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Archive for January, 2010

SAD: Rip Torn For Arrested For Breaking Into A Bank With A Loaded Revolver While Loaded

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

rip-torn.JPGENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Actor Rip Torn, 79, was arrested Friday night on charges of burglary and criminal trespassing after officials allegedly found him carrying a loaded revolver inside a bank in Salisbury, Conn., according to the Register Citizen newspaper. A police report published on TMZ.com states that Torn used “forced entry” to get inside the bank and was “highly intoxicated” when taken into custody. The actor is being held on a $100,000 cash bond and is set to appear in court on Feb. 1. A rep for Torn did not immediately respond to requests for comment. MORE

NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Torn, a Salisbury resident, is an award-winning actor in film and theater and for the last 50 years has starred in popular films such as “Dodgeball,” where he throws wrenches at geeks in tights, and “Men in Black” with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Most recently Torn played the role of Josh Hartnett’s father in the film “August” and in “Happy Tears” with Parker Posey and Demi Moore, and as a lead in the recently released film, “The Golden Boys” as Captain Jeremiah Burgess. MORE

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A VERY young Rip Torn in “Number 22″ episode of Alfred Hitchcock presents. It is second season, 1956. Has to be one of his first roles.

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TONITE: The Tintinnabulation Of The Bells

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

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Named after Edgar Allan Poe’s best poem not called “The Raven”, Bells Bells Bells are set to release A Ghost Could Live Here, a well-crafted follow-up ’07’s Throw Down Your Anchor, which brought them, if not quite riches and fame, then psych-folk darlings status. At least around my house, anyway. The album opens with the epic “Laika, An Astronaut”, which conjures the final thoughts of the doomed Russian astro-dog who braved space ‘50s, only to die in orbit. With its dreamy reverb and eerie organ chords, compliments of keyboard maven Kat Paffett, the song sounds like a cosmic funerary hymn for poor Laika. The band’s sound hinges on Amandah Romick haunting but gorgeous vocals and literary fixations and Paffett’s creepy organ swells, which bring to mind spooky cult classics like Carnival of Souls and those trippy ’60s Poe double features starring Vincent Price. Sometimes they sound like a menstruating Doors, or if Black Sabbath had vaginas, but mostly they sound like a latter-day indie reincarnation of Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees circa Kaleidoscope. Which works out well, seeing as Siouxsie & The Banshees are, to quoth the raven, nevermore. –DIANCA POTTS

Bells, Bells, Bells play Sugatown’s 9th Anniversary Party tonight at Tritone with Frisky Or Trusty, Party Photographers and Maria T. Doors are at 9 p.m.

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‘Legalize It’ Ballot Measure Gets 700,000 Signatures

Friday, January 29th, 2010

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LOS ANGELES TIMES: Proponents of an initiative to make California the first state to legalize marijuana have collected about 693,800 signatures, virtually guaranteeing that the measure will appear on a crowded November ballot.  “This is a historic first step toward ending cannabis prohibition,” said Richard Lee, the measure’s main backer.  Advocates, trailed by television cameras and photographers, dropped off petitions with elections officials in the state’s largest counties, including Los Angeles, where organizers said 143,105 voters signed. Lee, a successful Oakland marijuana entrepreneur, bankrolled a professional signature-gathering effort that circulated the petition in every county except Alpine, which only has about 800 registered voters. The initiative would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow plants in an area no larger than 25 square feet for personal use. It would also allow cities and counties to permit marijuana to be grown and sold, and to impose taxes on it. MORE

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SIDEWALKING: Baby It’s Cold Outside

Friday, January 29th, 2010

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12:50 PM – 21 degrees – 9th Street by JEFF FUSCO

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ARTSY: Physical Grafitti

Friday, January 29th, 2010

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[Artwork by SUE COE]

PHILAGRAFIKA: Involving more than 300 artists at more than 80 venues throughout the city, Philagrafika 2010 will be one of the largest art events in the United States and the world’s most important print-related exposition. Prominent museums and cultural institutions across Philadelphia are participating in Philagrafika 2010, offering regional, national and international audiences the opportunity to see contemporary art that references printmaking in dynamic, unexpected ways and to experience the rich cultural life of the city in the process.  The Philagrafika 2010 festival is the result of more than five years of planning by a group of enthusiastic and committed individuals who have mobilized the entire community around a common interest. The Artistic Director and the members of the curatorial team traveled extensively across the country and across continents, visiting studios, print shops, biennials and other art events in search of artists to include.  And the administrative staff of Philagrafika, the Artistic Director and the curatorial team have worked closely with local institutions in planning and implementing a wide range of exhibitions, public programs and events, resulting in a citywide collective effort, which appropriately reflects the collaborative nature of printmaking itself. MORE

