Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To Absent Friends....

Well, it's getting around to the end of the year. That means it's time to remember those who left us over the past twelve months. The Etherverse took a bit of a hit this year, and since there won't be a New Year's show (I'm still sick), this online roll-call of the dearly departed will have to suffice.

January 13 – Patrick McGoohan, American-born British actor.  Best known for the cult classic The Prisoner
April 4 -- Lux Interior, legendary frontman for The Cramps
April 12 – Marilyn Chambers, American pornographic actress
June 2 – David Eddings, American author (The Belgariad).
June 3 – David Carradine, American actor
August 13 – Les Paul, American musician and inventor of the guitar that bears his name
October  12 -- Dickie Peterson, drummer for Blue Cheer.
November 30 – Paul Naschy, Spanish movie actor, screenwriter, and director.
December 29 - Erica Boyer, American pornographic actress

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shakespeare and heavy metal, together at last

Shakespeare and heavy metal, together at last

Interesting news story about a a group that combines Shakespearian monologues and costumes with heavy metal and comedy.  There's a video in the story--it's not as corny is it so easily could have been.

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"Exclusive" Fox News Story on Dita Von Teese

Fox News has an interesting story on fetish model/burlesque performer Dita Von Teese.  It's kind of surprising that Fox would post such a positive story about someone whom their hosts would probably spend a lot of time condemning for the "immorality"* of her career choice, but I've long since given up trying to figure out where they're coming from.

Back before she became Mrs. Marilyn Manson, I used to email Ms Von Teese on a semi-regular basis.  And no, I'm not talking in a stalker kind of way either.  Here's the rundown.  Back when I was learning to use Painshop Pro, I created a digital painting using a photograph of Dita, and I wanted to put it on my (long since dormant) webpage.  Rather then risk the embrassment  and hassle of a cease and desist letter, I forwarded a copy of the picture to her via her webmaster, explaining what I wanted to do, stressing that there was no commercial intent and if she said "no" that was fine and I'd live with it.  To my surprise about a week later I got an email from Dita herself, complimenting me on the picture and regretfully informing me that while she didn't mind my putting it online, she didn't own the copyright.  She did say that if I contacted the actual copyright holder, then  I could tell them that I had her approval for using it. In the meantime she asked me if she could put it on her website, in the gallery section, which I refused (just kidding, of course I said yes).

Then, she mentioned The Black Dahlia case (my email address at the time had black dahlia reference in it), telling me that David Lynch had suggested casting her in his upcoming movie about it.  She didn't know anything about the case and asked if I could give her any info, and that started a correspondence that lasted a couple of months. In return for me filling her in on the Black Dahlia, she dished some pretty juicy gossip from Tinseltown (some interesting stuff about Rose McGowan, for instance). It may be hard to believe, given her glamourous image and all, but she was very smart, funny and down to earth. Nothing earthshattering, just idle chat.  I sent her a couple of more pictures, and she was very encouraging about them (there was at least one other one she asked about putting on her website).  Then it just sort of tapered off as she got more famous and (one assumes) more busy and I was too busy to spend much time online (especially since I didn't have a computer at home at the time).

Next I heard, she was stepping out with Brian Warner (aka Marilyn Manson) but by that time correspondence had more or less ended.  I did send her a brief note congratulating her on her engagement, and she sent a polite reply.  Still, it's probably one of my few enounters with the Hollywood glitterati, so I milk the story every chance I get :)

Here's the Fox story:

  FOXNews.com - Exclusive: Dita Von Teese 'Shocked' That Americans Think Burlesque Is So Taboo

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* While of course showing lots and lots of video clips and photos just so that the audience has no doubts about what they're condemning.

Blood: The Last Vampire Trailer

Okay, I know I promised to ration the videos I post, but this is still within the guidelines I set for myself, and there's a reason I'm posting this one.

I've been wanting to see Blood: The Last Vampire for a while now, and my friend Eddie lent me a copy to check out, but before I got to see it, he took off to Jamaica for the holidays (lucky bastard) and so now I'm going to have to wait for him to get back in a week or so before I can see it. After which, of course, I will post a review. But I'm pretty confident, based on this trailer, that it at least won't be a total waste.

For one thing, I love vampire movies (and not the insipid, tweeny "Twilight" crapola that is currently smothering the genre in girly fluffiness and is an affront to darkness and perversity everywhere). For another, I love Asian action movies. I never saw the original manga though--my geekiness has never embraced japanimation, for some reason.

