.  I mean, we usually go weeks or even months without a relevant celebrity death.  Honestly, the woman sold 12 million copies of a poster of her in a red bikini on a day when it was evidently cold.   And this fact was referred to by Barbara Walters three times in the first five minutes of an E! special celebrating her life.  (The special came directly on after Kendra”, and there are few times that I won’t be flipping through the channels and not stop when a Playboy playmate is on the screen in HD.  I am but a man).

Barbara Walters outlives them all

"Cancer took Farrah Fawcett's life , but not our enduring memories of her iconic beauty, grit and courage. . . and that bombshell body. Her hair, known as the 'Farrah Do', was copied by millions of women across the world."

Hearing Barbara Walters say “bombshell body” was worth my monthly cable bill.

That caption of the picture above was the word for word ending of her opening monologue of the special, which of course led into commentary from. . . her hairstylist, Jose Iber.  or Eebear.  Or something like that.  In case we weren’t getting enough of a sense of Farrah the person, he brought it all back to something we could understand: the hair.  “It was an easy, windblown haircut, but also very sexy, and very feminine.  Everybody wanted it.  That signature hair will definitely be remembered forever and ever.  But I think Farrah represented more than that.”

Those flowing locks, that cowboy hat.  The inventor of the "Farrah Do."  This guy has it all.

Those flowing locks, that cowboy hat. Fake lips. The inventor of the "Farrah Do." This guy has it all.

Unfortunately, he didn’t really go on to tell what she represented, and I soon lost interest and changed the channel.

I guess there are several morals or this story.  If you are going to be accused of molestation, it will end up cool in the end as long as your music is good enough to overshadow the bad.  And of course, the ultimate moral of  story has to be if you are a governor who is going to have an international affair while in office, come clean about it right before a woman with fantastic hair and the King of Pop die.  We may not forgive, but we’ll forget.

The debut of Darius and crushing beers in the garden

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on April 22, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Because productive Saturdays are for wienies, a large group of my friends and I took a ride on the N train this past weekend to celebrate the beginning of summer (and my 26th birthday) with a visit to Astoria’s Bohemian Hall Beer Garden.  The day was gorgeous.  The Hall was packed.  Our livers were scared.

Immediately after stepping off the train for a rare appearance in Queens, there were signs that the gods were behind our mission.  Not only was it it 70 degrees out, but when we stopped to buy a pack of cards at a bodega next to the Hall, there was a 50 cent claw game outside with a stuffed prize bear just hanging out at the bottom of the receptacle.  Bonus bear!  I couldn’t have dreamed up a better start to the afternoon.

This visit marked my second time at Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, which according to its website (which is apparently down right now), is the last remaining Beer Garden in New York City, where there were once hundreds.  Please note I am capitalizing Beer Garden in accordance with the Law of Awesomeness.  It’s a feel good place where the pitchers are a very reasonably priced $15 – yielding 4 pints at under $4 each- and while lackluster service and long beer lines were the norm this Saturday, we chalked it up to the staff working out their beginning of the season kinks.

Among the hundreds of people in the garden was the semi-recognizable Lonny Ross of 30 Rock.  If you don’t believe me, check out the evidence (by evidence I mean a picture of two models we hired to make my party more attractive, with Ross in the background, barely visible.  Just follow where the model on the right is covertly pointing)

vhenjunjuvnvnv

I think he knows . . .

For the first hour and a half or so of our visit, Lonny Ross was the most recognizable person in the garden.  But that was soon to change with the sounding of a pipe and the appearance of a man in a kilt.  Straight from the highlands of Scotland (or Queens as his business card says), Darius marched into the garden with a clear goal in mind.  And that goal was to dominate.

And dominate he did, playing the holy hell out of “Happy Birthday” for yours truly before asking for requests.   I then learned that by requests he meant classic Scottish songs when he couldn’t play my request, “Baby Got Back.”  Darius, however, completely redeemed himself by playing the hell out of “Can’t Touch This.”

kjfvnekv

Oh you didn't know? The 5th Beatle played the bagpipes

I’ve had some good birthday presents in my day, but I’m hard pressed to think of a better one than a personal bagpiper.  True, without his pipes he was just the awkward guy in a skirt trying to hit on one of our friends, but with the pipes he was a dream come true.

So thanks to all of you who came to Queens last Saturday, thanks to the fantastic friends who hired Darius (an idea that was the brainchild of the Chaz Bone), and thanks to Robert Goulet for just being you.

A JSF Hit List: The Lonely Island and We Are Scientists

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries, Just absolutely dominating people, Uncle Jesse's Favorites on April 5, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I had been a fan of The Lonely Island way before they made me jizz in my pants.  (Note: if you have never seen the video for “Jizz In My Pants,” that sentence is exceedingly awkward.  Almost as awkward as when I was hanging out with some high school friends around Christmas time and one of the girls said, “I just ate a grape,” to which I obviously asked without hesitation, “And jizzed in your pants?”  Silence ensued.  She had not seen the video.)