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THIS JUST IN: Facebook Is The New Fight Club

Friday, January 29th, 2010

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INQUIRER: A fistfight between two gangs of girls that had been organized on Facebook erupted in gunfire last night outside a Southwest Philadelphia High School, leaving two young men and a 17-year-old girl wounded, police said. The men, ages 19 and 22, were shot in the back and were reported in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania this morning. The girl was treated at the hospital for a bullet wound to the buttock and released. Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives said about 40 people, most of them teenage girls, had gathered outside Bartram High School at 66th and Elmwood for a fistfight about 11 p.m. “It started with a dispute on Facebook,” said Walker. He said the conflict pitted a group of girls from Southwest Philadelphia with a rival group from West Philadelphia and had been triggered by “inappropriate comments” posted on the social networking Web site. “One of the girls said, ‘enough is enough,’” said Walker, and both sides agreed to a rumble through Facebook exchanges. MORE

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MUST SEE TV: How To Report The News

Friday, January 29th, 2010


How To Report The News – Watch more Funny Videos

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PHAWKER TAWK: How To Get To Carnegie Hall

Friday, January 29th, 2010

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The PRISM Quartet performs tonight at Art After 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, starting at 5:45 p.m.

DaveAllenBYLINE_1.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN The saxophone, that iconic American instrument, is perhaps more freighted with artistic significance here in Philadelphia, where John Coltrane spent formative years and where other formidable, if less iconic, reedmen have launched their careers. In the Germantown section of the city, not all that far from where Sun Ra’s legendary Arkestra set up shop and where Arkestra saxophonist Marshall Allen still lives and sometimes assembles the group, another musical summit — an all-saxophone one — is regularly convened. The members of the PRISM Quartet assemble at Matt Levy’s house, coming together from disparate lives in academia, music-making and arts administration in Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina and here in Philly. This year, the group celebrates its 25th anniversary, and though Levy, director of the Philadelphia Music Project, is the sole remaining member of the original lineup, he doesn’t dominate conversations about the group’s makeup or ongoing projects. It’s an evenly-divided discussion, with the four guys weaving their voices in and out, interjecting stories and opinions here and there. It’s clear the four of them are comfortable together; some were still in stocking feet when arrived for the interview and hadn’t had their morning coffee. In looking at both the group’s history — they once played for omelets at a restaurant in Michigan — and current activities, we covered a lot of ground, including the challenges of ancient Chinese instruments, subversive and reverent views of American pop culture, and making a case for the saxophone outside of jazz.

PHAWKER: I feel these meetings are almost like the Blues Brothers: “We’re getting the band back together.” Logistically, how hard is it for you all to get together, and how do you keep a group chemistry if you don’t see each others for months at a time?prism-quartet3.jpg

MATT LEVY: We see each other and are in touch constantly. We get together usually at least once a month, sometimes more, for practice, recording projects or performances. So there’s a lot of activity, and then when we’re not together physically, there’s constant interaction. There’s not really a loss of chemistry or momentum. It’s really something that’s always going.

On the administrative side, because we’re a non-profit organization, we all take on certain responsibilities managerially. We sort of divvied up the work in that way, so there’s always collaborations and interactions. We’re helping each other for the organization to grow and evolve. We have a board of directors, so it’s really more than just a musical ensemble. There’s this ongoing activity that doesn’t really ever stop.

The Quartet was founded at the University of Michigan, we were students there and that’s sort of a center of saxophone study. There’s a guru of classical saxophone, Donald Sinta. People come from around the world and gravitate to study with him. He’s a consummate artist. We were founded there and we migrated to different parts of the country. At one point we were LA, Detroit, New York, Philly, and then we were all sort of near New York, and as people have taken on other jobs – teaching at different schools – we’ve continued to migrate in that way. But logistically, it’s not that much different – you either take a train for an hour or two or get on an airplane and fly for an hour. It’s surprisingly not that difficult or challenging. We just are very organized about planning our schedule a year ahead of time. We have a common calendar we keep – every rehearsal, every recording session. We have to be on top of that stuff so we can keep things tight and integrate our own schedule.

