This was on 9/11/10.
Undoubtedly the happiest 9/11 I've had in years.
And that really is Vincent Valdez & co.s new band's first rehearsal. EVER.
Lots of good stuff that night!
Forgive the roughness — I'm still teaching myself how to edit video.
Laura Varela, an El Paso-born, San Antonio-based artist and filmmaker (also of Luminaria 2009, "EnlightTents" fame at Alamo Plaza), has screened her extraordinary documentary, As long As I Remember: American Veteranos, in festivals and libraries and community centers like...well, a campaigning soldier. This Thursday night, el 16 de Septiembre, the documentary — which documents three San Anto artists who are all Vietnam veterans, and documents the challenges and triumphs they and other veterans face back home — will be broadcast on PBS nationwide, including on our own KLRN. Please tune in to this important and arresting tribute to san Anto vets.Also! Before or after, check out this conversation we had with Varela about the process, the mission, and the message of the film.
Warning: This slideshow contains photographs of artwork with explicit content.
The Sound of Curves
Thur, Sep 9
The Ten Eleven
1011 Ave. B
For a band that claims they never practice together, the Sound of Curves sure sound tight. And it’s not the ‘we’ve been in a band so long we can do this in our sleep’ excuse for not practicing; they’ve only been around for 10 months or so. I don’t know what their excuse is, actually, but I’m too lost in pop-rock la-la land to care.
The quartet includes Leonel Pompa, pulling triple duty on rhythm guitar, keys, and some Postal Service-inspired effects programming, Roger Maher on bass, Josh Leija on drums and Gill Martinez on lead guitar.
At first, Maher seems the front man for the group. He’s there, center stage, making eyes at the ladies and declaring “We’re ready for all this bullshit,” before playing. Pompa cues the electronic intro to “Shapes,” and we’re off! Despite the soft electro beginning, “Shapes” quickly transitions to guitar-heavy rock, with Maher singing his most abstract, poetic lyrics.
Things go off the rails a bit on “Soft Spots.” Maher’s vocals become a little overbearing, and the louder they get, the flatter the tone becomes. Fortunately, a looped keyboard line by Pompa keeps the song musically interesting and Maher pauses his singing to encourage a girl in the front row (who is sitting down, like most of the front three rows. Kids these days, they’re so lazy) to take up the tambourine, which she does, timidly.
By the time the band begins their third song, “Breathe Light,” Maher’s vocal overenthusiam is toned back down. In fact, Pompa shares singing duty on the song, and I realize that if anything, he and Maher are co-frontmen. “Breate Light” gets the group back into more pop territory, again utilizing a little electro glitch to accent the standout bass and drums.
The last two songs prove to be the Sound of Curves’ best performances that evening. New track “Mother,” boasts a circus-like intro and Pompa and Maher utilize an awkwardly-placed stool onstage to engage in some affectionate rockstar posturing. You know how sometimes in hair metal groups, two members stand back-to-back and jam? That’s what this was like, only instead of machismo it looked like the keyboardist and bassist were almost ... snuggling, with one of them on the stool and the other standing. That’s what we need in music and life today, more man-on-man musical cuddling.
After the love fest, The Sound of Curves closed the set with the opener of their self-titled EP, released just last month. “Ode to Being Young,” encapsulates everything that works about this band, a jangly piano-pop line, dual harmonizing between Maher and Pompa, drum and guitar work by Leija and Martinez that keep the whole effort from sounding too twee. Plus, at 4:30, this song is a mini-epic with ample space for several shifts in tone.
So, yeah, how they do that without ever practicing, as Pompa claimed after the show, is beyond me. But it also makes me wonder ... how much better would they be if they actually put in some rehearsal time?
It's officially the weekend. I'm using wi-fi on a plane to NYC for work-related research*.
All is right with the world. Enjoy this track after checking out this week's cover article on local hip-hop baller in waiting, Bryson. That's right. Just Bryson.
Here's a link to Bryson and Carlos Herrera's collaboration, "Freaky Girl." perfect for getting your weekend started:
Thanks to Carlos for sharing the link.
