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Archive for February, 2011

CINEMA: Horny And Hornier

Friday, February 25th, 2011

hall_pass_movie_poster.jpgHALL PASS (2011, directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, 98 minutes, U.S.)


Could it be a bout of 1990s nostalgia that had me yearning to see a new film from the Farrelly Brothers? I’ll admit to having a blind spot when it comes to their early hit Dumb and Dumber, but 1996’s bowling opus Kingpin and 1998’s monster hit Something About Mary had a wonderfully unpredictable mix or shock and sweetness that seemed to mark the pair as a major force in film comedy. The illusion was fleeting though, with films like Shallow Hal and their Heartbreak Kid remake finding the pair with an uneven grasp of tone and, more importantly, a diminishing number of laughs. Was it too late for these Clinton-era jokers to regroup?


Hall Pass‘s basic premise seems to underline the tiredness the Farrelly have shown over the past decade, its suburban milieu could be the setting for half the sitcoms on TV. Owen Wilson and SNLer Jason Sudeikis are a couple of married shlubs who still ogle the ladies like they were horny middle-schoolers. Their wives, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, decide to let them off the leash for a week, confident that given the chance to roam, these dopes will realize how good they’ve got it. You can see where this homily is headed right from the start, and while the film predictably preaches marital fidelity, thank goodness there are some huge Farrelly-patented laughs along the way.


Owen Wilson’s Rick is too aw-shucks good to seriously consider sleeping with someone else so he’s stuck playing the straight man to Sudeikis’ Fred, the randier of the two. It’s Sudeikis’ first major film role and while he captures a little of the jocular mania a young Dan Akroyd once displayed, he isn’t the sort of scene stealer this film needs. Much more amusing are the smaller character roles that line the film’s edges, particularly Rick and Fred’s posse, played by Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s J.B. Smoove, Larry Joe Campbell and Ricky Gervais’ collaborator Stephen Merchant. As these three ride sidecar on Rick and Fred’s babe hunt, the film takes on the joyous, loose quality that is the Farrelly Brothers at their best. Throw in Richard Jenkins as the hip-hop attired, forever-young mentor Coakley and you’ve got the most memorable Farrelly’s comedy in a decade.


A few of the film set pieces brought roars from the Thursday night’s promotional screening. The guys eating pot brownies while tearing up a golf course, Fred caught masturbating in his car and a tour of Rick’s snooty neighbor’s ostentatious mansion; each are scenes that masterfully build piece-by-outlandish-piece, before detonating their punchlines. As ramshackle as the film can be, a comedy only needs to hit this stride a few times for audiences to forgive the misfires.


But many of the film’s shortcomings seem so avoidable, particularly the glaring product placement that has the cast giving testimonials for the food at Applebee’s, or that pint of Ben and Jerry’s whose label miraculously turns to the camera in every shot. What finally hampers the film most is the lead character’s mixed feelings for their freedom; if they can’t get excited about the premise, how is the audience supposed to? Hall Pass may have a dirty mind, but the impotence at it heart can’t even restore the fire in these poor yuppies’ marriages. The Farrelly’s message: married men, your boners are ridiculous.


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WORTH REPEATING: Shock Doctrine In The USA

Friday, February 25th, 2011

NEW YORK TIMES: Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence. As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.” The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society. Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display. MORE

RELATED: Walker has warned of waves of public-sector layoffs beginning Friday if the budget bill isn’t passed soon, and at least one major state employer – the schools – has already begun sending out preliminary layoff notices. The Hustisford school district, for instance, sent layoff slips to all 34 members of its teaching staff, including librarians and counselors. Among those receiving notices was Lisa Fitzgerald, a counselor who is married to the Senate majority leader. MORE

RELATED: As is being widely reported Friday morning, the body’s Republican leaders used a parliamentary maneuver to end days of a marathon debate over a budget-related bill that would greatly limit the power of the unions. State Assembly Democrats, the political minority, had extended the debate over several days by offering scores of amendments. (Democrats on the Senate side have famously left the state to avoid action in that body since Republicans are one vote shy of what’s needed to advance legislation.)But Republicans came up with a tactic that stunned Democrats. In Friday’s wee hours, they called a lightning vote, opening and closing it within seconds, giving Republicans who had been in the huddle enough time to vote but catching Democrats flat-footed. The contest now moves to the state’s Senate. MORE

