Locke & Key

395px-Joehilllockekey“After the gruesome murder of their father, the Locke kids, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode move with their mother Nina to the ancestral family home, Keyhouse. They soon discover that the house is full of secrets when they start finding magical keys which hold impossible powers such as turning people into ghosts, or being able to erase someone’s memories. They are not the only ones who know of the keys; a demonic creature known as Dodge is also after the keys, with the goal of opening the Black Door, which will allow the demons of hell to enter our world.” wikipedia

Locke and Key has been published by IDW since 2008. This coming Halloween, the last graphic novel in the entire series is getting released, and the collection for volume six will be released in 2014. A television series might be in the works. First optioned by Fox – they made a pilot in 2011, but didn’t pursue it. It’s still being shopped. MTV is making noises and might pursue a series, and a film is in the works at Universal with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci from Transformers and Star Trek at the helm.

Joe Hill is one of the hottest speculative fiction writers out there right now and being a rock star writer runs in the family. His dad is none other than Stephen King. Hill made a great choice working with Gabriel Rodriguez’s. The art works wonderfully. Big manga eyes and clean lines tell the story and set the mood easily. The characters are likable and one can identify with each of the characters inner story arcs.

The earlier books are available in bound collections. Each miniseries is plotted in three acts with three story arcs for six books per year. This year has seven to finish it out, with two extra guide books.

Hardcover Collections
Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft ISBN: 978-1-60010237-0
Vol. 2: Head Games ISBN 978-1-6000-483-11
Vol. 3 Crown of Shadows ISBN 978-1-60010-695-8
Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom ISBN 978-1-60010-886-0
Vol. 5: Clockworks ISBN 978-1-61377-227-0
Vol. 6: Omega – Alpha (collection in 2014)
Two extra books, The Guide To Known Keys, and Grindhouse

Locke and Key is a graphic novel series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez published by IDW.

Absurd Person Singular At The Nora Theater, Central Square, Cambridge, MA

Although touted as the “fall of the British upper classes,” the play is really a look at small town politicking in suburban England in the early seventies. These days though, being middle class is kind of like upper class, if you get my meaning, but I digress.
We peek into the lives of three couples: the young, the middle aged and the well established as they navigate the social pecking order over three horrible Christmas parties. In three acts we’re privy to three kitchens and each couples quirks.
It’s 1972, and the men have careers, but the women don’t. Our first kitchen is set in the modest home of our most ambitious social climbers, and the youngest couple, Mr. and Mrs. Hopcroft. Jane (Samantha Evans) nervously cleans as her husband, Sidney, a housing developer (David Berger-Jones), once a navy commander, tells her the kitchen looks “ship shape.” They count the minutes until their important guests arrive, the Jackons, the middle aged architect and his pill-popping wife, and the Brewster-Wrights, the banker and his gin swilling authoritarian wife. In a comedy of errors, fly spray is left out accidentally, (Heavens!) and absurdly, rather than being a point of embarrassment for our manic lady of the house, our most socially well established Mrs. Marion Brewster-Wright (Stephanie Clayman) uses the stuff as a perfume.
In the second act, we get even more physical black comedy with Ronald Brewster-Wright (Steve Barkhimer) accidental electrocution and several failed attempts at suicide by Eva Jackson (Liz Hayes) because her smary womanizing husband Geoffrey (Bill Mootos) is leaving her.
In our last most beautifully appointed kitchen we get that glimpse at the decline of the upper classes, since Mrs. Brewster-Wright, a drunk recluse, and Mr. Brewster-Wright an ineffectual in denial, have lost all social graces and are living in the cold without heat.The piece de resistance is the last scene where the once masters of the social order become the puppets. The Hopcrofts, now sporting the trappings of wealth, Sidney in a tux and Jane in a fur coat make the older couples dance in an absurd party game while they control the music and the conditions.
The costuming (Leslie Held), with a Marlo Thomas flip a la “That Girl” on (Samantha Evans), a leather jacket and mustache sported by (Bill Mootos) that just reeks of the dry look and smarmy early seventies, and long flowing hippy-dippy Indian print pantsuit worn by (Liz Hayes) set the time spot on. The ensemble cast is terrific, directed by Daniel Gidron and their interpretation of Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s “Absurd Person Singular” really works to place their play appropriately in 1972. A fun absurdist look at the rise and fall of the British middle classes from a long time ago that still has poignant lessons for today.

