An incredible time had by all. Would be the only way to describe the last six days or so regarding the whole band flying in to perform two separate shows for this year’s CMJ Music Marathon 2012. I will assume I have gone back in time to report on the week’s events in more detail in prior entries, so let us leave it at that for now. We flat out killed it at The new Cutting Room on Thursday night. No other way to put it. Every cliched literary platitude one could muster could easily be called up to describe the feelings elicited by and the effects and results of that evening and not a one would come close to skirting the edge of hyperbole. There were moments where I felt as though I were flying on that stage. There were other moments where I felt like I could do no wrong. The entire thirty minutes felt like one giant hug shared by 600+ people, between the audience and ourselves up on that stage. Sweat and glitter, heavy syncopated rhythms, ridiculously loud killer guitar riffs, poignant soft whispers from our voices, melodies singing and soaring through the air, pure heavenly music both sonically and visually emanated from that stage and the five of us up there so powerful and with such force that it created a damn near perfect storm of undeniable pleasure. Both sexual and sensual, it was a love fest at best, for those who were already familiar with the band. For those who had never experienced the band before all one had to do was just scan the faces of the audience either during or after the set to see these giant sweaty heartfelt smiles beaming from them all to recognize that something truly magical had transpired.
Perhaps The Penguin, head of licensing at Fieldhouse/BMG, said it best when he came running up to me backstage immediately following the show, “Wow man! You guys really caught something magical up there Fishy! Holy shit man! You killed it up there!” (Since the club has not yet opened, they are still only testing out the sound system and thus the evening was plagued by sound problems, our set not excluded; so the Penguin was assumably referring to the almost mythical skills with which we were able to put on a better than great show considering how many problems had been experienced by everyone else who had preceded us.) I didn’t want to burst his bubble or sound insincerely boastful, but the truth of the matter was that we really didn’t do anything different than we ever do during a live performance on a stage of that size to a crowd of that size. Transcendence always puts on that kind of show when given the right kind of setting and equipment. It wouldn’t have been fair to him to explain that to him. It is true. We soared, slammed, nailed it, knocked them dead. Broke many legs. But it was business as usual. It is why after ten years I am still playing with these same four guys, regardless of the interpersonal conflicts and problems that we’ve encountered over the years. Together we just have that special something that words cannot describe.
Needless to say, we now cannot wait to do it again. Word is that we are about to embark on a three week tour of at least 15 cities if not more. I hope it happens sooner than later.
The real meat of this entry must be short and sweet, like a good cut of filet mignon. Right to the point. For let us not forget that we are also smack dab in the middle of the Ambassador moving out of his humble though luxurious mini-mansion in Manhattan. So time is to say the least our most precious commodity at this moment. Which, for those who are wondering why there have been so few postings as of late, especially current ones, should help shed more light on the scarce visitations by yours truly to this sacred space.
Last Screening: 2016: Obama. As with all “controversial” social, cultural, political, scientific, religious or economic films, I must admit to being just as excited as the next person at the thought of finally having a chance to sit down and give this movie a spin. Perhaps it would be mind blowing. Perhaps it would reveal some never before heard factoids that might shed some light on who Barack Obama is or what his true mission is when it comes to leading the once great but presently battered nation of America. Perhaps that’s what all the fuss was about.
As it turns out, there was no real fuss being made about the film. Panned by critics as being lukewarm at best, Fahrenheit 9/11, the Academy Award winning documentary about G.W. Bush by Michael Moore, it was not. In fact it wasn’t even close. The only fuss being made about the film at all was by already swayed hard right (so called)conservatives who will jump for joy at any dig at the current president of the United States. The advertisements and trailer for the movie feature very large emboldened words like “THE MUST SEE MOVIE OF THE YEAR THAT EVERY ONE IS TALKING ABOUT”… but underneath these exciting quotes are no citations, no magazine or newspaper sources from reviews. Just words the producers of the movie decided to add themselves in an attempt to dredge up some praise or the very least some controversy to make the film more exciting to potential viewers. The problem is that not many people are talking about the movie. And for good reason.
There just isn’t much of a movie there to talk about. In one hour and forty minutes the film managed to surprisingly NOT reveal one new fact or piece of information for those in the know. Nothing. Nada. In fact, it was by all accounts quite innocuous. Especially considering how much excitement it trumped up in the right wing crowd. One would think that the film revealed that President Barack Obama was some sort of Communist Muslim dictator about to steer the entire the country toward dead on socialism or sell us out to Al Queada. No such luck. Instead the writer/director, Dinesh D’Souza, a hard righty himself all his life, spent the first thirty minutes of the film talking about his own life story. Why I still can’t quite figure out. Boring, superfluous, a waste of good hard drive space and human talent… all come to mind in regards to this film even being made.
