Monday, November 22, 2010

Mac Store on Knox: Fuck You Smokers!

Today my wife and I went to the Mac Store on Knox, in an area known as Knox Park. Knox Park is a bourgeois as the day is long. It was the first part of DFW that I was shown by some locals as a real taste of the town. It was so disappointing to me that I became a shut-in for nearly a year.

Its not that its not nice. Its beautiful. There is a cute little hot-dog place there where they have a wooden carved hot-dog man outside thats very nice. The Mexican restaurant Chuy's is awesome, and has vegetarian Mexican food.

They have Starbucks, and Crate and Barrel, and fancy restaurants that my Dad likes to go to with his prestigious scientist friends from UT Southwestern when he's in town. Its very nice, very fancy, and very bourgeois. So what you mostly have in there, like other Dallas uptown parts, is the DFW nouveau riche enthralled with themselves, SMU frat boys getting their margaritas at the On the Border corporate mexican restaurant, and Dallasites hoping to soak up some of the nouveau riche e vibes for their own perverse reasons. The latter is definitely the category I fit in.

But they do have a Mac store, and this includes a Genius Bar. The Genius bar is part of the Mac store which services computers. They have notoriously good costumer service, which was immortalized for me in an erotica story in Violet Blue's pro-sex podcast.

My wife and I have very few instances of brand loyalty. We are cheapskates. In spite of all our anti-establishment beliefs and rock and roll rebellion we watch financial advice shows, clip coupons, look for sales, etc. But we love our Mac computers. I use my Mac for so many recreational creative projects that I would feel injured without it.

Her computer stopped booting up the operating system several months ago. We don't know why, but it would just taunt us with a blue screen and nothing else. I knew I needed to do something, and I sure as hell didn't want to spend $1000 on a new computer.

My wife is a French femme fatale and when her computer quit working my Mac became communal property. I would have refused her at my own peril. My wife and I are also both occasionally unkempt. My mac is held together in some places by scotch tape and is grotesquely stained by food, cigarettes, and two keys have literally been burned. It doesn't help that the old mac books are a white which shows stains in such a prominent way.

This set up a cycle of resentment where I was taking a backseat to my wife's constant use of the one working Mac: mine! She put John Bonham from Led Zeppelin as the wallpaper picture. I retaliated by replacing the dead drummer with Stalin.

My wife's computer sat unused for months, and her treatment of her computer was a lot like mine. Constant use in the presence of an unorthodox life style.

I mean my mac is not some sterile device to be kept in a lab. I have taken it all over the U.S. and to South America. I write on it. I do art on it. Its more like Kerouac's type writer than some sterile protestant business machine. My mac has a nickname, I call it excalibur, and thats not done lightly. I see my mac as my weapon I use to take on the world. About a month ago my Mac stopped recharging.

To make matters worse our kitten who we call Dumb-Dumb, went through a pissing phase where he regularly coated our computer bag. This is the computer bag we took to the Mac store.

So we show up at the Mac Store, which looks like a utopia in a Star Trek future where everyone looks like they sing in a band and program computers. We are kindly attended to, as we have appointments. Even though we look as out of place as beggars from Calcutta in the Ritz.

We go look around and yearn for the Mac products that tease us beyond our price range.

Then we are met by Bryan. Bryan is the computer repair guy, his title according to the Apple corporation lead by Steve Jobs is "Genius."

I pull my computer out of my piss-bag. In an act of great slacker heroism I tried to coat the piss-coated computer bag in a new layer of upholstery cleaning spray. The combination was not an improvement.

I open up my computer. Disgusting. It was as if I was revealing my underwear had a giant skidmark on it in front of everyone.

Bryan was so kind as to wash my computer for me. It looked a hundred times better, and took him about 15 minutes.

He runs a diagnostic, tells me I need a new battery. Price : $120, I bitch about the price he brings it down to $100. I still say I can't afford it.

Then my wife's computer is opened. He has already cleaned mine, it took him 15 minutes. Her's is worse.

He asks if these are nicotine stains, if we smoke. My wife smokes over two cartons a month. She smokes like a french fatale, while pounding hours away at the keyboard in her own weird internet life.

If my computer was white underwear with a skidmark, her's had a turd crowned by dingle-berries.

I imagine Bryan was irritated because he had already cleaned my disgusting computer. He was not going to take any shit from us, we were clearly not Knox Park material, neither of us had our skinny jeans on after all.

We confessed to smoking, like two children revealing their dirty underwear and being asked if we even wipe.

Though for future reference if you smoke and you are at the mac store, the correct answer is "no you do not smoke, you are an anti-smoking activist, and you are offended that he would even suggest that. This must be some dirt from the Dallas pollution problem. "

Because according to Bryan Mac has a company policy against servicing computers that have been "contaminated" by tobacco products. My wife's computer was now banned from any hardware repairs by the Steve Jobs nanny state.

I was livid. He said that this much nicotine on the computer was as hazardous to his health as if it had "pee and poo on it."

Of course I was taking big wiffs of my cat pissed soaked computer bag while being told this.

My computer was also nicotine stained, and probably stained with other byproducts. My wife had been using my mac for months with a cigarette in hand. Two keys were actually burned, with melted plastic and everything. But he cleaned that one. I think Bryan was (perhaps rightfully so) enforcing this rule mostly because he was pissed off about having to deal with two nasty dead beats, clearly out of place on the starbase I mean the Mac Store.

I started bitching about how this was $2000 worth of computers. I started listing off mac products I bought. I talked about how this amounted to de facto discrimination by mac of all the computer users who smoke, because I don't know any cigarette smokers who would abstain from smoking while farting around on the computer.

He said if he didn't have to fix any hardware he could still fix it, but that her computer was still banned because it was "contaminated" and this hazardous waste was banned as "company policy."

Bryan did fix the computer, for free. We were definitely not in a presentable state, and our computers were very filthy. So if the reader wants to walk away from this thinking that we are just a couple of nasty-asses who got better than we deserved, fair enough.

I bought the battery because I felt like an asshole for our computers being so nasty. I hope he got a commission for it. He did fix my wife's computer for free.

But I suspect if the reader has a cigarette in hand, this post might affect their opinion of Mac.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

60 Days

It has been approximately 60 days since I have written a post.

I feel like a traitor.

I have had good metroplexian experiences since my last post.

I have seen the Assassination City Roller Derby team play in Mesquite, I have experienced great local food, I have had funny DFW experiences.

We have all just survived an election that leaves our beautiful city an ornament in Rick Perry's nightmare of douchebaggery. To really fulfill the potential of this blog I should have been muckraking local candidates.

I should have been writing quite a bit.

There are restaurants and bars you need to know about. There are little nooks, crannies and anecdotes in this fair area which we inhabit.

I have been going through a slow and intimate investigation of this area's history, especially Dallas. It has been insightful and beautiful and given me great pride to live here. In this process I have met some local giants who need to be properly admired on this blog.

But the last 60 days have been at their most metroplexian because I have been way too fucking busy.

DFW grows so rapidly, and weathered the financial crisis as much as it did because people move here to make money. That was what brought me here.

As much as I love the locals, I really want to speak now for the new breed of Metroplexian: those of us who moved here because so much of the country is financially stagnant.

Those of us who may have thought the local bar scene only consisted of corporate bars like Chilli's or Applebee's.

Those of us who have spent a year or two thinking the local art scene consisted of the bourgeois art museums and thats it!

Those of us who read the Observer looking for insights and are given lower Greenville and confusing prophecies of a resurrection of Deep Ellum. Those of us who have never experienced the early 90's and late 80's glory days of Deep Ellum.

We are working our asses off. And driving. Driving over coil and coil of the vast serpentine expanse only to get closer to the being swallowed by the serpent.

It is painfully hard to find time to enjoy the finer things. It is a challenge that persists for those of us who are trying to take our piece of the Metroplexian pie.

Proximity is a bitch here. Everything is far away. And I have a strong suspicion that those of us who migrate here and probably the workaholic types, a breed of carpetbaggers trying to fatten up on a swell we barely understand.

Its a spartan thing to try to make a life in a city you didn't grow up in.

And as I try to put an end to my hiatus I salute you in mutual recoil.

Thats not to say the natives aren't hard working.

It is my prejudice that the DFW native works over 60 hours a week and then manages the vast labyrinth with enough energy to get drunk and build most of the cool things that I go sniffing around for.

They built this place after all, and by default the ripe soil we are all trying to reap from.

Time has a unique sense in these parts. We move in 30 mile strides, where I grew up that put you across farmland and in a separate city.

We work like aspiring robber barons, this definitely carries its own cosmic clock.

Time is crueler in DFW, kind of like summers.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eat Mediterranean or the Terrorists Win!

I have some evil tales to tell about the enemies of freedom. But I have decided that I would be a true asshole to write more bad news after the last post: DART article.

The metroplex has too many good things, positive things, that I can write about.