The Nora Theatre Company
Absurd Person Singular is up until 8/25/13.

K. Flay Turns It Up To Eleven at The Nines Festival

K. Flay, The Nines Festival, Devens, MA, August 10, 2013
K. Flay, The Nines Festival, Devens, MA, August 10, 2013

K. Flay opened with “Hail Mary” on the Lucky Cat stage late Saturday afternoon at the Nines Festival in Devens, MA to a small but dedicated crowd. The new EP “What If It Is” was released a week ago, K. announced, drinking a Coors Light, and sporting a great cheesy black Call of the Wild tee with an airbrushed Jack London, black jeans and combat boots. K. stomped and pogoed through the first few songs, then stopped to check in with the audience, asking, “how you doin’ Devens Massachusetts?” A direct response was flung back “No one is fucking from Devens Massachusetts!” So she said, “Well how you doin’ wherever the fuck you’re from?” The audience roared with approval. As the set progressed, she got the crowd into a call and response with “Hell, Yeah” and demanded the audience “clap motherfuckers” going into a killer scat-rap with a heavy metal backing.

Noah was crushing it, scratching, and making magic with his Buddha encrusted laptop and turntables. He and K. Flay blew it apart dancing, hair flying to a looped background while Nick kicked it out on the kit. K. Flay confessed she wrote material when she was a bit stoned, and didn’t know if the audience could relate, but thought they might could for her intro to “Fvcking Crazy,” a song she wrote about trouble with commitment. “You know whether you’re going to continue with the relationship, you know about those, right?” she quipped, as the band laid down the beat. The trio ripped it up with a severe three person drum session with Nick on the kit, Noah on electronic drums and K. Flay on an electric blue Tom, playing the rim and the skins.

As a band, they hail from San Francisco, but K. Flay now lives in NYC. Wherever they’re from, they convey a raw urban vibe. Subjects range from rage about injustice and dating woes to eating disorders. K. Flay is fast and precise in her rapping which packs an emotional punch. She announced their finish would be “wild ass fucking songs,” which ended with “Sun Burn.” As the set ended, Noah shot K. Flay with a super soaker, then the two of them sprayed the audience “for your pleasure and enjoyment,” K. Flay said. They’re an incredible mix of headbanging hip-hop rap with raw metal energy reminiscent of MIA and worth a listen. Catch them on tour now with Icona Pop & Sirah supporting their new EP release “What If It Is.” They’ll be playing Boston at the Paradise September 19.

Get Ready for The Nines Festival in Devens, MA

The Nines Festival rocks Devens, MA - Saturday Aug. 10th, 2013
The Nines Festival rocks Devens, MA – Saturday Aug. 10th, 2013

Get ready to head to Devens, MA! The old army fort town will be the host of the first Nines Festival on Willard Field August 10th from 1-11PM. Parking is free, and kids under ten get in free, accompanied by an adult.

A collaborative effort by 3 River Arts and Great Northeast Productions, the Nines Festival promises a diverse line-up suitable for all ages including music, comedy, art installations and interactive exhibits of local, national and emerging artists. Food and crafts will be for sale on site.

Notable indie-rocker national acts like, Austin’s Explosions In the Sky touring with Nine Inch Nails, and Boston’s own Air Traffic Controller will be there, as well as Shuggie Otis the well known R&B guitarist. San Diego’s Delta Spirit will be mixing it up with their own brand of roots, blues and country, and DJ Kid Koala will create some unique sounds with his turntables. With three stages going, plus a comedy tent, there is sure to be something to suit everyone.

For more info about the event:
General ticket purchase: Ticketmaster, The Nines Festival or call 800-653-8000.
VIP ticket purchase: Gets you much swag and goodness, in fact you’ll be on cloud nine, for details scroll to the bottom of the page.

