Warning : there are details in this story that will shock, dismay and possibly even sicken many of you.
For instance, who knew there was a restaurant in Connecticut called HUSKY PIZZA?
Warning : there are details in this story that will shock, dismay and possibly even sicken many of you.
For instance, who knew there was a restaurant in Connecticut called HUSKY PIZZA?
Former Journey vocalist Steve Perry— perhaps hoping everyone’s forgotten his 2005 appearances in the White Sox locker room — was a frequent/annoying TV fixture during the NLCS, and with San Francisco making their 3rd trip to the Fall Classic in 5 seasons, the voice behind such hits as “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Wheel In The Sky” spoke with KNBR’s Brian Murphy :
McCaffrey: You mentioned Bruce Bochy — is he like the Bill Graham figure for these guys? There are famous stories of Bill Graham getting the Who to play three more songs when they wanted to go home, or getting Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to perform. … Do you see Bochy as that guy the way Bill Graham was for your community?
Perry: There’s no doubt that certain key figures like Bill and Bochy do sit in an area by themselves. They do get you to do things — somehow you just want to rise to their requests, and somehow they get people to play for them. I think Bochy is that kind of guy. I’ve had the pleasure of being on the field for batting practice a few times and got to talk to him. He’s a pretty charismatic cat. He walks up to you, and first of all he’s about nine feet tall. He looks down at you, and he’s a very big guy, and he’s got that (deep) voice, “How’re you doing, how’s it going.” … But I want to say one thing — one of the themes of some of our other playoff runs was “torture.” I’ve got a new one — I think torture kind of comes with a sense of entitlement, and we don’t have that. We do not have a sense of entitlement as a team. A friend of mine said something the other day — I was saying, “Man, this is amazing — this is tough!” And he said, “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be fun!” I thought that was genius — if this was easy, it wouldn’t be fun!
McCaffrey: Part of the great AT&T experience is really a communal thing — it brings a lot of different kinds of people together who probably wouldn’t be sitting together normally, and we’re all applauding for the same thing. You’ve become a big part of that with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Lights” in the eighth inning. Do you still get a charge out of that?
Perry: I have not been in a situation like that in many, many years — you guys know that. I was asked to lead the fans during the middle of the eighth, and wow it’s a real charge. In fact, sometimes I have to calm myself down because I start to hang over the balcony and stuff like that.
box courtesy Austin’s Vulcan Video.
Serious props to Cleveland Plain-Dealer scribe Chris Haynes and his editor for this morning’s headline, “Though concerned, Dallas Mavericks determined not to let Ebola alter their lives”, which runs atop a item that warns the visiting Dallas Mavericks, “are right at the center of the epidemic.” Well, yeah, they’re at Quicken Loans Arena tonight.
“Obviously everyone was a little nervous and a little scared in Dallas, but it’s one of those things that you can’t really control,” Chandler Parsons told Northeast Ohio Media Group after the team’s shootaround in preparation for the Cavaliers on Friday night.
“It’s crazy. You just have to hope that everyone stays safe and they can help the people with it.”
Before I could ask a follow-up question, Parsons asked, “Isn’t there one Ebola case here in Cleveland now?”
Despite the national uproar Ebola has caused, members of the Mavericks are not going to let it affect how they go about their everyday regimen.
“Nah, not really,” Mavericks’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said to Northeast Ohio Media Group. “We as a city have to trust the health system and the hospitals. You just can’t live your life in fear all the time. Obviously, I wouldn’t be where there are 2,000 people, but I wouldn’t do that anyways. It hasn’t done anything to me yet.”
Though it’s not quite Hal Steinbrenner apologizing for the Yankees’ 2nd place finish, Suns managing partner Robert Sarver spoke to those in attendance during the closing moments of last night’s San Antonio vs. Phoenix preseason encounter, one that didn’t feature a number of Spurs starters.
It’s a fascinating stance for Sarver to take, because after all, who would know better about what’s best for the welfare of the defending champion Spurs than a rival owner? How can Greg Popovich, with a pathetic resume including a mere 5 NBA titles in 15 seasons, put the interests of his selfish, lazy players above those of Phoenix’s hardcore basketball fans, all of whom had a reasonable expectation they’d be watching a game on the level of a Conference Final when they knowingly shelled out for exhibition game tickets?
