things i like:
rock'n'roll, country, punk & metal.
bands that combine all four successfully.
design, graphic & interior.
the intersection of philosophy & sociology.
andrew wk.
emergent gameplay, of the videogaming variety.
deep fried everything.
making lists
, including this one of my life's ambitions, and these of things on my mind at the time.

feedback: @angelidotca or ask me anything you'd like here.

i took a trip! read about it here.

evidence of my lame yuppie side on my (gasp!) house blog here.

Fantasia Film Festival 2014 Review Roundup: Part 2

The festival is just past its halfway mark, and my batting average for films is sadly quite low, although everything I’ve seen thus far has been very good. I’m averaging just over a film a day, but now that things have settled down, I’m going to try to make up for that in the (just under) half of the festival that is left!

In Order of Disappearance (a.k.a. Kraftidioten) Blending Scandinavian bleakness with bloodied black comedy, this is an excellent story of haplessness and thuggery. Stellan Skarsgård amuses as a man on a mission, and Pål Sverre Hagen is magnificent as the Count, the spidery, foppish archvillain. I particularly loved the visual motif of white powder (snow, flour, cocaine) blowing about, a constant reminder of the shifting and insubstantial foundation for all the film’s deaths, as well as the biting social critique of Norwegian culture and politics.

Small Gauge Trauma I caught the majority, but not all, of the program this year, and as always, it was a challenging and captivating experience. Particularly wrenching, though incredibly beautiful and well made, was Canis, a Spanish stop motion animation of unrelenting heartbreak. I also loved Baskin, a snapshot of Turkish terror that explores a Satanic house of horrors, and, excitingly, is in the process of being turned into a feature.

I Am A Knife With Legs Proving that technical excellence can easily take a backseat to clever writing and well spun story, this DIY gem is a clear indicator that outsider art is alive and well. With a ridiculous storyline, funny musical numbers, artful animations and clever jokes, this film’s flashes of brilliance turn into a strobe light that leaves the audience stunned and confused, but utterly delighted.

Let Us Prey I absolutely loved this film, despite its imperfections. Burning slowly for its first half and then maniacally shredding itself to pieces in the second, there are a few lines of cheesy dialogue and some over the top characterizations, but none of that matters thanks to a compelling storyline and excellent performances, particularly by Liam Cunningham as the enigmatic prisoner in cell six. There’s also a setup for a sequel here, which has the potential to be absolutely amazing.

Dead Snow: Red Vs. Dead Picking up where the original Dead Snow left off, this sequel delivers more of the same. Laughs, gore, pacing problems, and of course, Nazi zombies, it’s all back in part two. The American characters are somewhat superfluous, although Martin Starr is a welcome addition to any film, but overall this film is a bit tighter than the first, and a solid, if silly, addition to the zombie film canon.

The Creeping Garden It’s difficult to describe how excellent this film is, but stoners will likely let out a collective “whoa” if they get a hold of this incredibly unique, bizzarely specific film. The chemically unenhanced will be enchanted as well, as they step through the looking glass into a world populated by creeping, pulsating, slimy looking growths, and the artists, scientists and musicians obessed with their potential. Don’t let “this is a documentary about slime mold” deter you; yes, it’s definitely that, but it’s so much more.

BTW, The Creeping Garden screens again this afternoon at 3pm in the De Sève theatre, and is absolutely worth cutting out of work early for. Trust me.

A screening has also been added for Cybernatural, which I reviewed in my first review round up, and which is absolutely not to be missed. Do yourself a favor, and get a ticket to the 9:45pm screening tomorrow night, also in De Sève.

Zany, unhinged, groundbreaking and genre bending… these all describe CJLO 1690 AM, the Fantasia Film Festival and I Am a Knife with Legs. Blend these three together, and it’s gonna be a party you won’t soon forget. 

