Monday, August 25, 2014

John Cassavetes' Love Streams: the return of the amazing disappearing breasts!

My girlfriend must think I'm a bit crazy, rushing to get my new Blu Ray/ DVD of Love Streams into the player and searching to find "the scene with the breasts," to see if it has been censored, tampered with, sanitized... but I needed to know. The print of the film that played in Vancouver a few years ago, as previously mentioned on this blog, had a brief, startling moment of nudity excised from the film - nudity previously visible on the European DVD of Love Streams and even on the old (otherwise altered) VHS release of the film put out by Cannon. When Tom Charity informed me that Criterion were preparing this film - probably my favourite film in cinema history, certainly in my top five - for DVD-Blu Ray release, he also told me that he appraised Criterion of my blogpost on the subject. I had investigated at the time, or attempted to, phoning Sony and such, trying to determine if the missing breasts were simply a glitch - if, say, some horny, unethical projectionist had snipped the boobs from the film for his private collection, which was the theory I had come to favour - or if they were part of some prudish "sanitization" agenda such as the one that Ray Carney railed against re: the VHS release of Husbands (which finally came out on DVD with all the puking, shitting, bullying and bad behaviour back in its rightful place). Were the boobs missing by accident or by design? Surely it was an accident. Surely Criterion would release the film as it was first released, as it has been released on DVD in Europe; they wouldn't be so childish to snip out a bit of harmless nudity, would they? Carney can't possibly be RIGHT that there is an agenda to sanitize Cassavetes' films, can he?

Looks like he is, folks. Compare this screengrab - shot off the old VHS with a digital camera - to the scene in the film as released by Criterion. You won't see this image anywhere. Guess I gotta keep my French DVD...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why I like Night Moves

There is some discussion whether Night Moves is "politically retrograde." The full quote, from Louis Proyect, on the Counterpunch  site: 
In an interview with Indiewire, Reichardt stated that the film was not about politics but about people, the same nonsense I have heard from other directors involved with politically retrograde productions. For example, that’s the same thing Katherine Bigelow said about the Islamophobic “The Hurt Locker”.
Not sure what quote he's drawing on, but I've read Reichardt elsewhere say that "it's not a morality play, it really is a character film;" so I'm inclined to trust him that she has tried to encourage a depoliticized reading of the film. All the same, I'm not quite sure what his objection to Night Moves is, exactly; he seems to be comparing it against some other film he'd like to see made, but that seems a rather counterproductive place to criticise films from. You have to meet a film on its own terms, and you have to grapple with the themes it brings to the table, not the themes you think it should have. Proyet is so concerned with the film he thinks Reichardt should have made, in fact, that I'm not sure he gets the film she has made, which doesn't seem, to me, to be politically retrograde in the slightest. Instead, the film deals with a very difficult and important question when it comes to "blowing shit up," as the director phrases it. Such actions as Reichardt's characters engage in have a cost. They put people at risk, and they can have an even more disastrous effect on the lives of the people who undertake them, which needs to be seriously weighed (I write this as someone who has talked personally to two members of the so-called Squamish Five (AKA Direct Action) and interviewed the person accidentally injured by them. In all three cases, there continue to be consequences and costs, still felt now, nearly forty years later). Reichardt's film - besides offering us glimpses of different slices of the environmentalist movement (and of course some very memorable images of the Pacific Northwest) - seems to me to be speaking in sympathy with exactly those audience members who might be tempted towards radicalism, and asking them to soberly reflect on - or at least locate themselves in - the scenario that plays out, which - nevermind the politics - is a reasonably realistic one, and therefore worth considering (I would hope anyone who planted a bomb would give more thought to the possibility of people getting hurt than these guys do, but - well, like I say, the Squamish Five example is kind of instructive here, eh?). I don't think she's saying anything very clear-cut about whether people should or should not engage in political action, but she's definitely providing a sobering consideration of what can happen, and inviting people to consider it without kidding themselves.

I think that's a valuable thing, not in the least "retrograde," unless you're so ideologically blinkered that you insist that anytime a character is on screen performing an action associated with revolution they must be heroic, beautiful, and so forth. If what Mr. Proyect is saying is that Night Moves is a bad propaganda film, I would have to agree with him. But in fact I don't think it's trying to BE a propaganda film; I think it's doing more subtle things than that, more interesting things. And it seems to assume from the outset a sympathy with its characters, which lasts to the final images of the film. Your closing thoughts about Josh are - spoiler alert, if you need it - not what a horrible human being he is, but how totally and utterly fucked his life is now. Telling people not to end up like him - and to think long and hard about what they do, so that doesn't happen - doesn't seem at all the same as telling them not to act. 

And yet I think Reichardt is wrong, too. I think there's something in narrative where it's nearly impossible to  tell a story and not make it a "morality play" on some level, particularly in a film that deals with the consequences of a morally complex thing like ecoterrorism, but also in any genre film in general. I do think there's a morality to Night Moves - and one I don't object to in the slightest. There's also many beautiful images, a very powerful sense of suspense at times, and some really beautiful soundtrack work from Jeff Grace. I was a bit concerned before watching it a second time that the film would not hold up, that I would like it less than I did on first blush. In fact, I liked it more. It's sort of a must-see movie, folks. (If you see it, do let me know, here if possible, what you thought of it). 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nothin' for now

Yadda yadda... will blog more later... distracted by life. Night Moves held up on second viewing. The Double is good, too. Excited about the noirs next week (plan to take my girl to Gun Crazy). Might go see the Afghan Whigs! (Remember them? The new stuff sounds pretty good, and I forgot how much I liked Up In It - check out "Retarded," say). James Farwell will be doing a DJ set that night as an afterparty, at the Bottleneck, too. I haven't made it to any of those, so who knows...

No blogging for the time being, though. Life trumps it right now. I will be checking in on Facebook occasionally...

Monday, August 11, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

Not in the slightest bit surprised by Robin Williams`apparent suicide, though it`s sad news indeed. He always seemed a very volatile character, to me, capable of going quite far in the manic direction; his performance in The Fisher King is almost an embarrassment at times, he gets so lost in exhibitionistic frenzies... It makes sense that he could go just as far the other way, too. A very talented, very funny, very smart man, obviously, but - well, let`s just say I`m not surprised.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tesco Vee online!

I finally put my big Tesco Vee interview online to mark the arrival of this great new Meatmen album (seriously, I like it better than Toilet Slave or Pope on a Rope or pretty much any other Meatmen album except War of the Superbikes!).

