Monday, August 31, 2009

Fun with Fertillity: The Woodstock Fair

I will forever regret not attending the Woodstock Fair several years ago when Weird Al performed there (some sexy Swedish metal band was competing for my affection that night, if I recall correctly). Anyway, I hoped there would be some equally wonderful novelty on the fair's roster this year, but alas, there is not.

Nevertheless, my interest is piqued by the prospect of the fair's Barnyard Babies Birthing Center, where "fertility management techniques" promise live calve births throughout the weekend-long event. "Mucous is removed from the mouth and nasal passages, the calves are vaccinated as needed, their navel is sterilized, and they are fed colostrum from a bottle." Hot stuff! (Ew, I bet)

Other attractions include a demonstration by the Youth Spam Chef of the Year and assorted eating contests. The fair runs Sept. 4-7.

This is as family friendly as it's going to get around here. I have a sentimental attachment. Don't get used to it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saturday Night Penis Envy

GIRTH plays this Saturday at Sully's in scenic Hartford. Apparently it's their "first show in awhile". We don't really know what caused the hiatus, but we guess we should all jump on this rare opportunity to watch these guys do whatever it is that they do. Despite the douchey band name, this should probably be a good time. These guys are pretty hilarious and we're hoping their witty stage banter alone will be worth the trip. From what we can decipher from their myspace page, GIRTH plays some kind of jamrock. We're pretty neutral on the genre, but from what we've sampled they aren't as directionless as they could be. They should find themselves at home at Sully's which often indulges in the narcissistic freestyling of local jam bands. Most of the band grew up in the HC (Hartford County), so this might be more of a reunion than a concert, but either way, we're willing to brave the tikibar to see how GIRTH measures up. (ha)

The show is Saturday, August 29th at 10pm. Broken Glow opens. Cover is an unfortunate $7.

Vegamite and Unicorns

The night began like this:

7:15 P.M. In walks my cousin.

Cousin: You ready to go? I'll drive, you're probably tired of being the DD.

Me: Oh... I guess. Okay.

We get in the car.

Cousin: What I really meant was, I've been drinking since 2 this afternoon and I'll get us there faster.

It turned out she was right. We went about 90mph the entire way to Mohegan Sun, small country roads included. When we arrived we packed like sardines into an elevator full of feisty, and self-proclaimed 'sweaty' tourists then proceeded to power-walk through the maze of casinos until we could hear some faint guitar music. During the ride, my cousin had debated whether or not to drink the warm can of Natty Ice that was rolling around the floor of car, only to decide against it. Thus, our first order of business was not to check out Colin Hay, but to find the nearest bar.

Tiny gin and tonics in hand, we headed over to the outskirts of the Wolf Den, where we had a pretty good view of the band. I had previously only heard acoustic versions of Hay's solo music, so the added electronica and amplification took some getting used to. In some cases I think it was to the benefit of his sometimes dull folksongs, such as Overkill, but others were better left alone, like Waiting for My Real Life to Begin. His final song was the crowd-pleaser Down Under. This was all enhanced by the stylings of Cecilia Noel, who performed next to Hay. She played the tamborine and made some flailing movements which appeared to be a combination of American Sign Language and dancing. During Down Under she played some sort of air flute, or maybe it was an imaginary didgeridoo, it was hard to tell. By that point I was buzzed and mostly just staring at a Russian woman's cleavage.

The rest of the night was spent playing various slot machines. My cousin refused to play anything but "Enchanted Unicorn". I went for "Cops and Donuts" and then "Hawaiian Goddess". We both broke even, ate some overpriced Chinese food and drove home at a leisurely pace.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Not to Hear: Cobra Starship

Luckily, you don't even have the option of going to see Cobra Starship at the Webster this Friday in Hartford, because this show has sold the fuck out! Congrats Cobra Starship! And congratulations too, on achieving such utter vacuousness and absolute musical irrelevance that not even a couple of avowed Lady Gaga fans can detect any redeeming qualities among the sweaty American Apparel threads.

Monday, August 24, 2009

This Sunday: Old Punks Go Solo

We (again, both of us) very much regretted getting into the live music scene just on time to never have seen Connecticut punks The Pist, though we listened religiously to Ideas Are Bulletproof, and consoled ourselves at many live performances by Al "Pist" Ouimet's followup band, The Baltimore Footstompers, at such venues as The Muni and God Knows Where Else. Where is Al now?