CJLO is proud to present the world premiere of I Am a Knife with Legs, part of the brand new “Fantasia Underground” programming section at the 2014 Fantasia Film Festival! Spotlighting “outrageous indie outsider visions created in the counter-cultural spirit”, this section is a perfect fit for CJLO, Montreal’s underground radio station. I Am a Knife with Legs pushes the boundaries with its absurdist humour, musical numbers, offbeat animation, and a microbudget of $12,000! The CJLO-sponsored screening happens Friday, July 25th at 7pm in the DB Clarke Theatre!

After the film, come to the downstairs bar at Kafein (1429 Bishop) to celebrate 10 years of partnership between the Fantasia Film Festival and CJLO 1690AM, with drinks, snack and CJLO DJs doing what they do best! The party starts at 8:30pm, bring your friends!

FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/885731088107278

Fantasia Film Festival 2014 Review Roundup: Part 1

We’re five days in and the festival is already hitting me hard… I’m looking forward to week two, when I can maybe just relax and watch movies until my eyes shrivel up like raisins. Let’s get to the films I’ve seen so far, shall we?

Jacky au royaume des filles This wacky French flick imagines a world in which horses are worshiped, everyone eats gruel from a faucet, and men wear a modified niquab and are subservient to their domineering, masculine wives. While ultimately inconclusive and without a clear message (strange, given its premise), this film is good fun and thought provoking in its own way. 

Kite Despite some pacing problems and mushmouthed, garbled acting by supporting characters, I quite enjoyed Kite for its elegant violence and occasional flashes of photographic brilliance. While the story, adapted from a Japanese anime, is somewhat predictable, this is an acceptable popcorn film and I was not disappointed.

Faults This film is a lovely surprise, a slow burning character study that pits the flawless Mary Elizabeth Winstead against the equally excellent Leland Orser in a story about cults and mind control. Gripping and claustrophobic, this out of the ordinary film deserves to be seen.

Boyhood Director Richard Linklater does not disappoint with this hotly anticipated epic. A coming of age tale unlike any other, this film manages to eclipse the cleverness of its premise (the film was shot over 12 years, and follows the main character from age 6 to 18) and become a meditation on the thread that draws life together. Darkly comedic, with Linklater’s signature laconic style, this film manages to hold a mirror up to the viewer’s own life, suscitating tears and laughter alike. Also, it seems everyone missed the glorious Dazed & Confused Easter egg: the convenience store clerk from D&C (David Blackwell) makes a return appearance in Boyhood as… a convenience store clerk!

Life After Beth While there’s something off about this film, with its strange construction and odd pacing, this ultimately works for it, and keeps it from being yet another zombie film. Aubrey Plaza… well, is Aubrey Plaza all over the eponymous Beth (although her performance once fully “transformed” was delightful), but it was Matthew Gray Gubler’s supporting performance as a a scrawny overcompensating wannabe Rambo that amused me the most. 

Suburban Gothic Where his previous film Excision was stylized and elegant, Richard Bates Jr.’s follow feature, Suburban Gothic, is looser, weirder and a lot more silly. Designed to mimic children’s soft horror (Are You Afraid of the Dark?) but for adults, this film will find its audience, but it just didn’t work aesthetically for me.

Cybernatural One of the best so far, this film manages to bring both a fresh perspective and a timely topic to a somewhat tired genre, singlehandedly revitalizing the found footage film in an incredibly clever, dynamic way. Shot from a single, unwavering perspective (that of one person’s computer screen), this film manages to be utterly suspenseful and terrifying. Tackling cyberbullying in a pointed, but not moralistic way, this is a film that’s totally for our time, and it deserves a huge audience, and maybe even a few sequels, Paranormal Activity-style. If you love this genre, I cannot recommend this film enough, and I only hope more people will get the chance to see it.

Oh hai there.

