Friday, July 20, 2007

Radio Free Hipster Ep. 26: Let’s All Go to the Movies

I’ve gone to the movie theater on two separate occasions this month. That’s, like, a record for me.

I’m slightly intimidated by the whole cinema experience. At home, if a movie gets a little slow and I lose interest I can easily do something else (like play DS or drink a beer or, and stay with me here, play DS while drinking beer), but at the theater I am beholden to stay for the long haul. That shit ain’t cheap.

Still, despite this minor neurosis, I do dig movies, and, moreover, I dig movie music. This episode is all about that. So grab some overpriced popcorn and settle in. I’m’a turn the lights down low and break out the projector.

Download Radio Free Hipster Ep. 26: Let’s All Go to the Movies [hosting provided by Antisocial] Size: 42.4 MB Running Time: 46:20

Show Notes:

Intro: Baddd Spellah (feat. Beefy) – “Radio Free Hipster Theme”
If Radio Free Hipster was a feature film, this would be the opening credits.

Track 1: Richard O’Brien – “Science Fiction/Double Feature”
Say what you will about Riff Raff, that cat’s got some pipes.

Z’s 1st interlude: “A slightly belated edition of Radio Free Hipster.”
A certain compilation project put me a little behind schedule, but I am trying my best to catch up!

Track 2: Disfuntional DJ – “You’re the One That I Want in the Next Episode
I really don’t want to love this song, but I do. I really, really do.

Track 3: Talons & Tea Leaves – “Halleluiah”
This is a Wrock duo formed by two cats from two different bands. Their style is really unique, and I find their sound fascinating.

Track 4: The Advantage - “Goonies II”
It felt wrong not to include this track, despite its noncanonical nature.

Track 5: DVDA – “Now You’re A Man”
“No; it’s probably the titties.”

Track 6: Dual Core – “War Games.”
Dual Core have a lot of tracks on their Zero One album that are movie related, but I settled on this one because it played so well against the rest of the songs in the set. It’s got such a thick and complex texture.

Z’s 2nd interlude: “If you’ve seen the film I’m sure you get the joke.”
If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and watch Orgazmo. It’s delightfully quotable.

Track 7: Futuristic Sex Robotz – “Back to the Future.”
Hotel Coral Essex is an album that has, in my opinion, aged well. I still really enjoy it.

Track 8: The Cars – “Moving in Stereo”
Phoebe Cates. Need I say more?

Track 9: Lords of the Rhyme – “Black Riders
I can’t believe I don’t play more LOTR. Shame on me!

Track 10: Emotron – “The Bethune Theory”
Angus is my hero.

Z’s final interlude: “But don’t hold yer breath or nuthin’.”
I’m trying to crank out this month’s podcasts as quickly as possible so as to get back on schedule. I’ve already started putting together the sets for ep. 27, and they are looking pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

Track 11: The Greenskeepers – “Lotion”
In lieu of providing my normal paltry post show notes wrap-up, I’m just gonna include this fan-vid for “Lotion.” I know everyone’s probably seen this but me, I figured I’d throw it out there just in case.

Now wasn't that more enjoyable than me prattling on?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Nerd News in Brief

To say that I am chomping at the bit to read the new Potter book is an understatement. I am consumed. What will happen to Harry? To young Hermione? To poor Ron? To token dork Neville? We’ll all know in a couple of days.

I hear tales of spoilers available on the ol’ Intertubes, scanned pages and what-not, and I can’t help but wonder why?

Is the urge to ruin the ending for the rest of us – not to mention the urge to be sued within an inch of one's fuckin’ life – so overwhelming that this somehow presents itself as an option?

The world may never know.

  • Hail to the Queen: Somehow, despite the time-consuming and, no doubt, nerve-wracking task of appearing on MTV Canada, Nursehella has found the time to craft what may well be the most fantastic nerdcore track of 2007 thus far. Peep “Geekend Freakout” over at PureVolume.
  • Short notice: Nerd rocker Glenn Case and his band The Half Racks have stepped in (on very, very short notice) to play a show at The Comet in Spokane on Saturday, July 21st. If you’re in the greater Spokane area that evening and would like to have your socks rocked right off, I highly recommend attending.
  • I’m pretty sure he’s from earth: Alienbobz has a shit-ton of new vids up of everyone’s favorite foulmouthed malcontents, Futuristic Sex Robotz, from their June 30th opening gig for the venerable mc chris. Take a look and enjoy the rampant profanity!
  • Hopeless and Romantic: Church has a much publicized knack for finding weird shit. This, for example, is a veritable how-to guide for creating the perfect geek date using editing software and NES ROMs. I’m serious.
  • What the fuck is this?: Just… what… what the fuck? Jaylyn found this and posted a link in a thread over at Rhyme Torrents, but, truthfully, I thought she was joking. She’s not. It’s real. Undeniably real.
  • Slice-of-life: My main Australian homie Pink has taken up the challenge of producing a comic a day, but this ain’t no Family Circus. Nope, while Pinky is taking inspiration from the daily lives of his pals, he’s focusing on, shall we say, the more geeky and ridiculous happenings. This strip, for example, features an uncomfortable exchange, while this one is a delightful peek into the lives of yours truly and his noble brood.
  • Welcome back!: Church, Matt, and I have been trying to figure out why the hell we didn’t come up with this final bit. I mean, c’mon, it pretty much writes itself. Plus we’re all old enough to appreciate both pieces of source material. Since I’m in full-on Hogwarts mode, I thought this’d be a fitting vid to wrap up with.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A League of Our Own

We live in a big ol’ country. As such, some things better serve the needs of American nerds when they employ a two-pronged approach, an east-west approach.

