An old friend of mine is in town. Michelle Crispin. Yep, that's her lounging under the weight of the written media. I hadn't seen Michelle in over 15 years. We grew up together, went to high school, and did shows. She was 2 years ahead of me in school, but I got to know her through my brother. He was in the same grade and they were casual friends. As teens, we did a few musicals together. Barnum, Grease, Hello Dolly, etc.
She was always a ridiculous singer/pianist. Mama could sang! (Still can).
And, she was unbelievably hot. (Still is). It's funny, we talked last night about how she was such a nerd with big old glasses. Which I remember. She was always pretty, but one day, the glasses came off and the body formed and we were all like....DAMN!!!
I told her tonight how I and some of the other boys would sneak around backstage to try to catch her doing quick changes during a show. Hey, we were horny teenagers and she was hot. You expect less of me?
We lost touch over the years, but I heard things. This group being one of them. Yep, she was the lead singer (on the first album at least) for the hip new techno dance lesbian friendly group called Fem 2 Fem. Now, she's not a lesbian, but they promoted the band as lesbians since a couple of them were. The management wanted them to get really raunchy on stage and she wasn't into it and shortly quit after.
She did some solo work and had a #1 hit or 2 on the dance club charts. Eventually, she formed a company called mediaHo publicity which she runs to this day.
I'll see her again over the next few days and I'm sure we will reminisce much more. There will be lots of "Hey, remember when we toilet papered that girl's house?", "Did we really drink that much?", "That dude is soooooooooo gay now", "Remember when we gave up our kid for adoption?"
Okay, so I made that last one up.
Or did I? (Cue dramatic music which indicates that yes, indeed, I did make that last one up).
No, I'm not talking about me. We all know how great I am. I'm talking about another bartender who came into my bar. He broke quite a few rules of protocol when visiting another bar. Let me break it down for you. An extremely fine and attractive young lady came in the bar. We started chatting for quite a bit. Really getting along and talking about some fun and serious stuff.
Then, this douche comes in with a female friend. I actually knew the lady through another friend. Hot Girl is at the end of the bar. There are a few seats near her. First he sits to the right of his friend, away from her. Then he sees Hot Girl and switches seats so he's closer to Hot Girl and there's just one seat between them. He tells me he bartends for one of our sister restaurants. Now, he's chatting with his friend and the whole time, I'm chatting it up with Hot Girl. As soon as his friend goes out to smoke, he tries to jump in our convo. Dick. I see right through you. You just broke the first rule of visiting a fellow bartender's bar. Never cock block the bartender at his own bar.
It's near the end of the night and I have to start closing down. Meanwhile, his friend has left and sure enough...he decides to stay. Even though he had barely said a few words to Hot Girl. And now he had his in since I was busy doing my closing duties.
Since it was closing, I asked them to pay their checks. I got him a discount since he works for the company. (Though I didn't have to.) And how does he tip? A little under 20% of the total. Yet he got a fucking discount! And he's a fucking bartender. For our company! Cheap motherfucker. Another breach in protocol. Oh, and Hot Girl? Tips over 30%. Hot Girl said my bar was her new favorite place and that she'd be back to see me.
I hear him ask her for a drink elsewhere and she declines. Most likely, cuz she was so in love with me. Can you blame her? No, I'm under no delusions she was crazy in love, but he totally broke protocol. A co-worker of mine kind of knew him and told me, "Dude. Don't worry about it. I think he's one of those guys who doesn't know he's gay yet". Which, I did get that vibe.
At one point, I glance over and he has reached over the bar and grabbed the soda gun to refill his water. I immediately berate him. "DUDE! Please don't do that. You should know better. Not cool!" I tried to be nice and said "please" since Hot Girl was still sitting there.
That's 3 strikes. You're fucking out. Thing is...I'm friends with his boss. And, yes, I'm a vengeful fuck.
Hey, look at this. Tomorrow's paper. "Help Wanted. Bartender. Requirements. Don't be a dick."
We do a Secret Santa over on The Comic Forums. You get a person, they request a drawing, and you draw it. Whether you have the skills or not. I suck at drawing, but there are some pretty good ones as you saw with my birthday sketches.
Rich can actually draw, but he likes doing funky drunken sketches. As is evident here. And for some reason, that durn chicken always shows up in his sketches. I always suspected he likes the cock. (Don't tell the wife!) Heyo!