One of those things is the Kasbah Grill, located right next to the Irving Islamic Center and the Irving Fire department. And I don't think its a coincidence that the finest Mediterranean food in the Metroplex is right next to the house of Allah: the compassionate and merciful.

One dare not produce shitty food in the presence of the divine.

The Kasbah Grill has three great virtues. One is its ambiance. Two is the actual quality of food and refreshment. Three: is the price.

In the Kasbah Grill one feels that they have left the surrounding cesspool which is Irving and entered a better land. Or at least a classier land. One corner of the Kasbah is decorated in a way that would be fit for a Sultan, and I still do not know the riddle of how one gets to sit in the pimp seat at the Kasbah Grill.

The patronage is often obviously the local Muslim community and even though I am surely the worst of all infidels, one who is purely Satanic and opposed to all good, I am still treated with great kindness and respect at the Kasbah Grill.

Go often enough, and the staff remembers what you like.

Then there is the tea. Oh Christ, the tea! I mean, Oh Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), the tea!

This tea is such a powerful stimulant that I could fulfill all my domestic repairman duties within an hour of returning home. This tea cannot be legal. In this house of virtue there is some secret ingredient being served to their unsuspecting neighbors that transforms them into strange hyperblasting creatures of productivity. This tea is the mint tea.

Mint my ass!

The food is definitely good. If you have never eaten mediterranean this may not be the best first try. This place is very, very authentic. Though I have taken the uninitiated and seen them converted, Alhamdulillah!

I have two favorite dishes at the Kasbah Grill. One is anything with lamb or goat. I know, I know, eating meat is barbaric and lambs once belonged to little Mary. But there is a perfect perverted beef flavor to this poor animal and mediterranean rice and chickpeas make it a taste of pure wisdom.

The other dish I really, really, really like is the falafel. Now this baby is vegetarian. And if memory serves me right, its under $5. Thats right, you can dine in the classiest joint in Irving (not false Las Colinas) for under $7.

I think my fancy meat dishes are about $7. I know my wife and I eat there, drink the crack, ahem, I mean tea, and tip for about $20.

You should definitely check it out before my need to defend the citizens of the metroplex strikes again.

I have some depressing shit in store.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DART: The Loser Cruiser

Wow. Long time no see.

I apologize for my long hiatus. My day job resumed in the last few weeks, after a wonderful summer vacation. This, along with some of my other projects has consumed much of my time.

So this summer I lost my car. It was totaled in a flash flood in Lubbock, TX.
This has put me back in my beloved metroplex without a car.

It is said that one can't really live in the Dallas area without a car. At least one blogger at Walkable Dallas has devoted a blog to this discussion. I like this blog. And I hope all the recommendations of the author (Patrick Kennedy) be fulfilled. It tends to lean heavily towards urban planning and can sometimes waxes academic. Which is alright, I think all of us need to wax academic a little more. Even IF ignorance is bliss.

My only real criticism of Mr. Kennedy's blog is that he lives in downtown. He works in downtown. He can bike to Deep Ellum for chrissakes! If he has to use public transportation, like to get to the Bishop Arts District or Lower Greenville, his bus/train ride is going to be 30 minutes at its worst.

Most of us can't swing living and working in downtown Dallas. We have to live where most of the Metroplex lives, in the goddamn suburbs!

I live in Irving.

But I have also lived in Richardson, and Lewisville, and have been carless in all these places at one time or another. And in these situations I have had to ride DART, Dallas Area Rapid Transit. They should be required to take the R out of it, because its about as Rapid as a legless turtle going uphill.

I am riding DART again.

I am riding it to work, I am riding it with my wife to go to recreational activities, and all I can think is that I need to hurry the hell up and get another car.

I once read an article in Lit Monthly once proclaiming the virtues of riding DART, the author talked about how wonderful it was to ride DART, and how green it was and whatever. This person probably rode the damn thing once, to write his article, and like everything else in Lit Monthly its always a positive review. IF Lit Monthly reviewed shit it would pontificate about its marvelous texture, its spiritual smell, and its great power to provide warmth.

Let me tell you about DART, and it aint going to be pretty.

First of all, let me just say that I support a strong DART system. I do. I want there to be more trains, more bus routes, and therefore more funding. The reason I want this is because I want DFW to be able to be green. Realistically.

I also want to commend DART for finally putting bike racks on the buses, and bike hooks on the trains, a lot of the inefficiencies of using DART can be circumvented by riding a bus or a train within biking distance of your destination. Though the coexistence of DART and biking still needs to be improved upon.

Let me just shoot this out in a list. Lets call it, reasons why DART sucks.

1.) Security. My number one beef with DART is security. Now not all routes are created equal. If you take the Red line from the Arapaho station in Richardson to any of the stops north into Plano you are going to have a pleasant ride. You really will. The buses are also not as bad as the trains, my personal experiences tend to be primarily with the Red Line and the TRE. But I am told that the Blue line is even worse than what I will now describe.

I have nicknamed the Redline between downtown and the Spring Valley station the Race War. I know this is going to be sensitive commentary, but I don't want to soften the facts.

When riding this route I have often been treated rudely by young men, had my personal space deliberately invaded when there was plenty of space around, I have had young men get in my face like they wanted to fight and start rapping along with their MP3 Players. When riding this route I have had young men approach me in groups and ask me what I would do if they stabbed me. When I have had friends riding this route they have been the target of small impromptu hate rallies against "The White Man" when they were alone and surrounded by a group of antagonists. I have had friends violently assaulted for being white. The aggressors are always young African American men. It seems that hostility towards whites is the motive, which is utterly depressing.

This is the treatment you can expect when paying to ride DART.

I have lived in West Harlem, where black supremacists preach openly. BUT ... I have never been treated as badly, rudely, or felt as concerned for my safety under racial provocation as I have on the Red line between Downtown and the Spring Valley station.

There are also DART bus stops that are unbelievably unsafe. For example the bus stops in front of the Parkland hospital is little better than a homeless camp, and not with the kinds of homeless people you find on a Lifetime movie. Real homeless people, the type who prefer crack or meth to a roof over their heads. Now the scary homeless folks in front of Parkland came in a rainbow of colors, and themselves did not seem to discriminate in their constant panhandling, and other sketchy behavior. Including one I saw threaten to kill a gas station attendant for asking the guy to quit standing around watching the football game.

DART has its own police station, its own police department. Yet the only time I see them is when they are checking for passes on the trains. Maybe the emphasis needs to be on keeping the peace. I believe if the DART PD made it a priority they could really clean up these concerns, but the priorities are off.

If I felt safe on DART I would want to ride it a whole lot more.

2.) DART is too fucking slow. For me to drive from Irving to Downtown Dallas is about 20 minutes. For me to take DART from my place in Irving to Downtown Dallas is about an hour and a half. That means a 3 hour round trip. Unacceptable.

To take DART to Plano or Richardson is 2 hours one way. Thats a four hour roundtrip, there are people who could probably do Austin and back in 4 hours.

This means that if you want to have an active social life, and you want to take advantage of the variety of cool groups and activities in the Metroplex, you are likely to spend more time on DART then where you are trying to go.

3.) DART stops running at midnight on most routes.

DART has the potential to drastically reduce drunk driving, but not if you are looking at a long ride and the rides quit at midnight. You are going to have to leave the bar by midnight in the best case scenarios. For my favorite bars I would have to leave at ten or earlier.

DART should run all night, and there should be an active campaign to reduce drunk driving by increasing DART use.

4.) DART drastically reduces its routes on the weekends.

This is when I go out. Sucks to be me. Once recently I took the DART to Wal Mart on a Sunday evening at 6 pm, to run a simple errand. I didn't double check the schedule but it turns out that I missed the last bus, which came before 7 pm. This was followed by a 7 mile 3 hour walk home.

This is the reality of DART in DFW. There is no sugar coating it.

There are good things about DART. And I am riding it almost every day right now due to my loss of car. My whole complaints about the trains are for the most part not true on the buses or the TRE. I also meet nice people on the bus, and often have good conversation. After my stay in New York I can say that our trains are competitive with the legendary New York system for travel time to comparable distances. Though in New York I was never afraid for my safety. And I rode in Harlem and the Bronx.

Yet that does not outweigh the negatives. Especially being concerned for my safety, and worse yet the safety of my wife. I am far more comfortable with something bad happening to me than her. I ride the trains with a powerful stun baton in my backpack now.

I have regularly visited LA, which is a city that is laid out in similar way to DFW. They have buses that focus on main streets. I think DFW could benefit from this. We need a Beltline route and a loop 12 route that just rides these circles in both directions 24/7. A route like this for any streets that bisect Dallas would be good too.

We need more trains. I am very happy about the Green Line. I am looking forward to finally riding it. I also think we need a train that follows the 635.

The T in Ft. Worth needs to become part of DART and all of the surrounding communities that have heavy commuting as well. I used to have to get from Lewisville to Garland every day without a car. It was a nightmare. I had to get the Carrolton transit station every day, 8 miles from my house to enter the DART system. To use the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) I would have had to pay almost as much as a car payment to use both systems, and thats with a month pass. Arlington should have to pay a million dollar fine for not having a transportation system every year they stubbornly screw up. This city has UTA for chrissakes! If you have a big university you need a bus system!

