Movies Till Dawn: Norwegian Rock and Roll Mystery Rollercoaster Invasion Edition

Midnight – “Green Room” – Thriller

510S7A1Nj+L(2015, Lionsgate) Trapped inside the green room at a ratty music joint in Oregon is the Ain’t Rights, a punk band who have had the bad luck to witness the murder of another musician by the skinheads who own the club. Outside is the bar’s quietly menacing owner (Patrick Stewart) and a small army of machete-toting followers, all focused on making sure the quartet doesn’t get out alive. This taut and smartly constructed siege thriller by Jeremy Saulnier spares no quarter in depicting the carnage that ensues when that door opens between the two groups, but as with his previous feature, the inventive revenge drama “Blue Ruin” (whose star, Macon Blair, has a supporting role here as the club’s sad-eyed booker), he makes sure that the characters taking knives and box cutters to and turning dogs on each other are fully rounded and not political-cultural Colorforms (case in point: Eric Edelstein’s mountainous Nazi Big Justin, who goes through a panoply of reactions while holding the band at gunpoint, from exasperation to fear, anguish and finally, stark terror). The result takes away the tang of voyeurism that usually comes with extreme movie violence and replaces it with genuine suspense and emotional heft; real people committing awful acts on each other lands a bigger punch than any body count exercise. The cast is uniformly excellent, with (the regrettably late) Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development”) handling intensely physical and emotional roles, but it’s Stewart who steals the picture as the soft-spoken Darcy, whose folksy, avuncular delivery hides real menace. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray includes a making-of featurette, which covers the challenges of shooting in the rain-soaked Northwest and making the band sound believable; the soundtrack  features a wealth of punk and thrash metal tracks by (among others) Bad Brains, Fear, Slayer, Obituary, Napalm Death, Dead Kennedys (a credible cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” naturally) and Poison Idea.

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watt’s picture of the week – sunday, june 19, 2016

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happy father’s day got celebrated in my pedro town w/very-new-at-being-pop todd congelliere kickin’ up much dust at the “fujipop” blow-out for the today opening brew pad brouwerij west so my guess is gig was for telling folks about what’s up in the here and now – that’s what I gathered and I’m ok w/it. as far as todd, this brother is also the recess records man, much respect. old punk was about people… same thing also I think these days.

photo by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Visitors Day Tour at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab

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Spacecraft Assembly Facility

If you have any interest in space exploration (and you should!!), I recommend checking out the free public tours at the Jet Propulsion Lab. Located in Pasadena, the robotic space exploration lab is where the Mars Curiosity Rover was created, as well as its predecessors and many other unmanned spacecraft. It is federally funded and part of NASA, but it’s managed by CalTech, and the grounds have the feel of a small college campus.

The guides lead your group on a walking tour that starts with a brief talk and a film (narrated by Harrison Ford – nice) about the lab’s history. Afterwards, you get to peer down from viewing decks into the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, where the rovers and other spacecraft are actually built, and the Space Flight Operations Facility, with its Mission Control center, where data is collected from all the spacecraft currently in operation. Because JPL keeps tabs on everything out there in the Deep Space Network, this room is known as “the center of the universe.”

The spacecraft Juno, launched in 2011, is scheduled to reach Jupiter in July, and will send back information from beneath the gas giant’s dense clouds, “to reveal the story of Jupiter’s formation and evolution” (JPL website).

(More pictures after the jump)

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Middle-Aged Rebel: Relaxing Moments

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Queer LA: Jen at Book Show, Highland Park

Jen Hitchcock, Proprietor, Book Show, Highland Park

All images by Judy Ornelas Sisneros. All rights reserved.

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Photo Essay: Grand Central Market

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“Mötley Crüe: The End” Premieres in Theaters

In early 2014, Mötley Crüe announced they would embark on a two year final tour saying goodbye to the fans, celebrating their history, and going out on top with all four original members. The band played over 70 arenas in the U.S. and Canada, then worldwide goodbyes with nearly 170 shows, with the final three concerts at the Staples Center concluding on New Year’s Eve last year. They ended ten miles from where they first started on the strip, going out the same way they came in. All bad things must end in the City of Angels. The band spent the last three nights with 19,000 die-hard fans in their own hometown.

