As you may or may not know, Robert Rodriguez has his own cable network called El Rey. On paper, El Rey is great, but it lacks something in its execution. Yes, a cable channel that shows nothing but old kung fu movies and John Carpenter marathons is cool, but not when the movies are broken up with long commercial breaks. It takes money to license the rights to air these obscure films, but its hard for me to really feel like the network is committed to showing these films uncut, the way they’re meant to be seen when scenes are sandwiched in between commercials for the latest offerings from that British Billy Mays guy.
There is one great show on El Rey called “The Director’s Chair” where Rodriguez interviews other directors about their career. It’s a great format and I hope Rodriguez as the brains behind the show explores the concept a bit more and lets other directors interview other directors. It’s not to say that Rodriguez isn’t a good interviewer, it’s just that he doesn’t have that larger than life personality of other directors. I love Nicolas Winding Refn, the interviewer/interviewee as much as I love Nicolas Winding Refn, the director.
On the most recent episode, Rodriguez interviewed his best celebrity friend, Quentin Tarantino. It was a great look into how Tarantino evolved over the years because Rodriguez was right there with him. There’s home video footage of Tarantino reading different drafts of Kill Bill (one from 1994 and the other from 2001). Unless Tarantino writes a John Huston like autobiography, this interview was probably the most in depth look at his work.
The best part of the interview was when Tarantino talks about the failure of Grindhouse. In his own words, it was the first time, he felt like it wasn’t able to have another hit and that feeling forced him to finish Inglourious Basterds and put that film together quickly as possible. I think Tarantino said something to the affect of I have all of this and went this way (referring to Basterds and Django Unchained) and seems to imply that Rodriguez is sort of stuck in that Grindhouse mode. Maybe, I’m reading too much into that comment, but it’s true though. While he wasn’t the best action director, Rodriguez has not been able to bounce back from that film’s disappointment. Rodriguez has made two Machete films and launched a cable network built on a Grindhouse/exploitation movie aesthetic.
So, I believe I said I was going to have two additional summer mixes, but I didn’t actually end up fixing the mixes. Long story short: I was having trouble with my iTunes and my phone and couldn’t really get any music loaded up on there. By the time I did, the summer was over. So, I never finished the two mixes; never really got to the point with either one where I felt like it was a solid summer vibe. The artwork would’ve been a french bulldog taking a whiz on some seaweed.
Never the less, I will push on and finish a spooky edition of “Live For Now”.
I feel like I have been making the same pitch every year, but here goes nothing…
Did you watch The World Cup this past summer? I’m sure you did because it was an entertaining tournament full of highs and lows: people biting people, gigantic bugs flying onto the pitch, and, the wonderful celebrations of Mexican national team head coach Miguel Herrera. What if I was to tell you that there is a yearly tournament in Europe that took was significantly better than the World Cup.
You wouldn’t have to wait four years to see the finely tuned mechanics of the German national team, you could just watch Bayern Munich steam roll their way to the finals.
What I’m saying is that you should watch the UEFA Champions League starting on Tuesday, September 16th on Fox Sports.
Here’s the problem with my pitch. Most Champions League matches start at 2:45pm/11:45am in the USA; an ideal way to spend a lunch break or kill off those last few hours at work. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe it was fairly easy to stream World Cup matches off the ESPN official website and their app. Fox Sports offers a subscription service to stream all of the Champions League matches on line. This is a big stumbling block for the success of the Champions League in America. Of course, most people know how to find bootleg streams on line; it’s not that hard. Yet if Fox Sports offered some free streams, more people would be into it. It’s not like Fox Sports is sending their own crews to the various part of Europe. They’re just broadcasting the feeds from England. It’s not like Fox Sports is going air a Borussia Dortmund or Athletic Bilbao match on one of the major networks. It’s going to either be: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich. Those are the teams that you will see on Fox Sports and Fox Sports 2. I have no problem with that because I support FC Barcelona, but they should a much wider variety of teams each week. Doesn’t every team, no matter how small the college get a little shine during March Madness?
Any ways, if you like this year’s World Cup, you should try to get into this season of the Champions League. All of the cool guys are playing. Messi. Neuer. Zlatan. Diego Costa. Balotelli. Pirlo. Neymar. Marco Reus.
Champions League Predictions:
It’s been a while since I updated this… So, let’s boogie:
April was a really great month of movies… Like I don’t want to sound like a super honk or something, but I really enjoyed most of what I watched. It would be easier to list the things that I didn’t like…
The Dregs: Blue Ruin, The Yakuza, Magic in the Moonlight, and, Godzilla.
I started to zone out about half way through The Purge and started to make my own movie set in the Purge world in my head. It was kind of like Class of 1984 meets Battle Royale.
Feel a little ashamed that I’m just now getting into Max Ophuls…. Wish more people saw Edge of Tomorrow because that was a party.
Bubu isn’t so sure about doing a juice cleanse.
If you’re going to a music festival in the near future please adhere to this one rule/bit of advice: a music festival is only enjoyable as you make it. Only you can determine your own happiness.
