Archive for the ‘hallie madenski’ Category

Metric, Emily Haines and the Canadian Bacon Effect

October 29, 2009

Written By: Hallie Madenski

I refer to a certain phenomenon as the “Canadian Bacon Effect.” One of my favorite things about living in the Pacific Northwest and America in general is all the juicy fat that trickles into our music scene from Canada. Canadians love Oregon because for most of them it has a similar but less icy feel to their beloved territories to the North. Tegan and Sara recorded their previous album “The Con” in Portland with Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie fame.

Music from Canada doesn’t sound any different from music here, or does it? As I put this thought on the spin cycle for a moment I start to question this theory. Is it me or does the intelligence of the people as a whole seep into some of the indie music of the syrup drinking, hockey-watching country, with its lessened population and good health insurance,The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Tim Horton’s, the largest mall in North America and of course the country’s demonized wintery touch? All these attributes are things to be considered when thinking of the country, where to me, one thing is clearer than Clearly Canadian.

As a music lover first and a person second, I think of music when I think of Canada. Tied for first place as my favorite band, a certain group casts a silvery shadow in my eyelids. A band I want to listen to when I’m working out in the afternoon and then later when I’m trying to banish my neurosis and finally fall asleep. One to relax and to energize. One band to rule them all. Metric.

Named after a system America has never been able to fully convert to, the band is akin in this way. I’ve always felt that Metric never got what they deserve in terms of acknowledgment. A recognized band, but not a stadium band. Always at festivals but never quite top-billed. The difference between Metric and the actual metric system is that others have fully converted to the metric system. While Canada is more aware of the genius of frontwoman Emily Haines, I’m positive that neither country has heard enough of the angelic melodies and inarguably poetic lyrics of the band.

Fans tend to scoff when fame gets out of control. I find myself scoffing at Green Day and The Killers for their over-the-top portrayal of superstars. Well, not portrayal, they are superstars in their own right. There’s something fishy about this though. To me announcing yourself as “the best” instantly drops you from my respect radar. When I saw a Green Day show in 2005 they referred to themselves as “the best punk band ever.” There’s so much wrong with declaring yourself as best band let alone best punk band, not only an extinct genre but a degrading and pompous comment that isn’t even true. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” was one of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard. The Killers “Hot Fuss” is one of my top favorite 30 CDs and so is Green Day’s “Dookie” but when I see these bands now I feel bad for ever thinking so highly of them. I wonder whether the old synth-happy Killers will ever be back. Or do I have to hear the lyrics “are we human, or are we dancer” one more time? By the way, Mr. Flowers, most of us can tell when someone is stringing random words together to sound intelligent because we do it often ourselves.

I don’t Metric to turn into snobs, so I fear their fame. The concerns of a selfish fan plague me. I want to treasure them and pretend that I discovered them when in reality I only started to listen to them in 2005 though they had been around since 2001. You know the agony of listening to a band before they become big? Your friends and random comrades start mentioning them, boasting of a new great band they found out about. Your teeth start to clench and your fists ball up. Actually, that might just be my own personal mania and ridiculous vendetta against others. Regardless, there’s a monstrous frustration that comes with being concerned about music. I baby it. I rock it back and forth in my arms. I’m the delusional girl that thinks all the pieces in the bowl of candy belong to her, when in fact they are in the open and plainly there to be enjoyed by everyone. Metric is not my own personal piece of candy, and neither is your favorite band.

The blonde leading lady genius of Emily Haines and perfect pieces of the puzzle that are her band, released their most recent CD in April of this year. “Fantasies,” Metric’s fourth full length album, is the creme brulee of music. A hard shell of synth-rock danceable music on the top, with a substantially rich lyrical center. Listen to “Satellite Mind” and “Gold Guns Girls” then tone it down with “Twilight Galaxy.” To be honest you cannot go wrong with any track from this delectable masterpiece. Like Garbage, they are a band incapable of making a bad CD. I’m now certain of that. I would watch Emily Haines in a movie, I would read her book and I would certainly listen to anything she composed even if it was wordless and created with only a hurdy gurdy.

Another band from Canada are the unmistakable identical twins mentioned earlier. Tegan and Sara, who just released their latest CD “Sainthood,” are another anomaly. More famous than Metric but still struggling for America’s full attention, certain audiences tend to linger more than others. With a massive lesbian/calm person following, they may not be your type of thing if you’re, well, not into folk music with a faint drum beat and a forceful unplugged guitar.

