THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: A Todd Haynes Documentary (2021) at the Nuart

Patrons outside the Nuart. Photo by Matt Average

Finally made it over to the Nuart to see The Velvet Underground: A Todd Haynes Documentary. It’s even better than you may expect. The segments with Jonathan Richman alone are worth the price of admission. His insights make them human, and his love for this band is infectious.

JOE DANTE and THE HOWLING (1981) at the Nuart

Joe Dante in the lobby at the Nuart. Photo by Matt Average

Joe Dante made it out to the Nuart on Wednesday night, October 20, 2021 to introduce the 4k restoration of his 1980s werewolf classic The Howling on the first night of the full moon. Talk about perfect timing! Tonight he will be back at the Nuart doing a Q&A before the 7:30 showing. Make a point of getting over there before it leaves the theatre.

Joe Dante introducing the 4k restoration of The Howling at the Nuart. Photo by Matt Average

FOXES (1980) / SUBURBIA (1984)

FOXES (1980)

Directed by Adrian Lyne

Starring Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, Scott Baio, Kandice Stroh, Sally Kellerman, Marilyn Kagan, Randy Quaid

SUBURBIA (1984)

Directed by Penelope Spheeris

Starring Chris Pedersen, Bill Coyne, Jennifer Clay, Flea, Timothy O’Brien, Wade Walston, Maggie Ehrig

MALIGNANT (2021)

Crowd forming outside the Aero in Santa Monica for Sneak Preview of Malignant, September 9, 2021. Photo: Matt Average

MALIGNANT (2021)

Director: James Wan

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White

NUART – reopens!

Places are starting to reopen here in California. I have no idea how long that will last, or if we will ever close down again at all. With the vaccines getting around, and after a year of “we’re turning a corner” only to see the numbers rise it’s tough to be positive about much at the moment.

That said, the Nuart opened it’s doors up last Friday, March 19, 2021. No idea when the midnight movies will return, but I’m looking forward to that moment when I can sit in my seat, finish my soda and candy before the trailers finish, and watch whatever classic horror is projected onto the big screen. It will be epic. (MA)

NOTA • Moscow 7″ EP

NOTA • Moscow 7” EP

Artcore

Being from Oklahoma NOTA is like Black Flag or Agnostic Front for me. They were/are that important, and had a huge impact on me and my friends. I didn’t really start paying attention to punk until around 1981, after all, everyone was saying it was dead. I knew of the Sex Pistols, I caught the news story about their show at Cain’s Ballroom on the local OKC channel 5 10pm broadcast, and it was the craziest thing I had seen at that point in my life. As the teen years started to come on, and the need to define myself among the masses, The Clash was the first punk band I got into. The whole notion of punk happening in a place like Oklahoma seemed inconceivable to me. That would soon change though. By 1982 I decided it was time to get off the fence and be punk, thinking I was probably the only one in the state. My best friend down the street, Dallas Vickers, got on board, so that made two of us. A short while later we discovered KGOU one night while looking to see if there was anything else on the radio other than the crummy top 40 stuff. We suddenly discovered we weren’t the only punks around (though we were not dressing the part at that moment in time). I stayed up listening to see what else there was, and discovered shows like My Tunnel, which played hardcore punk, and would inform listeners of shows in the area, and what local bands were up to. My mind was blown. There was a punk scene happening in Norman, just south of me, and in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Local bands like No Direction, Brown 25, Diet of Worms, Death Puppy, and others. On top of all that, there was this band from Tulsa, None of the Above, or more casually, and shortened, NOTA (pronounced No-duh, but say it quickly so you don’t sound like you’re saying, “No duhhh…”). All the previously mentioned bands were great, but NOTA were on a “whole nother level.” They had an intensity that blazed like no other. They’re on the classic Welcome to 1984 comp with bands like Rattus, Stalin, Raw Power, Upright Citizens, BGK, Crucifucks, and Terveet Kadet , so that’s says something of the level they were at. I’m of the opinion that everything this band did is worth picking up. Their output from Live at Crystal Pistol (you can get the vinyl and CD versions through Prank) on to that first album on Rabid Cat are essential.

