Thursday, April 21, 2016

About last night: Martha Scanlan and Jon Neufeld at the Top Hat

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 4:33 PM

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Jon Neufeld - ©WILLIAM MUÑOZ
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Six Reasons U Have to Go 2 Purple Rain

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 3:30 PM

This was originally posted in April 2014. Tonight, Thursday, the Roxy hosts a free screening of Purple Rain at 9 PM in Prince's honor.

You guys. YOU GUYS. The Roxy is screening Prince's seminal 1984 music film Purple Rain tonight, Thursday, for one night only. As someone who sleeps every night under the watchful, soulful eyes of a Prince and the Revolution poster, I feel strongly that this will be a positive bonding event for our community. Here are six reasons you should go.

Prince says U should go.
  • Prince says U should go.

1. If you are not acquainted with the majesty and wonder that is contained in all 5'2" of Prince, this is a pretty good place to start. In a storied career, Purple Rain (the album) is Prince at the height of his weird, fabulous rock-sexuality.

2. You get to see Apollonia's boobs in it. (Prince never even takes his shirt off, even in sex scenes oops he does in the "Darling Nikki" concert scene, totes forgot.)

3. Where else are you gonna see a film about the edgy, thriving rock scene of Minneapolis?

4. The plot is mind-bogglingly melodramatic and silly, fitting from someone who sings in falsetto about "touch, if you will, my stomach, feel how it trembles inside." There's some very eyebrow-raising drama involving Prince's fictional parents (though he's said in real life his parents were sober and supportive jazz musicians.) You will question the sanity of everyone involved in the film and, possibly, your own.

5. Okay, the plot is atrocious, but the music sequences are stellar. They will bring you back to a time when people played pointy guitars and wore open-throated, puffy white shirts. A time when rock music was about hair and performance art and creating a stage show and men wearing high heels. As someone who wasn't even a zygote in 1984, all I can say is that I feel like I really missed out.

6. And hey, 30 years later, the Purple One is still weirdly cool and inscrutably weird. He had a pancakes and pajama party just last year at his house, where he played a 90-minute set at 4 AM. Talk about commitment.


Friday, April 15, 2016

The definitive ranking of Kevin Costner's best movies

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 3:20 PM

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Today marks the release of Criminal, a film starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones and Ryan Reynolds (who is curiously not listed on the movie poster). Initial reviews say it is awful. Laughably awful. Cringe-worthy awful. 

"It's like the movie was written in crayon, in the margins of a comic book."  — Stephen Whitty, New York Daily News

In the Indy newsroom, these types of devastating reviews mean it's open season on Kevin Costner. Or, more specifically, making fun of me for my earnest and unwavering appreciation of the man and his work over the last three decades. Every time there's a Criminal or Black & White or 3 Days to Kill, I end up having to remind my colleagues of undervalued recent successes like McFarland USA or The Company Men. When Waterworld or The Postman inevitably get brought up (we all sort of agree to avoid Dances with Wolves for our own reasons — as well as his music career), I remind them that he appeared in Night Shift and directed and starred in Open Range. When one reporter wonders if Costner is "just the guy from the baseball movies," it's my responsibility to say, sure, but he's also the dude from No Way Out, Thirteen Days (Boston accent notwithstanding), A Perfect World, JFK and ...

I could go on. Instead, in response to the constant heckling in my place of work and in celebration of one of our generation's best actors, here's a definitive ranking of Costner's 15 best films:

Essential Costner
1. Field of Dreams, 1989
2. The Untouchables, 1987
3. Bull Durham, 1988 
4. No Way Out, 1987 
5. Night Shift, 1982 

Underrated Costner
6. A Perfect World, 1993
7. JFK, 1991
8. Thirteen Days, 2000
9. Open Range, 2003
10. McFarland USA, 2015
11. The Company Men, 2010
12. Tin Cup, 1996
13. Silverado, 1985
14. The Upside of Anger, 2005
15. American Flyers, 1985

THE UNTOUCHABLES
  • The Untouchables

How to do Record Store Day in Missoula

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 1:46 PM

John Fleming at Ear Candy Music sounds out of breath on the phone—and for good reason. Saturday is national Record Store Day, and it marks the busiest day of the year at Ear Candy as customers line up early for special deals, promotional giveaways and the chance to grab limited edition releases specially made for vinyl's grand holiday. 

"It's our biggest day, hands down," Fleming says as he continues getting ready. "I'm just hoping we don't run out of credit card paper like we did last year. It was ..." he trails off, talking with another delivery person dropping off product. "It was crazy." 
John Fleming with a shipment of Record Store Day limited releases for Ear Candy Music
  • John Fleming with a shipment of Record Store Day limited releases for Ear Candy Music


Crazy? Yes. But also a ton of fun for the increasing number of vinyl collectors out there. Here's a quick primer on how to tackle Record Store Day in Missoula, with a listing of special events and the most anticipated releases at local shops.