I would have loved to report that the movie is a “must see” and that no American citizen should be allowed to vote in this year’s General Election without first seeing it. But again, there just wasn’t anything to it. To begin with, as we have already established numerous times in past explorations of this topic, NOTHING that is spoken or written by someone who voluntarily admits to being a card carrying member of either American political party in the USA can or should be taken as anything other than propaganda for their favorite little club of choice. If they are already sold out and beholden to a political party, whether right or left, then their journalistic integrity is questionable and dubious. Their agenda is not to inform but to advertise. We’ve concluded this several times in past entries here. So no need to say any more than that. You just can’t trust the advice of someone who is trying to sell you one thing and at the same time trying to talk you out of something else. For their agenda is clear: it is more advertising than pure love of informing. And that is a big problem with this movie. D’Souza gets paid to please and entertain the right wing section of the American electorate. That’s his job. So there’s no use barking up his tree looking for objective data.
But what about entertainment? You know, that exciting rush we felt when we learned that President George Bush secretly flew out all the members of Osama Bin Laden’s family after closing down all the airports in the United States right after September 11th…. That was good stuff. Granted, the man had a clear agenda to slam the RIght and bolster the Left, but he did it in such an informative and entertaining way that even the most conservative among us soon found themselves questioning the motives and methods of this strange duck of a president we had in G.W.
No such entertainment was to be had in 2016: Obama. Everyone with a brain their skull already knows the National Debt has risen to the 16 trillion mark by now. It’s just not news. D’Souza spends most of the movie talking with alleged “experts” like psychiatrists about what potential feelings or ideas a person like president Obama might harbor given the fact that he only met his father a few times. I mean, that’s not a joke or an exaggeration. This is just about all he had in his arsenal. It was clearly meant to be a paid smear campaign against the current president in order to try to oust him from the White House for a second term so business mogul turned politician Mitt Romney could get in there, and that fact isn’t hidden to anyone. So one would expect some real juicy grub. Unfortunately we were served some lukewarm conjectures about what socialist ideals Obama “might have picked up” from the likes of the Weather Underground’s Bill Ayers or Pastor Jeremiah Wright. And conjecture it was, for with all the months and months worth of research that one guesses D’Souza must have conducted in order to make the film, he just wasn’t able to come up with any evidence of anything that he portended to or hinted at that was the least bit substantially damaging or even interesting.
Worse yet, he attempted to show how discontented Americans were with president Obama by slicing up very small out of context quotes from some feeble Occupy Wall Street protestors who for all intents and purposes aren’t half as angry with Obama as they are with the American capitalist system in general. Taken out of context like that, it appeared hard at times to even discern which side D’Souza is on. Is he a Tea Party Republican pretending to be a respectable third-party journalist? Or a giant headed egoist who just happened to luck into conning a few right wing fat cats into bankrolling his autobiography? Half the damn film he dedicates to talking about himself and his own background, baring ignorant balls so large that he does so in order to compare himself to the President of the United States. For what purpose, again it was hard to tell.
Another aspect of the film that was disappointing, and perhaps most offensive, was that in every scene where D’Souza spoke about the president’s past, he used actors to portray the president in his younger years, rather than using stock photos of the real Barack Obama; and in every single scene he had the actors appear to be poor black ghettoized miscreants, as if that by his very nature, just because he is half African American, that he spends most of his days in worn out loose springed single beds, unshaven, jobless, wearing t-shirts and ripped up jeans and living in tenement housing. The overt racist overtones throughout the movie were insulting to anyone who loves the great melting pot that America is. For some reason, one gets the feeling that part of the reason why D’Souza and people like him despise this particular president of the United States so much has very little to do with policy or ideals and a whole lot more to do with the color of his skin and his ethnicity. And that’s too bad. Because there is plenty in regards to policy and ideals that one could point to about Barack Obama that is frightening and disturbing for any freedom loving American patriot. It’s just not in this movie.
If anyone wants to learn more about the real Barack Obama and some of the more disturbing and questionable elements of his agenda, head to my Pinterest profile and look for a Board I created called “The Good Stuff”. In it I have created a substantial list of resources, books and DVDs, that are sure to have you sleepless for months if that’s your thing. This movie, as thoroughly bland and lukewarm as it is, unfortunately just isn’t good enough to make it into that list.