Archive for the ‘Raydog At Large’ Category

Raydog At Large, February 15, 2009

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

South-by-Southwest first round music and film lineups are out in the public arena.  It will be interesting this year, b/c for the first time in a long time I am going to bail before the main weekend of the music fest.   Anyone who knows me knows that SXSW is my favorite time of the year.  I get to binge on cutting edge music and film.  It’s weird…when the festival comes to an end I actually go through post-partum.  So this year I am chasing the dollar-bill on the end of the fishhook and going to do a dog-and-pony show in Atlanta on Saturday, March 21 (meaning I gotta fly out on Friday and miss the Friday night fun too).  But here is what’s interesting, there is still five times too much stuff to do in the eight days I am going to be in town…

Not to get all Cliff Claven on you, but if you’re keeping score at home, SXSW starts on a Friday the 13th.  Day before last was also a Friday the 13th, making the first time in 12 years since we’ve had Friday The 13ths in consecutive months.  Is that a signpost of the apocalypse?  You think that has anything to do with the opening of that new Friday The 13th movie?

Not to get all Film Criticky on you, but yesterday I watched a screener of Ry Russo-Young’s new film You Won’t Miss Me.  What a triumph!  If you follow the show, you know that I’ve been intrigued with this school of filmmaking which has hamhandedly been dubbed “mumblecore” (a term that doesn’t do its subject any justice).  At the heart of this quote-unquote, non-movement is a focus on unscripted, natural performances (the worst of which are the ones that are the most mumbly, ironically).  In the end, it’s a huge hit and miss proposition, and some of the filmmakers have been the first to admit that to me. Many of these films implode under the weight of scatterbrain narrative and low production values.  But like I said, I’m a big fan, and we’ve featured a lot of the filmmakers on Chillville, going back to our first visit from the Duplass Brothers two years ago (making this arguably all their fault).  Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig came on Chillville last year for SXSW.  Another term I hate is “incestuous,” but I can’t come up with less perjorative way to quickly convey that fact that these filmmakers all seem to end in each other’s films (Russo co-starred along with Gerwig and Mark Duplass in Swanberg’s Hannah Takes The Stairs…Swanberg and Gerwig make third-act cameos here in YWWM), making it harder to not call it a movement, I s’spose. So, like I said, there are a lot of misses and those precious, few, transcendent “hits.”  You Won’t Miss Me is one of those. Hits I mean. Right up there with Hannah and The Duplass’s Puffy Chair and Bryan Poyser’s Dear Pillow and Mutual Appreciation and a handful of others.  It’s a sublime, fully-realized vision where it all comes together. There’s a lot going on in that big brain of Ry’s, and she gets it on the screen. And I guess I’d be remiss not include a mention of star/co-writer Stella Schnabel who obviously is a big part of the process here (and for your tabliod update, she’s the “Diving Bell” director’s daughter and was/is RHCP guitarist John Frusciante’s girlfriend).  I was moved.  Ry’s confirmed to be our guest on Chillville on 3/15.

Other people we’re stalking for South-By:  Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Meiko, M. Ward, blogger Stephanie Klein, Swanberg, The Yes Men (I’m a HUGE fan), Aqualung, Kraak and Smaak, Ian McCulloch…I dunno…we’ll probably get some of these and a bunch of other folks we haven’t even thought to start harassing yet.

How awesome was Radiohead with the USC marching band on the Grammys last Sunday?

Not to get all Sigmund Freud on you, but my five-year old, Raydog Jr., went to a sleepover yesterday as I was on a plane back from Sucramento.  And when I got home from my trip , there was a basket of treats for me and Mrs. Raydog to enjoy for our Valentine’s Movie Night.  Included was a money jar so I could just pay for whatever I ate (although I’m pretty sure I already bought all this stuff at the store in the first place).  Anyway, point being, it reminded me of when I used to go to see my MeeMaw and PawPaw when I was, no kidding, five years old.  I’d make a menu of whatever was in their kitchen, bring it into their bedroom…and then they’d pay me to serve them their own food.   My MeeMaw died before I turned 7, so it’s a very specific time frame. I hadn’t thought those days in ages.  Ages.  The passing of time is the great eraser of memory, but then we stumble onto those little flashes that trigger stuff. Life’s crazy and circular and circuituous like that, I guess.

