FUN FUN FUN Fest 2011. Heroes and Villain.

November 8, 2011

Ted Leo: true professional.

“I guess they’ve never heard of a thing called a riot before,” the unholy master, Glenn Danzig, belted out after the prompt enforcement of a city noise curfew, hoping to incite a riot at Austin’s one festival that lives up to its name, Fun Fun Fun Fest. Thankfully, the fans, who waited nearly an hour for Danzig to take the stage well after his 8:15 start time, saw through the Danzig’s malintent and did nothing more than toss beer cans. Whether the $9 cans of Tecate were meant for Danzig or the festival was unclear. This could have set the tone for a festival tinged with the disappointment of Misfits fans, but ended happily and safely. Danzig’s selfish and, hopefully, retirement-inducing meltdown on opening night helped me find heroes throughout the festival.

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Jose Perfecto Martinez Garcia, my grandpa.

July 8, 2011

Last weekend, my grandpa passed away. I was given the honor of delivering the eulogy at his funeral, which took place on July 7, 2011. This is an unrevised version of the eulogy for those interested.

Let me begin by thanking everyone for joining us in honoring the life and memory of my grandfather, Jose Perfecto Martinez Garcia. I’d also like to thank the entire Garcia family for staying strong during this tough time.

Since Thursday, I’ve tried to draw from my memories of Grandpa, trying to figure out the right anecdotes to do him justice. Honestly, there are too many to count. Grandpa’s always been the solid foundation of the Garcia family — devoted husband, steadfast father, nurturing grandfather. I’ve always relied on Grandpa to be there, and it’s going to be weird to walk to the back of the house to an empty room; but, for the first time in our lives, we have to get used to his absence. Now is the time for us to say our final goodbyes and treasure what we have left: our memories.

Grandpa’s unwavering strength, not only in the last year, but since I’ve known him, has always been his defining characteristic. His hands were scarred with decades of tireless labor, and they symbolized strength of will, courage, and passion. And until his last moments, Grandpa held on tight. Since the 1950s, and before, Grandpa’s done everything he can to not only make a life for himself, but to make sure his family had a roof over their heads. Whether it was through working for a nickel a day or offering the homes he built, his family had a place to sleep at night and food to eat.

During the hot summer afternoons, back when my mom, Hortencia, Felicia, and I lived next door, Grandpa would show up with a plate of food — often his hamburgers, which, to this day, are the best I’ve ever tasted. You can ask my friends, East Coast and West, and they will tell you I can be found bragging about these perfect burgers. It’s no secret that the way to my heart when I was a pre-teen was through a delicious hamburger.

During the cool fall and cold winters, Grandpa would say “Let’s go,” and we’d follow. He’d take us to Montgomery Ward’s and buy us pants and sweaters just so he knew we were keeping warm.

In middle school, on a sick day, I would spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa while my mom was at work. Grandpa would walk in with an empanada or chicken noodle soup and toast. Of course, we all remember Grandpa’s cheese tortillas. I still haven’t figured out how to make one quite as perfect.

Grandpa was kind, benevolent, and often hilarious. We were reflecting just the other night, and one story came to mind: devastating to some at the time, hysterical to me always. The grandchildren, and some great-grandchildren if I’m not mistaken, were playing in the living room. Grandpa suddenly entered the room holding a dead rat by the tail, laughing, scaring the youngsters. I’ll admit that I didn’t want that rat to touch me, but once the ordeal was over, it became one of the most amusing moments I could remember. I look back favorably on the moments like that where, as children, we were terrified of Grandpa’s sense of humor and affection. And each of you know exactly what I’m talking about. I mean, who here doesn’t know what “clik clik” means? [This was a sound Grandpa made when he’d pinch the grandchildren]

I’ll never forget Grandpa’s smile, Grandpa’s laugh. Though we could communicate almost seamlessly, a substantial language barrier always existed; but watching The Simpsons in the early evening and laughing at the same jokes was amazing. There was nothing quite like sharing a laugh or five with my grandpa.

Grandpa’s shoulders — rock solid from carrying sledgehammers, pipes, lumber, bricks, and basically every heavy object you can imagine — were also soft and welcoming. Shoulders fit for tears. One Easter Sunday, sometime during the mid-90s, I got in huge trouble for my recurring pyromania. Naturally, I roped Steven into that trouble. Sorry, Steven.  After my prompt discipline from my mom, I sat with Grandpa, crying. He assured me, through words and actions, that while what I did was wrong, he would always be there for me. Now, had he known that my affinity for setting things aflame had almost blown up his Malibu a few years before, perhaps he’d have been less compassionate. But that’s a question for another day. Again, sorry for roping you into that, Steven. And thank you for dousing that fireball with water.

