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Music, Movies, & General Geekery: Life.
by Christopher Grant Harris

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “Hologram” by Tacocat

Tacocat: Hologram

Power may be a hologram, but this song is fer realz…

Late last week I heard a song on the radio as I was driving home from the train station and I thought to myself, “Damn, this is frikkin’ catchy!” I asked Google (hands-free, of course) to identify the song, and it said it was “Hologram” by Seattle natives Tacocat.

I looked the song up on the YouTubes and listened to it a few times, and it grew on me more and more with each listen. This is one of the most perfectly-crafted new power-pop songs I’ve heard in years. Take a listen:

Man, this song hits all of my buttons. I love the subtle harmonies that come in during the chorus & bridge. It doesn’t hurt that this is an exemplary entry into my one of my all-time favorite musical genres. I would love to be able to hear this live.

Speaking of which…

Tacocat’s new album, This Mess is a Place (from which “Hologram” comes) was just released, and they’re having an album-release party this Saturday, June 8th, at the Showbox in Seattle!

Details:
Tacocat Record Release Show (Faced Book Event)
With Nightrain and Beverly Crusher
Saturday, June 8th 9:00 PM
@ The Showbox
1426 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101 (map)
$17, 21+ (tickets)

Tacos or Cats? You decide!

Tacos or Cats? You decide!

I would love to go to this show but I’m old, tired, and can’t quite justify the time and expense. Therefore you should go in my place!

P.S. Isn’t that “visualizer” hilarious?

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Music, Seattle, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame

Movie Review: Avengers Endgame

He’s baa-aaaaack…

Avengers: Endgame (2019) ★★★½

Directed by the Russo Bros.

Endgame is good! I don’t think it works quite as successfully as Infinity War did, and there are a couple of very poorly-done things, but for the most part it’s exciting, frikkin’ hilarious, and satisfying. Spoilers ahoy!< --more-->

First the good: This movie is sooooo fuuunnnny. Practically every frame with Ant-Man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is an LOL moment. Chris Hemsworth is an unbelievably gifted comedy actor. Even Cap’m America (Chris Evans) gets at least one fantastic laugh (“Yeah, I know…”).

The central tenant of the film (and the entire 2nd act) consists of going back in time to collect the infinity stones to bring them back to the present and snap-back everyone whom Thanos snapped away at the end of Infinity War. Very notable is the fact that that the Avengers are not trying to undo the original snap and the five ensuing years. There is much discussion about time travel and the idea that Back to the Future is bullshit. The time travel rules created in this movie are thankfully internally consistent and everything makes sense, to whit: when you go back in time, you cannot change your past and therefore your present; instead you create an alternate timeline that plays out differently from that point on.

For example: Iron Man and Ant-Man accidentally create a scenario where Loki gets away at the end of the first Avengers movie, so there’s a whole timeline where he’s out there roaming freely since 2012 (this is presumably what his Disney streaming series will be about(??) since his death in Infinity War wasn’t undone). Similarly, Nebula shoots and kills her own past self during the third act, but she doesn’t vanish because 2023 Nebula has a different timeline than that version of 2014 Nebula. Iron Man invents a kind of time/space anchor (he refers to it as a GPS system, which is funny) that allows the characters to return to the mainstream 2023 when they return from the past rather than the alternate futures their time-travel shenanigans caused. It all makes sense! I’m so very happy, because so often time travel stories are incredibly lazy and inconsistent.

The least successful part of the movie is the Vormir segment. It doesn’t work because we, the viewer, already know what happens on Vormir from watching the previous movie. So when two characters go to Vormir in this movie, we know from the rules of the previous movie what is going to happen to one of them. And then the expected happens. *Cough*

Look, I know that when the audience has knowledge that the characters don’t, it can be a way of creating suspense (see Hitchcock). But once the suspense is broken (i.e., once the characters have the same knowledge as the audience), there needs to be some sort of surprise or change. Here’s what I mean: If the viewers know that there’s a bomb underneath the conference table during a mafia meeting but none of the mafioso know, that’s suspenseful. But what if the mafia discovered the bomb, but then it exploded and killed them anyway? Then it’s pointless suspense just for the sake of suspense. It feels like, well, why did we sit through all of that if we didn’t get any new developments? That’s what Vormir was like for me: unsatisfying. You have two founding members of the Avengers, and they just follow the path presented before them like Thanos did in Infinity War instead of finding the third way through.

But there were other moments of Suspense that led to changes and surprises, such as the replacement of Nebula (we know it happened but the characters don’t) that led to an entirely different direction for the whole third act of the movie. That was great! Filmmakers take note: More Nebula, less Vormir!

It’s hard to be too disappointed in a movie like this. I always say that my favorite movies give me experiences that I could never have in my regular life (which is why I’m so drawn to Sci-Fi movies), and boy does Endgame deliver in that regard. It’s the literal definition of “spectacular.” I will own it and enjoy it many, many times.

