Archive for October, 2007

Spooky film for a spooky day

Back on day 8 or so, Jeanna mentioned scary movies. If you have an interest in being scared, there’s a movie out there for you–a simple web search will turn up thousands of titles from which you can choose. To save you some searching, however, I’d like to offer up a simple solution: check out The Changeling. The 1980 film was written by Russell Hunter and based on his own experiences at the Henry Treat Rogers mansion in Denver but is set right here in the Pacific Northwest. (If nothing else, the movie’s worth watching for a glimpse of what Seattle looked like in 1980; watching it a few years ago I was amazed at how many old memories were brought back by seeing scenery that doesn’t exist anymore.) changeling.jpg

Directed by Peter Medak, The Changeling tells the story of Dr. John Rusell (George C. Scott in a well-played performance) a music professor who moves to Washington from New York after the shocking deaths of his wife and child. Once he’s settled into his big new but old house, he discovers he’s not quite alone–the majority of the movie is taken up with his attempts to investigate the mystery of just who is haunting him.

The Changeling might remind you in a few ways of The Haunting of Hill House (I refer, of course, to the original Shirley Jackson novel or the 1963 film adaptation of same, not the miserable 1999 reengineering) with its focus on a more subtle, perception-based sort of horror, but it’s definitely its own film. The movie captures your attention and holds it without resorting to lazy manipulations or gore.

I don’t know that I would say The Changeling is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen (the original version of The Fog scared me so much that I literally blocked it from my memory) but it’s VERY scary in a way that won’t leave you feeling all cheap and used afterwards.

I Hate Halloween

I know a lot of you are like Jeanna: You love Halloween. You love the costumes, the candy, and the drunken debauchery combined with the candy.

I hate Halloween. And I have for a long time.

I hate it because it’s so ridiculously commercialized that it’s nothing but an excuse for people to sell stuff you’re going to use once a year, then throw in storage. It’s a waste. And every year, it’s a new costume, or yard ornament.

I hate it because it hits right around Daylight Savings Time ends, which just serves as a reminder that the dark, rainy winter is about to hit with a thud.

I hate it because you can’t go into a store without seeing Christmas decorations stacked next to the Halloween decorations. I was in Home Depot last week, and they have the Christmas trees up and ready to go — right next to all the spooky stuff. Yeah, you know what my nativity set needs this year? Zombies. The Christ Child was born to be Zombie Jesus, after all.

I hate it because it used to be a kid’s holiday, one where you’d see an adult or two dressed up, usually a teacher or someone who works with kids. Now, everyone’s doing it, and it just looks silly for adults to be dressed up. When I was a kid, I had one of my teeth knocked out on Halloween. My dentist showed up dressed as a bag lady. And he sat there putting a temporary cap on me with his floppy hat and his ripped lacy cardigan. Back then, it was kinda funny. Now, I walk around my place of employ, and the medical staff are all dressed like that, to the point that you can’t tell the patients from the doctors. That’s just not right.

Oh, and I hate it because teenagers, not in costume, show up at my door wanting candy. Oh please. Why don’t you just TP the blackberry bush, egg my car, and be done with it, because if you’re out of elementary school, you shouldn’t even be out trick-or-treating, and you’re certainly not getting anything without a costume.

Mind you, this isn’t some religious objection. It’s not like I think this is the Holiday O’ Satan. I mean, holidays only have those meanings if you choose to let them have those meanings. I know atheists who celebrate Christmas, after all. (And you pagan-wiccan-neo-Celts out there, Happy Samhain.)

It’s a “why is this holiday so blown out of proportion” objection. It’s the consumer waste. It’s the billions we spend on sugar “just because.” It is, to paraphrase psychiatrist Lucy Van Pelt, “run by an East Coast syndicate.” It’s now our second-highest spending holiday after Christmas. It’s an overblown commercial spending spree for adults who just don’t want to grow up. Anyone over the age of 12 shouldn’t even be allowed to buy a costume. Between global warming, terrorism, rogue states with nuclear programs, MRSA, another year of election campaigning, four more years of the stuffed shirt known as David Della, and SPI, we have plenty to be scared of.

Modern Halloween is stupid.

Dia de Loe Muertos, on the other hand… that I can get behind.

BOO! Happy Halloween from Metroblogging!