Arizona State recently encouraged fans attending a September 25 clash with UCLA to “blackout” Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium by donning black tees and a number home fans turned up in blackface to boot, at no small embarrassment to the school. On Thursday, ASU stopped short of banning such displays, as the Arizona Republic’s Dianna M. Náñez reports :
After initially delaying action on the most-recent incident, the Athletic Department posted a statement Tuesday on ASU’s website that said: “As an inclusive and forward-thinking university, it is important for us to foster an environment in which everyone feels safe and accepted. Therefore, we discourage the use of face paint at any event, whether the theme is black, maroon, gold or white, and ask our fans to show their Sun Devil Pride in other ways.”
It was unclear Wednesday whether fans showing up at ASU athletic events in face paint would be asked to remove it or be barred entry.
Kevin Galvin, an ASU spokesman, told The Republic that the university had no comment beyond its statements.
A handful of students who wore black face paint when the Sun Devils hosted UCLA said they did so to support ASU.
“I’m trying to help clear up that this is not blackface,” Tim Schodt said. “This is taking face paint and putting it on your face. This is not a terrible misrepresentation of African-Americans. This is a simple football tradition.”
Or as Steve Somers famously refers to him, THE Eddie Scozzare, a WFAN producer/board operator who having cut his teeth providing all manner of analog audio snippets for The Schmoozer’s overnight adventures, now finds himself with the tall task of making Boomer Esiasson and Craig Carton sound good in the digital age (“I don’t know what the life expectancy of an air traffic controller is, but I can’t imagine it’s that long in that job, with people’s lives literally in your hands…obviously if I screw up, no one’s going to die”). From Newsday’s Neil Best :
There likely is no one alive who could figure out Scozzare’s filing system for the audio “drops” he uses to augment WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton” morning show
Scozzare said he uses Suzyn Waldman less often than he used to because listeners enjoy Craig Carton’s impersonation of her so much that “there’s not a need for it.”
How does he keep all this straight?
“I really don’t know the bio-science behind it. It’s just some people can do certain things and they are practiced and trained and it must become part of how their brain works, I guess,” he said. “There are people who can play 50 chess games at once and win, or who can count cards or whatever.
“I just have a skill – and it’s not perfect, by the way. There are many times I don’t think of something or can’t get to the drop in time. And knowing when to pull back and not force it is as important as being able to drop it properly.”
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis took questions from the local scribes Wednesday as his team prepared for a Sunday visit to Indianapolis, and at one point fielded a question regarding LB Vontaze Burfict, who’s already missed a pair of games this season after concussions in consecutive games to start the season. From the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Dehner Jr. :
Q: Any concern for (Vontaze Burfict) not just as a football player but as a human being given the number of concussions he’s had?
ML: “Well, he had a concussion against Atlanta. That’s that biggest concern that way. You don’t want him to have, you know, but again I coached defenses and linebackers for a long time and concussions didn’t linger. Now we have found that because of the media and things they seem to linger longer. There’s a lot of attention paid to it. I don’t know why they linger longer. I don’t remember them lingering like they do now.”
(NOT COMING TO A RING NEAR YOU : Todd Cruise vs. The Reptoid Jews!)
Via Uproxx’s tireless Brandon Stroud comes news of an alleged attempt at starting a Rochester, NY independent wrestling promotion, NWoR (Novel Wrestling Of Rochester). An ad placed on Craigslist (because where else are you gonna find the bookers of tomorrow?) seeks writing talent willing to work “very much in the style of Vince Russo”, which might be your first (but not your last) hint this thing isn’t for real. The advertisement promises that NWoR “will take on subject matter that, traditionally, has not been fodder for promotions in the past.” The scourge of file-sharing? The precipitous decline of “Law & Order : SVU”? Nope!” I’m referring, of course, to conspiracy theories, and related subjects.” Of course! Here’s some of what they’ve got in mind :
The Evil Lizard Bankers (a tag team based on the Jewish conspiracy theory that the world is controlled by Jews, as well as the idea that they’re really reptoids who are descendants of ancient aliens. They’ll come to the ring with iguana masks on, as well as black hats and grey beards, and they’ll hold money bags with dollar signs on them.)