I do have a question, though: what does the Soul Stone actually do? It’s pretty clear what the other stones do (though the Reality Stone’s powers were changed between The Dark World and Infinity War), but what ability does the wielder of the Soul Stone actually acquire? The Soul Stone is just a MacGuffin in these movies, and that’s kind of a shame.

Categories: Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “Eat Your Feelings” by Open Mike Eagle & Method Man(!!)

Open Mike Eagle & Method Man: Eat Your Feelings

There’s a party in my tummy; so yummy, so yummy…

Holy crap, gang, I thought it was a big deal when Mike did a song with MF Doom, now here he’s dropped a track collaborating with none other than Method Man. That’s nutz (yes, with a “z”), man!

The video for “Eat Your Feelings” takes the idea of “conspicuous consumption” to another whole level as Mike and Method Man literally consume their valuables. It’s very funny:

I must say I am loving this series of collabs from The New Negroes. I especially appreciate how they’re all around that two-to-three-minute sweet spot; that’s my favorite song length.

Categories: Music, My Famous Friends, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “Woke as Me” by Open Mike Eagle and Phonte

Open Mike Eagle & Phonte: "Woke as Me"

Who more woke…?

Yes, another WLS featuring Open Mike Eagle. You know what, friends? If you have a TV show and release a new music video every week, there’s a good chance I’ll feature you as well. Here Mike verbally spars with Phonte about whom is the more “woke” of the two:

I particularly love the “Wokken Fighters” video game that’s featured throughout the video:

Wokken Fighters: Fight!

Wokken Fighters: Fight!

Wokken Fighters: Open Mike Eagle vs Phonte!

OME & Phonte get in on the game…

And especially how at the end of the video the video game characters get in on the real-world action and start beating Mike up (though they do seem to be aiming directly for his crotch, which is a bit disturbing).

Wokken Fighter vs Open Mike Eagle!

School Him!

Wokken Fighters defeat Open Mike Eagle!

School Him/Her/They/Z/Ze!

At any rate, you have now been pleasured.

Categories: Music, My Famous Friends, Video Games, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Video Game Review: Yoshi’s Crafted World

Avery & Papa Play & Review Yoshi's Crafted World…

Avery & Papa Play & Review Yoshi’s Crafted World…

It’s lovely to have a daughter who is just coming into the age to be able to really play video games. Avery & I have several we enjoy a lot, but her favorite used to be Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U. So we were very much looking forward to getting the new Yoshi’s Crafted World for our Switch. And I got it for my birthday last week!

What does Avery think of this new Yoshi game? Watch some gameplay and our video review right here:

More… »

Categories: Reviews, Video Game Reviews, Video Games, Videos.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “Holiday Inn (Ukulele Cover)” by Phoebe Masteller-Defiance

Phoebe Masteller-Defiance Holiday Inn Ukulele Cover

Is Cameron dead yet…?

Phoebe Masteller-Defiance, who also makes music as I Kill Cameron and is a part of Dandelion Massacre (and I’m pretty sure a couple of other punky bands as well), has released her first video of 2019! It’s a delightful ukulele cover of the very punk “Holiday Inn” by Dollar Signs. Listen and be pleased:

For one, Phoebe is a WAAAAAAY better singer than Dollar Signs (you can listen to the original song here). For two, the song translates over perfectly into the more laid-back ukulele vibe without having to change the chord progression at all. Noice!

You have now been pleasured.

Categories: Music, Videos, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Warren Dunes Gets Animated at Alma Mater in Tacoma

Warren Dunes at Alma Mater in Tacoma

Something something… some sorta pun about studying animation at my Alma Mater, Warren Dunes…

This last Saturday, Warren Dunes made the epic trek down from Seattle to perform a show in my very own Tacoma! Did I forget to post about the show beforehand like I usually do? SURE LOOKS LIKE IT.

The show was at Alma Mater (specifically “Fawcett Hall” in the back half of the building), which is an absolutely gorgeous venue in downtown T-Town. Seriously high-quality all around. A couple of cool things happened other than the show: Warren Dunes got me into the green room and I got some fancy green room tequila, and I was able to stand in the venue while they did their soundcheck to make sure it all sounded good (it sounded frikkin’ great; this is a high-quality venue with high-quality sound).

I made a couple of animated .GIFs of the performance, as is my nature.

Warren Dunes Soundcheck at Alma Mater in Tacoma

Ch-ch-ch-check it out (the soundcheck)…

Warren Dunes at Alma Mater in Tacoma

A bit of the Emerald City in the City of Destiny…

I promise I will try to give a heads-up for the next show I go to so you won’t just hear about it afterwards. You can also always check out my calendar to see what upcoming stuff I’m into. If you’re into that kind of thing.

Categories: Animated .GIFs, Concerts/Shows, Tacoma.