No Place to Hide in No Fun City: David M. gives an Actual Public Performance, August 15th

Well, looks like I'll be missing another David M. show next weekend! He's doing a concert at the Prophouse Cafe (1636 Venables) on August 15th (8pm), apparently surveillance-themed, but intrigued as I am, he apparently has this psychic ability to intuit when I have other commitments, and plans his shows accordingly. I'm not entirely sure what the details of it are; I know that he's been doing some unusual performances lately, announcing that he's going to do "something" in public on Facebook, but not listing the details and telling his followers that they needn't attend. He sometimes comments on Facebook that the activities he's engaged in - some sort of guerrilla theatre? I don't know - have been worthwhile, but they remain a bit (ie., totally) mysterious. This show, however, is apparently actually happening, and public; since it's surreptitiously-themed, perhaps someone could covertly videotape some of it for me so I can catch up at a later date?

As David writes on his event page, "Come for the music; stay for the all-encompassing surreptitious quasi-governmental surveillance! Join marked 'man' David M. and his guests Deej Barens, Shawn Turkington, and Pete Campbell, as they crawl out from under their rock to ROCK. Or don't join them; Your Faceless Overlords will, as always, have a full report for their delectation at breakfast the next morning. See you soon - you needn't attend!"

Some of David's posters are below:







Monday, August 04, 2014

Night Moves review: Kelly Reichardt and eco-sabotage

Watched Night Moves last night (opens at the Vancity August 22nd). I liked it. In fact, I liked it quite a bit more than Meek's Cutoff, maybe a bit more than Wendy and Lucy, which it's tonally a bit similar to, though it's darker and more suspenseful.  On the other I hand, I didn't like it nearly as much as Old Joy, which is still the most powerfully emotional and meaningful of Kelly Reichardt's films, for me, her high watermark in cinema (River of Grass, her under-remarked-upon first feature, has many interesting images and moments but it doesn't really belong with her "mature" work, exactly). Night Moves may actually be my second favourite of her films, though, and does many of the things that I liked in Old Joy, like providing a visual record of the particular forms of beauty and ugliness that coexist in the Pacific Northwest. It's a pleasurable film to look at, even if its story is quite a bit grimmer and tenser than Old Joy's, dealing with the build up to, and execution and subsequent fallout of, an act of eco-sabotage, in which a dam is blown up by a pair of young environmentalists (Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning) and a slightly older friend with military experience (Peter Sarsgaard). The film is not one of those that you should know much about before going to see; any plot description that goes into more detail than I've done will possibly detract from your engagement, but there a few observations that I can make in clean conscience (spoilers only crop up in section 3):

1. I have no idea why they've given the film the title of a film noir from the 70's. It's been awhile since I've seen the original Night Moves - a 1975 Gene Hackman private eye neo-noir featuring a young and occasionally nude Melanie Griffith - but having seen both films, I'm at a loss to name commonalities. That film was shot in Florida, which to my understanding was Reichardt's home state before she came west, so presumably the identical title is not a coincidence (and I'll go out on a limb and assert that the Arthur Penn film likely has a whole lot more to do with Reichardt's film than any Bob Seger song, even if I don't as yet know what). The first Night Moves deals with infidelity and, if memory serves at all, a sunken boat or plane or something, with loot on board, and people prepared to kill to get at it. Both films have water in them, which is about the only similarity that comes to mind. I will probably watch the Penn film again sometime soon to see if I can suss it out. Maybe there's an indirect nod to Eric Rohmer (whose cinema is characterized as being "like watching paint dry" by the Hackman character in the 1975 movie; he would probably feel the same way about Kelly Reichardt's films, but hey, he's a bit of a vulgarian).

2. Without having actually read the novel in question to completion, the lawsuit from Pressman claiming Night Moves has too many similarities to Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang - itself being adapted for film - seems like it's in bad faith, maybe a sleazy greed move, since the similarities between texts seems to be minor, the mood totally different between Reichardt's text and the Abbey novel (which I've read enough of to know that it's somewhat of a funny, rollicking eco-sabotage picaresque). The world is definitely big enough for both stories to co-exist; that the Wikipedia entry linked says that the use of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in making a bomb was mentioned as a plot similarity and a potential basis for a claim of copyright infringement shows how spurious the suit must have been, since that's a commonly known, commonly used item in bomb-making. It's like saying that because Dirty Harry kills bad guys with a gun, no other cop-turned-vigilante movie (and how many of THOSE are there?) can have its main antihero use a gun without first paying money to the Dirty Harry franchise. Not sure what the ultimate fall-out of the suit was, but Pressman's company apparently actually tried to stop Night Moves from being made on the basis of such things. I hope that a smart judge read the book, watched the movie (or read the screenplay), and then chuckled and threw the whole thing out of court. It's not my impression that that's what happened, sadly.

3. Here be spoilers, but I'll warn you as they grow terminal. For reasons unclear - presumptions about Reichardt's political sympathies, most likely - I expected the film to be a call to action, an endorsement of radical action. Spoiler: it isn't. It is, if anything (further spoiler) a cautionary tale with a very bleak ending. It may not reduce quite so simply to the dictum "don't blow shit up," but if not, it comes close to amounting to: "be very careful when you plan to blow shit up, and be prepared for what follows, which will not be pretty." If there's a relevant previous piece of writing I've done previously that has a bearing on Reichardt's film, it's (major spoiler) this one - my interview with Terry Chikowski, the security guard nearly killed at Litton Industries outside Toronto, when a certain group of activists of some, um, renown in Vancouver set off a bomb back in the 1980's. Much of what works best about the film is the mood of paranoia and mistrust that overtakes our young protagonists after the explosion takes place; I know from having talked to a couple members of said group of activists that that mistrust and paranoia are real things that people experience in such circumstances. Some people have not liked the ending of this movie, but though it's a deeply unhappy one, I think it's pretty believable and honest...

Anyhow, without saying a lot more, I liked Night Moves a lot, and am looking forward to seeing it properly on the screen once it opens. I recommend it. Who knows, I might even see it more than once... Trailer here. I will now turn to Google to see if anyone has interviewed Reichardt about the Arthur Penn thing... I will leave y'all to do your own work on that point for now, however...

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Poison Idea, Belphegor, Swans

Punks out there might care that Poison Idea play Funky's October 3rd. But they know this already, right? Old school, ugly Portland punk band with a lot of really solid songs.