Dr.s Don and Dan Paul (Parody of Dr.s Ron and Rand Paul. This tag team will be the arch-enemies of the Evil Lizard Bankers.They’ll wrestle in standard wrestling singlets and carry American and Gadsden flags.)
Alex Clones (Parody of Alex Jones. Will talk with a thick Texan drawl. Character will not be that much different than the real Alex Jones. Will wrestle in standard trunks.)
Greg Beck (Parody of Glenn Beck. Mortal enemy of Alex Clones. Character will wear coke bottle glasses, have blonde hair, cry throughout promos, and bring a big chalkboard with him to the ring.)
The Drones (Another tag team. The Drones, Drone #1 and Drone #2 are actually robots. Wrestlers will wear some silver colored, metallic looking costume that looks “robotic.” The Drones will be managed by Barry Bizarro, a parody of Barry Soetoro, i.e. Obama. Barry will carry a big remote control with an antenna, like the kind you’d have for a remote control car. The gimmick will be that Barry is controlling the Drones while they’re wrestling. Barry Bizarro will also do the talking for this tag team.)
David Dike (Parody of David Icke. Will talk with a British accent. Gimmick will be that, every time he goes out to the ring, he’ll try and talk his way out of the match because of his arthritis. When that doesn’t work, he’ll wrestle, then, somehow, he’ll find a moment to put on a magnetic bracelet or tinfoil hat which will give him superpowers, i.e. He’ll “Hulk up” and be able to win the match.
Todd Cruise (Parody of Senator Ted Cruz. Gimmick will be that he gives exceedingly long promos about crazy nonsense that has nothing to do with anything. This is a parody of when Senator Cruz, in September 2013, delivered a twenty one hour speech to filibuster the Senate into defunding ObamaCare. His speech included parts where he read Dr. Seuss books.)
Hollarina (Pronounced as “Holla” and “Rena.” Character is a rapper who wears a pink ballerina leotard and tutu. Not really political. Basically is just a ripoff of John Cena, and maybe Brodus Clay.)
pic courtesy Dangerous Minds.
UFC announcer Mike Goldberg made his NFL play by play debut this past Sunday during Detroit’s 17-3 dispatch of Minnesota, and Mike’s already apologized for his testy replies to no small number of Twitter critics. Just the same, he’ll not be working another pro football contest for Fox in the near future, and SBN’s Sean Yuille points to the reasons why, declaring, “FOX managed to outdo itself on Sunday with the worst broadcast of a football game I have ever witnessed in my life.” Keep in mind, Yuille’s almost certainly familiar with Mike Mayock’s work.
Goldberg and Brendon Ayanbadejo, had no business calling an NFL game, as evidenced by their constant mistakes. They repeatedly misidentified coaches and players — no, Golden Tate and Sam Martin aren’t on the Vikings — and it felt like they did zero preparation for this game. Actually, it felt like they were reading from an error-filled script and had no prior knowledge of either team. It was painful to listen to them on Sunday.
As if the announcing wasn’t bad enough, the camera work and directing were almost as bad. It was like FOX hired a bunch of high schoolers with no experience in TV and said, “Hey, come work this NFL game for us.” I don’t know how such a large company with such a big stake in the success of its NFL coverage can put out such an awful product, but FOX sunk to a new low on Sunday.
On Monday morning, the increasingly sleazy New York Daily News sought to highlight the Giants’ 27 point away loss to an NFC East rival not with calls for Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese’s head, but with the above front cover, depicting an unidentified Eagles employee rejoicing over WR Victor Cruz’ departure from the contest. Trouble is, the Eagles employee, who prefers not to give his last name, insists that’s not really what happened. From CBS Philadelphia’s Andrew Porter :
“Angelo, I never call the radio,” Charlie told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday morning. “I just want to be clear. I don’t want to make it look bad for Philadelphia, especially me. I got to live with myself. It was fourth and two, which is an exciting play, the ball was overthrown and I just reacted like we just stopped them, so I was just cheering. As soon as I saw him [Cruz] hurt, we—everyone stopped cheering. I didn’t cheer for that. And honestly, if anyone in the Philadelphia media followed it, they’ll see me go down to my knee—not with the players, but I’m actually, I said a prayer for him as well. It was terrible. I would never do that.”
