Tag Archives: rants

The Blarg No. 90: The Blood Feud Family Singers

It’s in the mail, that green envelope that holds all my hope for knocking the juggernaut of horror off of its current path of destruction—sidelining it for just a little while so I can catch my breath. Who knows what kind of impact my singular vote will have? All I can do is fervently hope that enough people have a similar dissatisfaction with the current direction of things—whether that’s the recent additions to the Supreme Court, the withdrawal from the Paris agreement, the ban on transgender military service, or any number of other politically, socially, and scientifically regressive policy decisions—that they vote accordingly.

I love the convenience of early voting, but I feel a little bit robbed of the voting experience this time. This is probably the most important election of my roughly twenty years of voting eligibility, or at least it feels that way, and a part of me wishes that I had the experience of waiting in line, standing in a booth, and turning in my ballot in-person.

I’m also a little bit paranoid. With all of the reporting on election tampering of late, I have a desire to follow my envelope on its journey from mailbox to tabulation—just to make sure everything gets counted correctly. It’s all out of my hands, though, and all I can do now is wait and watch the returns.

Anyway, on to this week’s show:

The Blood Feud Family Singers started out when The Haymarket Squares would sit in on Darryl Scherrer’s songs, not entirely unlike Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles. From there, Scherrer and the Square’s Marc Oxborrow thought it would be a great idea to put a band together (they explain it much better in the interview). The band has one album out, No Moon, and they will release their new album, Adversary, on Sunday, November 11th, with an album release show at Last Exit Live at 7:30 pm.

On this, the 90th Limited Engagement, Marc Oxborrow and Darryl Scherrer discuss everything from the formation of The Blood Feud Family Singers, to songwriting, to Darryl taking a pizza order from Tom Waits. Be sure to check out their new album, Adversary, and stick around until the end of the show to hear a track from the album.

Best.

Jared Duran

Listen to LE 90 – The Blood Feud Family Singers

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Performance Art, Podcast, The Blarg

The Blarg No. 88: Barbara VanDenburgh

It has to be talked about, if only briefly. I’d feel wrong otherwise. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a complete and total shit show out there. If you’re a right wing conservative, I highly doubt you’re listening to Limited Engagement or reading The Blarg, but if you are, I’m not even sorry. I honestly don’t feel like the Democrats are doing much better at this point in time, but in order to stem the tide of regressive, fascistic, fear-mongering, and my fingers have actually gone apoplectic. That’s how bad things are—my fingers can’t even keep up with the horror running through my head.

What I’m saying is that the prevailing evil is so evil, we are left with no choice other than to vote for the lesser of two, because something has to fucking change and change fast. Irreparable damage to the progress of humanity and science has already been done, and it’s going to take a fuck ton of work just to get back to where we were which, honestly, already was not that great.

We have a job to do. That job is to send a message of undeniable strength and unity, which is that we won’t stand for this dismantling of social progress any longer.

My early voting ballot came in the mail today. I’ve never been more excited or terrified to vote. I’m terrified it won’t work, that we’ve already gone too far down a dark, dark path. If you have a conscience, if you have a glimmer of hope for social progress, you have a choice to make, and you know what the right one is. This is difficult. I am not one to even begin to tell someone what they should do—it just isn’t my place—but this is different. This time, there is something that you should do, and you hopefully know what that is. Don’t let polling make you complacent. They have to feel every vote.

Okay, I’m done with that. Let’s talk about something else.

Oh, we—Janell and I—went and saw a double feature this past weekend. We saw The Sisters Brothers and The Old Man and the Gun. The Sisters Brothers is a fantastic, dark, humorous novel written by Patrick DeWitt. I highly recommend it. I can’t say that I recommend the movie, though. It was the first of the two we saw, and I walked out thinking it was pretty good. Then we got our tickets for the 2nd movie, and by the time we sat down to watch the previews, I’d already downgraded it to being just okay. Walking out of The Old Man and the Gun, my opinion of The Sisters Brothers had settled in at “not that great.” There are some excellent performances, but I had some real problems with the story and the liberties they’d taken with changes to the novel. One of the reasons for the quick slide in rating is how good I think the 2nd movie is. The Old Man and the Gun, though not a terribly surprising or original (I mean, the crime genre has been done to death), is a fantastic movie. Everyone in it is great. Personally, I think Tom Waits steals every scene he’s in, but Sissy Spacek gives a wonderful performance, and Robert Redford… Honestly, is there anyone left in film with the caliber and gravitas of Robert Redford? I highly recommend it—and go see it on a real screen, in a theatre, with other people.

Speaking of films…

Barbara VanDenburgh is a reporter, cultural critic and Senior Content Strategist for USA Today Network (she has a ton of great film reviews you can find up on the AZ Central website), as well as the moderator for the popular First Draft Book Club, which meets once a month at the Phoenix location of Changing Hands. The next First Draft Book Club meeting will be Wednesday, October 24th at 7 pm, to discuss Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, Lake Success. For more information on that, you can visit the Changing Hands site, and for more Barbara, follow her on Twitter at @BabsVan.