Oh hai there.

things that are on my mind:

the absolute worst thing you can do to a middle aged white guy is ignore him.

do people in the american south have more trouble counting syllables? this is an honest question.

remember this? daniel alfonso is back, this time slowly petting trimming roy oraschin’s beard. pour yourself a drink, light a few candles, then click here and treat yourself.

i have a problem with c___ine.

if you think i mean cocaine, you’d be terribly wrong. the truth is worse, and wildly socially acceptable. keep guessing.

the fantasia film festival starts tomorrow. this year i’m aiming for 44 films in 21 days, which is doable, but unlikely. normally i post a list of all the films i want to see, but in lieu of that, how about a list of those i absolutely don’t want to miss? boyhood, dead snow: red vs. dead (the sequel to the 2009 norwegian favorite about zombie nazis, this time inexplicably featuring martin starr?), metalhead, and yeah, i’ll admit it, guardians of the galaxy… but only because it seems to make intensive and gratuitous use of chris pratt’s abs.

Lie or Liar are back with another video (you can watch it here), and while this one isn’t nearly as notorious as the first, I figured the ladies (and probably a few of the men) would appreciate another animated Scott Prisk gif… 

Lie or Liar are back with another video (you can watch it here), and while this one isn’t nearly as notorious as the first, I figured the ladies (and probably a few of the men) would appreciate another animated Scott Prisk gif… 

TONIGHT! My set starts at 7:30, and DJ XL5’s SPANDEX ZAPPIN’ PARTY officially kicks off around 9:30, so come grab a beer and bite at the lovely Terrasse St-Ambroise and get wild, wild, wild with me! Whether you’re down to mock it, or rock it, you’re not gonna wanna miss it!
Pictured above, a selection of my outfits for this evening. Which do you prefer?

TONIGHT! My set starts at 7:30, and DJ XL5’s SPANDEX ZAPPIN’ PARTY officially kicks off around 9:30, so come grab a beer and bite at the lovely Terrasse St-Ambroise and get wild, wild, wild with me! Whether you’re down to mock it, or rock it, you’re not gonna wanna miss it!

Pictured above, a selection of my outfits for this evening. Which do you prefer?

Hey, guess what I’ll be doing this Saturday? 

If you guessed DJing ALL THE HAIR METAL YOU CAN HANDLE all night at the Terrasse St-Ambroise (5080 Rue Saint-Ambroise), then you win an awesome screening of DJ XL5’s Spandex Zapping Party, which starts at 9:30pm, Saturday, July 12th! McAuslan and CJLO 1690AM are super proud to present this latest, hairiest DJ XL5 event, which collects film and video clips from the bitchin’est era ever, and you better be there!

What’s not to love? Delicious booze and food under the starry sky, yours truly spinning the sleaziest metal all night long, and an amazing collection of the glammiest, hammiest 80s era visual delights… Once again, the film starts at 9:30, but come early to hear me spin and buy me beers!

How about a bookshelfie (I know, so dumb) of the least edifying part of my library?
This is where I keep my Joan Jett Barbie doll, my weird sex books, and not one, not two, but three totally scientific ways of divining the future! Some of my rock’n’roll biographies are peeking out there, but I promise that all the heavy philosophy, film, music, design and cultural theory books are also in the room with me. No, really, they are. I’m serious.

How about a bookshelfie (I know, so dumb) of the least edifying part of my library?

This is where I keep my Joan Jett Barbie doll, my weird sex books, and not one, not two, but three totally scientific ways of divining the future! Some of my rock’n’roll biographies are peeking out there, but I promise that all the heavy philosophy, film, music, design and cultural theory books are also in the room with me. No, really, they are. I’m serious.

The final dying gasp of the music industry will be one word: “like”.

I’ve had a version of this post rattling around in my drafts since my return from yet another industry conference back in April, where the thought above crept into my mind while listening to the panelists speak. At that conference, social media was, once again, touted as the magic potion, the salve for the aches and pains of all levels and facets of the music industry. If you ever needed a reason for why this business deserves to die, all you need to do is watch it try to grasp at every last possible shred of numerical data (Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Soundcloud plays, etc.) in the quest to quantify the unquantifiable. 

All this came flooding back to mind yesterday when I read Taylor Swift’s laughable Wall Street Journal article on the future of music. Her opinions are much like asking the prize winning pig at the state fair for its opinions on the meatpacking industry; from where it’s standing, covered in ribbons, it has absolutely no way of knowing. But it will gain intimate, subjective knowledge… one day. 

