SportsAlcohol Podcast: Captain America: Civil War

Mother’s Day Weekend means that all the SportsAlcohol got together to watch and talk about Captain America: Civil War
Spoiler Warning: Lots of spoilers about this movie and the MCU in general

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TRACK MARKS: “Kiss” by Prince

In April of 2001, the struggling Arizona Top 40 radio station 104.7 ZZP  was getting ready to relaunch as 104.7 KISS-FM. The station’s format was undergoing a transition from Mainstream Top 40 to Rhythmic Top 40, and the change would be punctuated by three days of “stunting.”  Stunting is a common radio practice of abruptly airing something unusual, often used when stations change formats or owners as a way of generating listener interest and publicity. From 6pm on April 20th to noon on April 23rd, 104.7 would play Prince’s “Kiss” on a loop.

I didn’t know any of this radio business background at the time. And I didn’t even really know much about Prince. Sure, I’d seen the Batman movie with his music, missed this Animaniacs joke going right over my head as a kid, and knew Purple Rain was a thing that existed, but I didn’t have particularly cool musical tastes and couldn’t have told you much beyond that. I’d flip around hunting for songs I liked on the radio, but I didn’t buy many albums or go see much live music. What I did do, as a high school senior in Apache Junction, AZ, was go to the park on weekend evenings to goof off and play racquetball with friends until the park closed. Then maybe we’d go back to my folks’ place and bake some cookies before watching a movie or SNL. I was Not Cool, I wasn’t particularly self-conscious about that, and this isn’t a story about how Prince changed my life or anything. But one thing that was really special about him was that he made a world that was cool and sexy and kind of dangerous accessible to even a square kid sitting in the parking lot at Prospector Park, listening to that song one more time (okay, maybe two more times) before getting out to play.

I left the dial tuned to 104.7 that entire weekend. “Kiss” is pretty immediately arresting, with its stripped down arrangement, that jangly guitar lick right before the last word in the chorus, and Prince’s slippery falsetto lead vocal. It was so different, and I admit I genuinely wasn’t even sure at first whether I was listening to a man or a woman. The song is funky as hell and doesn’t even have a bass line. It also felt sexier than anything I’d ever heard on the radio, and he was mostly just singing about getting a kiss.

I don’t know how many times I listened to that song in those three days, but I do know I was genuinely disappointed on April 23rd when the world went back to normal.

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Observations You May Have If, Hypothetically, You Somehow Get Yourself Into The Press Room at a Presidential Debate

You are asked to arrive two hours early. With nothing but your laptop, a communal wooden table, and large TV screens playing hours of CNN, you’re more productive in those two hours than you were in your previous eight at work.

The venue has left freebies on the seats. By the time you get there, two hours before the debate, the freebies are already gone. Journalists are fast.

You wonder if anyone else in the bullpen had a previous stint as a wedding magazine editor and was mentally converting the press room into an event space. (It’s easy—turn the desks into banquet tables, swap out the laptops for place settings, turn the TVs into centerpieces, and you’ve got an industrial-chic thing going on.) You decide that the Venn diagram for political reporters/weddings editors probably has little overlap, at least outside of D.C.

There is a clear delineation in dress between on-camera reporters, print/web reporters, and you.

You find that the hardest working people at the debate are not the campaigns, the staffers, or the security. They’re the people manning the food trucks out back.

You only ask two questions the entire night: What is the WiFi password, and where are the aforementioned food trucks. You are embarrassed to admit that you asked the second question first.

You watch the other journalists take photos and shoot video. You wonder if all of their B-roll have footage of you chowing down on the fare from said food trucks.

When the Broadway performer sings the National Anthem, you wonder about whether or not to stand. What are the rules about standing when you’re watching the Anthem being performed on a TV showing footage from the building next door? You glance at the person next to you for guidance; he’s German.

The coffee is free. It’s good. A half-hour into the debate, you get one for yourself. You reach for the milk; it’s empty. Journalists are fast.

You’re constantly struggling between the desire to go use the ultra-fancy porta potties and the worry that they’ll talk about the one issue you’re professionally interested in while you do.

