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.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chaser's: Biker Bar Hosts Post Punk Band

So last Saturday I went to the Deep Ellum Arts Festival.

I don't know what happened to Deep Ellum. I was never there.

I heard about it when it was cool. Back when I was in highschool, (and if your curious about my age, I have now voted in three presidential elections).

I certainly have acquired a couple of my own Deep Ellum stories, like when my buddy played the Dark Side Cafe and got into a fist fight with the lead singer of his band and the sound guy. The band in question was Johnny Handgun. I make no apologies for this band, in general. Two digit IQs annoy me.

I can also talk about the time my band Plague of Locusts played the sand bar to a crowd of unamused patrons who were there to see the local band Terms of Grey.

I love the Deep Ellum Cafe Brazil. Its comfortable. The punk rock wait staff make me feel like I am a greek god surrounded by punk rock cherubs.

But it seems that I can't afford Deep Ellum bars. At least not the way I like to go to bars, which is frequently. Deep Ellum bars are for people who go out on friday night happy to spend $100 by Monday morning. Fuck that!

See part of this here Metroplexian blog is that I am a cheapskate. I serve the DFW folks who either can't or won't spend $100 on entertainment every weekend. People like that make me entertain robbery, or at least envy.

The Deep Ellum Arts festival had more "crafts" to offer then real art. All in all it was disappointing. My favorite scores of the day included some live improv music which consisted of citars and other awesome instruments of the eastern adepts, and a visual show by my beloved white rabbit: Thor!

We also allowed ourselves, by morbid curiosity, to be seduced into a little house which existed only to advertise Camel products. Camels, as in Camel cigarettes.

You had to stand in line to get into the Camel booth, and you had to get carded and confess to being a smoker. I only smoke about a pack of cigarettes a month, but for this occasion I swore loyalty to big tobacco and felt like I was in line to see a bearded woman, or some midgets perhaps. We hoped that Joe Camel awaited with his phallic face in a carny get up.

Much of my crew swore allegiance to cigarette smoking and we went in. We were instantly peddled Snus, the disgusting tobacco pouches that Camel is now peddling and photographed with the pretty and scantily clad camel girls.

My final trophy of the Deep Ellum arts festival was a Dallas Observer lighter which had a bottle opener on it. The Observer truly knows its audience: drink, smoke, read the Observer.

Then an adventure was offered up. We had to go see the band Bipolar Express at the biker bar Chaser's.

Chaser's was definitely worth the experience. As someone who has kind of grown up on the outskirts of biker culture, I was very very stoked on this little bar.

When you go in there are portraits of bikers all over the walls. Offensive statements like : "Welcome to America, Now Speak English!" among others are also posted on the walls. And the Confederate flag was definitely preferred to the American flag. Though, this is one of those cases when the patrons probably associate the Rebel Flag more with the Dukes of Hazzard and Lynyrd Skynyrd than they do slavery and the oppression of black people.

The photos, upon closer inspection, were all portraits of members of the Scorpions. Dallas's own biker club. Internet research on the Scorpions is sketchy. They are definitely no Hell's Angels or Banditos, but they seem to be the real deal. As in, if you fuck with one you will get your bones broken.

I stood in line for my tab behind two very macho biker dudes, I fantasized about my life as a Scorpions prospect, and hid my credit card with a kitten on it (lest they think I was soft).

The bartender was friendly, charming, and had a personality you would expect from FX's Sons of Anarchy.

Then the band arrives. It is hard to describe the Bipolar Express. Its not like these guys wear matching outfits or anything, but they did stand in stark contrast to the rest of the bar which was wearing matching outfits. Biker gear!

They acted like they were at home and so did we. Then their friends became more and more apparent, again, identifiable by the lack of biker gear.

Then they played.

It was like the Jesus Lizard's long lost bastard son. Deep post punk influence. But not too proud to cover the Velvet Underground, and cover it well.

My only complaint is that the bands break was longer then the set had been up to that point, but they made up for it by being extremely friendly. And their crew jumped right on in. This is a particularly nice treat for me, since I am trying to escape the feeling of always being an outsider in this town.

In my home town the whole indy scene knows me and I have a lot of friends. I miss it, but I know there are awesome people here too and bands like Bipolar Express prove my theory.

The breaks end with what the band calls a "Safety Meeting" which consists of all the band members going to one car and returning relaxed and amused.

They must have been praying.

The finale is strong. I am lured out to the front by a local, though the crowd had thinned. One of the bar's regulars, toothless and leatherfaced, joined us on the floor. Possessed by the spirit of rock. The band beckoned that she give one of their friends a leathery hug. It was beautiful.

Then the show ended and info was exchanged.

Tab for two, less than $20.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tony Romo Sings GnR

The title is a statement of fact.

So last night I went to the House of Blues. I am not going to put a link to the House of Blues because the place is overpriced bourgoise cesspool and I had every intention of hating it.

Of course I have to hate the House of Blues. I can't afford to make it my daily hangout like ultra celebrities like Tony Romo. I can barely afford the parking, which right next door is $10. What kind of douchebag pays $10 for parking? Caveat emptor.

Ok, ok, ok... I am getting ahead of myself.

Don Enrique Recuero, your beloved author, is a post-punk gothic prince of the underground. I have sang in indy bands, I am a punk rock d.i.y. anarchist who believes that rock and roll is cultural resistance to the pig. I have the highest imaginable standards and credentials as a graduate of punk rock academy.

Do not question my authority! I am hipstertron 5000!

I do not go to the House of Blues! At least that was the plan.

Of course I have an old friend who bar tends at the House of Blues. Of course I love this old friend, and his band The Dead See.

Of course I have another friend who works there, though he shares my mediocre profession which has long hours and decent pay. Why would someone earning a middle class income keep a side job at a bar?

According to my pal, because its fucking awesome!

What nonsense!

But this friend gives me free tickets.

My wife moved to DFW recently. I scammed her with promises of fame and riches and she came and now lives in utter boredom with me.

She begins to sharpen knives when we don't go out very often, and burn pictures of me by the printer. She runs runs the pictures from her computer, and burns them. She puts the ashes in the toilet. All in all, staying home all the time is not an option.

So we went out to the House of Blues.

As I mentioned above, I narrowly escaped the $10 parking. I went down like 20 ft and paid about $1 to park at a meter. And discovered that I still have some skills as a parallel parker! Fuck yeah!

The view by the House of Blues is beautiful.

It just is. Ever since I have traveled to both New York and Los Angeles, I have decided that Dallas has all the big city cred anyone could ever want.

The sky scrapers stand like great corporate erections lighting up the night sky.

Its nice. And the corporate douchebags who run this town, go buy their $10 drinks at the House of Blues, no doubt.
But there are so many people in the House of Blues that it would just be bad statistics to pigeon hole all of them. And the place does employ two of my friends.

When we went down to the basement we saw the band Steel Panther playing to a beautiful audience of metal heads.

The band demanded that some listeners show their tits.

At least two great looking girls went on stage and bore their breast like kind, insecure mothers, preparing to suckle the metal horde.

My wife believes these two beauties were plants on the payroll of the band. Perhaps, but investigating a conspiracy can be a lot of work.

When the breast came out, the iPhones all went up and began recording.

If they were normal audience members I hope they don't have real jobs, less their bare breasts are summoned by google searches by curious employers.

After the tits we got Tony Romo: quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He caused less iPhones to rise above the crowd than the titties did. But thats life.

Here is the video.

All in all the House of Blues, despite its commercialist offenses to my post punk priesthood, was a positive Metroplexian experience.