Moscow was their first release on vinyl, and it wastes no time getting down and getting loud. Kicking off with “This Country”  and keeping it at 11 all the way through “The Enemy,” “Taking Away Your Rights,” and the title track (check out that guitar riff!). It never lets up for a second! The guitars roar and snarl, and the vocals match. The bass is heavy and dark, while the drums are surprisingly catchy, despite the speedy tempos. I remember the day I got this and listening to it over and over, and my friend Dallas coming over and we cranked it until my mom pulled up in the drive way. There’s a reason we adorned our clothes with their name, and copped the art from Rusty Short to put on the back of our jackets and Oxford button up shirts. Timeless music right here. 

Artcore fanzine fortunately rereleased Moscow, remastered from the original tapes. The sound is more full, and somewhat heavier than on the previous pressing(s). The packaging is pretty sweet as well, with a history of the band, some flyer art and photos, as well as lyrics and the back cover art for the original Unclean pressing included (though slightly altered). It’s part of issue 40, which includes interviews with Strike Anywhere, The Chisel, Vicious Dreams, and Septic Death, Jawbreaker, and Iconoclast in the Vaultage section. You gotta get this by all means.  (MA)

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Justin Dratson:JD Nate Wilson:NW  Matt Average:MA

MALE PATTERNS

I first learned of Male Patterns a few years ago when I was assigned their split EP with Scuzz at Razorcake. Had no idea what to expect, and then when I listened to their side of the split I had no idea why they weren’t getting a lot of coverage or rabid fan declaration on the social media platforms. A year or so later I listened to their LP and was even more blown away. They’re definitely worthy of your fandom when it comes to music of the short, fast and loud variety. They crank out abrasive blasts of hardcore punk with a certain heaviness that gives them a sonic edge over many.

They have a split with Executors that has just come out on Shock to the System that you need to check out.

Below is a short interview with Brendan conducted by Matt Average

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MALE PATTERNS  photo by Grey Valentine

Who’s who? What other bands were you in in prior to Male Patterns? 

I’m Brendan. I yell into the microphone and I was in Neutron Rats. Mike “Moaky” Moak plays guitar and is still playing in Postage and After the Fall. Dan plays drums and was in Boston’s No Sir I Won’t and Libyans while KC who plays Bass used to play in Cancer from Albany.

Who’s idea was it to start the band? 

Moaky got together with Dan and started playing around. They recruited Jamie, our original bass player, who later moved to Detroit and now plays in Immaculate Conception. Moaky asked if I wanted to sing and I went to his basement and they played the songs that they had written already and I thought they were great. I knew Moaky and Jamie before from shows in the Albany scene and we had worked together at a screen printing company. I had never met Dan before because he had been living in Boston, but he was in a slew of great bands and he and I connected quickly.

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MALE PATTERNS  photo by Grey Valentine

What is the name referencing? Anything in particular?

When I asked if they had a name yet, Moak said, “Male Patterns, ‘cause we’re old dudes.” We were all in our late 20’s when the band started in December 2013 and he thought it was funny. I took the name more about being a certain age in punk and the routines of human beings but I think I’m probably stretching it with all of that. No one was thinking too hard about the name. Unfortunately, when we first started, a couple of people here and there have been offended by the name and misinterpreted it as some kind of macho chauvinist thing and we couldn’t be further away from that. We didn’t get that at all. 

Musically, when I listen to you guys I hear bands like Econochrist, and some of the heavier Boston bands of the past. Am I out of my mind thinking this?

Not at all. I’ve never heard us compared to Econochrist but I’ll take that. We definitely take a lot from old school hardcore punk. Negative Approach, some Poison Idea, SSD, but also from bands like Cut the Shit, Born Against, The Zucchini Brothers, and The Chemical Brothers. Especially the last two. 

Yeah, I can hear The Zucchini Brothers in your sound. What albums of theirs do you recommend for the uninitiated? 

Great question. All of them. 

Is there an “Albany sound”? 

I think when people think about Albany they think about its past punk and hardcore scene with bands like Monster X and Devoid of Faith. Nowadays Albany has a very diverse scene of music that’s all over the spectrum. Albany has bands that play hardcore punk, rock n roll, power pop and post punk dark wave type stuff. Today’s Albany sound is a great mix bag.  

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MALE PATTERNS photo by Sarah Winner

What is “Help Ourselves” about?  

