Friday, November 17, 2006

Way to go Dr. Frank

Remember The Mr. T Experience, one of the finest pop punk bands ever? I've lost touch with them (they still perform occasionally so I've heard), but their 90's records still get played regularly at FTC Headquarters. The band revolved around singer Frank Portman aka Dr. Frank. Let me tell you...this man is a genius in writing simple songs with beautifully funny cynical lyrics like "Nixon had his puppy, Charles Manson had his klan, but god forbid that I get a girlfriend" (from 'Even Hitler had a Girlfriend'). With Brilliant one-liners like 'The future ain't what it used to be', 'Thank you (for not being one of them)', 'Who needs happiness (I rather have you) and 'The weather is here, wish you were beautiful' he could also have pursued a career at Hallmark. Instead Dr, Frank wrote a book, named King Dork! A fresh addition to my 'to read' list...

"Tom Henderson (a.k.a. King Dork, Chi-mo, Hender-fag, and Sheepie) is a typical American high school loser until he discovers the book, The Catcher in the Rye, that will change the world as he knows it. When Tom discovers his deceased father’s copy of the Salinger classic, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it’s just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father’s death and–oddly–reveal the secret to attracting semihot girls.
Being in a band could possibly be the secret to the girl thing–but good luck finding a drummer who can count to four."

The book has been getting a lot of good reviews and this week I read on that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have grabbed the rights to the novel. It's not yet clear whether Ferrell will actually play in the movie. All I can say is: way to go Dr. Frank!

(if you're wondering who Will Ferrel here)

Some MTX mp3's:

The Mr T Experience - Even Hitler had a Girlfriend
The Mr T Experience - I Fell For You
The Mr T Experience - She's Coming Over Tonight

Finally Friday Video's Part X

Last week I asked you for your participation in the 'Finally Friday Video' series. Maybe it's the quality that counts and not the quantity, because I got only one recommendation. However Steve Vai's 'The Audience is Listening' is a video I've never seen before and it's a great one too. Thank you Boris Yeltsin ( :] ) for your contribution! This song reminds me a little bit of Van Halen's 'Hot For Teacher'.

Speaking of Steve Vai, I'm afraid I'm not really familiar with his work. I do know he played the guitar in David Lee Roth's solo act. Therefore, I added the video of my favorite song (Yankee Rose) of his 1986 album 'Eat 'em and smile'. In this song Steve Vai literally lets his guitar do the talking and after watching it you'll understand why Van Halen stopped being cool when David Lee Roth left the band. It just doesn't get more over the top than David Lee Roth. I'm sorry that the sound is a little off sync, but I couldn't found a better one...

Wanna share your favorite video with the rest of the world? Leave a comment or e-mail me at

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Illusionist...and other (potentially) interesting movies

Most monday evenings, you can find me at the sneak preview in Leiden. The reason I rarely talk about the movies I've seen there in this blog is because most of them aren't really worthwhile. It doesn't happen very often that you see a movie you actually like, but it's always nice to hang out with friends discussing the weekend and making up stories about the lives of other people in the cinema. After last weeks dreadful movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (I read this on the internet, which sums up the movie best: "When the Dawn of the Dead remake features a better chainsaw kill than your film with the words "chainsaw" and "massacre" in the title you know you've made a stinker") it was definitely time for something more interesting, more entertaining, thought short: something better!

...and for once the cinema's manager Leo Lek (you gotta love his name) did not dissappoint. He played The Illusionist, a romantic drama/mystery with Edward Norton, Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti. The story's got a bit of a fairytale kind of feel to it. Though the romantic subplot is a little cheesy at times, it's a good story as a whole. It's the kind of movie that helps you escape the real world for an hour and a half. Now, when I'm watching a movie I'm not really paying attention to the acting. I mean, I notice when the acting sucks and that can be really annoying, but I rarely say that I'm blown away by an actor's performance...until I saw Giamatti's performance in this movie. Already nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in Cinderella Man, he really deserves one for this one. The depth he gives his role is a pleasure to watch. For his performance only. you won't regret seeing this movie!

Speaking of movies. I came across two movies that could be really interesting, especially if you're fascinated with American culture, like me.

The first one is Jesus Camp: "directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), it follows Levi, Rachael, and Tory to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in "God's army." The film follows these children at camp as they hone their "prophetic gifts" and are schooled in how to "take back America for Christ." The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future". With a synopsis like that my interest is definitely triggered. Watch the trailer below.

The second one is Fast Food Nation. The book was on my to read list, but I never got to it. Let's see how this one turns out. Again, watch the trailer below.

"When it was published in 2001, Fast Food Nation quickly became a New York T
imes bestseller, with its no-holds-barred, non-fiction exploration of "the dark side of the All-American meal." The big screen version FAST FOOD NATION is a dramatic feature penned by Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser and Oscar nominee Richard Linklater, who also serves as director. Explains Linklater: "The movie is not a documentary, but a character study of the lives behind the facts and figures. I'm more interested in fiction than non-fiction. You get to the point through human storytelling."

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Brother Kite

Remember my post on what the Beach Boys would sound like in 2006? Let me introduce you to The Brother Kite. This band is creating quite the buzz in the blogworld with their new album Waiting For The Time To Be Right. That's not surprising: with a sound that's somewhere between the Cure, the Beach Boys and/or Nada Surf, their songs already sound familiar at the first play. The dreamy athmosphere makes this album a perfect soundtrack for this autumn. You might have to get used to how this album is produced, but I feel it really works out well for them.

'I'm Not the Only One' (watch video below) is the logical choice as a first single. It's one of the faster songs on the album, an uptempo rockin' song that could have been written by Nada Surf. The album as a whole- which I'm getting into more and more with every listen- is a good mix between uptempo rockers and slower dreampop. I've put up one of both.

The Brother Kite - Bringing it Back Home

The Brother Kite - Hopeless and Unsung
The Brother Kite on MySpace

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Johnny Cash Video

I doubt that there will be a release this year that brings out more emotion in me than Johnny Cash's 'American V: A Hundred Highways'. Featuring some of his last recordings before his death, you can notice a change in his voice. It sounds weaker, but not in a negative way and it's like he's having trouble breathing. Because of this, these songs sound so pure and so vulnerable that goosebumps take over my skin and a lump settles itself in my throat. This is not an album I play often, but it gets me everytime.

The first video from the album has just been released and it features no less than 36 cameos, including Iggy Pop, Bono, Jay Z, Keith Richards and Johnny Depp. I'm surprised to find out that one of the creators of this video is...Justin Timberlake (the others being Rick Rubin, Tony Kaye and director of the beautiful 'Hurt' video: Mark Romanek). Timberlake: working on his street credibility or an honest fan? With posthumous releases, there will always be the question whether it does the deceased justice. In this case you could question whether some artists in this video deserve to be associated with "the man in black". I'm not outspoken on this matter, because I don't think Johnny would mind. It's not a bad video either, though not half as good as the 'Hurt' video. Watch the video for 'God's gonna cut you down' below and decide for yourself.

I could talk about Johnny Cash some more, but I think it's better to finish this post with some recommendations for the people that like to find out more about this legend. The movie 'Walk the Line' was ok, but the documentary 'Johnny Cash - The Last Great American' gives a better picture of his life as a whole and it's done wonderfully. Realistically and respectfully done, with touching interviews with family members, friends and artists who worked with him, you will have a hard time keeping it dry in the end. Furthermore, his autobiography Cash is a terrific read!