“I just wasn’t portrayed right,” Charlie confirmed to CBSPhilly.com. “I’m upset. It just stinks. My email, my texts. I have friends in New York. I have nothing against New York.”
In reality, as soon as Cruz was down the stadium went silent and respect was shown for the star Giants wideout. Some Eagles fans even chanted Cruz’s name as he was carted off a midst a respectful applause.
“I don’t know, again,” Charlie said of the NY Daily News photo and article. “It’s just upsetting to me. That wasn’t me. I’m not cheering that he got hurt.”
In addition to a forthcoming disciplinary hearing for what’s diplomatically dubbed “student code of conduct issues”, Florida State QB / reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston faces an FSU investigation over whether or not he signed autographers-for-cash for the same firm tied to recently suspended Georgia RB Todd Gurley. After Saturday’s 38-20 defeat of Syracuse, Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher expressed frustration with any cynics who believe money changed hands in connection with one company selling 340 authenticated Winston signatures. From the Syracuse Post-Standard’s Chris Carlson :
“Kids sign things all the time,” Fisher said. “So, what do you want them to do, stop signing stuff? We could make them not have any fans from that standpoint and not sign for anybody. That’s what it’s going to come to, and that’s a shame for college football, that somebody exploits a kid. Now, if they’re getting paid for it, then I don’t have any knowledge of that. I don’t believe Jameis did.”
The persons behind the Facebook group “We Are Darren Wilson” had promised to sell the above t-shirts at a St. Louis sports bar in advance of Saturday’s Game One of the National League Championship Series between the host Cardinals and the visiting Giants. At some point yesterday, they changed their mind.
“**Due to heightened threats/violence in the St. Louis City area our team will not be physically present at Barney’s** *SHIRTS-HATS-WRISTBANDS* update: If you’re local, pick up at Barney’s Sports Pub, 6027 Chippewa St, St Louis, MO 63109 (wristbands $5, hats $10, blue/silver badge shirts $15). If you already sent a check to Barney’s, we’ll still send your wristband by mail. Otherwise, we’re discontinuing mailings at this time. For a variety of reasons outside of our control, we were unable to continue with the red shirts. Thank you for your continued support of Darren Wilson and Law Enforcement!”
One of the “variety of reasons”, “beyond their control” might be use of the Cardinals name and colors without the permission of Major League Baseball.
I’m not sure who was the first doofus to publicly announce I’d likened hacky-sacsters The Hold Steady to “later-period Soul Asylum fronted by Charles Nelson Reilly”. Comforted by Magnet Magazine’s Jonthan Valania many years after the hate crime, vocalist Craig Finn claims, “I was like, ‘If I read that, I’d probably want to go see that band,’” which if nothing else, should tell you a thing or two about his standards. ” “I was also disappointed,” Finn continues, “because it wasn’t meant to be complimentary, and the dude’s label has put out some of my favorite bands.” I know, I know, Craig. We’re ALL Frogs fans. But that doesn’t mean we’re all coming from the same place, though Valania claims Finn and I look kinda alike (newsflash : even if this falsehood were true, there’s not enough room in the rock scene for more than one less-athletic Bobby Riggs).
All of that said, I challenge Valania and his dopey colleagues to produce the alleged column in which I refer to The Hold Steady or Finn by name. True, there’s a CSTB item from 2005 (!) that contains the Soul Asylum/Charles Nelson Reilly line, but no offending artist was ever identified. What could possible have provoked so many music journalists over the last decade to decide I was referring to Finn’s E Street Bland?
ANSWER : Even some of The Hold Steady’s biggest defenders think the shoe fits. This, like Finn, is their idea of a sales pitch. But BOO FUCKING HOO, it wasn’t meant as a compliment! And it keeps coming up!
Here’s where Valania really goes off the deep end, however :
Craig Finn has something that Cosloy, for all his vast reserves of hipness and uncanny knack for recognizing what’s next before everyone else (EDITOR’S NOTE – WHAT THE FUCK?), will never have: the gift of the common touch. Like the Boss, from whom he is a clear descendant, Finn has never pulled a shift on the line, he doesn’t play beer-league softball with the boys on Saturday afternoons, his hands are soft, and he votes straight Democrat. Hell, he read Infinite Jest. Twice. But, also like the Boss, he has an unshakeable belief in the transcendental power of a shit-hot bar band to set the working man free on a Friday night—if only until last call—and is more than willing, night after night, to shed the requisite blood, sweat and beers it takes to git ’er done.