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CINEMA: The Second Coming Of Cinefest

Friday, February 25th, 2011

cinefest_390x210.jpgAfter a yearlong hiatus due to lack of funds and internal rifts, Philadelphia Cinefest is back, and promises more festival hoopla than ever before. From April 7th-14th, somewhere between 60-75 feature films will be screened at a number of Philadelphia venues, including the Ritz, the Trocadero, the Painted Bride, and the Piazza. Josh Goldbloom, (who also runs the Philadelphia Underground Film Festival) took over as art director for this year’s Cinefest. His goal: to structure a themed party around every single feature. Goldbloom said, “We’re really focused on getting a community together, based around film […] we could turn this into another New York, LA, Austin Texas — there’s no reason why we can’t.” One of the main events will be a tribute to the Thai martial arts star of Ong-Jak fame, Tony Jaa—who, as Goldbloom described it, “did like four movies, kicked thousands of asses, and then got sick of Hollywood and rode an elephant into a Buddhist temple,” where he remained as a monk.”We’re screening three of his movies; we’ll have Thai boxing demos; we’re going to turn the whole Piazza, hopefully, into a Thai market,” Goldbloom said. Additional fetes include a street festival outside of the Ritz 5, outdoor screenings, guest artists, filmmakers and speakers—the details of which, says Goldbloom, will be announced closer to the opening date. A web site is coming soon, but in the mean time check out Philadelphia Cinema Alliance‘s site for updates.Goldbloom says that a heavyweight guest-speaker will be announced soon, and while he’s not ready to tip his hand just yet, he hints that it’s someone  associated with, “one of our generation’s favorite old-school films.” After all of this talk about theatrical celebration, my only question was: will there be any costume parties? Goldbloom’s response was, “Costume parties! You know what—now there are. Now that you mention it.” You’re welcome. – CAROLINE SCHMIDT

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CONTEST: Win Tix To See The Low Anthem

Thursday, February 24th, 2011


Perhaps best known for “Oh My God, Charlie Darwin”, their Simon & Garfunkel-esque affirmation of faith in the power of reason to deliver us from the evil of superstitious irrationality, the Low Anthem are back with a gorgeous new album — full of pristine harmonies, infinite reverb, luminous melodies and prayerful silences — called Smart Flesh. They fit somewhat neatly in the Americana box, but unlike say, the Avett Brothers, they don’t so much channel The Band as swim in the same still waters. And as the saying goes, those still waters run deep. River deep and, for that matter, mountain high. This is a powerful, ancient magic they are conjuring and it would sound no more or less out of place at the turn of the last century as it does this in one. Hands down the early frontrunner for Album Of The Year. We have a pair of tickets to give away for The Low Anthem in the sanctuary of First Unitarian Church on Friday for the first Phawker reader that can tell us what college radio station where the bandmembers first met. Send your answer to FEED@PHAWKER.COM. Good luck and godspeed.

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Phawker Presents The Fourth Installment Of BLOTTO

Thursday, February 24th, 2011


Lance_DoilyCROPPED.jpgBY LANCE DOILY I had spent the last 20 or so hours in the Waterfront Pub’s basement sleeping off a bender and didn’t even know it was supposed to snow, let alone be declared a state of emergency. According to the cook who periodically came down to check me for vital signs, I was looking at around three and a half to four feet of snow, in addition to a county wide power outage. Pile that on top of the nearing sub-zero temperatures that all but guaranteed vehicular abandonment for anyone stuck on the road, and I call that a challenge I was ready to face, my friends. Muscling my way out the Bilco doors, the 60 MPH winds almost had me second guessing myself, but I was able to make my way into the cab of the truck. There was insulation and heat inside, in addition to the requisite bourbon and pills. I had a responsibility to get my customers their orders, and needed to get this truck emptied since I already missed a full day by sleeping on a cold concrete floor huddled next to a boiler for warmth.