And Belphegor are coming (October 5th, Rickshaw; who cannot find some love for a band with songs like "Bondage Goat Zombie?"). And Swans, at the Venue in September, with - wait, Carla Bozulich is opening?

With apologies to Michael Gira, I wasn't sure I was going to see Swans again this year, having caught them twice in the last few years... but Carla Bozulich? That kinda moves this into a not-to-be-missed category. Of course, if you missed either or both of their last two shows in Vancouver, this show should be considered not-to-be-missed by you, too. My old big Swans interview, or the part that ran online, is here...

Films noir, Snowpiercer, Night Moves: some smart summer films in Vancouver

I'm going to be too busy to write much over the next while, at least not here. If you haven't read my Robin Bougie interview below, I'm quite pleased with it. I will also be working on putting up some Tesco Vee stuff online that the world outside Germany has not yet seen, from my big interview with him, but it may take a few days.

Meantime, here are a few notes about some upcoming film fare.
Re: film noir series at the Cinematheque, see under Mack, Adrian. Actually, the programming this year is erring a bit on the side of the conservative, in my opinion; I've caught Double Indemnity two or three times theatrically in Vancouver in the last few years, so I didn't really need it again, y'know? Gun Crazy played last year, too, unless I'm mistaken. But then there are probably still hundreds of people in this town who haven't seen either of these films; I highly recommend AMENDING YOUR WAYS, if you number among them, because these are essential if you have any love of cinema, and are both fonts of cinephilic delight to boot, two of the most flat out pleasurable noirs ever made, though not without their darkness. Besides, even some of the obvious choices are films even I haven't yet been able to see on the screen, like The Lady From Shanghai (which I've only seen twice, in fact, both times on DVD; the image above is from it); it's sufficiently fascinating a film that Pere Ubu named an album after it. Meantime, in terms of the less obvious choices in the series, the ones that excite me most are So Dark The Night (directed by Gun Crazy's Joseph H. Lewis) and Cry of the City
Re: the Vancity Theatre, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser is one of Herzog's most interesting and watchable early films, starring Stroszek's Bruno S. He plays, here, one of Herzog's smallest of smaller-than-life characters, looking at the world through deeply estranged eyes; the film manages to be moving, visually astonishing - I once cut a segment in it into a "trip tape" I was making for psychedelically-inclined friends - and surprisingly funny, at the end, maybe even outdoing Stroszek ("is this really me?" - you bet it is, buddy) for dark humour. Essential. It's coming as a fast-approaching Cinema Salon. One wonders if Ian Curtis saw this one...
Then there's Snowpiercer. I missed it tonight, but it's the newest film for South Korean star filmmaker Bong Joon Ho. The film involves some sort of metaphoric/ literal class struggle on a train in a world that has experienced some sort of weather apocalypse. It's playing the next two Fridays, late. Everything I've heard about Bong's Memories of Murder and Mother have been positive; I had lukewarm reactions to the only film of his I've seen, his monster movie The Host - which he personally introduced to a VIFF audience when it first played here -  but I'm definitely interested in his cinema. Sadly, Snowpiercer is one of those films that former Miramax man Harvey Weinstein has tried to impose his own vision on, demanding cuts and changes to doubtlessly dumb down the movie for the American market. Bong's refusal to cooperate means that this is probably the only chance you'll have to see his first major international production, which critics have been praising with some fervour, in the theatres; I wouldn't miss the opportunity, if you like thinking-person's SF. My girlfriend and I both mistook John Hurt for Sir Ian McKellen in a promo shot!
Also at the Vancity, Double Play looks at the friendship between Richard Linklater, whose films I intermittently enjoy a great deal, and James Benning, who is someone everyone should learn about and whose films present some of the most rewarding challenges in American cinema today. There's a bunch else that might be of interest, too - The Double, say - but I'll leave it to y'all to sort that stuff out; let me just note that Kelly Reichardt's Night Moves is finally opening in Vancouver (like The Double, it stars Jesse Eisenberg, as well as Dakota Fanning, whom I've respected since Man on Fire, and whose success as an adult pleases me greatly). I can't be the only person who's been waiting for this movie? ...might have some more on that film later on, haven't had a chance to see it yet. Eco-terrorism is a topic of some interest to me, though...
All in all, it's nice to see some good movies upcoming! Now let's hope some people go to them. (Note: both theatres are air conditioned and very pleasant ways of spending a hot evening. It was great to see decent audiences for all three screenings of Sorcerer I went to... the Friedkin-approved remastered DVD comes out August 5th, apparently).