If we did these things, along with my other suggestions, then we could realistically ask metroplexians to reduce the use of their cars. Until then the DART vehicles will continue to deserve the nickname Dallasites gave them a long time ago "The Loser Cruiser."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pet Sitting in DFW

So I had a big misadventure this month. I went out of town for 3 weeks, though I was planning on going out of town for a whole month. I had to come back early because my car was totaled in a flash flood. I will try to abstain from boring you with the details of my insurance debacles, at least until I can make it about living in DFW and figure out how to write something funny about it.

My wife and I own two cats. Both were given to us in a rescue type situation, which was a dumb move on my part. For future reference when a friend calls you to give you a kitten, if you want the kitten take it to the pound, surrender it, let the pound do all of its shots, fix it, cure its massive flea infestation, and then adopt it. I promise that its a hell of a lot cheaper than taking a ghetto vagabond cat which is probably disease ridden into your house.

My apartment is not the best. I live in Irving, which is already a kind of toilet to Dallas and Fort Worth (though is the biggest employer in the area strangely enough). I am not supposed to have the cats anyways because we haven't paid our ridiculously high pet deposit. I believe its $300 per pet. I am torn between feelings of "fuck that" and just an earthy terror at my own bills as compared to my income. The toilet doesn't work, it overflows if you look at it with poop in your belly, the apartment maintenance always does the same thing, plunge. We have two plungers next to the toilet, you'd think maybe we'd tried that already. The neighborhood is sketchy, my wife has been sexually harassed by the neighbor, but it is our home. We spend most of our time here, its important that it be as comfortable as possible so that we can recharge and recover here.

So in preparation for our long trip out of town we had a dilemma. We have two cats, and couldn't take them with us. I live in Irving, all of my friends live in other suburbs and very few of them have any incentive to make the 60 mile round trip to go check on our cats. So I decided to do the bourgeois thing and hire a pet sitter. A real pet sitter, not a neighbor or a buddy, but people who charge anywhere from $20-$40 a visit.

In fact I hired DFW Petsitting, at a little over $22 per visit, two visits per week for 3 weeks.

At first we were real happy with the decision. We were having trouble figuring out what to do with the cats. We had called one other large pet sitting service but she refused to do it unless we had her come every other day. That would have cost us almost $300.

DFW Pet Sitting seemed like a great alternative. They were willing to do our twice a week visits, which we knew from experience that the cats could be comfortable for that long with our pet equipment.

The owners father came to see us. His name was Sergei. He is Russian and was very charming. He had a Russian accent and asked us about our vacation. We told him we were going to Lubbock, TX. and he asked "Why? Feesheeng, Hunteeng?"

I responded by telling him that we had a lot of old friends there and he said,"AAAAH! Drreeenkeeeng!"

I loved that story. I loved Sergei. I even took down my weird Soviet propaganda down from the wall so as not offend him.

We stressed very much that we were squeamish about leaving the cats and that we would want to hear regularly how we were doing. We even made sure that we had his personal contact info, beyond the contact info for DFW Pet Sitting.

Then fast forward three weeks. We go to Lubbock, car gets totaled we come back. We had called Sergei, though he never called us, to check on the cats. He said they were great and not to worry.

When we unlock the door the house looks trashed. We had left it clean. The cats look like hell. One cat's fur has changed color, the other cat who has long hair had gook of some kind crusting his hair together.

I step into the house. I am immediately swarmed by fleas. By blood sucking little fleas. Not one or two. Not 10 or 12. But like a hundred. In mere moments my ankles and legs look like I have had chicken pox for a week. My wife gets swarmed too, we see that the cats are afraid of the carpet, which is swarming with fucking fleas.

Now its been three weeks. We have fogged the house three times. Covered the house in Boric Acid. Covered the cats in Frontline Plus. And finally the fleas seem to have gone.

Did you know fleas can give cats tapeworms? They can. They did. My cats had little white worms crawling around their shit before it was all said and done.

My cost to DFW Pet Sitting taken directly from my account: $118.

Could Sergei have called and let us know that the cats, hell, the house had a serious flea problem? Yep, and we would have come back and taken care of it before it got worse.

Did we call Sergei to make sure everything was okay? Yep, and he fucking lied.

The cost of cleaning up after the negligence that DFW Pet Sitting caused by not informing us about a serious problem in addition to what they charged us was another couple of hundred bucks in medicine for the cats, and gear to kill the fleas.

My wife and I had to wear OFF! inside the house for weeks.

So if you have to travel out of town, my advice is don't hire DFW Pet Sitting.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wizard in Exile

Last mission I did in my beloved Metroplex was at the Lounge in Deep Ellum, I was there with one objective: to see The New Fumes, which is a transcendental rock and roll experience of the truest kind. I believe that I will one day relish my small role in witnessing the early time of the New Fumes.

My entry in to the Lounge was riddled with hazards. I don't even believe that I had taken any mind expanding sacraments, but I must have come off like Hunter S. Thompson in his Southern splendor.

I brought several people who paid their way, but I was broke. Sometimes at the end of the month I am just out of money, and this blog is blessed by the Metroplex's commitment to art with an occasional free pass. My wife was with me and I had no money for her pass.

You must try to understand my wife with me. She is a French super spy sent to kill me for my sins against the foreign legion. She uses a strap-on dildo as her weapon. I live only to please her, and my very days are numbered by the sands in her hourglass.

I told the bouncer that I was on the list twice. This was a fact, because when the New Fumes are involved I am prone to sit in an O.C.D. inspired anxiety attack. This band is like a willow-the-wisp. It has to be seen. I have become a prophet of the idea that rock and roll demands film in performance. Which is what the New Fumes delivers, and more.

So I contacted Parade of Flesh productions, who was putting on the show, and got on the list. Daniel of the New Fumes saw my endless whining on the internet and also put me on the list. Ultravictory.

So my reasoning, my wife belongs on the list. I was on there twice, and we are of one flesh according to the Christian scripture.

The bouncer was not impressed with my classical powers of reasoning, but we were still allowed to pass once I began throwing a tantrum.

My expectations for the evening: other bands would suck, New Fumes would blow my mind, go home without a buzz because I was the kaiser of pennilessness.

My expectations were surpassed. I go in and I saw some small children, about age 20 or so, and they had big keyboards. I did not know what to expect. Yet what these kids delivered was a resurrected abortion of Nitzer Ebb, Sound of Noise, Kraftwerk, yet still somehow new. Current. Futuristic. These lost boys call themselves Florene, they are from Denton. If you understand that Kraftwerk was once musical access to light speed then you would like Florene.

Please understand, this comes from a man who's favorite band is Laibach!

I was very pleased. Though these strange bastards insist on selling their merch as tapes. Yest cassette tapes. Why cassette tapes? I don't fucking now. They ware away. It is like selling a dying piece of music.

When the New Fumes came on, after setting up the elaborate screen, and a Wizard of Oz worthy set of gear, our frontman in his cat mask advises us to forget the past, and forget the future and join him now.

What great words to introduce a set.

Let me tell you that I consider living in the now one of the great secrets of life. I consider it up there with the philosopher's stone or LSD. I consider it to be the very discipline of orgasm.

I am writing this weeks after the show. I am in my hometown, which is Lubbock, Texas. This place is my heart, but it is redneck and religious, and fascist. I had my car destroyed by a local flash flood. This is no exaggeration.

I revel in Dionysean rituals with redneck spartans, the sort of sport that once must have given rise to moonshine and Bonnie and Clyde. And I think of this show and I think about treasuring the now.

I was there, totally connecting with the strange movies that the New Fumes projects. Quality shit, stuff that pleasantly fucks with the mind.

I rocked out and so did my friends, several of which were from Lubbock, TX.

Then it was over.

I was seething a little bit at the bouncer, because as the last band went on stage it became clear that the audience consisted of my friends and all the bands who played. Yeah there were other people there, but I think they worked at the bar across the street.

If Deep Ellum is going to rise like a phoenix its going to take a little bit of promotional ingenuity. No disrespect to Parade of Flesh, the last band Starring showed me that they had booked a great show.

I pride myself on negative reviews. And I only cut slack to local bands, its part of my weird scenester nationalism. But Starring was bad ass. They played songs from their new album Wife of God, and rocked everyone out.

All in all the show was a total success for me, I am sad there were not more people to experience the show.

Luckily for me the great wizard Thor Johnson shared his whisky with me that night. This went well with the good music.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sage Francis and Friends at the Granada

I have listened to Sage Francis for years. I heard him first working at a small record store (remember those) in Lubbock, TX.

None of the artist at the Granada were local. This is just a fact.

I always prefer there to be a local group present at a show, because we have a lot of great local acts in DFW. But alas, I am trying to write about a city. I am trying to capture in words my actual experience of this vast, strange, and powerful place.

