Archive for December, 2009

Jim Morrison Predicts the Future

December 23, 2009

Generalizations always lead to pitfalls, so I’ll leave aside any sweeping statement about how artists used to be smart or any nostalgia for how it used to be. Having said that, this clip – which, for reference, is a snippet from a much longer YouTube clip that this dirty hipster highly recommends watching – provokes me to thought about the role of artists in a culture. Morrison was a smart dude, a reflective and insightful cat. While there certainly are countless intelligent people involved in popular music, those who most often receive the aim of the spotlight are, well, not. Anyway, check out this clip and perhaps just have a quick think about what you look for in an artist, and why it is a particular song may or may not move you. Personally, anything that is unconsciously stupid is just that: stupid. And, this dirty hipster finds stupidity irritating. Don’t you? -DFH

Brittany Murphy’s Dead

December 21, 2009

Best known for her role as the voice of Luanne on King of the Hill, Brittany Murphy died today. Whack.

Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy. Didn’t see that one coming.

Don’t really have anything to say about this. Really just using her name to generate hits. I love this country.

“There’s More to The Shore,” or, “To Catch a Reflection”

December 19, 2009

Chances are, if you are a member of the human race, you have seen MTV’s new reality show Jersey Shore. Okay, perhaps I should narrow that down to something more like, if you live in North America and are between the ages of 15-28, you’ve probably at least caught wind of what this show’s all about. On the off chance that you, dear reader, are not of such a demographic, let me give you a quick rundown. Jersey Shore documents the lives of of eight (or seven, if you watched more than just the first ep) extremely Italian young adults as they spend a summer together shacked up in a guido’s paradise. “Fist pumping like champs,” they are. These select few are the “hottest, tannest, craziest guidos,” possibly on earth. In fact, they might be the “hottest, tannest, craziest guidos” to exist since the Battle of Gaul. Now, initially, of course, this dirty hipster and his dirty hipster roommates, were stoked (that word still around? can a hipster use it and still be a hipster?) about the premier. What could be better than bolstering our own delicate egos by observing a wild group of morons that we’re better than, right?

Photo courtesy of MTV
Photo courtesy of MTV

The first episode introduces us to the gang: Angelina, Jenni (aka “J-WOWW”), Mike (aka “The Situation”), Nicole (aka “Snooki”), DJ Pauly D, Ronnie, Sammi and Vinny. Hair gel by the bushel, hair extensions, dirty mouths, spray tans, roids and tattoos are fuckin everywhere, bro. Not to mention, classic psychological cases that point to rather bizarre compensation methods. Mike, or as he’d prefer be called, “The Situation” (you see, his abs are so ripped they’re a situation – makes perfect sense) really seems a very sad character, as there appear to be forces at odds within his own head. He comes off as brutally uncomfortable in his own skin and attempts to make up for his lack of self-worth by, you guessed it, getting jacked up, blowing out his hair and showing his stomach rack to anybody who would care to glance.

Wait a second! Insecurity? Over-compensation? Obvious identity crisis?! These traits are hitting a little too close to home for this dirty fucking hipster.

To tell the truth, as strange as it may sound, as the episodes have rolled on I’ve begun to really like The Situation. There’s something bizarrely normal about him. In fact, there’s something identifiably normal about each on of the characters. Ronnie, an admitted steroid user who flat refuses to wear a shirt, falls in love with Sammi in the second episode. The way he talks to and about her, the way his posture changes and his face lights up when she enters a room: nothing if not endearing. Dare I say adorable? A poignant moment comes in the third episode. So, by this point, Ronnie and Sammi have been hooking up and things are getting real intense, real fast. While the gang is out at a club, Ronnie catches Sammi giving some dude her phone number. Oh no she di’eh! So Ronnie goes and dances with another girl. Snap! A pissed off Ronnie stomps home, looking kind of like Doomsday from The Batman/Superman Adventures and slams through the front door of the house. Expecting another Joey from Real World Cancun moment (wall-punching, door unhinging and the like) I was shocked. Shocked I tell you! A saddened and defeated Ronnie slinks his drunken, perfectly tanned and tattoed body into his room and falls face-first into bed, too broken to do anything but bury his surely weeping face in his pillow.

I like this guy! How many times have I reacted just the same way to similar situations? He’s a likeable guy.

They’re all likable. Perhaps it’s more clever manipulation by MTV’s editors and producers, but these juiced-up, blown-out guidos and guidettes are really, really likable characters. This fact certainly makes one call into question his or her own conceptions, not only of people like Snooki, The Situation and Pauly D, but of other groups and cultures in general. Who are we to judge? Somewhere Anthony Edwards is giving a speech in front of all of Atoms College. The fist-pumping scene, where we learn what “beating back the beat” means, was another eye-opener. When was the last time a hipster douchebag let go and just allowed himself to be driven to outrageous dancing and intense fist-pumping as a result of a little vodka-redbull and some pulsing house music? Two things are for sure: first, these guidos and guidettes know how to have a good fucking time. Second, we judgmental, snobbish hipsters might need to do some serious soul-searching – if that weren’t apparent already. There is something lacking in hipster culture, and maybe all it is is a little fun and energy.

Reckless Sons 12.17.09

December 19, 2009

Last night I hit up Pianos to check out Reckless Sons. What a fucking scene. After shuffling my way through the always-irritating cluster of schmucks who hang out at the front bar I found myself stepping into CBGB around 1973 – metaphorically, of course. There, Tom Verlaine, Richards LLoyd and Hell are gathering crowds of anti-arena rock punks clad in black leather, silver chains and cigarette ash – again, a metaphor. It was at that point I began to think that maybe real Rock n Roll is back (finally!) in this damned city. The Sons surely looked the part. Butler, Stella, Schumacher and Bastien radiate coolness. Their attitude is obvious but not forced. They don’t give a shit, they just want to play music and they want to play it loud.

