Saturday, April 17, 2010

Henry Rollins "Harmony In My Head" free podcasts

If you don't know who Henry Rollins is, I probably don't want to speak with you at all. Sorry, but that's the truth. Usually, I'd feel obliged to do a brief synopsis of Henry's career, but not here. I'm here for a different reason -- to promote his radio program on KCRW, a listener-funded public radio station based out of Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, CA.

Henry's 2-hour weekly radio show (titled "Harmony In My Head") is where he and trusty Engineer X spin tales and tunes from the wildest out-jazz (Coltrane is especially well-represented) to classic punk rock to the finest Sublime Frequencies international sounds to Parliament and James Brown funk to the greatest pre- and post-punk like Wire, SWANS, Cramps, Suicide, Stooges, and tons more. It's a breathtaking mix of styles, genres, and vibes, and essential listening to anyone with an open mind and ear. Actual podcasts of this show aren't really available from the source, but luckily there is a fan-based site to archive and make these broadcasts available for download for those of us not able to listen live.

Rollins' radio shows run 2 hours apiece, and can be downloaded for free from this site:

Rollins Archive site

Just listening to a few of these shows will have you schooled. Absolutely superb, tasteful, and gut-level music for true heads.

Henry's site with blog, store, etc.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Bad Biology" (director: Frank Henenlotter)

Wow. I have been a huge fan of Henenlotter's 1982 exploitation/horror gem "Basket Case", and to a lesser degree his fairly sicko "Brain Damage" of 1988. But his return after a 16-year absence, modestly titled "Bad Biology", takes his low-budget trash cinema aesthetic a couple of steps further. Not sure exactly how to describe this one, so here goes.

We meet Jennifer, played by Charlee Danielson, who is a young art photographer with a terribly tragic past. See, she was born with a proliferation of clitorises, and her need for sexual fulfillment is well beyond that of normal women. She is a walking orgasm machine, without a solid relationship to call her own. If this reminds slightly of the legendary "Deep Throat", it's not too far a stretch. Anyway, Jennifer is a sort of sexual predator herself, with some other dark secrets that I won't get into.

Through a series of predicaments, she comes across (uhh...) a fellow named Batz (Anthony Sneed) who has a problem of his own. His penis is an enlarged, deformed beast with a will (and mind) of it's own (with an inhuman drug problem), and he cannot find meaningful relations with anyone due to this deformity. So go figure - the two meet, but just as Jennifer is dreaming of fulfillment, and ready to pounce, Batz' cock decides to leave. Yes, it inchworms itself around, terrorizing young ladies (also known as porn stars, if you must know) until the drugs wear off. It's really quite raunchy, but good, tasteless fun overall. I won't spoil anything else, but suffice to say it's quite a climax. Hah!

The acting here is sometimes crappy (as is the script), but hey, this one titillates (and there are plenty of tits). The soundtrack, consisting of quality forward-thinking hip-hop tunes from Prince Paul (and others) is superb. Recommended for the trashiest film fans only (like me). Prudes and purists need not apply for this one!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Blank Generation" DVD (director: Ulli Lommel)

Filmed back in 1978 during the heyday of New York's lower East side art scene, this film starred a young Richard Hell as Billy, a struggling musician who becomes entangled with a beautiful (but slightly crazy) French journalist named Nada, (played by a rather wooden Carole Bouquet). Their relationship is volatile and rather obtuse, with several side-stories attached to both characters that don't make sense or contribute to the overall "plot". Nonetheless, as a time capsule of an amazingly creative time and place, this well-filmed document is a must for fans lamenting the loss of the influential 70's-80's NY arts scene and CBGB's (which is featured prominently in "Blank Generation"). As well, several performances by Richard Hell and the Voidoids are quite worthwhile, although the same couple of songs are repeated throughout ad nauseam. A neat cameo by Andy Warhol himself also adds a certain name value here, though he doesnt play an essential role. And if the dialogue isn't quite ideal (or emotive), the movie is still enjoyable enough. Hell himself provides a 45-minute interview looking back at his (self-professed) embarrassing screen debut. Sure, it's a flawed film for certain, but I"ve seen a whole lot worse. (MVD Visual)

Richard Hell's official site