While the entire piece is mostly off base, the section on “Fan Power” echoes my thought above most clearly. The anecdote she gives about the actress who got a role because she had more Twitter followers should strike an icy cold dart of fear into anyone with who appreciates music (or film, or visual art, or literature, or ANYTHING) for its cultural and creative value. Swift packages this reality as a positive, pseudo-democratic process, when what it really boils down to is a pathetic attempt by big business to divine future sales numbers through the shiny crystal globe of social media. 

The main problem for them, of course, is that sales have become mostly meaningless. Even I, a long time champion of alternatives like the distribution model, where you pay a flat fee (to, ideally, in my world, an ISP, but in reality to services like Spotify or Google Play Music) in exchange for “all you can eat” music, have been disillusioned by the abysmal revenue sharing models of those services. (A good example is here.) Getting your music in the ears of listeners, even if they procure it in a legitimate way, is no longer a guarantee of wealth and prosperity.

From behind her blue ribbons, however, Swift declares:

"… my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art."

I’m not sure how this will somehow be different than the last 30+ years, but Swift seems to have missed the memo that it’s not really up to the industry to set the price anymore. The people have spoken, and for the most part, they want the price point to be “free”. But that shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that creative and cultural output is being devalued or undervalued. After all, there are more people making things - good, even great things - all over the world, and people are consuming them faster and in greater numbers and ways than ever before. What IS happening, however, is that creative and cultural output is being separated from the economic bottom line, and that will not change anytime soon, no matter how many multimillionaires declare it otherwise. In other words, the BUSINESS part of the music business is dying (good riddance!), but the music part is doing just fine, I think.

"But who’ll make music if they can’t get paid?" Hopefully fewer people, quite frankly, and it’s the people who would ask that question that we need to get rid of. The world is full of those that think they’re gonna get rich in this business because they have talent, including many without. But just as the article by Taylor Swift conflates “the future of music” with “the future of the music industry”, talent and wealth do not automatically go hand in hand.

My prediction? Creative people will continue to do what they do because it’s not a choice for them. I believe everyone can be creative, but there are people who can’t NOT be creative. They have to paint, or sing, or write, or stand in front of or behind a camera or microphone. They have to make something that didn’t exist the day before, often at great personal expense (fiscal, emotional or simply of time). Some of those people will accidentally end up making money from that creativity. Others will learn about business, and put as much creative effort into making money as they do into their art. Others still will create beautiful, wondrous things that will go mostly ignored, forever. This will be the future, just as it was the past, only now that the profit margin has shrunk, one can only hope there will be fewer bottom feeders and bottom liners trying to scoop dimes off their backs. 

A little something for all my new GTA related followers… I collect photos of animals I’ve either accidentally or intentionally killed in GTAV/GTA Online. And yes, I shot that cougar in the ass, because I’m still not over what all those stupid mountain lions did to my father, John Marston, in Red Dead Redemption.

zero-shinzaki said: Insurance works like this: Car destroyed? if by NPC/Yourself you make call to insurance place, pay fee, car respawns at their lot or your garage. The game will tell you which. If by OTHER PLAYER they pay the fee, you make call, car respawns at their lot or your garage. what you've been noticing is the Personal Vehicle effect. car left behind but is PV? returns to garage when you change PVs. if destroyed but insured, call company, (fee?), car respawned at lot or your garage.

Thanks for this info! So far, I haven’t seemed to need to call… I get a “your car has been destroyed” message, but all my cars are always accounted for in my garage. I think it’s the Personal Vehicle effect, as you mentioned, plus maybe a bug where I keep getting that message from when one of my first (uninsured) cars was destroyed. This seems to be the case because when I call the insurance company, the number is always busy.

Anyways, long story short, the lesson here is, if you like it, then you better put insurance on it… 

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Griefers (Kinda) in GTA Online

Intrigued by the “I’m Not a Hipster” update, I decided to log into GTA Online this past Friday for the first time since launch. I figured it was probably time to collect my 500k “stimulus package”, and see all the new stuff that Rockstar has been adding. Here are some of the things I learned from GTA Online over the last few days:

- I can wear this sweet, sweet owl mask. Erlend Hjelvik would be proud.