Alcohol and drugs are big in the music scene and they’re prevalent in punk too. By no means are we saying that you can’t have some fun but it’s also a serious issue that often gets overlooked because no one wants to stop the party. I’ve been to too many wakes and funerals for friends and I know I’m not alone. Punk is liberating and awesome but it can also be really self destructive. We can’t change anything unless we change ourselves first and too often we’re our own enemies. I go into that more on the new record in the song “Self Abuse”. It’s a song that I think unfortunately too many people will be able to relate to. 

Despite everything being shut down for the moment, are you still working on new songs? If so, how? 

Our guitarist has written some new riffs, he records them with his phone and sends them to us. We’re hoping at some point we can get in the same room again and play em out and put them together. Since we have no idea when we’ll be able to play shows again because of Covid, we’re mainly just trying to do what we can to get the word out on the new record. We’re just trying to do what we can with what we can control. It’s a weird time.

Can you tell us about the new record? When will it be out? Who released it? How much have you progressed sonically since the LP? 

The new record came out August 1st. It’s a split that was put out by Shock to the System Records with our friends Executors from Beachwood, New Jersey. We have three tracks on it, and they have two.  I’d say our new songs are a continuation of the LP. Lyrically we continue to cover more social issues than big politics or things like that. Similar style and straight forward structure. I think my vocals might be a little bit rougher on this recording because I have no idea how to control how I sound.  I’ll go ahead and say that if you liked the LP you’ll love this split. If you hated the LP you’ll love this split even more.

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What’s your favorite movie, and why? 

School of Rock with Jack Black. I can watch that movie anytime. The music in it, the message, it’s good for everyone. 

If they made of Male Patterns movie, what type of movie would it be, and what would it be about? 

The Male Patterns movie would be terrible. No one is reading this right now thinking that our origins would make a good movie. There’s nothing special about how we got together, just how we do the things we do now. No one is a complete mess or falling apart either so that’s not movie material. You know what I mean? I mean, our drummer is his town’s historian. Male Patterns would go great in a movie where we played ourselves in it. Like playing a show then showing up later. Like Cannibal Corpse in Ace Ventura or Billy Idol in The Wedding Singer. We’d be playing somewhere the main character would go and then we’d help the main character get their love or save them from the bad guy somehow. Maybe after the show they go to some diner where we’re eating and right as the bad guy is about to clobber or draw his gun on the main character, our drummer Dan hits him with his snare drum. Why did he bring his snare drum into the diner? That’s for the people at Hollywood to decide but after he’d be like “Check please!” or maybe he’d say “This guy’s paying!” and then the main character could get on and win the day or whatever. It could be an action movie or romantic comedy or drama. We could do whatever. 

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MALE PATTERNS  photo by Sarah Winner

What are you doing to stay sane in this moment of time? 

My wife and I just built a pirate bar in our garage that we’re really proud of, so we’ve been spending a lot of nights in there. It’s a tribute to the golden age of piracy.

First thing you plan to do when we’re able to get back out in the world again? 

Set up a release show for this record. Invite people over to my pirate bar for drinks and play more shows. That’s three things. Haha!

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Listen to Male Patterns here.

To get their new EP, as well as LP, and more music from Albany (and elsewhere) go here.

The Nuart: “I see you shiver with anticipation.”

nuart-rhps marquee 7:2:20
“I see you shiver with anticipation.” Photo by: Matt Average

The legendary Nuart Theatre switched up their marquee recently with this quote from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, “I see you shiver with anticipation.”

For those who don’t know, The Nuart was one of the first movie theatres to begin showing Rocky Horror on a regular basis back in 1976. I have yet to attend a screening of that movie there, but I do know the line tends to wind around the building, and the crowd is full of hardcore fans. When we are finally able to return to the movie theatres safely I will definitely go and get in line

I’m also missing seeing this beautiful marquee lit up at night, and look forward to the nights when it’s lit up advertising whatever movie is playing on the screen, as well as their Friday midnight programming. Someday…..  (MA)

BRUTE CORPS (1971)

BRUTE CORPS (1971)

Director: Jerry Jameson

Starring: Alex Rocco, Jennifer Billingsley, Joseph Kaufman, Paul Carr

Viewed: Blue-Ray

Brute Corps cover

The first time I watched Brute Corps was on a DVDr that was burned from a low grade VHS of dubious origin. The print was horrendous. It looked like it was copied from a copy of another copy of another copy and on and on until what was left was barely viewable. Faces were blobs with two black dots for eyes. Voices tended to be the consistent guide, separating one character from the other. Even the nude scene between Kevin and Terry when they’re in the creek was pretty blown out. The only way you knew they were completely nude was because there were no blobs of color on their bodies. The print was so terrible that you could even see cracks in the film negative as the tape via the DVDr rolled on. But I kept with this movie because it is actually pretty good for what it is and an obscurity that should be better known with genre fans. The main characters are fleshed out enough to keep you interested and, at some point, feel sympathy towards.

