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CINEMA: Win Tix To See A Special VIP Advanced Screening Of Ridley Scott’s THE MARTIAN

September 25th, 2015

The Martian


Just a little reality check: This Pope sh*t ain’t gonna last forever, Joy Boy. Then what are you gonna do with your life? Here’s one option, go see a special VIP advanced screening of the THE MARTIAN, starring Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney, mistakenly left for dead on Mars by his crew mates. But in fact, he is not dead. It will take four years for a NASA rescue mission to reach him and he only has enough food and oxygen to last a month. Solution? “I’m gonna have to science the sh*t out of this,” says Watney. What follows is a tense, tragicomic deep-space thriller — think MacGyver On Mars — and an amazing performance by Damon. This is easily Ridley Scott’s best film since BLADE RUNNER. Maybe his best film ever. We have several pairs of tickets to see a special advance screening of THE MARTIAN at University City Penn 6 on Tuesday at 7:30 PM. To qualify to win you need to A) sign up for our emailing list, below right of this post, underneath the masthead. Trust us, you want to be on this list. Among other things, you get early warnings on cool tix giveaways like this one, along with breaking news updates and weekly content summaries so you never miss a post. B) send us an email at telling us you are signed up for our mailing list along with C) the correct answer to the following  trivia question: What is the name of the first man to walk on the moon? Put the magic words LIFE ON MARS in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name and a mobile number for verification. Good luck and godspeed!

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MUST SEE: The Ballad Of The Blue Jean Committee

September 25th, 2015

Blue Jean Committee


VULTURE: Something happened midway through the first season of Documentary Now!, which wrapped up last night on IFC. The show started off — and was praised for — taking pitch-perfect documentary parodies and pushing them in absurd directions: twisting Grey Gardens into a horror movie, for example, or turning Nanook Revisited, a documentary about the documentary Nanook of the North, into a bizarre tale of an Inuit who pioneered most modern-film techniques. But over the course of six “documentaries” (which included the two-part finale), it also grew increasingly humane. While the precision was still there, the goal felt like it was no longer about creating accurate parody but instead about creating truthful character studies. It built and built to the last three minutes of last night’s finale, which immediately felt like one of the most honest, human bits of comedy I’ve seen in years, if not ever.  [….] The inspiration for the episode was 2013’s History of the Eagles, and it’s built around Armisen and Bill Hader as two tough, working-class Chicago guys, both descended from sausage families, who become the biggest soft-rock stars of 1974. “What sort of delighted us about that film was that you have this really soft sound — and then you have these aggressive alpha males,” Meyers told Rolling Stone. “So we started throwing this idea around about these two guys who are a little aggro and are making this kind of breezy, margarita-sipping music.” The two soft-rockers eventually break up at the height of their powers, with Hader going on to license the band’s intellectual property and live a life of luxury, and Armisen returning to the sausage plant where his parents both worked. MORE

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WHAT A DIFFERENCE 170 YEARS MAKES: The Bloody Philadelphia Anti-Catholic Riots Of 1844

September 24th, 2015



THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA: In May and July 1844, Philadelphia suffered some of the bloodiest rioting of the antebellum period, as anti-immigrant mobs attacked Irish-American homes and Roman Catholic churches before being suppressed by the militia. The violence was part of a wave of riots that convulsed American cities starting in the 1830s. Yet even amid this tumult, they stand out for their duration, itself a product of nativist determination to use xenophobia for political gain. In the aftermath of the riots, shocked Philadelphians began debating new methods of maintaining order, a discussion that contributed to the consolidation of Philadelphia County in 1854.

Ethnic and religious antagonism had a long history in the city. Since the 1780s, Irish textile workers had come to Philadelphia after losing their jobs to mechanization in the British Isles. As early as 1828, when an off-duty watchman was killed after disparaging “bloody Irish transports,” Catholic presence had Riots-Broadsideprovoked anxiety among American- and Irish-born Protestants. In 1831, Irish Catholics battled along Fifth Street with Protestants celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

Anti-Catholic agitation increased in the early 1840s, organized in part around a perceived threat to the Bible in the public schools. Catholic Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick (1796-1863), an Irish immigrant himself, objected to Protestant teachers’ leading students in singing Protestant hymns and requiring them to read from the King James Bible. Nativists used Kenrick’s complaints to gain followers. In 1842, dozens of Protestant clergymen formed the American Protestant Association to defend America from Romanism. In early 1843, editor Lewis Levin  (1808-60) made the Daily Sun an organ for attacks against Catholicism and Catholic immigration, and in December of that year, he helped found a nativist political party called the American Republican Association.

