Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Week of Rock n' Roll

The week is shaping up to be more rock-oriented than I anticipated:

•Tonight, of course, is our epic debate at Lolita Bar (8pm, 266 Broome St. at Allen St. near the Delancey St. subway stop) between Brian McCarter and Daniel Radosh on Christian rock. (Note: Daniel’s certainly no paleoconservative, but in addition to defending Christian rock today, he also happens to have noted a surprisingly reconquista-ish and U.S.-mocking Absolut ad on his blog today.)

And last month’s debate, by the way, marked the third anniversary of the Todd Seavey/Michel Evanchik team running these debates — the announcements from this period all being retroactively posted on this (merely year-old) site, for anyone interested in history.

Prior to last month’s milestone, I’m told, the previous debate, from February, was mentioned in that week’s podcast by debater John Derbyshire, who noted his hangover but said a good time was had by all. A better time would have been had, though, had I succeeded in my attempt to move people — including song-prone Derb himself — to a second bar for karaoke.

•And that’s where tonight’s announcement comes in, for I intend to tell the audience that in one week (on Wed., April 9, at 8pm) Michel and I will lead a karaoke outing to Iggy’s on Second Ave. between 75th and 76th, despite the lack of soap or paper towels in their men’s room last time I checked. In honor of tonight’s debate, I will (at least for now) retire my standard “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” in favor of performing Simple Minds’ more Christian song “Sanctify” — balanced by the atheist (and libertarian) “Tom Sawyer” by Rush (“his mind is not for rent/ To any god or government”), song list permitting. Join us tonight for debate and one week hence for karaoke (at two different bars, remember), why don’t ya.

•Last night, on an arguably more impressive musical note, I saw Shine a Light by Martin Scorsese, the awesome IMAX Rolling Stones concert film — thanks to my hip Boomer co-worker at ACSH, Dr. Gilbert Ross, who had free tickets and then ended up not being able to make it into the crowded theatre at the last minute, so that only I from our group got to see an eight-story-tall Mick Jagger (compounding for Gil the pain from a few years ago caused by his misplacing tickets to a live Stones show until months after the performance).

And I’d like to note that much as I hate to contradict John Strausbaugh (who is, like me and Radosh, a veteran of the 1990s New York Press) and Strausbaugh’s book-length argument against aged rockers, Rock ’Til You Drop, I love the fact that the Stones are becoming shriveled, desiccated rock zombies but still doing fantastic performances (I also discovered only a year or two ago that my father and I agree they’re the best rock band of all — not those mop-topped jingle-writing Beatles — something Dad and I had somehow managed not to discuss before despite all those teenage years of me foolishly and impolitely railing against him for being too Motown and not New Wave enough).

I also loved the character Mok in the (uneven) animated film Rock n’ Rule — Mok was a futuristic, wrinkled, rat-man parody of Mick Jagger but is also one of the most mindbending hybrids in rock history for reasons having nothing to do with being a talking rodent: He (a) looked and acted like Jagger, (b) was voiced for dialogue purposes by Iggy Pop, and (c) was voiced for his signature song by Lou Reed. If I could be a fusion of Jagger, Pop, and Reed, I wouldn’t mind being turned into a rat-man.

•In other apocalyptic news, Scott Nybakken, his fellow opera fan Joellyn Weingourt, and I all saw the movie Doomsday this past weekend, and it was laughably but entertainingly 80s — essentially a shameless remake, neatly divided into four sections of about a half hour each (all ostensibly just parts of one story, mind you), of Day of the Dead, Escape from New York, Highlander, and Road Warrior, in exactly that order, and with music by Fine Young Cannibals and Siouxsie and the Banshees (this swell song) in the background, as post-apocalyptic Scotland is taken over by punk cannibals who find themselves at odds with a gun-toting almost-Kate-Beckinsale who has a cybernetic eyeball. You will believe it is 1986 again. For good or ill.

The upside of me seeing a Scottish apocalypse movie is that now I’ll have something to talk about at a Scotch-tasting I’m attending tomorrow, organized by people affiliated with the Scots through whom I got a chance to tour the Scottish nanotech industry a year ago, writing about it in last month’s Reason cover story — which I have just noticed is the first piece of mine (I think) ever plugged by Glenn “InstaPundit” Reynolds. He is to the blogosphere what a demagogic guy with a mohawk who eats people is to servile warriors in post-apocalyptic Glasgow, if you know what I mean.

(Incidentally, I probably wouldn’t have seen Doomsday were it not by the director of the far simpler and far superior film The Descent, the spelunking-women horror film, which in turn I probably wouldn’t have seen without a free pass from J.R. Taylor, who also rocks.)

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