"Get here early"

That's Fleming best advice. Ear Candy Music opens two hours early on Saturday, at 9 a.m., and will most likely have a line of customers ready to grab some of the day's most sought-after releases. Fleming expects a run on Phish's reissue of Hoist on splatter-color vinyl, the Warren Zevon picture disc, the Iron Maiden picture disc and Cheap Trick's full concert at Budokan. But he's only naming those off the top of his head. "There's just so much," he says.  

In addition to special releases, Ear Candy will have raffles throughout the day and free giveaway items like posters and record bags. Ear Candy is located on the Hip Strip at 624 S. Higgins Ave.

Celebrate the local scene
Jon Van Dyke of the forthcoming Missoula Community Radio saw an opportunity. He's been looking to spread the word about the new station, as well as answer questions about their progress (they just recently hung their antennae tower, for instance). Van Dyke figured the excitement surrounding Record Store Day was as good a time as any to reach local music fans. Plus, with Total Fest ending its run last summer, that meant no more late-summer record swap in the Big Dipper parking lot. 

So Van Dyke combined all of the above to create a Record Store Day Celebration both in the Big Dipper parking lot and outside Ear Candy. "We're sort of filling a void," he says.

The celebration runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes music, food and raffle prizes such as a Replacements box set, gift certificates from Ear Candy and KornUtopia and a five-screening pass to the Roxy Theater. All proceeds from the raffles benefit Missoula Community Radio, which will have board members on hand to help talk up the station. 

Be cool
Scott Storer at Record Heaven explains a problem echoed by Fleming and other folks we talked to—Record Store Day is a big deal nationally, and Missoula's participating stores may not get a ton of the special releases. 

"With these limited edition pressings, we may order 10 or 15 copies and we're lucky if we get two," Storer says. "It's great that we're celebrating the industry and paying attention to vinyl, but it's also become really competitive." 

As Fleming put it, "If your local record store doesn't have what you're looking for, don't take it out on the clerk behind the counter. It's not their fault." 

Storer expects box sets to be super popular, as well as "anything by Bowie" and the highly coveted Mac Demarco demos

Record Heaven and Rockin Rudy's are, like Ear Candy, part of the official Record Store Day event, which means they'll have special limited releases on hand. Rockin Rudy's, located at 237 Blaine, opens at 9 a.m. Record Heaven, on the Hip Strip at 821 S. Higgins, opens at 10. 

Need more info? 
Rolling Stone has an "ultimate guide" to what's available on Saturday. 

Check out the official Record Store Day list of special releases here

Not into vinyl yet? The Indy's Kate Whittle put together a guide to getting started

Hot traxx: Bryan Ramirez made you a hip-hop mixtape

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Joey Bada$$
  • Joey Bada$$

This week, Indy music contributor Bryan Ramirez wrote about why hip-hop's not dead and why it won't die (sorry not sorry, Gene Simmons). Not only that, Ramirez says, hip-hop is experiencing a renaissance that includes "skateboarding geniuses Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples, the deep-ghetto beats of Jay Rock and Freddie Gibbs, and the genre-breaking work of Shabazz Palaces and Run The Jewels." Plus Redman and Method Man who will be performing at the Wilma this Sunday, April 17.

Ramirez ended his piece about the sunny outlook for hip-hop's future with, "If you don't believe me, I'll hook you up with a mixtape, gratis." And, in fact, he delivered on that promise. Here's Ramirez's Hip Hop Renaissance Mix, which includes classic and current artists from his collection, including Big K.R.I.T, Joey Bada$$ and Kate Tempest. Enjoy.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Photos from UM Theatre & Dance's Dance in Concert

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 9:38 AM

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Photos from Yonder Mountain String Band's show at the Wilma

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 9:36 AM

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Friday, March 25, 2016

15 things you should know before seeing Batman v Superman in theaters

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 1:01 PM

As nerds already know all too well, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens this weekend. The big-ass blockbuster poses to pit the Dark Knight against Mr. Clark Kent in a epic superhero faceoff. Though I'm not a huge comic book nerd, my friends are. That's how I ended up at a sports bar on Reserve Street last night, watching 23 TVs at once while we waited for the 9:30 IMAX screening of Batman v Superman. I knew basically nothing going into this movie—in fact I saw the trailer for the first time while sitting in the bar—and let me tell you, if only I knew then what I know now.