In 1844, the Bible controversy intensified in the district of Kensington, a suburb to the northeast of Philadelphia City and home to many Irish immigrants, both Protestant and Catholic. In February, Hugh Clark (1796-1862), a Catholic school director there, suggested suspending Bible reading until the school board could devise a policy acceptable to Catholics and Protestants alike. Nativists saw this as a threat to their liberty and as a chance to mobilize voters, and they rallied by the thousands in Independence Square. On May 3, 1844 they rallied in Kensington itself but were chased away.

The first serious violence broke out three days later. On May 6, the nativists reassembled in Kensington, provoking another fight, during which a young nativist named George Shiffler (1825-44) was fatally shot. By day’s end, a second man—apparently a bystander—was dead, and several more nativists were wounded, two mortally. The next day, the First Brigade of the Pennsylvania Militia, commanded by Brigadier General George Cadwalader (1806-79), responded to the sheriff’s call for help. The troops faced little direct resistance, but they proved unable to stop people from starting new fires. On May 8, mobs gutted several private dwellings (including Hugh Clark’s house), a Catholic seminary, and two Catholic churches: St. Michael’s at Second Street and Master and St. Augustine’s at Fourth and Vine. Only a flood of new forces—including citizen posses, city police, militia companies arriving from other cities, and U.S. army and navy troops—ended the violence by May 10.

The city remained superficially calm for the next eight weeks, but both nativists and Catholics anticipated further violence. In Southwark—an independent district south of Philadelphia City and a seat of nativist strength—a Catholic priest’s brother began stockpiling weapons in the basement of the Church of St. Philip de Neri on Queen Street. On Friday, July 5, a crowd of thousands gathered to demand the weapons. MORE

Nativist Riots
Click HERE to enlarge

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BEING THERE: A$AP Rocky & Tyler The Creator

September 24th, 2015



What do you get when you take one of the most vulgar and provocative rappers in the last 10 years and put him on a bill with one of the biggest and baddest members of Harlem’s hip hop collective A$AP Mob? The answer is quite simple: The Rocky and Tyler Tour. Several thousand fans from far and wide descended upon Philly’s Festival Pier last night to witness a mixture of well-crafted versifying, Tyler The Creator dancing like a man covered in honey and fire ants and A$AP Rocky effortlessly wooing every female in the house with his majestic cloud rap and suave demeanor. Cali rapper Vince Staples kicked off the night with enough energy to supply three openrs and a headliner. After finishing off his set with “Blue Suede,” his toughest single to date, the helium-pitched maniac we all know as Danny Brown took the stage, squealing ‘Hiiiii Phillaaayyyy!” His vibrantly odd and amusing personality broke through on every one of the tight instrumentals and beats his DJ laid him down for him as he pranced about the stage, playing out wild tunes such as “Smokin & Drinkin’” and “Kush Coma.” As Danny finished up it occurred to me the night was virtually guaranteed to only get better, which is a bold statement given the vigor of the two openers. However, this rang stupidly true as soon as the first of our two headliners, Tyler The Creator took the stage to a simultaneous eruption of raucous screaming, intense stampeding to the front barrier and Tyler standing stock-still and taking it all in with a dumbfounded look. After telling the crazed fans they had 20 seconds to take their pictures so they could get it out of the way, Tyler dove into a set that was considerably toned down compared to his teenage years of ignorant hoodrat shit and putting out lyrics offensive to the point of getting him banned from performing in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. Nonetheless, Tyler soon whipped the crowd into an angry sea of frenzied mosh pits and shrill screams as diehards shouted themselves breathless trying to keep up with every single lyric. He dropped tracks from his latest LP, Cherry Bomb, such as “Deathcamp” (which kicked off his set), and some of his wilder oldies such as “Tron Cat” and “Yonkers.” Tyler, accompanied by his sidekicks Jasper Dolphin & Taco (both members of the now dismantled Odd Future collective), even played out a few songs off of Odd Future’s final mixtape, OF Vol. 2, such as the 11-minute masterpiece “Oldie” and the hilariously strange track “Rella.” After Tyler left the stage there was a 45-minute intermission while the stage crew set up A$AP’s elaborate stage set, which consisted of two additional floors above the stage connected by a staircase and bejeweled with twinkling LED lights. A$AP made his entrance stepping through a sea of smoke and fog as the crowd bum rushed the front of the stage. Rolling through his extensive arsenal of hits — “Multiply,” “LSD,” “Goldie” and “Hella Hoes” — A$AP and his mob collective oozed swag as they hipped and hopped about the two-decker platform while the mosh pits grew like algae in still water. During his collaboration with the dubstep mastermind Skrillex “Wild For The Night,” A$AP requested an obscenely large mosh pit in the center of the crowd while hundreds of kids eagerly complied. Ending the night with one of his most legendary hit singles, “Peso,” the A$AP mobster and fellow rapper geniuses threw down endless bars of boundary-breaking lyrics and enough chillwave synths and 808s to last a lifetime.–DYLAN LONG

