Monday, October 28, 2013

Lou Reed and the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

Lou Reed died today.

What can and will be said about him, his music and career will be written by many others more eloquently than myself, so instead I just wanted to share a little bit of Lou's connection to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame where he has already been inducted as part of the Velvet Underground.  I expect that sadly, because of his passing, he will now mostly likely get inducted as a solo artist in next year's round of nominees.

January 12, 1995Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City

Lou inducts Frank Zappa into the Hall of fame.

September 2, 1995: The Concert For the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Ohio

The Rock Hall finally opens and they throw a helluva party at the stadium in Cleveland.  Iggy Pop, backed by Soul Asylum, performs his tribute to The Doors with "Back Door Man." At the songs end, he introduces Lou before leaving the stage.  Soul Asylum continue as backing band as Lou performs "Sweet Jane." Lou dedicates it to Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison who passed away two days earlier on August 30, 1995.

January 17, 1996: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City

While eligible since 1992, The Velvet Underground are inducted with the 1996 class which includes Pink Floyd, David Bowie (possibly the biggest VU fan around), Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jefferson Airplane, Little Willie John, The Shirelles in the "Performers" category.

Patti Smith inducted the band:

Lou, Maureen Tucker, John Cale and Sterling Morrison's widow short acceptance speech calling out how much this induction would have meant to Sterling:

Lou, John and Moe perform "Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend" for Sterling:

October 30, 2009: Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert, New York City

A two night extravaganza at Madison Square Garden.  Metallica, inducted earlier that year, bring out Lou for a run through "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat".  This would lead to Metallica and Lou Reed working on the album "Lulu" which would be released almost exactly two years later on October 31, 2011.  "Lulu" would be Lou's final studio album.

Watch Metallica with Lou on "Sweet Jane" (Pro-shot video below).  They followed it up with "White Light/White Heat" (It does not appear the pro-shot version of this is on Youtube.  This is the best quality audience shot version I could find here although it is cut)

Which sadly bring us to today.  Looking at the Rock Hall's track record, especially in regards to the Velvet Underground's induction after Sterling Morrison's passing - they tend to react after the fact when they realize they missed an induction that perhaps should have happened when the artist was alive.  I think next year we will see Lou inducted as a solo artist.  It looks like Lou believed in the Rock n Roll Hall and there's no question he simply believed in the power of music and rock n roll - I do hope he does get his second induction as any chance to celebrate his music is time spent in a worthwhile manner. 

R.I.P. Mr. Reed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Days of Wine and Roseland Ballroom

If you're someone who goes to shows on a regular basis and lives in the NYC area, you've mostly likely been to Roseland Ballroom.  According to this article from Billboard, it appears Roseland is scheduled to close it's doors in April of next year.
It's sad to see another great live NYC venue shutting it's doors, but at the same time, who's to say how accurate this timeline will prove to be. Maybe someone will step in and "save the day" or maybe this venue's time has simply come.
Below are some quick tidbits about some of the most memorable shows I saw at Roseland over the years.
Nirvana (with The Breeders and Half Japanese). 
I expect a more in depth blog about this one time I got to see Nirvana when they become first round inductees into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame next year.  For now I will just say this is perhaps the luckiest I ever was in scoring tickets.
In 1993, I would find out about most of my shows by checking out the weekly area publications (Village Voice, EC Rocker, The Aquarian) or by simply calling Ticketmaster and asking about newly announced ticket on sales for specific bands or venues.
It was probably a Thursday that I made the call (because tix would in general go on sale either on Friday's or Saturday's at 10:00am) to Ticketmaster.  I think we all knew the biggest band in the world at that time (Nirvana) were doing some touring and hoping they would hit up NYC.  I happened to ask if anything was showing up in the Tri-State area and I was told that yes "tickets were going on sale the next day at 10:00am for Nirvana at Roseland."
Holy Shit!!!  First of all, Nirvana could have played multiple nights at Madison Square Garden at this point and would have sold out as many as they put on sale.  Roseland holds about 3500 people.  This was going to be quite the show.
At the time I was self employed, so I didn't have to worry about being free at the time they went on sale.  I got up the next day and went to J.C. Penny in the Poughkeepsie Galleria, which had our local Ticketmaster outlet.  I didn't know what to expect other than the fact that this was going to sell out super fast and I was not chancing calling in for tix and getting a continuous busy signal.  This was well before ticketmaster had an online presence.
Considering I was diligent about knowing about shows and I almost missed it, I guess I should not have been surprised that no one else in the area showed up for these tix at our local outlet.  10:00am came.  I got three tix (me, my sister and my buddy Kev) and the rest is history. 
Thank you fate, Nirvana and Roseland.