- Passive mode is now free. As before, you’re immune to bullets and melee damage, but not while in cars, and you can still get run over and be blown up by (non weapon) explosions. When you’re in passive mode, and a player kills you either of those ways, they pay your respawn cost… suckas.

- If a player is trying to use explosive weaponry against you while you’re in passive mode, go up close and say hi. I had a player attempt to shoot me with a machine gun, then switch to a rocket launcher when I didn’t die. His first shot landed, but I still didn’t die… Instead of figuring it out, he shot me again as I calmly walked up next to him, killing himself in the explosion, and leaving me with some sweet, sweet loot. Passive mode… learn it, love it.

- A spectator mode has been added. There’s a general way to get to it, but I prefer watching it via the big screen in my massive new apartment. I spent over 300k of my stimulus package on apartment 101 in Weasel Towers, which I picked purely because of its proximity to certain things, and its lovely views of Los Santos. Do your research: while all the top tier apartments share similar interiors, in GTA as in life, it’s always about location, location, location.

- Spectator mode has taught me that, yeah, people aren’t really that good at this game. They drive badly, and can’t aim, so I guess I’m not alone? My new favorite way to use spectator mode, however, is to assign a bounty to a player, and then watch them get hunted by other players through spectator mode. Yes, it’s as hilariously creepy as it sounds.

- Good guy griefing is a thing that exists. I had a guy execute 5 perfect, tight donuts around me, then drive away when he accidentally knocked me down (instead of running me over, as is customary). It was really amusing.

- I also had the pleasure of riding around with someone who decided to show me the sights of Los Santos. Together, we outran a 4 star wanted level, and it was awesome, as was communicating only through in game gestures. Unlike what I lived through during the first week or so after launch, people seem to be a lot more interested in sharing experiences, driving around with each other and making their own fun, rather than mercilessly spawn killing each other (although that still happens too).

- How are there barely verbal children playing this game? Seriously, where are your parents? Sometimes I wonder whether the “05” in someone’s nick is their age.

- On a related note, thank god I finally figured out how to mute other people.

- I wish the selfie taking allowed you to switch hands… yes, that’s a stupid detail, but still.

- I seriously cannot figure out how the car insurance works. I routinely abandon my (insured) cars, and they just respawn in my garage, whether or not they’re destroyed. Am I not supposed to call the insurance company and go pick it up at the impound lot? I don’t understand the way this works, but as long as my favorite cars keep showing up in my garage, I don’t care.

- Have you ever invited your friend over to your apartment and watched them drink whiskey after whiskey until they literally fell down, died and spawned at the nearby hospital? I have. 

All this to say, I’m shocked that I’ve been having as much fun as I have. The game has a completely different vibe since I first started playing, most likely due to the penalties that Rockstar has created for players who just want to ruin other (especially inexperienced) players’ learning curve. I’ve also been having fun with races and jobs, although I tend to prefer playing those with friends. Weirdly, I feel like there’s a strong trust component at play in GTA Online (which might be endemic of all MMOs, a category of games I avoid like the plague), which is very interesting to me. While other players seem more generally trustworthy than before, I still prefer the company of friends.

Previously in How I Learned to Stop Worrying and…:

Candy Crush

Assassin’s Creed Revelations

Anonymous said: I randomly googled my bands name (lie or liar)and the gif you uploaded popped up. Fucking hilarious haha. I thought id let you know I saw it lol. - The Guy That Looks Like That Guy

Huh, I guess I should open my inbox more frequently… Well, Guy That Looks Like That Guy, if you are indeed the real Scott Prisk, then I’m glad you enjoyed it. Kudos to you for taking the whole Metal Sucks thing in stride, btw. Ultimately, it’s about the hits, not the haters.

For those of you just tuning in, the gif in question is here, and is the finest example of pretty-singing-into-terrifying-screaming you’ve seen all day.