He also sent me some random comics (as per the rules) and a pretty sweet hardcover trade paperback as well.
Thanks for it all, Rich. I freakin' love it!
Oh. You're probably wondering what I drew for my Secret Santa. Well, I can't draw for shit. But, Karl wanted an Iron Man drawing. Yikes. I copied a classic pic of drunken Iron Man looking at his helmet. (I believe it's the first page of the classic "Demon in a Bottle" storyline). And changed all of the words in the captions and what not. Yeah, I know. Much suckage, but come on... a little funny?
It's our Christmas special and we even sing a carol for you! Reviews of The Long Count #1, Doctor Who Classics #1, The Incredible Hulk (Herc) #112. Discussions of Christmas specials, graphic novels, John Updike, the explanation of "Xmas" and more in the banter! Slow news week includes Dilbert gets someone fired, more Death Note student trouble, Veronica Mars comic, etc. Stephen Lindsay, creator of the anthology Jesus Hates Zombies, takes time away from his holiday festivities to join us in discussing his very funny book. Listener feedback, Top 3 and another CNI special for you, It's A Wonderful Podcast. Contact info:
212 501 6246
Thanks for listening!
And if you don't celebrate, well then....uh....happy birthday to Jesus?
I opened up some presents! Lotsa good stuff. DVD's, comic books, nerdy accessories, etc. Thanks to all! I love everything!
Alas, no XBox 360 Elite system. Nor any sign of Jessica Alba in a bow. Sigh...
Hmmm....I did leave Santa bourbon balls and brandy egg nog. The plastered old bastard probably dropped Jessica and the XBox somewhere. I'm sure he'll be back when he sobers up.
I did hear someone shouting outside earlier, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all....BLEARRGGHHHHH!!!!!"
Santa bless us, everyone!
I've been going on about how miserable some people are this time of year and how joyful and happy I am. Apparently, I need to clarify. If you're an asshole the rest of the year, you don't suddenly get a pass at Christmas. I'm still cheerful and happy, but I'm not going to go out of my way to hypocritically be an asshole's best friend. I'm very forgiving, but some people deserve nothing but coal in their stockings for the rest of their lives. After all, Santa has a naughty and nice list.
And so do I.
Though sometimes my nice list can be quite naughty. Please, Santa! I've been so good this year. Well, by good I mean I didn't kill anyone or steal anything or covet a neighbor's wife. But, I did shoot someone with a water gun, borrowed a lap dance and slept with my neighbor's wife. (That's not like coveting, is it?)
Moral of the story: Whether naughty or nice, just remember. Santa died for our sins, so repent!
Yep. That's Santa kicking Lobo's ass. See? He doesn't like Grinches or Scrooges either. I've harped on it before, but it really amazes me how people can be so miserable and hateful this time of year. Barring religious or commercial reasons, it's just a joyous time of year for me and many others. If you don't like it, fine. Express your opinion and shut the fuck up and let us enjoy. Which I am!
You don't like Xmas tunes? Too bad. A month or so of them is not a big deal. People complain when they walk into a restaurant or store about it. Yet, no complaints the rest of the year when the same non-Xmas loop of music is played all year long...for years!
We now return to our regularly schedule Xmas selection of songs.
It's Christmas time, in Hollis, Queens. Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens...
Tim Burton's Oklahoma
Voice Over: From the director of the smash movie musical, Sweeney Todd. Warner Bros. Films and Dreamworks Productions proudly present a new take on a classical musical. Tim Burton's Oklahoma.
All characters will be decked in black, ruffles. Powder white faces with lots of eyeliner and blackness under the eyes.
Curly: (singing menacingly while shooting his gun). There's a bright golden haze on the meadow. (Shoots. We hear a scream.) A bright golden haze on the meadow. (Shoots. A scream.)
VO: This isn't your gay uncle's Oklahoma. With a dream ballet that turns into a nightmare.
Dream ballet music plays. Laurie sniffs some cocaine and starts dancing wildly. She and Curly grind on each other as Judd sits in the back licking his big knife. Laurie and Curly circle each other and both take turns smacking each other about. Judd interrupts by gutting Curly with a knife and then licking the blood. Laurie licks the blood as well and then takes it and stabs Judd. She is left alone with a maniacal smile.
VO: From the mind of the creepy and gothy Tim Burton. This film will touch you in places that most find inappropriate.