Air Traffic Controller, The Outside The Box Festival, Beacon Stage

Air Traffic Controller, Dave_Munro
Air Traffic Controller, Dave_Munro

Air Traffic Controller’s Dave Munro announced they would start their set off with a little number called “Test, 1,2.” Apparently a song they do for sound check when they don’t get one. Casey Sullivan, a recording artist in her own right, plays a mean Hoffner style bass, the instrument favored by Paul McCartney. They soon kicked it into “Pick Me Up” off of their latest, Nordo. Following it up with a brilliant Munro and Sullivan duet on “Anyway.” Another off Nordo was about a dream Munro had. “Magic.” Jangly and discordant, it’s loaded up with heavy bass and angular guitar. They needed to start the song again since Munro said they partied too hard the night before. Munro talked about the CD they recorded and how this time Alison Shipton was having to represent for the whole warehouse of people that usually accompanied “Blame.” When they recorded they had a forty piece band from BU. Munro and Casey readied the audience to participate with the sing along “Hurry Hurry,” and kids ran to the front to dance, even in the record heat.

Munro gave a shout out to Ted Cutler, the founder of Outside the Box Festival for this crazy idea, adding that this might be the coolest thing Boston has ever had. Munro changed to a white Fender electric and Steve Scott when not playing lead guitar or keyboard took up Sullivan’s bass while she played mandolin. Alison Shipton delivered an elegant violin solo, on “Ready or Not,” and before launching into “Foot of the Bed” Shipton said Munro got married last Saturday. Munro teased “yeah, to Alison.” To which she replied “Musta been another dream.” Munro switched back to acoustic and Scott back to piano for another few songs. They plugged “You Know Me” in current rotation on WERS. Their last song was off the new CD “Nordo” called “Bad Axe, MI” another story telling number about a band from Bad Axe Michigan. This highlighted everyone’s talents with a fast kick-ass fiddle solo, killer drums by Richie Munro and flourishing guitar. The Munro brothers facing each other, Dave finalized the set with a rock and roll jump on stage. Catch them this summer around Boston.

Check out Nordo their new CD with previews on their website: http://www.airtrafficcontrollermusic.com/


Air Traffic Controller, Casey_Sullivan
Air Traffic Controller, Casey_Sullivan
Air Traffic Controller, Steve_Scott
Air Traffic Controller, Steve_Scott
Air Traffic Controller, Alison_Shipton
Air Traffic Controller, Alison_Shipton

From Denmark With Love: A Comedy Mash-Up of Hamlet & Bond

Hamlet walks across the stage with a teapot. The actor is held in a James Bond style spotlight. He turns suddenly to face the audience and pours tea. The name is Ham – Hamlet. The parody mashup of James Bond and Hamlet takes off. Armed with an invisible sword made with twelfth century technology by Q, our Hammie, the hammy hero, seeks revenge — a dish best served shaken, not stirred. John J. King’s script is outrageous. It’s loaded with bad puns and rich language, throwing every Bond title into wonderful sentences that the actors mug expertly in delivery. Daniel Jones stars as both Hamlet and Claudius with wonderful imitations of Sean Connery and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The story more or less: The criminal mastermind Claudius Von Bjornborg has a sinister plot to take over all of Europe using poisoned milk. Hammy, Ophelia, Horatio and Q must deal with Hamlet’s mommy issues and help him win back the throne and stop Claudius’s evil plot or die trying.

Presented by Vaquero Playground and The Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
You can also check out From Denmark With Love – THE ALBUM, a compilation of ten Bond Theme Song mash-ups by Boston bands.http://www.vaqueroplayground.com/fdwlalbum.html

A Band Called Death — Great Movie, An Awesome Punk Band

a band called death

Picture this: It’s the early seventies. You’re a black male. You sport a killer ‘fro. You’re living in the inner city, and the hot groups are people like Chicago and Earth, Wind, and Fire. You’ve grown up in a town soaked in Motown and Soul – Detroit. You’re a teenager, you need to rebel and your parents claim to be open minded. What do you do? You start a punk band.

Part documentary a la Robert Burns and part current interviews and performances by Death and Rough Francis, the film recounts the genesis and trajectory of three brothers and a band. With influences including Alice Cooper, the MC5, Iggy Pop, the Who and Queen, these black kids were playing fast “white boy music” and in a “black boy” town, and met with little acceptance.

