The Oscar Meltdown Should movies be allowed to win multiple oscars? Are the past winners even worthy?
An article that puts a spotlight on a teenagerâ€™s favorite places to hang out.
The Case Against Superman Modern Music Travesty At the beginning of the century superhero movies were making a comeback. After a decade nothing has happened. Why are they still here?
A terrifying look into the warped tastes of the sick and deragend mind of the average popular music listner.
13 30 Years in the Hole
Olivia N. writes about her old bass teacher, Terry Hale, and his career in the music industry, specifically as George Straitâ€™s bassist.
41 Modern Music Travesty
Colleen F. writes about how todayâ€™s music has been ruined by modern pop stars through over synthesizing.
Colleen F.- The Voice of Reason Colleen often starts books but leaves them unfinished. She swears she just doesn’t have the time (what with soccer, piano, violin, and horseback riding). Her dad enjoys photography so we had an abundance of baby photos to choose from. Most of them consisted of her in the throes of her first snow day (in a bright pink jump suit no less) and her at a dance recital. Little children focusing on their clumsy feet are the cutest little thing (Colleen is certainly no exception). Colleen listens to pretty much any music that one could throw at her and is deemed acceptable. Composing and compliling medlies take up a lot of her free time (mostly compsing though, her transitions could use a little work). She enjoys going to local concerts and complaining about her middle school.
May S.- The Little Ray of Sunshine May is a wonderful and amazing person. She’ll tell you that Friends is the greatest show ever and constantly talks about which one she saw last night. She picks up multiple sports and ditches them for her exercise tapes at home. She tried to do track but she had no endurance for running and when she joined softball she really only had the intention of getting a letter jacket (that dream was ended once she realized she’d actually have to play Softball). She hasn’t given up the workout tapes yet but we’ll see how much longer that lasts, and also likes to swim (meaning laps for four minutes followed by an hour long tanning session). As much as May doesn’t exercise she swears that we’re going to regret teasing her when she has “superbuff man-calves”.
Honest is often a word that people associate with Kira, whether that’s good or bad she’s never really been able to tell. Kira’s an extreme person who sees no point in physical exercise if you look fine anyway. Kira enjoys revisiting childhood movies from Disney and memorizing the lyrics. As a child her favorite movie was Jurassic Park. We can back this up with tapes of her as a three month old laughing as the velociraptor pulls someone into the cage and rips his arm from the socket. Perhaps the first clue to her later-in-life-oddness was following her first watch of Mulan. When asked who her favorite character was she replied with “Shan-Yu” (the bad guy). Most of her friends rely on her on a daily basis as a reliable source for entertaiment, and information. She is never wrong, and readily points out when someone else is.
Never reads magazines but can apparently write them. Likes reading (but won’t let you borrow books). Listens to classic rock. Hates to pay for CDs. Has a one-eyed cat. Was raised –not born –in Austin. Loves Taco Cabana tortillas, but hates the food. Will eat anyone who doesn’t like the Beatles. Doesn’t like Mac computers. Plays the bass (upright and electric). Has a Facebook page (But doesn’t use it.) Likes making lists. Writes insatiably. Dyes her hair like her life depends on it. Totally stole the idea for a list bio from Selene.
Austin, Inside &
The city dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World is actually one of the most original and unique cities in the world. This article will help you waltz your way through Austinjust like a true Austinite.
story by May S.
Experience Austin like a true Austinite.
Being the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin draws lots of attention and tourists every year. From the wide array of food choices to ice skating on top of Whole Foods every winter, Austin is considered one of the most unique and creative cities there is. This city has a lot to offer; knowing the best places to go and the most fun things to see will result in a perfect weekend. With so many options in Austin, lots of people feel overwhelmed about what to do, or do not have an idea of where to start, and where to go. After you read this article, you will know how many options you have in Austin, everything from eating a fine dinner and watching a new movie at Alamo Drafthouse, to going to see a musical at Zilker Hillside Theater. “Austin just has this vibe,” Adrienne R., an involved Austenite said. “It’s Whole Foods filled with all these absurdly creative, fun people.” Market Walking down South Congress, you can run into multiple film crews Headquarters and ltos of music artists, especially depending on what weekend it is: Austin This is the City Limits is the reason for Austin’s nickname, a huge musical festival that headquarters of Whole Foods Market, takes place in one of Austin’s many parks, Zilker. Zilker Park is a park next located on Bowie to Barton Springs that is very popular in Austin. Zilker is near Sno-Beach Street in Downtown and lots of restaurants, which is perfect in the summer. Austin, TX. “We’ve got a lots of parks,” Rivers said. “It’s not like big cities such as New York City where everyone is moving so fast all the time. We’re relaxed, 5
1.Amy’s Ice Cream-located all over Austin, this picture on Soco. 2. Jo’s Coffee is a coffree shop on Soco. 3. Alamo Drafthouse. Dinner and a movie. 4.Frost Bank tower, located downtown. 5. Hut’s Hamburgers 6.Stevie Ray Vaughan statue 7.Daytime skyline of downtown Austin, Texas.