David Bowie The "Bowienet" Fan Club Show
Luck seems to play a large part in my best Roseland shows.  This was a fan club only show.  David Bowie at Roseland - a show that would sell out in minutes if offered to the general public.  I think I saw a news item on it and thought to myself "Damn those lucky fan club members...I wish I had joined...hmm...maybe it's not too late?"

And it wasn't!  I went to the site and I think it was $20 to join.  As soon as my credit card approval went through I went to the "Roseland Tickets" link and it was not sold out!!  Tickets were around $35 each and you could get two.  Each ticket also came with a poster for the show (mine appears to be long gone) and a cool lime green tee shirt specifically for this show (which I think I might still have).  I brought my Bowie buddy Lissette and it was quite the fantastic show, somewhat a send off as I was shortly moving to Denver to be with my true love (I was back a little over a year later...que sera sera!)

This whole show is on Youtube in three parts.  OneTwoThree.  It's fantastic and fun and a great career spanning setlist.

Sex Pistols
One of my favorite bands of all time and one of those I never thought I would get to see (I think I'm somewhat spoiled at this point since almost every band I ever wanted to see that broke up prior to my getting a chance to see them now gets back together...although there are a few that haven't yet that I still hope for.)  This original reunion tour run played two nights at Roseland.  This was the second night (although I think it was the first to go onsale and when it sold out they added the previous night.)  One of the most fun shows I've ever attended.  Sold out crowd who of course knew every word...Friday Night in New York City...They played EVERYTHING.  It was simply a complete blast!

The Pogues - St. Patrick Day runs
In late 2005 it was announced The Pogues were getting back together with Shane MacGowan for a short two week American tour hitting NYC for a run of shows at St. Patrick's day in 2006.  I was ecstatic as I had never seen the band with Shane and theya re another of my favorites of all time.  I got tix for all of the run.  That first year the shows sold out immediately and were held at the smaller Nokia Theatre.  For the next three years, the Pogues would come back each year at this time and play Roseland.  Below are some of my tickets.

I just heard this year they are playing their favorite album of mine, "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" from beginning to end along with select hits at their Christmas run in the UK.  I think it would be a fitting to have them return to Roseland just before it's close for one last St. Patrick's Day celebration in NYC.  Let's see if that Roseland luck (of the Irish in this case) comes through one last time. 

That's about it for today, a little celebration of a great venue.  If this is it for Roseland, I can't's given me some amazing memories with friends and family.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great Literature Reviews: "The Sexiest Jokes About Madonna!" by Cardinal Syn

"FEROCIOUSLY FUNNY" screams the hot pink cover!

* Not Authorized by Madonna * tantalizes the potential buyer

"Cardinal Syn is the world's leading expert on that weird trollop known as Madonna.  A practicing tri-sexual (he'll try anything), he hides out in New York" reads the "About The Author" blurb on the backcover.

Oh my!  I've always heard laughter was the best medicine and baby...I'm feeling a little sick right now!

Published in 1994 by S.P.I. Books ("a division of Shapolsky Publishers"), "The Sexiest Jokes about Madonna!" (the exclamation point means it's REALLLLLLLY sexy jokes) is 192 pages of haughty, naughty, bawdy jokes about the Material Girl. 

It's a mind boggling little paperback that would have run you $4.99 back in the day.  I got it at the tail end of a local used book sale when it was fill a bag for $2.00 time.  It is the golden (or more accurately - brown) nugget I find myself revisiting for reasons unknown.  Dear readers, I welcome you to join me on a ride into the abyss.

It's obviously not going to be good, but with this level of awful, you'll find yourself unable to put it down without reading just one more joke thinking, it can't get worse.

Oh, but it can. 

I will randomly open this book to 10 pages and give you 10 random jokes.  There's no cherry picking here.

Enjoy won't be the word...and I will tell you right now if you get offended, not easily offended, but simply offended then stop reading as every joke in here is either extremely offensive or puzzling or a mixture of both.

Why are Madonna's lips so big?
- An abundance of oral sex
Starting off strong, that is one sexy joke right there!

How does Madonna usually hold her liquor (licker)?
- By the ears
Yes - that is exactly how it is written in the book.  So, one of two things here.  The author either thought the person reading this book was too stupid to get the joke or they thought the person reading this book was too stupid to pronounce liquor correctly without spelling it phonetically.