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REALITY CHECK: Pope Francis Is Not Nearly As Liberal Or Metal As You & George Will Think He Is

September 24th, 2015

Pope Cover




Noted Pope-ologist Paul Vallely, formerly the editor of the UK’s Independent and author of UNTYING THE KNOTS: The Struggle For The Soul Of Catholicism, discusses the ambiguities of Pope Francis’ atypically Jesus-like papacy: comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable, dropping science about climate change (he is trained as a chemist) and reminding the rich that it is easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle than it is for them to get into heaven. Also discussed: Moving the control of the church away from Europe/America, birth control (same as it ever was), female clergy (don’t hold your breath), cleaning up the hive of scum and villainy that is the Vatican Bank (check), Francis’ ambiguous pronouncements on homosexuals and same-sex marriage, and his disappointing foot-dragging in rooting out child-rapists from the Catholic priesthood. Valley says Francis is interested in changing the tone of the church, not the dogma. “Like changing the tune but keeping the words,” he says.

THE GUARDIAN: In a brief press conference on the plane from Cuba the pope told journalists he was no liberal. “Some people might say some things sounded slightly more leftish, but that would be a mistake of interpretation.” He followed church teaching, he said. “It is I who follows the church. My doctrine on all this … on economic imperialism, is that of the social doctrine of the church.” MORE

MATT TAIBBI: Pope Francis won over urban liberals through writings like his 184-page encyclical on climate change, which described the earth as an “immense pile of filth.” Raised in Peronist Argentina, he also talks with varying degrees of vagueness about the “perverse” inequities of global capitalism, complaining for instance that a two-point drop in the stock market makes the news, while nobody notices when a pope Sabbathhomeless person dies of exposure. This past weekend’s column by George Will perfectly expresses the sense of abject betrayal conservatives feel at a pope allowing himself to be appropriated by the global left, when he could be just railing against abortion and moral relativism like his recent predecessors. You can always tell how mad George Will is by how much alliteration he uses. “Pope Francis’s Fact-Free Flamboyance” predictably seethes from the start: “Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert’s indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false, and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak…”

The notion that Will is upset with this pope on behalf of the poor is hilarious, but understandable. Conservatives loved the pre-Francis Catholic strategy for dealing with the poor. First, you create lots of cheap third-world factory labor by discouraging contraception. Then you give lip service to alleviating poverty by pushing a program of strictly voluntary charitable donations. That Catholic Church has always been a great ally to the industrialist aristocrats George Will represents. So it’s not surprising he’s not feeling this whole “we need to reform capitalism” thing. MORE

GEORGE WILL: Francis’ fact-free flamboyance reduces him to a shepherd whose selectively reverent flock, genuflecting only at green altars, is tiny relative to the publicity it receives from media otherwise disdainful of his church. Secular people with anti-Catholic agendas drain his prestige, a dwindling asset, into promotion of policies inimical to the most vulnerable people and unrelated to what once was the papacy’s very different salvific mission. He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises. MORE

SLATE: Temperamentally, Francis does have liberal tendencies. He regrets the authoritarian way he governed as a young Jesuit leader. He wants to be open and collegial. He accepts criticism, seeks dialogue, and tries to learn from it. When Catholics disagree,pope-francis-revolution-betobarreto he tries to focus them on respect, love, and mercy. But if you look at his record, you’ll see limits to his openness. Take homosexuality. The quote that endeared Francis to liberals was: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis later explained his question this way: “When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.” The key word here is existence. Francis was forswearing condemnation of the whole person, not judgment of homosexual behavior. He was repackaging what conservative Christians have always said: love the sinner, not the sin. Francis has never called into question the church’s fundamental teaching: that while people “who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies … must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” they are “called to chastity” because “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” In fact, Francis has affirmed that “children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother,” and he has condemned efforts to “redefine the very institution of marriage.” MORE