A great story about integrity, regret, purpose, spirit and what music can mean. As teens, in the early seventies, the Hockney brothers formed a band in their extra bedroom. They got close to getting a record deal with Arista, and recorded a studio demo, but the eldest Hockney brother, David, stuck to his guns – the band’s name must stay Death. His brothers stuck to the family code – never fight and stick together – so Death never got a recording contract.

As young men, Dannis (drums), Bobby (bass/vocals) and David (guitar/vocals) continued their musical odyssey. They found their way out of Detroit to the opposite end of the cultural spectrum, Vermont, and put together a Christian rock band. Eventually, David goes back to Detroit, but his brothers develop a reggae band which meets with moderate success. David cuts a single as Rough Francis, but only presses a few hundred records. His work, again, meets with rejection.

Fast forward thirty years: enter the record collectors. Some of those interviewed include Henry Rollins, Joey Ramone’s brother Micky, and oddly, Frodo. Elijah Wood is a record exec, so, whatever, anyway, all these rabid fan-boy vinyl collectors are blown away by Death’s 45s. On eBay one sells for $800 bucks. Bobby Hackney ( bass) is flabbergasted when he finds this out from his son, and that his music is being played at underground parties in San Francisco. Finally, Bobby’s sons start a Death tribute band calling it Rough Francis to honor their uncle Dave, the visionary.

David Hackney, the guitarist, song writer, oldest and the leader of the group, was a gifted, wild, wise, tortured soul with a drinking problem and a bad cigarette habit. He died of lung cancer, thirteen years ago. A huge loss to his family and especially his younger brothers. Prophetically, right before his death, he gave the demo tapes to his brother Bobby to keep safe, saying hang onto the tapes, people will come looking for this music. Boy, was he right.

To find out where it’s playing and for more about Death see the links below.

The Official Death website

Rough Francis (The Legacy)

A Band Called Death (Drafthouse Films)

Los Lobos, Kick-off Outside The Box Festival In Boston, MA

Los Lobos, Out of the Box Festival, 2013, Boston, MA Photo by C H Willson.
Los Lobos, Outside the Box Festival, 2013, Boston, MA Photo by C H Willson.

Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Alejandro Escovedo hit the Beacon Stage.

Outside The Box Inaugural Festival July 13-21, 2013

Maestro Charles Ansbacher, the founder of Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Free for All Concert Fund passed away in 2010, but his legacy is manyfold. Outside the Box founder Ted Cutler was so touched by the man’s simple philosophy that “concerts should be accessible to all” that he “built an entire festival around it.” Robert Brustein, critic and Founding Director of the A.R.T also was involved from the ground up in the creation of this enormous happening.

The kick-off concert was held on the “Beacon Stage” on Boston Common. One of several stages specifically setup for the nine day event. Three jumbo-trons surrounded the stage and the grass was partitioned off for VIPs. Sponsor’s logos were prominently displayed on the proscenium.

We missed Los Lonely Boys’ and came in as Alejandro Escovendo was leaving the stage. Los Lobos kicked it into “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” with an unexpected awesome funk grind, followed by another great cover of the blues classic made most famous by The Allman Brothers, “One Way Out,” but originally recorded by “Sonny Boy” in the sixties. Everyone sang along to the chorus, “Cause there’s a man down there, might be your man, I don’t know.” The vibe morphed into country soul with “Just A Matter of Time,” and Steve Berlin performed an amazing bass sax solo. Los Lonely Boys joined Los Lobos on stage with a very tight version of “Don’t Worry Baby” from Los Lobos breakout album “How will the Wolf Survive?” (1984). The Lonely Boys continued the extended jam, Jojo Garza offering up a wicked bass solo on that number. The Los Lobos’ singer and guitarist Cesar Rosas jokingly warned that with that low tone on that solo Jojo was getting close to brown tones. Next up was some Grateful Dead. The audience danced and held forth with much applause, followed by “Bertha” written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter with another kick ass guitar solo by the long haired lead guitarist and singer Los Lonely Boy’s Henry Garza sporting a Boston Strong shirt. For the encore Barrence Whitfield, a local boy, joined the crowded stage with a screaming rendition of “Georgia Slop.” Los Lobos ended with their signature “La Bamba” and “Good Lovin’” the 1966 Young Rascals hit.