After a good 45 minutes of trying to bully my way out of my spot, I made it onto Rt. 23, ignoring the occasional screech and sparks of metal rubbing against metal when I sideswiped cars buried under by the plow trucks. They always beeped a thank you for freeing them, even though I probably did about five grand worth of body damage. As expected, there wasn’t a soul on the roads; even the plows were waiting until tomorrow morning. But I knew a lot of my customers lived either nearby or in the apartments above their buildings, and people will crawl through anything to grab a drink when there’s nowhere else to go. One thing I don’t want on my conscience is being the guy who failed to deliver the beer, and truth be told, I like driving through the ice and snow. Although I’m normally in the zone, there’s something liberating about just gunning it on a sharp turn and losing near total control of close to 30 tons of weight. That stoplight on the intersection of Rt. 23 and Ratzer Road never had a chance, just a little something to blame on the plows tomorrow morning.

As expected, there was a complete lack of visibility on the roads except for my headlights, one of which I busted trying to get out of the Waterfront anyway. But in the distance I saw another set of headlights. From the looks of it — a truck lumbering down the road as if it were 75 and sunny out, obviously on the wrong side of the highway — it could only be one man…Rex. Rex was the Rasputin of beer delivery men. Dude’s had an old school bear trap clamped over his head, had to fight his way out of a pit of brown recluse spiders, and was riddled with so many bullets once that the only thing keeping him standing was the slightly upward momentum of hot lead knifing into his body. All of this, mind you, happened on the job. According to local legend, one time he was about 25-30 beers deep, doing his usual “buck twenty in the wrong lane” deal on the way to his final delivery. He ends up smashing head first into a Rocky Mountain double; everything’s on fire, all are presumed dead. Five minutes later he emerges out of the billowing smoke and cinders, still partially on fire and wheeling a full hand truck of beer into the Krauser’s across the street. Knowing Rex though, he was probably just hoping a photographer was standing by, ready to snap the iconic image of a delivery guy engulfed in flames and still finishing the job. Tall tale or not, the dude is a fuckin’ survivor, and I was happy to have him on the road with me.

We decided to take one truck, so we abandoned Rex’s rig in the middle of the road and got into a groove, getting the deliveries done in what had to be record time. We were delighting the ever living shit out of all the bars and liquor stores that had long since given up hope. Leaving the Fuddrucker’s, we happened across another delivery truck blocking the majority of the road. We drove closer to take a look in case it was one of ours, but it was one of the Kohler guys, the local Coors distributor. Besides being flipped on its ass it seemed okay, but even if it was a hunk of twisted metal with a bloody hand pleading to me out of the wreckage I wouldn’t help those fuckers out. I maneuvered my way around him while Rex unzipped his pants, pulled out a nut and wagged it at the driver until he noticed. We’re normally not the type to showboat like that, but we were about to make our last delivery in what was now nearing 9 feet of snow on the ground. Rex’s truck was still abandoned a few miles south, but it was only 7 PM and we had already established absolute dominance over the road. A quick stop at Hooters for shots and a few key bumps (the manager on duty, Rob, had one of those 1800’s skeleton keys so each bump was like half a gram) to refuel and we were back on the road. Now that the truck was empty I had pretty much zero control over the back trailer, so we just ended up unlatching it and leaving it in the road en route to Rex’s truck. Once we got back to Rex’s truck we decided to set up fort there for the night, of course until Murph’s called with one of their famous 3AM “emergency deliveries” that quickly disintegrated into a powdery blur of rye whiskey and barbituates. Once we got inside it was apparent that what Rex joked about being a “mild frostbite” would probably result in the loss of at least 2 fingers, but that’s the price you learn to pay in this line of work.

PREVIOUSLY: The Auspicious Debut Of BLOTTO

PREVIOUSLY: The Second Installment Of BLOTTO

PREVIOUSLY: The Third Installment Of BLOTTO

DEENEY: How I Came To Know Lance Doily

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REMEMBER: Hitler Abolished Unions In 1933

Thursday, February 24th, 2011


NEWS JUNKIE POST: On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested.  Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished.  This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police. MORE

RELATED: Wisconsin is ground zero in the fight for worker’s rights in America.  Following the ultra-conservative sweep of many state legislatures and governorships in the 2010 midterms, most Republicans are salivating at the opportunity to destroy the last stronghold of organized labor in America: the public sector.

Last year, more working people belonged to a union in the public sector (7.9 million) than in the private (7.4 million), despite the fact that corporate America employs five times the number of wage-earners.  37 percent of government workers belong to a union, compared with just 7 percent of private-sector employees. -Alternet

The percentage of the work force that have been organized has been declining (along with many other things) since Reagan and the conservatives took power, ending the Great Compression and starting an epoch in American history known as the Great Divergence (which culminated in the Great Recession, which we are in today). Pro-corporate, fiscally conservative policies (such as deregulation and underfunding) have severely damaged private sector unions, unions that set the bar for standards and pay for all workers (thus, contributing towards the huge wealth concentration that is taking place). MORE

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PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

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!