MOTHER JONES: Pope Francis survived his visit to the White House this morning without anyone flashing boobs at him. That news might come as a surprise to conservatives, who for the past week have been attacking President Barack Obama for indecorously inviting LGBT activists and a liberal nun to attend the pope’s speech at the White House. They warned that the potential of these guests to embarrass the pontiff was scandalously high. Among those on the guest list were the first gay Episcopal bishop, Gene Robinson, and Nuns on the Bus organizer Sister Simone Campbell, who defied American bishops to organize American nuns to publicly support Obamacare, which the bishops have said is akin to endorsing abortion because it mandates insurance coverage for contraceptives. Others included a gay Catholic blogger and a couple of transgender activists. When the news broke of their inclusion in the papal event, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee went on a tear, telling Fox’s Megyn Kelly that inviting them to the White House was like setting up an open bar at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He has claimed the guest list was evidence that Obama was more interested in respecting the religious views of Osama bin Laden than those of the pope. MORE

INQUIRER: Pope Francis on Wednesday surprised and irked victims of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse when he praised a gathering of U.S. bishops for their “courage” in handling the crisis, and consoled them for how stressful it had been. He also insisted that sex abuse at the hands of clergy must never happen again. His remarks brought a stinging rebuke from some abuse victims, who said courage should be reserved for themselves. “The bishops are poster boys for the fainthearted and timid. They have been cowards in the face of rape and sodomy of innocent children,” said the National Survivor Advocates Coalition. MORE

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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

September 23rd, 2015




Nearly 50 years ago, in 1966, a group of six black men in Oakland, Calif., came together in an effort to curb police brutality against African-Americans in the city. Because of a quirk in California law, the men were able to carry loaded weapons openly. The Black Panthers, as they became known, would follow the police around, jumping out of their cars with guns drawn if the police made a stop.” They would observe the police and make sure that no brutality occurred,” filmmaker Stanley Nelson tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “What they were really doing was policing the police.” Nelson, who chronicles the Panther movement in his new documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, says the group was a response to what some saw as the limitations of the non-violent civil rights movement. “When the Panthers came into being, there were a number of people, especially young people, who kind of felt that the civil rights movement of Martin Luther King … had run its course,” Nelson says. “It had gotten what it could get, and something else was needed; new tactics were needed.” Led by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the Panthers put forth a 10-point program that sought to address a host of problems, including police brutality, poor housing and sub-par education. The director notes that when he began the film seven years ago, he could never have anticipated that it would be released at a time when issues of police brutality and justice for African-Americans were so prominent. He says. “It’s made people want to see the film and want to understand how this was happening 50 years ago and it’s still happening now.” MORE

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BEING THERE: Motorhead @ The Tower

September 23rd, 2015

Lemmy @ The Tower by DAN LONG

Photo by DAN LONG

Having cancelled a handful of shows earlier this month due to “altitude sickness,” it was an open question whether Lemmy would truly be back in the saddle last night at the Tower Theater.  Would he bow out after two songs like he did in Austin? Would he plow through, driven by The Will To Rock (and maybe a coupla handfuls of trucker speed)? Or, would he die onstage? These were the lingering questions that hung in the air last night. On top of that, it is the opinion of many Motorhead fans that Lemmy should bow out gracefully and retire on top. But if you asked me or Lemmy or most of the people in the crowd last night if Lemmy should retire to his rocking chair and knitting the answer would be an overwhelming: Fuck. That. Noise. Like getting old, Motorhead is not for pussies. Lemmy is a force of nature who belongs onstage for the duration of his natural life and maybe a little longer. He’s said repeatedly that he’d be OK with giving up the ghost onstage. “We are Motorhead! And we play Rock ‘n’ Roll!” Lemmy announced upon his arrival, armed with his custom wood carved Rickenbacker bass, mic stand ratcheted up above his head with mic tipped down to capture his hellacious growl, and trademark face-melting fuzz-bomb sound cranked up to 11 or higher as the band launched in to “Bomber.” For the next hour and change, Motorhead delivered what we all came from near and far for: blisteringly loud, leg-shaking, fist pumping, glass-breaking, car-wrecking, bone-crushing, pet-scaring, taint-rattling rock and fucking roll. Understandably, Lemmy didn’t leave his post at the mic for most of the show, but Phil Campbell compensated by constantly working the lip of the stage to rally the fans. Right before lighting the fuse on  “Overkill,” Lemmy introduced the band, then told everyone that back in 1973, before he got the boot from Hawkwind, the Tower Theatre was the first place he ever performed in the US. The crowd —  some young, some old, some metal, some punk — responded with wild applause, crowd surfing, and the kind of undying respect due the black leather-wrapped Pope Of Metal. Hail Satan! – DAN LONG

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Win Tix To See Yo La Tengo @ The Keswick