Relief washes over you when it becomes clear that you and the German will become please-watch-my-stuff-while-I-use-the-fancy-porta-potties buddies.

Looking around sheepishly, you wonder if anyone would catch you searching, “When does the debate end?”

You don’t have Imposter Syndrome; you are an imposter.

SPORTSALCOHOL Podcast: Eagles, Weezer, and California Music

Both The History of The Eagles and its Documentary Now! parody are currently on Netflix.  This coincides with the release of Weezer’s latest self-titled album. This has gotten us thinking a lot about California music recently, but what does that even mean? Sara, Marisa, Sabrina, Jesse, and Rob tried to break that down. Topics we covered include:

  • The Eagles (and other bands our parents like)
  • Weezer through the years
  • faux-spiritualism
  • the feminist impact of overalls-releated imagery in songwriting
  • How little we actually know about rap
  • My new genius account: http://genius.com/roberthenryk

Spoiler Warning: Lots of spoilers about The History of The Eagles

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#IndieAmnesty, or Remember When You Used to Be a Rascal

Like many music fans of a certain age, I spent a good chunk of my free time yesterday reading tweets with the hashtag #indieamnesty. If you weren’t as glued to the feed as I was, it went down like this: Teenagers, music fans, band members, and even politicians confessed their supposed crimes against music and/or themselves. It was an ode to time wasted on ill-advised message boards, embarrassing  run-ins with bands at gigs, misguided tastes, and poor fashion choices.

Some of the tweets were about old, ill-formed opinions, but most of them were memories of in-person escapades. As Spector’s Fred Macpherson wrote in the Guardian, “The most important events were never really the ones the NME were writing about, they were the things happening to you and your friends on the frontline...Indie amnesty brings together thousands of relatively banal anecdotes about unglamorous people doing slightly idiotic things into something quite majestic.”

It was also extremely time-specific. Though indie music certainly has a longer timeline, the #indieamnesty stories focused on a narrower scope, and the same band names kept coming up over and over again: the Strokes, the White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, the Libertines, the Arctic Monkeys, and Vampire Weekend.

Of course, some of the SportsAlcohol.com founders were not immune to #indieamnesty fever.

I wish the #indieamnesty feed could continue forever.

I loved it because I was there. I was the one making a fool out of myself at concerts, investing a ridiculous amount of money/time/energy going to shows,  and lurking in LiveJournal communities before posting in my own blog about gigs. I may not have a framed $20 bill that was given to me by Pete Doherty, but I know what it felt like to want to preserve a moment like that. I still have signed setlists hanging in my home office.

But what’s even better is the word choice in the hashtag. It’s not #indiememories. It’s #indieamnesty.

Conventional wisdom states that stuff that happened 20 years ago is cool. That’s why we’re having such a ’90s revival now (and why Happy Days was made in the ’70s about the ’50s, The Wonder Years was made in the ’80s about the ’60s, and That ’70s Show was made in the ’90s about the ’70s, and so on).

The flip side to that is that stuff that happened 10 years ago is supposed to be embarrassing, In the ’90s, people cringed at the hair metal and shoulder pads of the ’80s. In the ’00s, bands shunned the ’90s flannel and baggy Salvation Army gear for — of all things — tailored suits.

With #indieamnesty, music fans of today say they refuse to feel bad about the music they were into 10 years ago.  In Salon, Scott Timberg writes that you should “never apologize for carrying a Weezer lunch box.” I say that, whoever confessed it isn’t apologizing—she’s declaring amnesty. She’s not requesting a reprieve; she’s taking it. And that’s what I love most about it.

I haven’t been following the indie scene that closely recently. I don’t want to entirely blame this on my infant daughter, but she’s partially responsible. After reading these tweets, I hope she grows up to be a fan of something. I hope she daydreams about it, sketches it in the margins of all her notebooks, doodles it on her sneakers, make fake tattoos about it in sharpie (but only fake ones). And, when she’s old enough to know better,  I hope she declares amnesty of her own.