They steadfastly insisted that unlike other farewell tours, this was the final Motley tour, stating they had done it all and couldn’t top themselves again. Though there will always be naysayers waiting for them to come back, the band signed a legally binding cessation of touring contract that stated after the final show of the farewell tour they could and would never tour again as Mötley Crüe, each member saying they had other projects they wanted to pursue.

“The End” was filmed for future DVD release, premiering in almost 250 theaters on June 14 as a one-night only engagement for the Fathom events screening. This was a one-time chance to see them larger than life, on a wide screen with surround sound.

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Book-Ness with K.P.-Ness: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

Peregrine480“Miss Peregrine’s” by Ransom Riggs has been on my “to read” list for a while, but I kept putting it off – until I saw the commercial for the movie that Tim Burton is directing.  I grabbed this 350 page Young Adult Fantasy and enjoyed the quick, easy read.

The story centers around 16 year-old Jacob who witnesses his beloved grandfather’s murder – by a monster that everyone else believes is make-believe.  Jacob follows clues to help him explain what happened to his grandfather, and that takes him to an abandoned orphanage on an island.  The children on this island have peculiar traits; some create fire, some float, some have mouths on the back of their heads. These characters and the concept of the island itself are so well fleshed-out that it becomes totally plausible in your mind.  Like in “Harry Potter,” the author has a deep understanding of the world he has created.

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Extra Dry Martini Productions in Association with Boston Bred Productions’ “War Stories” Falls into Deserved Top 3 at LA Fringe Festival!

Photo Courtesy of Lemon Melon Photography

Photo Courtesy of Lemon Melon Photography

Okay, so suppose there’s no such thing as romantic love. If so, what is it then? A mass elitist criminal conspiracy in support of inhumane diamond mining and smuggling, encompassing anything you could ever procure for or from your Valentine—(or, as to the aforementioned–would that be rendered “Villaintine”?), What– a comically conceptual ruse upon a decided dearth of contraception to yield the furthering of the human race? The sole raison d’être behind Ray Parker Jr.’s “soul” cheeseball classic “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do),” a ballad which, were it never recorded, would somehow have rent the entire universe asunder, or at the very least have missed the additional opportunity to dumb down humanity’s musical sensibilities adequately enough in order to usher in the New World Order of warbling via transhumanistic allusions such as autotune (a sound reminiscent of a robot being anally probed by an alien), Iggy Azalea or uh…Kanye West. (Dear God almighty, why, Kanye West—why?!?)

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Tacolandia Hits Its Stride

Barrio CafeTacolandia was at the top of its game Saturday, keeping the day festive while providing more tacos than anyone could ever eat. In only four years, this collaboration between the LA Weekly and “the World’s First Tacorazzo,” Bill Esparza, has grown into one of the best food festivals in Los Angeles. The massive space held tent after tent of delicious food. There were enough people to mingle and make it feel like a party, but not so many that it got uncomfortable. Even the popular booths with long lines would have slow patches where there was barely a line at all. I think the decision not to provide free-flowing cocktails contributed to the friendly, family atmosphere. Beers were just a few bucks and waters were a dollar. Not having pricey liquor also kept the tickets affordable.

My favorite taco is always Mariscos Jalisco. It’s almost not fair to the other tacos. These taco masters fill a tortilla with shrimp, seal it and deep fry it into a crunchy shell with super-sweet and tender shrimp nestled inside. Salsa and avocado top off this LA standard, perhaps even gilding the lily. Another standout was the mixed taco of pork shoulder, belly and skin from Carnitas el Momo, whose truck just happened to be right next to Marisco Jalisco’s. I also loved the shrimp and fish ceviche from Mariscos el Guero. Con’i Seafood created a shrimp taco ingeniously encased in paper-thin jicama instead of a tortilla.

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