and it’s comfortable. People tend to feel pretty at home here, especially creative types.” During the summer, lots of people take advantage of Zilker Park being next to a spring and spend their afternoon playing at Zilker before jumping into Barton Springs. Or you can spend the day walking South Congress before stopping into a shop to get a snow cone, or stop at Amy’s for an ice cream. “My favorite thing to do is shop,” Mimi S., another local Austenite said. “There are so many great little boutiques and vintage stores that are not too absurdly overpriced. I could easily spend all day shopping and not get tired in Austin because there are so many different unique places.” Many locally owned stores on South Congress and downtown tend to be more expensive, but chances are, what you buy will be exquisite and unique to Austin. Lots of stores on the Drag (located on UT campus, farther up South Congress) can be expensive, but there is also a price range, depending on where you go. There are locally owned boutiques, like the store Wish, second hand consignment stores, like Buffalo Exchange, and nationally owned chains, like Urban Outfitters. “I probably spend around thirty dollars every weekend in Austin including clothes, movies, and some snacks, this is not including meals,” Rivers said. “Austin can be overpriced if you don’t know where to shop or eat.” Which brings us to food. It would be a trip wasted if you came to Austin and did not try any of the famous Mexican food. The best basic, good Mexican food can be found at Povos, Curras, El sol y la Luna, and Chuys.
Photos by Todd Storch, Sam Felder, tiemposdelruido, Alycat, Loudtiger, Elliottng, Blwarren713, Blazerman, Larry Miller, Jordan S. Hatcher, That Other Paper, Gold41
The University of Texas Tower. After a win by UT, the entire building is lit up orange, with a #1 going down the middle.
All kinds of guitars can be found around Austin, to symbolize being the Live Music Capital of the World. This guitar is located downtown.
Texas State History Museum, The Bob Bullock Museum. Located downtown, across the street of the Blanton Museum of Art.
State Capitol. In the heart of downtown, walk all the way down South Congress and you will run right into it.
“Chances are if there’s a type of food you’re really craving, you’ll find it and it’ll be gosh darn delicious.” Rivers said. In the past couple of years there has been an explosion of gourmet trailer park food, a chain that has continued along South Congress and up to South First and Guadalupe. Lots of different types of trailer park eateries have opened up, continuing with the Mexican food theme Torchy’s Tacos, chicken in a cone at The Mighty Cone, and hot dogs at Man Bites Dog. So on a summer day you can go swimming or walk South Congress, but what about in the winter, when Barton Springs is way too cold? For 10 dollars, you can skate for one hour on top of Whole Foods headquarters, or, as it is dubbed, Ice Skating on the Plaza. “We’ve got tons of movie theaters, and indoor concerts, and really, really great coffee-shops.” Rivers said. On a cold day the best thing to do is go to a warm movie theatre, or in Austin, go to see a movie where you can also have a fine dinner. At Alamo Drafthouse, you can enjoy your movie while eating an entire meal, with a full menu to choose from. If you feel like sitting and reading quietly, there are lots of coffee shops and café’s all over that will make you feel at home, try Dominican Joe’s or Java Joe’s. Ice-skating is not the only thing Whole Foods Market is good for. On Friday nights, a movie is shown on the rooftop of
the store, where the ice rink is in the winter. And that’s not the only place you can find outside entertainment. Every summer Zilker Park hosts a play on their hillside, dubbed Zilker Hillside Theater. Summer 2009 the play was The Music Man, and continuing with the musical theme, the cast of summer 2010’s play will be performing Annie. “I would move [from Austin] just because I want to travel, but I would never, ever leave Austin behind. I would visit all the time. You can count on that.” Rivers said.
All Over Austin In a story written earlier, you found out all about the coolest places in Austin. But where are they? This map will tell you exactly where the cool spots are, included with an explaniation for each. Make sure you check out each place these streets, hoping you don’t miss Jim Jim’s on 6th Street, Big Top or Amy’s on conngress. Make sure you don’t miss Whole Foods headquarters, located right downtown with Book People and Anthropologie. Make sure you catch all the best places in Austin, because skipping these places will not make your trip fulfilled. Make sure you catch all the great festivals going on downtown.
The Austin skyline, from a spot on south congress.
1. Barton Creek Greenbelt. A beatiful place, feel free to come here before a dip into Barton Springs.
4. Little Stacy Park. Right near SoCo, a lovely park, including two pools, playscapes, and tennis courts.
5. University of Texas at Austin campus. Over 40 acres of campus, this houses great Union Underground and the Drag.
2. Zilker Park. A must for everyone who comes to Austin. This park is located right next to Barton Springs and close to Soco.