The audience at the Granada seemed to mostly know who Sage Francis was and have appreciation for him. In case you didn't know it; Sage Francis is one of the worlds premiere hip hop performers, he is an accomplished poet, and one of the popularizers of the Slam Poetry scene. Slam Poetry, for the uninitiated, is urban poetry that is heavily influenced by hip hop. It is also very free form with great rapport for originality. To be a bad ass slam poet you have to charm a room full of curmudgeons who aren't going to give you any sympathy if you aren't fucking brilliant. Sage Francis is one of the best.

People who filled the granada for the most part knew this. It wasn't lost on them. They were connoisseurs, and that a theater full of them was present at the Granada speaks highly of this fucking town.

Though I am pretty sure that the Granada attracts a contingency of SMU douchebags. Not that people who go to SMU are douchebags, its just that some happen to flower there. Rich kids, whose parents give an allowance that could finance a heroin addiction. I had a couple of these kids behind me during the show. I ordered a $5 Paps Blue Ribbon (I think this is the cost of a six pack at the supermarket), and eavesdropped on these kids until they disappeared.

Sage's back up band played first. It had a guy from the Mars Volta in it, I can't remember their name besides that. Enough said.

Next was B Dolan, who I had never heard but I had been told he would blow my mind. He did.

When he played this song:

The SMUnthinking dipshits behind me said B Dolan was going to burst into flame. When he insulted G.W. Bush, the pampered mustangs behind me got notably irritated.

It made me love B Dolan even more.

Its amazing how rock and roll hip hop can be.

Sage was fucking amazing. He came on with a toupe and buddy holly glasses. The back up band gave it a rock feeling, which I know was upsetting some of my old school Sage Francis friends. I ate it up. So did the crowd. He slowly regressed in the show from the new sound to the old sound.

The SMU dipshits were gone, the crowd was ecstatic. I was too.

When Sage finished he ran off the stage and began to hug the crowd. In a strange fit of catholic guilt (though I am a staunch atheist) I didn't hug him. I didn't feel like I deserved it.

My buddy Neil said it best, he went to try to shake Sage's hand and he saw some kid hugging Sage talking about how must Sage's music helped him through his grandmother's death. Thats what I assumed was happening. That was the energy of the crowd.

It almost made me forgive my $5 PBR.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Video Rehab

So this week I had the pleasure of attending Video Rehab, a weekly double feature of cool shit anyone with artistic self respect should know about, and probably doesn't.

The Video Rehab was historically conducted at my favorite bar, Tradewinds Social Club, but now the official Video Rehab event has moved to the Texas Theatre. The Texas Theatre was where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended.

This was an irresistible detail for me, and I finally went. The fact that the show was donations only and alcohol provided certainly appealed to me as well. This metroplexian is a cheapskate. Especially this month.

The double feature was The Forbidden Zone, a crazy movie starring the midge(little person) actor who played Tattoo on Treasure Island and was essentially the psychological diarrhea of the Elfman's and friends. Thats right Elfman, as in Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo. This movie was a sexually tantalizing and molesting you at the same time. It was awesome, and I am ashamed that I had not already seen it. I also drank 3 Shiner Bocks. For free. My friends with me also drank. For free.

The only problem was that the turnout was very small.

It did make the whole thing feel more intimate, but I know there have got to be thousands of people in the area that would have fucking loved this event.

Next they showed the Phantom of the Paradise. The picture that I kicked off this post with is from that movie. The movie is a 70s rock and roll adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera by Brian DePalma. Thats right, the same DePalma who directs mob movies known for excessive violence. The Phantom of the Paradise did not disappoint as far as violence was concerned, though the movie was for all intents and purposes a musical. I hate musicals. I loved Phantom or the Paradise.

I want to dress like the Phantom every day and talk out of his creepy voice box, made by his nemesis, the elusive Swan!

All in all. I had a blast, popcorn $2, free beers and suggested donation for entry $5.

The Texas Theatre had great art on its walls, the people organizing the event were nice and friendly and the few other people I saw in the audience are people I would like to be friends with. Only someone of supreme coolness would turn up and stick around for an event like this.

All in all it was a total plus.

Another point for Oak Cliff as the most bad ass part of the Metroplex.

I hope more people turn out for the next one, I plan on being there after my epic battle with Sylvia Browne.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sylvia Browne is Coming to DFW

So Sylvia Browne is coming to the Lakewood Theatre, I believe its the 16th of June. I am planning on heading out there and passing out a flyer with the stuff posted underneath. I got all the info from the website Stop Sylvia Browne .

It may seem like I am getting bent out of shape for nothing, until you remember that Sylvia Browne often spills her verbal diarrhea all over people who have lost a loved one. This is the case of Opal Jennings, which is the subject of my flyer.

Has Sylvia Browne Ever Been Wrong in DFW?
By: Enrique Recuero (synopsis and analysis quoted from Robert Lancaster)

Sylvia Browne is a well known public figure. She is considered by many Americans to be a psychic and to have the power to communicate with people who have died and various spirits in a different realm. Wealthy and respectable people like Montel Williams have Sylvia Browne on their shows, she has also been a guest on the respectable Larry King Show on CNN. In spite of all this celebrity attention, Sylvia has been wrong many times, one particularly sad case was near Fort Worth. This is the case of Opal Jennings.

The following synopsis of the Sylvia Browne story comes from
Sylvia Browne watches the video montage of Opal Jo Jennings.

In March of 1999, six-year-old Opal Jo Jennings was abducted from her grandparents’ front yard in Tarrant County, Texas. A state-wide search for her was soon underway, with no success in finding her.
Opal’s grandmother, Audrey Sanderford, decided to come on the Montel Williams Show and ask for Sylvia Browne’s help.
It should be noted that some of the families of missing persons who appear on the show do so not because they believe in Sylvia’s “psychic powers”, but primarily to get the face of their missing loved one on national television, in hopes that someone in the viewing audience will be able to help.
I do not know whether Mrs. Sanderford believed in Sylvia or not.

The Reading
The episode in which Mrs. Sanderford appeared was first broadcast on April 29th, 1999.
A little more than halfway through the show, Montel Williams sets up a clip which introduces the segment:
(MONTEL) WILLIAMS: Well, my next guest is distraught over the recent disappearance of her granddaughter, Opal. Take a look at this.
(A video montage of Opal Jo Jennings plays, with an inset in the lower right of Sylvia Browne watching it. Video and still pictures of her are interspersed with video of the search for her. Her grandmother’s voice narrates the images.)
(AUDREY) SANDERFORD: (Voiceover) On March 25th, 1999, my six-year-old granddaughter, Opal Jennings, was abducted from my front yard and has yet to be found. The past few weeks have been unbearable for me and my family. Even though there is an overwhelming amount of support from our community, police department, the FBI and different forms of media, my Opal is still missing. To this day, I still like to believe she is not (unintelligible). This is too much for my family and me to handle. We want her back. I need to know where Opal is. I can’t stand this. I have made so many pleas to whoever has her, to return our little girl home safely. I need your help, Sylvia. Where is Opal? Where is she?

(Video montage ends.)
WILLIAMS: Sylvia, I have to take a little break before we go into this one.
BROWNE: All right.
WILLIAMS: I’m going to take a break. We’ll be right back after this.
At this point, a commercial break is shown.
WILLIAMS: Sylvia, we just looked at this tape. Please welcome Audrey to the show. Audrey, come on up here. Come up here.
(Mrs. Sanderford enters from audience, sits by Sylvia Browne. There is a brief pause, after which Sylvia Browne speaks.)
BROWNE: She’s… not… dead. But what bothers me – now I’ve never heard of this before, but for some reason, she was taken and put into some kind of a slavery thing and taken into Japan. The place is Kukouro. Or Kukoura. I don’t know anything about it, but…
WILLIAMS: Kukouro?
BROWNE: Kukouro, Kukoura. There can’t be that many places…
WILLIAMS: There’s also a Kuro.
BROWNE: No, no. This is… This is…
WILLIAMS: No, but two…
BROWNE: This is many syllables. Kukouro.

BROWNE: So she was taken and put on some kind of a boat or a plane and taken into white slavery.
(A photo montage of Opal is shown over the following.)
WILLIAMS: You know what I can do for you, Audrey, we can put Detective Joe Culligan on this…
BROWNE: Yeah, do it.
WILLIAMS: … and see what we can find out anything on this.
SANDERFORD: All right. Thank you.
(End of photo montage.)
WILLIAMS: We… we’ll… you see Sylvia, she was playing… Opal was playing out in front of the house, within earshot of Grandma and Grandpa and gone.
BROWNE: It doesn’t… It can be that quick. I know.
WILLIAMS: What… what, did somebody drive by and pick her up? Who is it?
BROWNE: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-uhh. It… Yeah, it was a man. He wasn’t Asian. He was white. And then he sold her, like, on the Asian market of some kind.
BROWNE: And Montel, you know, I’m so afraid. I’m getting more and more of this now.
WILLIAMS: But you know what? I’m going to tell you something. We… we have heard more and more about this.
BROWNE: I never used to hear about this.
WILLIAMS: Child… children are being… you look at milk cartons and you see missing children. Some of them have been taken other places on the planet.
BROWNE: Mmm-hmm. Exactly.
WILLIAMS: Okay. Maybe we… we’ll have to do a show about it. (To an audience member) Yes ma’am. You had a question.