CP: This quarter’s Book Quarterly is an unusually meaty one, loaded with juicy morsels of… God, I’m hungry… anyway, there’s a lot in it. Justin Bauer kicks things off with a lively discussion of novels that take on the outdoors and uncharted territories.

For a book about a lost polar expedition, Amy Sackville’s The Still Point (Counterpoint, Jan. 1) contains very little in the way of pulse-pounding action. She does this deliberately, choosing texture over ease. After all, adventure stories provide easy structure. Whether a polar expedition or a pioneer survey or a trek through the unmapped Everglades, familiar trajectories of adversity and conquest supply the deep satisfaction that comes from fulfilled expectations, or useful conventions to rebel against.

Sackville’s quiet, prim novel rebels. The fictional Edward Mackley’s expedition to the North Pole — the still point of the title — gets unwrapped by CP_2011_02_24.jpggreat-niece Julia during a sticky-hot day. Time, the reserve of his journals, and especially the family mythology shaped and passed down by the wife who waited a half-century for his return impose still more distance between subject and researcher. But the imprint of the past on Julia and husband Simon’s present, where the bulk of Sackville’s controlled and precise Woolfishness is concentrated, shows clearly, and the conflict between vague legend and knotty family history is amplified by the textured contrast between stifling summer nights and ice-cold midnight sun

The Still Point ‘s family myths work like our national ones, like the frontier ideal that stunts and channels the present of Jonathan Evison’s West of Here (Algonquin, Feb. 15). Both novels share surface similarities, with West of Here featuring a similar expedition to the interior of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, played much straighter. Evison ropes together all of his plots — and there are a good half-dozen — with resonances between past and present, heroic settlers’ footsteps prefiguring the much-diminished fumblings of their descendents.
Smart, tidy, concise — I dig it. Copious reviews give us plenty to chew on, too. But don’t actually eat the books, now. That’s the quickest way to get thrown out of the library, I’ve found.

PW: Another stellar cover from PW. Michael Alan Goldberg digs into neighborhood turf wars surrounding the shooting death of a promising youth athlete and the rivalries that spring up, generation after generation, in a small pocket of the city between East Falls and Hunting Park.

On Feb. 17, the night after Anderson’s funeral, Town Watch Integrated Services—the city agency that tries to bring communities and police together in the name of neighborhood safety, crime response, and crime prevention—hosts a meeting in the Abbottsford Community Center for residents to air their fears about Anderson’s murder and the potential for escalating violence between Abbottsford and Allegheny kids.

cover022311small.jpgAbout 70 concerned parents and seniors show up; Big Shawn and Anderson’s mother, Tyisha Mincey, are there, too. So are Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison, Deputy Police Commissioner Thomas Wright, 39th Police District Commanding Officer Capt. Stephen Glenn, Roxborough Principal Stephen Brandt, District Attorney’s Response Team Director Theresa Marley, and several members of Men United for a Better Philadelphia—former Philly gang members now working to stop gang violence. Not in attendance: Any Abbottsford teens. Anderson’s friends and peers. The ones TWIS Executive Director Anthony Murphy hoped to reach directly with his “Stop the Violence” message.

“I don’t want the young people [at Abbottsford] to feel that they gotta go retaliate against someone else,” Murphy tells the residents. “I don’t want things to go off at Roxborough High School and it comes back here. I don’t want things happening at 32nd and Allegheny, either. I need to know what it is [that’s going on], and then we can work to fix it.”

“We can all point fingers at someone but that’s not the answer—we gotta change the heart of man,” Wright says. A man sitting in the back rolls his eyes, another lets out a frustrated sigh. “We’ve got to find a better way to deal with each other regardless of the gang you’re in or what neighborhood you’re from,” Wright continues. “This violence is ridiculous.”

“After being at Shawnee’s funeral, and you see all the young people at his funeral, you look at their faces after seeing someone’s body laying there and you’d think they’d be spooked and that would be a wake-up call,” one resident says. “That wasn’t a wake-up call. That made these young guys ready to ride.”