What does Madonna have most in common with models Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer?
 - Nothing I can think of
Oh SNAP!  No you didn't!!!

What is Madonna's favorite Instrument?
- The Skin Flute
Okay...c'mon, they're not even trying now

What is the relationship between Incest, S&M and Necrophilia?
- They are Madonna's sexual preferences
Huh?  That's just weird and wrong...but admittedly sexy as the cover states

What is the one fruit Madonna demands with dessert every night?
- The Banana
Okay okay we get it...Madonna likes sex!  For some reason the fact that they write "The Banana" as opposed to "A Banana" intrigues me

I did say I would choose at random, but I couldn't help notice the joke right before this on the previous page (there's in general two jokes in GIANT font per page):
What is the one vegetable that Madonna demands with dinner every night?
- The Cucumber
It's funny because it's shaped like a penis

What do you call a man who can't score with Madonna?
- A Gay
By the way we're only at #8 and you're probably like me right now...just kinda scratching your head wondering how this thing got published.  Also a case of the odd use of an article before the noun.

What do you get when you cross Medusa with Eva Braun?
- A strange monster like Madonna
I'm now just laughing at the absurdity of this book which is what usually happens around more

Why do girls like Madonna and Shannon Doherty behave like such baboons?
- Because they really think they were Born To Be Wild
And bingo!  Book closed and I'll spend another 15 minutes wondering again how this got published.

But let me end with the Afterword:
"Let me ask you something readers, Don't we all agree that Madonna is a sexy, hot wild performer who we all love to hate.  Am I right on with this observation?  Well if you agree please send me your best Madonna jokes and I'll put 'em in my next book.  Also I'll put your name in the book as a thank you for the good jokes that we actually use."
I have to stop for a second and wonder first if anyone sent a joke.  Second was there actually a sequel to this book?  Third, were any of the jokes not used?? 
"As a reward I'll send you a copy of a hilarious, sick book I guarantee you'll love:  GRUNGE JOKES ($4.99 retail price) for free!"
Another side note - I want this book, I'll gladly pay full "retail price" if someone has a copy
"The only catch is that I've got to ask you to send in $3.00 shipping and handling.  The address to send your suggested jokes, your money and your address to receive your complimentary book is..."

How many three dollar bills y'all were lost in this infamous Madonna Joke Book scam of 1994...some estimates go as high as a baker's dozen - but we'll never know for sure.  Instead we'll put this book back right now and when we need to....when we need to revisit those crazy days known as the mid 90's, we'll take it out and gaze in wonder and thank the lord we somehow lived through it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

"Boobs and Butts and Bulges...And Comedians - Oh My!" - My Trip to New York Comic Con Opening Day 2013

I didn't expect to walk into the opening day of the New York Comic Con (NYCC) at the Javit's Center on Thursday October 10, 2013 and feel overwhelmed.  Sure this was the biggest convention on the East Coast, one of the biggest in the world, but I've been to plenty of cons since the 80's (Chiller Theatre, Creation's Star Trek Conventions, etc).  It turned out they were nothing like this.

The "main days" of NYCC (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) had long ago sold out, but a couple of weeks ago, while at my favorite Thursday Live Trivia Night in the area, my buddy Kyle and I decided it would be cool to go and found out that Thursday had not sold out.  Tickets were immediately ordered.  We waited 336 hours.  Hopped a train down to Grand Central followed by a couple of subways to Penn Station and a delightful walk to 11th avenue.  We arrived right around 4:00 pm, about an hour after doors opened and were greeted by a line of a couple of thousand people!


It turned out to be an ill informed "Yikes!"  The NYCC/Javit's Center folks have this down to a science (at least if you have your printed out ticket receipt).  We got our badges and were in the door in about 15 minutes...

...and then WOW!

The full main room of the Javit's center was completely filled - mainly with vendors, but also companies. Marvel for instance had a serious, but it was Intel who by far had the largest presence.  There were 36 long aisles with I don't know how many hundreds of  different vendors setup along with these companies.

I guess I shouldn't have been overwhelmed.  I've been to various trade shows here over the years and I think I thought NYCC would have more a trade show vibe (more giant booths by large companies and just a minimum of smaller booths by vendors) than that of a collectibles convention - A GIANT collectibles convention where it immediately became obvious one could not cover everything with a one day limited hours Thursday pass.

