Seattle’s Folk Life Festival

I finally went to this thing again (its been 3 years). The Folk Life Festival marks the beginning of summer here in Seattle. That, or Memorial Day does it. I guess it just depends on where you are that day? Anyways, the weather was awesome, so everyone and their hippy-ass brother was out at the Seattle Center. I tried to look as folky as I could, which for me, consisted of my Oregon Country Fair (2006) t-shirt and a hat I got in Oregon made by the “Hat People”. So basically, folk = Oregon for me I guess. I don’t know what else to wear. If there was a grunge festival in North Carolina I would wear my Seattle shirt, if I had one. Or maybe something from Folk Life.

The thing about festivals at the Seattle Center is this though. If you plan on getting near the thing at all with a car, shoot yourself in the head because I think that will feel better than trying to deal with parking around there. You think Seattlites can’t drive, wait until the sun comes out and they try to park in Queen Ann on a festival weekend. Even the buses are screwed, since people are driving into town to part in OTHER neighborhoods so they can take the bus in the last 3 miles. Wallingford, my neighboorhood, is one of the favored ones on the list, so my buses are fucked. The crazy thing is, if you have a bike, you can ride almost all the way to the entrance and lock up like 50 feet from the gates. That and I saw maybe 15 bikes by my entrance. WTF? Come of folkies. More people will bike to my work tomorrow, and they hate peace and love! Maybe if that hemp wearing 4 year old of yours could bike 15 mph on a busy thoroughfare we would be in a bit better shape huh. Can’t find a space for your Prius? Awh… so sad.

I will give the hippies this: their whole notion of ladies clothing, from the waist up, I’m totally in agreement with. I never see bikini tops in Seattle until this weekend. NEVER! Folk Life weekend comes around, and its bikinis for everyone! I know, some people shouldn’t be wearing them regardless of the dress code, but they are, so we have to deal. My favorite though has to be the ladies that aren’t even wearing bikini tops, just bras. I know they are arguably the same thing, but somehow it just looks a little less classy. I feel like everyone that sees it is like, well you went through all the trouble to expose yourself, but you did that way? Did Folk Life catch you off guard this year? I know its Seattle, but would it kill people to have bikini tops and shorts available, just in case? I know I do. Actually, I still need to get some shorts…

I did get my quotient of viewing crazy hippies today. It really is a shame. Most of the year when they dance in the park people look at them and think they are crazy, which is kind of sad. At Folk Life though, people probably think the same thing, but at least now the crazy hippy man has a backup band. You dance your little dreadlocks off you grey haired dude with an entire life tree tatooed on your back. Hooray awkwardness!

So I’m ready for my Seattle festival seasons. I still can’t wait for the Puyallup Fair. That one is most excellent as it has a rabbit barn and a craft showroom, among many other things. How could you go wrong with a craft showroom!?! Never. Also, Hemp Fest in August also continues the folky bikini top tradition, so at least there is that to look forward to.

Twice the Spock For The Same Price: My "Star Trek" movie reveiw

So I just got back from seeing the new “Star Trek”. I know what you’re thinking. “Brian? I thought you were a super huge nerd and would have seen it opening weekend.” Well, I’d hate to be predictable. That, and, like Wolverine, I had better things to do. Two good things come out of waiting to see Star Trek until two weeks after its opening. One, whenever a character people know is introduced on screen, it isn’t accompanied by a bunch of cheering (and/or erections) from all the hard core fans in the audience. I mean, I had an erection the entire movie, but at least there wasn’t any cheering. Secondly, my mom even heard it was good from one of her friends, so guess who bought my ticket to the movie. My dad. But my mom came too. So it was like a family movie outing. Yay. Made the erection really hard to deal with though…

How was the movie? Ok, there will be some slight spoilers here so if you haven’t seen it, don’t read on. Just know that it was worth seeing, stuff happens, go watch it. Still with me?

Ok, so the movie in itself was an excellent movie. Plot, lots of action, plenty of colorful things and attractive people, awesome sound, and some comedy to boot. Also put in a handful of throw-backs to the original, and you’ve got yourself a good Star Trek flick. This is about where my compliments for the film end. Let’s look at the characters. All the original cast has been re-incarnated into newer, younger, more attractive versions of their former selves. The guy who plays Spock does a pretty good Spock. The lady who plays Ahura is a good (read: hotter) Ahura. And the guy who plays Zulu is Asian! Close enough!

Spoiler Alert! Ok, here is my one major gripe with this film. This is not really a Star Trek film so much as it’s a “hey, how can we cash in on yet another preexisting body of work without having to really honor and of the story structure that happened before.” Simple, we’ll just create a new timeline with the old characters, make up some junk about it being a new timeline and how it came to be, and wah-lah! A blank check to use as you will to make countless sequels and oodles of money without actually having to write anything new. Albeit the story in the movie was actually quite good, but I thought good story should be taken with a grain of salt, that grain being an excuse.

You can’t really blame them too much. The Star Trek universe has dealt with time travel before in that movie where they all go back in time to steal the whale and end up meeting the mom from “Seventh Heaven”. I really liked that one; right up there with the one where Christopher Lloyd plays a Klingon. Then there was the whole “Enterprise” series where they basically break it off into its own storyline by declaring that it was taking place in a different reality. Also a good show; the Vulcan was hot and in many episodes was scantily clad. Almost outed Seven-of-Nine for the top spot on Star Trek characters I want to have sex with, but I digress. So now I guess the grievence is two fold. They are caching in on a previous body of work AND using a mechanism said work has already used to branch itself off of itself. Shenanigans indeed!