Listen to LE 88 – Barbara VanDenburgh

Best,

Jared Duran

2 Comments

Filed under Arts and Culture, Podcast, The Blarg

Birdman Kicks Ass

I walked out of the theater after having seen Birdman, and I felt happy–not just because it’s a great film, but because it’s a great film starring Michael Keaton. I like Michael Keaton, and in many ways, being the age I am (and the rest of this statement will give you a ballpark figure) I feel like I grew up with Mr. Mom–I mean Keaton…

For those who have yet to see Birdman, fear not–this is no attempt to Siskel and Ebert things up here, there will be no spoilers. All I will say is, it’s a great movie. You should go see it. Trust me, I know these things.

Where was I? You’re always making me lose my train of thought… Right, growing up with Michael Keaton.

He was like the cool kid I wanted to hang out with. You know, the kinda weird one who was funny and smart, but also a little scary and given to the occasional bout of depression, but that’s cool, too, because it just means you’re, you know Deep.

I felt that way up through Batman Returns, and then he made some questionable film choices, so it was like, well, maybe we won’t hang out so much anymore, and then it was more, I’m moving out of state, but we’ll totally keep in touch, and then, whad’ya know, it’s been who knows how many years since the last time we saw each other.

Again, just like that friend, he’d pop up every once in a while in some great character roll or other that made me think, oh, yeah, that’s why we used to hang out. He’d come up in conversations from time to time–conversations populated with phrases like “totally underrated” and more often than not end with the words “and I still think he’s the best Batman.”

Then, when I began seeing previews for Birdman, I thought to myself, it’s time for me and Michael to hang out again, catch up, get reacquainted–awkward pauses and all. Now I’ve seen the film, and it’s great–we’ve sat down and had coffee, talked about where we are in our lives, and found out we still have a lot in common.

Whether or not Birdman is a commercial success, it is an artistic and stylistic success, and it gives me hope that things can be as good as they ever were–not just for Michael Keaton, but for myself, and, honestly, you can’t ask for much more from the price of a matinee ticket.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ramblings and Rants

I Liked it Better When Blood Spatters Were Red Pixels…

I must be one of the worst bloggers in the entire history of blog-dom.  My last log blog was posted over a year ago–it was all about how I was going to take advantage of the memoir-hoovering portion of the book-buying/publishing world.  I’ll give you all a chance to guess exactly what my word count is on that much ballyhooed endeavor.  Ah, you give me far too much credit.  Nope, you’re completely wrong.  Actual word count to-date: ZERO (I find that if you actually spell out the number and capitalize every single letter, it looks far more impressive than the abysmal state it truly signifies).  Now, it’s not that I have been resting on my laurels this whole time.  In fact, I’ve been very feverishly dashing off poems left and right and been integrating myself into the very welcoming Phoenix poetry scene.  Hell, I’ve even been a featured poet at some events, and there is more of this to come.

However, this does not excuse my lack of blog-iness in this very cutthroat, blog-eat-blog world.  Well then, all five of you lovely people who will read this post must be asking, what gives? What’s the excuse, Grumpmaster Flash?

Truth be told, there is no excuse other than the rather lame one that I give for why I don’t do just about anything that I end up not doing:  Life.  Life, says Marvin, don’t talk to me about life.  So I won’t.  If I’d wanted to, I could have made time for some pretty blog-tastic entries, but I didn’t.  Now, as the Germans said, on to bigger and better things…

Advancements in technology and I have never been more than cautious admirers.  When I was growing up, there was none of this MySpace, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Spotify what have you.  Not everyone I knew owned a computer, and nearly no one had a cell phone.  Cut to me at age 30, and I have, very begrudgingly made moves to catch up with modern society.  As a writer and student, I have found it necessary to utilize several of the aforementioned services (primarily for the necessary evil of self-promotion), but I have never ‘friended’ anybody that I haven’t at the very least met and spoken to in person and I’ve never purchased anything (other than textbooks) or stolen media in a digital format.  In many ways I’m ‘That Guy’ who still prefers how things were back in the day, and while I’m not a technophobe, I certainly don’t trust the digital age.

Most recently I was reminded of the limitations of my acceptance of technological advancement while thoroughly geeking out at The Art of Video Games exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.  My family never had a video game system when I was growing up, but many of my friends did, and so the nostalgia experienced at seeing Super Mario Bros. on the original NES or the various pixelated DOS games was heartfelt and palpable.  Wandering through the exhibit as it moved on up to the striking, realistic graphics of today’s video games, this nostalgia transitioned to awe-inspired consternation and discomfort.  Why discomfort? I asked myself, because games should not ape reality, I handily answered myself.

We own a PS3, but while the kids enjoy playing games like Mass Effect 3 where people look eerily like people, I am most comfortable with the Lego games where, when character dies, there is no blood–they just break.  Blood and violence in video games is not my problem, the realism is–it is, after all, a GAME.  And this, I think explains where my unease with advancement in technology stems from:  Not the advancements themselves, but what is lost in the process.  Relationships are meant to be experienced in the flesh; music is meant to be experienced with artwork and liner notes; books are meant to be experienced with the rustle of pages; violence in video games is meant to be experienced in unrealistic red pixels.

2 Comments

Filed under Ramblings and Rants, Writing About Writing