Hell’s Breakfast Nook

This was the first deliberately mundane fan fiction I did for my aborted National Novel Writing Month project last November. In hindsight – if my intended goal was to only use a character once – this was a waste of Daredevil.

Matt Murdock knew one thing for sure – he could go for a cup of coffee. Although already 90 minutes late for work, his business partner was an old friend, and one with a unique understanding of Matt’s nocturnal lifestyle – which mandated many tardy arrivals at the Law Offices of Nelson and Murdock. Also, when your place of business is named after you, you can come and go as you please.

“Good thing Foggy’s hopelessly insecure and codependent,” thought Matt. “Otherwise I would’ve had to find a new law partner, or worse yet, a job where I’d have to show up on time, years ago.”

Smugly reflecting on how sweet it is that he can show up late for work without anybody giving him any guff, Matt thwacked his cane back and forth on the sidewalk in front of him as he walked. Matt was a blind man and “definitely” “not” a blind man with hyper senses and a nearly unparalleled mastery of the martial arts. And he’ll sue any newspaper that publishes so much as an implication to the contrary. In fact, he already had.

“Being a lawyer is great, sometimes,” Matt thought. “If a newspaper reveals my secret identity, I can sue them into oblivion. I can sue all kinds of people. Heck yeah I can.”

That’s what Matt thought as a bell above the front door signaled his arrival into Hell’s Breakfast Nook – a trendy new cafe that sold craft beer, kept various articles of bohemian newsletters in a stack by the door, and adorned its wall with abstract paintings of dead rock stars. To some longtime denizens of Hell’s Kitchen, establishments like Hell’s Breakfast Nook signaled a looming gentrification of their cherished neighborhood.

Matt wasn’t sure how to feel about gentrification. On the one hand, via his working class roots, he maintained a degree of pride in Hell’s Kitchen’s scrappy identity, and bristled somewhat at the notion of yuppies gradually draining all the character out of The Kitchen. On the other hand, he was a yuppie himself, and liked the idea of having more stuff for rich people nearby his house. On the other other hand, gentrification begets homelessness, homelessness begets crime, and Matt wasn’t too fond of crime.

“Crime is a bastard,” he thought.

But he had more germane matters to attend to at the moment.

“I know I want coffee, and the coffee at this place smells like it’ll be a few notches above the instant swill at the office….But what if I don’t end up having time for lunch later? Then I’ll really be kicking myself for not getting something to eat here….”

“Excuse me?” said Matt, after the only other customer in line ordered a latte. “I know I would like a large medium roast coffee, but do you have a version of the menu in braille?”

“Uh….Jeez, I don’t think so,” replied the slightly hungover undergrad barista, unaware that this dapper gentlemen could easily “read” an ordinary menu with his fingertips (as long as it wasn’t laminated). Also, Hell’s Breakfast Nook did have a braille menu on hand, but this was only her second day, and her superiors had forgotten to tell her about it anyway.

“Well, in that case, would you or someone else mind reading the menu to me? Just the sandwiches? If it isn’t too much trouble….”

“No trouble at all!” replied the barista, eager to be a help to the ostensibly disabled.

After the barista read Matt the sandwich selection, clearly but quickly so as to not excessively delay the handful of customers that had lined up behind him, Matt ordered a turkey and avocado wrap, and took a few steps to the side of the counter where he received his coffee. Then he emptied a pair of cream packets into the paper cup, and took a sip. The coffee was strong with robust flavor. Matt was satisfied with his purchase.

Although he looked forward to his turkey and avocado wrap – which he hoped would fill him up and replace some of the energy expended during the prior night’s rampage against the underworld – Matt noticed via his sense of hyper smell that much of Hell’s Breakfast Nook’s fare catered to vegetarians and vegans. Matt himself had dabbled in vegetarianism during his time with Karen – who in life, was a devout opponent of the meat industry and all its associated cruelties. The suddenly-refreshed memory of her tragic loss ruined his good mood. It didn’t help matters when he realized – again, via hyper senses – that someone in the kitchen had knocked over a large vat of scrambled eggs, and the staff had been too busy cleaning up to make his turkey avocado wrap.