This Sunday, August 30, Al will perform solo acoustic at polite listening venue The Space in Hamden, along with headliner Kevin Seconds of the band 7 Seconds and CT acts Angleworm and Mutiny Amongst Friends.

On the Screen: In the Loop

I've been looking forward to finding In the Loop at a theater since the title came up in an AV Club interview with British actor Peter Capaldi who stars along with American household names like James Gandolfini and former child star Anna "My Girl" Chlumsky. The interview happened to run the same week I was watching Capaldi nightly on this summer's rather hotly-anticipated (by myself and other sci-fi Anglophiles) Torchwood miniseries, Children of Earth, which was not necessarily everything I had hoped it would be... Frankly, I could have done without that tired "death of a beloved cast member as emotional currency" shit - but Capaldi was excellent as a (morally) slimy, cowardly politician negotiating with (literally) slimy alien aggressors.

A political satire with roots in a British TV series I haven't actually seen (The Thick of It), In the Loop surely delivers plenty of slime of its own. In the Loop is currently playing at New Haven's Criterion Cinema and will debut at Real Art Ways in Hartford this Friday, August 28, and run through September 10.

Check out In the Loop in theaters, and check out this poor quality youtube copy of Capaldi's absurd Oscar-winning short film, Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life, which stars none other than Richard "Withnail" E. Grant as Kafka.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mission Aborted: Scenic Hartford Hospital

Well, so much for Electric Six. We were derailed from our mission by a medical emergency, which ultimately proved to be much ado about nothing, but nevertheless entailed an all-nighter at Hartford's dullest after-hours venue.

This Week: Colin Hay

We wish we could say that Zach Braff had nothing to do with our fondness for Colin Hay, but alas, it was Scrubs which first introduced us to his solo work. Hay has made appearances in several episodes, and his songs have been featured in several more. Originally Scottish, Hay moved to Australia in the late 60s and formed Men at Work, which we all remember for such classics as Who Can it be Now? and Down Under. When the band broke up in the 90s, Hay went solo, recorded several albums, and began making movie appearances. None of which we would have ever known about, had we not developed what can only be called a 'Scrubs fetish' a few years back... but that's a story for another post.

Colin Hay plays for FREE in the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun this Wednesday at 8pm. Mohegan Sun is located in scenic Uncasville, CT. We hope to see you there.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Weekend: Electric Six

We've been fans ever since stumbling upon's splendidly stupid viking kitties video interpretation of Electric Six's "Gay Bar." So we are excited to see the band is coming to Connecticut, brought to us by the always (usually) tasteful, Manic Productions. Simultaneously addictive and obnoxious, Electric Six strike that delicate balance between brilliance and retardation. Check out our other favorite song, "Dance Commander."

Electric Six will be playing Saturday, Aug. 22 at Daniel Street in scenic Milford, CT.

Cocktails & Dreams (Tonight!)

Well, I've been down and out at scenic Hartford Hospital, but now I'm home and gearing up to get back in the mix. I'm enjoying a fine recovery diet of Jell-o and percocets, but if I were going out, I would consider the monthly Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways, which is tonight, and every third Thursday. Whether or not the art opening is any good (IMNHO), these events always give me the feeling of being part of a progressive, intellectual subculture in Greater Hartford, an impression I rarely have at the Webster Theatre, no matter how totally on the verge the band no one has shown up to see is. This time, alas, I'll just be sipping a cocktail at home.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scenic New Haven: Punk @ Rudy's

We (two of us, really, not the royal "we" - individual poster accounts are imminent) revisited a piece of our shared adolescence last night at Rudy's, catching up with our old friend Matt Injection, and being pleasantly surprised and yet simultaneously not surprised at all by his two current bands, the Midnightmares and the Pink Slips (for whom this was the final show... for now).

The Midnightmares

The Midnightmares were the pleasant surprise, in that we don't mind now admitting that their MySpace page offerings are pretty much unlistenable, with shrill, inhuman vocals over monotonous riffage. Live, however, vocalist Pixie's tone was mercifully humanoid in quality, and we were utterly charmed by her infinite sass and endless posing. Though must admit to feeling an urge to go all Clinton & Stacy on her ass over that outfit. We would suggest a top that fits, some boob support, and a skirt with some pleat or flare to it. Because we're totally ones to talk. She can keep her bare feet though. That's fucking hard core.

The Pink Slips

Also female fronted, the Pink Slips could be the future of the Midnightmares. The music style was pretty much identical - fast, aggressive, noncommercial punk with shout-sung vocals, but the singer, Vickie, seemed a bit more poised and practiced at her gig. We got a bit nostalgic over the music, which is more or less unchanged from the punk we grew up on, and the punk before that... but our personal tastes have evolved to a level of grown-up picky elitism that doesn't really include this business anymore.