Friday, August 01, 2014

A needed Translink rant

Hard not to wonder what's up with Translink these days. First, starting a few years ago, circa the Olympics, we get massive crackdowns on fare evasions: cops patrolling trains and stations with guns on their hips, which does nothing to make me feel safer, since the cop with the gun is always the most dangerous/ frightening person on any bus I've been on. If that doesn't feel "police state" enough for you, we also have transit security setting up cordons everywhere, doing things like bullying teenage girls with incorrect fare until they break down crying (something I personally witnessed), or, for instance, pushing people with correct fare aside (like, in this case, me), knocking them into the wall so they could sprint through Granville Station in pursuit of fare evaders who tried to flee...
...then there's the whole Compass Card system, with insulting "would you like a mint" posters promising that the Compass Card system would be installed in early January, and implying we're idiots for having questions or concerns about it. After millions of dollars have already been funnelled to a corporation with demonstrable ties to the BC Liberals to install fare gates - because channelling taxpayer dollars to your cronies is far less of an offense than ducking out on a $2.75 bus ticket - various issues that should have been resolved at the planning stages are revealed: like, people with paper transfers won't be able to use the Skytrain system; sorry about that. Then, at the peak of public anxiety as these bugs start coming to light, AFTER millions have been already spent, the whole installation of the system just seems to get forgotten about, shunted aside. There are working Compass Cards out there, but most people seem to still be using the paper transfers; meantime, it looks like those fare gates that have been installed were a COMPLETE FUCKING WASTE OF MONEY. Not only are they not being used, anywhere, I've been told by a Skytrain employee that they're all pretty much broken anyhow, and that the stations that don't have them yet (like Metrotown) are never going to get them, since they don't work. His comment was that it's all a fast ferry scandal waiting to break...
 Meantime, it's business as usual for public transit users: broken escalators, broken fare machines, full buses, broken buses, buses that simply don't materialize, buses that pull away from you as you sprint screaming towards them down the sidewalk, buses that have been scheduled so they arrive at their stop five minutes after the connecting bus has pulled away so that you have to waste twenty five minutes waiting for the next bus (a regular feature with the 701 out of Maple Ridge, which for years was scheduled to connect with the 160 to Vancouver or the 169 to New West at the Coquitlam bus loop, and which now appears to have been scheduled to deliberately arrive so you MISS your connection, making sure that your transfer is useless by the time you get anywhere you need to be; just tell me that that's by accident, I dare ya). I mean, clearly if you were an important person in this province you wouldn't be taking the bus in the first place, so why should you expect the system to serve your needs? Fuck you, you have bad breath. You deserve what you get. You're probably a fare evader anyhow.
...and if all that's not enough to frustrate you, we then get months and months and months of disrupted late night service, so that the rails can be upgraded. Some of that work actually needs doing, I gather - and three cheers for the Evergreen Line, which is going to make the life of long distance commuters like me much, much easier. Still, it all seems just a bit suspect, given the timing, like it might just be a huge distraction from this incomplete Compass Card implementation, a move in a much larger game designed to defer the scandal that will inevitably break. Or - call me paranoid, but has it occurred to anyone else that all these recent breakdowns could be some sort of attempt to socially engineer approval of the Liberals taking several more million dollars out of the public coffers, to make sure the system works properly? I mistrust them enough that I'd be willing to believe it (not that they seem to be eager to assume any degree of accountability for these glitches). In any event, the number of breakdowns, slow downs, and other issues on the Skytrain in the last few weeks has been phenomenal. My girl and I got good chuckles, riding the Expo Line to Metrotown the other day, when one of the many poor suckers tasked to grovel apologies for delays over the intercom repeatedly asked us not to "break out" of the cars when stopped outside stations. Great word choice, that. If I weren't poor and desperate these days, spending all my time hustling to survive, I'd be really, really angry at the BC Liberals, Translink, and the state of our province, which is seeming pretty bloody FUBAR at the moment. The saddest thing about it all was asking a visitor to Vancouver - a young student - what she would do if the Skytrain kept breaking down and getting the reply that she would "start to hate Vancouver." And really, I can't say I'd blame her.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Super Duper Alice Cooper!

Plays Monday at 8:30 at the Vancity Theatre! I gotta see this - Dunn and McFadyen meet Reg Harkema!

Andrew Jackson Jihad at the Biltmore

At one point during Thursday's Andrew Jackson Jihad show at the Biltmore, one of the members looked out at the audience and observed something to the effect of, "holy shit there are a lot of people here!" There were, too; I was also surprised. I'd arrived in time to catch Hard Girls (missed Dogbreth), and enjoyed their set, which was sort of punky power pop that drew a bit, I thought, on Guided By Voices at their tightest - but as good as they were (and as excited as a fistful of moshers got when they broke into what I guess was a Misfits cover), there was plenty of room up front, which is kind of what I expected - a thin audience of the especially hip. But by the time AJJ finished their soundcheck and broke into "Temple Grandin," the first song on their album Christmas Island - which probes the well-meaning inadequacy of human responses to the "bullshit" around us (finding a "nicer way to kill it;" Grandin is a leader in making slaughterhouse designs more humane), the pit was packed, and for many of the harder songs, the crowd did things I didn't realize would be part of the Andrew Jackson Jihad experience, like, say, crowd-surfing, pretty much from the start of the show (before the first song was done, singer Sean Bonnette quipped between lyrics, "Get down!" at some guy who had risen magically up onto the audience - though whether that was "get down and boogie!" or "get down you asshole before you fall on me and break your neck" I could not say; I suspected the latter). As someone who has written about the Vancouver scene for awhile now, and who has been to many under-attended and under-appreciated shows, I felt kind of proud of how big and how appreciative the crowd was. Hey, check it out: No Fun City does the Andrew Jackson Jihad justice; these kids have GOOD TASTE. Who'd've thought?

 Mind you, it was an audience I didn't feel much in common with, liking the music aside. Except for one older woman I concluded was maybe the mom of a bandmember, no one was in my age range; seemed like the average was about 25. But they knew their shit, singing along quite loudly with the lyrics of some of the songs, including one of the band's most disturbing numbers, "Bad, Bad Things" - one of the songs of theirs I in fact frequently skip when listening to the album (People That Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World, which title apparently comes from Vonnegut), because its lyrics, describing the thoughts of a murderer as he works his way through a family, are so deeply dark and creepy, outdoing even the evil of Murder Ballads. Seeing how excited people got to hear it has made me spin it all the way through a few times since, but it's still kind of unsettling! I didn't get to stick around for the whole set, what with work looming and a girlfriend to get home to, but I got to hear a few of my favourite songs by them (besides the opener, these were "Distance," "People II: The Reckoning," "Children of God," and "Kokopelli Face Tattoo."). I missed out on hearing the end of a running story that they sprinkled through their set, so I don't know what exactly happened in Revelstoke (where they were stoked to be part of the revels, ha-ha) that had deprived them of their keyboard stand; Preston Bryant's keys were supported by an ironing board throughout the night. But leaving early or not - us old fucks are like that - I totally enjoyed seeing them, and was happy to have been in such an attractive, enthusiastic audience... snapped some photos, too, and a video that might not load. Let's try, though:

Hard Girls:



Andrew Jackson Jihad:


Of course the video doesn't seem to want to load... I get an error message and then it SEEMS like nothing is happening (I might not be waiting long enough but the error message is discouraging, you know?). Maybe I'll try putting it on Youtube? If there's a link there, it worked. Check back tomorrow, eh?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Robin Bougie: Graphic Thrills interview!


It took me awhile to come around to the universe of Robin Bougie. I first met him at Cinemuerte 2004, where we had both watched poor BJ Summers of Videomatica - where Bougie also works - lose a truly disgusting sausage eating contest, MC'd by Edwin Neal (the hitchhiker in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Neal cracked revolting jokes about things like scraping boogers off the underside of a table with your tongue, or huffing your grandma's pee-stained panties, or similar grossnesses... I can't remember exactly what he said, but if the smell of vast quantities of (what seemed to be) uncooked meat being stuffed into three open mouths wasn't enough to make you gag, his jokes sure helped. (This was at the Cinematheque, too!). No one barfed that I remember, but I certainly felt queasy, and I wasn't the one plunging fistfuls of squishy pork into my face. In the end, BJ lost out to some Asian dude...