Oh well, there was only one thing to do, enter the main hall and dive right in.

It didn't start good.  We walked in right in front of a South Park building come to life.  It was a small building with three doors (sorry, I dunno why I don't have a picture of this building) with a velvet roped line of about 25 people waiting to get in.  We shrugged, not sure what this was, hopped on line and in about 10 minutes the doors opened one by one.  Approximately 8 people came out and 8 more went in and the door was shut...we just made it into the 3rd room.

Turns out this was an elaborate commercial (and honestly - this is EXACTLY what I expected all of NYCC to be - thankfully I was wrong) for an upcoming video game called "South Park: The Stick of Truth"

The door was shut and it was HOT in there.  I know nothing puts me in the buying mood like being shut in a stiffling closet with 10 people - it's quite the marketing scheme.  Our host told us this would be a 10 minute view at the game play of this new South Park video game and after watching it, if we pre-ordered today, we could get a Cartman as a Wizard little figurine.

The first two minutes were fine and entertaining.  It was a funny little South Park animation where basically the gang appears to go larping and an adventure plays out in a house to save Princess Kenny.  The fun part of the spiel soon ended when it switched to the 7 minutes of game play mode which looks great, but is SOOOOO slow and SOOOOO monotonous...looking around for those 10 mintues I saw everyone doing the same as I was.  Sweating profusely and laughing a little uncomfortably as a trapped audience feels they should (and honestly - the lighting the fart on fire weapon feature was humorous the first time it was shown...oddly by the 10th time, it's somehow lost it's charm.)

Thankfully the 10 minutes finally ended and we got out.  Kyle and I decided there would be no more waiting on line for "commercials" with our limited time (the main floor was to close at 9:00pm).  I guess if you have a 4 day pass some of this could be interesting...but not a great way to start.

We then basically roamed the floor for the next few hours.  I took some pictures as you'll see and I hope it shows the most fun aspect of NYCC - the people watching or, if you're so inclined, being one of the people to watch.  These are not all of the best costumes (although some are), just the ones I would turn around or see in front of me while still having time to check out as many vendors as we could before the opening night Comedy Mutant Show at 8:00 pm. the words of Willy Wonka "Come with me...and you'll see...a world of pure imagination...":

The layout is somewhat based on the vendors who are collected into groups - Artists/Sculptors, Vintage Comic Book Dealers, Manga/Anime, Collectible Toys, Clothing, Swords/Prop Weapons, Science Fiction, Original Art, Etc - but there is alot of crossover.  If you're a collector, you would want to check out everything and that takes A LOT of time.

We basically started at the first booth in aisle 100 and worked our way to the last in aisle 3600 , seeing these sites along the way.

Rocky lifesize statues.  I would think in general, these probably would not be at any other Comic Con, but the real life Sylvester Stallone was going to be appearing on one of the other days of the convention.  You could buy tickets to get his autograph and/or tickets to get a photo with him (the real him, not the life size statue him).  To do both of these things (get an autograph AND a photo with) would cost you $850.  Yes that is a three digit number.  So I guess if your company makes life size Rocky statues, your core audience would be someone who would pay almost a grand for a photo op and autograph of Sly, hence this booth.  I'm would love to know what the line was like for him.  If anyone was there on the day he was signing, please let me guess is only a select few would pay this, but who knows, maybe Sly had them lined up around the block!

Before I move on with my tour...I wanted to mention some celebrities that were at booths and again, not sure why I don't have pictures, but we did see Doyle from the Misfits as well as Sgt. Slaughter.  Sgt Slaughter was charging either $15 or $20 for a signed photo WITH Photo op.  Now I don't want to keep ragging on Sly Stallone (I LOVE "Cobra"..."Crime's the disease...he's the Cure!!") but no way is Sly worth 42.5 Sgt. Slaughter's.

We then noticed fantastic outfit!  And the Felix the Cat ain't bad either (yeah I know I ALL saw that coming...but hey, that gal has got some great stockinged legs!  I guess I should have put "Legs" into the title of this blog as well as they too were plentiful and delightful, but most of the costumes really were about the three "B's" mentioned above.

This was either potentially one of the coolest and most obscure pop culture costumes I saw or maybe it's just what this dude looks like.  I think he's going for "Dr. Gonzo" played by Benicio Del Toro in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and if so - Kudos sir...kudos!

Orange guy followed by sorta Wonder Woman on the farm...actually just pretty normal wear for NYCC

I promised bulges for the ladies, but here's a nice blue butt instead standing next to his furry friend.  Tails were in abundance on both the gals and guys at NYCC.