The Lonely Island, consisting of Andy Samberg, Avika Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, are behind, well, pretty much anything funny on SNL in recent memory that doesn’t involve Sarah Palin.  In addition to “Jizz In My Pants,” they are the masterminds behind the following gems (*warning* explicit language):

Lazy Sunday (It’s the chronic(what?)cles of Narnia)

Dick in a box (Still the best present I have received from Justin Timberlake.  Wait, what?)

I’m On a Boat (Next time I have the opportunity to be on a boat, I am going straight tux.  Good things happen when you wear a tux)

Macgruber (While it is almost blasphemy to make fun of Mcgyver, it’s also damn funny)

But none of these are the reasons I first heard of The Lonely Island.  No, that has to do with the brilliant directing by Schaffer in four music videos for one of my favorite bands, We Are Scientists. Sure, I love their music, but their ironic back and forth banter during live shows is what really does it for me.  You can click on the link above to hear the band’s music, or you can just take them at their word and imagine what their sound is:

According to their myspace page, the band sounds like:  The Chipmunk, the Grouse, the Peacock, the Tiger, the Condor, the Hawk, the Pegasus, the Turkey, the Cougar, the Hedgehog, the Penguin, the Turtle, the Coyote especially, the Heron, the Phoenix, the Unicorn, the Cow, the Hippopotamus, the Pigeon, the Vulture, the Crane, the Horse, the Porcupine, the Weasel, the Cricket, the Hummingbird, the Prairie Dog to a lesser extent, the Wolf, the Crocodile, the Hyena, the Quail, the Whale, the Crow, the Jaguar, the Rabbit, the Woodpecker, the Deer, the Kingfisher, the Zebra, the Dog, the Dolphin.

That’s right, the Coyote especially, and the Prairie Dog to a lesser extent.  But to summarize, they sound great.

Schaffer takes four of their songs and pairs the music with lasting images that are hilarious, beautiful, and, well, hipster-iffic:

1.  “The Great Escape“, off 2005’s With Love and Squalor.

Remember that kid who moved in next door to you in middle school and all of a sudden was over at your house all the time, at the bus stop with you every morning, and hanging around with all of your friends?  Or maybe you were that kid?  Either way, that’s what this video is like.

2.  “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt,” from Love and Squalor.

Because being chased by an upright person dressed as a bear is almost as terrifying as getting chased by a real bear.  How big was the bear you ask?  This big.

3. ” It’s a Hit,” from Love and Squalor.

It was a hit.  Great song, great video.  And who said hipsters don’t like sports?  Or violence?  Or anything?

And my personal favorite, the ridiculously good song, and better video,

4.  “After Hours,”  off 2008’s Brain Thrust Mastery

Who hasn’t been a double date where one of the girls is less attractive than the other (and ages seven times as fast)?


Maps & Atlases: Good for directions, and also sweet tunes

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on March 4, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Last night marked the fourth time I have experienced numerous auditory orgasms at the hands of the math rock geniuses who perform under the band name Maps & Atlases.  Listening to their EPs or myspace is great, but when you actually see them they play their instruments, well, it’s enough to take your breath away.  And make you feel like a complete failure that you pretty much suck at any level of guitar hero above easy.  And by you, I mean me.

Bringing new meaning to kicking ass on a Tuesday night, they completely brought down the house at Southpaw, a fantastic venue that is conveniently located a mere five minute walk from my apartment.  Of course, I use the phrase “brought down the house” very loosely here; it is impossible to bring down a house when the crowd is mainly comprised of Brooklyn hipsters.   But there was often enthusiastic clapping after songs, and even several ironic high fives.

The four man band, who have been using their guitars and drums to make beautiful, unorthodox sounds since forming in Chicago back in 2004, have been a favorite of mine since my buddy Corrigan introduced me to them two years ago.

It's hard to play acoustic when your guitars are made of electricity

It's hard to play acoustic when your guitars are made of electricity

Maps’s extremely pleasurable guitar sounds are mixed wonderfully with the eccentric percussion, unleashing a sound that is in the vein of bands such as Minus the Bear and Battles, who are both fantastic themselves.  In fact, Minus the Bear’s “Absinthe Party at the Warehouse” is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.  Besides Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you,” obviously.  That’s a no brainer.

How Kings of Leon were upstaged by Al the limo driver

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on January 31, 2009 at 11:58 am

From what is believed to have been the world’s largest potato, to a fantastic set by rock’s new royalty, Kings of Leon, to cruising the streets in the best post concert ride since the Mr. Softee truck incident last November after seeing Cold War Kids, Thursday night exceeded all expectations.

Per usual, I found myself as the only vegetarian in the group at a steakhouse.  This establishment, Uncle Jack’s, doesn’t even have a menu; instead, the waiter runs through about a dozen options of different cuts of meat and varieties of seafood.  As is customary, I summoned my deepest, manliest voice and ordered “anything that’s vegetarian.”

