Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I wish all the characters died

2. Jay McInerney "Bright Lights, Big City"
I should've known I wouldn't sympathize with a protagonist with a privileged background. It's a fault of mine and a credit to McInerney that I was able to start and finish this book in a little over a day. The characters and story is quintessential NYC, 80s, cocaine loving, yuppie lifestyle empty vessels. The payoff comes in the last page. Whether it's good or bad is obviously up for debate. I was never sold but couldn't put the book down.

It's obvious by the end of the second chapter that this book would be made in a film. The 1984 novel was made into a 1988 film starring Michael J. Fox. I would like to see this film. I have a feeling it'll be awful. It's also obvious why novels by Chuck Palahniuk became so popular after this wave of pointless 20 something males were done with their time. I guess the current wave is being led by people like Chuck Klosterman? Doesn't matter. What I'm trying to say is that I understand why a lot of people liked this book. I didn't.

No Linens Nor Things, Lakeview, Chicago, January 24 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

The TV show is good too

1. Jeff Lindsay "Dearly Devoted Dexter"
The fun part of reading a mystery is trying to figure out the killer or killers. I was not able to do so in the second "Dexter" book. Good job, Mr. Lindsay. You wrote a smart novel about a serial killer that doesn't get to serial kill.

Lindsay is a smart writer and knows it. He portrays Dexter as a pop culture whiz, like a Diablo Cody character without a soul. He writes Miami in a way only a native could, like Algren and Chicago. He has complete control over his work and the reader is better off for it.

It's damn near impossible to read this book and not think of the television characters. Thankfully the show is excellent. A good way to start my year of reading.

West Town, Chicago, January 24 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Librarians do not DJ

There are a few things wrong with the above ad.

1. The turntables are not hooked up to the mixer.
2. The mixer is not plugged in.
3. The headphones are not plugged in to the mixer.
4. The turntables are not grounded.
5. The turntables are not turned on (there is no light coming from the right table).
6. The needles appear to have their plastic covering on.
7. There are no speakers hooked up to the mixer, which is only a problem because there are no headphones plugged in to the mixer.

This elderly woman is clearly not a DJ.

Not as crazy as Blago

3. "Frost/Nixon"
If you want the chance to be nominated for Best Actor in a Film, star as the broken man. Once great, now on the way out, the broken man is identifiable. He's America. He knows he's done wrong but wants another shot. He'll get that shot, but inevitably fail. That's OK. He tried. He gave it his all and most of all, he learned a lesson.

The adaptation of the 2006 play is great. Everyone plays their roles quite well, specifically the two leads. The camerawork is a subtle mix between hand-held, television monitors and tripods (I understand this is a poor word choice, but I'm not sure what to write other than 'traditional' shots, but what is traditional?). The score holds back at all the right times. You know what's going to happen but are compelled to watch. It's a great film. The question is whether it deserved a Best Picture nomination. Since I haven't seen the other four films nominated I can't weigh in on them, but I thought "The Wrestler" was a better picture and that wasn't nominated. It seems like broken men that can be compared to G.W. Bush are a lot more Oscar worthy.

Lincoln Square, Chicago, January 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Podcast is back

I've recorded and posted a new episode of You, Me, Them, Everybody tonight. Due to grad school applications, the holidays and work, the podcast hasn't been updated consistently. That should change soon. I have ten or so people coming over in the next few weeks. It'll be fun. Please listen. Tell your friends.

Evanston, January 2009

Evanston, January 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The one time I wish Guns N' Roses ended a film instead of Springsteen

2. "The Wrestler"
It's depressing and powerful and Micky Rourke is great and Marissa Tomei is a believable stripper and Darren Aronofsky proved again that he's a great director. He should win an award just for using "Sweet Child O' Mine" in a powerful way. Everything you have read is true. See this flick.

I did not cry in the theater and I'm not really sure where someone would cry. The entire thing is heart wrenching. Randy "The Ram" is a broken man in a dreary city with no one that cares. That's clear from the first scene and not much changes. It's believable and human, two things not usually associated with professional wrestling.

The film is near perfect. I don't recommend seeing it with children or those with conservative social values.


My favorite tidbit about "The Wrestler" is that the writer, Robert D. Siegel, used to write for "The Onion".

Hair loss can be funny

1. "Harold"
What a wonderful premise, a bald 13-year old. I'm serious. It's a good idea. An instantly alone protagonist in a comedy. It could eliminate 20 minutes of back story. It didn't. Instead, the film makes our hero, Harold, into a old man, just because he's bald. He has bunions and dresses frumpy. There's no reason for the overkill. He still likes girls his age, but he has bunions. Why does he have to have bunions?

"Harold" doesn't really go anywhere. From the twenty minute mark you know what's going to happen and how it's going to happen.

I wanted to like this film. I like Rachel Dratch and Colin Quinn and Dave Attell and most of the cast with cameos. I don't know what went wrong. It just doesn't make sense.

Not a good way to start the year.

West Town, Chicago, December 2008

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let's have a party.