Anyhow, after a screening at said fest of Tobe Hooper's then-current film The Toolbox Murders, Bougie and BJ and I ended up sharing a booth at the Templeton, bullshitting about cinema, and I remember Cinema Sewer coming up, and being mildly uncomfortable about the topic. I knew of his magazine, knew it was considered cool, but it was too taboo for me, too sleazy. At that point, to the extent that I consumed porn, I was pretty surreptitious about it, and even in the privacy of my own apartment, tried to be fairly politically correct, seeking female-friendly (or at least sex-positive) images to wank to. Though I would sometimes bring the topic up in company, and had admiration for pro-porn feminists like Annie Sprinkle, I didn't spend a lot of time really trying to defend its consumption, let alone treat it as an art form or object of study. I mean, I was watching a lot of Ingmar Bergman in those days, you understand. The first few times I flipped through Cinema Sewer, I felt at least a little put off by Bougie's apparently totally shameless chronicling of his porn habits. I could tell he had great love for his subject matter - and for sleazy exploitation, as well as porn; but I simply was not ready for his magazine.

I'm glad to have come around. I don't collect every issue, but I now have all four volumes of the softbound FAB Press books, count Robin as at least a bit of a friend, and was very, very excited to get my hands on his hardcover book of porno posters, Graphic Thrills (also published by FAB). And though I still am a bit afraid of most of the films he writes about, a few that I have seen - like Zebedy Colt's deeply transgressive The Devil Inside Her, with Annie Sprinkle herself in an early role - have been utterly fascinating. And Graphic Thrills is a beautiful object and as fun and fine a coffee table book as one could wish for - a fine addition to my FAB collection.

So here's an email interview with Robin Bougie!

AM: Most people seem to consider their porn use something best left private, secret, un-discussed. Was there a specific turning point for you where you decided you were going to simply be out and public talking about porn? Was it liberating (akin, say, to "coming out of the closet")? Did it come easily, or did you have to overcome various challenges en route?

RB: It didn't come easily. It's a slow process, and other people can make it even slower with the way they treat you. I remember how humiliating it felt to have it get repeated all over junior high that I masturbated. I told it to another kid in strict confidence, and he then proceeded to blab it all over the school. By the end of the week, I was the laughing stock of so many kids, and I felt like a freak. A kid committed suicide over the same thing just last week down in the states, so thank god I didn't get that upset about it. It was worse for this kid the other day though, because of social media, which just amps everything up to 10 because of how fast the info is spread. But talk is talk, you know? And when you're a kid you don't know how to deal with that yet. You think you're the only one on earth jerking your dick. Of course, 99% of those hypocritical little fucks were jerking and jilling off back in grade 9 even while they were making me feel like a pariah, but that's the cruelty of children for you. They don't care about tossing someone else under the bus as long as it isn't them. They hopefully learn not to be self-centered assholes later on.

AM: I'm pretty sure I've read interviews with you where people ask you what you're jerking off to lately. Do you find questions like that at all strange to answer? Do you still have some boundaries when it comes to talking about sex and porn?

RB: I'm totally fine with that. I really don't see any reason to have shame about that stuff, nor am I too concerned with privacy. I guess it would be weird talking about what I jerk off to in front of my family over dinner or something, I guess. But even that is something I'm starting to get used to since so many of them have friended me on Facebook and are presumably reading those posts where I openly talk about that kind of thing. The only thing I'm really cagey about is when it involves someone else. My wife Rebecca isn't as comfortable airing out her dirty laundry as I am, and that's totally fine. I have to be discreet sometimes.

AM: You've told me about your history with FAB Press, but would you go on record about it? I've loved every FAB book I've gotten my hands on (so far, Eyeball, Nightmare USA, No Borders No Limits, the books about Miike and Tsukamoto, the Cinema Sewer anthologies, and Graphic Thrills). If there's a cooler publisher doing books about film right now, I don't know of them. Is it a happy relationship? Are further collaborations planned?

RB: Yeah, I'm very happy with FAB. We're working on Graphic Thrills book 2 right now, and Cinema Sewer book 5 is in the works. I met Harvey Fenton in Montreal at Fantasia Fest. Due to its track record of quality, his company was my first choice to do a book collection of my Cinema Sewer movie zine, and I knew he was going to be there at the film fest selling his books in the lobby for a week. So I booked a plane ticket, and got my ass out there, and since I knew some people, I managed to get a spot selling my stuff at the same table as he was. We stuck up a friendship, and watched a lot of movies at the fest, sold a lot of books and magazines, and it really was a perfect match. It took me a year and yet another trip to Montreal to the festival the next year to convince him, but it all worked out great!

AM: How much input did FAB have in Graphic Thrills? Do they grant you pretty much free reign?

RB: A lot of input, but I also had pretty much free reign. That's one of the things that is fantastic about a good editor. They're there to offer up great ideas, and cover your ass when you have mistakes, but they also are smart enough to get the hell out of the way and let you do what you're good at. It's like any relationship, I guess, in that there needs to be compromise on some things, but as long as you play that game at key times, the rest of it is smooth sailing. Harvey at FAB did a lot of key things in Graphic Thrills, such as come up with the layout concept. That was huge, because bad layout has ruined so many otherwise good poster books. I think we work good together.
AM: I'm curious about the source of the Sharon Mitchell anecdote about her occasionally sneaking "into a porn theatre that was playing one of her movies" and sucking "the cock of a startled patron." Is that something you got from her? (It feels like the sort of thing that might appear in a porno mag as a sort of stroke-fantasy for the readership, so it seems a bit dubious to me!). I notice that the writeup for The Violation of Claudia features quotes from old porn mags, so I'm wondering if you never got the chance to talk to her...? (Incidentally, while she seems from what I've read to be an interesting person, I always thought she was one of the least sexy pornstars out there, so it's interesting to me that you kinda love her!).

RB: No, I've never had a chance to interview Sharon, sadly. I totally agree with you about that story sounding like porn magazine fantasy stuff, and I'm usually pretty weary of that since I do get a fair amount of quotes from old adult magazines because that is where 90% of the interviews with vintage adult movie stars ran back in the day, and sometimes the writers at these mags were known to make shit up. But in this case I felt confident to repeat that, because I'd seen her mention it in at least two magazine interviews. And then there is that I know what I know about her activity back in those days of the late 1970s and early 1980s -- the amount of drugs she did and kind of kinky sex she got into -- I believe it.