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MUST SEE TV: Smut Cave Goes Phone Sexxy

Friday, January 29th, 2010
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WARNING: Possibly NSFW

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RIP: J.D. Salinger, ‘Hermit Crab Of American Letters’

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

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TIME: Take the austere little paperbacks down from the shelf and you can hold the collected works of J.D. Salinger — one novel, three volumes of stories — in the palm of one hand. Like some of his favorite writers — like Sappho, whom we know only from ancient fragments, or the Japanese poets who crafted 17-syllable haikus — Salinger was an author whose large reputation pivots on very little. The first of his published stories that he thought were good enough to preserve between covers appeared in the New Yorker in 1948. Sixteen years later he placed one last story there and drew down the shades.From that day until his death at 91, Salinger was the hermit crab of American letters.

jd-salinger.thumbnail.jpgWhen he emerged, it was usually to complain that somebody was poking at his shell. Over time Salinger’s exemplary refusal of his own fame may turn out to be as important as his fiction. In the 1960s he retreated to a small house in Cornish, N.H., and rejected the idea of being a public figure. Thomas Pynchon is his obvious successor in that department. But Pynchon figured out how to turn his back on the world with a wink and a Cheshire Cat smile. Salinger did it with a scowl. Then again, he was inventing the idea, and he bent over it with an inventor’s sweaty intensity. 

Salinger’s only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was published in 1951 and gradually achieved a status that made him cringe. For decades that book was a universal rite of passage for adolescents, the manifesto of disenchanted youth. (Sometimes lethally disenchanted: After he killed John Lennon in 1980, Mark David Chapman said he had done it “to promote the reading” of Salinger’s book. Roughly a year later, when he headed out to shoot President Ronald Reagan, John Hinckley Jr. left behind a copy of the book in his hotel room.) But what matters is that even for the millions of people who weren’t crazy, Holden Caulfield, Salinger’s petulant, yearning (and arguably manic-depressive) young hero was the original angry young man. That he was also a sensitive soul in a cynic’s armor only made him more irresistible. James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway had invented disaffected young men too. But Salinger created Caulfield at the very moment that American teenage culture was being born. A whole generation of rebellious youths discharged themselves into one particular rebellious youth. MORE

HOLDEN CAUFIELD: Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: The famously reclusive author J.D. Salinger has died, but chances remain slim to none that any adaptation of his salingercatcher.JPGclassic literary works will reach the screen or stage. With more than 65 million copies of “The Catcher in the Rye” in print, many have sought to turn Salinger’s stories into movies, Broadway shows or book sequels over the past 63 years, but the author always adamantly refused.  That isn’t about to change — all because Salinger was unhappy about the one time he allowed an adaptation. Salinger, who died Wednesday at age 91 in Cornish, N.H., agreed to have one of his short stories, “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut,” made into a movie, which was released in 1949 as “My Foolish Heart.” The film was a critical and commercial failure and apparently an affront to the author, who vowed never again to make the mistake of allowing others to interpret his vision. Ever since, numerous producers, filmmakers, authors and stage directors have sought rights to his 1945 novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” as well as to his 1961 book “Franny and Zooey” and other stories. In 2008, the rights to his works were placed in the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust, of which the author was sole trustee. Phyllis Westberg, who was Salinger’s agent at Harold Ober Associates in New York, declined Thursday to say who the trustees are now that the author is dead — but she was clear that nothing has changed in terms of licensing movie, TV or stage rights.  “Everybody knows that he did not want it to happen, and the trust will follow that,” Westberg told THR. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: I’d rather remember Salinger (and Holden Caulfield) with the last words to “Catcher in the Rye,” words that signaled Salinger’s future seclusion even as they allowed for the joy and pain of human connection:

It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. MORE

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[Artwork by ANDREW LORENZI]

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PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!

ON THE COVER

CP: CP’s cover story takes place in limbo: between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, between the U.S. and Venezuela, between this country’s native inhabitants and its invading settlers, between the ears of a wacky 19th-century Irish immigrant who crowned himself King. Petty’s Island, and its modern-day historian, New York-based artist and provocateur Duke Riley, are at the nexus of all these elements, and HollyOtterbein does an admirable job of cataloging this crazy quilt of hybrid histories, and stretches waaaaayy back to give us a comprehensive view.

