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So, any rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.  Every time it seems like I am going to come out on the other side of my current barrage of job-related distractions, another whole set gets piled right on.  As such, I have a bunch of content that is saved as a draft right now, and I am just going to start posting it in bursts, at it has long since been any kind of topical for the most part.

First I am going to unleash some music reviews, I haven’t really had a chance to correct the spelling or grammar (likely similar to on this post) at all, so errors will have to be excused where found.  A couple of the more recent ones I will hold onto with hopes of cleaning them up a bit over the next day or so… but we’ll see.

See everybody on the other side.

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A Letter From the Editor

So.  Remember that time it was 2010 and I vowed that regular posts would return?  Well, a month on the road for work and some bleary eyed seventeen hour days put that to a stop pretty quickly. However, I am back in Los Angeles now, resting up, and ready to get my write on again.

Though, one thing I have discovered is that if you stop posting for a few weeks you tend to hemmorage readers (meaning I have bled down from ten to five or so) — but the dance must go on, as they say (somebody says that, right?).  So here’s to me vowing that February will be a more productive month on the writing front.

Thanks for sticking around.

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There’s a nice little feature over at Paste about David Simon’s upcoming show for HBO, Treme. The series, which recently started principal production, is centered around the lives of a group of musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans.  Now, Simon can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes, after absolutely knocking his last two series (The Wire and Generation Kill) out of the park, especially when it comes to a feeling of authenticity.  Naturally then, it’s no surprise that when the article spoke a little bit about David Simon’s writing process, I couldn’t help but be especially intrigued.

“Simon intends to train his sniper-like eye for detail and authenticity on New Orleans, just as he did with Baltimore. But he readily admits that—while he sees similarities between the two cities—New Orleans is as bewildering to newcomers as any in America. Although he’s been visiting for 20 years, Simon isn’t kidding himself—he’s still an outsider. If he was to get New Orleans right for Treme, he needed to assemble a team of local writers, actors and consultants. Simon cold-called musicians and chefs, met with cops and politicians, and approached bandleaders like Kermit Ruffins before gigs. He tracked down eccentric New Orleans DJ/musician Davis Rogan while Rogan was an artist-in-residence in the Loire Valley in France.”

There’s something to be said for a writer knowing when he needs to bring in the hook, so to speak.  That’s something that has always impressed me about Simon, his willingness to go outside the traditional boundaries of show-business to achieve the feel he’s looking for.  The Wire was populated by a litany of former reporters and policemen, both behind and and in front of the camera.  Meanwhile, Generation Kill was littered with soldiers who had been Marines on the ground during the invasion of Iraq.  It’s encouraging to see that he is following a similar path on his newest piece of work.

Viewers watching Treme will notice some familiar faces as Wire veterans like Clarke Peters and Wendell Pierce have roles in the show, but there are some new faces as well.  On of those mugs will belong to Steve Zahn, who seems an atypically famous actor to appear in a David Simon show.  That doesn’t necessarily mean I think his presence is a bad thing, just an usual one.  However, perhaps this is just Simon trying something new, for as the Paste piece points out, we shouldn’t just expect more of the same; “Simon cautions that Treme will not be The Wire: New Orleans. Its seasons will not be loosely divided by subject, and the show will provide a smaller, more intimate focus on people picking up the pieces without much help.”

Whatever the finished product is going to look like, my anticipation is already meeting almost unreachable levels without me having seen a single frame. Normally I would think that I was setting myself up for disappointment, but somehow David Simon always seems to exceed my expectations. Sometime in 2010 I’ll find out if he can do it yet again.  I can’t wait.

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BC

As far as staunch secular atheists go, I would like to think that I’m generally a pretty non-judgmental and opened minded one.  That being said, this story from the Los Angeles Times leaves a pretty bad taste in even my mouth.  Apparently, thanks to the efforts of producer Carl Amari, hundreds of well known actor have gotten together to lend their talents to a 79 CD (!)  audio compilation known as the, wait for it, “Word of Promise Audio Bible.”