Raydog At Large, February 1, 2009

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

So I really don’t want to write this column this week.  Not a chance.  So I went into that whiny mode that has served me so well through the years.  Don’t wanna go to school?  Or work? Or anything else? Feign discomfort.  Moan convincingly.  Beg for mercy.  Most of the time, people will give you a pass.  But what is amazing to me, really, is that I am not convinced that we’re near as sickly as we let on most of the time.  I believe that the hangover (sometimes sheer laziness) is the chief enabler of hypochondria, and then our children model us, and its one big giant clusterfuck of inaction and faux symapthy and sheer fucking laziness (did I just use the ‘fuck’ in a sentence twice, no three times).  It’s out of frustration, cuz like I said, I reeeeeally don’t want to write this column this morning.

But Full Monty is having no part of it.  Back at the first of the year, I made him accountable for me meeting my deadline, when in reality I was probably just blame-shifting…skirting the real issue through making Monty my emotional tampon about my own laziness.  Careful what you wish for.  There will be no free passes from now on, cuz like I said, Monty’s having no part of it.

“But Monty my stomach hurts real bad,” I offer with what is obviously an unconvincing whimper.

“Shut up and just do it, Hemingway.”


“But I don’t have anything to write about.”  (Lame!)

“Then write about that,” Monty opines.  He’s got a radio show to run, and clearly not in the mood for any of my primadonna bullshit this morning…

Ray:  “Write about what?”

Monty:  “The fact that you don’t wanna write cuz your hungover, but you’re giving me this sad sack excuse about not feeling good, which is total BS.”

Ray:  “Hmmmmm.”

So all this makes me wonder about all the hooky and hypochondria run amok in our culture.  I mean, I’m no sociologist, but I would be willing to bet that fully half of all the absenteeism in the world, unmet deadlines and broken promises, is all of bunch of laziness.  Maybe we’d be better off just ponying up to this fact.  I dunno. I don’t claim to have all the answers…I’m pretty good at coming up with the questions.  When I’m not too lazy, I mean.

Did you see Bill Hicks mom on David Letterman Friday night?  Letterman’s stock dropped a bunch back in the day when he booted Hicks from his show’s lineup because of objectionable content.  Hicks died of pancreatic cancer the following year, leaving Letterman unable to atone until now.

Friday night, he invited Mary Hicks, Bill’s mother, on to talk about Bill.  Letterman was quick to take all the credit for Bill being bumped, which almost strains credibility if you know anything about how Standards and Practices works in network television.  They also aired the quote-unquote objectionable material.

The whole affair is on YouTube

We’re nearing the 15 year anniversary of Bill’s death.  Wonder what his life would’ve held were it not clipped short.  Those of you who know me know what a big fan I am of his.

You can check out my interview with Bill Hicks back in 1992 in the AV Vault

Raydog At Large, January 25th

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Considering the lightning speed with which our society moves, I am noticing that, oddly, more and more of information is left to the inconsistencies of that most ancient of phenomena:  passing along information through the oral tradition.  To wit, we have at our disposal all this massive technology at our disposal that allows us to discover new musical artists.  Through the years as someone with a broadcasting platform that entitled me to engage in discussions with promo reps from the music industry, I would count on those conversations for most of my information.  Not the least of which is how to pronounce an artist’s name.  But as more and more of those conversations now happen over email (or in the age of downsizing…not at all).  I can’t tell you how long I have the pronunciation of Mum (moom) wrong.  And I am still not sure if I’ve got Lykke Li right (it sounds like a great name for an Asian porn star). Actually, I just hopped over to this little thing called Wikipedia, which solves the aforementioned Lykke Li quandary:  which I guess pretty much renders the preceding paragraph suspect at best.

Speaking of Lykke Li, she’ll be in town at Antone’s on February 19.  I strongly suggest that you get your tickets now if you wanna go (and whether you know it or not, you DO want to go).  Fujiya and Miyagi is another show that will probably sell out in advance.  That’s at February 27 Emo’s.  Andrew Bird is playing February 12th at the Paramount.  Meiko is opening up for Joshua Radin Monday February 9th at The Parish.

Chillville is presenting the Submarines show at Emo’s a week from Tuesday (Feb 3).  Their song “Peace and Hate” is one of my all-time favorite Chillville songs.

It was announced this week that Morrissey is coming back to town.  He’ll be at the Bass Concert Hall on April 12th.  I guess it goes without saying that there are more Mozzer/Smiths fans in Austin than Bass can accommodate.  Tickets are $39.50 and $49.50 depending on how intimate you want to find yourself that night (and by now it’s common knowledge…the more Moz ignores you, the closer you should get.