Glenn implores anyone in the room who might have any information about Anderson’s murder to get in touch with him. He walks around handing out his business card; some residents reluctantly take it. By the end of the 80-minute meeting, pledges of moral support and promises of more dialogue and community meetings—but little else—have been offered by city and school officials, few of whom linger to talk with the residents. The police brass say they’ll stick around as long as necessary to answer questions one-on-one and address people’s concerns; within moments they’re gone. Residents walk over to Big Shawn and Mincey to pay their respects, then shuffle out into the night.

Goldberg goes deep with numerous members of the community and comes away with something smart, sad and slow-building — lots of quotes, lots of family and ‘hood history — but ultimately very well-constructed.


CP: Theater X: Possibly home to theatrical mutant superheroes. Maybe they’ll fight Slumlord, a supervillain who rules with an iron fist. Dept. of Yikes: Teacher jail, complete with chalk shivs. Kennett: the new king of Queen Village.

PW: Nobody puts Brian in the Corner. From the slammer to City Hall? After a fire, left out in the cold. Life in Kensington, post-strangler.

WINNER: Props to both pubs, but the prize goes to PW. Crime, poverty, arts — they’ve been swinging for the fences so far in 2011, and it’s good to see them circle the bases.

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ROLLING STONE: Rogue American General Conducted Psy-Ops On U.S. Senators Visiting Afghanistan

Thursday, February 24th, 2011


ROLLING STONE:  The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as “information operations” at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation. “My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. “I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line.” The list of targeted visitors was long, according to interviews with members of the IO team and internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone. Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan; the German interior minister, and a host of influential think-tank analysts. MORE

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Phawker Presents The Third Installment Of BLOTTO

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011


Lance_DoilyCROPPED.jpgBY LANCE DOILY It was only about quarter to nine in the morning but what the hell, it’s happy hour somewhere in the world, right? I am sitting on a stool in Murph’s, a barely standing dive bar on Union Blvd. where I spend most of my time when I’m not working, regardless of whether or not I’m supposed to be. The salesman back at the distributor I make deliveries for must have figured out my weakness for the place, as sometimes he’ll space it out so that I have to deliver here up to 4 times a week. If I get here by 8 AM I can usually sneak out around 2 PM or so when all the intoxicants start to turn on each other in the regular’s heads, but today was Freddy’s birthday so I had the feeling I wasn’t getting out of here so easy.

What can be said about Line Drive Freddy? Possibly the biggest drunk through sheer volume in Passaic County, he earned the nickname after passing out shitfaced at a Mets/Pirates game in the mid-80’s and taking a Keith Hernandez foul ball straight in the jaw. He was pissed off and feeling like a shitstain on an old mattress as usual, this time since another 12-14 hour a day regular, Smitty, was getting all the kudos and shots. You see, it was Tuesday, which meant we had Dusty Clouds on the first shift. Dusty was a career bartender and grizzled internal war vet who wore cut-off sweatpants to work and was relentless in fucking up our drink orders (the consensus is he came from deep in the Appalachian Mountains; he played a mean cretin’s fiddle and brought squirrel to work a couple days a week for lunch). Over the past couple months, Smitty had been picking up on specific patterns and cracked a code that enabled us to get the drinks we had actually ordered by placing them in a certain succession. Before this, on Tuesdays we would all have to man up and drink a scotch & milk every now and again (this fuckball Tommy immediately started ordering one every time, knowing someone else would always have to suck it down), and since Dusty had some weird in with the Murphy family that rendered him practically untouchable, we all knew to keep our mouths shut and drink what‘s in front of us.

So naturally, with Smitty getting all the attention Freddy’s attitude turned sour. He had already blasted through four or five grams of bargain basement blow and was starting to settle into one of his “tear in my fuckin’ beer” grooves, getting misty out loud — and steadily getting louder — about the days when his biggest responsibility was finding a new apartment complex with outside A/C units so could huff the Freon. Ordinarily, this is my chance to duck out and do a couple deliveries, and for the regulars to go to another bar, but it was his birthday so we all decided to humor him and suffer through it. We did need a small break from him though, so we waited for Dusty to lapse into one of his trademark states of near catatonic nothingness (he earned his name due to the world beating amounts of PCP he smoked in the 80’s), and ducked behind the dumpster out back to ‘scale the alps’ ourselves. Smitty normally had decent blow, big step up from the baby powder and gasoline Freddy inhales. But as per usual, what was supposed to be 5 minutes turned into close to 2 hours, and by the time we got back inside Freddy was just melting away, stammering around shirtless, pouring sweat, mumbling some backwoods nonsense that we would all “die drowning in a shitter’s hell.” Dusty just gave the “fuck do I know” shrug and offered us shots, but I had to pass them up.