Reckless Sons - John Varvatos photo shoot
Photo courtesy of Mick Rock

Frontman Matt Butler spared not an ounce of energy. Between screaming like a banshee for an hour and tossing himself around the stage during the band’s final song, “Blood,” he looked like an exhausted Andy Dufresne as he left the stage. What I had expected from the band after listening to their MySpace they more than delivered. Three-and-a-half minute bursts of unmitigated Rock dynamite, one after the other for the duration of the set. The crowd was shoulder to shoulder, pumping their fists unison, creating a rally-like atmosphere. The rhythm guitar was blaring through the mix – as it tends to do at Pianos – and no one in the audience gave two shits. It was too loud, too crowded and too hot. In short, the Reckless Sons show was punk perfection. New York, let me re-introduce you to a little thing called Rock n Roll. -DFH

Too Smart for Art?

December 16, 2009

Roland Barthes wrote of the death of the author in the late-60’s by which he meant that the content of a particular work, be it literary or some other medium, bares not relation to its author but to its beholder. Is this still true? It appears to this dirty hipster that the massive circulation and consumption of media that has rapidly grown over the past forty-or-so years points at an attempt to revive the author. That is, we no longer look to consume the content but we aim to consume its creator. Television, fan pages, Facebook, Twitter and the like allow consumers to build seemingly personal relationships with those in whom he/she chooses to become invest interest. Such an illusion of a personal relationship precludes the delivery of a message. When Shakespeare wrote of passion, he surely did not intend to invite an investigation into his motivation, but simply sought to catalyze a response within the soul of the reader. Such unfettered delivery is simply impossible nowadays. So, in an age where the author has been shoved to the front of the stage, accompanied secondarily buy his work, can a pure work of art actually exist?

The defining characteristic of man, that one thing that separates us from the animals, is the ability to conceive of and create his own evolution. Indeed, man has evolved a great deal in the last 150 years – not to mention the last several-thousand – but no item is bought without a cost. And, so, it seems to this dirty hipster, that we have exchanged our art, our passion, our final vestige of purity, for knowledge. Even trade or raw deal? Either way, we’re stuck with it. No re-gifting this one this holiday season. -DFH

Debut Post / Hank and Cupcakes 12.15.09

December 16, 2009

This initial post has been a long (long, long, long) time coming. Finally, thanks to a terrific performance by one of the hip, Brooklyn scene bands, Hank and Cupcakes, this dirty fucking hipster has put down his sub-par grandma slice from Sal’s and has gotten the inspiration to start this darn blog.

Photo courtesy of SUPRAMOD

On a Tuesday night in Williamsburg there’s not typically that much going on. Metropolitan isn’t flooded with large groups of newly-acquired New York residence like it is on a Saturday night; Union Pool (really, since the first cold day of the year) is a barren wasteland; the hotbed that is N. 6th is uncomfortably tame; but, there is luckily a great act playing at Knitting Factory. I hadn’t been there before, so this was a welcoming invitation to check the joint out. Not exactly the charming back-room digs at Cameo, though not quite an overdone venue that you’d find in Midtown – overall pretty nice.

Anyway, Hank and Cupcakes took to stage a little after 8, opening for The Prigs. Right off the bat this band introduced something sexy, something raw and taboo to a room full over cross-armed hipsters. Apologies in advance for the liberal use of sexual simile and metaphor that is to follow. To paint a picture of how the set started, imagine it’s 3am on a Friday and you’re a guy who hasn’t been laid in a while. The 60 hour work week sucked – again. You’ve just gone out with the guys and sauntered home drunk alone. Suddenly, as you’re brushing your teeth, you get the text message you’ve been fantasizing about getting for the last several years. It’s that girl you always wanted to fuck, and she’s looking to get down. She shows up at your door before you have time scatted open books around the living room and create an iTunes playlist. And it’s fuckin’ on! Two songs hit you in the face and before you’ve had time to put into perspective how awesome what’s happening really is, you’ve had an orgasm.

Photo courtesy of SUPRAMOD

Cupcakes, the band’s drummer/lead-singer who proves you neither need kick triplets nor a drum throne to make a phat beat, clad in glittering purple spandex tights, utters between songs, “well, so much for the foreplay.”┬áJust what must have been on everybody’s mind. The next several songs continued on with the same sensual, erotic fervor. Smack in the middle of the set is a brilliant cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control.” Hank, the bass player extraordinaire, who surrounds himself with an arsenal of pedals and triggers fit for a space shuttle pilot, and hammers out intensely intricate melodies. At times it seems as though there are 10 people on stage all playing rare, exotic synthesizers, when in fact, of course, there are only two. Following the an excellent cover Cupcakes flitters from behind her drum kit and drifts nymph-like along the front edge of the stage while Hank fiddles with his whistles and bells in preparation for the next song. It was a perfectly placed comedown from a previously (nearly-)overwhelming set. It was that moment when you (remember that you’re a drunk mid-20’s guy finally getting it on with that girl you’ve always wanted) hold the girl in your arms, both completely out of breath and acknowledge in a silent embrace how great the sex you just had was. The duo ended the set with a new song that was the hookiest song of the night. Sent me home singing about some dude named Jimmy who’s apparently got a TV show, question mark?

In this dirty fucking hipster’s estimation, you’re doing yourself an injustice by not seeing this band. I recommend bringing a date because you may not make it out of the venue before getting laid. -DFH