From this point on, Montel and Sylvia take unrelated questions from the rest of the crowd. Mrs. Sanderford is still seated, on camera, and continues looking understandably distraught throughout.
According to friends of the family, despite Montel Willams’ promise of help, the family never again heard from Williams or Browne.

How Accurate Was the Reading?

Typically, when Sylvia Browne does a reading on the Montel Williams show, we have no way of knowing whether she was right or wrong.
Not so this time.
In August of 1999, convicted child molester Richard Lee Franks was arrested and charged with Opal’s abduction. He admitted to having picked her up and given her a ride (the children who witnessed Opal’s abduction say that a man grabbed her, struck her when she screamed, threw her into his truck, and drove off with her).
Franks was convicted of Opal’s abduction in September of 2000, and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
In late December of 2003, the skeletal remains of a small girl were found in a remote area near Fort Worth, Texas. The pink Barbie tennis shoes found with the remains matched those Opal Jo was wearing when she was abducted. A few days later, Tarrant County medical examiners announce that DNA extracted from a tooth confirmed that the remains were those of Opal Jo Jennings. The cause of death: blunt force trauma to the head.
Was Opal still alive when Sylvia talked with Mrs. Sanderford? Not according to a friend of Opal’s family, who says “It was determined that Opal was killed by trauma to the head with(in) several hours of her abduction.”
Was Opal in Japan? No. She was found 13 miles from where she was taken, in Texas.
It would seem that the only thing that Sylvia Browne got right in the case was the fact that Opal had been abducted by a white man. Not only is this not a very impressive “hit,” but it was already known thanks to eyewitnesses, and had been reported nationally. It would have been easy for Sylvia to find this information on the news or on the web, and to drop it into this reading to help convince the family she knew what she was talking about.
But no matter how wrong her reading was, Sylvia didn’t have to worry, since the Montel Show would not be doing any follow-up segment.

Sylvia Browne’s supporters like to talk about how much “comfort” she brings to people.
I wonder how comforted Mrs. Sanderford and the rest of her family felt.
It is bad enough that Sylvia Browne gave them the false hope that Opal was still alive. But she planted in their heads the image of their little girl in “white slavery” - which generally refers to forced prostitution - on the other side of the planet, where they would have had almost no chance of ever finding her. They had to live with that thought for the next four years, until Opal’s remains were finally found.
When confronted with failures of her predictions and readings, Sylvia Browne likes to say that she can’t be right all of the time. If that is the case, why on Earth would she ever say something as horrific as this to a family unless she was 100% certain it was correct?
But if Sylvia Browne is simply a cold reader – as I believe she is – then this is about the cruelest, most disturbing example of cold reading I have ever seen.

The above is a very accurate analysis of the show, with direct quotes. I am not giving you anything against Sylvia Browne except for her own words in the case of a local child abduction where her error, for whatever reason, surely caused the family of this child great grief and confusion.
My main motive for distributing this flyer is to try to inform those of you who have just paid hard earned money to see Sylvia Browne, and may be expecting her to solve a tragic and terrible crime that has occurred in your life, Sylvia has been wrong before.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

La Paisanita

North Oak Cliff has delivered yet again.

Taqueria La Paisanita has no website. Hell no! Hell, they probably don't even speak english.

I had heard of this place from the regulars at Trade Winds Social Club, my favorite bar. They said it was the best Taco Place in North Oak Cliff, which is notorious for having the most bad ass of tacos in the metroplex.

La Paisanita is ugly, sketchy looking. Its sign is hard to see, and instead of saying La Paisanita on its neon sign, it says "Ricos Tacos."

When you go there the doors are confusing aluminum gateways that make you feel like you are entering the visiting room of a local jail. Luckily they have big gaps you can crawl out of if you are afraid.

There are flies everywhere. I felt like I was in Ethiopia waiting for Sally Struthers to feed me.

Then the food arrived.

The portions looked very small, though the price was great. The most expensive thing on the menu is less than $4.

Then I dug in, the spices, the onions, the green sauce, and the delicious meat. Oh my goodness, I was in heaven.

The food was so delicious that I felt like the flies crawling on my face where cherubs heralding the coming of the Lord. And the body of Christ was definitely stuffed in my tacos.

The green sauce, oh my God, the green sauce. The green sauce must have heroin as its secret ingredient. I felt the sticky sweetness on my fingers beckoning not to be wasted.

I licked my fingers.

I had two dishes. Two dishes, not because I was hungry, but because I was instantly addictive.

I totally recommend this taco stand as part of the Metroplexian canon. The only excuse to not eat here is vegeterianism.

The place definitely has no vegetarian options, be warned.

But if you are okay with eating other sentient beings, they are exceptionally tasty at this boliche!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Deep Ellum Rising: Trees

(Above video taken from papalokey at youtube)

So on May 22, I met up with some of my friends from Lubbock to go see Coalesce and Converge at Trees.

This was an important event for me. I have been listening to Coalesce, at least, for over 10 years. My friends who were with me had even longer history than that. In Lubbock we all learned about our music by word of mouth back then. My friends would drive on pilgrimages to Austin to go see bands and would return to Lubbock preaching the gospel of awesome they saw on the road. Then our music scene would be affected by this memetic experience.

Coalesce and Converge were like that. We never booked them in Lubbock, but anyone who was worth a fuck listened to them.

I never thought I'd get to see Coalesce play. They were some part of rock and roll history that I had totally missed.

Not so.

I have mixed feelings about Deep Ellum. Once upon a time Deep Ellum was the destination for Lubbock Rock and Roll pilgrimages. Then it declined.

My friends who are locals here will tell stories about Deep Ellum that rises Dallas's street cred well above Austin. But its not like that right now.

On Tuesday I went on a walk in Deep Ellum, and it was like a ghost town.

There were as many panhandlers there as there where businesses open.

The whole reason I was down there is because I was looking for the Dharma Punx meditation group, which is what it sounds like, a meditation group for punk rockers. Old Deep Ellum would have had this. New Deep Ellum had an address posted on myspace that doesn't exist.

In fact my failure to find the Dharma Punx is analogous to many of my disappointments with Deep Ellum. I hear about cool stuff being there, and then I can never find it. I find only a skeleton of something that used to be cool.

Last night it was different. Saturday night and Deep Ellum had veins.

My buddy and I got drunk in his car so we wouldn't have to pay the steep prices at the bar. Though I did buy two whisky-diet cokes at Tree's for $8. Which, all things considered, is actually a pretty reasonable price.

We went to the Deep Ellum 7-Eleven to get more beer and to use the bathroom. The bathroom had a sign that said "out of order" on it. I knew this game. I used to work at a 7-eleven in Lewisville and in Lubbock. The panhandlers are the cause for this sign not the bathroom. I went in the bathroom and tested it, worked just fine. Thats how common panhandlers are in Deep Ellum, but you take the bad with the good right?

More booze in the car.

Trees is a rock and roll club. Its like the Granada in Lower Greenville. Its a place to see the bigger bands for a self-respecting seasoned rock and roller. I don't go to arena concerts. I need to be close to the band. I need to connect with them emotionally. This was definitely doable at Trees and I was very, very close to Coalesce as they played.

That was the best thing about the show, it was the level of intimacy I felt like I was able to achieve with the band. Coalesce is a band I love and respect, so is Converge. Both of these bands invented so many musical techniques that are now common place in metalcore, hardcore, metal and other genres that I love. To be able to be so close to them, and to be around an audience that had such a deep appreciation for this kind of music was inspiring.

I rocked out. I rocked out like I was 15 years younger than I am. I had bruises and scratches on me when I went home, and they feel just like they did when I was a kid. Bad ass!

I joked when describing Coalesce to my friends that they make Pantera sound like Journey.

Converge was great and their pioneering contribution to hardcore and its current streams of musical experimentation were clear to me seeing them live at this awesome bar.

The service was great, even with the poor guy who was working in the bathroom when I vomited all over the place.

This vomit was like my scratches and bruises, all part of the epic glory of a tantric rock and roll experience.

I should probably add that the above bands are Straight Edge bands and would probably disapprove of my use of the mind altering substance known as Ethanol (EtOH in chemistry) otherwise known as common booze.

It was my first time hearing Gaza, they totally fucking rocked balls.

I am hating myself for writing this review because it is overwhelmingly positive.

I pride myself, as my regular readers know, on talking shit when I feel it is well placed. It just so happens that my experience was overwhelmingly positive.

