Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Weekend: Blast from the Rather Recent Past

Friday Oct. 2: Skip Jennings @ Sully's Pub, Hartford
Saturday Oct. 3: Groovski (members) @ Cafe Nine, New Haven

We honestly don't remember a whole lot about what Soulwork may have sounded like, probably something to do with our probably inebriated state at the time, but we quite specifically remember charismatic frontman Skip Jennings, and the packed house the band drew back in the day several years ago or so. And appropriately enough, we can find no online evidence of his old band or his "Superband" he'll be playing with at Sully's this Friday, but we feel pretty comfortable recommending it anyway.

And yet we remember Groovski quite vividly, with their stilted punk rock, dueling male/female vocals, and strange, sometimes Polish-centric humor. The band fooled many a hippy into coming out for a show expecting some kind of jammy groove thang, but no - they're called Groovski because either a) they are Polish-Americans or b) the founding member grooves and he skis. Duh, obvs! Saturday night's show at Cafe Nine will not be a full reunion, but will feature original members Adam Malec and Bogdan Chudy. Malec currently performs as Human Pontiac, another strange moniker with a creatively absurd explanation.

lookin' coolski

Even if you didn't have a special lust in your heart for Groovski, Saturday night's headliner, Russia's Mumiy Troll sounds to be a force to be reckoned with and reason enough to leave the house.

Also Artsy: The Addams Family Gathering

Friday: Opening reception @ MAC 650 Gallery, Middletown

Two of our favorite local artists and generally cool guys from around the way Joseph Dinunzio and Joseph Galluccio (Joe & Joe) present a group show with morbid fantasy flair. Considering the source, this Friday's opening reception (7-10 pm) is sure to be fun. Art will be on view through Oct. 25, but we recommend the party night.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Thursday: Art After Hours

Are you missing out on the finer things in life because you live a dismal 9-5 existence? You can either start a club, or check out the Phoenix Art After Hours party. On the first Thursday of each month, the Wadsworth Atheneum opens its doors from 5-8pm for the Hartford socialites to mingle, drink and check out the latest exhibits. This month's party includes admission into Digging Deeper, a reinterpretation of works from the Amistad Center for Art & Culture by artists Willie Cole and Hank Willis Thomas. The evening also includes live music, a cash bar and a lecture by UHart alum Mark Dion, who creates works incorporating found objects from excavation sites. The evening's finale is a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so don't forget to pack your leather chaps that day.

Admission is $5. The party starts at 5pm and the movie is at 8:30pm. The full schedule can be found here.

Happy Blog Day!

We've reached some important milestones here at CT Scenic, and we, for one, couldn't be more chuffed about it. First, we went to see our newest pretend boyfriend Jann Klose play at Sully's, and not only was he as charming and talented and European(ish) as we had hoped, he had actually read our blog post about himself! We're really out there, on the "web" - aren't we?

And then just hours or maybe moments after we put up a post about a douchey musical act, we got some anonymous anti-hater hate comment business. Fantastic! We *heart* anonymous! We may be barefoot (socks, actually), pajama-clad and all that, but we are movin' on up.

In any event, we aren't going "monetize" and beg our friends to please please please click on shite adverts you don't want to know about. We remain committed to our state and scene, and delivering pure, unadulterated personal whim.

Jann and Chris bask in the Satanic aura of Sully's

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Scenic Farmington: Rogue Golf Cart Perhaps?

Farmington is approximately 50% golf courses and 50% traffic nightmare, a little of both in places.

What Not to Hear: Shwayze

Wednesday: Shwayze @ Toad's Place

We're not quite clear as to whether Shwayze is just the black dude or the collaborative black hole (get it? they SUCK!) that forms when that guy gets together with greasy rich douche Cisco Adler (embarrassing fameball son of Lou), but we know we wouldn't take money to go see them play, or perform, or whatever it is they do this Wednesday at Toad's Place and we've yet to make it all the way through any of their musical odes to drinking and girls and doing nothing for a living. You can try and hear them out, or better yet, just don't.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Great Opening Act: Jann Klose

Friday: Jann Klose @ Sully's Pub, Hartford

Singer-songwriter Jann Klose has an exotic back story: born in Germany, raised in Africa, high school educated in... Cleveland? Yes, Cleveland. After fulfilling his civic duties to Germany, he relocated to the U.S., eventually landing in New York City and finding success as a performer with a couple of Broadway national touring companies. He's handsome and probably has a charming accent - the "total package." And by the way, he also writes some really nice, sophisticated sounding songs, which he will perform at Sully's this Friday, as an opening act for the very unfortunately named local band Straddledaddy. We would never, ever advise supporting that band under normal circumstances, even though we've never actually heard them, so be sure and get there early, and leave early too!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Connecticut Confection: Munson's

We were en route to visit out-of-town friends when it occurred to us that in spite of our ample wit and personal charms, polite guests never arrive empty handed. Ideally those hands should be filled with some kind of booze or dessert. Because we don't wish to be enablers, and we happened to be driving past a Munson's, we elected to go with the latter. Munson's is a Connecticut original - a family run business for over 60 years and blah blah blah. They make delicious chocolate, super-rich and sweet and creamy.

