Friday, May 26, 2006

Old Man Bites Tenderly

Let's talk about game shows for a minute. I like game shows. Before reality shows became dominant, the game show was a great way to kill half an hour during dinner. But when was the last time we Americans came up with a truly great game show? I mean, we have the Big 3: The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy, but what have we gotten since those were created? Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and The Weakest Link were imports, were they not? They seemed good at the time, but had no staying power; nobody watches those anymore. Deal or No Deal: you tell me. It's engaging, a little addictive, but can it stand the test of time?

When I think of great new game shows, I look to Japan. First there was Takeshi's Castle (dubbed into English as MXC), and now comes a show (actually a segment of a variety show, another lost form here in America) called Silent Library. Because it takes place in a library, contestants are forced to play (you guessed it) silently. Why can't we have game shows like this in the Land of the Free?

The non-Japanese man is Dutchman Ernesto Hoost, four-time K-1 champion.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mr. Procrastinator Responds to Your Comments

Friend, did you graciously comment on a previous post, but never received a reply? I'm sorry, I left you hanging. My oops, my bad. Well, hang no more! I went all the way back to the beginning and replied to comments that you left. Some aren't much, but if you want to read 'em here are the links:

Deus Caritas Est, Meet Your Match, You Might Be an Evangelical If..., Photo Tour of the Balkans, Part II, Regarding the Return of the Beard, Walk Like a Cowboy, The Big One, Chef Cooks Others but Can't Take the Heat, I Got Four Words for Ya (Snakes on a Plane)

And now back to the great ongoing soundtrack debate...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

This One Is for the Ladies

Girls, why do you buy so many movie soundtracks? I don't get it. In my life, I've only felt the need to buy two (both of them John Williams scores), and I sold one and didn't really enjoy the other. When I buy music, I want to hear a body of work from a creator. Soundtracks (and scores), on the other hand, are compilations (or accompaniment), formats that seem limited by the needs of a movie director. Sometimes they're all over the place, and other times they sound homogenous, and a lot of the time they'll have one or two good songs mingled with a bunch of junk, none of which makes me want to buy them. And I don't think I know any guys that have more than one; most don't own any.

So why do you buy them? Some of you have a handful, but some of you listen to almost nothing but soundtracks (you know who you are). Why is that? I'm genuinely curious. Caity Hannon, you need to post your reply! It's exactly what I'm looking for!

Friday, May 12, 2006

It Just Ain't What It Used to Be

Allow me to drop some personal science on the ongoing music discussion. I went to a concert last night (an increasingly rare occurence for me), and the experience is relatively fresh in my mind.

After standing in line for nearly an hour outside (surrounded by legions of 13-year-old girls), I was treated to another hour of standing inside as Amanda, Stuart, Stephen and I stood as close as we could to the stage in anticipation of The Main Event. My feet started to let me know they weren't having much fun, but I assured them it would be worth it. Presently, the opening band, the Damnwells, emerged to start the show. Their first song featured a thundering bass drum beat with equally bombastic bass line. We all immediately became aware that we were standing right in front of the subwoofers, as our breastbones violently vibrated to the 80hz beat. It was unpleasant. No, it was painful, but in the following songs, as the beat settled down, real pain birthed and grew in my ears, especially the left one, which was so serendipitously positioned to receive the most sound possible from the nearby overhead speakers. The Damnwells weren't bad, but they weren't good, either, and I didn't appreciate their damaging my hearing with their mediocre music. So, I did something I haven't done in 20 years, I moved to the BACK at a rock show.

When my head cleared, I realized I've only ever enjoyed two "opening" or "support" bands (those bands put on the bill ahead of known performers, for purposes of exposure) in my entire concert-going career. The first was the legendary Buddy Guy, who opened for Dave Matthews Band at Soldier Field (before it was converted into a space station). Let me tell you, Buddy has some soul, and it was a blessing to have his acoustic waves wash over me. The second opening band I really enjoyed was an little band the Fray, when they opened for Ben Folds. They were upbeat rock rock that employed a piano as a featured instrument, and I liked their sincere sound with a pop sensibility, so I was very willing to pay $20 to see them again.

Back to the show: last night, the Fray did alright, yep. They played the songs from their album and one cover. Maybe in my younger days, that would constituted a divine experience. Now, it's just not enough. I wanted to hear songs from their little-know EP. I wanted to hear more covers. I wanted new work. I feel like I felt back in 1994 at the Audio Adrenaline concert, when the sea of people in front of me was jumping up an down in unison, or how I felt a year later at an outdoor Jars of Clay show, when I was the one jumping and I didn't care if anyone noticed I had no rhythm.

I think those days are gone. I gotta find something else to appreciate in music. I'm starting to find it, I think. Small things, like a catchy little tune, or the simply lyric, "Some times the hardest thing and the right thing are the same." Nothing earth shattering, but then again, was rock ever that big of a deal?

*Listen to the Fray. I like!
*Are you a rockist?