We reflected upon the fact that we were used to seeing punk bands play in DIY all-ages environments, and we wondered whether the "kids today" go out to see these bands or their musical peers at other venues. Rudy's last night was definitely an old(er) punk scene, with a politely seated and clapping audience, apparently mostly friends of the bands, and Pink Slips Vickie cracking jokes about the crime rate in New Haven and the frustrations of health insurance acquisition. We totally relate. Coincidentally, we had just been talking about the same kind of phenomena and topical Hartford humor.

It's like church.

Nevertheless, we were impressed with (and jealous of) the appearance of a vibrant street and night life in New Haven and the prevalence of interesting ethnic and specialist eateries in a neighborhood we don't mind parking or walking in. In spite of what we may have said previously about the boringness of non-sweet potato fries, Rudy's Belgian fries are an irresistible delight. We are not sure what about the Belgian frying process is different, but they are oh-so-flavorful compared to any other typical fries. We shared an order with curry mayo. We also give gluten-free props to Rudy's for stocking two different hard ciders, Original Sin and Woodchuck.

Friday, August 14, 2009

CT Scenic in NYC

Have you every found yourself explain to out-of-towners how Connecticut, and especially Hartford, is actually an ideal location because you are equidistant between Boston and New York (and Providence to boot!)? Sure you have. We all say it. But honestly, there's nothing remotely convenient about 3 or more hours travel time (let's be realistic) and various expenses including gas, tolls, train or bus tickets, parking. And then if you do have a great night out in the city, you have to turn around and deal with all those hour on the ride home, when you should be sleeping, or stay over somewhere, and then your next day is pretty much shot. And there's really nothing cool about Boston to begin with, other than that sometimes our favorite bands play NYC and Boston, skipping over Hartford, and we just hate to miss a scene, you know?

Anyway, one of our favorite live bands, Luther Wright & the Wrongs used to visit Hartford pretty regularly to play at the Half Door. And then they stopped, and MySpace kept telling us they were playing in NYC, and we would think, "Oh, wouldn't it be fun to see Luther Wright again?" It would be totally be fun. Luther Wright writes his own very clever country tunes, and is also well known for his countrifications of Pink Floyd tunes. So this Thursday, we decided to follow our hearts to New York City's Rodeo Bar and check out the show.

But before we could get to the action, we took a Metro North Train and saw this amusing graffiti:

Can you read that? It says: "That explains a lot!"
We don't know (or care) a thing about sports, but still, we say: LOL

Luther Wright traded sets with the Jack Grace Band. Both songwriters are essentially country traditionalists, which we suppose makes them "alt-country" by todays standards. Our favorite part was Luther's "Broken Fuckin Heart," because nothing gets us going like a little casual vulgarity, and we like the juxtaposition of a bouncy melody with embittered lyrics. We also enjoyed Luther threatening to gay make out with his bass player (wait, maybe that was the best bit), and joking about being all stoned ('cause they're from Canada, eh). We talked to Luther about why he don't come to Hartford no more, and he was all "It's not you it's me, but maybe I'll come back to you one day baby."

The Rodeo Bar also had cute graffiti:

Scenic Colchester, etc.

Gee, we sure wish this was the view from our backyard. Oh well, it was nice to visit at least.

Haywood Lake, Colchester

On the way down Route 2, we stopped at Dee's One Smart Cookie (sorry, there's nothing really at their website) in Glastonbury, a bakery that specializes in gluten-free foods, including deserts, breads, pizzas and pizza dough. Unfortunately (for us), they also trade in dairy-free and nut-free, so that takes away a lot of tasty possibilities that we can still enjoy. Friday is pizza day (an exception to the dairy-free policy) so we tried a veggie pizza, and were pleased to find it tasted very much like a pizza. The gluten-free crust is on the crispy side, and it costs approximately an arm and a leg, so we probably won't be frequent customers, but it's nice to know it's there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

To Do: This Weekend

We've been aware of quite a bit of buzz anticipating this weekend's release of District 9, but we haven't read it all too thoroughly due to a personal preference against having movies entirely spoiled before we've had a chance to actually see them. But basically, it's about ghettoized refuge aliens in Johannesburg, and word is it's "gritty" and "edgy" in substance and style (just the way we like it). We also have a personal preference for uncrowded movie theaters, so maybe we will give it a week, but you don't have to!