And now we know they also do ice cream, but we're not talking cones and sundaes. Munson's offers a brick of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream on a stick, freshly dipped in molten milk or dark chocolate, and a choice of toppings (like nuts and sprinkles). Or you can do it with a frozen banana - if you're really desperate! Ha! We couldn't stop giggling at the frozen banana, because we're incredibly immature. In our defense, we aren't the only ones to make that joke. We left laughing over a dipped strawberry brick and a banana, which were messy and amazing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Phallic Artistry: Westfarms

Is it fair to call a piece of playground equipment "artistry," phallic or otherwise? Well, we suspect an artist was involved somewhere along the line - that dinosaur didn't design himself, after all!
We imagine something along the lines of the individual who famously hid a penis amongst the turrets of the Little Mermaid's castle (or didn't, as the case may be). We've driven past this rather appalling apparatus for years in the neighborhood of Westfarms Mall and been struck time and again by a certain shapeliness to his head and and neck. And bulging legs, now that we mention it. Judging by the amount of wear and tear this beast has weathered (he's basically split in half), we can tell he's been well loved by children, or perhaps abused by one too many outside gutter-minds before we came along.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Midweek Music: The Action Design

Wednesday: The Action Design @ The Space, Hamden

I used to write CD reviews for this magazine, and at first it was cool, because I was getting all published in a national publication, and oh! there's my name on the shelf at Borders. But big whoop, our target audience was apparently teenagers with questionable taste. The pay was terrible, and most of the music wasn't anything I'd want to hear a second time, so eventually it just wasn't worth it any more. Whatever satisfaction there is to be derived from writing mean-spirited snarky shit about someone's artistic effort is severely diminished when the crap artist in question is some no-name newcomer on an indie label, and not Taylor Swift or Creed or Velvet Revolver or anyone else insulated from insult by obscene wealth and success.

But once in a blue moon I'd actually get a CD that turned me on to my next favorite band, and it was, you know, and honor and a privilege to write thoughtful compliments about them and then get even linked on their website! I've got this one band (click that shit!) I even put on my iPod who appear to be sadly defunct already, and probably no one really got to know them, but they're in my rotation forever baby.

The Action Design are another hot band I got to review who were good for a good many spins. This female-fronted punkish pop band have the sound and sex appeal for bigger and better things (think No Doubt? Or Paramore, if you must) but you can see them this week at The Space, which is a kind of unfortunate venue choice for such an energetic band, but whatever, I'm sure they're gonna work it. The headliner is another all-lady band, Sick of Sarah, who also sound cool.

Time of the Season: Fall

Autumn is upon us, its presence felt in earlier sunsets as well as colder nights calling for the warmth of layers of blankets and multiple cats. Oh, and earlier rising, for those morning classes. Is there any upside? Well, this changing of seasons has heralded the return of J. Foster's wonderful, seasonal pumpkin ice cream, and that is good news any way you scoop it (HA!). Oh dear, J. Foster's has let their webpage expire, but their ice cream (and gelato and sorbet) is alive and well and cheaper than Ben & Jerry's in Avon and Simbury locations.

There are other things to celebrate, as we bid adieu to daylight. For example: the end of tick season! Hopefully we've all survived another summer without contracting any disgusting tick-borne illnesses.

Bands, who spent the summer, not unlike the Gossip Girl gang, in Europe, will be back in the USA for fall tours. Hopefully they don't all skip Connecticut. And speaking of Gossip Girl: fall television.

And then there's fall fashion. I'll be "shopping my closet" like a proper recessionista (could these terms be any more annoying?) but just like people who can afford new things I'll be trading in my frisky frocks (as if) and silly sandals for better coverage via



and scarves.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This weekend we suggest you get out of town

In spite of our desire to find cool things to do in Connecticut, this weekend our sexy neighbors beckon, and if you have a tank of gas to play around with, we suggest taking a drive and checking out any of the following:

Tonight (Friday): Children of Bodom @ Lupo's, Providence, RI

Finland's Children of Bodom bring an air of rock stardom to every live performance. Their oft-deployed sense of humor saves them from any accusations of cheesiness for their guyliner or other goth posturing, and their playing is simply dazzling. Who else would hear a speed metal song in Creedence Clearwater Revival?

