Jim Trainer

Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm

UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US is a 93 minute documentary on Norwegian Black Metal, a once underground sub-genre of Heavy Metal music with a nefarious past.  The film features interviews with the key players and progenitors of this scene and covers the events of murder and church burnings that are linked to Black Metal’s rise in popularity and notoriety.  Stark and barren-cold footage of Norway and a dark ambient soundtrack familiarize the viewer with contemporary Black Metal’s birthplace.  Footage of normal everyday sunny life in Norway, along with hallmark demos and recordings of the first Black Metal albums, contrast what these musicians may have been rebelling against with what their rebellion sounded like.  The film volleys between extensive interviews with Varg Virkenes and Fenriz of Burzum and Darkthrone, respectively.  In prison for the murder of Øystein Aarseth and the arson of several churches in Norway in the early 90’s, the interviews with Virkenes move the storyline along, culminating in the film’s depiction of these events.  Premiering in the U.S. on December 4, 2009, the film was screened here in Austin spookily days before the Halloween holiday.  UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US, distributed by Variance Films is also out now on DVD. 

The film hovers on the sensational just long enough to engage those unfamiliar with Black Metal and not dissuade those already in the know.  It may pique the curiosity of the uninitiated but for those in the scene it may only be of interest to the Black Metal completists among them.  I would recommend the DVD over going to the theater to see this documentary.  The extras with the DVD include a disc of outtakes which include any relevant confessions Virkenes will make of his role in the church burnings as well as an informative and humorous history of Black Metal provided by Fenriz.    Its extensive and accurate coverage and commentary from Black Metal’s prominent practitioners make the film an accurate depiction.  The film only scratches the surface, but this aids in its avoidance of any pandering to the sensational.  An excellent primer to the serious and grim realm of Black Metal.  Directed and produced by Aaron Aites & Audrey Ewell, screening in select cities throughout the U.S. and out now on DVD.

*Please check out the interview I did with 1349 here.*

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Long Cold Winter: 310,000 Millionaires and You

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm

But hey we can just build a great wall around the country club, keep the riff -raff out until the slump is through.”-Steve Earle

Congress adjourned last week after effectively blocking a bill that would temporarily extend Unemployment Benefits for another three months by a vote of 258-154.  Congress will return after their week-long Thanksgiving Holiday with one day on the clock until the benefits of 800,000 unemployed Americans expire on November 29.  If benefits are terminated it will be the first time in American history that this has happened with an unemployment rate over 8%.  Republicans stated rationale is not that they wish to cut benefits but would rather find other means to fund them than by adding to the deficit. 

Also on the floor is the decision whether to extend Bush-era tax breaks due to expire on December 31.  The point of contention between the two parties here is whether or not to continue tax breaks for those who make over $250,000 a year. 

The tax breaks and Unemployment Benefits spending will both undoubtedly add to the deficit.  Here’s the math according to this stellar article in the Columbia Journalism Review:

The total amount for extended Unemployed Benefits:  $12 billion.  The total amount in taxes from the  2% of the population who make over $250k:  $36 billion in 2011.

I don’t pretend to understand politics or economics but it looks to me like Republicans are using a different orifice to speak out of.  Like how when they say that Socialism is bad, they just mean that it’s bad for YOU.

Confederacy of Fear

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm

(from I GOT FIRED FROM THE OIL COMPANIES AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY AMERICAN FLAG)

“10/30/07  When we arrived at the yard I met with the boss.  He deemed me “Unfit for Work Offshore” and told me to get the fuck out of the yard.  I spent 9 hours in Louis Armstrong National Airport that night only to have my wallet stolen, right under the watchful eye of TSA, before my 5am flight back to Hostile City.  I was told to sit and wait while TSA searched for my wallet.  I found an envelope with $1900 and a flight itinerary on the seat.  The wallet was never found.”

When I passed through security the first time, the metal chain on my wallet set the detectors off.  I was told to put my wallet in what looked like a doggy bowl.  I passed through again.  No problem.  I collected my things and waited for my wallet.

“You’re free to go.”, a female guard dismissed me.   Hardly.

“Not without my wallet.”

TSA lost my wallet in a space shorter than I am tall, somewhere on their conveyor belt, under video surveillance at a security checkpoint on October 30, 2007.

Don’t scrutinize the Transportation Security Administration for their policies.  They don’t make the rules.  Hijackers and terrorists do.  When Richard Reid failed to detonate the explosives in his shoes on American Airlines Flight 63, TSA started enforcing that passengers take off their shoes at their checkpoints.  When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to ignite his underwear on his way to Detroit last Christmas, TSA brilliantly decided to invest our hard-earned tax dollars on 300 full-body scanners to the tune of $130,000-$170,000 per unit.