So, in that grand tradition - started by such geek mainstays as The Avengers and the Teen Titans - allow me to present to you the line-up for an event called Nerdapalooza Southeast.

This mini-festival, taking place on August 25th in Gainesville, FL (between the hours of 1:00 PM and 1:00 AM) at local watering hole Tim and Terry's, features the following acts repping our little corner of the US:

Bushido Stylus
Emergency Pizza Party
Rocket Propelled Geeks
MC Wreckshin
Random Beats
Select Start
Krondor Krew
and special West Coast guest ZeaLouS1

For those of us on the east side, this one is not to be missed!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Crack is wack!

Damnit!!!Okay, I realize this isn’t at all entertaining, enlightening, or pertinent, but I feel the need to bellyache a bit. Y’all’ll indulge me, right?

Anywho, in August of ’06 I was shocked to discover that my beloved Nintendo DS Lite – a system that I purchased on launch day despite the fact that I had a perfectly functional DS Fat – had a nice-sized crack in the left screen hinge. Now this defect is far from unheard of with this particular model and it certainly didn’t effect gameplay, but my OCD compelled me to have it repaired.

Apparently repair for such a minor cosmetic flaw proved to costly or labor intensive, so Nintendo simply replaced my system with another unit. No harm no foul, right?

Well, unfortunately I just noticed that my replacement system now has a hinge crack all its own. I called NOA and they agreed to ship me another pre-paid label so that I can swap this system out for another non-cracked version via one of their service centers. I’m just sort of wondering if I’m gonna have to swap this one out in a year as well.

It’s kinda hard to get pissy when I’m essentially receiving a new handheld for my trouble, but I must use the power of the Internet to ask the following question:

There are tons of DS Lite owners out there, and a good many of them have suffered the unkind fate of a hinge crack, but am I the only two-time loser? Anyone? Bueller?

Insert Clever John Waters Reference

I don’t get out much. That shouldn’t exactly come as a huge surprise, but I felt like reiterating. And even if I did hit the club scene regularly, there is a definite dearth of dorky entertainment here-abouts. Thankfully, I have my own private army of geeked-out operatives who act as my eyes and ears when nerd culture rears its homely head in their individual locales.

Church is my Baltimore area point-man, and he recently caught an mc chris show at a neighborhood bar. He was even nice enough to do a little post-gig write-up.

Behold his nerdly musings:

Thanks to Z's NNIB post, I got a late heads-up that MC Chris was coming to town, and better yet, was playing up the street from me. I don't hit the clubs much these days, but I had to check this out. Ideally, I could get some video.

There were three opening acts, and I was deliberately trying to miss them. Partly because I had never heard of them, but also because that meant fewer parties who could object to me wandering around with a camera. I did the math: three bands, figure 30 minute sets and ten minute changeovers... Chris should be on about 11:00. As it turned out, I got there ten minutes later than I planned.

The Ottobar is set up a bit odd. The main entrance can be either the front or the side door. When it's the front door, as it was today, the entrance is right next to the stage. This was good on one hand, because the place was packed, but it made it hard to converse with the doorman. I asked when Chris went on and the doorman said something and pointed to a note taped up behind him, "MC Chris 11:05." Cool, I had only missed five minutes!

I asked if there were any objections to shooting video, and he ruffled through his papers. That was a good sign, since it meant the club didn't have a blanket policy. To my surprise, though, Chris apparently allowed only still photography. What? I double-checked. The guy has a fan video section on his web site. How are people getting footage? Nope, still photography only. Maybe it's some kind of nerd arts challenge. Once you snatch the footage from the club you get your blastic belt. I decided I was content with Padawan status.

I walked up to the stage, which took about four steps. There's a wall by the entrance that blocks the back half of the stage, so I was at extreme stage right. The stage is spacious, in club terms. The area directly in front of the stage held the most enthusiastic attendees, naturally. The back connects to an elevated room that holds the main bar and a few tables. That was well filled also. On stage left there is an odd balcony that is taller than the main room, so you can look down onto the main floor and stage area, but you pretty much have to be sitting. That was full as well. I noticed a bit wryly that some people with newer digital cameras were spending a LONG time framing their shots. (Congratulations, grasshoppers!)