After another 10 minutes of waiting, Matt decided to get a little pushy.

“Uh, excuse me?” he pretended to say in hopes that someone would hear him, while fully aware an unkempt young gentleman in a T-shirt advertising a band called “Portal” and an apron was stumbling out of the kitchen well-within earshot.

“Yes sir?” said the cook, who already had a pretty good idea what the problem was.

“I ordered a turkey avocado wrap almost a half hour ago?”

“Ah, yeah, we’re really sorry. Somebody knocked over a big vat of scrambled eggs and we’ve been having a heck of a time mopping that up. It’s totally backed up all of our orders.”

“Well, how long do you think I should expect to wait?”

“You know what – let me run back there and make it myself right now. ‘Nuther few minutes, tops.”

“Sounds alright,” said Matt. By listening for skips in the cook’s heartbeat, Matt knew the cook had told the truth (or what he thought to be the truth) when he assured Matt the turkey and avocado wrap would be ready within minutes.

“If my sandwich takes so little time to make, why have I been standing here like an idiot for this long?” thought Matt. “Although, maybe I shouldn’t be so judgmental. Food service is much more difficult than a lot of people realize.” Matt knew this all-too-well from his own brief stint working as a line cook.

“Hey, sir? I got yer turkey avocado.” Waving a to-go bag within Matt’s reaching distance, the cook went on, “Here go! Also, I sincerely apologize about the wait.”

“Not a big deal at all,” Matt replied, before snatching the bag, pulling a fiver out of his wallet, and placing it in the tip jar.

“Hey, you’re alright mister!”

“You too. Have a nice one.”

“You too!”

…………………………………………………….

Soon enough, Matt was sitting behind his desk munching on his tardy lunch. He supposed – though could not be certain – that the cook had stuffed more turkey into the tortilla than he normally would, as an additional gesture of apology for the hassle. The meat and vegetables were fresh, but Matt’s preternatural sense of taste indicated an avocado spread that should’ve been served sooner – although it was surely fresh enough for an average person’s palate.

Foggy never knocked before entering Matt’s office. He knew Matt heard him coming long before he approached the door.

“Hey buddy!” said Foggy, announcing himself with his usual aimless enthusiasm.

“What’s up, Foggy?”

“Wondered if you want to take a lunch break with me?”

“Mmm, actually, I just finished eating. Also, actually, I just got here.”

“Oh sorry. I was preparing for court all morning and haven’t been able to notice who’s coming or going.”

“I take it you’ll have some briefs for me to look over when you get back?”

“You betcha!”

Just before making his exit, Foggy noticed Matt toss his to-go bag in the waste paper basket.

“Ooooh, you went to the new place a few blocks down? Any good?”

“It was okay. Much better-than-average coffee. Pretty good turkey wrap, except they took forever to make it.”

“Huh. Maybe I’ll check it out sometime. Talk to you in an hour or two!”

“Sounds good.”

And then Foggy went out for lunch, as Matt set his attention on the work of the day.

This is How the Laundromat Works In Space, Bitch

Preface: In November of 2014, I started a National Novel Writing Month project. The idea was to cram as many characters as possible – from across all mediums and genres – into a series of short fan fictions. There would be no sex. Originally, there wasn’t supposed to be any violence. Then I got bored and wrote a bunch of violent scenes anyway. But my original vision was to place myriad icons of pop culture in excruciatingly mundane situations.

Before long, I realized this was a really stupid idea, and moved on to other endeavors.

I have decided to publish the handful of completed stories despite their stupidity, because fuck it, it’s fun. This is the first one. 

Chewbacca stood before the laundromat, and internally chuckled at his own nervousness.

Many times in the past, he had stared down the forces of the Imperial Empire – what with all their Stormtroopers and Death Stars and Sith Lords and whatnot – plus buttloads of other nasty space bastard things that wanted to kill him, and without so much as a flinch, rushed into battle with a mighty “RRRRAAAAWGHAH.” But this was a different kind of confrontation – one that could not be resolved with violence and/or intimidating growls and grunting noises.