But to live up to my reputation I should point out that sometimes Trees schedule is a little off on its website. For example if one goes to the website for the Psychotica show coming up on June 2, the time is correct. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. But if you follow through to purchase the ticket, the time changes to 7:00 am. I know, I know, its nitpicky, but I had to find something negative to say.

If Trees can just spread its style a little more, then I feel optimistic for the future of our legendary neighborhood: Deep Ellum.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The New Fumes at the Ridglea Theatre

On a Ship, Under a Bus from daniel huffman on Vimeo.

I the F.W. in DFW is for Fort Worth, it turns out.

Just kidding. Please don't accuse me of Dallas prejudice. At least not yet.

I just don't know the rest of the Metroplex as well, but this Friday I got some Ft. Worth on the bottom of my shoes.

The experience met with my approval. Ft. Worth is Conan the Barbarian strong.

My friend and I endured the 30 mile one way drive to the Ridgelea Theater in Fort Worth. We saw the Ft. Worth skyline like a forest of penises on the side of the highway. The band Joy Division loaned us some angst for the drive.

The Ridgelea was pleasantly sketchy. Maybe Reno's Chop Shop could take some hints.

We were lead to the front door by a friendly bouncer through a hole in the fence. Like going out the snatch of destiny.

We emerged on the other size. Dimly lit Ft.Worthery embraced us as we went in the club. The second deity we passed in the Ft. Worthean book of the dead was a biker type with a mighty mullet. And we were shown some stairs.

We ascended into a lovely purgatory, a small dive bar playing the finest of metal to my heart. Pantera, Slayer, Megadeth, Danzig and the Misfits were all cherubs on this slightly cyberdelic journey.

When we arrived good noise rock was playing. It included a three piece band, guitar, drums and violin. Good trio.

The names of these bands are lost to me.

They were never emphasized.

The next two bands were pure noise. Sound effects with electrical interference. It was tough. Mind numbing. Fucked up. And a little boring.

The second band did it with throwing furniture.

Bouncers came down like Judge Dredd and escorted the cultural trouble makers.

Then one of my favorite DFW deities emerged.

The cat-headed New Fumes plays a kind of music that I can only describe as pure unrefined 21st century rock and roll. It washes me like the blood of Shiva. I am purified in its ultra-dimensional afterbirth.

The New Fumes is Frog Boy. Film maker freakazoid from heaven who puts strange cyberdelic movies and molestations on a projector screen while playing guitar and interfacing with his Mac Book Pro and other digital friends. The outcome is a pure rock and roll.

The kind that defies genre.

The best kind.

I am always honored and happy to see this act.

I was not alone in my adoration. Everyone was happy after such a strange Twilight Zone of art night. People demanded an encore, as they should.

I patted his back, hopefully not leaving the poor bastard feeling sexually abused.

I left with a smile on my face, and wishing this motherfucker could get some cash to record an album.

Did Any One Teach You, We are the City of Bonnie and Clyde

There is a true and deep power in Dallas TX.

This power has the strength to make youths take up guns and make whatever they want theirs to own. It has the power to cut through fear and make one truly free.

This power is found in good locally brewed country music.

I saw such music at the Goat. A east dallas bar, last Sunday night.

The Goat looked to me like it could be part of Patrick Swazie's movie Roadhouse.

I came here to see one thing.

Saddletramp, a band I know has the power of ancient Dallas rebellion in spades.

This power made Comanche's eat the flesh of their enemies, and it loaded Bonnie and Clyde's guns.

This power was found in the string bending fury of Saddletramp last Sunday.

The patronage of the Goat was a perfect ratio, like the Fibonacci sequence, true locals: bikers: people who look like they know who Jesus Lizard is.

Rock and Roll was thick here, thick enough to power a light saber. But rock and roll was not played, homage was paid to an elder god: Country.

If I ever gun down my enemies, or go through another divorce, Saddletramp will be my buckler and my sword. I will drink whisky for breakfast and listen to this darkness and take the world by the balls once again. So glorious.

Sometimes its nice to be able to write nice things.

Dragna was the second band that night. These guys are a couple of true rock and rollers. Music for treating the gas pedal on your car like it powered a half ton penis in the highway lanes.

Goddamnit, I swear I don't usually write so nice.

If this is your first metroplexian post, please check another one to see that I am not squeemish about spilling hate for a mediocre experience.

Dragna did not play its great rock music, but stuck to country.

The singer is pretty good at imitating Jonnhy Cash for country vocals, not exactly what I would call a fault. Don't get me wrong he has his own voice, but you get it if you are thinking Cash for pitch and melody.

The music Dragna plaid this night was low key, music to transmute one's liver into gold.

But jamming their CD and their myspace tracks makes me feel more like driving fast with a hard-on.

God, I love Rock and Roll.

Finally Lownesome Losers.

These guys were good. I can tell. But I was so amused by the ambiance, and I had a few comrades from the dayjob with me making great talk as my femme fatale smoked out front.

These bands played with an empty tip jar.

For that, everyone who was in that bar should burn in hell. I was forced to tip by the singer of Saddletramp, like a good samaritan freeing me from sin.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Houlihan's: Why Addison Sucks

Once when I was riding the DART redline I over heard a guy from New Jersey (who had moved here) tell a crowd of tourists that Addison is where its at.

I have a softspot for the Jersey folks, so I assumed he was right.

Over the years I have developed strange and mixed feelings about Addison. I love Dunn's brother coffee there, where I armed myself for many a UTD college exam.

I like the Addison Improv, the comedy club, and have been meaning to write a review of it for a while now.

I like the Flying Saucer, and its beer collection which makes a beer snob like me weep tears of joy. But overall I hate the whole Addison vibe. Perhaps I love-hate it, in the sense that it gives me a weird sense of Dallas snobbery while I reject everything that it stands for.

Addison is a mall. It is a giant fucking mall that happens to be laid out on streets. Namely Beltline, it hugs the Dallas North Toll Road from the 635 to Beltline, and it borders Richardson and Farmer's Branch.

So because people get told on the train that Addison is the best DFW has to offer, I feel like I have to be town crier on this one.

Addison is great for people who are completely out of touch with rock and roll and want to fake it for a night. Addison is great for people who have $50 to spend a night on entertainment.

Addison may have a sexy high society angle, but I see this kind of high society the way I see lawyers and doctors on Harley's :as totally fake!

Houlihans is an Addison bar which truly embodies these failures.

My friends and I went to Houlihan's to celebrate a birthday, which at most bars would have been an excuse to milk us for all kinds of money and festivity. Not at Houlihan's, from the moment we arrived we were treated like the help who had accidently wondered in from the street.

I was already laughing and skeptical from the second I went in, knowing the drinks would be expensive, but then here's where it gets funny.

We go in and ask about happy hour.

It is happy hour, but happy hour is only available at the bar.

So we are given a table for our birthday party, and at this table we pay full price for drinks. Or we can get up and go to the bar and pay half price.

Most of us do go to the bar to pay half price, and everyone should. But I feel the whole time that we are there like the waitress feels like we are a nuisance. This is confirmed when at some point she says that she doesn't think the bar tender will like it if we all go to the bar.

Well whoop-dee-fucking-doo.

The place cost a fortune. Even with happy hour drink prices, and had nothing to offer in return.

No music, no art, just the bourgioise experience of drinking in Addison.

And for the record I am a seasoned drinker in both Hollywood and Manhattan, Addison ain't shit!

DFW is full of great bars.

And if I wanted to have a drinking experience carefully tailored by corporate experience I could at least go to the House of Blues and hear some music while it happens.

This place was like Chilli's, only twice as expensive, and it thought it was a bar which Paul McCartney might show up (but it wasn't).

I shouldn't condemn all of Addison due to the negative experience I had at Houlihan's but it does feed my prejudice.

I go to Addison, and I feel like I am in a 10 square mile mall. And due to my philosophy that a good time in the Metroplex should not be expensive, the ritzy vibe that I get from so many establishments in Addison drive me crazy. For example, I am sure that Fogo de Chao; the Brazilian restaurant in Addison, is fabulous. But at about $30 (and up) a plate its out of range for me. There are many such establishments clustered in Addison and places like Houlihan's have prices that are just as high and nothing to offer.

DFW is generally riddled with places like this.

I could say much the same about the West End or Uptown Dallas.

It just irritates me when I know so many good times, overflowing with art and creativity, are available for much more reasonable prices all over the Metroplex.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rise of the Amazons at Reno's Chop Shop

Alright, if you are a massive ignoramus and you don't know that the Amazons were mythological warrior women in ancient Greece you have two options : get a library card, or go kill yourself.

So when I call this post the "Rise of the Amazons" it is because I saw a bunch of awesome bands fronted by women at Reno's Chop Shop.

These bands include, One Eyed Doll, Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs, Screaming Red, and I also saw one other band called Eighth Circuit.

Gawd I fucking hate adding links on blogger!

So one more big fat link for you all, all the bad ass pictures from this show were provided by genius rock photographer Scott Hurst, and if you have a band and you want to look good doing it, you need to hire him right now!