Grandma: I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re going through right now. To be married for most of a century, 67 years, is an astounding demonstration of love and devotion. It’s going to be difficult to find a new normal, but please know that you are not alone. You’ve been so strong and I’m so happy you’ve been able to maintain your sense of humor, even during this trying week. We’re here for you, Grandma.

I think we should all take a moment and thank Salva for everything he’s done for Grandma and Grandpa, not only over the past year, but for the better part of the last twenty years. Salva has selflessly devoted himself to making sure Grandma and Grandpa maintain a certain quality of life. He’s taken them on countless visits to the doctor, administered grandpa’s medication, monitored Grandpa’s sugar levels, and even made sure the house kept a steady stock of paper towels. Everything that could be easily taken for granted, like paper towels, Salva made sure to remember. All of this for Grandpa and Grandma. Salva stepped in when I was a teenager, taught me how to drive, how to shave, and I thank him for that. Now’s the time for us to acknowledge everything Salva’s done for Grandpa, Grandma, and the rest of us. Without Salva, perhaps we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to tell Grandpa goodbye this past weekend. Salva: thank you so much for your selflessness, for your support. I know I can never repay you for what you’ve given me and the family, but know that your efforts won’t go unappreciated. Thank you so much.

Grandpa did not die alone; instead, he shared that moment with his entire family. We came together to be there for Grandpa, and, incidentally, for each other. Some of you I hadn’t seen for years, but we were brought here by this somber occasion. Our togetherness this week is what Grandpa always wanted. We’re not strangers in a room, but a family — a family built by two of the strongest hands in this church, in this world. Let’s honor what Grandpa built.

I’m going to miss the walks with Grandpa and Bisby [Grandpa’s longtime dog], the rocket-speed rides in his 1980 Malibu, the sound of Gunsmoke coming from his room. It was his time to go, as a man like Grandpa was not fit for this world. And you know, now that Grandpa’s in Heaven, his first order of business is to fix the creak in the Pearly Gates.

Let us not mourn Grandpa’s death any longer. Let’s celebrate his life. Let’s look back and smile. It’s what he wants.

Grandpa, I love you and I miss you. Thank you for building this family. You’ll always be the best Grandpa in the universe.

Jose Perfecto Martinez Garcia
April 18, 1921 – July 2, 2011

Girl Shredders: complicating patriarchy a thousand notes per second

November 23, 2010

Screaming Females' Marissa Paternoster

The bad news: I am postponing my entry about The Venture Bros. as a postmodern text. The paper wasn’t as awesome as I expected, so I’m waiting for remarks from my professor before publishing it. There’s a new felix incognito in town, and he doesn’t publish shit — hopefully.

The good news: this post will ideally function as a jumping-off point for my final paper in Girls’ Media & Cultural Studies, and I’m having a hell-of-a good time doing research for it.

Two weeks ago, drawing inspiration from Riot Grrrl discourse, I began to question the state of female representation in independent music scenes today — but to a greater extent I wanted to focus on girl shredders and how they complicate, and even subvert, the hegemonic masculinity of rock (Bayton 13). Shredding, guitar performance that is characterized by quick-fingered dexterity and (often) melodic solos, is an act frequently associated with male guitarists. Images of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Kirk Hammett, Eddie Van Halen, and more, inundate popular music magazines, with little to no regard for female guitar greats who are just as influential — or, if they aren’t considered influential, that could easily be attributed to their absence from mainstream publications. Where are Lita Ford, Chrissie Hynde, or riot grrrls Carrie Brownstein and Donna Dresch? Shredding is a staple of cock rock, the hyper-masculine display of guitar prowess as a symbol for male (hetero)sexuality (Waksman 239) and the presence of girl shredders challenges that paradigm. Just as the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s emerged as a response to the male-dominated hardcore punk scene, girl shredders can shift the dynamic of the contemporary rock scene through performance of an action deemed strictly male.

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I’m back—or something.

November 14, 2010

Hello from beyond the grave!

Just kidding. I’m not really dead — in fact, I’ve been very much alive. Those of you who’ve been following my Twitter and Tumblr know very well that I’ve maintained my online presence. Some may rejoice over my return to WordPress, others may shake their heads. That said, I’m finished neglecting my blogging duties. You people (yes, you people) deserve to know what I think about pop culture, film, music, the media, and farts, and I fully intend to deliver.