September 23rd, 2015



Time is short, the Secret Service is already telling us to pack it up and get on the slow boat to the FEMA camps, so we will cut to the chase: We are very excited to announce that we have a pair of tickets to see indie institution Yo La Tengo perform a rare acoustic show at The Keswick Theater tomorrow night. To qualify to win you need to A) sign up for our emailing list, below right of this post, underneath the masthead. Trust us, you want to be on this list. Among other things, you get early warnings on cool tix giveaways like this one, along with breaking news updates and weekly content summaries so you never miss a post. B) send us an email at telling us you are signed up for our mailing list along with C) the correct answer to the following YLT trivia question: What is the name of the dearly departed Philly baseball institution that inadvertently coined the band’s name back when he was a center fielder for the Mets — bonus points if you can explain why. Put the magic words YO LA FRANCIS in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name and a mobile number for verification. Good luck and godspeed!


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COMMENTARY: The Pro-Life Jihad On Planned Parenthood Is Actually A Racist War On The Poor

September 23rd, 2015

PLANNED PARENTHOOD-Medicaid-Graphic-480x480


Theodore-RooseveltBY WILLIAM C. HENRY So, the phony, gutless, misogynist Congressional Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood. Well, isn’t that just swell. The bottom feeders haven’t the cojones — let alone the common decency — to take on a monstrously bloated, unconscionably inept, disgustingly wastrel Pentagon, but yet they can somehow muster the cowardice to shove critically important family planning services, life-saving cervical and breast cancer screenings, vital Pap and HPV testing, as well as a host of other extremely worthwhile women’s reproductive health and family planning educational services up the crotch of America’s opposite sex. Congratulations, you cretinous, pandering counterfeits. You can now run home to your faith-affecting base and tell them about the Christian-like opportunity you’ve preserved for all of those lovesick, yearning-to-become-one, little gametes in giving them an equal shot PLANNED PARENTHOOD2at avoiding America’s hallowed “Top Ten” 53% divorce rate! What’s that, folks? The phony, gutless, misogynist Republicans didn’t tell you about the true and primary purpose and mission of Planned Parenthood? Well, as one of the Republican party’s more morally abstaining Presidents used to say (in an ever so slightly plagiarized and re-directed form), “There they should go again, straight to hell.”

Imagine, we live in a nation whose elected Republican representatives would prefer to harshly imprison women and/or send them back to back-alley abortionists — or to Walmart for metal clothes hangers — than allow them dominion over their own bodies! Why is it always MEN telling women what they can and can’t do with their own personhood?! How in God’s name is what’s going on INSIDE a woman’s body the business of men who don’t know, have never met, will never meet, or will never ever even set eyes upon, the woman in question?! Where do they find the gall?! Where do they come up with the RIGHT to insert themselves so thoroughly into the MOST personal and private aspects of a woman’s being?! Where the hell do they get the hubris, the arrogance, the audacity?! The answer, of course, “lies” in their implacable desire to obtain and exert power, pure and simple. It’s a domination thing. It’s been PLANNED PARENTHOODgoing on ever since the first of these male Neanderthals discovered to his infinite dismay that he was considerably less intelligent than his mate, but felt he could at least save a semblance of face by physically dominating her. And, as we now know with absolute certainty, far worse was yet to come.

As of this writing, dedicated Republican Congressional war-on-women misogynists have let it be known without equivocation that they will close the government down if they are denied the opportunity to defund any and all vital women’s health and family planning assistance (aka, Planned Parenthood) to the poorest, most disadvantaged members of the female population! No more early termination of pregnancies — they know damn well that the nation would never stand for imprisonment of the pregnant themselves, so they’re instead insisting that the women’s health care providers be locked up or forced to abandon their practices; no more family planning services or women’s health and educational programs; no more protection from sexually transmitted diseases and others particularly debilitating or pernicious to women. Tell me something, have you ever, and I mean EVER, heard even ONE of these phony, lying, extorting, hypocritical, panderers calling for ANY form of punishment for the MALE contributors to unwanted pregnancies other than in the disgustingly few prosecuted cases of sexual assault?! Have you ever ONCE heard them call for their castration, sterilization or even stigmatization? In fact, have you ever heard them call for ANY form of penance whatsoever?! Anything?! And please don’t give me any of that faux pious “our-concern-is-as-much-for-the-health-and-safety-of-the-mother-as-it-is-for-the-unborn-child” pretense when there is STILL a backlog of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of unprocessed rape kits deteriorating on police department and laboratory shelves all across America. The silence on the subject of the sexual subjugation of the opposite sex emanating from America’s Republican women is appalling, demeaning, and D E A F E N I N G!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.