Somehow I couldn’t help feel like I was watching an episode of Lost or Heroes due to the proximity of directors and actors who contributed to this film (JJ Abrams and the Spock guy). Also there were many more close up shots than in the original Star Trek films. I remember the older ones being much more fans of the wide pan than the shots in this film. Ok, that is way too film nerdy. I’ll stop there.

In conclusion, go see it, its good.

BJ rating for Star Trek originality: C-
BJ regular movie rating: B+/A-

PS: I also found it funny that, as previews for the movie, we have “Transformers” and “GI Joe”, two other movies that are raping the cache of fan sentiment as a way to make a bazillion dollars off of nerd erections.

First cramp, First press

Today two things happened today. First, I did three pushups and then threw out my shoulder. WTF? Three!?! Only three. I mean, I know, I didn’t stretch, but this has like, never happened before. I was kinda pissed because I was in the mindset to bang out a few good ones too. Since last week, when I found out I have abs, I’ve been more motivated to work out. Mind you, this doesn’t mean I’ve actually been working out more, but motivation is key. Keep on riding that bike, if it ever stops fucking raining this summer. In Seattle, April showers brings May showers brings June showers brings July. In July, we go freakin crazy and no one stays put and then we all collectively pass out in October, but that’s a rant for a different time.

Secondly, when I get to work, my friend James sends me this:

http://media.www.su-spectator.com/media/storage/paper948/news/2009/04/22/Entertainment/Comics.Bring.laffs.To.Cap.Hills.Chop.Suey-3721821.shtml

Ladies and gentlemen, my first press where my comedic style was actually judged. Judges say, “eeeeer, WRONG”. I call schenanigans, the judge was acting like a douche! Survey says: affirmative. Actually he really didn’t have much nice to say about anything in the show, so I guess I’m lucky that I got a whole paragraph of him not liking me. The board and “Seinfeld Constant” he refers to is something new I’m trying to integrate into my act. In my defense, it was the first time I’d used it on stage and I’m still getting used to the mechanics of it. Since this performance, I’ve done it a half dozen more times, and I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback on it, so I’m excited. Don’t feel bad for the article, this is why its good to start off in Seattle. Make “mistakes” where no one can see them. I mean really, who reads the Spectator anyways?

Wolverine on Wolverine – my X-Men review

I saw “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” on Sunday. I know, your thinking, “Brian, what happened to Thursday night at midnight? Or at least Friday night?” To that I answer, “I had to be at work early on Friday and then that night I had dinner with a girl, which unfortunately, was way better than the movie”. But I did see it opening weekend and was able to add my money to the $85 million+ total it took in domestically. Jesus Christ!

My review starts before the movie even does. Previews; big fan of them! The movie theater where I went now plays the commercials BEFORE the previews, like when you’re just sitting there wishing you had bought some popcorn because they seriously put crack in it to make you want to buy it. So no commercials during the previews = awesome. Halfway through the previews though, I had a moment where I thought, “Man, these are some nerdy previews”, but then quickly remembered what movie I was there to see. Are previews like movie foreplay? I wonder…

Ok so the movie already. As an almost nerd, I’m becoming a little disillusioned with the X-men franchise. I feel like in the first movie, they introduced a crap-ton of characters and for the most part, they were all pretty fleshed out from a character standpoint. You knew what power each of them had, usually their name, and a bit of back story within, meh the first 5 minutes of them on screen. Remeber the beginning of X-men, in the concentration camp, with Magnito, and the Nazis? Fucking brilliant! That’s good storytelling. Storytelling apparently doesn’t mean jack to the X-men writers anymore. They aren’t story-telling so much as story-feeding. You need to come prepared! Don’t know who that character is on the screen, tough, we aren’t telling! If you did know who he was though you would probably just have creamed your pants because you totally didn’t expect him/her/it to make an appearance, you can thank us later. So aside from Wolverine, Sabretooth, and maybe Gambit (a stretch), you shouldn’t expect to know anyone else in the movie. I know, I know, its the Wolverine movie, but I’m a bit disappointed. At the very least, watch the first two X-men movies before seeing Origins so you can feel at least a little bit involved when the cameos come a calling.

Hugh Jackman is “naked” for maybe 30 seconds. Nakedness is implied, not realized. Topless with a bit of thigh would be more appropriate. Ladies this is not a reason to see the movie, but if you boyfriend wants to go, I guess its a plus. If you want naked, see “The Watchmen” (see previous post on that).

The story itself is ok. It has a beginning, middle, and an end, so at least its complete. The beginning was unexpected and awesome, but unfortunately they used up their awesomeness quota for the first 45 minutes in those first 5. After those first 5, hunker down with that popcorn you broke down and got, you’ll be glad you have it. 40 minutes and a couple of forgettable characters later, we get to the plot that we knew had to happen to get to the end of the movie. I don’t like movies like that. Like “Meet the Parents”, you know it has to all go to shit so things can happen. Wolverine definitely had that feeling till about the hour mark.

The ending was exciting, but really confusing. Why are there 50 mutants just hanging around doing nothing? Couldn’t you all be kicking ass right now? Shouldn’t at least one of you be pissed enough to do something stupid and show off your powers. Nope, sorry, we only have the budget for the approved mutant powers for mutants with lines, so you guys, just act scared and follow (points to random character with a name), that guy. Cue the fight scene on ridiculous location! Andddddd, movie over! People died, we don’t care, get out of the theater!

Ok, I think that’s enough without ruining the movie for everyone. Really, I could have told you the ending and it probably wouldn’t have changed much. You weren’t going to see it for the story anyways, were you?

BJ Movie Rating – C+