So I heard about this show from Scott, who was pretty jazzed about seeing One Eyed Doll. He sent me a cool video from One Eyed Doll and I was sold. Truth is I was sold slightly before because I had read this article in Lit Monthly called "Chicks Reign."
Lit Monthly is probably DFW's best hipster magazine, though my loyalties to the Observer are unquestionable, the Observer's around town is written for people who can thoughtlessly blow $50 a night, which is not me!

Lit Monthly has one problem, all its reviews are positive. But they are also very descriptive and you can kind of figure out what you like if you read the details. Reading this magazine makes me feel like I have a great responsibility to point out shit and problems where I go and with the shows I see. If all the reviews are positive how is anyone to stand out as exceptional?

Lucky for all of you I am going to talk plenty of shit on this post.

Reno's is a biker bar in Deep Ellum. All in all its a cool place, but biker bars make me nervous. Probably due to my own vast arrogance and self doubt. I like to think I am the most macho bad ass that has ever lived, and large crowds of bikers put that assumption in to question.

As my wife and I approached Reno's we overheard some bikers bullshitting in the parking lot, and one sagely barbarian was pontificating to his friends, "Everybody's gotta have someone to hate..."

Indeed. Hopefully tonight it wouldn't be me.

When we got to the show the price $10 per person, all in all, it could have been worse. Apparently One Eyed Doll has a very strong following, and $10 was probably their fault.

When we got in Screaming Red was playing, much to my delight!

Screaming Red are a beautiful bunch of ladies, and a drummer who resembles Uncle Fester, who played with total fury. My unquestionable knowledge of punk rock tells me that this is the real deal and that this genre may well be alive and well. I was very pleased and bought a shot glass and a CD from this beautiful band. Total cost for CD and shotglass was $10, and the CD is in my car (the UFO on the logo) right now. Unfortunately I only got to hear a couple of songs from these ladies (and Fester) and missed out on too much of the live experience.

Screaming Red is fast, furious, provocative, and has good stage presence. Though all in all they were a little upstaged by the theatrics of Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs and One Eyed Doll. Don't get me wrong, I really liked Screaming Red.

I also, having lived in Lewisville for a little while, I have to give Screaming Red some love for being from this scary ass suburb. Lewisville is full of violent kids on xanex who all think they belong to gangs and wonder around among the possums causing much chaos. I worked a graveyard shift at a 7-11 there and could probably write a whole book about the drug addled violence of Lewisville.

Here is some more Screaming Red eye candy for you, remember Scott Hurst is the truth, the way and the life:

Just to give some more texture to the environment at Reno's, while most people seemed very nice and welcoming, there was a tough looking scary old bastard wandering around after Screaming Red wearing a T-Shirt that said "I got this shirt from your girlfriend's floor." He looked like he could walk onto the Set of the Sons of Anarchy and get a part. He seemed capable of only saying one word: "nigger." Which he said over and over again to anyone who paid him any mind.

Now for some of my readers the blatant offensiveness of this act is all the more reason to go check Reno's out. Hell to make friends with this guy, and maybe even make babies with him. But somehow I don't think he was doing this as an act of post-modernist critique so much as he really loved saying "nigger" over and over.

This was also accentuated by the fact that there were lots of scantily clad stripper girls at the show, wearing panties and garter belts, and looking very sexy. I thought these girls were celebrating their sexuality at a show fronted by so many beautiful and strong women. It turns out I was wrong, I will come back to this later.

But if you want hard, fast and real music, you are not going to get it at an art museum.

My favorite act of the night was Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs. They were amazing. They were punk rock alive and well and with a pulse approaching a heart attack. They were sexy and ugly at the same time. They were in your face. They covered the Iggy Pop with perfect channeling of the essence of this Punk rock god.

I am now a totally sold out fan for these 21st century punk rock gods.

Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs have enough of the style of GG Allen to be amazing, but not so much that you have to worry about leaving the show smeared in shit. The energy of this band was impossible to match, and they probably prevented me from being as fully converted to One Eyed Doll as I could have been.

One Eyed Doll followed Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs, which unfortunately for them, is an incredibly hard act to follow.
I want to see Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs over and over and over and over again.

Oh my fucking god I love these guys!

Alright the last band I will have anything nice to say about is One Eyed Doll. But first let me say the things that are not nice.

Everybody in the crowd seems to have seen One Eyed Doll before and loved them. Admittedly the music was very good. At this show it was a two piece band, a beautiful front woman, and a tough looking drummer. Apparently they were short one band member, which at this show was replaced by a stuffed Unicorn with a guitar ductaped to it.

The singer could do and say anything and the crowd ate it up. They loved it. They wanted more of anything she had to offer.

I wish I could have been at the shows that made them act like that. This was not one of them.

This was my first time to see One Eyed Doll, and aside from really liking the music I kept thinking, "Less Talk, More Rock!"

The singer of One Eyed Doll probably monologued minute for minute just as much as she performed songs. That means that if I had missed half the show, I would not have missed a single song. I guess she has enough hardcore fans and doesn't need to impress new comers.

But, with that said. The music was great. She had a vocal style reminiscent of Jello Biafra, the lyrics were dark and psychological, and I really fucking loved the music. When she was giving me music, which is about half the time.

I will go see One Eyed Doll again, I liked it enough for that. But I will be crossing my fingers that music dominates the performance. Or, perhaps she can put spoken word performance on the bill so I can know what I am getting myself into.

The last band was Eighth Circuit. The singer of this band was the only male frontman of the night. He looked like he had spent the last several years of his life trying to perfect looking like both Marilyn Manson and the singer of Korn.

At first I was like, Okay, I need to be open minded. He might surprise me. I have a soft spot for Marilyn Manson.

Then the true purpose of the strippers was revealed as they all got on stage and started dancing to the music.

Which could have been a cool effect. If they were dancing to the music, not the imaginary hip hop music in their minds. Ass shaking Ludacriss would have been proud of was put to what I can only describe as a failed impotent attempt to sound like System of a Down.

The band might have been mediocre if it weren't for the ridiculous theatrics with the stripppers and the front mans Marilyn Korn costume, but the theatrics made me certain that this band had no redeeming qualities.

I will not go see them again, unless they become a completely different act with the same name.

So thats what I did last saturday.

Go Dallas!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shout Out

Alright Metroplexians.

I am about to share a bit of a secret I have discovered in this city.

In my adventures in Dallas I have searched far and wide for shit worth seeing, hearing, and doing. I am an anti-boredom extremist, almost to the point of religion.

I have found a couple of exciting local acts, and when I say "exciting local act," you have to think of something along the lines of the feeding of the five thousand.

For me finding an exciting local act is the meaning of life.

An exciting local act, is the purest fires of the muses germinating within your grasp. For me an exciting local act violates your mind (consentually or otherwise) into giving birth to the bastards of inspiration.

For me an exciting local act is the potion of the gentle Dr. Jeckyll and the inspiring Mr. Edward Hyde.

Life is shit without good art, and good art should be close enough to touch. This is my mantra.

The Intelligence Community is an exciting local act.

For one the blend two major art forms, film and music. The Intelligence Community delivers and improvised video show of intense imagery as a companion piece to their music.

The music is electronic, but is more like a cybernetic drum circle than techno. The music is electronic, but abandon all notions of cliche dance music.

When one is properly engaged with the Intelligence Community, they are having a pounding, carefully programmed, experience driven into their optic lobe of the brain. Colors are carefully hammered in such a way as to reshape your brain, for better or worse. These colors are delicately interspersed with provocative film clips. Usually images of war, exhibitionism, and social failure.

The sounds come in and pull you into the great sea, where you transcend Samsara and see yourself as you truly are. You are powerful, yet serene. Confronting your anxiety, and transmuted by the program.

The Intelligence Community is a proud conspiracy. Like digital freemasons.

Luckily for all of you, my dear readers, the Intelligence Community plays at Lee Harvey's this Sunday, May 2, at around 8:00 pm.

I will be there. And so will many of the finest Metroplexians our erectile sprawl has to offer.

I hope to see you there.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Granada on Greenville

Where I grew up in Lubbock TX., they had a little district called the Depot District. I don't know if it is still this way now, but when I was growing up, the Depot District was a playground for Frat Boys, in which they could do whatever they wanted to locals with license from the local authorities.

When I first saw the area called Lower Greenville in the Metroplex, this is what it reminded me of.

A sea of douchebags with islands of $10 parking in their midst. It looked like a realm built to punish me for my sins.

I went to the Libertine, which was elected the Dallas Observer's best bar in Dallas this year. I don't know how the Observer makes its judgments, but it was definitely not based on poor folks feeling at home and welcome. Maybe if I went more often.

But this time I spent a bunch of money, didn't meet anyone, didn't have a good time.

In general the atmosphere made me feel broke and unworthy, and that I would never make enough money to have a good time in the metroplex.

But on my first impression, it rubbed me the wrong way. I suspect those folks at the Observer have made it a hangout and that they feel warmly about it. More power to them.