It was nearing four in the afternoon and I still had 12 deliveries to go, five of them averaging about 200 cases each — basically the whole truck. But no worries, I’m already planning on leaving the Wayne deliveries for last since the bars are open until 3 am. My buddy Rex did an overnighter a few days ago, getting back to the warehouse at about quarter to four in the morning and leaving with an early truck 15 minutes later, but I wasn’t up for that tonight. True, Rex was well stocked in amphetamines, rye whiskey, and Hank Williams, and I was down to the residual chalk of a Percocet and a couple piss warm Schaefer’s I found last night in the neighbor’s weeds, but never mind that. It had been months, maybe years, but tomorrow I really wanted to put in a regular 7AM-3PM shift, despite the fact that most bar owners had finally gotten used to getting their delivery at 1:30 in the morning. But if I knew the salesman as well as I thought I did, and I thought I knew him pretty fucking well, he’ll send me back here tomorrow morning with five cases of some shitbag Peaches & Crème hard lemonade that will obviously be refused just to see if I could resist the gravitational pull towards the place. I think we both know the answer to that one.

PREVIOUSLY: The Auspicious Debut Of BLOTTO

PREVIOUSLY: Phawker Presents The Second Installment Of BLOTTO

DEENEY: How I Came To Know Lance Doily

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NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 AIR

When writer Allison Pearson was growing up in Wales in the mid-1970s, she thought she knew exactly what it would take to woo David Cassidy, the teen idol who played Keith in The Partridge Family. The color brown. And lots of it. “I had read, when I was a child, that his favorite color was brown, and so for about 18 months during my precious adolescence, I had worn brown,” she says. “And I looked absolutely dreadful in brown because I was a very skinny, sallow little girl. I looked yellow in brown.” But Pearson didn’t only change her appearance. She also worked on her diction. A Welsh accent, she was sure, would never attract Cassidy’s attention. “I taught myself lots of American expressions just so he wouldn’t think that [I] was a stupid Welsh girl,” she says. “Americans say ‘mad’ meaning ‘angry,’ not ‘crazy.’ And [they say] ‘bathroom,’ not ‘loo.’ These crucial distinctions were going to endear me to him … just in case David Cassidy happened to be in South Wales, which was 5,000 miles away from his home in California, but you never knew when you needed to have all of the facts about him at your disposal.” Pearson, now 50, eventually stopped pining for Cassidy. She became a columnist for London’s Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph and wrote a best-selling novel about middle-class working mothers called I Don’t Know How She Does It. But now she’s translated her teenage obsession with Cassidy into a second novel, I Think I Love You. It’s about, not surprisingly, a teenage girl named Petra who’s living in Wales in 1974, who falls madly in love with David Cassidy. MORE

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KOCH SUCKER: Wisconsin Governor Punked By Alt-Weekly Editor Pretending To Be Koch Brother

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

HUFFINGTON POST: Over at the Buffalo Beast — the former print alt-weekly turned online newspaper founded by onetime editor Matt Taibbi, typically best known for its annual list of “The 50 Most Loathsome Americans” — there appear to be recordings of a phone call between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and current editor Ian Murphy. Now, why on earth would Scott Walker want to talk on the phone with the editor of an online site in Buffalo? Well, he wouldn’t. But what if said editor pretended to be David Koch of the famed Koch Brothers? Well, that’s a different story altogether, apparently! And so Walker, believing himself to be on the phone with his patron, seems to have had a long conversation about busting Wisconsin’s unions.Buffalo Beast Publisher Paul Fallon told The Huffington Post that the audio is “absolutely legit.” That the call took place as described by the Beast has been confirmed by Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie. MORE

Kochtopus Spotted In Downtown Madison

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ALBUM REVIEW: Radiohead King Of Limbs

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

[Artwork by STACEYANN]