I'll agree with you that on paper Sharon Mitchell had a sort of mannish quality (for lack of better term) and a big Jewish nose that can be off-putting in terms of what is "sexy" in terms of traditional standards of beauty, but I think truly sexy people transcend that kind of stuff. I'm talking about people who are very comfortable and fucking OWN their sexuality. I think "standards of beauty" are meaningless to them. So I would say if you want to know why so many people find someone sort of average looking like Mitch so goddamn hot, you need to watch more of her movies. Then again, it's also worth noting that everyone has different tastes, and I celebrate that too. Porn is like music in that respect. We all like what we like! The cool thing about porn from Sharon Mitchell's era of the 1970s and early 1980s, is that there were a lot of variances to draw from. It wasn't just a bunch of lookalike Barbies with no pubes and the same perm. There were different body types, and different looking men and women starring in the movies.
AM: This is going to be a bit critical-seeming, but as cool as the images are in Graphic Thrills, there really isn't much writing about the posters, or information about them. That strikes me as curious, since in some cases (High Priestess of Sexual Witchcraft) they seem to be more interesting than the films, and in others - A Coming of Angels, say - the art is actually curious enough that I wonder who did it, and what else they might have done. The painting for that poster seems to be signed, but if you mention the artist anywhere, I can't spot it! Are porn poster artists shy about talking about their work, or was there some other reason for this approach...?

RB: Yeah, I mention the artist of the A Coming of Angels, "August", on page 15 of Graphic Thrills, in the part where I'm talking about the challenges of identifying artists of these posters, even when they've signed the work. It was a big hurdle, because I'm the very first one to try to tell the poster artist's story with this book. No one else has ever tried to attempt it, and because of that there isn't much info out there at the moment. I've dug up what I can, but it really is the last part of the story of vintage adult movies that hasn't been told yet -- even for non-porn movies, come to think of it. Hell, it's the only major credit that the Internet Movie Database doesn't even bother to have a placeholder for. Even if someone randomly finds out who did a poster, where can they archive the information for easy access for the rest of us if they poster artists are ghettoized from the IMDB? And that's the challenge I continue with in Graphic Thrills 2, but I have uncovered a lot more interesting info as I've gone. It's like detective work, and it can be slow-going. Graphic Thrills 2 is going be amazing, Allan.

Keep in mind who these men and women were who made these images. The last era of painted posters. The end of the line, and no younger generation of artists coming along to learn their skills? Fuck man, they felt like dinosaurs. It went to photo posters after that, and you can't find most of these artists anymore to ask them shit because many of them are dead, or don't want to be found, especially not by some pervert making a book about porn movies. Listen, many of the illustrators were family men, and middle aged or older by the time the late 1970s and early 1980s rolled around. They'd made a meagre living through the 50s and 60s on advertising art, pulp novels, poster art, mens adventure magazine covers, children's books, and other similar jobs. The mortgage had to be paid, and food had to be put on the table, so they often found themselves having to take whatever work was available and handed off to them, including commissions that they found morally repugnant – like posters for exploitation or sexploitation pictures, and porno flicks. They want to be remembered for the children's books they did at the beginning of their career, and the landscapes they're painting now that they're retired. Not the poster for “Pussycat Ranch” and “Ultra Flesh”.

AM: Maybe I should already know this, but have you done any porn poster art? Have you been asked? (Do people still even produce movie posters for porno films or is it all box art now?).

RB: Yeah, I've done the DVD covers for Bare Behind Bars and S&M Hunter for Arrow in the UK. There is something of a resurgence for illustrated posters and DVD cover work, but it's not mainstream yet. Have a look at the work of guys like The Dude Designs, and guys like that. They're doing amazing work.

AM: Curious that you kind of begin and end on darker, more distressing aspects of porn. The first poster we see is for Deep Throat, which supposedly has this coerced performance from an abused star. The last one, for the Findlay pseudo-doc about Shauna Grant's death, is of course tainted by how she died (suicide by shotgun). Why bookend the book with these? ...And I'm curious - at a distance, as a viewer and writer, do you find that stuff, the weird and sometimes distressing epiphenomena around the films, makes the films more interesting or less? Like, you seem to have a moral objection or two to the sleaziness of the Shauna Grant film, describe it as being pretty tacky and tasteless and false - and then you recommend it!

RB: Yeah, I feel the same way about a movie like Not a Love Story too! It's a anti-porn documentary made to cast a disparaging light on anyone who would make or want to look at content involving naked women having sex, and yet it's a totally entertaining documentary for exactly that reason. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer, right? I don't have to share someone's politics to find their movie entertaining. In fact, if I think what they've said is false or tasteless or false, all the more reason to indulge. I love a good laugh! Nothing better than a good trainwreck!

There was no conscious choice to end or begin on dark or distressing elements of porn, but that's fine if that's how it ended up. Those are interesting stories. You might read through this book from cover to cover one single time when you first pick it up, but every time after that, you'll begin and end in the middle. You'll pick it up and read here and there. All my books are like that, such as the four Cinema Sewer books I've done. Everything is in bite-sized morsels, perfect for reading when you're taking a crap. It's shotgun style. Blam. Interesting tidbits, interesting quotes, a little bit of my personality in there, and then some plot synopsis, and then get out. Blam. Next page.

AM: Speaking of Shauna Grant, it's my impression that there's an unhealthy amount of interest out there about porn stars who kill themselves, like it proves something about porn. Like, when cops kill themselves, say, people don't go "AHA! Being a policeman is bad!" No real question here but I wonder if it's something you've thought about or written on, where you think it comes from, and if you think there's any truth to the idea that porn is somehow a "high-suicide" profession?

RB: I'm a big fan of all of these moralizing made-for-TV movies about the evils of porn, and how they'll ruin your life. I saw a great one the other day from 1987 called Shattered Innocence! They're meant to scare housewives, or make “moral” people feel superior. I totally agree with you and what you're saying here, though, in that so little of it has anything to do with the truth, but even that dishonesty doesn't upset me unless I really dissect it and think about it. I guess I'm enjoying them ironically to some degree, but I love how filthy and sleazy a movie like, say, 1980's Hardcore makes porn. I enjoy the hand-wringing, and the distraught father horrified about what his little girl has become. I embrace that filth and that neon-soaked grime. It's very sexy to me. It's very attractive, and a signal of freedom. It has the opposite effect on me than it was supposed to. For me to get upset about it is like getting upset about the amount of debauchery in Weimar Germany in 1922. I'm too far removed from it for it to be real. It's a carnival and a fantasyland of sin.