Photo by Johann C. Rocholl on [Flickr]

DAYS UNTIL HALLOWEEN:

0! Happy Halloween 2007!

DRINK:

Halloween Candy Cocktails

Almond Joy

1 oz. Three Olives chocolate vodka
1 oz. Frangelica
1 oz. Coconut rum

Shake together while chilling and pour.

Sweet n’ Tart

1 oz Gin
1/4 oz Midori
1/3 oz Sweet & Sour
Sprite
Garnish: Sweet Tarts

Combine all ingredients in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with Sweet Tarts.

EAT:

Leftover Halloween Candy Recipes

You buy 12 bags, you use eight. This leaves you with four leftover bags of Halloween candy to eat every day, one by one. (Who said writers weren’t good at math?) Or, you could turn your candy bars into a super sweet–and somewhat “recycled”–treat with recipes like Butterfinger Banana Cake, Candy Bar Stuffed Baked Apples, Baby Ruth Cookies and more.

GO:

If you’re in full-boar Halloween party mode like me, hopefully you’re attending one of the many parties happening around the city tonight, namely at nearly every bar in Seattle. Market Ghost Tours also are offering a Paranormal Pub Crawl for $25. Those interested should meet at the pig in The Market between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The crawl will include stops at The Can-Can, The Alibi Room, Kell’s Irish Pub and Il Bistro and will continue until midnight. $25 at BrownPaperTickets.com

Trick or Treat!

blast from the past : murder city devils tape

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murder city devils at the capitol hill block party, 2006.

After a long hiatus, rockstar taper Brian Connolly of iamserio.us is back with a lengthy post today that’s chocked-full of sets collected from over the past year. Among them is one by Jarod Watson, who recorded the Murder City Devils playing their (first) reunion show last summer at the Capitol Hill Block Party. The download a huge file thanks to the lossless format, but for fans who were there or for those who were heartbroken to have missed the show it’s a worthy addition to your archives, particularly if (like me, unless someone has a spare plane ticket) you aren’t going to be able to make it to Austin this weekend to see them at Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Once you’ve cleared out disk space for MCD, make room for the Trucks, Cancer Rising, Das Llamas, Minus the Bear, and so many others. [iamserio.us]

joanna newsom at benaroya hall

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benaroya hall last night, between the first and second act of joanna newsom’s perfomance
[This started as a footnote, but kept getting longer and longer so now it’s a post of its own.]

Last night also features a last-minute decision to shell out $35 to see Joanna Newsom at Benaroya Hall once I thought about how lucky Seattle was to be on the orchestral tour and how stupid I would feel for not going.

It was a really beautiful show, with the first act featuring the conducted by a guy in an orange suit Northwest Sinfonia. I think that I expected to be overwhelmed by the presence of a large orchestra, but this didn’t really happen. I now realize that it just sounded closer to the album than the last time I saw her. As good as it was to hear the performance with a fleet of strings and full orchestration, something about the overwhelming centrality of the harp and Newsom’s unique voice make everything else fade into the background.

Nevertheless, both the symphonic section and the second, Ys Street Band only section were great, featuring new, old, and yet-to-be released material. Maybe my favorite part was the excellent sightlines throughout the orchestra level. Seeing her for the first time at the Showbox last year, I was awed by her skill. But being able to actually see her plucking ferociously at the strings of her giant harp made the experience all the more phenomenal.

Each of standing standing ovation was earned, and one of them even brought her back for an encore of “Peach, Plum, Pear”. I’d worried that it would be omitted for not fitting well enough with the newer, more mature material, but when Joanna returned to the stage, accompanied again by the the band it sounded terrific and fresh and new.

In other blogs: pot v. apples, Seattle Fire Department v. Harvard University

Thanks to Seattle Jew for pointing out this Seattle Times story that talks about how a public policy researcher has found that marijuana rivals apples at Washington State’s top crop. While this doesn’t surprise me, it also doesn’t amuse me as much as knowing that it’s one of Oregon’s top crops, too, seeing as how grass (as in the kind you grow in your lawn) is one of their biggest legal crops. As it happens, we’re the fifth-largest US producer, behind California, Tennessee, Kentucky and Hawaii. Hmm. Think of the potential tax revenues involved in legalization–could we afford better roads and better public transportation!