Back when we were cute little teenage nonconformists, we went to many an underground show in Connecticut. We will never forget the Vomit Punx reunion gig we felt so honored to attend, and the many shows by the Baltimore Foot Stompers and The Injections that we went to around the state. Well, our favorite Injection, Matt Injection, who used to send us his really cool hand drawn flyers (we'll try and find one and post it) by "snail mail" back before the internet was what it is, and we probably just called it "the" mail... anyway, Matt Injection is playing in some bands, The Midnightmares and The Pink Slips, at Rudy's in New Haven Saturday night. Go there for the music, or go their for the Belgian fries. We'll be sure and report back which dipping sauces we choose. Curry mayo, perhaps?

Just look how punk rock Matt Injection is!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dining: Max Burger

Wow, we are so happy to have discovered the GlutenFreeVeganCT blog, and think it's an interesting coincidence that the GlutenFreeVegan is blog-friends with our real-life friend Couture Carrie's blog. Maybe we secretly know the GlutenFreeVegan in real life too!

But anyway, we were so happy to read GFVCT's review of Max Burger in West Hartford and find out that they cater to our special dietary needs (gluten free). Today we had burgers - with buns! Which were made from rice flour, tapioca and starch of some kind instead of wheat flour, and tasted just fine, much more convincing than any gluten-free bread alternatives we've found in grocery stores to date.

We are not vegan, so we went for the beef, and tried the Blackjack burger (w/ pepperjack cheese, onions, chiles and guacamole) and the InsideOut burger (w/ gorgonzola, bacon and onion). The burgers were juicy and huge and delicious. We subbed in sweet potato fries, because why be ordinary when you could be sweet? Especially at no extra charge - what a concept! The fries were perfect - crispy on the outside, gushy on the inside, and nice and clean and bright looking. I hate it when restaurants upcharge for bullshitty little things like fry substitutions or seltzer refills, so thank you very much Max Burger for being reasonable. You could eat there for as little as $8 (pre-tip) if you stick with a "small" burger and drink water.

King X Live Report

We generally like to make a fashionably late entrance at the Webster, and catch only the main event band we wanted to see. But last night we went early (for the lot parking) and thought we'd give a load of local bands a chance to pleasantly surprise. No such luck. Let us just say they were unremarkable, and leave them otherwise unremarked upon.
Kings X is the band that we, and a small but dedicated audience, were there to see. At first we felt a little deflated by the amount of empty space in the room, but once we got into the music and saw how very into the band the audience that did attend was, we didn't give it another thought. We were particularly impressed when the band let the crowd take the vocals entirely for "Goldilox" (here's a vid from another show, I guess it's their standard). Isn't that just sweet? Doug Pinnick gave a shout-out to marijuana legalization during "Dogman," and a midsong "church of rock n roll" sermon on following your dreams during "Over My Head," which also featured better-than-average audience participation. Way to go Kings X music nerd fans! Perhaps most importantly, we renewed our crush on Pinnick, and spiced up our musical experience with impure thoughts about his stunning (skinny) physique, inhumanly long arms and giant hands. We were able to shake the latter after the show when the band migrated to the merch table to meet and greet and pose and sign and all that. Isn't that so nice? We think so.
Some years back we did some professional music journalism with Kings X. We found there to be some confusion regarding the band's stance on religion - apparently they started out as some kind of Christian rock act. Guitarist Ty Tabor told us something at the time along the lines of 'the label never applied, we all believe different stuff.' During the "Over My Head" interlude, Pinnick said "we don't subscribe to any religion, we don't believe in heaven and hell..." Still, the band like to engage in religious wordplay, as in a newer track they performed, "Pray." The lyrics imply a heavy dose of irony and skepticism, so maybe they just like to keep us guessing. We are reminded of Porcupine Tree's "Halo," which also features list-style lyrical speculation about god set to bass-heavy progressive rock. Ambitious area fans can try and catch these two acts together on a few upcoming dates, including:

Thu 9/24/2009 NY, NY @ Terminal 5
Sat 9/26/2009 Philly @ Electric Factory
Sun 9/27/2009 Boston, MA @ House Of Blues

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Live Music: Kings X

We've seen Kings X live a bunch of times, and we certainly won't miss seeing them this Tuesday night at the Webster Theatre. The progressive trio have been playing together for a zillion years and it really shows in the live chemistry, which for some reason transcends the hell out of their recordings. Whatever the case, Kings X always blow our mind live. We especially dig that all the band members sing, which really fills out their sound, and sometimes they do this cute instrument-switching thing for an encore.
You may remember Kings X from their brief period of fashionability in the 90s with radio hits "Dogman" and "Black Flag." Do click those links, to see some classic live performances on the Dennis Miller and old Jon Steward shows.
We may have to spring to see Kings X in NYC later this fall when they play some dates with another of our favorite prog bands, Porcupine Tree.