Honorable mentions must go to now defunct Edmonton-based Pursuit of Happiness whose classic CD “Love Junk” should be rediscovered by today’s generation as it is a great CD to age with. Artificial Joy Club’s one and only release, “Melt,” is a grungy classic. The Clik’s “Snakehouse” is a brutal masterpiece similar to Metric’s “Fantasies” in that it can pump you up or help you sleep depending on what track you venture towards. Hot Hot Heat used to be good and Feist is worth checking out. Acclaimed bag of poo, The Arcade Fire, are always buzzed about even though I’ve never gotten it, I keep listening hoping my ears will change. The copycat Gwen Stefani vocals of The Vincent Black Shadow are catchy pop infestations. Heavily tattooed Bif Naked deserves a nod as does the forlorn Alanis Morrisette, queen of the breakup CD. Broken Social Scene is moody and fitting for a listen while you take a bubble bath. Last but not least Quebec’s Islands are a favorite, check out the bubbly “Rough Gem.”

Now for a playlist, titled “Songs for a Moose.” This mixed array of Canadian tunes might make you envious of “America’s Hat.” If Canada is a hat to America, America is a poorly dressed retard who drastically needs a stylish hat to add flare to their horribly bland outfit. America is Canada’s soiled underwear. And NO I’m not French, and YES I’m mostly joking.

track 01 – “Wet Blanket” by Metric
track 02 – “Don’t Rush” by Tegan and Sara
track 03 – “Twitch” by Bif Naked
track 04 – “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by Crash Test Dummies
track 05 – “Love and Death” by The Stills
track 06 – “Silent Seven” by Controller.Controller
track 07 – “The Constant Lover” by Magneta Lane
track 08 – “Creeper” by Islands
track 09 – “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart
track 10 – “Metro” by The Vincent Black Shadow
track 11 – “Hangover Days” by Jason Collett Featuring Emily Haines
track 13 – “Needy Girl” by Chromeo
track 14 – “Video Kid” by The Birthday Massacre
track 15 – “Elevator Love Letter” by Stars
track 16 – “Sick and Beautiful” by Artificial Joy Club
track 17 – “Monday Monday Monday” by Tegan and Sara
track 18 – “Goodnight Goodnight” by Hot Hot Heat
track 19 – “Lay Down” by Priestess
track 20 – “Stopwatch Hearts” By Broken Social Scene
track 21 – “Gold Guns Girls” by Metric

7 Best Things About Halloween

October 22, 2009

Written By: Hallie Madenski

Halloween is one of my least favorite holidays besides New Years. I refer to these two dates as “slut holidays.” For anyone between the ages of 16 and 30, Halloween becomes a giddy excuse to dress up like a nurse, partially-nude zombie or Marilyn Monroe, but with more cleavage. With all my prude old lady attitudes, I still understand why Halloween is fun for some people.

I do love candy, but that is really the children’s aspect of it isn’t it? Trick-or-treating up and down the neighborhood is for kids. Once you get beyond childhood, you realize you have to either be a social butterfly on Halloween, or hide in your house and hand out goodies. Lucky for me there is something I love about Halloween. Horror movies! And of course candy, and even though dressing up isn’t for me, I could mention some ideas for costumes as I’m much more of a spectator.

1. Candy. Bow Wow Wow! Put it all in perspective, I want candy, and who doesn’t? Whether you’re a future diabetic like me or a occasional craver, we all have a driving desire to eat sweets. Candy is pretty subjective. So whatever you prefer, no one can condemn you, unless you like those liquid nipple-bottles full of corn syrup, then you’re going to hell.

My personal choices for deliciousness are as follows. Brach’s Candy Corn, Haribo Gold-Bears, Trolli Sour Brite Gummy Worms, Red Vines, Peanut Butter M&M’s, Lemonheads and Runts. Mmmmmmm. Remember when old ladies used to give you quarters or raisins for Halloween to teach you a lesson about money and health? Don’t follow in their footsteps, give out candy that you would actually eat. Kids will respect you and if there is any left you can shamefully gobble it up later on in the dead of night.

2. Horror Movies. “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a novelty and a great movie for audience participation if you’re into having rice stuck to you. (I’m sure there’s a website for that)
There’s novelty and then there’s pure horror. My favorite horror movies are mostly classics like “Halloween” – 1 and 2, and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and of course “The Exorcist.” A few less-ancient movies that I loved included “The Descent,” “Saw” 1 and 2, “Dead Silence,” “Wolf Creek,” “The Orphanage,” “Audition,” “May,” “The Ring,” “The Devil’s Rejects,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” “Hostel II” and “The Strangers.”

