Monday, August 30, 2010

Home made In-N-Out Burgers!

Yep, you read right. Home made. In-N-Out Burgers. Not sure what I'm talking about, well, unless you live on the left coast, I'm not surprised. Us right coasters are missing out on some seriously phenomenal burgers. Sure, we have some tasty options like Five Guys and Brown Bag, but one taste of a Double Double will make you forget all about those sub-standard burgers.

M's First In-N-Out Burger, Brookhurst and Orange in Anaheim

When I lived in Los Angeles, I did my best to sample In-N-Out as regularly as possible and when I took M there in 2009, she fell in love too. Sadly, we now sit at some mock-burger joint eating substitute "burgers" dreaming of the day when we can stuff a juicy, messy Double Double in our mouths and experience true burger ecstasy again. UNTIL NOW!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I want to be a Violent Femme too

I'm not sure when I first heard Violent Femmes, but I'm sure - like most everyone else - that the song was "Blister in the Sun". My first real experience with the Femmes came from a tape copy of their eponymous debut my uncle gave me in the early 1990's. I have such vivid memories of listening to it on my Walkman as I road the bus home from school.

Violent Femmes: Victor DeLorenzo, Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie. Photo by Francis Ford. © 1993 Reprise Records.

Sample Three Songs from the Album:

The first thing that struck me about the album was their signature sound. So raw and full of angst. It was punk with violins, acoustic guitars and xylophones. Sure, they might be known for their wonky pseudo-pop hits like "Blister", "Kiss Off" and "Add It Up", but it was their less popular songs that really blew me way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thunderball V. Never Say Never Again, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a movie remake comparison. If you haven't already read Part 1, you may want to do so before you start reading.

I've always been a fan of the classic Sean Connery Bond films and so I've generally always liked Thunderball. In order to do this comparison, I watched it critically, perhaps for the first time, and I quickly realized it's one of, if not the, weakest of the original five Connery films.

The characters and plot are simple, but it's not like Thunderball was made to change the world. James Bond embodies excitement; toss in some suspense, a gadget or two, a leading lady, a dastardly villain, a few bull sharks and you're willing to suspend disbelief.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thunderball V. Never Say Never Again, Part 1

I have a strange fascination with history, chronology and the concept of 'what has come before'. I love comparing different versions of the same idea, to look for it's evolution. Movie remakes are fascinating examples of how ideas can evolve and I've chosen to highlight some famous cinematic remakes in a new series of film comparisons.

A Little About the Remake
Remakes are nearly as old as movies themselves. Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur was the basis for the 1907 Sidney Olcott directed Ben Hur, which was later remade in 1925 and 1959.

Screens from the 1907, 1925 and 1959 versions of Ben-Hur

But why remake a story that has already been told? In some cases it's a simple as one auteur wanting to tell their own variation of a given story. Special effect laden movies are often remade as technology improves. Many "foreign" films have been adapted for the US market. Some directors, including D.W. Griffith and Alfred Hitchcock, have even remade their own works, seeking to produce a definitive vision. Sadly, most films are remade to recapture the cinematic success of the original film. In Hollywood, a new idea is always riskier than an old idea.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remembering Warren Zevon Learning to Flinch

My iTunes Library has gotten pretty bloated with several decades of music, the vast majority of which I haven't heard in a really long time. Today I busted out my favorite Warren Zevon album.

I got my first real taste of Warren Zevon's genius around Christmas of 1993. Learning to Flinch was a gift from urban family friend and occasional music mentor Wayne and, honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. Sure, I had heard, and liked, "Werewolves of London" - who hasn't - but a full album from the novelty song guy? Hmm.

Still, Wayne had never failed me and after the excitement of Christmas and New Years died down, I dropped the disc in to the stereo for a listen. Few things prepared me for the connection I was about to make or the impact that Warren Zevon would leave on me. It redefined the way I thought about live music, acoustic guitar and piano.