For me that bar is Tradewinds Social Club. To each their own.

I developed a phobia of Lower Greenville. But I was on a quest, a quest to see The Dark Town Strutters, a local DFW Band who I have heard online, love them, and have never caught them in person.

So I saw they were playing soon at The Granada, opening for Big Pink. I had never heard of Big Pink.

I emailed the Granada with a link to this blog and asked for a press pass, and in an act of un-rivaled coolness they put me on the list.

However, the tickes were $13, and for a band as big as the Big Pink turned out to be, it was well worth it. Sage Francis is coming in June, and I plan on paying to get in.

The Granada was a beautifully gallant old-school movie theatre, surrounded by true metroplexians huddled together in a smoking frenzy in front of the building.

It was a smoke signal for a lost a brave.

The whole vibe of the place is friendly and cool. It is well decorated. The people who work there are friendly and the patrons were diverse and did not seem stuck up.

It is definitely a big show venue. A place comprable to the House of Blues, but a lot hipper (and probably cheaper).

Ticket costs are reasonable. Drink costs are not. But, if I get in for free I will definitely buy drinks.

Next time I will probably take a flask to get my brain in the proper state.

Parking is retarded in greenville, but the Granada is a reasonable walking distance from residential parking, which I used for $0.

I saw Big Pink, which was the headliner. Pretty good, but not local. Big Pink was like some members of Depeche Mode did a little too much smack and wondered off, found themselves in front of an audience and tried to fake it.

Missed the Dark Town Strutters, who was opening, and who I really wanted to see.

The diversity of the locals is important because it tells that the place is not pretentious. The hipsters were great and fun to look at.

I enjoyed seeing a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt. Cute girls in cool outfits like red dresses in post punk chic. I saw a good looking girl with a septum piercing and suspenders, an outfit that reminded me of youthful rebellion.

All in all, it was a suprisingly positive experience. I prefer to see shows at Dive Bars, but for the next step up the Granada does it well and in range.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tradewinds Social Club

So the Granada in lower Greenville was nice enough to give me a hook up so that I could do a review.

I will do a review, 99% of what I say will be positive. But as I search for the words to describe my experience at the Granada all I can think of is my experiences at my favorite DFW dive bar. The Tradewinds Social Club. Its found on lovely 2483 West Davis Street surrounded by a cozy nest of taco restaurants. It is a white box of a building, which if you didn't know what you were looking for, you would pass it. I did.

I have gone to Tradewinds about a dozen times in the last few months, and every day I regret that I cannot go there more.

First of all lets talk about drinks. I am a cheapskate.

I owe car payments, rent, I have to buy groceries, student loans, credit card payments, random bullshit expenses that creep out of nowhere. I am broke. I don't have any fucking money. I make enough money to pay my bills, and I am grateful for that, but not much more.

So I am not willing to go anywhere that I can regularly expect to pay $5-$7 for a drink. Maybe someday the Metroplexian will be considered the coolest blog on earth and people will pay me for my thoughts, but right now I am like most metroplexians trying to keep my head above water.

I drink wells. Usually whisky and coke or rum and coke. I pay about $2, regularly at Tradewinds. I think there may be a time that its not that cheap, but I don't know when it is. And I go there on weekdays and weekends. Fucking aye, I love tradewinds.

Two, lets talk about people. Dallas does have townies. Genius true artists who bleed ideas and need a playground for envelope pushing. They hang out at Tradewinds, and the next part is what is truly amazing... everyone is friendly.

I bullshit with a new person every time I go to Tradewinds.

Next, bad ass shit. I have popped my Kareoke cherry at tradewinds, I have gone to bad ass shows, and the rare great bird that I now hunt with all my heart: The Dark Town Strutters, regularly plays there. I was going to the Granada to try to see the Dark Town Strutters for the record, but was prevented by a femme fatale (my wife).

Cool bar staff, fore sure. Phil Jester is a great host and makes you feel instantly at home, and so do all the other bar staff (whose names I have not yet learned).

Bad ass pizza. One thing on the menu, pizza. Why do we need anything else? I have long been a disciple of the eastern mystical martial arts of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Pizza is the only food group. It is the food pyramid itself, and it is done well at Tradewinds.

Movies, every wednesday nights Tradewinds hosts themed movie nights. The fucking dayjob, the fat leech that it is, has robbed me of too much energy to attend one of these... but I am dying to. Said event is called Video Rehab.

I am a man who still believes in Rock and Roll. I believe in Rock and Roll as some cosmic spirit that exploded upon the earth, and has donned many masks. I believe that much of what is true and real about Rock and Roll is found in other genre's, like electronica (for example). But if Rock and Roll is the stuff of youth, and if Rock and Roll is the arts that make you strong and make you able to seize the night to the fullest, then rock and roll can be found at Tradewinds. In its pure unrefined form, oozing from the pores of the patrons, especially the regulars.

There is only one god and Rock and Roll is its prophet.

In Dallas, Tradewinds is definitely prime real estate in the temples of rock.

I highly recommend it.

I am going there tonight.

I expect I will come back to my pad, wiser, more creative, and with a sharpened lust for life.

A bar blessed by Dionysus!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dallas Comic Book Chic (Part 1)

This Metroplexian is a hardcore comic book fan.

I am a dyed in the wool fanboy. I am a comic book enthusiast. I learned about Metal from Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vintage comics which showed Michael Angelo sporting a Metallica shirt.

I went to my first comic book convention at the tender age of 11. I learned to read with comics, and I still read them.

Comic books are a huge influence on the work of Quentin Tarantino, Stephen King, the metal band Anthrax, television hits all over the place. Comic books are important to anyone who cares about literature, movies, and popular culture.

I believe in short to be a well rounded person of quality you must maintain a healthy interest in comic books as an artistic medium. In this present era large comic books known as graphic novels have won Pulitzer prizes. Graphic novels are written for an adult audience in addition to a rich selection of quality stuff for children.

A hipster who finds themselves raising children would do good to see if comics can be something for a smart adult to enjoy with their kids.

So finding good Comic Book Chic is as serious a part of my repertoire as going to bad ass shows, art showings, and bars.

The Metroplex is fertile ground for Comic Book Chic.

We host at least one Eisner Award winning Comic Book shop: Zeus. For the uninitiated the Eisner is the award given by the comic book industry for the highest quality work.

The Metroplex hosts a Comic Book discussion club called the Dallas Comic Book Club which meets at the Half Price Books on Loop 12 and the 75. This is a full blown book club for adults who can handle heavy conversation about literature.

The Metroplex has locally published comic books written primarily for an adult audience.

The Metroplex regularly hosts comic book conventions.

Today however I would like to highlight one Metroplex comic book shop, Keith's Comics, and one Metroplex Comic Book story.

How Keith's Comics Store Manager was fucked over by proto-fascist douchebaggery born of Texan theocratic tendencies.

The story, widdled down to an elevator speech, is that a guy working at a bad ass, forward thinking, artistically oriented comic book shop sold a "dirty" comic book. The comic book may have been "dirty" in the same way as Pauline Reage's Story of O, or it may have been "dirty" like the average Clive Barker novel, or you know "dirty" like photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The so called "dirty" comic book was sold in an adults only section to an adult, an adult cop.

This guy, Jesus Castillo, was convicted of a crime, fined and forced to go to the same kind of counseling that is mandated for rapists and child molesters.

I feel that insults are occasionally well placed. In general I don't call cops "pigs." Though if I was going to try to imagine an asshole who abuses his civic position which demands a great adherence to civilized ethics, I would envision him/her as a pig in a cop suit. For all the problems we endure in this city this fucking oinker throws the book at a guy who is selling adult comic books to intellectual eclectic adults.

This pig who was probably acting under religious pretenses, because only religion bans victimless crimes, saw it fit to make an honest metroplexian produce a fucked up background check for the rest of his life.

For this reason alone I knew I had to check out Keith's comics, like one might feel the need to see the shores of Normandy.

I spent about $125 there, normally an indulgence I would regret.

I picked up comic book art supplies, so my pretenses as an illustrator can be fanned. I bought a fist-full of locally produced independent comics, you know, illegal contraband. And I bought all of the other adult, and superhero crap I have been jonesin for.

I was a true american. Going into a manic shopping frenzy fueled by my love of Free Speech. Don't be surprised if the next DFW panhandler who chases you down is me.

I have only one complaint about Keith's, the DC Vertigo comics were disorganized. DC Vertigo is the grown up comic books made by Warner Bros. subsidiary DC Comics. Its usually great stuff. Indy to the core, the kind of comics you would see reviewed in Rolling Stone. This is my primary source of comic book addiction, and I don't like having to dig for them.

Other than that I will give Keith's two thumbs up. Especially for the aspiring comic book artist, as they stocked bristol board, and for the active self-publisher since they seem ultra-friendly to locally produced indy press.

Until the next time dear readers, at the same Bat-time on the same Bat-channel.