I have to say “May” is one of the best movies out there that sort of fits this genre. It’s kind of more of a dark comedy than a true slasher flick but it definitely has elements that sway most people to put it in the horror section. Look for a hilariously horny aloof lezbo Anna Faris early on in her career. “Dead Silence” and “Audition” are two other little known movies that deserve a nod. “Audition” being a Japanese film about a man whose wife dies and years later holds a fake movie audition in search of a girlfriend. Classically, he gets a little more than he bargained for. This movie features one of the strangest scenes ever, without giving too much away I’ll say, there’s a bag involved, and a man, sort of.

“Dead Silence” terrifies me, but it’s not for everyone. A movie about a dead ventriloquist and her collection of dummies. The acting is questionable but the story is pretty damn good. This movie has more twists than Bolivia’s Death Road. Also, I’m afraid of Ventriloquist dummies, and vengeful supernatural old ladies. Since I like to be a bit scared, it’s kind of a win win situation for me. See “The Orphanage” for a more sophisticated horror movie, see “Dead Silence” if you are feeling young, or are young, and want to jump a little. My definition of scary is different, as is everyone’s. But I can say for certain that if you don’t like “May” or “The Orphanage” then you have no business even participating in the viewing of cinema.

If you’re into total gore and shock my number one pick is the remake for “The Hills Have Eyes.” French people really know what they’re doing when it comes to horror.

Director Alexandre Aja manages to have you caring about the characters within 5 minutes. The hugest mistake of most new horror movies is that they don’t make likable characters. For some reason directors think they should make characters with varying degrees of annoying. The most annoying character always dies first. Usually it’s the scantily-clad cheerleader and her sex-crazed boyfriend. It’s either one girl who lives at the end or a guy and a girl who just met, somehow the least annoying of the cast but still obnoxiously one-sided. The reason for this is production time and carelessness. Aja, and the guy who directed “The Descent,” Neil Marshall, really know what they’re doing. They give every character a personality you could relate to. You end up feeling sympathy for even the most aggravating character, like the short-haired loud mouth extremist in “The Descent.” Or the intellectually challenged eye candy sister in “The Hills Have Eyes.” There is a scene in a trailer that makes me want to turn the movie off. The scene is more vomit-inducing than the famous hillbilly scene in “Deliverance.” “Last House on The Left” ties for disturbing scene though I must say. Overall Alexandre Aja’s movie is more shocking than Eli Roth’s “Hostel” or Rob Zombie’s “Devil’s Rejects.”

To me the classic is still John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” The way Michael Myers appears in windows out of nowhere or behind a tree still scares me. I grew up in the woods in a house with a lot of windows so this and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” always really got to me. I am really quite peeved that the classic ideas of Leatherface and Michael Myers have now been skewed so horribly by remakes. Though I did enjoy the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake I was disturbed by the fact that he is now depicted as some sort of giant wrestler with a breathing problem. Michael Myers and Jason as well. All wrestlers now. Huge, wielding their weapon of choice. Setting traps and shooting arrows and being cunning? Michael Myers was never that strong, just kind of invincible. But he wouldn’t lift up a car, Rob Zombie. Leatherface was always a stumbling tie-wearing sort of tranny looking thing before the remake showed him as huge and strong and able to start his Chainsaw on the first try. A note to future directors, don’t remake any more movies unless you’re kind of going to try to do the first one justice.

One last thing about movies, in June of 2008 makeup and special effects genius Stan Winston died at the age of 62. He was involved in numerous classics including all four Terminator movies and the first “Alien” movie. Also credited with makeup and/or special effects in “Edward Scissorhands,” “Iron man,” “Wrong Turn,” “Predator,” “Jurassic Park,” “Congo,” and “Interview With The Vampire.” Think of him as you are applying your fake blood and plastic fangs, and what a better job he’d be doing.

3. Costumes. Now, I know you all have urges to go as either regular Michael Jackson, zombie Thriller Michael Jackson or Bella and Edward from “Twilight.” I’m just begging you, if you’re a woman go as Lady Gaga, and if you’re a man, well, go as Lady Gaga. All you need is a big nose, leggings, a bright blonde wig and a bizarre leotard or poofy dress of some sort. If you don’t have a big nose but you have the leggings and wig, go as Madonna. Once my brother won a Halloween costume contest by putting a planting pot on his head and declaring himself a pothead. Simplicity is key. Oh, and if you insist on going the vampire route be more original than “Twilight” and try out characters from HBO’s “Trueblood.”