His band’s pretty common, Jonathan, I’ll give you that. But if you’ve really got a boner for the transcendental power of a shit-hot bar band, might I suggest a little motion picture called “Eddie & The Cruisers II : Eddie Lives”?
To reiterate something I wrote in 2005 which may or may not be applicable to The Hold Steady ; I’m sure they’re nice people. I take no relish in anything bad happening to them and applaud the group and their handlers in having fashioned a lengthy career in show business, despite the fact the only memorable thing anyone’s ever said about them is routinely attributed to someone who might’ve meant another band!
Earlier this week, the cosmopolitan conscience of New York sports media, The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick attempted to negotiate the culture gap between his own worldview (ie. routinely trashing Spike Lee, Mike Francesa, Vince McMahon, Phil Knight, sporting events that are likely to end after 9pm eastern time) and that of the frantic, fanatical callers to Paul Finebaum’s chat show, now simulcast on ESPN’s SEC Network (“the legions of deep-fried, loosely wired college football fans are like that second Ray Rice video. It’s one thing to know they exist; it’s another to actually hear them”).
Callers are often heard as raging lunatics whose welfare, carotid artery flow and brain function are predicated on the weekly results of games played by 20-year-olds. Many know much more than enough. After all, why did the kid choose Ole Miss when he could have started as a freshman corner for LSU?
Finebaum calmly listens and calmly answers. He doesn’t blink, wince or even shift in his seat to display discomfort. Clearly, he’s not surprised by — and seems to expect — a string of callers who sound on the verge of committing “lunacide.” He seems to understand. He would make a superb 911 operator. Or a funeral director. But then we would miss him.
One day, perhaps, Finebaum will mess with his professional function and ask such callers for their age, occupation, whether they have kids and why an adult would worry himself sick, angry and on the precipice of clinical delirium — over games played by 20-year-olds.
Lest you believe such devotion to amateur collegiate sports is a delirium mostly found in the American south, there is some unfortunate evidence that similar obsessions exist above the Mason-Dixon line. Believe it or not, there were acts of abuse and sadism in the papers this week far worse than anything suffered by War On Drugs, and consider the following passage from the New York Times’ Harvey Aarton (“Cancellation of High School Football Season Leads Sayreville to Ask What Happens Next”) and compare it to Phil’s SEC-sneering :
Inside Angelo’s, a pizzeria on Sayreville, NJ’s Main Street, John Shara, 56, a 20-year Sayreville resident motioned to the store owner at the counter and said: “They play a game on Friday night and he tells me that no one comes in here because everyone’s at the field. They play on Saturday, you go into the diner down the street and you’ve got all these 50-year-old men in their Bombers caps and sweatshirts.
“Honestly, I don’t get it. I understand if you’re in Texas, or Iowa, in a town where there’s nothing else around for 20 miles.”
Presumably there are Red Sox fans who simply enjoy baseball enough to watch the ALCS without a rooting interest, but the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy would have you believe there’s all sorts of reasons why otherwise disinterested Massholes should (temporarily) shift allegiances (“these Orioles are forever entwined with the Red Sox of Boston, and they serve nicely as New England’s team for this October tournament”). For instance, did you know Baltimore and Boston both begin with the letter, “B”?
The Baltimore Orioles gave Boston Babe Ruth, Willie Tasby, Mike Boddicker, Larry Lucchino, Theo Epstein, Dr. Charles Steinberg, and Janet Marie Smith.
Baltimore always matters to Boston because Baltimore is the home of George Herman Ruth, and the Bambino is the guy who came to the Red Sox as a rookie (via the Baltimore Orioles of the International League) in 1914 and stuck around for three championship seasons, throwing shutouts and hitting homers. The Sox sold him to the Yankees in a cash deal that decimated the Boston franchise and triggered 86 years of frustration. You know the story.