More music, theatre, and art events will take place throughout the week – all for free. Some highlights include the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Puppet Show Place, Quick Silver Dance, Taj Mahal, Gaga The Musical, Imagination Movers, James Montgomery, Air Traffic Controller, and a concert on Saturday evening featuring Buffalo Tom, The Lemonheads and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones at the Beacon Stage.

For a schedule of events see: http://outsidetheboxboston.org/

Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Alejandro Escovedo are touring together.

The Specials – Still Politically Relevant and Spreading The Love

Lynval Golding of The Specials at The House of Blues, 7-11-2013

The Specials started with “Do The Dog.” The crush began almost immediately, but I managed to stay in front of Lynval Golding handling back-up vocals and rhythm guitar and stepping in for Neville Staple on lyrics like “Not the Donkey.” We were treated to his front and center skank, guitar strapped over his rude boy sharp black suit and porkpie hat from the start. He was convivial, making eye contact with the audience. “Do The Dog” was directly followed up by “Dawning Of A New Era” and “Gangsters.”

MIA were Jerry Dammers (keyboards and writer) and Neville Staple (vocals, dancing, percussion) who made up a goodly portion of the ska element of the band. We were left with five of the original seven, but that didn’t stop the 2-tone sound from working its magic.

The stagecraft was minimal. The Specials giant banner in the back, and the lighting was good, and not particularity moody. Occasional hot white would flash the audience, so the band had a good look at us as well. Terry Hall, the lead singer, was in good form, but he was a reticent front man. He shrank from the skank, not manic in the least, so the meds must be working. Egalitarian and slightly apologetic, he stood back by John Bradbury at the drum kit or near the horn section whenever possible, not going nuts dancing. He ran off stage a couple of times, going a bit TMI with reporting he had to pee, then threw bottled water to the audience, funning with one person calling them too ugly to have any water. Later in the show Hall confessed it would bother him all night that he called him ugly. He made up for it saying “he’s lovely, actually, but ugly,” then went on to offer him fruit, confirming if he liked bananas, strawberries and so forth all the way to cumquats and gooseberries. Okay, maybe not gooseberries.

The sound was excellent, except for a few minutes when things got oddly muddy, the bass and rhythm guitar pitched up too loud and we lost Golding’s vocals. Golding stepped out from behind his music stand, turned a knob on his glitter encrusted starburst guitar, looked fiercely at the soundboard and the sound popped back into place and the rock steady beat held-fast.

John Bradbury was kicking the shit out of his drum kit, and his soloing was superb. The horn section was terrific, even sans Motown moves, and of course, Horace Panter (bass) and Roddy “Radiation” Byers (lead guitar, vocals) were fantastic and even came over to hang with Golding for a few solos, so I got to see them up close and personal for a minute. They were each cheeky in their own way and fun. Byers even mocked his rockstar moves momentarily with his low slung guitar and a tongue-in-cheek eye-roll and shrug before heading back to his microphone.

The moshing got wild with elbows and knees on “Monkey Man,” but after “Rat Race” Golding took a moment to talk about the marathon bombings in Boston and race relations, which naturally led to “Why?” and “It Doesn’t Make It Alright” with its direct discussion of physical attacks because of color. “Concrete Jungle,” had everyone clapping, Nik Torp, the “new” keyboardist, offered up a great Hammond B-3 sound at the start of “Blank Expression.” “Stereotypes,” and “It’s Up To You,” were spot on and had the audience singing and stomping if not skanking along, though it was too crowded for a true skank. The crowd went nuts with the first notes of Golding’s harmonica on “A Message To You (Rudy),” and again on “Too Much Too Young,” and a wonderful rendition of “Ghost Town.” The show ended with “Enjoy Yourself” and “Your Wondering Now (The End)” for encores. The Specials are an important band, still sending a politically relevant message of revolution, integration, ending poverty and not giving up on the dream of true equality and brotherly love. What a great message, and what a great show. Keep the peace in the band boys, and keep going, because we still need you.