Fortunately, Code Red released this on Blue Ray, and it looks great. It’s like seeing it for the first time in comparison to that grotty VHS dub to DVDr that I mentioned above. Faces are clear, you can see their features, know who’s who, and enjoy the mean and nasty movie that is coming your way.

Brute Corps starts off with a group of men in military fatigues winding through canyon roads in Southern California on their way to some undisclosed country in Central America. There’s a scene where one urinates out of the back of the truck while it’s in motion and the rest look on is not to be missed because it’s one of those “Did I just see what I think I did?” moments. Indeed, you did. We soon learn these men are a group of mercenaries known as Burkhart’s Bastards, led by the ineffective Colonel (Charles Macaulay). They pass a hitchhiking hippy, Kevin (Joseph Kaufman), who later becomes a central figure in the movie. But first, these Bastards tangle with some bikers, and a short while later stop off at a cantina in a dusty desert town to harass the locals, and prove to all in attendance that they are indeed deserving of the Bastards half of their moniker. It’s here that we are introduced to the sleazy and violent Wicks, played by Alex Rocco (The Godfather, The Entity, Three the Hard Way, Detroit 9000, The Friends of Eddie Coyle,Bonnie’s Kids, and numerous TV shows). He harasses a young barmaid while everyone just looks on. She wriggles out of his grasp, but the stage is set, and you know this guy is one nasty scum bag to not take your eyes off of. He has no moral boundaries whatsoever, just get what he wants and let no one get in his way. Rocco plays him perfectly. A villain you easily despise and will relish in seeing him get his much deserved comeuppance.

That hitchhiker, Kevin, that I previously mentioned just so happens to be headed in the same direction. He’s on the run from the military, and he meets up with Terry (Jennifer Billingsley), the free spirit hippy girl who tells him, “I like to ball, it’s the thing I do very best in life. I should have been a hooker.” Of course they hook up and have sex, and start to develop an emotional relationship rather quickly as they make their way into whatever town across the border their looking to disappear into.

Eventually Terry and Kevin cross paths with Wicks, and go back to the camp with the promise of free food. From here Wicks begins to manipulate the couple for his ends, which is to get Terry. Kevin gets hip to what Wicks is doing but is too high to effectively fight back, and knows he’s outmatched and outnumbered to save Terry from the hell that is coming her way.

Terry’s arrival in the camp exacerbates the division and dysfunction among Burkhart’s Bastards. The distrust among each of them makes you wonder how they made it this far this long. They all want Terry and they will gladly hurt one another for to get her. The ineffective Colonel Burkhart suggests they compete for who gets her, as to them she’s nothing more than a piece of meat. The competitions are pretty goofy for the most part, mostly hand to hand combat, and pad out the running time of the film. One member, Ross (Paul Carr), is sort of the conscious of the group, but for the most part a coward in that he doesn’t act sooner.

Once Wicks gets his hooks into Terry this movie gets nasty and grim. There’s enough tension to keep you engaged, and the performances from Rocco and whoever played Terry are pretty good. Rocco is so vile and sleazy you can’t look away. Terry elicits sympathy as the broken girl. You do wonder how she will go on with life after all the humiliation Wicks put her through.

This movie could be easily written off as a low budget trashy action flick, and it is, but the writers Michael Kars and Abe Polsky (who wrote the must see The Baby (1973)) and director Jerry Jameson (The Bat People, The Six Million Dollar Man, etc.) did pretty well with their resources and delivered much more than anyone could have expected. (MA)

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Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Matt Average: MA

HIGH ANXIETY (1977)

High Anxiety

Tell me about it! Another one from the marquee at the Laemlee Royal. This one is referencing Mel Brooks comedy from 1977. A little bit of clever humor from the person putting these marquees together goes far these days. (MA)