Meanwhile, over at Crosscut, we learn that it’s more difficult to become a Seattle Firefighter than it is to become admitted to Harvard University. The SFD is hiring right now; if you think you can make the cut, get application info from their site.

in other blogs: mostly music — tullycraft, throw me the statue, stg, into the woods

Kim-Star
If you love Kim Warnick and drinking on a Tuesday night, there’s no excuse for you to be anywhere but the Cha Cha, possibly getting a free haircut and ending up as Drunk of the Week. (flyer via lineout [#])

  • A new video from Tullycraft. Unsurprisingly, it’s full of animated cuteness. [youaintnopicasso]
  • What’s wrong with this picture? If you say, “the wolf shouldn’t be wearing pants!” then you probably don’t need to know anything else about the 5th Avenue Theater’s production of Into the Woods and how it is “defanged”. [crosscut]
  • Throw Me The Statue become Secretly Canadians. They are playing at Nectar next Tuesday [#] in support of album-of-the-year contender Jens Lekman [bpt]. If you haven’t already done so, buy your tickets right away. Really. Click. Now. [pitchfork]
  • Seattle Theater Group hires a new talent buyer, music fans cautiously rejoice. [lineout]

photos: born ruffians, caribou at neumo’s

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caribou // neumo’s // 29 october 2007
(more caribou and born ruffians photos [flickr])

I wandered into Neumo’s last night thinking that maybe I’d close out the evening with some “fuzzy sixties-inspired gauzy pop”, primarily instrumental with cooing vocals, and with the distinct possibility of being too underwhelmed to stay out until 1 am on a Monday night. Those expectations were utterly destroyed from the moment that Caribou launched their double-drumming sonic assault. Holy! It is really loud to be standing just a few feet away from a pair of drum kits going at each other with a bottomless pit of intensity, bundled in layers of guitars, and illuminated by multicolor staticy projections. And by “loud” I mean “awesome”.

After the first song, a really drunk guy screams “You’re a god, David Snaith!” He repeats this after every single song and maybe he’s right, but maybe he made his point the first time and doesn’t need to insert the “whip it out” (huh?) or Silver Apples comparison, but I guess I see where the intoxicated fellow is coming from. Shoeless at his drum pedals, Snaith does work a certain kind of deitylike magic on his compositions, standing up to grab a guitar, sing and sample some lyrics, wail away at a jazz recorder, manipulate the sound, or hammer away at a xylophone. The night goes through a series of LOUD, a little less loud, building up to more LOUD rhythmic cacophonies, that, if you’re along for the ride, do terminate in the “bliss” that I paired with “pop” in my preconceptions of what I was going to hear. It was just an entirely different, and welcome, variety.

On the topic of the unexpected, I showed up early enough to catch most of Born Ruffians and was more than pleasantly surprised. They played a fast-paced, bouncy, tight, and catchy set and ended up pleading with the sound guy to stay onstage long enough to close with the two songs on their single. Particularly impressive since they haven’t even released an album yet (look for it next year from Warp). For now, check out their cute new video [stereogum] for “Hummingbird”, featuring the guys hanging out in a sparsely appointed party space goofing off while people in odd costume and animated birds hover around them to get a sense of the spirit of the band and their sound.

No smoking at the zoo

Did you know you could still smoke at the Zoo? I didn’t. And anyway, starting Thursday, you can’t anymore [PI]. Smoking was already prohibited in the zoo buildings and near the animal habitats, so I’m assuming the only places left were on the lawn and by the picnic tables.

Which means that the new baby gorilla will grow up with clean lungs. I mean, aside from breathing in any ambient traffic pollution that might seep in.

The Halloween clock is going tick-tock

Every year it’s the same old thing: you know Halloween’s on its way, you mean to do something about it, you even read all of Jeanna’s Halloween posts here on Metroblogging Seattle, and ye, somehow, you’re still not entirely ready for Halloween. The clock is ticking and you’re running out of time. it’s not too late, though, you still have your options for getting your Halloween act together. archie.jpg
Archie McPhee has everything you need for Halloween–costumes, party decorations, toys–and, as an added bonus, all of their employees are dressed in costumes to celebrate the holiday. Photo courtesy Archie McPhee. Thanks, David!

Another great spot for last minute Halloween shopping? Value Village. Not only do they carry a full line of new Halloween costumes and geegaws, they’re also a great place to put together your own custom costume from the ever-changing assortment of donated items.

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