The Specials at House of Blues in Boston, MA, 7-11-1013

Review of Oblivion: Not the State, the Movie

Oblivion 2013
Oblivion 2013

Where you see the movie makes a difference. It’s great to see sci-fi movies with a bunch of nerds. I saw it at MIT LSC. I thought the preview for Oblivion looked good, despite Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise. Morgan Freeman was in it to boot, so that made it better. Always go to see a movie with God in it.

Do I have to talk about plot? Ugh. The premise was, let’s say, Planet of the Apes meets Star Wars in 2001 on Dune with a little Star Trek original, Running Man and Solaris thrown in for good measure. Okay?

It was epic, very epic and slow, very slow. The first half-hour is Tom Cruise in voice over explaining the set-up over a groovy CGI montage. There was an invasion, the moon got blown-up and that caused earth to fail; earthlings leave. Cruise as Jack Harper and his communications officer Vica played by Andrea Riseborough are left there as part of a two member maintenance crew. They live in a space-age fire tower, kind of Jetson’s, actually, and Our-Boy-Elroy and Jane-His-Wife make sure the machines work and that water is harvested for the off world colony of what remains of the human race on Titan, that moon, in Jupiter’s orbit. Jupiter Two? But that turns out not to be true. Melissa Leo is the chirpy happy mission control who tries to keep Jack on task, but he breaks protocol for love.

cruise_ kurylenko

We move into a love triangle. The crew of a human spacecraft crash lands, and Jack who turns out to be a clone saves his Real-Wife the Russian cosmonaut Julia, who haunts his dreams, played by Olga Kurylenko. It’s all drama. He’s broken protocol, and Jane-His-Wife knows “it’s always been her,” and MIT is moaning and giggling and the spectacular CGI is waining in it’s ability to retain anyone’s attention.

Enter Morgan Freeman to save the day with a wonderful kitschy performance as the leader of the rebellion. He has steampunk glasses, black feathers and a cigar. Excellent. So now we get the real story: The enemy Jack has been fighting are the last remnants of the human race. Our-Boy-Elroy and Jane-His-Wife are in fact clones. In divvied up sections, they protect the harvest of water for the aliens that killed the planet. The aliens keep the clones separated by mind fucking them into thinking that the rest of the world is radioactive. In a turn of events, Jack meets himself, in another section, fights himself, and we wish one of them had a beard, but instead he has a cut on the bridge of his nose so we know he’s Our-Boy-Elroy. So Real-Wife, Julia, is dying from a wound, and Our-Boy-Elroy masquerades as himself (clone 52 instead of clone 49) to get medicine to fix Real-Wife. Why doesn’t he have the tiny medical device on his ship, that powers up like a hand vac? Chalk that up to plot device.

Once our boy learns the truth, clone 49 sacrifices himself to save the planet, but luckily he has waterfront property in the Hudson Valley, oh yeah, the second flat, he sends Real-Wife’s space pod there. She wakes up pregnant, and lives happily ever after, especially when Jack 52 comes home with the rest of the freedom fighters. Oh, and Morgan Freeman dies fighting the good fight, saving the resistance, just like the General in Matrix, and the other stud in the movie Sykes played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau accepts Our-Boy-Elroy in the end because he’s going to go get himself blown-to-bits to save the planet.

In trying to find the graphic novel that the movie was based on, I found out that there isn’t one. Turns out that Radical Publishing put out an “ashcan” – a teaser comic a few years ago when there were a bunch of companies that were doing comic to movie projects. After all, comics are a built in storyboards. Most of these companies have failed. The “ashcan” premiered at Comicon San Diego and caught the attention of the Tron Uprising guy, Joseph Kosinski. He teamed up with Radical and they pulled together a work up that caught the attention of Tom Cruise who backed it with his production company so the film got made. If it had been a hit, they’d produce the comic, but since it was only a hit outside the US, no comic will be made. The comic was supposed to be released in 2012, and the movie was supposed to release summer of 2013, but instead, the movie released in spring 2013 and the comic, according to the director isn’t getting produced at all. But hold up, Radical says otherwise. They say it’s coming out in 2014 when they release Hercules. Don’t hold your breath. You can get the “ashcan” on eBay if you really want.