Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Open Letter To Matt Price of Paste Magazine, Who Wrote an Open Letter Almost Exactly Like My Own Previous Open Letter From Two Years Ago

How I envy you. In a remarkable show of journalistic chutzpah, you have discovered a quick and painless way to slam-dunk your latest article into your editor's deadline basket by simply mirroring the concept you stumbled upon in one of my earlier postings from almost two years ago. Matt Price, you are nothing if not resourceful (and sneaky). I also applaud Paste Magazine--read by rock culture fans across the globe for meticulous articles on all things Iron & Wine--for being lucky enough to land the rare music writer who happens to enjoy both Wilco and The Arcade Fire. I urge you to check my blog often, Matt Price. I'm sure you'll find more than a few of my psychotic rants which can easily be tempered into advertiser-friendly articles upon which your own name may safely reside.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 4. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

Now that I'm back home, away from the glitter and gloom of the 2009 SXSW, being back on solid soil has given me plenty of time to reflect on what I learned from my trip:

1. If you witness T.J. Jagodowski (the balding guy from those Sonic commercials) ambling down 6th Street, nobody is going to recognize him but you, so go ahead and gawk. Make it extra special by keeping a count of how many homeless people over which he is able to step with a confident strut.

2. If you have intentions of meeting hot-director-of-the-moment Catherine Hardwicke during her DVD signing, you'd better enjoy standing in line with 800,000 vampire-lovin' goth geeks, cuz brother, they've all seen Twilight and they want a piece of her flesh. Also, actually bringing one of her movies on DVD to sign would be a good idea, too.

3. Make sure that when you introduce yourself to Todd Haynes in the Austin Airport that you depart his private space immediately. If you accidentally walk past him again less than an hour later, he'll give you that help!-I'm-being-stalked! look similar to the one shown to you by David Gordon Green during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It's always your cinematic heroes who tend to be most unnerved by doe-eyed idol worship, isn't it?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 3. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

A Few of the Notable Panel Discussions I've Enjoyed at SXSW 2009

Pegging Your Hipster Jeans to Their Maximum 80's Tightness Without Damaging Your Sphincter

Film Critics and the Two Remaining Fans Who Love Them

Making Your Own Mumblecore Feature Film On Half the Budget and Twice the Talent

From Script to Screen to Trash Heap: Why Your Feature Film About Young Singles Looking for True Love in the Big City is Not Worth Being Filmed

A Cinematographer's Symposium: 101 Things You Should Know Before Working with Christian Bale

Rethinking the Brand: What To Do When Some Delusional Guy Who, Because His Booth is Next to Yours, Believes He Should Push His Wares on You Even Though There is Not Even a Tenuous Connection Between the Two Companies, and He Stands Around Your Area for Ten Minutes Babbling On About Who Fucking Knows What Because You Stopped Listening Two Minutes After He Began Talking, and He Then Suggests You Take His Business Card and Then Realizes He Doesn't Have One on Him and Makes You Wait for the Eight Painful Minutes It Takes Him to Find One, While You Stand There Thinking "When You Decided to Come Over and Waste My Time with Your Fucking Spiel, Why Didn't You Figure Out That It Would Make Sense to First Dig Out Your Fucking Business Card Before Hovering Around My Personal Space, Asshole?": A Case Study

A Conversation With Elvis Mitchell's Dreadlocks

Exploiting the Film Festival Circuit (By Pretending You Actually Have a Film You're Going to Make)

Harry Knowles and the Tiny Voices Which Push Him Ever Onward (Hurrah!)

A SXSW 2009 Symposium: Attendee Observation 101: The Future of Overused Colons in Panel Discussion Titles: How to Know When Too Many is Too Many: A Discussion

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 2. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

The trade show begins today. I have a lengthy visit at the booth for Lost Zombies, billed as "a social network whose goal is to document the zombie apocalypse..." I am not making this up. I'm told by one of the creators that the most contentious argument on their forum is whether zombies--when chasing potential victims--move slowly or quickly. Please excuse me while my eyes glaze over from brain damage.

There is a large booth representing the Australian film industry which seems to attract a sizable crowd throughout the day. I thought of suggesting to them that they should offer a free trip to their homeland to the first person who admits to having sat through Australia, but relented when I realized the international incident which would ensue would surely conflict with my lunch break.