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FORGET IT DAD LIFE’S ALRIGHT: A Q&A w/ FIDLAR Guitarist Elvis Kuehn, Son Of A T.S.O.L.

September 22nd, 2015


Illustration by PAUL GRANESE

Dylan_LongBY DYLAN LONG Ever since the skate-punk legions began massing on the West Coast in the early 1980s, the members of FIDLAR have had themselves a wonderful blend of punk rock and skateboarding culture to blast as they spent their days pounding brews and landing wild tricks. Having shared the stage with bands like The Black Lips and The Hives already, FIDLAR has been on the rise for quite some time, welding all different realms of punk rock together to form a crushing, I-don’t-give-a-fuck powerhouse of low-production melodies. In advance of their show at  Union Transfer with Dune Rats on Thursday, wherein they will be going toe-to-toe with the Pope in a contest to see who can cause more mayhem and headaches in the City Of Brotherly Love, we called up FIDLAR’s lead guitarist Elvis Kuehn to discuss skating, touring, cheap beer, smoking skills, fast drugs, rehab and just what the hell FIDLAR even means.

PHAWKER: Yo Elvis, how’s it goin’ man?

ELVIS KUEHN: Hey, what’s happenin’.

PHAWKER: So I’ve got some questions here for you and I’m just gonna start railin’ ‘em off. First one up is, what is the origin of FIDLAR? We’ve heard both “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk” and “Forget It Dad, Life’s Alright.”

ELVIS KUEHN: It was “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk,” and it was like a skateboarding term that was made up by a group of skateboarders in LA that I was living with, and skating with, and you’d use that expression before doing a crazy trick. Like you know, bombing a hill, flips, etc.

PHAWKER: We’ve actually heard some call FIDLAR the “proto-YOLO.”

ELVIS KUEHN: Yeah, some would say!fidlar

PHAWKER: Right on man. So your dad was the keyboard player in T.S.O.L., what kind of advice did he give you when you told him you wanted to start a band and follow in his footsteps?

ELVIS KUEHN: The big thing was me and my brother started a band when we were 12 or something, and so he was always really supportive of it; he helped us out in the beginning with recording and getting gigs and stuff. It’s a lot of hard work and you’ve gotta be dedicated to it, and he helped us get it started.

PHAWKER: So essentially he was there for moral support in the beginning?

ELVIS KUEHN: Yeah yeah, because he’s a musician and does music for a living, he’s pretty supportive of that sort of lifestyle.

PHAWKER: I bet he’s glad you followed in his footsteps. So, you guys have a pretty party hard reputation, but Zach did struggle with addiction and went through rehab, how did it work out putting those two things together, did they clash at all?

ELVIS KUEHN: No, not really, basically he had to go through rehab and get sober and we were all supportive of that, but no it’s really not that much different. And there’s definitely a reputation out there but it’s more of a myth than the truth, like we really don’t party that intensely, but it’s basically ‘Now he’s on tour and he doesn’t drink anymore.’ It took him a good minute to adjust after the first time going out sober, but he just kinda figured it out and now it’s totally fine and doesn’t really affect anything.

PHAWKER: Right on, and he’s still clean?


PHAWKER: Glad to hear that man. Speaking of touring, you guys must have some pretty crazy touring stories; what would you say was the most horrible thing that happened on tour that you can look back on and laugh at now, but at the time wasn’t so funny?

ELVIS KUEHN: Actually, the last tour that we went on was with Metz in the U.S. and it was pretty gnarly. We were driving in Birmingham, Alabama, and we were heading to Nashville, and we were driving on the freeway in Birmingham and we realized that the van wouldn’t go past a certain speed. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it, but we realized it might have something to do with the transmission. So we take it to a place and they’re telling us our transmission’s fucked and it’s gonna take a few days to get it fixed. Now we’re scrambling trying to figure out what to do, and you know it’s 110 degrees out it’s super hot, and we end up just jumping into Metz’s van and go with them, we even borrowed their gear for the show in Nashville. One of the guys with us had to stay in Birmingham and wait it out until the van got done, and then we had to rent a van in Nashville. We still had to cancel our next show, like we played the show in Nashville but we had to cancel the next one, so it was just pretty much a big old clusterfuck. So it was pretty bad when it happened but now everything’s fixed.

PHAWKER: That definitely sounds like a clusterfuck. It’s pretty impressive you guys still pulled off getting out of that one to a degree.FIDLAR1

ELVIS KUEHN: Yeah man, well luckily Metz had already gotten to Nashville so they kinda saved our asses.