Chris was bantering with the audience. I don't know if he had messed up, or if he just really knows Charm City, but he went into a spiel about how he saved his "A" stuff for California, and we only rated his "B" material. It's an odd way to play an audience, but it works in Baltimore, which has a bit of an inferiority complex. He then moved on to a hypothetical situation involving himself and some lovingly described pot.

Naturally he resumed his set with “Wiid.” He continued on covering a lot of older material. “The Tussin” got huge cheers, as did “Fuckin Up My Christmas” and “Fett's Vette.” He was cueing the audience to do various gestures, and everyone followed enthusiastically. When he got to “Dare to Be Stupid” he "fucked up" halfway through, restarted, and did it again seconds into it. I didn't catch the mistake, so I'm not sure if it's part of the act (screwing up a song about being stupid?) Either way, it's an interesting way to engage the crowd, and they were fully with him.

And then it was over.

An EN-CORE chant went up, while I double-checked the time. Half an hour? He's the featured act and it's 35 minutes long? No wonder I misjudged how long the opening acts were. And he only did one song from his last album? Waitaminute... that start time must have been Bar Time. Fuck! I missed twenty minutes of his act!

Of course, he got up for an encore. This seemed even more loose than his main act. He'd ask for requests, and work off that. He'd tease a song, such as the opening of Transformers theme, or abandon one that he wasn't liking. He had everybody do the robot, and then did “Robot Dog.” It wasn't a direct lead-in, more like he reminded himself that he had that song. It was obvious that he was having fun, because if he wasn't he'd just stop and start doing something else. It was very punk rock in that sense.

One girl was fading as the night wore on, and she became the object of some light ridicule from Chris, which she was thrilled by. One of the groundlings had made it up to the balcony and was managing to rock out while hanging over the edge. About this time I realized that his encore was lasting at least as long as a normal set. Is this planned? Does he just go on until he's tired? I have no idea, but I loved it. It's like flipping through the radio would be if Clear Channel only played MC Chris. It's a hell of a lot of fun.

Chris promised us a return visit in the fall to support a new album. He ended with “DQ Blizzard,” and the crowd went wild. (Note to other performers: good reason to have some of your stuff available free. Everyone in the club knew the song.)

I'm probably showing my age, but I was struck by the fact that after the show he just jumped back on stage, stuck his mike in his pocket, put his laptop in a backpack, and headed over to the merch table. (Yet another adjustment to my set-length math.) I was going to hang around afterwards and talk with Chris, but I had to be at work in about eight hours. I just bought a CD (free sticker! I love free stickers!) gave him a thumbs-up and a "Good show," and headed home.

-- Church

Postscript: After I got home, I gave the GF the recount - she didn't come along because she assumed I'd be "working" (filming) — and expressed my surprise at how many people were there. I attributed it to a "pent-up demand for Nerdcore in Baltimore." She found that phrase hilarious, and insisted that I include it in my review, so there it is. I'll grant that that was likely an overstatement, but it's friendly territory at least.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Nerd News in Brief

July is the quintessential month of nerd merriment. No shit. And in addition to all of the other nerdy happenings, this month also boasts the 25th birthday of the computer virus.

Ah, you sneaky little bastard; I knew you when!

  • Poor Impulse Control: Geeky tattoos are a bit of a passion of mine. I love how they combine nerd iconography and the hipster ideal of body modification. It’s a marriage, says I: a lovely marriage of disparate forces. Oh, and this one is also a vague endorsement a certain nerdcore hip-hop documentary.
  • Nerdcore Hits the Washington Post: Following hot on the heals of, y’know, all those other major media nerdcore articles, the Washington Post has just favored us with a little piece called "Geek Pride Blooms Into a Real-World Subculture." It hits all the highlights: mc chris, MC Frontalot, the Penny Arcade guys, and even Nerdapalooza. Good stuff!
  • A funky Fire Sale: funky49 is known for many things; he raps, he produces, he sends delightful care packages and even the occasional drunken email. And right now funk is known for his unabashed poverty. Following his recent cross-country jaunt to open for mc chris, funk is a little light in the ol’ wallet. Of course he counters this the same way as any nerd: eBay. Why not check out his auctions?
  • It ain’t exactly Herbology: My pal Church knew that I was hitting up the new Potter movie this weekend – it was good but not great IMHO – and as such, he knew I’d come outta the theater with a thirst to get my craft on. Sensing my need to bust out the ol’ glue gun, he directed me toward this Hogwarts-themed Instructables challenge. The more adept among you may want to throw your (sorting) hat in the ring for the contest, and the rest of us will busily paint our paper wands.
  • Lingering Anti-Nerd Sentiment: Meanwhile, Matt passed on this piece about cops harassing defenseless (read: naked) nerds. I could try and explain the situation myself, but you’ve no doubt just went back and re-read the naked part, so lemme just throw in a link.
  • The Zed Word: And lastly, ZeaLouS1 has made an appearance – albeit in voice alone – in the most recent Monster By Mail video. Listen to some Z1 and watch a dude draw a zombified comic shop owner. Good times. Good times.