*That's a code I like to use for "drinking in public at 4 a.m."
Ali Larter (left) and Milla Jovovich star in Screen Gems' action horror RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE. Photo By: RAFY. � 2010 Constantin Film International GmbH & Davis Films/Impact Pictures Inc. All rights reserved.
Our go-to guy for all things campy, horrific, and/or zombie, Stephen Jones, caught Resident Evil: Afterlife in 3D last night and couldn't resist writing about it.
My Sweet Alice
Watching the Resident Evil: Afterlife is a lot like watching Saw IV: you’re not really all that sure what’s happened in all the previous installments, but you’re pretty sure there’s going to be some good stuff happening on-screen all the same. So you, like me, pay for the 3D IMAX experience of it, because, if zombies are great, then wouldn’t they be even greater floating out above the stadium seating?
As it turns out, not really. Or, by this point in the franchise, the undead are just a nuisance, to be swatted out of the way. The only real tension involved with them has to do with deciding which extra-creative way can we kill this one? Which, yes, points to Milla Jovovich’s Alice for that: she’s nothing if not ingenuitive. Though how she ever gets anything done, moving in slow motion like she’s always doing, it’s a mystery to me. This time, anyway, with her T Virus (Resident Evil’s Trioxin) gone, at least there’s the idea that she’s not a super-soldier anymore. Which doesn’t stop her in the least, either, but she’s Alice. Nothing can stop Alice, right? We’d have it no other way. She’s seriously bad, always double-gunning, twin-swording, diving through this or ducking under that. Fighting zombies whose heads can open like the vampires in Blade: Trinity (remember?), killing the bad guy who can’t ever be killed, because he’s Umbrella Corp personified, and we all know that corporations never die.
All satisfying, more or less, though: Final Destination 4? With Ali Larter in here, it’s hard not to draw the obvious comparison: the first three FD’s were pretty tight, got better as the series aged, but then, mix in a little 3D, and the whole thing crumbled, as the focus seemed to be less about story, more about what cool effect can happen here and there. Afterlife feels kind of like that. That’s not to say the cool effects aren’t exceedingly cool, just that the tension, it’s in the effects, not the decisions the characters are making (unless it's which effect will best kill which zombie). And yes, I will hold a movie franchise based on a videogame up to the same standards as everything else. To do less would be to insult it, I think. Or, to say it from another angle: I dug the first three Resident Evils. This one, not quite as much.
However, that opening scene, where Resident Evil handily explores the closing shot of the first Matrix, and then the long fight sequence right after, which is Neo and Trinity again, storming the building in black leather, 360 cameras and all: it just about makes the rest feel completely worth it. So, if you’re game for a series of choreographed explosions and near-misses, and one seriously cool zombie, then, yeah, leave your money at the box office, put your 3D specs on when the screen tells you to, and have fun.
Dir: Justin Price; writ.: Christina Trevino; feat.: Christina Trevino, C.H. Morris, Sebastian Trevino, Daniela Espinosa
Valley natives, you may want to check out low-budget thriller Daddy's Home, now playing on a limited run at the Santikos Rialto Theater Sept. 10-16. Writer, producer, and star Christina Trevino set and filmed her movie in and around McAllen, Texas.
Horror fan or not, you gotta love the moxie of Trevino and her crew, who boast of the film's $4,000 budget. "Even El Mariachi had $7,000," they note on the Daddy's Home Facebook page. Indeed, for that money they managed to shoot in hi-def, and could only provide us a screener in Blu-ray format. Fortunately, they were kind enough to loan a Blu-ray player for this piss-poor reviewer.
The film, too, is ambitious beyond it's limited budget. A large cast and diverse shooting locations, (including a private jet!) separate this film from many super-indie films, as do the many genuinely scary slasher scenes. The story follows a young teacher (Trevino) who becomes increasingly concerned about her silent new student, Willow (Espinosa). She satisfies her curiousity (and then some) when she offers Willow and her brother (S. Trevino) a ride home from school, only to be stuck babysitting them when ... Daddy comes home.
