19 Nov

Beware the street teams

My presentation topic is “newspaper street teams” and I’m sitting in a coffee shop at 10 p.m. in Columbia, Mo. while desperately searching Google for band flyers.

I’ve chosen a Creative Commons image of a small child with cigarette dangling from his lips, matches in his hand. “FREE BYOB” screams the flyer and it will be my introduction to this group of publishers and executives.

Around me are dozens of college students, shuffling papers, dragging trackpads and wasting time. This is better than my hotel room, though.

My girlfriend sends me a note: “you’re really going conversational, eh?” I mumble something about it being the only way to rise above the fray.

There are massive contradictions sitting side by side in this presentation. These land mines are how I work – a bomb planted to catapult me into Mr. Extrovert.

I sometimes speak to college students, but it’s always with expletives carefully exploited. A “damn” reference is retained this time, but nothing stronger.

There will be a confidence monitor tomorrow, ready to show me a typo forgotten and a good idea gone bad. Hook me up.

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16 Nov

Rundgren in Peoria

My vision goes red during a cover of Arthur Brown's "Fire."

My vision goes red during a cover of Arthur Brown’s “Fire.”

I didn’t want to go to a Todd Rundgren show alone. Why? Because I knew I’d be struggling to convey to you what exactly happened if I didn’t have a witness.

We were warned, of course. It was billed as “An Unpredictable Evening with Todd Rundgren.” Some of the reviews of this tour were rather mixed, but I really don’t see how anything could be surprising.

Todd came out on stage at Limelight Eventplex on Saturday night and said our most hated phrase almost as a threat:

“Will we play in Peoria? Yes, we will.”

He then went on to warn us about calling out requests (they wouldn’t be honored) and bragged that his band had “a slush pile of songs” to choose from.

“How many of you are on a date? Expecting to get laid afterward?”

There’s something Howard Stern-ish about Todd. His hair? His obvious intelligence? His dirty uncle vibe?

But his voice was never in question. He may not hit the falsetto range with as much gusto anymore, but he has perfect pitch. I can’t say the same of many of his peers.

At some point, I glance over at my friend Nate to make sure that I’m not stroking out. TODD IS PLAYING A RECORD FOR US THAT ISN’T EVEN HIS.

He did land a few jams, though. “I Saw the Light” and “Hello It’s Me” were all Richard Cheese‘d out and only recognizable by lyrics alone. He’s apparently been doing this weirdness with his hits since 1997.

“If a Todd concert is on your bucket list, then this is your chance, young dude.” $25 to fulfill my dad’s prophecy, even if Todd never stood up.

Setlist after the jump…

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23 Oct

Episode 84: “Gremlins”

What happens when nobody is prepared to pick a movie? We all pick a movie! Gremlins gently reminds us that no one should eat after midnight. Then man boots (boots of men) end up being an unusually lively topic of conversation. Boots, not boobs. And did you know that horses come in different sizes? They put em in cars, they put em in yer tv. They put em in stereos and those little radios you stick in your ears. They even put em in watches, they have teeny gremlins for our watches!

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08 Oct

Crap

It started with vomit. I mean, that was the most likely story – it was a Saturday night.

By Sunday morning, the story had pivoted to decaying flesh. A body was stashed in a lower-level storage unit. Or an elderly resident had passed away without notice.

This is all speculation, of course. I was fond of sewer gas, but my sleuthing was dismissed by the building’s engineer.

The doorman was the real victim in this crap. Sitting there amid the stench, still never opening the door for me. It would have been a breath of fresh air.

06 Oct

Episode 83: “Vampire’s Kiss”

It’s been no secret that one lonely member of the Movie Night™ crew is a big fan of Nicolas Cage. Vampire’s Kiss gives us his trademark manic approach with a slight tinge of regret – is this about mental illness? Is it even really a comedy? These are questions for academia. We’ll take the remainder of our time trading horse tips. But is it easier to ride a horse than to fly a helicopter? It’s all alphabetical. You just PUT it IN the right file! According to ALPHABETICAL ORDER! You know – A, B, C, D, E, F, G!

Learn more about Movie Night™. Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or Stitcher.