4. Decorations. There are four levels of decorating your porch or house on Halloween. The first, and laziest is putting a miniature pumpkin on your porch. The second is putting a full-sized but uncarved pumpkin out. The third is actually carving a pumpkin, putting a candle in it and setting it outside for trick or treaters and neighbors to enjoy. The fourth is to go all out and carve several pumpkins and buy crazy skeleton and witch decorations that cackle and hoot at passersby. This sometimes seems like more of a ploy to keep trick or treaters away, especially with all the rampant anxiety, imagination and jumpy horse-like symptoms that come with being young. I suppose only the brave suffice.

I have never been willing to fork out my dragon gold for seemingly unnecessary decorations that will only be used once a year. Instead I fall somewhere in with either carving pumpkins or leaving them on my porch. It’s my way of getting into without looking like I tried. Kind of like a hipster. It might sound pretentious, but hey, that’s me. Also, I fully applaud people who do go all out with decorations, it gives me a reason to drive around and stare at people’s houses with an excuse that makes me not sound like a serial killer/stalker.

5. Haunted Houses. I live in Oregon, so I can only really recommend places locally though I hear the USS Nightmare in Kentucky is pretty great. Located on a real, supposedly haunted steamboat on the Ohio river. Anyway, in Oregon there is really only one unique concept and two other fairly decent haunted houses. Due to my anxiety ridden life, I have only been to one haunted house. The unique option though here is a corn maze that supposedly takes at least an hour to find your way out of. During Halloween they fill the maze with frightening characters such as Leatherface to confuse and chase you around the maze. It’s a little too much for me, as I almost died in the Oak’s Park haunted house.

Considered wimpy and for teenagers, I shrieked nonstop, my friend jumped onto my back in shock and my boyfriend screamed like an old man falling down the stairs. Girls half my age began laughing at us as they walked through the haunted house trying to scare themselves with seemingly fake yelps of joy/terror. I’ve heard that the most terrifying option in Oregon is The Thirteenth Door, a confusing haunted house where you have to find your way out as you are trapped in rooms with zombie-clad actors who are mainly concerned with making you pee yourself in horror. No thanks.

6. Books. Stephen King’s “It” and “Needful Things” should do the trick. Also check out Chuck Palahniuk’s “Haunted.” I’ve never read it but I’ve heard “The Ruins” by Scott Smith is one of the most terrifying books ever. Although I doubt that, I still need to read it so I can feel better about recommending it.

7. Music. Last but not least, Halloween music can be the most comforting and easiest thing about the holiday. There’s always “Monster Mash…” yeah yeah graveyard smash and whatnot, but then there’s the other staples of Halloween music. I consider Danny Elfman to be the most talented horror-oriented composer. With his “Nightmare Before Christmas” soundtrack and his countless amazing Oingo Boingo hits such as “No Spill Blood,” “Dead Man’s Party,” Weird Science,” “Hour of the Wolf” and “When the Lights Go Out.” My Halloween mixed tape would be comprised of the following tunes:

track 01 – “Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett
track 02 – “This is Halloween” by Marilyn Manson
track 03 – “More Human Than Human” by White Zombie
track 04 – “Translyvania Terror Train” by Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures
track 05 – “Jack’s Lament” by Danny Elfman
track 06 – “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
track 07 – “Every Day is Halloween” by Ministry
track 08 – “Halloween” by Siouxsie And The Banshees
track 09 – “Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie
track 10 – “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
track 11 – “Halloween Girl” by Ghosts on the Radio
track 13 – “Hour of the Wolf” by Oingo Boingo
track 14 – “Feed my Frankenstein” by Alice Cooper
track 15 – “This Could Be Love” by Alkaline Trio
track 16 – “Dig Up Her Bones” by Misfits
track 17 – “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet

Alright so, lessons learned? Go out dressed as Lady Gaga. If eating candy turns your teeth black and/or makes them fall out it will just go more with the spirit of Halloween. Watch “May” while you carve a pumpkin or at least draw on one. Be brave and go to a haunted house, just bring lots of friends to pick you up when you have a seizure. And lastly, listen to Danny Elfman or Oingo Boingo. Actually any of the above songs will suffice. Do the dance to “Thriller” and light that candle in your pumpkin in the sweet memory of Michael Jackson and Stan Winston.