Now, why do I (as the title of this post states) think this is a terrible idea?  For one, I can’t possibly imagine anybody who actually wants to own a 95 hour rendition of the New and Old Testaments, no matter how classily acted and scored it is.  Secondly, since when is Hollywood the land of the righteous?  I mean, if this is indeed the kind of thing that is going to be marketed toward the Bible-belt crowd (and how could it not be), why is it featuring voice acting straight from the land of drug use and premarital fornication?  Were Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck busy or something?  I don’t know about you guys, but to me, nothing says the Holy Bible like Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander (I can wager a guess as to which of the roles he’ll be playing).

All kidding and condescension aside, I can understand the thinking behind putting together a big budget rendition of the Bible from a dollars and cents perspective.  Mel Gibson proved a long time ago that there’s a market out there for religious adaptation.  However, on the flipside, projects like the Nativity Story also showed that people are picky about what problems they embrace.  With the CD generally looking like a dying medium, any Bible project on compact-disc that comes with a whopping price tag somewhere north of four million dollars is going to be a big risk.

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I don’t normally post too many lists, especially when I don’t have too much commentary to offer of my own, but New York Magazine chose their forty favorite songs from Brooklyn bands, and I want to share it with one and all.  Being a Hollywood guy, I’m not as tapped into the many ins and outs of the Brooklyn music scene (though, we do have Silverlake, which has been called Brooklyn West), so it was interesting to see how the people on the ground ranked the muzak.

Some of the highlights include “Percussion Gun” by White Rabbits (35), “Actor Out of Work” by St. Vincent, and even “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” by Das Racist (13).  All of this is topped off by a number one track that I fully support, even though I won’t give it away.  There are a few omissions (the Hold Steady, for example), I would have to say that most of the music listed is stuff that I dig.  So check it out, there’s a little something for just about everybody.

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V

ABC, in their ever-continuing quest to duplicate the success of Lost, debuted their new remake of the 1980’s sci-fi series V.  Now, the people who watched it seemed to have had two almost universal critiques of the show.  The first was that it was only so-so, not terrible television, but not great either. The second was that it was very, very, surprisingly, specifically, critical of President Obama through the use of some ham-fisted metaphors.  Hold on, what the what?

Over at The New Republic, Jonathon Chait (a favorite here at the Void) wrote a little summary and reaction to the show that you should almost certainly read for yourself.  Before I let you go scurrying over there though, here’s one of my favorite highlights of Chait’s write up:

“The visitors are young, charismatic, futuristic, and have a one-worldish vision of peace. They target the young by enticing them to join an idealistic (but, in reality, sinister) youth group. A few perceptive humans warn of the dangers of hopping on the bandwagon before we know what the bandwagon is really about. The alien leader, Ana, promises to use futuristic technology to heal humans. “You mean universal health care!” gapes a reporter, who, naturally, has been co-opted by the aliens. Anna soothes skeptics by declaring that accepting change can be difficult. A small band of human resistors forms. The lead character is skeptical–what proof do you have she asks, besides some scary thing “you read on the internet.” But the seemingly hysterical message from the internet is true! The charismatic new leader is masking her true identity! The death panels are real! Etc., etc.”

In fairness, I should say that Chait later points out that there is still plenty of liberal bias in Hollywood (personally, I say that compassion and reality have a liberal bias, but that’s just me), and one show that has a conservative spin is hardly the end of the world.  I can agree with that.  Additionally, I’ve noticed that even when shows seem to exude principles that conservatives should appreciate, that particular crowd seems slow to catch on (I mean, Kings was based on the Book of David and it couldn’t find an audience?  Come on conservatives!).  So it’s not like the end of the world or anything, even if it is misguided and kind of a waste.

Additionally, I’ve got to admit, while this most definitely sounds like something that I should hate, the weird thing is, it might just prompt me into watching!  You see unlike Chait, I don’t have any nostalgia for the original series, in fact, I found it to be dull.  So originally I had planned on skipping V all together!  But now that it’s being describes as a sci-fi series for the Fox News crowd (and one that possess all the subtly of… well, Fox News), I don’t know if I will be able to keep myself from checking out the pilot.  If anybody is feeling similarly curious, you should be able to view the episode on ABC’s webpage for the show, but be forewarned, this might have been what those crafty ABC folks had in mind all along.

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NBA Season Is Here

The NBA season has started and class is back in session.   This point is highlighted by Shannon Brown from my hometown Lakers throwing down a rebound with considerable force and urgency.   Enjoy.

Oh yeah, also, happy Halloween. I’ll be back and posting again on Monday.

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