But yeah, I agree with you. There are actually very few instances of porn stars killing themselves. It's probably a lower suicide rate than most professions, to be honest. Same with dying of AIDS. They get tested every other week – who else does that? Not most of the people having a lot of casual sex out there, you can bet on that.

AM: I confess that I show porn nowhere near the amount of respect that you do, for the most part. Most of my use of it is very utilitarian. If I'm actually watching a video, my finger is always very close to the speed search button; I get in, find something hot, jerk off, and get out, wasting as little time as possible on the plot or the dialogue. I seldom even bother watching whole movies, if I'm jerking off, and I certainly don't stick around after I come to find out how they end. As a porno scholar, do you impose any obligations on yourself that make you watch porn differently from that? No fast forwarding? Watching films to completion?

RB: Well, that's exactly why I'm not writing about the history of modern porn. There isn't much else to write about or to enjoy aside for exactly what you're talking about. I do the same thing with modern day shit. Wank and done. There isn't much else to see, is there? Porn shot-on-video and shot-on-digital since 1990 is incredibly one-dimensional, for the most part. It simply exists to get you off, with a few exceptions like the porn movie spoof comedies, and a few talented directors looking to do something different, such as Eon McKai and such. But I can count those exceptions on one hand, really. “Utilitarian” is a good word for it. The older stuff is enjoyable on many different levels – the music, the fashion, the acting, the plot, the way the movie looks because it's shot on film and lit in artistic ways. Often I don't even have a boner because I'm too engrossed with what everything else that is going on. When have you ever said that about modern pornography? With the 1970s movies you're missing way too much if you fast forward, so that's not an issue for me. Yeah, on some of the *really* badly made vintage XXX I'm fast forwarding through the sex to get to the plot points so I can properly review it for my magazine or the books I'm doing, but it doesn't happen as often as people might assume.

AM: You have a few films involving Zebedy Colt - either as director or actor - in Graphic Thrills and he's kind of an exception to the above, for me. I've only seen one of his films to completion - The Devil Inside Her - but I was fascinated, and I've read your writing about his others and I want to see them all. Speaking of Zebedy Colt, where did you score your Sex Wish poster? How much did it cost? Is there much of a collector's market for porno posters? Do you collect them yourself? What's the most you've paid for a porno poster?

RB: Found my Sex Wish poster at Hollywood Cowboys, which was a vintage poster shop that used to be on Broadway between main and Cambie here in Vancouver. Guy named Kevin used to run it. It cost me $20. He had a box of them, and couldn't get rid of them. No interest. Meanwhile, he had posters for mainstream movies from the same time for hundreds, and could move them no problem. That's the thing about these posters, they get very little respect from collectors, which is fine with me. I can buy them all up without much competition. If Graphic Thrills continues doing well, I'm pretty sure all that will change though very soon, though. In fact, I'm already seeing the prices going up in the last year. A lot of genre movie nerds are going to feel very very stupid for not taking an interest in collecting these one-sheets back when they could be scored for less than the cost of shipping them, especially once they're going for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
AM: Since you're a list maker, if you were going to make a list of your favourite films in Graphic Thrills, which would they be?

RB: Of the movies whose posters appear in Graphic Thrills, these would be my 10 personal favourite movies. There are other movies that are more important historically, but for pure entertainment, these all must-sees. I could have done a list of 20, actually. Because this list doesn't even have Intimate Illusions, Corruption, or Easy Alice, which shouldn't be missed either. But yeah, there are so many good movies in this book!

Midnight Heat (1983)
Sex Wish (1976)
Nothing To Hide (1981)
Femmes De Sade (1976)
Ecstasy Girls (1980)
Pretty Peaches (1978)
Cafe Flesh (1983)
Consenting Adults (1982)
Violation of Claudia (1977)
The Devil In Miss Jones (1973)

AM: Anything else...?

RB: People should check out my podcast:
http://cinemasewer.libsyn.com/

And also my online store, where all my various zines, books, comics, and DVDs are available:
http://cinemasewer.ecrater.com/

And also friend me on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cinema-Sewer-Magazine/8221424673

Thanks to Robin Bougie!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lawrence and Holloman now playing!

One of the darker, sicker and funnier Canadian films at last years' VIFF was Lawrence and Holloman; it's rather cruelly misanthropic, at times uncomfortable, and definitely has an edge to it, but it's pretty entertaining at the same time. I wrote about it here during the VIFF. I haven't revisited the film but I see it's presently playing in Vancouver! Film Facebook here, Twitter here. Katherine Isabelle fans take note - she's in the film!

Strugglers at the WISE Hall July 25th


I hope that everyone now living in Vancouver with an interest in rock'n'roll got to see the Little Guitar Army while they were around. Great, great band. There were always signs that they were going to implode at some point, tho' - inner tensions, bad weirdness, and a size that, short of massive infusions of cash, made extensive touring pretty much untenable: how many buses would they have needed, and how much money per member could they possibly get paid? Insane by design, they were also the greatest thing to happen to rock music in Vancouver since Slow, and probably the greatest theatrical rock spectacle ever to come out of this town (it's not enough to just own the CD: this was a band you had to experience live, and more than one time, because the first time you were not going to believe it). If the phenomenon around rock music still made sense, if the machine wasn't so horribly broken, if there were justice in the world of popular music, the Little Guitar Army would have been playing stadium shows all over the world while bands like U2 played clubs in Dublin.

I still vaguely remember my shock and confusion the first time I caught them live - entirely unprepared and almost by accident; I showed up just because Tony Bardach had mentioned he was playing in the band, and I've always liked Tony, so what the heck. I remember a dozen bandmembers, most in those schoolboy/ schoolgirl uniforms, standing on tables and chairs all over the Railway Club main room, rocking out on their tiny little (ridiculous yet magical) guitars, doing a totally whacked, kick-out-the-jams version of the Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" that blew all the snot and falseness out of the original (recorded in what Mike Watt once called the BOC's "Journey" period) and totally redeemed it. Linda was the female vocalist, at that point, and cut a terrifying figure - equal parts cartoon Nazi and S&M sexbomb - while belting out the lyrics with (the equally powerful but less terrifying, thank God) Bert Man, who presents as a rock'n'roll debauchery lifer. I had one of those rare "oh my god what is this I've never seen anything like this before" moments which are, in fact, pretty fucking few and far between in the world of rock music these days, considering such moments are very nearly the whole point of going to shows. There was an interview that I did with them in confused circumstances that never saw the light, and I gave a kind of critical review to their one album (not because it wasn't great but because the packaging and presentation simply weren't great enough for how cool their band and their songs were)... but there was something very very special about the Little Guitar Army, maybe partially because it was pretty clear it wasn't going to last forever. Maybe something will rise from the ashes of that band. Maybe they will be born anew. I hope so; they were fantastic, and shouldn't just fade into local punk legend.