Also, there are some minor spoilers in here, but don't pretend like you didn't know there would be explosions and CGI in a superhero movie.

Much jaw. Very muscle. So super.
  • Much jaw. Very muscle. So super.

1. Batman v Superman is two and a half hours long.

2. It begins with An Origin Story, as if the audience is unaware that Batman is just an extremely wealthy, attractive and *tormented* soul. Oh, and you betcha it includes several pointless dream sequences just so we really understand how *tormented* Batman is.

3. Jeremy Irons, who is not Michael Caine, plays Alfred.

4. Ben Affleck is not Christian Bale. (Okay, so I had not anticipated how loyal I am to director Christopher Nolan's take on Batman.)

5. Amy Adams plays Lois Lane, a newspaper journalist. She spends the entire film in platform heels and a pencil skirt. I assure you this is a highly accurate portrayal of journalism.

6. At one point, Lois Lane demands that the Daily Planet editor get her the "Daily Planet chopper" so she can go rescue Clark Kent or something. (In case you are wondering, the Independent's chopper is a beanie with a propeller on it.)

7. Superman can punch through buildings, survive nuclear explosions and shoot laser beams with his eyes, but as Clark Kent, he can't stand up to his editor about how to write an article. This does seem accurate, actually. Editors: more powerful than Superman.

8. Henry Cavill, who I saw described somewhere as a "human butter sculpture," spends most of the film with his clothes on. I did find his Supersuit to be satisfactorily revealing of his Supergluteus.

9. We first saw Henry Cavill as Superman in 2013's Man of Steel, which was also bloated and so ridiculous that Henry Cavill's amazing jawline could not save it. Scientists even estimated that the destruction depicted in Man of Steel would actually have killed more people than 9/11. None of these lessons were learned for Batman v Superman. Good job, "superheroes!"

10. Don't even get me started on the CGI action scenes, but let me just say this: in the middle of the movie, the government fires nuclear missiles in the sky over Metropolis with no compunction.

11. Jesse Eisenberg (who, by the way, my mother believes is the same person as Michael Cera) plays Lex Luthor. He does a pretty good job of playing an unhinged bad guy, and at one point you see snot run down his nose and he doesn't wipe it. Gah. So evil.

12. The film shoehorns a bunch of other heroes in it for no reason other than to preview upcoming spinoffs, including Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Let us pray these films are better.

13. CGI. My god, the CGI.

14. Reminder: this film is two and a half hours long, even though the entire plot can be described in about five sentences.

15. I saw Batman v Superman with one of the most diehard Batman fans I know—I mean, he has an entire display case of memorabilia and goes as Batman every year for Halloween, and also dresses up his dog as Robin. My friend is now utterly despondent.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jeff Bridges brings a bit of the Dude to the Wilma, and Montana's campaign season

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 12:22 PM

Jeff Bridges took Montana’s 2016 gubernatorial race to a rather strange, funky place last night. The famed actor and musician played to the sold-out Wilma, a fundraiser for Gov. Steve Bullock’s reelection campaign that leaned far more heavily on Bridges’ country-rock stylings than the Democratic incumbent’s political stumping. But it wasn’t just the Bob Dylan cover or frequent Big Lebowski references that had locals literally screaming, “We love you, Jeff!” No, it was the fact that even when talking up a candidate for office, Bridges continues to be entirely, unequivocally, 100-percent The Dude.

ALEX SAKARIASSEN
  • Alex Sakariassen

“As Steve was saying, man, I’m so connected with this place, ya know?” Bridges said after the governor’s introduction. “Met my sweetheart, as the governor was saying. She’s out here in the audience tonight ... I’m such a lucky guy.”

Bridges shared the stage with singer/songwriter Chris Pelonis, and the two proved an unstoppably entertaining force throughout a set that included quite a few hits from Bridges’ film Crazy Heart, which won him his first Oscar for best actor in 2009.

When it came time to stop the strumming and focus on the politics at hand, Bridges donned his reading glasses and began to rattle off a printed list of Bullock’s accomplishments. He briefly lost his place somewhere between the effort to end child hunger—an issue Bridges, as the national spokesman for the No Kid Hungry Campaign, is particularly sensitive to—and Bullock’s success in shepherding the Disclose Act through the Montana Legislature. However, he rebounded a song or two later with a nod to the circus that is the Republican presidential race.

“I think it’s important to note,” The Dude said, grinning widely, “that our governor, Steve, has huge hands.” 

The crack had the Wilma audience cheering almost as loudly as when Bridges’ did his end-of-set cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”

ALEX SAKARIASSEN
  • Alex Sakariassen

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  • Alex Sakariassen

Photos from Saturday night's Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band show at the Top Hat

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 9:59 AM

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