Anyway, enjoy the trailer and keep an eye out for the upcoming review.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lords Of Chaos movie update: Twilight Heartthrob To Portray Varg Vikernes

Twilight Heartthrob To Portray Black Metal Icon Varg Vikernes Of Burzum In Upcoming Movie

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I wonder what Varg thinks of this little tidbit. Lords Of Chaos, based on the fascinating book, is slated for release sometime next year. There is a website for the movie, but there's nothing there as yet.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Daybreakers Trailer

Speaking of vampire flicks, here's an upcoming movie that looks like it might be worth checking out:

4 Reasons to Get Excited for Burton & Depp's 'Dark Shadows'

Happy News.

Alice In Wonderland isn't even out yet and buzz is already happening for the next Tim Burton/Johnny Depp opus: Dark Shadows!

I'm too young to remember the original Dark Shadows, but I do remember the short lived attempt to resurrect it (featuring the luscious Barbara Steele). With the relentless dumbing-down of the vampire genre thanks to the teeny-bopper Twilight franchise, the thought of stylemeister Burton lensing a vampire film--especially a vampire film based on the classic Dark Shadows, is great news indeed.

Rest assured as soon as there's a trailer, I'll be posting it. Until then, here's a story you might find interesting:

4 Reasons to Get Excited for Burton & Depp's 'Dark Shadows'

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry Metal Xmas to all!!

Wishing you all a very safe, happy holiday.

We here at Tapping the Ether will also be relaxing for the holidays, so tomorrow nights show will be a classic (i.e. repeat) episode of Tapping the Ether

Toss down some eggnog and throw up the horns!

Twentieth Anniversary T-shirts now available!

The first t-shirt for Tapping The Ether's twentieth anniversary are now available on Zazzle.com.

Hoodies and long-sleeve shirts will be made available early in the new year, but this will give you an idea what they're gonna look like.

Director Terry Gilliam Discusses Heath Ledger's Legacy

Director of the actor's final film, 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,' remembers the actor's talent.

I've been wanting to see this. Now, because of Heath Ledger's death, what was originally going to be a cult flick is likely going to be widely seen and, one suspects, completely misunderstood.

Heath Ledger was one of the few bright points of Gilliam's "Brothers Grimm" and Depp always seems to shine for Gilliam, so I do have high hopes for this one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Film Review: Shaolin Girl (Shôrin shôjo)

dir. Katsuyuki Motohiro (2008)

Shaolin Girl is a bit of an enigma. It's really two (maybe two and a bit) movies spliced together. Fair enough, except that the Western equivalent would be The Bad News Bears spliced together with The Matrix (with a bit of A League Of Their Own tossed in at the end).
The plot is paper thin: Rin, a young woman recently completing 9 years of training at the iconic Shaolin Temple, returns to Japan to spread Shaolin through her grandfather's dojo. Arriving in town, she finds her Grandfather's dojo derelict and her former teacher cooking at the local noodle house. No one will tell her what happened to the Dojo, so she moves into the ruins anyway.

Hooking up with MinMin, Rin visits the local university, where there's something very, very sinister happening with the girls lacrosse team (we're never told what—I mean never, it's never explained at all. Ever. Oh and it involves the beach volleyball team—do I smell sequel?). Rin joins the lacrosse team in order to recruit them into learning Shaolin. The Teacher takes time out from his noodle-slinging to sign on as coach. This part of the flick is firmly in the “Bad News Bears” territory—talented but awkward outsider tries to prove herself, fails miserably because she doesn't understand the importance of teamwork and must earn back the respect of her team mates. It's nicely done, with the required elements: The flash of self-realization, the long training montages (particularly well done), the gradually winning over and bonding with team mates, the awkward yet arousing scenes of sexual awakening (okay, I lied about the last part.) .

Then the script takes a wild, spiraling dive into complete whatthefuckery. It turns out that Rin is the illegitimate love child of Luke Skywalker and Bruce Lee—she was sent away to Shaolin to teach her to control the awesome power that churns within her. Apparently this dark power will only be released if she fights (so of course sending her to the most famous martial arts school in history is the perfect way to head that off), and for some reason that is never fully explained the Director of the University wants to battle it out with her. Next follows kidnapping, arson, ambushes, massive free-for-all melee complete with comic relief, and more special effects than you can shake your nunchuks at. Despite the whirlwind of improbabilities and implausibilities, it works. The special effects look great, the fights, while not stunning in their originality, are competent, and the final confrontation (while a little long) is very satisfying.