In the meantime, there's the Strugglers. It might be unfair to them to see them as a fragment, an offshoot, a spinoff - and for all I know they were around before the LGA - but the one time I've caught them, at the SNFU show where this stunning bit of live footage was recorded - I couldn't help myself. They had a higher percentage of LGA glory in their act than I expected, and, I believe, three members who were either active LGA, or alum. Bert Man, on vocals, was ever bit as insanely compelling as he was with LGA, and maybe a bit moreso, as he stripped out of his big green lizard suit to sing in his tiny undies (did you click that last link? Do it, and wait for it). Orchard Pinkish, also active LGA at that point, was onstage on guitar, too. And now, they've made a DVD of rock videos with the guy who did the  LGA "30 Watts to Freedom" video, Dave Tamkin, and are going to be headlining a show at the WISE Hall, July 25th (this Friday), which sure does seem like THE rock and roll event to be at in Vancouver this weekend.

"The vids are very sex drug rock and roll," Bert Man tells me via Facebook. The one video he showed me is sure to cause controversy locally, is one of those acts of poor taste that you sort of shudder to see and wait to comment on to see what everyone else says, so you don't get in trouble (there's a dead hooker involved, let's leave it at that). Then there's one which I haven't seen that uses CGI to have "150 foot tall Strugglers cavorting downtown," There will also be props, burlesque girls, a big screen to show the videos on. "I wanna pull out all the stops regarding theatrics," Bert wrote me. "Be a good one to take pictures at... how many more times in my life will I get to put out a DVD, y'know?"

Highly recommend being at the WISE Hall for this show. The Strugglers rock (and Ron Reyes' reijigged Piggy will also be on the bill!). I'm going to be pretty beat if I go see the Andrew Jackson Jihad on Thursday and then work Friday... but this is a show I do not want to miss...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Savage Sagas From The Meatmen!

My old Tesco Vee interview - or the portion of it that was published in English - is here. Maybe I should get the lead out do something with the rest of it now that Savage Sagas from the Meatmen has been completed? Haven't heard the album yet but I enjoyed their concert here, hope to see them again...

Andrew Jackson Jihad this Thursday, plus ticket giveaway

Right, so I'm entering a contest to try to get tickets to the Andrew Jackson Jihad, and I get more entries if I blog about it, so check this link for more! These guys are probably my favourite "new discovery," bandwise, mostly because they write some terrifically infectious and occasionally quite sick lyrics. I'm driving my girlfriend a bit crazy by singing lines out of context from different songs, like the image of a sky, I think it is, "as red as a dog's asshole and you see it bleeding;" or about finding a "nicer way to kill it" (from their song that is titled after humane slaughterhouse designer Temple Grandin, who pops up on two tunes on the new LP), or about blood collectors collecting blood while "the cannibals all sang," say. Plus they have two references to Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans on their new album, including the declaration that it is the "greatest movie ever" (a bit hyperbolic by me but it is a film I'm fond of; love those lizards!). The band plays the Biltmore on Thursday and even though I work Friday I am strongly considering going. Strongly. We'll see how exhausted I am...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Khats fest: me and Newt, plus the Poppy Family Experience

Got to say hello to Steve Newton at the Khatsahlano festival yesterday. We could be brothers! In fact, maybe in a way we are:
I missed a bunch of bands I had planned to see - The Furies have to be the band I have most often set out to see but not actually made it to, so it's almost a tradition with me - but I got to have some free food and beer, and treated to a chance to socialize with some of my favourite people around town. Thanks to Adrian Mack, in particular, for his terrific Poppy Family feature, it really helped orient me in regard to the band, plus he turned me onto the original Terry Jacks version of "There's No Blood In Bone," which you can find on the Neptoon compilation The History of Vancouver Rock and Roll Volume 2 (I highly recommend getting all four volumes, though be warned - #3, with the Painted Ship on it, fetches a fair price!). According to Michael Willmore's liner notes, that's not the Chessmen, by the way, but a solo recording from a trip to Los Angeles.
To be totally honest, the Poppy Family Experience was more one of those concerts that's great because it's happening at all than because the band was in top form; with it being only the second time this particular permutation has played live (and some 40 years since the Poppy Family's heyday), there were definitely a few rough patches, from an under-miked first song to some actual glitches in the performance (I will leave these unremarked upon but I'm sure the band noticed). Still, it was totally exciting to be in the audience to hear these songs performed live, and Susan Jacks - and her new kidney, Wilson - makes a very compelling and entertaining frontwoman indeed. Here's hoping we'll get another chance to see this unit play. Vivian Pencz's review and a much better photo of the band is here. Wishing Satwant Singh the best in his cancer treatment (at one point Susan Jacks informed the audience that he had skipped his weekly chemo to play).

The Rebel Spell at Adstock 2014 in Maple Ridge - pictures tell a story

The Rebel Spell headlined Adstock this year, debuting a couple of new songs and playing plenty of old ones, focusing more on the hardcore side of their repertoire (and making a sincere effort not to cuss). Of the new ones, I was particularly blown away by the one that wasn't called "Not a Prayer" but it beats me what the title was; Erin's guitar was pretty killer on that other song, though. Haven't much to say about the show - they're the best punk band around at the moment and do a great live show - but here's some photos I snapped. By far the funniest moment was when some wag up front suggested a circle pit AROUND the gazebo, and my girl and I had to get out of the way as, mid-song, twenty or thirty punks started their sprint. That's Jonny Bones of the Bone Daddies in the black skeleton shirt! (I missed the Bone Daddies set this year but only because I was busy with some behind-the-scenes support activities down the street in my apartment...). Once again it was a terrific Adstock, thanks to Adam Rayburn for putting it together. (And happy birthday!). 

Let's start with the gazebo, seen as you approach from the street; the audience is on the far side:
Bone Daddies merch:
 The Hellbound Hepcats on stage (terrific Toronto rockabilly):
The Rebel Spell onstage: 

Circle pit around the gazebo!