It had been a long time since Chewy left Kashyyyk. Other Wookies were scarce throughout the ‘verse. Ever since he left his homeworld, most of his companions and acquaintances (excluding the ‘droids) partook in a custom virtually unheard of in Wookie culture. Cruelly, nature had not equipped many of his friends with a shaggy coat to keep them warm in often chilly intergalactic environs. Ergo, they had no choice but to drape themselves in myriad arrangements of fabrics referred to as “clothes” to avoid freezing to death.

Chewy pitied the under-evolved humans for their miserable, non-fur-having condition. But on a fateful day seven years ago, while enjoying some downtime on the planet Hoth, his buddy Han walked intently through the rec room with two bloated sacks over his shoulder.

“WWWWRRRAAAGHR?” asked Chewy, which loosely translated from the Shyriiwook, means, “Hey, buddy, what’s in those big sacks?”

“Oh these?” replied Han, with a chuckle. “They’re dirty clothes. I’m taking them to the base’s laundromat.”

“RRRRAGH?” asked Chewy, meaning, “What’s a laundromat?”

Han, curt type of fellow he was, simply spit, “Don’t worry about it,” and went about his business.

Chewy had been haunted by that befuddling but otherwise uneventful day ever since. “What is this ‘laundromat?’” he sometimes pondered. “What is it for? What does it have to do with the clothes of the non-fur havers? Why wouldn’t Han explain it to me? Do they make fun of wookies at laundromats? If I enter the laundromat in front of me, will I need to emancipate every individual within of their arms and legs?”

Chewy took a deep breath, unsheathed his bowcaster, just in case, and slowly pushed open the glassdoor, attempting to infiltrate the laundromat with as much stealth as he could muster.

Which was pretty much no stealth at all, because Chewbacca is a 7-and-a-half foot tall Sasquatch-like alien. Everybody noticed him immediately. Chewy’s gigantic physical presence and celebrity inspired some “ooohs” and “aaaahs” and a few stares, but the commotion quickly died down. Doing laundry requires fierce concentration, and these people could not afford to be distracted by a mere legendary wookie.

“What’s up, bitch?” said a scruffy young man in a wool knit cap, baggy pants, and a flannel coat, sitting on a plastic folding table nearby a dryer with 5 minutes remaining on its cycle.

“EEEERRRRAAAAH” said Chewie, which loosely translated, means, “Hello, Jesse.”

Jesse Pinkman had no idea what Chewbacca was saying, but he understood the gist of it.

Jesse and Chewy had always been cordial, though not exactly friends. Chewbacca didn’t approve of Jesse’s lifestyle. Jesse didn’t care about the rebellion – He knew the left wing do-gooders fighting to overthrow the current status quo wanted him locked up as much as the fascists. But both had, at one point or another, fashioned their livelihoods by smuggling, and in each other, they sensed the low-key resentment that comes with spending long periods of time playing second banana to a more charismatic personality.

Jesse imagined Chewbacca sometimes contemplated betraying Han to the Empire, just as he often envisioned himself ratting Walter out to the DEA.

Jesse was wrong, of course. Chewy had a life-debt to Han, despised the Empire, and would never humor such thoughts. But he nonetheless tolerated Jesse’s company. Chewy thought it was funny how Jesse said “bitch” constantly and was high all the time.

“What are you doing here, bitch? You don’t even wear any fuckin’ clothes.”

“WWRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH” replied Chewie, then strapped his bowcaster to his back. Translated: “I have never been to a laundromat before. I thought I’d look into it.”

“Oh EYE see, EYE see. You’ve probably never been to a laundromat before, amirite? You came here to see what all us human bitches do when our clothes get dirty?”

“CCCCRRAAAAAAAAAARRRR” said Chewie, which means, “That’s exactly what I just said.”

“What the FUCK does that MEAN?! Is that a yes or no?”

Chewbacca growled in frustration, then nodded affirmative.

“WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO, BITCH?! I’ll show you what laundry’s all about!”

Had Jesse not been very, very high on crystal meth, he would have dismissed the notion of explaining the process of doing laundry to a Wookie outright. Wookies don’t need to do laundry. Showing a Wookie how to do laundry is totally fucking stupid. But Jeese was very, very high on crystal meth.

“First, you gotta get a little blue card from the bitch behind the counter over there,” Jesse began, gesturing to a counter on the other side of the room. “Then, you gotta put money on it with one of those machines over there. Once you do that, then you gotta get a pack of detergent from that other machine over here, bitch. Then you pour your detergent – that’s like soap, by the way. Detergent is like soap for clothes. Don’t know why they don’t just call it ‘clothes soap.’ Anyways, then you click your settings on the machine, as you can see that I have done.”

Chewbacca observed that Jesse had chosen to wash his clothes in extra cold water.

“DRRRRAAARW. BBBRRRRRRAR. JJJRRRRRAAAAUUUUH?” said, Chewy. Translated: “Oh, I get it. Clothes get dirty, and humans come here to wash them. Makes sense. I don’t know why I didn’t connect those dots earlier. But why use cold water? Wouldn’t hot water be more effective?”

“That’s right!” replied Jesse. Jesse suddenly realized he enjoyed explaining stupid shit to a dumb dog monster, and perhaps what he was experiencing wasn’t dissimilar to the satisfaction Walter felt whenever a dumb student became smart at chemistry or whatever. For a moment, Jesse wondered what it would be like if he, too, followed the path of teaching. Then he wondered if he was only thinking that because he was really fucked up, and decided to revisit the notion later.

“After that, you pull the top of the machine open like this.” Jesse opened the laundry machine next to the one he was already using.” “BOOM. Then you put your clothes into the cylinder thing, and close the door.” Jesse closed the door. “BOOM. Swipe your card.” Jesse pantomimed swiping his card. “The machine withdraws money off your card, then you hit the start button. And then you wait for the machine to finish washing your clothes. That usually takes about 20 minutes.”

“NNNNRRRRRNNNAAA,” Translated: “In retrospect, I have built the experience of doing laundry up as more interesting than it actually is. I grow bored.”

“And THEN, and THEN,” shouted Jesse, with a degree of enthusiasm that made surrounding laundry-doers  uncomfortable. “Then, after this bitch is done with its wash cycle,” he flailed both arms in the direction of the wall of dryers, conveniently placed mere feet away. “Then you throw your load, heh, into one of these dryer bitches.”

“Grrraaaaaagh,” said Chewy. Translated: “But….won’t your clothes be all wrinkly after that? How do you make sure they’re somewhat tidy looking once you take them out of your closet or cabinet or whathaveyou?”

“Exactly! After they’re nice and dry, you fold them up on one of these little tables, just like that bitch is doing over there!” Jesse pointed to an frazzled old lady, who as she folded her undergarments, clearly overheard a strange man calling her a “bitch” while conversing frantically with a giant alien dog monster.

“EEEERRRAH!” Translated: “Oh, so that’s how it works.”

“And that’s how humans do laundry, bitch!”

With this minor mystery finally put to rest once and for all, Chewy displayed his appreciation for Jesse’s help by playfully slapping him on the back, and howling in a subdued manner, meant to signify gratitude.

“Aw, no problem, bitch! Happy to be of service. Now get the fuck out of here so I can finish my laundry!”

With a hearty chuckle, Chewy grasped Jesse’s hand in both paws and shook vigorously. Then Chewy went home, and Jesse finished his laundry. Later that day, Jesse sold some drugs, and Chewy fought some bad robots.

I’m gonna do some stuff for Vanyaland

Yeah, I while I’m pretty sure hardly friggin’ anyone reads this thing, I thought it would be worth announcing that I’m gonna start doing music bits for Vanyaland, the relaunched blog of former PHX music editor/WFNX DJ Michael Marotta. It’s a much, much prettier website than this one.