Well HELLO THERE my newest favorite-est Super Heroine (Villainess?)

And another HELLO! 

Time to admit something (that is probably already obvious).  I USED to be a big time comic book collector and try to keep up with pop culture, but I honestly don't know if these two below (and many others in costume) were "supposed to be somebody" or just came up with a snazzy pair of costumes.  Either way I dig them both and I think they exemplify what NYCC is all about.  But I'm more than happy to be schooled in any character I show in this batch of pictures that obviously I have no clue who they are.  Comment/Email away.

The Walking Dead was ALL OVER the convention (hell, see my badge).  The Saturday main event was a full panel with EVERYONE from the show.  This was the Image Comics booth who were selling a bunch of cool convention only items (like a con exclusive "Governor" action figure for $ much are they immediately being marked up for on ebay?).  Lots of zombies in attendance as well.

World's collide at NYCC.  I do believe that's the Riddler with King Arthur?  Why not!

You gotta be quick on your feet to interview the Flash and the Black Power Ranger.  This fella has all the right TV moves.

That thing HAD to be heavy by the end of the day.  I was humming "dododododoo Inspector Gadget dodododuhdoduhdooooo" all damn night.  This guy had the babes lined up for pics with him.  Ladies love a "gadget"...who knew?!

Very Odd!  A life size "Yak Face" from Star Wars.  This was at the booth of "The Toy Hunter" - Jordon Hembrough.  I dig his show.  It's like American Pickers except just toys.

Oh gotta watch out at NYCC - Shit is gonna go down when The Joker and Harley Quinn roll up on The Dark Knight! 

 Stop!  Hammer Time!

Well now!

 God Bless New York Comic Con!

Okay...there were only a few points after the South Park Hot Box fiasco that started the day that made me sad.  One was Shazam! era Captain Marvel moping up the stairs, but I understood, it was a long day and I assume that outfit does not breath well...

I pointed out Kid Rock to my buddy and when he corrected me that it was Kid McRock I have to say it was my chuckle of the day!

 Just another day at the office...

One of the oddest moments of my day.  We were chilling by the restrooms before heading to the comedy show when suddenly after sitting there for about 15 minutes, this gal walked out of the ladies room!

 Then her whole gang came out and walked off into the NYCC fun!

Easily the best Walking Dead on say on opening day...

8:00pm - The Comedy Mutant Opening Night Kick-Off Party starts with free swag being hurled to the masses! (My guess was 3000 to 4000 people)

Then Brian Posehn opened the show with a short intro set before coming back and ending with a headlining g set which KILLED later on. Outside of standup Brian is probably best know for his appearances on the Sarah Silverman show.

Mike Drucker followed and I laughed rather hard at his story about dressing up as Simon Belmont, the hero from Castlevania as a kid.

 Myq Kaplan was excellent

Baron Vaughn had the audience singing along to the theme of "Duck Tails" - as you can see, much of this material was not written specifically for, but happend to be tailor made for this crowd.

 Trevor Moore of "Whitest Kids U Know" came out with his buddy and played three hilarious tunes

He wrapped up his set with "What About Mouthwash?" playing along to the video.  Go to youtube and will laugh and thank me

Janeane Garofalo did a very what seemed like an off the cuff stream of consciousness 20 minutes.  She also teased that she was going to bring her bowling ball from her character "The Bowler" in "Mystery Men" but due to some back issues did not.  The crowd wanted to see that Bowling Ball.  

Brian Posehn returns and sets the record straight about the real "Star Wars" and being of his age group.  He destroys the room in the process.

Brian ended his set with a request for any weed holding con attendee who could help him show off his smoking skills.  While I could not fulfill Brian's wishes, he was nice enough to take a pic I call "Two guys in Stephen King related Shirts" that I shall treasure as one of the best moments of my first Comic Con.

10:15pm - before leaving we visited the 75th Anniversary of Superman showcase by DC Comics with many of the costumes used in many of the Superman films over the years.

So would I go back?  The answer is yes, but this was a learning experience.  I would get either one or two full main day tickets (which I believe sell out before the guest/panels are announced so one must have faith in the Geek Gods).  I'd check out said panesl and take my time with the vendors, buying lots of crap I thought was cool at the time and I really didn't need. 

And of course I would enjoy all those there to be watched in their costumes showing off those fabulous "B's".  I'll just take the first can enjoy the bulges.