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Siren Music Festival 2009 July 22, 2009

Posted by ashiah in Music.
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siren-music-festival1Yeah, OK. So I know I was supposed to write my big spanking music post this weekend, but unfortunately I wasn’t near internet all weekend. Instead I spent my Saturday getting sunburned at the Siren Music Festival, which is held at Coney Island every year. Although there were a few performances that surprised me here and there, I pretty much was only interested in Micachu and the Shapes and Spank Rock. Both were awesome, by the way. A few of Micachu’s songs didn’t translate well to stage, but the crowed seemed strangely intrigued. Spank Rock straight up rocked it, although there were too many of his “pals” on stage and eventually security plugged the cord on them anyway.

But let’s get to the surprising ones. Thee Oh Sees (well, at least the 20 minutes I saw of their set) was amazing. But right now I’m not pleased with anything I hear on their Myspace. Strange. But then again, while at the show, I just got through suffering through a performance by Japandroids, so I guess in comparison Thee Oh Sees weren’t so bad. The other acts were fair but not compelling or interesting enough to want to write about them. A really drunk guy who kept telling people I was his wife called these acts “bearded bands,” aka white guys with beards and guitars.

By far the most interesting performance came from psychotic Israeli act Monotonix. They played their whole set in the audience….while crowd surfing. Check out these pics I stole from Brooklyn Vegan (which reminds me, either I need a new cell phone or I need to break down and buy a digital camera already).
monotonix-siren

Stolen from here.

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New design, new job, new life…old blog July 14, 2009

Posted by ashiah in Uncategorized.
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I’m back! Well, I think. Anyway, I finally got around to redesigning the blog. Here’s the original photo I used.

I forgot where I stole it from, but if you’re the author of this picture, let me know and I’ll credit you.

Unfortunately, new layouts usually means coding problems. For some unexplainable reason, I’ve been using tables to align photos and write captions. This new layout now automatically centers images. But today, while on my computer at work, I noticed the layout looked different on Firefox (I’m on a Mac, by the way, and I use Flock). The images align properly, but the text now hogs the image box. Bleh. I might go back and fix the code later, but for now….meh.

I have a lot of stuff to catch up on since I know I’ve been gone for months. I feel especially awful that I never got around to posting my favorite albums of 2008. It’s somewhat of a tradition of mine. In fact, I know it’s freakin’ July, but I’ll probably write one anyway. A short one. But damn it, it’s important for you to know what I like! So that will probably be my next post, and after that, who knows? Maintaining this blog has gotten a lot harder since I got a *real* job.

I moved to NYC late last year and spent the majority of my time working internships and part time jobs. I pretty much had no days off. Then in March I finally got my first job as an assistant at a magazine. My job at the magazine is to write their blog. So, as you can see, by the time I get home from work I’m all blogged out. But the blog at work doesn’t reflect me or my interests, which is why it’s important to keep this blog alive. I enjoy writing about this stuff, and lately I’ve been really missing it.

OK, so that’s my rambling post of why I’ve been gone for so long. Stay tuned sometime later this week for my MONSTER “What’s Playing Now” update.

Film review: Blood The Last Vampire (2009) July 13, 2009

Posted by ashiah in Film.
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bloodcoverI know, I know. I’m terrible. I went into hibernation for nearly 5 months without bothering to update my poor, poor blog. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), it took seeing such a craptacular film to bring me out of my writing hibernation. Oh, boy. I didn’t think they still made movies so mind-numbingly awful.

Blood: The Last Vampire is the live-action adaptation of the popular anime series about a half human/half vampire, Saya, who hunts other vampires while being undercover as a schoolgirl. I’ve never seen the anime series, but I always knew it was a series that had a large fan base behind it. To be honest, most live-action adaptations tend to be hit-or-miss, so I wasn’t exactly expecting a masterpiece or anything. But from the first scene I knew it was going downhill — from the overdramatic closeups of Saya’s face, to the over-the-top violence that wasn’t cool or stylized but just silly and cheap.

Speaking of the violence, this film has possibly the worst CGI I have ever seen anywhere. Everyone splurts big, shiny globs of gray-ish bubbles. And 15 minutes into the movie and the audience was already cracking up, especially at Saya (played by Jeon Ji-hyun)’s deadpan delivery: “I don’t investigate. I kill. *dramatic closeup*”

Oh! Or how about the part where Saya is battling a karate professor/vampire who spirals into some kind of short demon/gremlin thing, who then cannonballs off the roof of a building and sprouts wings. The whole theater was rolling at that one. In fact, if the film was intentionally aiming to be this terrible, it could possibly be the best film of the year.

bloodscene

When my hair dangles in my hair like this it means I’m MAD.

Another major factor weighing against the film was the overwhelming amount of Western influence muddling with the plot; I’m mostly referring to the character Alice. Alice, played by some horrible actress I don’t feel like looking up, is the daughter of some general on some military base where Saya is sent (as as you can see, I’m too lazy to bother looking this stuff up). Basically, the whole story arch around her is completely useless. Her sole purpose in the film is to stand around, cry, sweat and not die (even though I’m sure everyone in the theater wanted her to).

Her role in the film magnifies the problem with East Asian films in North America, which are studios who think Asian characters can’t lead a movie. The film should have been entirely from Saya’s point of view, but instead she has to spit her screen time with a pointless and unnecessary white character. In fact, if all of Alice’s scenes were cut, the later half of the movie might have been somewhat salvageable. Maybe.

But even with its unintentional hilarities, possibly the biggest disappointment was the final boss battle. Despite all the horrible acting, the disjointed plot, the Western interference, the unintentionally hilarious fight sequences, at least we can expect an awesome boss battle, right? Unfortunately, the film couldn’t even do that.

But hey, it could make an excellent party film! Take a shot every time someone gets sliced in half. Or, take a shot every time the camera zooms in on Jeon Ji-hyun’s greasy bangs. The choice is yours! Otherwise, skip it.