Here’s my review of the debut LP from U.K. post-punkers Savages.  Sample subhead: “If a person enjoys the bleaker shades of Joy Division and/or kinky sex, then he or she is predisposed to devour this record alive.”

Batman Incorporated #10 is not very good!

 

BatmanINCGrant Morrison writes this one. He’s probably one of the most famous superhero comic scribes of all time! And he deserves to be famous! Some of the comics he’s written are stupid crazy great! Like New X-Men and Seven Soldiers and and Animal Man and Arkham Asylum and about half of the Invisibles! Other times, Grant Morrison gets in way over his head with would-be-but-not-so high-concepts and the final products are not fun to read, like Final Crisis and the other half of the Invisibles and um, for the most part, this volume of Batman Incorporated!

But that’s okay! One time, even though he wasn’t high on drugs, Grant Morrison met (the legit?) Superman! Also, any pop culture junkie in need of a worthwhile read should check out Supergods,  Morrison’s autobiography/history of superheroes – the only reason I looked forward to taking the train to work everyday last year (I like to read on the train). He even kinda looks like Professor X! Grant Morrison is super cool, even if he sucks 33 percent of the time!

Chaos Magic only works 66% of the time ’cause, y’know, it’s chaos!!!

That’s not to say the previous nine issues of Batman Inc. are a complete and total clusterfuck. Issue #2’s retelling of Talia Al Ghul’s backstory successfully framed her as tragic yet irredeemable, which balanced the rest of the arch where she behaves like the quintessential crazy ex-girlfriend most of the time. The bits where Bruce Wayne works undercover as his Matches Malone alter ego were pretty fun. Apart from that…Um….Well….

The Batman Inc. squad outside of Batman, Robin, Red Robin, Jason Todd and Nightwing might as well be the Red Shirts from Star Trek once they’re all-but-forgotten about after issue #0. While we’re on the topic of cannon fodder, does the much-publicized death of Damian Wayne add aaaaanything to the story apart from giving Batman a reason to be really, really pissed off? And I dunno if I’m missing something, but what’s the point of the apocalyptic future in issue #5? Before that, Batman said things like, “Stay in the Batcave, Damian, because, uh oh, every assassin in the world is trying to kill you.” There was already a perfectly plausible reason for Batman to want Damian out of the fray. He didn’t need to have to say things like, “Stay in the Batcave, Damian, because you might be responsible for blowing up Gotham in 20 years or however long into the future.”

Issue #10 starts with Azrael reading aloud from an ancient tome written by Jesus or L. Ron Hubbard or whoever foretelling of the end times. Batman drops by and says, “Hey, Azrael, can I borrow your chain mail armor that makes the wearer impervious to all harm? I gotta go totally fuck up my ex-girlfriend and her criminal empire because they crippled Gotham and murdered my son.” Azrael responds, “Sure dude, but you could’ve borrowed this from me anytime. In fact – and far be it from me to tell you your business – but this armor might’ve come in handy earlier. As in, it may have helped you prevent this near-destruction of Gotham and your kid’s death in the first place.”

Batman goes, “Um….Zah?”

Why didn't I think of this sooner?

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Azrael says, “Uh, well, I mean, assuming this sort of thing might happen again…..and it will….it does….all the time….You wanna just hang on to this armor after you’re done with this thing with Talia? That way, you’ll always be invincible.”

Batman’s like, “Duh?”

Azrael goes, “Think about it. If you’ve got the means and the wherewithal, which you do, why not just give yourself permanent superpowers? That’s pretty much all Iron Man ever does. Lex Luthor does it, too. Why can’t Batman have powers? Is it because you’ve got to stay in touch with the common man or something? I mean, is this the only occult and/or scientific edge you’re scrapping together for the big battle coming up in the next few issues?”

Batman responds, “Um, well, Lucius Fox is getting a me-shaped mechanical exoskeleton ready, and I’m planning to inject myself with the Man-Bat formula by the end of this comic.”