During my visit to the booth of, I make the mistake of telling this up-and-coming website that I am the President and CEO of, after which they suggest I use their sister site,

A popular trade show giveaway this year seems to be items which ease the workload of drinking beer: I spotted a business card and a lighter, both of which double as bottle openers. Stress balls were, as always, the most sought-after gifts but I'm convinced vendors only give this away so when customers clamor for them, they can overuse the easy joke, "Our balls are huge!"

Each year, every SXSW trade show sees an influx of intelligence-deficient attendees who seem to have been dropped off in front of the Austin Convention Center by the local mental ward. One gentleman spent nearly 10 minutes at our booth speaking softly about the weather and how long he's lived in his home state, never once attempting to link his chosen profression as a musician with the goals of our organization. Another man, standing all of 5ft 5inches, bound over to our booth to exclaim, "I've been coming to SXSW since I was little!" [Pause. Wait for it.] "Now I'm visiting again and I'm still little!" Buh dum dum. This well-rehearsed joke was actually worth a chuckle when uttered at our table; less so when we heard him repeat it again word for word at the next booth over. And again at the booth next to that one.

Throughout the day, SXSW conducts live interviews with bloggers which are then broadcast via streaming audio & video on its website. Call me biased, but interviewing someone who obsessively documents the minutiae of their day is a bit like singing a song about people who write songs. The subject is so meta, it's eventually going to implode on itself.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Live Blogging SXSW 2009 In Exasperating Detail, Part 1. [Let's Suffer Through It Together.] [Hugs!]

I'm waiting to board the plane which will whisk me away to sunny Austin, TX (except that it's currently pissing non-stop rain there at the moment). The adorable father/daughter duo dressed in look-alike pink shirts/blue jeans also awaiting their departure warm my heart. It's an affirmation of all that is good and precious to see a late-40's-ish father treat his early-20's daughter with so much affection and...holy shit, now they're kissing. OH MY GOD, THEY'RE TOTALLY MAKING OUT!! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THEY'RE A COUPLE!! IS ROMAN POLANSKI OUT TO RUIN ALL OF OUR SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS???

It's time for breakfast. The spunky young African-American cashier at the bagel shop is eager to sing along loudly with every artist playing on the restaurant radio, and truth be told, her voice is easy on the ears so it's a pleasure to witness. She matches each song note for note: a tune by Paula Abdul, another one by Cher, a track by Brandy, etc. When Help Me, the overplayed annoyance by Joni Mitchell is aired, she clams up and has no interest in singing along. There's a joke here just waiting to be written but I'm not sure I'm up to the task--something about white not being a recognized color in the spectrum of music.

A visit to Austin means non-stop exposure to KVRX, the top-notch college radio station. I thrill along to everything they play until, that is, they roll out the oh-so-precious child-like twee folk of Agent Ribbons and their Barney-esque sing-along "Chelsea, Let's Go to the Circus". HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THEY'RE SERIOUSLY SINGING ABOUT GOING TO A CIRCUS!! IS JONATHAN RICHMAN EVER GOING TO PAY FOR HIS EVIL INFLUENCE OVER AMERICA'S YOUTH???

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Asleep at the Switch

As I once again hastily prepare to swim towards my yearly visit to Austin, Texas for SXSW 2009 next week, the perfect soundtrack for all my last-minute packing and skin-of-my-teeth scheduling has revealed itself: Death Control, the new CD by boy wonder Night Control is a headphone symphony of controlled chaos. Swirling melodies bracketed by echo-chamber vocals dip and weave amongst alone-in-the-bedroom guitars cranked in the red. Tobin Sprout would give his third ball to write something as epic as East Side, while Star 131 is like one of those impossible-to-imagine-it-being-played-live Ariel Pink concoctions that seems to exist only in the composer’s cerebellum. No Making and Two Hard are the somnambulant anthems last year’s Atlas Sound release kept promising but upon which it never delivered. The entire CD burrows itself into your soul and sets up camp while never overstaying its welcome. I hope Kill Shamen sells a million copies of this mother so we’ll get 10 more follow-up collections like this in the future. I, for one, can't wait for the next one.