10 Shows And Movies To Watch

October 13, 2009

Written By: Hallie Madenski

I watch too much TV and I go see too many movies. I can use my technology addiction to an advantage by telling others what to avoid and what not to. Shows not worth watching? How about “Two and a Half Men,” “CSI: Miami,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Heroes,” “90210,” “Real Chance of Love” and “Dancing With The Stars?” On the other hand, here is a list of things not to avoid…

10. “Paranormal Activity”: My friend and I went to see this movie hoping to be terrified and we simply were not. In fact I found the reactions of the mortified audience to be hysterically funny. This being said, it’s still a good movie. Entertaining, suspenseful and well-acted. If you happen to be gullible you may be scared, but the “horror” aspect of the movie really didn’t strike me in the way the director intended. Worth watching despite my bitterness toward all the comparisons to actual scary movies such as “The Exorcist.” (How dare they!)

9. “Modern Family”: This show brings back family comedies in their purest form. Tune in to ABC Wednesdays at 9/8c.

8. “Police Women of Broward County”: TLC’s wonderful reality show about lady cops provides the humor I always wanted from “Cops.” While Cops had its moments it was never high enough quality or quite humorous enough to keep me interested in more than a few minutes, possibly one episode if I was feeling bloated. Police Women of Broward County has its serious moments, especially since one of the cops is a sex crimes detective. Some non-serious moments include a woman who claims marijuana was blown into her bra by the wind. Also, a group of people who put their own hair in their food to try to get out of paying their restaurant bill. And let’s not forget the fearful woman who hides drugs in her vagina. This show is “Cops” with less brutality, more comedy and just as much reality. Tune in Thursdays at 9 PM Eastern time.

7. “Capitalism: A Love Story”: The saddest of all the Michael Moore films is still worth watching. Moore has somehow managed to retaini humor while covering topics such as school shootings, terrorism and the decline of health care. This movie has its moments in the humor department but mostly it’s just depressing. Not that I expect Farrely Brothers style humor from Michael Moore. His in-your-face approach to filmmaking has always been prevalent. Showing America at its worst and reminding us that even though our movie-going, semi-intellectual lives seem fine, others are suffering. This movie is, of course, about Capitalism. The taking and giving of things, mostly taking. Taking people’s homes and selling them for a profit. The crashing stock market. The tears of lower and middle class America. While this movie ranks last on my list of favorite Michael Moore movies, it is still worth seeing and is by no means bad. Be prepared to become emotional. And please, don’t call Michael Moore unpatriotic. Nothing gets under my skin more than people who can’t handle the criticism of their own flawed country. Pointing out those flaws does not make someone a crazy extremist flag-burning fool. (And no, I’m not French)

6. “Jennifer’s Body”: Megan Fox is remembered for her role in Transformers. To me she has been in two bad movies and one good one prior to “Jennifer’s Body,” The two bad films are Transformers 1 and 2, the good film is “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.” Let’s say Jennifer’s Body is the movie to equal it all out. Now you need to really understand that this movie is a satire, that it is not to be taken seriously. You need to understand that Megan Fox is a less than mediocre actress with a more than angelic face, making it all well worth while. The movie takes the dialogue of Writer Diablo Cody’s “Juno” to another level. Spike the punch, roll out the carpet and say hello to a hilarious faux horror movie co-starring budding starlet Amanda Seyfried of “Mean Girls” and “Mama Mia” fame. Other amusing roles go to J.K. Simmons (Juno’s dad), talented face maker Amy Sedaris and sly guy-in-a-band Adam Brody. Adam Brody, who played an attractive nerd on The O.C., does a perfect job of capturing the attitude of guys who are in pop bands that masquerade as rock bands. Eyeliner and all, he asks the question, “Do you want to be rich and famous like that dude from Maroon 5?” While Adam Brody is off playing a cliche, Megan Fox is saying things like, “PMS isn’t real, … it was invented by the boy-run media to make us seem like we’re crazy.” Also coining the phrase “wetty” as a term for a female woody. While Diablo Cody hit the nail on the head with “Juno,” she may have confused her core fans in making this gory comedy. Hopefully she earned some new fans in the process of releasing this film, using her revolving door of strangely charming wit.

5. “Hung”: Hung is an intriguing heartfelt show about a man struggling to make money after his house burns down. He turns to the obvious profession, being a gigolo. Now this may sound tired and ridiculous, but it somehow isn’t. The way the show weaves together comedy and human nature is refreshing and sweet. The characters are realistic and while sometimes obnoxious, they are also lovable. The shows protagonist, Ray Dreckler, is played by the previously boring Thomas Jane. Playing a man with a big penis could potentially be difficult to convey without seeming literally cocky but somehow he does it wonderfully. He is supported by a great cast, especially his “pimp” who is played by Jane Adams.