Azrael responds, “Right. So why aren’t you always doing this stuff? This is a good opportunity to discuss part of what makes you Batman, I think? Y’know, characterization and such and such? This isn’t a fucking Power Rangers episode where you Megazord yourself up at the end of the story for arbitrary reasons because it makes the conclusion seem more epic, is it? You’re Batman, for fuck’s sake. You have a well-considered, methodical reason for doing everything you do! So why ask for the armor now instead of as soon as you found out it existed? Why not stick yourself in the bum with a syringe full of Man-Bat serum before you go out on patrol every night? Why’s this fight with almost-victorious, shadowy megalomaniacal overlords and the need to avenge the latest dead Robin different than the other times the same shit happened and you didn’t bother with the magic chain mail or the Jekyll and Hyde slime?”

And Batman says, “Because, actually, this kind of is like Power Rangers (as in, a little hackneyed) and I do need to Megazord myself up to make the next two issues feel more epic because, well, can you think of a better way to make the end of this story feel important?”

Then Azrael sighs heavily and hands over the armor.

Top and bottom photocredits – DC Comics. Middle one was lifted from this page.

Ghost Box Orchestra @ The Middle East

The back of that guy's head!!!!

The back of that guy’s head!!!!

Hey kids! Do you like drugs? The kind that make you see things that don’t exist and do things like converse telepathically with Batman? The kind of drugs that make it so by 3 a.m. you can’t pronounce the phrase “I would like a pack of American Spirits, please,” without sobbing uncontrollably because the abundance of color in 7-Eleven is really knocking you sideways (it’s like walking around in a fucking rainbow in there) and the clerk would call the cops except he sees you buying coffee and cat litter all the time and figures you’re more-or-less harmless?  Do you also hate Phish? Then take my word for it – Ghost Box Orchestra’s psyche-noir will summon purple auras of delight and tantalization in your skull-hole, regardless of which astral plane you happen to be chillaxing upon at the moment.

Here they are playing “Rhythm of the Hills” the second track of their new record Vanished, which was played in its entirety last night.



I’m pretty sure you need to wander through the desert a lot before you can properly execute heady, heavy instrumental sauce such as this. Turns out co-founder Jeremy Lassetter moved here from Texas about five years ago, which means I am right about the desert thing. It might be legitimate to gripe that Ghost Box play walls of sound instead of what we normally think of as songs, but remember, there are no songs in the desert. There is only sand and no water and dead things and a 7-Eleven except, oh shit, the 7-Eleven turned out to be a mirage. Now where are you supposed to buy your delicious hipster additive-free American Spirits?!?!?!

Spiritual guidance from The Mighty Thor @ New England Comics

Thor wears jeans!

The God of Thunder wears jeans!

What brings you to Allston on this fine afternoon? 

‘Tis my job in this realm to protect the fine citizens of Earth.

On Free Comic Book Day?

On Free Comic Book Day, when my power is at its height.

You’re at your most powerful on Free Comic Day? How does that work?

Today is when the believers are at their strongest. If I am to believe in myself, then I must have the assurance of the populace as well.

I think your presence here invalidates every religion except Norse mythology. Do you agree?

I find no great problem in my standing alongside gods of other pantheons. I see no issue in there being many gods from many places.

Yeah, but I’ve never seen Jesus or any of the others walking around, so I’m going to go ahead and worship you now. What should I be doing with my life? 

Were it up to me, I would suggest that most should drink mead and revel in the battle, glory and struggle for what they sought and what they believe to be right.

How do you feel about gay marriage and abortion rights?

Were it the wishes of your father’s house and what it truly means to be a just god, that is the quest in life.

Is there anything we shouldn’t be eating?

Likely rocks. Although I understand salt is also a rock and is quite tasty upon freshly slaughtered ham.

Who should be the next president?

Not my brother Loki. I believe we have had enough tricksters in the house of man.

Why’s Loki such a douche?

Being trapped at the bottom of the world and having snake’s venom dripped on you for many thousands of years will turn you into many negative things. Perhaps this “douche” is amongst them.

What should we do about the nonbelievers?

The many walks of the realm of man do as they will. As long as they not interfere with the workings of true and just gods, such as myself and the princess here.