In the 1917 book The Romance of Petty’s Island, author John L. Morrison wrote passionately about Riley’s current maritime muse. He described cp_2010-01-28.jpgPetty’s Island as mythical and beautiful, and thought it a crime that Philadelphians ignored it. “Notwithstanding its proximity to the heart of this great community of two millions of people, Petty’s Island is virtually an unknown land to most Philadelphians,” he wrote. “A search through the musty tomes and papers of the past 250 years demonstrates that the big triangular island off the Kensington coast is saturated with the romance of the river, the sea and forest.”

 Morrison’s words ring just as true 93 years later. Though Petty’s Island has been the subject of CNN reports, a New York Times article and even a Danny Glover-narrated documentary, most Philadelphians have never even heard of it. In part, cartography’s to blame: Petty’s Island isn’t in Philadelphia — it’s in Pennsauken, N.J. But, really, that’s no excuse: Our ignorance of Petty’s Island is so great that most of us have looked straight at it, and never even realized it. If you’ve ever visited Penn Treaty Park, walked out to the edge of the Delaware River, and looked across to the left, that wasn’t just New Jersey. That’s Petty’s Island.

 Riley first came across Petty’s Island while digging up old documents about the waterfront. The waterfront is the area of the city that I’m drawn to in any given situation,” he says. “Typically, the waterfront made up the periphery of urban society. So the sketchy stuff happened there.”

 As he researched the island, beginning at the Historical Society and then seeking out more arcane treasures in Northeast graveyards and 19th-century newspapers, he began to sense what so many people before him have — that Petty’s Island is an epic microcosm of America.
And somehow this is all pegged to Philagraphika, a visual art and graphic design festival in the city? My head’s spinning, but somehow, I’m hooked. I could rail against New York’s cultural foothold in Philly that sometimes come across like an exploration-era sphere-of-influence, and though I’d rather have seen a Philly artist take on this strange and subversive yet historically-informed work of art, instead I think I’ll ride the wave, at the nexus of “Way to go!” and “What the hell?”

PW: Jeff Barg takes us a thoughtful nostalgia trip into Philly’s social life of yore, its DJs-and-dances, with a look at the 50-year career of Jerry Blavat, the legendary Geator. I’m an outsider; I’d never heard of him until I saw a billboard in 2008 where he was reminding passersby to wash their hands. Swine flu notices aside, theGeator has a grip on people that goes beyond mere nostalgia to the idea of a “city of neighborhoods” that, in many ways, is still with us.

PW_GeatorjpgBlavat and his audience have grown together, in a way: When they go see him for two, three hours a week, they step back in time to a day when they were the coolest cats in the parish, when a wild night out involved necking in the back of Dad’s Chevy at the drive-in movie theater at Broad and Pattison. They step back into this old Philadelphia, where they find the Geator, holding court. Like he never left.

“Everybody wants to go back and relive a moment in their life where you can relate, and I do that,” he says. “I bring you back for two hours with my music to a better time in our world—a time when kids were the product of a neighborhood, kids went to dances—Wagner’s, Chez Vous, Starlight—and they met other kids from different neighborhoods.”

As he loves to remind anyone who will listen, Jerry Blavat too is very much the product of a neighborhood. He grew up half Jewish, half Italian on McKean Street in what was then a very Italian South Philadelphia. But with his father in and out of jail and his mother working as a riveter at the Navy Yard, Blavat was raised mostly by the nuns of St. Monica’s Parish at 17th and Ritner. “I always hung with older people because I always wanted to learn from older people,” he says. “I always dressed older.”

With Barg as his guide, the Geator even goes deep into Philly’s history of racial division, and how a love of rhythm-and-blues, and his dissemination of it, helped bring down some barriers in the city. TheGeator seems at times to have drunk deep from the well of his own greatness, but there’s no denying his place at the heart of both the historical Philly music scene and in the hearts of his aging fans. It’s really fascinating.

INSIDE THE BOOK

CP: A Cormac McCarthy shout-out wins any band instant cred. David Byrne’s life in the bike of ghosts. Everything’s bigger in Texas, but more political in Philly, even food. Health care = fucked. Senate = entrenched and fucked. But, hey, “always look on the bright side of life.”

PW: South Street is dead; long live South Street: Record stores make way for restaurants. I’m OK with this. Tweeter theater: Keep it short, cryptic. Holiday in Cambodia? Oh shit, another indie-rock Cormac McCarthy shout-out?! Pulizer Prize-winning apocalyptica in the HOUSE!