Don’t expect Congress or any airport employees to understand or care either.  They don’t have to go through.  Well, maybe Ron Paul cares.  But don’t expect this new Congress to do anything other than discontinue Unemployment Benefits and maintain tax cuts for the rich before 2011.

Bitch and complain all you want.  One thing you cannot do is trust that this bureaucracy of half-wits will ensure your safety while flying in America.

Mischief Night is not a good night to be in post-Katrina New Orleans.  I’ll give you that.  Up until then, I thought apathy was a good strategy when it came to World Politics.  But when my forced participation in Security Theatre cost me my wallet and my Social Security card, I start to care about what my country is up to.  I get to thinking:  How am I any fucking safer?  And how is it that I am in fact LESS safe at the hands of these poseur Cops?

Opt-Out?

Sure.  The whole fucking deal.  I Opt-Out of the Whole Fucking Deal.  How’s that?

See you on the train, motherfuckers.

Contentment is not Enough

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Crackin jokes at the bar.  The Lowest Common Denominator will break down your self-esteem.  These are your friends.  They’re fattening you for the fight.  This verbal sparring they do on the weekends, here on South Congress, drinking on these wooden benches, will toughen your resolve and get you through the week.  Or at least arm you with the knowledge that one of them is gonna laugh at what you had to endure come Friday.  They’ll laugh at the whole thing because-what can you do?  You’re working class.  You can’t do much.  Either go on this way and hate it, or just go on this way just the same.  Maybe if you looked back over your history you might find some examples of change, something happened because our ancestor-brothers of the working class said “No.”

Or, maybe not.  Maybe the man has outsmarted us again.  He learned our rebellion and he’s sold it right back to us.

Then there’s me.  I like these people.  They’re good people.  Funny, smart.  They’re like me.  Although, I don’t think any of them would pull in to a dark field on the East side of town to peek over a wooden fence and stare at everyone dancing and laughing and having fun.  In fact I know they wouldn’t because I was watching them.  I had a thought to hop the fence, fuck the $8 cover, out back a place called Red Hood Bar last night at 1 in the morning.  I got back in my car and I wasn’t sorry.  Even to rebel against it doesn’t seem like fun anymore.

Out on the weekend.  Drunk on the wind.  And Jagermeister and Mexican beer.  Come home to my apartment and sit down at the only piece of furniture I own, The Desk.  Roaches live in there.  They come out early in the morning like this, as I come home and sit down after another:  dumb loaded night in the City, out on the weekend. 

The Movable Feast moves on.  Even an elephant hunter will find the end of his game when it’s just not fun anymore.

Game wins.  But I don’t lose.  I get back in my car.  I drive home, drunk on the wind.  My idea of fun in my autumn age.  Doesn’t mean I ain’t tempted and will do again, like my father has done.  But just like I clocked into that cold building in the barrio every day for 6 months of my life, I will clock in now with the Politic.  Everyday the Politic.  And every day the Voice:  calling out or writing down.  I was right that I was losing.  Then.  But you gotta count the Victories too, man.

You got to count the Victories, too. 

Or maybe you’d rather hop the fence, get into some shit.  Hang out, get drunk, fuck all.  Chase skirt.  Play and get played. 

For some of us even discontentment is not enough.

The Great Debate

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 1:07 am

http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/ourcountry/75288/lady-antebellums-need-you-nowa-ripoff/

I came across this “story” on the Yahoo News Page.  Seems that there is some controversy concerning the originality of Lady Antebellum’s hit single “Need You Now”.  Fans of the Alan Parsons Project are up in arms at the similarity between its chorus and the chorus of APP’s hit “Eye in the Sky”.  If you think this controversy, this “story” and this blog are ridiculous, you’re absolutely right.  This is absurdist theatre at its finest. 

It seems like only the most trite, tired and least viable acts complain about getting ripped off.  One needs only a freshman year of college Psych101 and a brief listen to the band’s who’re crying thief to understand what is really going on here.  It’s called projection.  The Tom Petty/Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Last DJ”/”Danny California” controversy comes to mind and for the same ridiculous and absurd reasons.  Some of you may not remember that Tom Petty himself was accused of ripping off the same song he accused the RHCP of stealing from him. 

If you’re with me so far, you may be asking yourself:  “So what?” 

So what indeed. 

Monolithic acts like Tom Petty and the Alan Parsons Project have built ENTIRE careers out of derivative, cultural mish-mash bromide.  I hate to talk shit on any musician or artist out there trying to make it, they are human beings after all, like you and me.  But the way our Rock and Roll music has been co-opted is not funny and these “people” are not people at all.  They are a braintrust of tried and true popisms.  You like it because you heard it before and you heard it before because you like it.  Or so record companies would like you to believe.