PHAWKER: You guys stopped in Philly earlier this year at the Union Transfer and you’re playing there again on Thursday, do you have any crazy or funny moments from the last time you were in Philly?

ELVIS KUEHN: Uhhh, nothing too wild, I remember we played a lot of dice in the backstage area, like dice betting games. I also remember getting a really good hot dog outside of the hot dog truck outside.

PHAWKER: That hot dog definitely counts as memorable.

ELVIS KUEHN: Yeah definitely man, and yeah, nothing too wild but that was a really great show.

PHAWKER: We have one last hypothetical question for you: You wake up in the middle of the night and your house is on fire and there’s only time to save one album. Which album do you save and why?

ELVIS KUEHN: That’s a tough question. As far as records go, I’d save The Gun Club’s Fire Of Love. It’s one of my favorite albums ever and I have my Dad’s old copy of it from the ’80s. And the artwork on it is amazing too, killer album. That’s definitely the one I would grab.


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LOST CLASSIC: The Gun Club’s Fire Of Love

September 22nd, 2015


Fire Of Love
(Superior Viaduct)

On the night of August 16th, 1938, as Robert Johnson lay dying, poisoned by a jar of corn whiskey laced with strychnine by the jealous boyfriend of a pretty girl Johnson was flirting with at a country dance he was playing in Greenwood, MS, he had a brief and flickering vision  — of gaunt white man in a cowboy hat slumped in the backseat of a car motoring through the backwoods of West Virginia on New Year’s Day 1953.  It was Hank Williams. Drifting in and out of consciousness as a potent cocktail of morphine, chloral hydrate and alcohol slowed his heart to a stop, Williams also had a brief and flickering vision — of a bloated, sweaty man wearing nothing but Rhinestone sunglasses seated on the toilet, spangled jumpsuit bunched around his ankles, as he gritted his teeth and grunted with Hulk-like intensity. Right before Elvis Presley’s immaculate, drug-scarred heart exploded as he sat on the throne at Graceland in the early hours of August 16th, 1977, The King also had a brief and flickering vision — of a purple album cover emblazoned with a crude, creepy mosaic of zombie voodoo shit his mama would not approve of on the cover. It was Fire Of Love by The Gun Club. All three men died for its sins. – JONATHAN VALANIA*

*Via the current issue of MAGNET MAGAZINE

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INCOMING: Still Stranger Than Paradise

September 21st, 2015

Stranger Than Paradise


Eszter Balint, best known as the then-16-year-old star of Jim Jarmusch’s career-making, tide-changing, genre-defining 1984 indie flick STRANGER THAN PARADISE, has a new and quite good album out called Airless Midnight. Her acting career was revived recently when Louis CK cast her as his non-English speaking Hungarian love interest for six episodes of Louie. A few weeks ago Phawker conducted a comprehensive five-hour  interview with her. By her admission, it’s the most in-depth and revealing interview she’s ever done. Very interesting stuff. Her father was an celebrated experimental playwright in Hungary who fled to New York in the ’70s when his work ran afoul of the Communist authorities and set up an off-off-Broadway theater in Chelsea that became a gathering place for many soon-to-be-famous denizens of the NYC underground art and music scenes: Susan Sontag, Jonathan Demme, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Julian Schnabel, John Lurie, Jarmusch, Screaming Jay Hawkins, to name but a few. These are the people Eszter Balint rubbed elbows with when she was a teenager. She was very good friends with Jean Michel Basquiat and played, at his behest, on the little-known hip-hop single he recorded before his death. After STRANGER THAN PARADISE became a hit she was cast in Woody Allen’s NIGHT AND FOG where she worked with Mia Farrow and John Malkovich, as well as Steve Buscemi’s TREE’S LOUNGE and starred opposite David Bowie in THE LINGUINI INCIDENT. From there she transitioned into music, writing, recording and releasing two well-received albums in the early aughts, appears on the second album by Mark Ribot’s legendary Los Cubanos Postizo’s and was a touring member of Cerarmic Dog. She is a classically-trained singer/violinist and a gifted lyricist, in the Leonard Cohen/Nick Cave vein, who writes these inscrutable noirish tone poems telegraphing the midnight of the soul. Look for it this week on a Phawker near you.

FILM SPECTRUM: After John Cassavetes invented modern independent cinema in late the ’60s, there was no more important figure in the movement’s growth than Jim Jarmusch, a pioneer who rose to cult fame during the ’80s and the infancy of Sundance. Jarmusch got his start as an assistant under the invaluable mentors Nicholas Ray and Wim Wenders, at which point he decided to forgo his NYU film school graduation and put the rest of his scholarship money toward his first film, Permanent Vacation (1980). With great reviews, Jarmusch went onto his next project, taking leftover stock footage from Wenders’ Der Stand der Dinge (1982) and creating his own 30-minute short subject film, Stranger Than Paradise.