You seem a little reluctant about the prospect of being a cult leader.

I consider myself perhaps a utilitarian cult leader, in that if it serves the greatest good, then that is the choice we must make.

A chat with Wonder Woman @ New England Comics

Hey, it's Wonder Woman! Neat!

Hey, it’s Wonder Woman! Cool!

So, wait, you can talk to animals? I didn’t know that.

Women are sensitive, intuitive beings, and we have many abilities to further our understanding of all living creatures. One of those is the ability to communicate with them.

…..All women, or just women from Themyscira?

There are no men on Themyscira. All women possess this power, but for most, their abilities are corrupted by the men in their world who discourage them from concentrating on building mental aptitude and physical abilities.

And so you came to this world to help improve the situation.

It is a large world with many people and many evils, but many goods as well. I find that when the goods unite we can squash the evil when it comes up. It is an ongoing battle, but i think the good is winning and will always prevail.

Are you cool with Deadpool chilling over there, ‘cause that guy’s pretty much evil.

Today is about peace and unity. Today we put our differences aside and I will get him later.

Unlike every other friggin’ superhero, you haven’t had a big movie within the last 15 years or so. What’s the deal?

There have been a few attempts to tell my story through the television box, but all attempts have thus far proven fruitless. I think it’s because they don’t really understand my story and our people.

Iron Man has gotten three movies and you’re way more famous than he is.  

Of course. He’s a man.

How’s Free Comic Book Day going?

Excellent. We are having a wonderful time. Even a few daughters have appeared.

……Huh?

Women. Daughters of Athena and Aphrodite and Artemis.

A chat with Deadpool @ New England Comics

Whoa it's Deadpool!

Whoa it’s Deadpool!

What brings you to this celebration of Free Comic Book Day here in Allston, Massachusetts?

Honestly, I just showed up. I carry this sign with me all the time, y’know?

Hm. Well, as an unrepentant mass murderer, what do you think of the gun control debate raging throughout the nation?  

Y’know, I don’t really care because I don’t need guns. Guns are for losers. I have a gun, but I don’t use it. It’s all for show. It’s plastic. There’s a red tip on it. But it doesn’t matter. I’m deadly with anything. A good assassin can use anything he wants. Remember that.

Isn’t that Bullseye’s thing?

He’s kind of a bitch. I hated him in Seven Psychopaths.

Why haven’t you executed Ryan Reynolds yet?

He’s in the Croods right now. I haven’t seen it, but I love it because he’s in it. He’s a cool dude. Ryan Reynolds is not the enemy. Hal Jordan is the enemy. That guy is an asshole. Straight up.

You’re the only Marvel character I know of who occasionally describes himself as a fictional character. Should we be freaked out by the metaphysical ramifications of, like, how you’re walking around in the real world?

Well, the fourth wall is literally broken. Some guy just spilled coffee on a comic and I thought “Now’s my chance!” and I broke straight through the page.

Does that kind of thing happen often?

Why do you think you see 20 of me at every convention you go to?

How do you respond to accusations that you’re a ripoff of Deathstroke from Teen Titans? 

Well, y’know, Deathstroke is Ron Perlman, and I’m Ryan Reynolds. So…

……Wha?

Teen Titans, dude.

What don’t you have an awesome theme song like they do?

Because Deadpool is too long to spell. T-E-E-N-T-I-T-A-N-S! Teen Titans! Let’s go!

Overdue show review – Black Francis @ The Sinclair

It's like he's floating except he's actually just standing!

It’s like he’s floating except he’s actually just standing!

Last weekend was my first time at the Sinclair – a fashionably dingy, newish venue nestled in the middle of Harvard Square – and my second time seeing Black Francis within the last few years. The still-sometimes Pixies main man originally known as Charles Thompson has his shit figured out. The bulk of “prestige” artists do a Greatest Hits show whenever they tour, but Francis mostly peppers Pixies standbys into a two hour set otherwise comprised of his substantial, but far-less recognizable solo catalog. He only really Jimmy Buffetts it in for the payday when the other three Pixies are around.