4. “Nurse Jackie”: The season of this Showtime show, as well as HBO’s Hung, is already over. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth mentioning. Rent it yourself for the dramatic comedy of a feisty, pill popping, affair-having nurse. Played by the talented and severely underrated Edie Falco of “Sopranos” fame. Her acting chops are up to par with Toni Collette of the wonderfully quirky Showtime show “United States of Tara.'” Catch up on the first season so you can tune in next year.

3. “Zombieland”: Woody Harrelson is a badass. Need I say more? Actually I feel like I should say more since I don’t think the advertisements for this film did it justice. 13 year old Abigail Breslin has a substantial role in the movie and isn’t even really shown in the previews. Jonah Hill’s alcohol-seeking love interest in “Superbad,” the lovely Emma Stone, is good in the movie even when she lisps. Her crackling voice reminiscent of an equally smoky Lindsey Lohan. Big-haired Jesse Eisenberg of the future cult classic “Adventureland” is always charming, and even Bill Murray makes an appearance as Woody and company seek shelter in his home. Woody Harrelson plays a loner hellbent on finding his all time favorite treat, Twinkies. They have been all but wiped out on zombie-infested earth. It’s also funny hearing Woody Harrelson describe this movie in interviews because he is actually a peaceful vegan hippie who doesn’t eat Twinkies. Apparently, during filming, special vegan Twinkies were concocted just for his consumption. Look out for a standoff between his character “Tallahassee” and about 40 blood thirsty zombies. Like the entire movie, this scene isn’t one you can forget. This movie is the opposite of a porn star, it’s unpredictable and the climax is real.

2. “Bored to Death”: Airs Sunday nights at 9:30 Eastern time on HBO. Surprisingly, this show has received mixed reviews. Its dry humor may not be for everyone but I am certain anyone who enjoys Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm or early seasons of 30 Rock could probably get on board with this show. Starring subtle nerd Jason Shwartzman, an eccentric pot-smoking Ted Danson and bearded “Hangover” sidekick Zach Galifianakis. The cast is genius, the script is genius. Just tune in. We can only pray this show doesn’t get cancelled like so many other comedy masterpieces of its kind. (Rest in peace Lucky Louie)

1. “Anvil: The Story of Anvil”: This Documentary follows the Canadian metal band Anvil on their journey to and away from fame. A band that started out strong in the 80’s but never reached their full potential due to bad marketing. You don’t have to like metal to like this movie. Original band members Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and Robb Reiner struggle with their lack of success and their relationship as bandmates all throughout this film. They now both maintain regular jobs in Canada to support themselves. They allow a misguided fan to manage a tour in Europe for them and when they arrive they find they are playing to crowds of around 200 on average. One venue’s owner even refuses to pay them, offering them a serving of Goulash instead. The reality of it all can be too much. Lead singer Steve Kudlow is like a real life Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler.” A little unhinged, working hard to make a comeback, trying to turn nothing into something. Straining every piece of his heart and soul in the process. The band lays it all out on the line. As a fan of music and of film I give this movie an A+ for combining the two in such a delightful manner.

Michael Jackson, Roman Polanski, and John Phillips Allegations

October 5, 2009

michael jackson roman polanski john phillipsWritten By: Hallie Madenski

Roman Polanski, the late John Phillips and the late great Michael Jackson have all been in the spotlight for the same reason. Michael Jackson not as recently, but his death did bring up an interesting question. The question was quickly answered. Will people forgive someone who allegedly molests children? Yes they will.

This is a very sensitive subject and not one I wish to wrongly clarify. When someone with as great a musical talent as Michael Jackson is accused of child molestation people become upset, they don’t want to believe it or they acquire an instant hatred. Is it because of their morals or intelligence? What about someone whose opinion rests somewhere in the middle?

What if I said I personally believe Michael Jackson was guilty of those charges and that I in no way condone what he did? Every time I think of him I think of those charges as well as the fact that he was a musical genius. Should someone be able to do something terrible and still be considered a genius? The lines are blurred. Since I never met Michael Jackson I can only say that I enjoy his music but that he led a very crazy life.

Roman Polanski is a talented filmmaker. He wrote the screenplay for the horror classic “Rosemary’s Baby” and he directed Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown.” He is not, to my understanding a good person. He was quoted as saying this in 1979 in response to allegations that he’d raped a 13 year old girl:

“If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… fucking you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!”