There is original music out there that really means something.  Or, at least there was until some rockstar found a trendy wave of nuance to ride on.  Considering that Tom Petty or the Alan Parsons Project got ripped off by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Lady Antebellum for fuck sake is giving way too much consideration to ANY of these acts.

Do you hear any bluesmen crying about how their whole catalog, their entire image or how the blueprint they drafted for the entire rock and roll phenomena was stolen from them?  No, you don’t.  You know why?  BECAUSE THEY DON’T CARE.  They’re too busy living the life they’re singing about.  And do you ever hear the fans of these greats crying thief and demanding accountability from these bloated corporate acts who get a front page on Yahoo News?  No, you don’t.  And you know why?  Because RHCP and Lady Antebellum aren’t ripping ANYthing off of ANYbody.  If they were their music might actually be good.  It might actually inspire change in the world like all the great heroes of music lore have done.

Please.  Don’t give them that much credit.  Let ’em rip each other off until Iran destroys the world.  Let’em jerk each other off until the Chinese own everything.  The competition for the right to be the one who gave us the latest serving of pop drivel first isn’t worth your time or mine.

It’s never too late to stop trying, as my friend, the Reverend Kevin P.O’Brien, used to say.  Put your ear to the ground.  There’s something rumbling down there.  Support local original acts.  Lady Antebellum are as much a legitimate country band as Tom Petty has a real Mojo hand(fuck outta here).  The Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t punk rock and your parents lied to you. 

Hail hail rock and roll.

Once Over Coffee Bar

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 10:48 pm

on South 1st, makes the best goddamn cup of  coffee you’ll ever have in this city.  Nice people, too. Once Over Coffee Bar:  between Live Oak and Johanna on South First.

The End

Mental/Health

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 2:35 am

…lame duck Congressional decision whether to extend Unemployment Benefits…Yoga, smoking, why after more than two weeks of dragging it around I wake up today firing on all four cylinders…

On September 1st of this year I was laid off from my bartending job at the Whip In.  I was awarded Unemployment Compensation, just enough to pay my bills and nothing else.  I immediately got to work. 

I started building the promotions machinery for my music:  twitter, Facebook.  I set up a recording session with my friend Slim Bawb out at the Swamp, his studio in Cedar Creek.  I started attending shows and talking with other musicians.  I found out where they were playing and attended their shows with fliers in hand for mine.  I talked with venue owners, club owners.  I started looking into booking out-of-town gigs.

I got to work on the writing too.  I submitted my poetry for publication.  I contacted old zines who I used to write for, I contacted new ones to see if I could write for them.  I wrote a short story late one night, beer drunk.  I started about three other short stories that may never see the light of day.  I contacted friends of mine who were writers and poets

I looked into getting my website up to speed.  I want it to encompass all my endeavors from journalism, poetry, fiction and writing to my music, shows, tracks and appearances.  I talked with photographers about doing some photo shoots for the site.

Slowly but surely I am piecing enough work together to sustain me.  Congress has until November 30th to extend unemployment benefits.  I am hoping to have enough work together that ideally I won’t have to sign on to a job permanently or permanently full-time. 

I feel like a goddamn fool.  And it’s scary as hell out here.  I have a new friend and her name is Havilah.  She too is a singer/songwriter and has been practicing Yoga for many years.  She took me to my first class in over a decade.  She’s helping me realize that you’ve got to turn your mind off.  And don’t I know it.  Action is beyond thought.  Action is its own means and its own ends.  I need to get on a regimen with this.  Get back in touch with my body while I still have a chance to get healthy.

The old me likes to smoke many many cigarettes and get pensive about things.  Some underachiever/overachiever part of me thinks that in order for something to happen it must be at the forefront of all thought, all action, in order for it to be achieved.  This is a fallacy.  You just need to determine what it is, meditate on that and…ta-da! Let it Go.  For real.  Clutching onto something so tightly will not bring your dreams any closer.  In fact the opposite is true. 

So…Yoga.  Thinking about cutting down on smoking.  Meditation.  Action.  And enough freelance work to make it through the month.  External stability may not be achieved.  Inner stability is paramount.  I’ll keep you posted.

Jungle Rockers

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 1:57 am

How fucking cool is Austin?  I was driving down South Congress and listening to KUT when the Jungle Rockers came on.  They were doing an in studio performance promoting their new album.

So Matt Reilly’s talking to the boys, they’re from Cleveland, and he asks them what is it about Austin’s affinity for Rockabilly.  The singer answered that every band down here has a connection to some kind of roots music and it’s all folk music.  Matt asks them if they work.  They respond that they work and they play.  Matt added that there were probably a lot of musicians listening and it would probably be good for them to hear that just because you’re on the radio doesn’t mean you’re on easy street.

Read my mind, actually.  Coolness.