 

SPORTSALCOHOL PODCAST: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Jesse, Nathaniel, Rob, and Sabrina all saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. None of them really liked it. They knew this would probably be the case. So why go see and then record a very long podcast about it? Long story short: Zack Snyder. This film’s director makes watchable movies that are always some degree of hot mess.  For the long version: listen on! You may want to read this seminal essay that is referenced early on.

There will be spoilers, but not nearly as many as there were in the trailers.

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The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: The X-Files, Fuller House, and TV Revivals

Have you guys noticed that no television shows actually die out these days? Whether they’ve been gone for a few months, a few seasons, or a few decades, almost everything gets revived, including recent resurrections of ’90s favorites like Full House (via Fuller House on Netflix) and The X-Files (via… The X-Files, again, on Fox). Marisa, Jesse, and Nathaniel watched all of the new X-Files and some of Fuller House (tune in to hear who watched all thirteen episodes!), then got together to discuss this trend: other examples and forms of TV revivals, whether it’s worth it for these shows or in general, and how we feel about the future of television revivals, reunions, and resurrections. Also, find out just how insulting Jesse can be to the memory of Full House!

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Transformers 7 Will Be 4 Hours Long And Make More Money Than God

I was wicked excited to see the projected release schedule for the next three Transformers movies (5–7 of course, coming to you in June of 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively). More robots! More robots in disguise! My imagination ran wild considering the possibilities.

Trying to get a better read on what might be to come, I took a look back at the first four movies.

And that’s when the dread set in.

My friends, I regret to inform you that the world of Transformers is undergoing a dangerous level of inflation. Inflation of running times. Take a look at these numbers: Continue reading Transformers 7 Will Be 4 Hours Long And Make More Money Than God

The SportsAlcohol.com Frankenstein Studies: Frankenstein (2016)

JESSE:
OK, Nathaniel, it’s time to talk about this Frankenstein 2016 redo that’s just come out on Blu-ray. I really should’ve sent this movie over to Rob and Sabrina with the probably foolish hopes that their contributions to the discussion could keep us from devolving into Josh Hutcherson fan fiction and analysis of the comic strip Luann, but we’ll do our best. This is such a new version of Frankenstein that it hasn’t even been added to the Wikipedia page of Frankenstein In Popular Culture (if you’re the one who updates this, please do), and it’s pretty stripped down. I’m sure some of that has to do with its direct-to-video origins, but I did see some value — perhaps more theoretical than actual — in doing up a “modern-day Frankenstein story” on pedestrian-looking city streets and sets that look a bit like redressed high school basements. Did the low-budget angle work for you, the Frankenstein enthusiast?

NATHANIEL:
Yeah, I’m often skeptical of that kind of low-budget (and modern day) approach for stories like this. But here, in restricting the adaptation and point of view primarily to the portions of the story where the creature is off on his own learning the ways of the world, they found a way in to the story that actually feels fresh for a while, and kind of appropriate spending tons of time in vacant lots and empty irrigation canals or whatever generic concrete-and-chainlink environs they shot in. It’s definitely an immersive approach, dropping you right in with a POV camera and little in the way of exposition. And I dug the way that, since this version of the creature remains pretty inarticulate, they incorporated some of the text of the novel as voiceover (or at least voice over clearly meant to invoke the novel, since some seemed tailored specifically to what we see onscreen and I didn’t have a copy on hand to compare it). But placing us so fully in the creature’s perspective, and extending his “cast out & beset upon by the cruelty of the world” period to make up the entirety of the film, ended up making it feel punishing to me. The grubby grisliness of it all (and how about the gore in this movie?) makes for some pretty memorable imagery, but it also ends up a little monotonous. And it felt a little weird rubbing up against the numerous homages to the Karloff films. Xavier Samuel really goes for it (perhaps because we watched this shortly before the Academy Awards, it brought to mind DiCaprio playing another revenant, at least in terms of drooling, screaming, and dirt eating), but he’s no Karloff. So the winky stuff made me miss the pathos of Karloff’s performances as the last half hour of the film heaped even more misery on the monster. Did that bother you at all? Or did that stuff even read as specific homage anymore?
Continue reading The SportsAlcohol.com Frankenstein Studies: Frankenstein (2016)