Since my epic — and epically dated — Chatroulette post, I’ve relocated, enrolled in grad school, read more cultural theory than I can remember, and acquired a new kitten and a taste for delicious, delicious whiskey.

Stay tuned for my next, more substantive post about the postmodern wonder that is The Venture Bros.

Until then, I leave you with the genius of Chris Morris, director of Four Lions:

This is what we’ve done with the Internet.

February 15, 2010

I have the ability to see what search engine terms people have used to find my blog, so after the onslaught of visits I’ve received in the last 18 hours (80), I decided to take a look. You can imagine how satisfied I was to see this:

I mentioned the 100:1 or 50:1 (whichever you prefer) penis to boob ratio in my previous post, but it looks like people are trying to forego mathematics and see some internet boobs the easy way. Now if only there was a manual written telling us just how to get some hot boobage on Chat Roulette. Top mathematicians at MIT will be figuring out the exact equation for maximum boobs. Until then, this brave patriot compiled a Who’s Who of sorts in the world of Chat Roulette boobs (NSFW). I wonder how long it took to compile this data considering, after roughly 22 man hours spent on Chat Roulette, I only saw about 2.

Chat Roulette: A Rouletrospective.

February 14, 2010

By now, everyone in the world has heard of Chat Roulette, or as the French call it, “chatroulette.” After three nights of voyeuristic webscapades, I realize that Chat Roulette has done nothing to help move the Internet forward. I remember the promises of video-phone technology during the whimsical early-90s. This tool would help us reconnect with our long-lost family members, Grandma in Kentucky would get to see her grandchildren in Albany grow up right before her very eyes. Unfortunately, video-phones, if you don’t count Beyonce’s killer track, never got the play they deserved. Instead, we skipped over that entirely and now video-chat has become accessible to college kids and grandmas alike. Sure we have Gchat and iChat and all sorts of other IM devices that allow you to speak to your friends and family face-to-face, but where’s the fun in that? Everyone knows that video-chat is best served ice-cold and anonymous. Forget Gchat, we’re now in the (week-long) era of ChatRoulette.com.

For everything Chat Roulette is capable of, the general public only seems capable of shitting on potential world peace — not literally. The anonymous nature of the Internet brings out the worst in people, so why not use this amazing device as a way to call someone ugly or ask to see some boobs. When I was 14, if there was a way that I could see free, anonymous boobs, I would totally demand it at every turn. Of course, I was only capable of picking fights in the Yahoo chatrooms while supposedly doing homework in the computer lab at math & science camp. Taking that into consideration, it’s nearly impossible to meet someone who actually wants to have an interesting conversation on Chat Roulette. So this weekend, my friends and I had fun with it and met some pretty rad, and often weird, but more often bored, people. As the minutes became hours, we sang, we screamed, we ridiculed, and one of us even found (internet) love.

I should also mention that we saw at least one hundred wieners. Unfortunately for my 14 year old self, there’s a 100:1 penis to boob ratio — or would it be 50:1 since we saw a pair of boobs?

If there’s anything revolutionized by Chat Roulette, it’s gotta be the screengrab. I’ve included a ton of those after the jump. Some will make you laugh. Most will make you cry.

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The Cat Piano.

February 2, 2010

…and to think, this wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Short by the Academy. The Cat Piano is the latest work from The People’s Republic of Animation. When I first saw it this morning, the beginning had this really hip jazz cat feel, but then I suddenly felt like I was watching some freaky Edgar Allan Poe/Dr. Seuss amalgam. Hat’s off to Nick Cave for his kick ass narration.

ENJOY.

Two-fer-Tsaturday.

January 31, 2010

Alright folks. January is over, which means good movie season is creeping up on us. Finally. With only a few hours left until February, I finished off the month with a cinematic bang.

Taking advantage of the Metreon’s two-for-one deal — where I buy one ticket and stay for a second movie — I saw two cinematic marvels: The Book of Eli and Daybreakers.

Neither movie deserves too much of my time. So let’s get right to it.

Immediate spoilers for Eli after the jump.

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You should be sitting down for this….

January 14, 2010

This is totally a two for the price of one deal!

Check out the new Dan Deacon video/short film for “Woof Woof,” off of 2009’s Bromst album. This was made by my dear friends over at Showbeast. It totally just premiered on Pitchfork. This is a very big deal and I’m very proud of everyone involved.

I strongly suggest you watch and enjoy this video.

Paging Dr. Parnassus…

January 12, 2010

What better way to get the blog back on track than with a review. And dig this: I just saw The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus! What a treat. Wait… I also get to write my 50th post about it? Even better.

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