About forty-five minutes later I had in front of me about foot long shoots of asparagus, heads of broccoli that looked like Bonsai trees, and a potato that was literally the size of your head.  I mean, this thing must have weighed two pounds.  And it dominated me.  The potato mixed with the gin and tonics in my stomach and made me feel gloriously Irish/Dutch, putting me in the proper mindset to be rock and rolled.

Our group of eight, including future Guinness Book of World Record holders Storelli and Corrigan, got into Madison Square Garden just as Kings of Leon’s set was beginning.  I’ve seen a good number of shows at MSG, and this one topped them all.  The only three that have even compared were Pearl Jam and Dispatch in 2008 and Tom Petty in 2006.  The Kings set was a roller coaster of utter and complete domination, culminating in a four song encore that melted Corrigan’s face completely off.

Including hits from each of their four discs, they satisfied me immensely by playing several songs off Aha Shake Heartbreak. Their newest album, Only by the Night, is probably my favorite thing to come out of the south besides the cotton that is used to make American Apparel t shirts.  They brought down the house with two songs on this album that almost caused me to black out from an overdose of awesome sound.  The two songs?  “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire.”

Yes, those are their two singles so far off the record.  Yes, that is so not indie to cite the singles as your favorite songs right now.  No, I don’t care.   Yes, I have been a Kings of Leon fan since 2005, when they played at the State Theater in Portland, Maine.  No, I don’t remember much of that show.  Yes, Jagger is bad for you.

After the lights came on, the crowd poured in the street and we met up with other friends and co-workers who were at the show and planned our next move.  Upon deciding to go down to Soho to hit up Nolita House, where our friend The Captain bartends, we were just about to hail a cab when destiny pulled up, in the form of a badass white limo.

We were able to talk the driver, Al (in all his mustached glory) , down to $20 for the five of us, which would turn out to be the best investment we have ever made.  The second we opened the door we knew we had made the right decision.  The floors?  Carpeted.  Lava lamps? Check.  Neon lighting? Check.  An ipod we had control of? Check.  Budweiser in cans? Check.  Feeling like pimps? Check.  The coolest NY limo driver other than Ranjit, who doesn’t really count since he is a fictional character on How I Met Your Mother? Check.

I want to relive Thursday night all over again.  And you know what?  I think I will.  All I need to do is have Kings of Leon come back to town, and Al will take care of the rest.   I have a feeling this is not the last appearance Al will make on JSF, as when we arrived at Nolita House, he gave us all his card:

Now #1 on my speed dial

Now #1 on my speed dial

I don’t know what exactly a Pim Pin is, but I like it.

I love your music, so I will kick you in the nuts

In Jesse, the Rippers, and their contemporaries on January 7, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Say what you want about pandora.com, but it’s ad-free radio, so it’s pretty rad in my book.  Sure there may be better sites out there, but I challenge someone to find something I like better than typing in the artist “Islands” and seeing what the geniuses at the Music Genome Project have come up with.  Alright, I am coming off a four-month long at work addiction to the “Arcade Fire” station, but whatever.  It’s hit after hit; currently I have been riding on a roller coaster of sound through tracks by The Shins (you can hate on them, but I’m with Zach Braff in Garden State… to a degree), The Pixies, Cake, The Flaming Lips, Wolf Parade, Death Cab For Cutie and Islands’ song, “Rough Gem.”  Listen to it.  Or better yet, check out the video of it below (if for no other reason than to see kids dressed up as dogs acting like newscasters).  But after you watch, finish reading, I’ve got some good stuff planned:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpQwZ_gdE1w

The Flaming Lips just came back on and it’s one of the best songs ever- “Fight Test,” so I’m for the repetition in this case.  It reminds me of this summer when I went hiking on the Appalachian Trail with two friends, Mosh and F-Bomb.  To pass the time while we walked. and walked. and walked, we talked about a lot of things.  Life, sports, food, music, movies, women, how much our feet hurt, how much faster Mosh was at walking than us, which Ninja Turtle we would most want to be, and other important things of that nature.  At one point F-Bomb regaled me with a tale of how one of his friends at a music festival was walking around late and night screaming “I’m going to kick Wayne Coyne in the nuts!” (for those of you not in the know, Coyne is the lead singer of The Flaming Lips.  If that doesn’t mean much to you, you may remember a song about the girl that Coyne knows who will make you breakfast, who’ll make you toast, but she won’t use butter, and she won’t use cheese.  She won’t use jelly or any of these, but she sure will use that delicious Vaseline.)  After apparently yelling it for an extended period of time while walking back to his tent, a shadowy, grizzled figure emerged from a tent and asked, “So, I hear you want to kick me in the nuts?”  Of course, F-Bomb’s friend loved Wayne Coyne (in 2009, in lieu of cards, I am going to send loved ones a kick in their nuts), and they exchanged pleasantries, saving Wayne Coyne’s gonads and ensuring his voice’s octave level would remain killer for future generations of music lovers.