Saturday: Son Volt @ Pearl Street, Northampton, MA

And now for something completely different - indie rock legends! In our favorite town for meeting girls and eating... vegetables!

Newer, contemporary, hipsterly indie. We'd hit that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thursday: Creative Cocktail Time Again

Regrettably, Real Art Ways' Third Thursday events don't actually feature creative cocktails (we have a few Campari-based suggestions) - just a selection of beer and wine, but we're sure the creative community will be out in force. Munchies, music, art and film from 6 - 10 p.m.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Midweek Music: Mixed Bag

Tuesday: Melvins @ the Webster, Hartford

Honestly, we find the Melvins to be just a little bit scary but we like and admire many bands who like and admire the Melvins, so we allow for the possibility that this band must be seen to be heard, and that we would actually love them. And we found Melvins' mainman Buzz's comments to Lambgoat about why some other Seattle area bands made it so big and they didn't extremely amusing:
Dale and I are weird looking ugly creeps while all the front guys for those bands had a cute wounded "junkie" look that we could never have pulled off. For some reason chicks dig that sort of bullshit and so does MTV. I've never been able to figure out why women like what they do but generally when it comes to this sort of crap they seem to be totally vapid idiots. I honestly believe if Cobain, Cornell, and what's his face from Alice in Chains had looked like Fat Albert they wouldn't have sold ANY records.
The Melvins will be opening for Down, a band featuring a couple of guys from a couple cool bands (Eyehategod and Corrosion of Conformity) but unfortunately fronted by Pantera's macho man, Phil Anselmo. Here is a Melvins video where a guy turns into a cake. That's both disturbing and delicious:

An icon of American folk is playing at our new favorite venue! And while we're not exactly folkies, we are quite taken with Louden's brilliant offspring. Martha Wainwright's take on Leonard Cohen from I'm Your Man is gorgeous, and everything sexy gay Rufus Wainwright does is made out of wonderful. We understand it runs in the family.

Wednesday: Dead Meadow @ Daniel Street, Milford

This indie/shoegaze band sounds pleasantly gloomy and morose. We like that in a band. Also performing are Mountains and slide blues hipster duo Bottle Up & Go, who sound like a ton of fun.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Scene on Screen: World's Greatest Dad

I mentioned being interested in going to see Bobcat Goldthwait's newest film, World's Greatest Dad. My interest was first sparked reading an interview with Goldthwait from my favorite pop cultural resource, the AV Club, but as I recommend this movie, I must recommend that you not read this or any other article about it, because they all give the whole damn plot away (definitely do not read Roger Ebert's total plot summary review, glad I didn't see that 'til after the fact).

That shit frustrates me to no end - I would like just enough information to know that I'm interested. This can be a challenging standard as a reviewer to meet, since a twist or vital turning point are often ultimately the most provocative or interesting part, but World's Greatest Dad has plenty to offer in the way of themes and general qualities, without spilling the beans on every damn thing that happens.

Goldthwait has often spoken of a predilection for making people uncomfortable with his "comedy." He's not seeking your approval or dying to be liked. That tendency is in full force here. If frank discussion of masturbation (including exotic forms, like autoerotic asphyxiation), casual use of un-PC language by the teenaged portion of the cast, or unattractive but sexually active adults freak you out, this isn't for you. Goldthwait realizes it's more important to be true to his vision than to be liked by "everyone," and this realization is mirrored in the journey of his protagonist in the film.

World's Greatest Dad stars Robin Williams as a nice guy, who has the rather doormatty occupations of under-appreciated teacher and father, but nevertheless is capable of witty banter, bluntness (and blunt-smoking) and sexuality. He has hobbies and interests outside of parenthood. What a genuine, likable, fully realized character! The witty banter is just hilarious and non-stop, between Williams and his totally douchey kid, and Williams and his attractive fellow teacher ladyfriend. Some people in real life are witty like that too.

Goldthwait's portrayal of teenagers is relentless. His lack of idealizing or romanticizing of youth is refreshing and rings true (especially if you're part of the segment of the population immune to this stupid fascination with the kiddos). Most of the kids in the movie are self-absorbed, unimaginative and insensitive, not unlike many adults, who probably started out just like that too.

This film serves as a rather scathing commentary on how we, as a culture, deal with death by idealizing the deceased (just like the youth - cursed rose-colored glasses!). As I was watching, I was tempted to think: "This is an exaggeration, people aren't this ridiculous." But then I remembered probable child molester, definite nutter Michael Jackson, who has been made a saint and martyr in his utterly ridiculous death (fucking Propofol - as a sleeping pill?!). Goldthwait has drawn the same comparison in his interviews about the film.