Almost as an afterthought, the authors suddenly remember that this is supposed to be a lacrosse movie, so the team crams an entire season of games during the credits. This isn't a criticism, as the montage was nicely done. Basically, the filmmakers started with such a wide net, this movie could (and often did) go anywhere, and no one choice was better or worse than any other potential choice. Personally, I would have preferred that the filmmakers either a). stayed with the lacrosse story throughout the movie, or b) used the lacrosse story just long enough to provide a framework for the more revenge-oriented action plot.

Please don't think that because I pointed out this movie's (many) flaws that I didn't enjoy it, because I did.  It's not a bad movie by any means, but it could have been a great one. Still, there are worse ways to kill a couple of hours, and I don't' doubt that I'll watch Shaolin Girl again in the future.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Def Leppard Developing Cartoon Series | Billboard.com

Def Leppard Developing Cartoon Series Billboard.com

Well it's good to know that Def Leppard has managed to maintain both their dignity and artistic integrity despite the passage of years....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Onward to 2010.

As not only a new year, but the twentieth anniversary of Tapping The Ether rapidly approaches, I decided to sit down and think about what I'd like to accomplish with this blog next year. I'll be honest: this year was pretty hit and miss, and for that I apologize. Part of that was because I was on a learning curve; part of it was because of real life events taking precedence. Overall though, I was happy with what I learned and I'm confident next year's going to see some good things happening.

Here are some of the plans I've made so far:

More reviews: Particularly movie reviews. I love movies. I watch a lot of movies. Now I just have to develop the discipline to write a review after I've finished watching. I saw some great films this year, including “Red Cliffs 1&2”, the “Transporter” movies, “The Bank Job” and dozens of other—but nary a review to be seen. This year I will rectify that. I will try and post at least one review of some kind every week.

Videos and Trailers: This is one area where I learned a lot this year. I found some great sources for trailers and music videos, and learned how to embed them properly. This year the goal is to balance the video content with content that I actually create. It's so easy (and lazy) to just add some video when I don't feel like writing something, but then I end up with a solid block of videos and nothing from me. That's gonna change this year. I'm setting myself a limit of no more than two videos in a row (and preferably fewer than that).

More news: The Etherverse is a wide ranging cultural gumbo that includes music, books, movies, television (a little), art and aesthetics—I'm going to start blogging stories of interest that I run across in my meanderings through Etherspace. Up to now I've shied away from that, because I saw it as exploiting other people's work—now I realize that it actually promotes other people's work, and hopefully they will promote mine in turn.

More Promotion: Improving the blog will hopefully improve the readership, but improving the readership also gives incentive to improve the blog. This year I'm going to try and strike a balance between the two efforts, and hopefully my listeners and readers will help me out on that.. If you belong to a band's fan club, or a message board or something similar that overlaps with Tapping The Ether's focus, please let people know about us here in our little corner. But please, please don't spam on my behalf.

Culling The Blogroll:  I have some great blogs on my blogroll, but I've been noticing that some of them update even less than I do (!!).  Since there's a limit to how many blogs I can put in the blogroll, I'm going to start more actively managing the roll--giving precedence to those blogs that provide quality updates on a regular basis (and of course those who provide me with some recipricosity).

So there you have it: The basic outline of the Tapping The Ether plan of attack for 2010. Please check back often. Please participate: leave comments, check out links, watch videos, and (most importantly) listen to the show.  2010 is going to rock!

Terry Pratchett Challenge, 2010

So I'm going to participate in my first blog challenge: ReadingAdventures: Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge

Here are the rules:

The challenge will start from 1 December 2009 and run through to 30 November 2010. There are several different levels of participation for you to choose from:

1-3 books - Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint
4-5 books - Guard of the City Watch
6-8 books - Academic at the Unseen University
9-10 books - Member of Granny Weatherwax's Coven
10-12 books - Death's Apprentice

You can either be reading the books for the first time, rereading, or even watching the TV adaptations if you like! As long as everyone has fun I will be happy! Please also do not feel limited to only reading the Discworld books as any books by Terry Pratchett will count for this challenge.

To a certain degree, this is not exactly a challenge for me--I'm usually rereading a Discworld novel at some point (sometimes two). In fact, when I found out about this a couple of days ago, I was about 20 pages away from finishing Guards, Guards--so I get to start the challenge one up. Now I'm reading Lords And Ladies. I'll keep you updated on my progress towards Death's Apprentice.

Actor Paul Naschy dies at 75

Actor Paul Naschy dies at 75

For those of you how are unaware, Paul Naschy almost single-handedly kept the Werewolf genre alive throughout the late '60's and '70's. For many film fans, Naschy was the Spanish horror film industry.

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