I should say that I think he played for two hours. We left after about an hour and a half, if I’m not mistaken. (I was kinda drunk…..not so drunk that drunkeness was the reason we left, but the reason why the chronology of things got blurry).

Side notes: Francis observed that way back in the historic mid-’80s,  the Pixies played at a nearby Starbucks that was not yet a Starbucks at the time. Almost everyone in the audience was wearing a collared shirt for some reason, and I reminded myself to write the sentence “Never underestimate the power of one person with a guitar,” which sounds a lot less profound a week later. Here a dreamy rendition of “Monkey Gone to Heaven” one of the Greatest Hits from the show.

Most of the people in collared shirts didn’t act very interested in Northampton’s Dennis Crommett. I started chanting “We Want Metallica!” or something because I am a jerk. Crommett had a good sense of humor about his unenviable situation, and his subdued, pensive folk is actually really petty now that I’m giving it a chance. He’ll have better shows.

Overdue show review – Iceage and White Lung @ T.T.’s

Just because a bass drum is a KKK member doesn't mean the band is racist.

Just because the bass drum is a KKK member doesn’t mean the band is racist.

Here’s a sweeping generalization loaded with exceptions: There are punk bands marketed towards me, my friends and other idiots who idealize the late ‘90s/early ‘00s scene (we like to remember the past as better than it really was) and punk bands marketed towards kinda smart but not really people who still inexplicably pay attention to Pitchfork and such things.

(That’s not to say that the nature of a band’s hype reflects who ends up listening and liking. Plenty of genuinely smart people and plenty of idiots like “dumb” punk and the same goes for “kinda smart but not really” punk. There’s also “smart” hip-hop and “dumb” hip-hop and “smart” country and “dumb” country, and ugh…where was I going with this again?….)

The distinction is not arbitrary. Let’s examine two punk outfits geared for the kinda smart faction – Iceage and White Lung – who delighted a gathering at T.T. the Bear’s in Cambridge two days after the Marathon bombings and two days before Dzhokhar Tsarnev was captured in Watertown. They don’t sound much alike, but they share a handful of key components that land them firmly in the “smart but not really” category. Among these:

1 – They are not from America. (This is a pretty dumb country).

2 – They do not have any songs about how much they love punk rock. (Granted, I can’t decipher most of Elias Bender Ronnenfelt’s lyrics, but his exasperated droning strongly suggests that he doesn’t love anything he’s singing about).

3 – They do not have any songs about how much they drink or how much they love to drink.

Remember a few years ago when NPR fawned over Fucked Up? In part, that was because Chemistry of Common Life and David Comes to Life don’t have any drinking or “yay for punk” songs and Fucked Up is from Canada, which makes it an easier band to get kinda smarties excited about, as opposed to, I donno, let’s say, Rancid.

Anyway, here are some crappy cell phone videos. I think the Iceage clip came out okay, but this one really doesn’t do White Lung justice.

I was originally planning on writing something about how Mish Way’s mannerisms and delivery evoke Jello Biafra or maybe even a screechier Greg Graffin a lot more than any of the more prominent female punk singers I could think of. Then I realized I was just projecting my internalized, patriarchal notions of what righteous indignation is supposed to look like. Name checking unrelated bands in music reviews is pointless anyway. Mainly, it should be noted that anyone who really hates the Eagles should have a pleasant experience listening to White Lung’s latest, Sorry.

Aptly described as “Danish precious princes” by Way, the four lads from Iceage could all pass for members of the Twilight cast and keep having to explain that they’re not Nazis. Either or both of these problems could explain why they’re so pissed off. Despite the post-punk/hardcore quartet’s dreaminess, bad blog press, and a set that teetered on shambolic, ample rowdiness ensued.

We showed up too late to get much of a handle of  The Darker Hues, which was our loss ‘cause Nothing Tastes Like Failure fucking rips. I deem the Hues’ shoegaze/punk amalgam as “steel-toed boot gaze” because I like making up new genre names.