Anyway, rarely have I been so vocally engaged with a movie while watching it - laughing out loud, and involuntarily responding to the onscreen antics as they become increasingly appalling.

Here, this is an enticing, non-spoilery segment with Williams and Goldthwait about nudin' it up for this movie:

The trailer is also "safe."

Scene on TV: BBC's Super Skinny Me

I watched this excellent - perhaps exploitive - documentary program, Super Skinny Me, on BBC America the other night (I'm sure they'll rerun it, they always do, but you can catch the whole deal on youtube).

It's about two lady journos who decide to try a variety of crash and fad diets in an attempt to reduce to size 0 in a matter of weeks. At first it's somewhat lighthearted, and the women are in good humor going through ridiculous stunts like exercising in a sauna whilst swaddled in saran wrap - gross! But once they hit on the methods that work - like the master cleanse - they go totally mental, weak with hunger but exhilarated by their dropping weights and pants' sizes. Although they are purportedly participating in an experiment, they are experimenting on themselves, so it's impossible to remain objective or hypothetical. They get hooked on the weight loss, and the disgusting rituals (like frequent colonics - also gross!), and are willing to overlook warnings from their doctors and their disintegrating personal relationships to continue with it.

I thought it was fascinating, perhaps particularly so because I am experiencing uncharacteristic skinniness myself. I am physically unable to eat the way I want to right now for medical reasons, and although I am frustrated by a lack of energy and attention span, and fantasizing about burgers every day, I have to admit to also being quite enchanted by numbers I haven't seen on the scale since before puberty and my increasingly saggy wardrobe. I expect that I will return to my regular weight, activity level, and non-disordered eating as soon as humanly possible, but it will not be completely without regret when I get my old body back.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Teabagging Hartford

Well, I worked today (for a change) but Scenic field operatives Mike and Dan documented the tea party or whatever at the capitol this afternoon. Behold the irrationality:

I won't bother with a thoughtful analysis or counter-argument to any of this because, frankly, it would be like arguing with my dining room table. Better to just make potty talk about the whole thing, really.

Or Spent Saturday Night With Your Local Soul Merchants

Reggae and "rocksteady" (whatever that means!) are not exactly our bag, but we have warm feelings towards local boys the Soul Merchants, having gone to high school with the singer (who is very nice) and attended shows by members' former bands during our adolescence. Go ahead and get vicariously nostalgic for us at Sully's Saturday night.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Saturday: Clutch it Real Good

We don't know how Clutch manage to be so medium successful, in the absence of significant radio or MTV play, but they always draw a strong mid-sizable crowd, and most importantly, put on a great show. They're heavy like a two-ton heavy thing, but in a bluesy, groovy way that you can almost-dance too, if you're stoned enough, and have a fat beard.

Clutch will play the Webster Theatre this Saturday night, along with Wino, who Thomas Pizzola tells us is a very important dude.

On Screen: Bobcat on Fatherhood

We admit to being a bit unfamiliar with Bob[cat] Goldthwait the auteur, but we're willing to learn, and we're certainly interested in anyone whose films are generally described in such terms as "misunderstood," "dark," "perverse," and "poorly received." In any case, he will always have our hearts for his memorable turn as a human/sock puppet mutant in one of our favorite oft-overlooked movies, Freaked:

Aw, whatever happened to Alex Winter anyway? (That was his auteur turn apparently.) But back to Mr. Goldthwait, whose latest work, World's Greatest Dad, is currently playing at New Haven's Criterion Cinema and opens this Friday at Hartford's Real Art Ways. We don't want to give the entire plot away like some other reviews, but we appreciate Goldthwait's willingness to describe a tragic teenaged character as basically an asshole, and the presence of Robin Williams as a bit of a failed parent, poet and teacher. We're not his biggest fans either, but we appreciate the stunt-castyness of it all, what with his much-lauded-but-actually-nauseating "inspirational" turns as a teacher in previous pictures.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Infinity Music Hall, a True Scenic Gem

Last night I was all ambition, dragging my (still) malnourished, drug-addled body out to see Living Colour after all at Norfolk's Infinity Music Hall. The band was great, as I already knew they would be, virtuoso musicians with the most sass and pizzaz this side of Lafayette. Last month's Wimbash was cool and all, but it was definitely worth it to see the full set on an elevated stage. Vernon Reid and I were military cap buddies again, and Corey Glover and I were each wearing elements of a Boy Scouts uniform, so we're basically style soulmates. Watching the show, I reflected that it's kind of a shame that for the casual listener, Living Colour are more or less synonymous with their biggest and most enduring hit, Cult of Personality, which is a great song and all, but I suspect some people are subconsciously put off by the political lyrical references and imagery from the video. Like they think it's a cool song, but that's some heavy shit, man. So they miss out on the funner sexy side of Living Colour, like their ode to bisexuality, treatise on monogamy, and whatever the hell this is.