What can you say about Radiohead that hasn’t already been said?  One of the worlds biggest rock bands, and they don’t even play rock music.  Anymore, at least. Radiohead’s last album,  2007’s In Rainbows, saw the band create one of their most stunningly melodic and haunting works to date, and all with plenty of healthy-sounding guitars. Just last week they announced that their new album The King of Limbs would be on it’s way shortly.  Fingernails whitened with anticipation around the world.  PLEAASE GOD LET IT BE GOOOOD  went the prayer on everyone’s lips.  And then it came.  And it had eight songs on it, but no Johnny Greenwood, the bands forgotten genius, blotted out to the larger world by Thom’s falsetto’s radiance.  The man without whom Just would not be Just, and the world would not be the beautiful shining place it is now, where everybody’s happy and free.  In fact, if there had been more Johnny on this album, Mubarak would have left within a day, and Qaddafi would probably have just given up after realizing that no matter how many people you forcefully autocrat on any given day, it is not as cool as playing the ondes martenot.  Anyway, I radiohead_king_of_limbs.jpgshould probably start talking about the album.  But I’m stalling for time, you see, because the album is a sort of enigma to me.  I’ve loved and cherished everything that band has done after The Bends, and one thing I’ve found is that a lot of their songs take a while to sort out or, more accurately, unfold.  It always takes more than a few listens before you begin to understand.  But with King Of Limbs I feel a strange urge to heap loathing upon it.   It’s like listening to a Thom Yorke solo album, only less good than The Eraser.  It’s a series of loops Thom could have made in a hotel room on his iPad, Gorillaz stylo.  Its definitely “avant garde” which to a normal human sounds about as attractive as listening to someone piss in a stuffed beaver.  If you want an album to play in the background of a low-key psychedelics fest, then maybe this would be useful, but I mean, why would you not just go for Pink Floyd?  I really really want to like this album and cherish it and hold it in my heart with all of their others (‘sides Pablo Honey) but like I said, Pink Floyd already exists, so why does this?  Although I do really enjoy the wordless track “Feral,” which is absolutely the sound of psychosis with a kickin’ bassline.  This album does have some spectacular basslines.  So yes, let us hope the rumors of a part 2 are true. Until then, please excuse me while I go back to mourning the death of The White Stripes, a band that was never afraid of using the distortion pedal. – JAME DAVIS

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CINEMA: C’mon Get Happy!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011


The Unknown Japan film series, which specializes in showcasing obscurities unseen by American audiences, continues tonight at the Belleview. Tonight’s free screening is 1982’s High-Teen Boogie, an adolescent melodrama that serves as a vehicle for the eighteen year-old Masahiko Kondō, who was apparently the Japanese Justin Bieber of his time. In a story designed to make teen girls quiver and melt, Masahiko plays Shou, the wayward leader of a motorcycle gang who gives up his bad boy ways when he falls in love with the dour good-girl Momoko (Kumiko Takeda).

You might think that a romantic comedy would be the best genre to show off Masahiko, who remains the only act to top the Japanese charts with his debut single (1980’s “Sneaker Blues”). Director Toshio Masuda instead directs a story of star-crossed lovers, whose youthful dilemma recalls the sort of drama we watched in ABC’s Afterschool Specials. When Momoko demands that Shou leave his biker gang to be with her, the gang rapes her in revenge. Shou, estranged from his well-meaning father, then sets up a chaste household with the orphaned Momoko, not knowing that she is three months pregnant from her attack. Shou works himself to exhaustion to take care of her, meanwhile moonlighting with his band in preparation for the “Rock ’82” competition. Can these young lovers deal with the bad hand fate has dealt them and get ahead in this cruel world?

Director Toshio (best known for taking over directorial chores from Akira Kurasawa on the U.S./Japan co-production Tora, Tora, Tora) is a pretty straight-forward stylist, yet he doesn’t skimp on the melodrama, showing his lovers gnashing their teeth madly at each setback fate hands them. Best of all are the fantasy musical sequences, where the characters dance and sing to 80s soft pop sounds, recalling the type of show biz razzle-dazzle once seen from the kids of Zoom. Director Toshio is one of the most-successful Japanese directors of all time, this is a rare chance to see his work and enjoy the giddy pleasures of some exotic “Brat Pack”-style pop fizz. – DAN BUSKIRK

High Teen Boogie screens @ 7:00pm at The Belleview, 200 Broad Street, 7th Floor, Philadelphia PA

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