Yuck. The second most disturbing thing about this is that he has actual supporters, famous ones too. Some of them say the media is causing an undeserved frenzy. Why is Hollywood willing to ignore these things? I know Michael Jackson was a very sad twisted individual but that he probably never understood the harm he was causing. I feel like Polanski does understand. He’s been hiding out in France for years until recently where he now faces extradition. His current supporters include Penelope Cruz, Tilda Swinton and Monica Belluci. Three women, all defending someone who raped and sodomized a 13 year old girl. Kirstie Alley is one who is not defending the director writing on Twitter “JUST FOR THE RECORD….RAPE IS RAPE…this is one HOLLYWOOD STAR who does not CELEBRATE or DEFEND Roman Polanski..his ART did not RAPE her.”

Pete Townshend of ‘The Who’ is now on the national registry for sex offenders for paying to access a child pornography site in 1999. He has since claimed that he may have been molested as a child and that he hoped the images would help jog his memory of such an incident. Try hypnotherapy Pete. There is no excuse for looking at child porn.

Mackenzie Phillips recently wrote a book about her life that claims her father, musician John Phillips of ‘Mamas and the Papas’ fame molested her at a very young age. She was also quoted as saying, “I don’t hate him. I understand that he was a very tortured man and passed that torture down to me.” She went on to urge others to not hate him for what he did. I have a hard time not hating a man who had sex with his own daughter. Hate should be revised though, I hate how society works. I know there are reasons for everything and that people are tortured and miserable. Some people have hedonistic views and simply don’t see the wrong in what they are doing. It doesn’t make the action any worse, no matter your views. John Phillips ruined his daughter’s mind. She became confused and started acting out in any way she could. We’ve seen this time and time again.

Oprah Winfrey has admitted to being repeatedly sexually abused by members of her family. She is a great exception to this rule. The rule of the inevitable demise of the human soul in response to abuse. Someone who is touched inappropriately or beaten or even emotionally battered for any amount of time could simply never recover. Others go on to live happy lives who draw strength from their negative experiences. Who knows what separates these two types of people. It is not a weakness to not be able to recover from such tragedy. But it certainly is a strength if you do somehow manage.

I just want to convey that just because someone is famous does not mean they should not be treated as if they are your next-door neighbor. If you saw your neighbor on the news you’d be frightened. So be frightened when you turn on your TV and see the next celebrity pleading guilty or not guilty to these crimes. Their indiscretions WILL continue to seep out of the woodwork. Don’t be so blinded by talent. Victims of molestation often grow up with so much hatred and confusion they end up molesting others. It is the same with people who are physically abused at a young age. The majority of men who beat their wives were beaten themselves and so on. Do not turn a blind eye to this. On another note, don’t accuse people without being certain. Most of society considers pedophiles to be the worst kind of criminals. Pointing a finger at someone without proof can be devastating to their future.

Donations for helping the cause of victims of rape and incest can be made at this website –

10 Worst Music Videos Of All Time And The Decline Of MTV

September 30, 2009

Written By: Hallie Madenski

Most people don’t even watch music videos anymore and there are two main reasons for this. One is that they are hard to find on TV – as of late, MTV and VH1 only show music videos late at night or in the morning.

Other channels that play them are not free and therefore inaccessible to the average person. Another reason for the lack of viewing is that music videos are not as valid anymore. Mainstream music videos usually don’t tell much of a story these days, not one you’d care about if you had a wit of sense.

The videos of today seem to be oozing primordial sex appeal. It’s practically cavemen beating women over the head. Beating them over the head with poisoned vocoder vocals and the same old ‘boom boom’ beats.

We all know MTV used to be a music channel, and now they are specialists in partially-scripted reality TV train-wrecks. Same with MTV’s counterpart, VH1. As early as the mid 90’s, MTV was criticized by the public, as well as the artists themselves, for not playing as many videos. By 1997 MTV had gotten wind of this and actually cared enough to do something about it. They incorporated the shows MTV Live, Total Request, Say What?, and 12 Angry Viewers. Total Request soon merged with MTV Live to form the popular video countdown show Total Request Live also known as TRL. Punk’d and Jackass aired in 1999 taking yet another plunge towards reality TV programming. This was seemingly harmless at the time.