When the upstart big-league Orioles (they were the St. Louis Browns before they moved to Baltimore in ’54) came to Fenway in 1956, the great Ted Williams made a special trip to the third base dugout for a pregame visit with a rookie Baltimore outfielder named Tito Francona. The young hitter never forgot the kindness of The Kid and made sure his only son, Terry, had a visit with Williams when Teddy Ballgame was managing the Texas Rangers in 1972. Tito’s boy went on to play a major role in Red Sox lore.
I’m actually not very clear on this Ruth fellow. Maybe Shaughnessey could write a book about the shadow he continues to cast over the Red Sox to this very day!
(having already made plenty of friends in Mexico, Kentucky coach John Calipari salutes his friends in Brazil)
With Cleveland and Miami preparing for an exhibition clash in Rio de Janiero, the Plain-Dealer’s Chris Haynes reports both clubs have been cautioned against an all-too-common way to celebrate a successful 3-point attempt :
Holding up the “three-sign” or the “three-goggles” in a certain way while in Brazil could be mistaken for “f— you” or “f— off,” I was informed.
The NBA sent the Cavs and Heat a memo with a list of questionable gestures that shouldn’t be used in Brazil, we’re told. The last thing anybody wants is for the stands to clear immediately after a player nails a 3-pointer.
Can you imagine a player floating and waving the three-sign from one end of the court to the other? That wouldn’t be good.
James Jones, the Cavaliers’ 3-point marksman, says he was not made aware of the memo and knew nothing about the gesture being an insult in Brazil.
“Hey, that’s why I just salute after I hit one,” James said. “That’s not offending anyone, right?”
(maybe this would’ve set a better vibe?)
Here’s one way to rebound from being compared (unfavorably) to Sadam Hussein ; Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane’s 2nd crack at an autobiography, ‘The Second Half’ hits the shelves this week, and the Daily Mail’s Rory Keane (no relation) reports the ex-Sunderland manager doesn’t consider the classic music of Sweden’s Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, better known as hitmakers supreme, Abba, appropriate pre-match music in the changing room :
‘It might seem strange but you find out about characters when you look to see who’s in charge of the music,’ he said.
‘A young lad might want to put on the latest sound; an older player might say, “I’m the senior player” and put himself in charge.
‘But I noticed none of the players (at Sunderland) were in charge of the music and this was a concern for me. A member of staff was in charge.
‘I was looking at him thinking, “I hope someone nails him here.” The last song before the players went on to the pitch was Dancing Queen by Abba.
‘What really worried me was that none of the players – not one – said, ‘Get that s*** off.’
‘They were going out to play a match, men versus men, testosterone levels were high. You’ve got to hit people at pace. F****’ Dancing Queen.
‘It worried me. I didn’t have as many leaders as I thought.’
Spurs SG Danny Green visited Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial on Wednesday during San Antonio’s preseason visit to Germany. As the Guardian’s Toby Moses explains, Green’s decision to tweet a photo of himself at the memorial with the caption, “You know I had to do it one time lol #Holocaust”, was “ill-advised”.
The 27-year-old has since altered the caption to “A lot of history here, more than you could imagine…very sad/tragic things happened #holocaust #berlin” but that has failed to stem the tide of criticism on social media for his ill-thought out words. Later, Green tweeted, “I have great respect n understanding for this country’s history n wanted to continue chronicling my experience in Berlin.”
I’m very pleased to be playing w/ xNoBBQX, X Wave and Seppheim tonight. Though most of the set will be instrumental, JJ and I will be debuting a new composition entitled “All Musicians, Audiences & Music Journalists Deserve Respect & Positive Reinforcement”. We thank you in advance for not posting it on the internet.
it’s almost impossible to fathom what would provoke an accomplished songwriter — an adult! — to launch an unprovoked attack on a fellow artist he had no prior beef with…and a group that had done absolutely nothing to hurt anyone else. Is he completely out of ideas? Is he desperate for attention? Is it a cynical scheme designed to stir the pot on social media?
Anyhow, I have no idea what Randy Newman’s fucking problem is. But I hear Mark Kozelek’s got a new song about the War On Drugs.