All the television networks seem to be coming out of hibernation.  I’m enjoying new episodes of Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Big Love and, of course, Flight Of The Conchords.  My favorite “new” show is the United States Of Tara, starring Toni Collette and John Corbin and penned by screenwriter phenom Diablo Cody (Juno).  That said, I think I am mainly going to rely on complete season DVD collections to do most of my TV watching moving forward.  Everyone keeps telling me that I would really enjoy this show Breaking Bad, but I don’t want to get to the point where I am watching 30 hours of TV a week (which, sadly, would still put me below the average for Americans).

Oscar noms came out this week.  I’ve seen most of the major films.  Took in Milk this week (Mrs. Raydog liked it more than me…she says it’s a no brainer that Sean Penn should trump Mickey Roarke for Best Actor) and The Reader (and frankly I am sort of amazed that Kate Winslett grabbed a nomination for this instead of Revolutionary Road).  I still need to see Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Rachel Getting Married and a couple of others.

Raydog At-Large 01/11/09

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

I effin hate the cold. So when you wake up on a morning like today, it affects me on a very guttaral level. I’m more likely to wanna stay in my loungers and not leave the house at all. Now on Sunday, I have to at least get out of the house for a few minutes.At least we get some sunshine to go with the cold, unlike my friends in Canada. I am reminded of the interesting story of Toronto’s Bloor Street Viaduct, which I wrote about last year.Kevin Bewerdorf was on the show this morning. If you check out his online platform maximum sorrow, it’s hard to decide if he is being serious, or totally out there in an Onion, Despair sorta way. He is also doing a digital presentation for the Austin Film Society this Thursday.

I always love having Margaret Moser on the show, who heads up the Austin Music Awards and is an editor at the Austin Chronicle. She is such an inspiration to me, and always a lot of fun. Vote in this year’s Austin Music Awards here. And if you need any help when it comes to “Radio Music Program,” email Monty and he’ll give you some ideas.

We’re in the process of trying to put together a chillville show as part of the station’s Homegroan series. Only problem is this: the date that Monty and Diedre Gott picked is a date that I am going to be out of town. And no one thought to tell me. So we are in the process of deciding whether to do the show without me or reschedule it for another date. Stay tuned.

Golden Globes are tonight. I’m rooting for In Bruges and Mad Men and Slumdog and (to a lesser extent) The Wrestler.


Raydog At-Large 01/04/09

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

This morning, I am feeling the same general impulses as last week. Whether it’s the first week of a new year, or the last of the last, there seems to be a powerful tug to trying to put everything in its place, be it with lists or grand pronouncements. But at the end of the day, I’m not sure that the intended action achieves the intended result. I mean, opinions are like, well, you know. And who is to say that Monty’s opinion is any more or less valid than the next asshole. Kidding. On any given day, I have found that Monty’s opinion is more AND less valid than the next guy. That’s why he’s an apt and affable wingman on the radio show.  

Speaking of grand pronouncements from on high, check out this A-Hole in the Dallas Morning News, complaining about how musicians license out to mega-brands. The main example was Santogold, and dude is quick to marginalize them as sellouts, which I guess. If I am being completely honest, it’s actually a pretty well-written article and actually has some decent points-of-view. And I probably shouldn’t call dude an a-hole…I retract that. But here’s my take. The world is changing, and with it all the 20th Century business models and a rethinking of multiple revenue streams. If artists are able to bypass endentured servitude, and deal with the machine on their own terms, and put food on the table with honor and dignity, I am say “You Go Boy/Girl.” And in the light of day, the notion of “selling out young” feels very 1991 to me, IMHO.

This time of year is very frustrating to the average Joe, blue-collar cineaste, who wants to be a part of the discussion of the film zeitgeist this time of year (or at least an informed fly on the wall). It seems like a big chunk of the films being bandied about aren’t even on Austin’s dance card. Hell, I get to attend a fair amount of press screenings, and I still haven’t seen a lot of them. So in the interest of keeping it egalitarian, I am only going to talk about films that came out earlier in the year today. Sure, I loved Synecdoche and Slumdog…those feel like singular films that will be among my favorites for a long time. But what do you do with Australia, Doubt, etc. It’s hard to decide where they fit in the discussion, when it’s virtually impossible to have seen all the films they are being discussed alongside. As such, here are my favorite films—little films that coulda and shoulda—which came out before Labor Day in 2008: Son Of Rambow, The Fall, and In Bruges (I have seen Martin McDonagh as one of the most important voices of our generation since I stumbled onto The Lieutenant of Inishmore on Broadway in July, 2006). I’ll revisit in a few weeks (hopefully before the Oscar/Spirit Awards weekend). Can’t believe that The Golden Globes are next week.