Don't go expecting a multi-million dollar box-office bonanza. Indeed, many of the actors are worse than the Sly Stallones and Megan Foxes of the blockbuster world. But, for the price tag, Trevino pulled off a well-paced, nicely-shot film with plenty of scream-out-loud moments. If you've got Valley Pride, or a horror jones, check out Daddy's Home.
Summer lives! We just heard from director Nathan Cone that Texas Public Radio is delaying the last evening of their popular Cinema Tuesday summer screenings by one evening. The culprit: power outage at the Bijou Cinema. And I thought this was perfect movie-watching weather.
All reservations for tonight's TPR screening (of Oscar-nominated short documentaries) will be honored tomorrow.
I hope you all had a non-laborious Labor Day. Today the music and screens inbox yielded this live performance by Band of Heathens, performing "Free Again," a political protest song about the BP oil spill wrapped up in a laid-back good-times N'awlins piano shuffle.
Band of Heathens plays San Antonio on Sept. 24-25 at Lone Star Beer's Bash at the Brewery.
En route to their Dia de los Toadies performance in New Braunfels last Saturday, Jim Ward (At the Drive In, Sparta) and his latest groupSleepercar made a pit stop in San Antonio and their entire trailer was stolen.
Not cool. They managed to play their set anyway, but are hoping and praying (or just really, really hoping) that they track down some of their gear. Here's a list of what's missing:
-1961 Pelham Blue Les Paul Junior (SG Shape) w/ case stenciled SPARTA
-Blonde Fender Esquire black stripe across body, hotel key screwed into body w/ case stenciled SLEEPERCAR
-2008 White Gibson Firebird w/ case
-2001 Les Paul Wine Red Flame Top w/ case stenciled Sparta
-Fender Stratocaster Sunburst w/ case
-Epiphone Sheraton Blonde w/ case
-Squire P-Bass Brown w/ case
-Carter Pedal Steel Single Neck E9 w/ case
-Takamine EF360SC Acoustic in case stenciled SWIFT
-Kawai 88 key electric piano w/ case
-Roland Juno D Synth w/ case
-Fender Twin Amp 100w w/ case stenciled Sparta
-Ampeg SVT III in rack
-Fender Deville 4x10 w/ case
-Vox AC-30 in case stenciled SLEEPERCAR
-Vox 2x12 Extension cabinet in case stenciled SLEEPERCAR
-Acoustic Bass Cabinet 1x15
-Marshall 2000 2x12 Cabinet
-Electro Harmonix Swtich Blade A/B Switcher
- 4 Boss TU-2 Pedal Tuners
-Electro Harmonix LPB-1
-Ibanez Tube Screamer Keeley Mod
-Ibanez Tube Screamer
-Ibanez analog delay
-Boss DM-3 Analog Delay
-Boss DD5 Digital Delay
-Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb
- 2 Ernie Ball Volume Pedals
- 2 Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2s
-Rogue Volume Pedal
-Morely A/B Switcher
-Furman Surge Protector
-Sennheiser E840 Vocal mic
-Shure Beat 58 mic
-Ludwig "Butcher Block" drum set
16x16" Floor Tom
10x12" Rack Tom
-Ludwig "std Acrolite" Snare drum 5.5x14"
-Ludwig "Red Sparkle" Snare drum 5.5x14"
-Zlidjian 22" K light ride
-Zildjian 21" Sweet ride
-Zildjian 18" K medium Crash
-Zidjian 15" Vintage Hats, no markings but have Zidjian stamp on them
-DW serires 9000 cymbal stand x3
-DW series 9000 snare stand x2
-Tama "Iron Cobra" High Hat Stand (strap model)
-Tama "Iron Cobra" Single Bass drum pedal
-Pork Pie Throne
-22"x22"x52" Flight Case
If you've got a lead for the group, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Does Cee-lo Green have the magic touch or what?
Check out the production on the new video forhis internet sensation "Fuck You."