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3/28/2004 12:06:35 AM

BREDSTIK Entertainment made its second foray into frenetic weekend filmmaking, this time for the 48 Hour Film Project, on the weekend of the 19th–21st. Our randomly-drawn and decidedly unsavory genre options, Musical or Western, actually proved to be less of an impediment than the generally intensified circumstances; contrasting our last project of this sort, we had less time, fewer people, and for some reason, we devised a more complicated script. So the result, Lunch Break, is somewhat less coherent and more open to interpretation than we intended. For a film made in less than 48 hours, though, I’m proud of what we came up with. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, come see it with 9 other short films at the Prince Music Theater at 7:15 PM on Monday, March 29th.

Some other things from the last few weeks:

The Dillinger Escape Plan played a super cheap four dollar show at the super small First Unitarian Church with the super great Kayo Dot and Medications. This was one of the best Dillinger performances I have seen, which I find myself saying just about every time I see them (and I’ve lost count of how many Dillinger shows I’ve seen). Such a distinction is especially rare amidst musicians of their jaw-dropping technical proficiency, whose opportunity to be violently thrashing and leaping about is usually eclipsed by their need to concentrate intensely on what they’re playing. However, in spite of the fact that Dillinger’s music is downright academic, its unrelenting brutality tends to attract a breed of fans that is absent an appreciation for dynamics, so Kayo Dot’s alternately beautiful and jarring avantgarde chamber metal was unfortunately not well-received by the predominantly meaty crowd. Medications, successor to the short-lived and criminally overlooked Faraquet, played a very energetic set of promising new material. I’m very much looking forward to a release from them.

A few days later, Mike Patton and Rahzel visited the Trocadero and bored me to tears. It’s like this: these are two very talented guys whose respective bags of tricks are only so deep.

Patton, who should absolutely be commended for his below-the-radar noise experimentation and tireless commitment to collaboration, ultimately excels more in the field of mutated pop music, where the established conventions of the genre allow a much more forgiving space for him to repeat himself. His assortment of squawks, squeals, and croons is less notably limited when set within the context of a ballsy rock song or even a soft Mediterranean ballad, as opposed to Merzbow’s grating textures or the cacophony of some gathering of John Zorn’s second-stringers. For my ears, this is why the last Tomahawk album, which mostly retread ground paved by Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, was so much more invigorating a listen than the last Fantômas album, which mostly retread Pranzo Oltranzista, Patton’s second avantgarde solo album.

While I’ve been following Patton’s work closely for years, Rahzel’s career is considerably less storied, not to mention firmly rooted in hip-hop, a culture whose products don’t make a very significant dent in my music collection. So my judgement is pretty much limited to the performance I saw. And really, the performance wasn’t all that interesting. It seemed to be largely improvisational, which deserves a certain measure of respect, but while Rahzel’s human beatbox is astounding in its simulation of an actual DJ at the decks, it doesn’t simulate a particularly inventive DJ, and craft is only as valuable as the art it serves. Patton’s contribution was merely a supplemental arrangement of the familiar elements of his repertoire, filtered through multiple microphones and a table full of effects gadgets. The result was generally so self-congratulatory, I wasn’t sure why it was even being performed to an audience.

3/1/2004 12:39:22 PM

I’m not often interested in shows that could conceivably sell out in less than five minutes after tickets have been made available, so imagine my disappointment when that exact thing happened on Friday as I waited in line for Darkness tickets. Now it appears that my only chances at seeing what will probably be the best show of the year are spending upwards of $100 on eBay or winning a radio station contest, neither of which is at all likely. I do instead foresee much wailing and gnashing of teeth on April 2nd, the day those magnificent Brits in tight trousers will be welcomed by Philadelphia, sans me.

I spent Saturday in Washington, DC, visiting my friends Lauren and John, ogling a supersaturated wall of rock posters at the Transformer gallery, and observing all kinds of wild animals in their unnatural habitats at the National Zoo. The highlight of my last visit to DC – 14 years ago – was telling off my 8th grade recently-ex-girlfriend in the Smithsonian. The highlight of this visit was probably John’s aggressive inquisition of a hapless McDonald’s employee: “Shamrock shakes ya got ’em?!”

Last night, I thumbed my nose at the Oscars by instead watching Darkness Falls, a plotless assembly-line turkey made by some poor hack who – if the interviews in the “Making of” featurette are to be believed – actually expected to take a supernatural slasher script about the Tooth Fairy (not the serial killer from Manhunter – the actual Tooth Fairy) to the level of horror classics like Jaws and Alien. Needless to say, he succeeded only in creating a formulaic, commercial genre flick rife with clichés and lacking even a shred of imagination. I’d say this one fits into the “so bad, it’s mediocre” category, recommended if you enjoy the occasional chuckle from schlockbuster crap like Final Destination and The Ring.

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