WINNER
: CP’s cover is just too crazy and multifarious to be denied. Makes me wanna paddle out to the middle of the Delaware and get back to nature. Nice work.

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RIP: Howard Zinn, Man Who Challenged The Rule That ‘History Is The Consensus Of The Empowered’

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

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HOWARD ZINN: “Once we decided, at the start, that our side was the good side and the other side was evil …… we did not have to think any more. Then we could commit unspeakable acts and it was all right.”

NEW YORK TIMES:  Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose leftist ”A People’s History of the United States” became a million-selling alternative to mainstream texts and a favorite of such celebrities as Bruce Springsteen and Ben Affleck, died Wednesday. He was 87. Published in 1980 with little promotion and a first printing of 5,000, ”A People’s History” was — fittingly — a people’s best-seller, attracting a wide audience through word of mouth and reaching 1 million sales in 2003. Although Zinn was writing for a general readership, his book was taught in high schools and colleges throughout the country, and numerous companion editions were published, including ”Voices of a People’s History,” a volume for young people and a graphic novel

howard-zinn.jpg”I can’t think of anyone who had such a powerful and benign influence,” said the linguist and fellow activist Noam Chomsky, a close friend of Zinn’s. ”His historical work changed the way millions of people saw the past.” At a time when few politicians dared even call themselves liberal, ”A People’s History” told an openly left-wing story. Zinn charged Christopher Columbus and other explorers with genocide, picked apart presidents from Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrated workers, feminists and war resisters. In a 1998 interview with The Associated Press, Zinn acknowledged he was not trying to write an objective history, or a complete one. He called his book a response to traditional works, the first chapter — not the last — of a new kind of history.

”There’s no such thing as a whole story; every story is incomplete,” Zinn said. ”My idea was the orthodox viewpoint has already been done a thousand times.” ”A People’s History” had some famous admirers, including Matt Damon and Affleck. The two grew up near Zinn, were family friends and gave the book a plug in their Academy Award-winning screenplay for ”Good Will Hunting.” When Affleck nearly married Jennifer Lopez, Zinn was on the guest list. Oliver Stone was a fan, as well as Springsteen, whose bleak ”Nebraska” album was inspired in part by ”A People’s History.” The book was the basis of a 2007 documentary, ”Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind,” and even showed up on ”The Sopranos,” in the hand of Tony’s son, A.J. MORE

THE GUARDIAN: In December, a documentary narrated by Zinn and based on A People’s History aired on the History Channel. Intended to give a howard-zinn-a-peoples-history-lecture.jpgvoice to those who spoke up for social change throughout US history, producers on the film included Matt Damon and Zinn himself, with performances from Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, Viggo Mortensen, Bruce Springsteen and others. MORE

HOWARD ZINN: “My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality,” wrote the author in the bestselling book. “But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all) – that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth.”

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SIDEWALKING: Diary Of A Madman

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

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Ozzy, Borders, Market & Chestnut, 6 PM by JEFF FUSCO

i-am-ozzy.thumbnail.jpgTARA MURTHA: Thick as a bible, I Am Ozzy is a lightning-read account of one man’s journey into and out of the sludgy bowels of the rock and roll beast. Pensive now at 61, I Am Ozzy is a (mostly) sober account of a very drunk and deluded time fueled by the time-honored collision course of inflatable egos and endless cocaine (back in the day, Black Sabbath didn’t even know who was paying for or sending the unmarked vans stacked with tidy boxes of wax-capped vials of medical grade powder).  All the expected hijinks and rumors are there, from biting bats to snorting ants to the kerfuffles caused by a controversial stage show that included stringing up a small person, as they’re called nowadays, by the neck in a noose and catapulting bloody raw meat and entrails onto the crowd. But, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, like Tom Robbins books, the joy here, even for Sabbath fans, is less about the plot and all about the delivery. What I mean is, the book is hilarious. The Ozzy narrating the book isn’t the lunatic in a cape vacuuming drugs with his face or shooting chickens in a fit of paranoia, but more of a chilled out grandpa peering over those trademark dark Lennon-glasses, reading fairy tales aloud by the hearth. After all, Black Sabbath is a blokes’ Cinderella story of course, starring a motley group of misfits who escaped the factory grind by trying to make their 12-bar blues band “sound scary” after observing that people paid good money to see horror movies. MORE

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