Chorus: (In a line and they all move in zombie like choreography as they sing). Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains! (Sounds of a tornado are heard and the cast is "swept" away, screaming. Body parts fly across stage from offstage. They end up back in a straight line. Judd comes up behind them and shoots each one as they sing the letters, gradually dying off as he kills the last one.) O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A! Oklaho.......(Last one falls).
Judd: MA!!!! (He shoots himself.)
VO: Tim Burton's Oklahoma: The Demon Sooners of Hate State.
Coming Arbor Day.
Sweeney Todd, the new film from Tim Burton, stars Johnny Depp as "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street", Helena Bonham Carter as "Mrs. Lovett" and Alan Rickman as "Judge Turpin". And yes, I know it's a musical. While I never saw or was all that familiar with the original Stephen Sondheim stage musical, I knew this movie was an adaptation of that. Though, can you tell from the advertising? There's barely a note sung in the commercials. It focuses more on the gothy Tim Burtony horror stuff. While I knew it was a musical, based on the ads, I thought it might have had a lot of the music cut.
Nope. It's a frickin musical alright. Right from the start to the bitter end. I always enjoy the look of Burton's films and have been a huge fan of both Depp and co-star (and Burton's wife) Helena Bonham Carter. That being said, it started off a bit slow for me. I wasn't a fan of any of the songs for awhile. Then, Sascha Baron Cohen enters the scene and everything gets better. He's hilarious in his small role. (And I swear that I saw Anthony Stewart Head - "Giles" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - in the scene previous delivering one line. Didn't notice him in the credits, so must not have been him).
Depp and Carter are not real singers by any means. But, they can carry the tunes enough. And Sondheim purists will hate me, but I don't care. I just didn't like many of the songs. Perhaps if I saw them sung by real singers, I may have enjoyed them more. The visuals? Stunning. It's bleak and dark and the 2 stars look like something out of...well..a Tim Burton film! There is a really fun moment, but I don't know the song. Carter is singing to Depp about how she dreams of running away with him and living happily ever after. Burton takes us on a jaunt through the scenes described in the song. Depp's facial expressions (or lack thereof) are hysterical.
Rickman turns in another menacing role as the vision of Todd's vengeance. Though at times, it's both evil and comical. His right hand, "Beadle Bamford" (played by Timothy Spall) adds to the danger. Spall also walks that line of funny and scary. Though, does come across in that sinister scary way that is always a bit off-putting. In other words, great job! The young lovers are just advancers of the plot and don't really add much to it. They can actually sing though, which is a nice change. The young boy who becomes Mrs. Lovett's helper, is also quite good. Especially in his devotion to her. So much so, as we find in the end.
It's creepy and funny when we get a montage of slayings as Depp sings and slashes away. And it's a blood bath. I love how Burton uses a bright red color for the blood to contrast the dark setting. The quick build (so it seems) to his vengeance still pays off in the end. Though, does seem to happen quite swiftly. The subplot of the daughter adds that hint of humanity still left in Depp's portrayal of Todd. But, he's so far gone near the end. And when he realizes his seeming betrayal by Mrs. Lovett, his actions are again...eerily humorous. The reveal at the end was pretty easy to see coming and I'm not familiar with the show. Didn't lessen it's impact as Sweeney Todd learns just how far gone he is and in a moment of clarity...poetic justice is delivered.
Overall, I thought it was good. I didn't love it, but enjoyed it. Perhaps had I been a fan of the original musical, I might have liked it more. Actually, I'm sure the big fans of the original will be on both sides of loving or hating it. "Some cuts, but a perfect homage to Sondheim!" Or "A complete degradation of Sondheim's masterpiece!" I would almost prefer a non-musical version (which this is freakin practically advertised as!) to see where it goes. Go ahead Sondheimers, hate on. Just not a fan of the music in it that much. I didn't hate the music and there were certainly some numbers I enjoyed. The only memorable one was the one I recognized, "Johanna". Props to Burton for taking this on. Seems to fit his style and methodology. If you don't like musicals, go see it for the visuals. If you don't like Burton, then you're fucked.
I wonder how he would tackle the classic Broadway hit, Oklahoma. Everyone would have whiteface and dark eyes, wear leather and ruffles, and blandly sing, "Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains". Visuals of a tornado ripping up land and houses would be shown as this was sung. The "dream ballet" would turn into a "nightmare ballet" with blood and ghosts and the like.
Hey, I could be on to something. Quick, call Tim Burton!