2007 was a dark time for music videos, video programming was scaled down and reality was scaled up even more. Shows like My Super Sweet 16, Next, Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County, The Real World and The Hills had permanently polluted MTV’s image. Taking the lives of rich people and making them seem dramatic and difficult proved unrealistic. My Super 16 is a show solely about spoiled girls getting what they want for their birthday. The formula was always the same. Child wants nicer car than parent originally wants to buy. Parent is urged to reconsider and eventually caves to child’s horrid needs. End of show features surprise visit by mildly famous rapper.

All this leaves a wretched taste in my mouth, I want to spit at my TV and mash my eyeballs out with eggbeaters. A need to avoid MTV at all costs had washed over me. I do fall prey to some bad reality shows. Flavor of Love, I Love New York and Rock of Love all proved themselves as number one guilty pleasures but otherwise I was disenchanted with these so-called music television channels.

There was a time I craved MTV like a diabetic craves Peanut Butter Cups. I didn’t grow up with TV, and it wasn’t until 1998 that I really got to enjoy music videos through friends that had cable. TRL was my crack; all the bad pop stars and real rock musicians mixed together, as opposed to emo, pop and the penis-head crooning of Daughtry and similar artists. The few videos that do see the light of television are mostly vomit-inducing. I’ve watched some lately and I’ve concluded that these are some of the worst I’ve seen in the past few years…

10. Britney Spears – Break The Ice. Using anime to fill in for Britney when she was clearly too crazy to appear in this video was smart. Having it not relate at all to the song… not so smart.

9. Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling. Satire? I wish.

8. Bon Jovi featuring Leanne Rimes – Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore. Featuring the wonderful line “Make love to me baby till we ain’t strangers anymore.” It’s going to take a long time for these two to make love until they don’t feel like strangers. Their chemistry is almost as non-existant as this video’s budget.

7. Greenday – 21 Guns. The incredible shrinking man, Billy Joe Armstrong, fails to live up to past glory. Another video with things breaking and falling apart? Really?

6. Jay Sean featuring Lil’ Wayne – Down. This video is so ‘one-dimensional’ it makes a piece of paper feel like a 3-D movie.

5. The Killers – Human. Brandon Flowers wearing feathery shoulder pads? Eagles soaring symbolically? Tigers in the desert? Need I say more?

4. Miley Cyrus – The Climb. I didn’t know Alvin and the Chipmunks had a new CD.

3. The Click Five – Catch Your Wave. Rabid fans chasing an obscure boy band? Did I get sent back to 1998 when I fell asleep watching the Miley Cyrus video?

2. New Kids On The Block – Summertime. OMG! LOL! WTF?!?

1. Jonas Brothers – Burnin’ Up. OK… I could have picked any Jonas Brothers video, but this was the first that came up on Youtube. It might not even be their worst video, but I’m not willing to watch more. It features the late great David Carradine, future stripper Selena Gomez and usual badass Danny Trejo. Making a mockery of 007? Leave that to Daniel Craig.

Once I’d listed the worst recent videos, I wanted to emphasize that there are still a lot of good videos out there. Check out “Mojo” by Peeping Tom, “Monster Hospital” by Metric, “Perfect Situation” by Weezer, “Lovegame” by Lady Gaga, “Oscar Wilde” by Company of Thieves, “Sex is Not the Enemy” by Garbage and “Empire” by Kasabian. Madonna’s video for “Celebration” is pretty classy as well, using sex appeal in the way that is so obvious and hilarious it isn’t insulting to my intelligence.

Hallie Madenski

June 19, 2008

Position: Contributing Writer (Features)

Location: Lake Oswego, OR

Bio: I live in Lake Oswego, just a few miles from the famous Indie melting pot of Portland, Oregon. I spend most of my time with my fiance, family and friends. I love playing tennis and watching most sports; excluding golf. I thrive on music and try to go to concerts often. I like to laugh and make others laugh. I’m enthralled with video games, making me somewhat of a nerd. I have three cats and don’t mind being called a crazy cat lady. I love to read. I believe in reincarnation. I sometimes wish I was born in Canada, but I guess Oregon is second best. I blame my love of writing on my mom.

Likes: I like every genre of music, the majority of my favorites are rock or indie bands. Some of my favorites are: Metric, Garbage, Sonic Youth, The Kills, Depeche Mode, Tegan & Sara, Nirvana, Lady Gaga, Heatmiser, Gregory Isaacs, Faith No More, The English Beat, Fight Like Apes, Kill Hannah, Five Finger Death Punch, Britney Spears, Suffrajett, The Cliks, Seaweed, Boy Kill Boy, The Sounds, Noisettes, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Silversun Pickups and Be Your Own Pet.

Columns At CWG: The Features