(fun fact : the original title of John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” was “Paul McCartney, Suck My Cock”)
Earlier this year, plans for a Chinese musical loosely based on the life story of former NBA PG Stephon Marbury (“Coming Soon To A Stage (That Probably Isn’t Anywhere Near You) : ‘I Am Stephon Marbury’”), were mentioned in this space, but suffice to say, the finished product might’ve exceeded your wildest expectations and mine. Bejing based American journalist Will Ford took to Sports On Earth to weigh in on the opening of “I Am Stephon Marbury”, calling the show, “unlike anything I have ever witnessed.”
The story, which follows a pair of aspiring musicians trying to make it in Beijing, is a bizarre, comedic tale which forces basketball metaphors and wisdom from Marbury’s life at every chance it gets. The protagonist duo is inspired to enter a musical competition after playing a game of pickup basketball with a completely random assortment of friends. The production’s star, Mike Sui, an American actor in China with impeccable Chinese, implores, “We all have to work together, just like a basketball team.” Moved by basketball’s life lessons, the group of friends choreographs a musical dance performance with cheerleaders, basketball players dressed in Hawaiian-style uniforms, and an odd assortment of traditional Chinese costumes.
Throughout their Beijing journey, starting at the airport when they arrive on the same day as Marbury, the musicians sporadically cross paths with the All-Star. At one point, in a pedestrian underpass, Marbury asks the two broke musicians for some spare change to buy, appropriately, a subway ticket. Each time the dulang passes, his face is covered by a hoodie, leaving our aspiring musicians unsure whether the figure is Marbury. In the finale of the play, Marbury reveals himself to our two musical hopefuls, one of whom is reeling from the tragic death of his father, as was Marbury once in his own career. Like an omnipotent force of the universe, Marbury tells them he has been watching over them all along. He appears first in Mike Sui’s dream on a projector, head floating in the picture, which makes Marbury look more like a devilish overlord than an inspirational figure. But never mind: he delivers a speech, one inspirational catch phrase after another (often translated incorrectly depending on the phrase), that touch on overcoming various challenges of human existence.
Later in his recap, Ford mentions the last time he attended a play on Broadway, the Tony-award winning cast of “August Osage County”, “received many standing ovations, but not nearly as many, or as loud, as the applause that is being showered on Marbury.”
(got mine in size extra surly)
Alright, I just read a long essay on a semi-popular website opining that Mark Kozelek’s War On Drugs baiting is especially undignified (he’s accused of “monetizing” the one-way feud) and represents an embarrassing, low ebb in a mostly storied career.
Keep in mind, this same internet outlet has been all too happy to publicize most of Mark’s recent outbursts on pages that feature extensive advertising.
The author seems particularly aggrieved that his personal thank-you for DECADES of obsessing over Red House Painters records, worrying about Mark’s well-being and ability to pay back taxes, etc. is the following : “his shows seemed to me increasingly sadistic in other ways: He was playing for well over two, sometimes well over three hours, which I found to be a physically punishing experience when I could neither sit down nor move in any way to the music. He refused to play large chunks of the Red House Painters catalog, and the songs he did play were reworked to the point of being unrecognizable, often stripped of their melody and sometimes, seemingly, any melody.”
Yes, how dare Kozelek torture his loyal fans by playing for a long time? How can he be so arrogant to ignore the music of a group that’s been defunct for 13 years (after having released a dozen new albums since, not counting live recordings or collaborations)?
Y’know what other songs Kozelek sometimes renders unrecognizable? Those he’s released under his own name (or that of Sun Kil Moon). Not to mention his covers of songs by the Misfits, Godflesh,Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Husker Du, John Denver, Bruno Mars, Genesis, Modest Mouse…and I don’t need to go on because the Red House Painters’ self-described “biographer” knows this laundry list as well as I do.
(if someone’s biggest takeaway from ‘Among The Leaves’ is being bummed out about the “guys in tennis shoes” line, jesus fucking christ, that’s really sad. Kozelek should title his next album ‘You’re A Very Special Person (And I Cannot Live Without Your Support)’.
But reinterpreting/dismantling his own material and that of others….to paraphrase that other great American artist, Mark Henry, that’s what Kozelek does. Whether the surliness is schtick or sadism or a little of both is open to conjecture and probably only Kozelek knows for sure. But to give him grief for not being a fucking jukebox / pro entertainer is pretty wack. Dude’s grown as an artist — doesn’t seem all of his superfans have grown as listeners.