When the film hit the festival circuit, including the 1983 International Film Festival Rotterdam, Jarmusch used its warm reception to raise money to turn it into a full-length EszterJarmuschfeature. The result was a piece of film history, playing at the first annual Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize but lost the Grand Jury Prize to the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple (1984). Jarmusch got a measure of retribution at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, where Paradise won the Camera D’Or on the same night his mentor, Wenders, won the top prize, the Golden Palm, for Paris, Texas (1984). For the rest of the ’80s, there were few more internationally renowned “art” filmmakers than Wenders and Jarmusch.

Jarmusch has since defined himself as a social commentator on the basic human similarities shared by international cultures, leaving a trail of fascinating works from his short Coffee and Cigarettes (1986) to features like Down By Law (1986), starring Tom Waits, Night on Earth (1991), starring Gena Rowlands, and Dead Man (1995), starring Johnny Depp. His continued underground rise makes it all the more important, and telling, to go back and look at Paradise, in which many of these seeds were sewn. And beyond origin, Stranger Than Paradise may still very well be his most important work. MORE

WIKIPEDIA:  Jalacy Hawkins (July 18, 1929 – February 12, 2000), better known by the stage name Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, was an American rhythm and blues musician, singer, songwriter and actor. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery, and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You“, he sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him an early pioneer of shock rock.[1] Hawkins’ most successful recording, “I Put a Spell on You” (1956), was selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. According to the AllMusic Guide to the Blues, “Hawkins originally envisioned the tune as a refined ballad.”[3] The entire band was intoxicated during a recording session where “Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled his way through the tune with utter drunken abandon.”[3] The resulting performance was no ballad but instead a “raw, guttural track” that became his greatest commercial success and reportedly surpassed a million copies in sales,[5][6] although it failed to make the Billboard pop or R&B charts.[7][8]

The performance was mesmerizing, although Hawkins himself blacked out and was unable to remember the session.[6] Afterward he had to relearn the song from the recorded version.[6] Meanwhile the record label released a second version of the single, removing most of the grunts that had embellished the original performance; this was in response to complaints about the recording’s overt sexuality.[6] Nonetheless it was banned from radio in some areas. Soon after the release of “I Put a Spell on You”, radio disc jockey Alan Freed offered Hawkins $300 to emerge from a coffin onstage.[5] Hawkins accepted and soon created an outlandish stage persona in which performances began with the coffin and included “gold and leopardskin costumes and notable voodoo stage props, such as his smoking skull on a stick – named Henry – and rubber snakes.”[5] These props were suggestive of voodoo, but also presented with comic overtones that invited comparison to “a black Vincent Price.”[2][6]


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Win Tix To See Jesus & Mary Chain Perform PSYCHOCANDY @ Union Transfer Tomorrow Night

September 21st, 2015

JAMC PsychoCandyLive


Hard to remember now but there was a time when the Jesus & Mary Chain divided the population of planet Earth into two camps: Those who were sure they were the Second Coming and those who thought they were the end of Western Civilization. Such was the response 30 years ago to the band’s debut, Psychocandy. History would, of course, judge it a seminal and deeply influential classic, an exploding cigar in the mouth of western civilization that just keeps giving. The Jesus & Mary Chain are currently in the midst of a U.S. tour marking the 30th anniversary of their seminal debut that stops at Union Transfer tomorrow night. We are pleased to announce that we have a pair of tix to giveaway to some lucky Phawker reader. To qualify to win you need to A) sign up for our emailing list, below right of this post, underneath the masthead. Trust us, you want to be on this list. Among other things, you get early warnings on cool tix giveaways like this one, along with breaking news updates and weekly content summaries so you never miss a post. B) send us an email at telling us you are signed up for our mailing list along with C) the correct answer to the following JAMC trivial question: What is the name of the JAMC’s original drummer, who went on to front an equally famous British band? Put the magic words HONEY DRIPPIN’ BEEHIVE in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name and a mobile number for verification. Good luck and gothspeed!

RELATED: Q&A With Jim Reid, Lead Singer Of The Jesus & Mary Chain

RELATED: PSYCHO BABBLE: How Fresh Air Music Critic Ken Tucker Hated On Jesus & Mary Chain And Wound Up On The Wrong Side Of History


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Via BuzzFeed