One of the best aspects of the new podcast is getting in touch with people I don't see often enough. Everyone is doing something, whether they think so or not, and it's nice to hear about it. I'd like to hear about that stuff more often. It seems like the only time I learn about my friends' new projects is at parties. Kelsey and I like parties but can't really have them at our current place in West Town. We've cut our living space down by half and can no longer host 30 or so friends. I see a lot of friends at my weekly gig at the Brain, but I can only talk for so long. I need to live like it's a consistent party. Not a bash, but a party, an event for people to dress up, if they'd like, and drink, if they'd like. Low key. Full of friends. No fights or ill-will. Like religion or something.

If you know me, I'd like to see you more often. We can talk about things we like and figure out ways to do them more. Like Mr. Rogers. That guy sure was great. Maybe we can write a zine about him. And color. He liked to color, right?

Chicago, January 2009

Chicago, January 2009, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Due to work and applying for graduate school I haven't seen any new films, finished any new books, written much new fiction (maybe 6 pages) and haven't picked up a guitar in almost two weeks. It's cold outside. Too cold to work outside, which I do. I probably won't work outside tomorrow. I'll finish my grad school fiction and essays and to celebrate I'll watch films starring Clint Eastwood.

My grandfather looked like Clint Eastwood, just shorter and bigger muscles. He didn't speak a lot but when he did it commanded authority. He was a sheet metal worker, strong, with hands like worn, thick baseball mitts. His fingers were short and stubby. Mine are long. His had deep cuts due to machinery. He woke up at 5am to get to the site on time. I have cuts due to electric guitars. I pass out at 5am after shows. I still like watching Clint Eastwood.

Chicago, December 2008

Chicago, December 2008, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Should've been 6

sally "but you can only trust me"

These two videos are tracks two and three off the sally "sunday" ep. I think it's still available on the band's myspace page. I'm not sure.

I really liked sally when they were around. Maybe they'll get back together. I'm tired. These videos were made over the course of six months. They sure don't look like it. I filmed two altercations, one of which I was able to use. I'm tired.

Video 5 of 2008

sally "my slow prayer of utter dismay"

I didn't want to post this until I finished another sally video I was working on. That video is above this one.

Please watch.

Last sally show, Empty Bottle, Chicago, November 2007

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 Resolution Results, 2009 Resolutions

I watched 105 films and read 52 books (I didn't want to post reviews of the books until after last night's show). Good. Goal reached. I wrote 9 columns, well short of the goal of 52. 5 videos were completed, 1 short of the goal, which is the most disappointing failure since I have all the footage and have begun editing the 6th video. C'est la vie.

I achieved 75.2% of my 2008 New Year's Resolution. I shouldn't have added the column goal in June. I should have edited videos more consistently.

2009 Goals
Read 52 books
Watch 104 films
Make 52 episodes of You, Me, Them, Everybody
Finish "A Pink Gun on Layaway"
Write 182 pages of fiction

I'll make videos when I have video ideas. I'll write columns when I want to write columns.

The goals have nothing to do with 'work' because I'm trying to get a job I want, not try to apply for 365 positions. Once I get a job I want I'll still want to do the above goals. Therefore, getting a job isn't a 2009 resolution, it's a general life goal. The same goes for grad school.

I still watch too much TV.

You get a car!

52. Marcia Z. Nelson "The Gospel According To Oprah"
I don't watch "Oprah," yet I enjoyed this book. Nelson's short work, about 100 pages long, about Oprah and the 'religion' she encourages is simply written and easy to understand. I've never read Oprah's magazine, have seen only a handful of shows and don't know her personal belief's, but after reading this book I understand why a lot of middle aged women made this individual a billionaire.

If you hate Oprah you won't have your mind changed. Then again, you wouldn't be reading a book about Oprah. If you love Oprah you won't learn much. This book is good for the casual fan of the most powerful woman on television. It's not revelatory in any way and reads like senior year thesis paper, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"Design for Departure" is the best short story I have read

51. Nelson Algren "The Neon Wilderness"
The more Algren I read the more connected I feel to Chicago, to West Town specifically. Algren's collection of short stories is almost perfect. Whether set in Chicago, Texas or Germany, you feel the imminent downfall for these tragic heroes. You understand why he lost his rent check, his health, his future. It makes sense. It makes sense to walk up and down Division street and place bets along the way. Shoving heroin in you may be the only option. But it's never good. It's never glamorous and you don't want to follow in their paths. It's not a warning and it's not a public service announcement. It's just realistic. And good. And sad.

Please read this and any other Algren work as soon as you can. The stories are universal (if you're open to tragedy), the prose is reminiscent of the best Hemingway and, maybe best of all, it's inspiring. It's gospel for the godless.

"The Epitome of Corruption" on the table, January 2 2009

Friday, January 02, 2009

Tonight, the album will be out of my hands

Jan 2
Cal's Liquors
400 S Wells
Chicago, Il
9pm, 21+
with The Rubs and Cadillac Rope