With that said, I feel like this past weekend’s FYF Festival was a hit and miss affair. I have to commend Sean Carlson and the festival staff for going above and beyond to fix the problems of Saturday for a more pleasurable Sunday. They actually read the comments and tried their best to make more room in the Arena for fans and created more entry points to get into the festival. As a Monday morning quarterback, it seems like a vast majority of the Saturday/Day One problems could have been prevented maybe with a few more strategy sessions, but who knows? One would believe that after ten years of doing this festival, everything would move smoothly. Yet when you move from one location to location, it gets difficult. When you move into a new place, do you automatically know where everything is or does it take some time to get used to your brand new surroundings? There were growing pains.
For the most part, I had a great time. The bands I wanted to see delivered inspired performances. While the lines might’ve been much, I can’t complain about the lack of vegan and vegan friendly food available. My biggest regret of the festival was that I was not able to pick up a third donut from the Donut Friend booth near the main entrance. The Fritter Seems Forever was incredible and the Nutellavision blew my mind. I also regret not being to be able to be in two places at the same time because I would have loved to see Flying Lotus’s set, but there was a conflict with the Blood Brothers. I specifically came to see The Blood Brothers.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I was not to thrilled about it being at Exposition Park. Many, many moons ago, I witnessed my mother have a full fledge panic attack/nervous breakdown as she drove my sister, my sister’s friend and myself to a Raiders game at the Coliseum. Since then, the Coliseum has been a place to avoid. Once it was officially announced that the Coli would be the location, I was going to skip this year’s edition. Then the Blood Brothers’ reunion drew me back in. Not that I had unfinished business with the band, but I feel like the last time I saw, I ended up getting to the show late and missed a majority of their set. I wrongly assumed that the Blood Brothers were the headliners, but I guess it was Against Me or something similar to that.
The Blood Brothers were incredible. They sounded like they hadn’t miss a beat; like they were still a band putting out records and touring. While I missed that they could’ve played for ever. It was an ideal set. They played the hits, minus “The Shame”. They never do “The Shame”.
Boris, was probably the highlight of Saturday night, for me. I’ve heard a few of their albums, but I never really kept up with their output. As a live band, they are amazing. Wata shreds. She’s one of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen in person. Then there’s Nagata, the drummer. He’s miced up so he’ll just yell “yeah!” or “woot” during random parts of the song. I was laughing while rocking out. It was a very enjoyable experience. And top of that, Nagata has a smoke machine so half of the time, he’s covered in smoke and smashing a giant gong behind him. It was incredible. If they come to your town, go immediately.
What I didn’t like about the festival, I believe this could be applied to most music festivals in California, are the people that are there because it’s a cool thing to do. It’s a tricky issue because promoters need those people because a festival with the likes of Blood Brothers, Fucked Up, Ty Segall, Boris and some Burger Records bands isn’t going to fill up Exposition Park, let alone the good old State Historic Park in Chinatown. Haim on the line up means more to the average person than say Chain of Strength or even a Fugazi reunion. It’s the bigger bands that allow for the little side stages.
After Death Grips broke up and dropped off the FYF bill, the promoters asked for replacement suggestions. The comments were flooded with people asking for The Killers and Of Mice and Monsters or some dumb folksy band with a monster reference in their name. My suggestion was Gorilla Biscuits. That’s sort of the problem as a festival evolves and becomes more financially viable, it has to carter more to the needs of a larger alternative/indie rock fan base.
Here’s the thing though, I feel like the 2013 FYF did a much better job of curating a line up that would appeal to all sorts of people. You had the likes of Solange, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Locust, and, Shlohmo. There was a little bit for everybody. This year just felt too much like Coachella Weekend 3; like Goldenvoice had a much stronger influence in shaping the line up this year.
Well, my problem is that I wish FYF could have been like Burger A Go Go. I don’t know how the dudes from Burger Records and the folks at the Observatory in Santa Ana pull it off, but they managed to create multiple weekend/all day festivals that are strictly about the music and having fun. Maybe its the venue (a swampy place smack damb in the middle of a industrial part of Santa Ana [that’s actually more closer to Costa Mesa; it’s a couple of blocks down from a giant Ikea and an exit away from the infamous South Coast Plaza]) with its three stages (One big, one small, one very tiny) or just the line up crafted by Sean and Lee in between bong rips. There was never really any down time between bands or real tough decision. The headliners seemingly played after each other starting at 7pm. As the night went on, each band got better than the previous and as things got louder and better, the cool kids kind of faded into the background. Granted, the food options at the Observatory weren’t as plentiful as FYF, there wasn’t a lag or down time. It was walk in one direction, there’s a band and if you walk into the other, you’ll probably find another band.
All in all, I had a good time this year at FYF, but it’s going to take a lot for me to come back next year. I don’t know how or if they can afford the various reunions: Led Zeppelin, The Smiths, and, Fugazi.
In case you don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s a list of all the bands I saw full sets of (in no particular order): Angel Olsen, Slint, Slowdive, Boris, Ty Segall, Jessy Lanza, Les Sins, Kelela, Thundercat, Murder City Devils, The Blood Brothers, and Deafheaven.
Had a cup of Coffee with (Caught a few songs): Real Estate, Future Islands, Run The Jewels, Interpol, Joanna Gruesome, Mac De Marco
Also really enjoyed whoever was DJing the Lawn Stage on Sunday right before Thundercat’s set.
Perhaps the biggest news out of FYF Fest this weekend is that it looks like I can wear a medium sized t-shirt now.