Wimbash - Wow!

We are so glad we tore ourselves away from the rather addictive task of putting together some IKEA furniture and went out last night. It wasn't even our own furniture, but we are a sucker for manual tasks, especially those with a high probability for a successful outcome, which IKEA's wordless, idiot-proof directions and elegant parts design pretty much guarantee. Isn't that so smart? Directions with no words? So they don't have to make different national versions?

So, we made like 80% of a dresser, and then went to Sully's for this very special event featuring Living Colour and other bands with dreadlocked musicians. We were seduced by the rather haunting melancholia of Coulon, and later impressed to see the same singer with her hard rock band, Red Lotus. Heavy funk collective Earth Driver incorporated an array of styles, and featured an amazing guest vocalist for a couple tunes who did everything from throat singing to rap and chanting.
The main event of course was a set by Living Colour. We were surprised to hear Living Colour brazenly bust out their biggest hit (“Cult of Personality”) first, but it was a thrill to see a song which is so permanently etched in our pop cultural memory come to life and exceed all expectations. We don’t wish to bore with indulgences into music journalese – suffice to say, the new, unknown songs sounded just as terrific, the band appeared to be having a blast, and we are particularly in love with vocalist Corey Glover's big voice and giant smile and Vernon Reid’s hilarious facial expressions between bouts of glorious shredding. We are psyched to see the band have a tour coming up with CT and MA stops, and will be sure to be there.

Morning Ritual

We can't even begin to think about "facing the day" (hard day of doing nothing and attending party on deck on this occasion) until we've juiced (fruits and vegetables, not steroids, silly). Our hot vegan friend turned us on to juicing several months ago and we are officially hooked. We have a cool vintage Oster juicer, check it out. You probably can't get one just like it, but the vegan strongly endorses the Power Juicer.

Our signature drink includes carrots, celery, apple, red beet, ginger and lemon.

You're all: "Red beet! Really?" Really. The beet's wikiindicates a bunch of excellent nutritional/medicinal properties, but we don't mind admitting a largely superficial attachment to the brilliant color it imparts.

Fresh juice is not only delicious and refreshing - the process makes all the fruit and vegetables' calories and vitamins and nutrients more readily available for your body by filtering out all that indigestible fiber. Of course, now you're missing out on all that fiber, so be sure and keep some intact veggies in your diet too. You know you know what fiber's for.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Vampire Weekend

No, we don't mean the band, though they seem nice, and we're willing to check out just about anything vampire that isn't Twilight. We weren't immediately enamored with HBO's True Blood, with it's terrible southern accents, and over-the-top characters who play out like caricatures... but we stuck around because Vampire Bill was so hot. And now we are. Enamored, that is. If we don't have anything more exciting to do, we're sure to catch new episodes as they air Sunday nights. But of course you can catch them "on demand" with your fancy cable or the million other times per week the episode is sure to air.

Now we find ourselves blissfully burdened with an embarrassment of vampire television riches via the introduction of Being Human to BBC America (fancy cable). Being Human airs Saturday nights (and is also available on demand, etc.). Sexy Vampire Mitchell lives with adorable ghost Annie and socially inept werewolf George, and there's going to be some kind of grand conflict with humanity, but the trio's personal charm alone would be quite enough to keep us watching. As far as we know, the Brit accents are not terrible, but we took Spike at face value all those years, so what do we know?

To Do: Music & Movies

Ever since the AV Club told us it was fantastic, we've been hoping to see Revanche, which apparently has something to do with prostitutes and other appealing criminal elements. It's a relief to finally find some foreign drama spicing up Real Art Ways' recent palette of depressing documentaries and such (frankly, we're quite depressed enough as it is). We assume you won't mind reading English subtitles, or having a beer with your film, which runs through August 13.

We are also keen on checking out the Wimbash at Sully's Pub on Saturday, an annual musical event hosted by Hartford resident musician Doug Wimbish, which will feature a performance by his band Living Colour, whom we remember fondly from our formative radio-listening years. Relive the archival footage and rainbow of spandex that is "Cult of Personality."