So the show was great, but I also want to gush about the venue, which is a small-ish seated theater with an adjoining bar and restaurant. The whole place is classy and pristine. Apparently there was organic beer to be had, as well as an abundance of clean and fully operational toilets, sinks and paper towel dispensers. What a treat for a live music experience! Their line-up of events is decidedly grown-up, with folkies and singer-songwriters and the like, so I'll still have to visit shitholes to get my fix of, say, GWAR, but that's only right and proper. I'd like to see more bands in a place like this. It looks a lot cooler if you're an awesome band who is nevertheless waning in popularity to fill a nice room than to play to a lot of space in a sparsely populated dump. And as an attendee, it's certainly superior to park safely, be treated respectfully (no touching) by adult venue staff (including ushers!) and listen to music played at a non-painful volume with some degree of acoustical correctness. Did that sound a little old and complain-y? Well don't get me started... did I ever tell you about when I grew up, how we had to walk to school butt-naked, through forty miles of snow?

Behold Infinity!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Inglorious Bastards: CT on the Blogs

It's like highschool never ends at this Norwalk health care town hall meeting. Vulgar displays of public ignorance and racism, via Wonkette.

Midweek Music: Kings of Leon Wednesday

Kings of Leon have been on our radar since their brash, sexy major label debut, Youth and Young Manhood, which established them as the hot young things of retro garage rock, which was kind of a thing at the time. Still is? Regrettably (to us, not them) the band's sound has softened a bit over the years, but this seems to have made them a household name and MTV smash of late, so clearly they're making all the right moves. We're willing to bet they'll still "bring it" live though.

Spend it if you got it and see Kings of Leon this Wednesday at Mohegan Sun Casino.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Or You Can Just Watch TV: True Blood Finale Sunday

We don't know what we're gonna do with our Sunday nights anymore. Well, that's not exactly true - we'll still have Mad Men for our sexual needs, and we're eagerly awaiting a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm for the laughs. But it won't be the same without Vampire Eric and our current muse and style icon, Maryanne. Enjoy these wicked tribute vids:

Living Colour: Two More Chances

Well, I'm sure glad I attended the extra special Wimbash last month in Hartford, because I'm still convalescing and unable to attend Living Colour dates this Sunday and Wednesday in Norfolk and Fairfield, respectively. LOL, "Norfolk." We understand you're supposed to say it like "nor-fuck," as in: we ate so much we neither wanted to drink nor fuck. Actually, there appears to be some dispute over the matter (the pronunciation, that is).

photo by Bill Bernstein

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Next Best Thing: Extract

Mike Judge's latest, Extract, which opens today, is the next film on our to-see list. We have been fans since Beavis and Butthead, right up through glorious, hilarious box office flops/cult hits Office Space and Idiocracy. Judge mines everyday and on-the-job stupidity, carelessness and insensitivity for mean-spirited laughs, and that's just the way we like to the get them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Phallic Artistry: Blue Back Square

We were confronted with this horror at West Hartford's most scenic Blue Back Square fancypants shopping center. Once there was a Cow Parade; now there are these hideous, ambiguous equines, though we find the intention behind those cleaved buttocks and snaky necks all too clear. It puts us in mind of a little song we know.

Let's put this in perpective:

Taco Party: Every Thursday!

No we're not talking about dyke night at Tisane or wherever. This is an even bigger turn-on: Margarita's in Canton offers a free taco bar every Thursday evening from 9 pm. We assume the hook is that you buy some drinks so they give you some eats. We're sold.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It Happened... Happening Sunday

This Sunday, Sept. 6, at Channel 1 in scenic New Haven, check out a screening of indie music documentary, It Happened But Nobody Noticed, a chronicle of Connecticut's apparently then-burgeoning punk scene, which took place in the 80s or so at such venues you may or may not remember as Ron's, the El & G, and Hotel St. George. A music compilation by the same title was released in 1982, and has been updated with a second CD of Connecticut bands, one or two of which we've even actually heard of (sorry, we were like barely born).

Then go the after-screening music party at New Haven's lovely BAR, the venue with the gorgeous bathroom, tasty pizza, and their very own brews.