1 3. South Congress Ave. Soco, as it is dubbed has everything you can imagine up this street, from ice cream to gun shops.
Miles from Zilker to South Congress
Miles from the Drag to Barton Springs
Miles from Downtown to Barton Springs
Big Top Candy Shop. One of the best candy stores in Austin, found on SoCo.
JimJim’s. Best shaved ice you can find. Located on 6th street, owned by Jim.
Sandy’s Ice Cream. Best frozen custard and hamburgers you can find.
6. Hancock Golf Course. A great way to spend the day, at the golf course. They also offer multiple golf camps during the summer, not too far away from pools to jump into after.
P. Terry’s. Some of the best hamburgers and lemonade ever found.
Green Mesquite. Local Austin barbeque, found on Barton Springs.
7. 6th Street. Crazy all day long, this street holds some of the oldest and creative places in Austin, some of the most unique people and coolest restaurants. One of the best Austin landmarks.
Fair Bean World Trade Coffee
2210 South 1st Street Founded by: Adres Salvador Happy Hour Hosts: Amy Zaparripa Max Nofzinger
Fair Bean Coffee
has happy hour from about 5:00 to 7:00 every Friday evening, where you can get a taste of their coff and tea with free refills, and a discount price. Fair Bean go-ers also get the chance to bring down an instrument and show off their talent at the weekly open mic. Come down for coffee, conversation, empanadas, and the chance to hear some local Austin musicians strut their stuff for unsuspecting viewers.
Most local austin musicians embody our classic picture of the “starving musician.” But what about the ones that actually get to eat?
art and story by
The practice room is tiny, barely enough to contain the memorabilia that’s spilling over the walls. Music and records cover the carpet floor like a maze, making it hard to enter. A tall upright bass sits quietly in its corner next to a picture of Ray Brown. Across the room, a Grateful Dead poster is hanging on the wall next to a newspaper clipping that has yellowed with age. “This was the only time I was mentioned in a George Strait review,” says Terry Hale, bassist of the Ace in the Hole Band. “I called the author to thank him, and said the only problem was that he said we were “probably” the best rhythm section in the business.” Terry chuckles. “He thought it was funny, in an egotistical sort of way.” Terry is one of Austin’s many professional musicians who roam the local venues looking for gigs. Unlike most of them, however, Terry lives in 13
a two-story house, has multiple cars, and hangs his platinum records on the wall over his staircase. He’s been playing bass for George Strait for 35 years, and two years ago, in 2008, he started giving lessons down at Red Leaf School of Music. He’s discontinued his career in teaching now, but many aspiring musicians had the privilege of working with Terry and learning about being a musician from one of the best. Even those students who were skeptical about learning to play from someone in a country band found a lot to like in Terry. He is very well versed in many genres of music, and was always willing to show someone a Led Zeppelin riff or a 12 bar blues line. Terry has an interesting taste in music, including classical, blues, country, and the Grateful Dead. But while Terry has a wide range of ‘likes’ in the music world, his favorite genre
of music is jazz. In fact, Ray Brown, one of the greatest jazz bassists that ever played, was the source of Terry’s bass-playing inspiration. “I was twelve years old and I’ll never forget I was laying on the floor, watching T.V…and he was playing, just, I’d never heard or felt anything like that in my life and I knew I wanted to do it.” Though watching Ray Brown perform on T.V. was the first time Terry ever felt his true calling, he didn’t learn anything overnight. Most aspiring artists come into the business with the idea that when you’re in a famous band, life is good. You’re amazingly talented; you get to do whatever you want, no work, no practice, and all that jazz. But even big shots like Terry have their roots in small beginnings. The first band that Terry was in was neither glamorous nor big. He started all the way the
title borrowed from Terry’s up-and-coming autobiography, to be looked for in the coming years.
back in the sixth grade, at the tender age of 11, when many artists were just starting to learn to play their first instrument. “We were called Saffron Green Mist,” Terry chuckled. “Two guitars, a bass player, and a drummer. And we had one original song that consisted of an F chord and a G chord, back and forth, back and forth. Other than that, we knew Louis, Louis, and we played, I don’t know how many times.” And thus, from humble beginnings sprung one of the country music industry’s most iconic musicians of this day and age. Several instruments were tried before Terry picked up the bass, such as the saxophone, which was hazardous to his poor family’s health, and the drums, which somehow ended up being even worse. From such mishaps and mayhem Terry eventually found bass and went
Above, Terry sits with his bass back to college in San on to form the Ace during soundcheck at a George Marcos. in the Hole Band Strait concert at The Rose “I made a 5x7 in his college years Gargden in Portland, Oregon. index card and stuck in San Marcos. It it on the corkboard was during this at the student union period of his life, due to sheer good luck, that he and that said “Band looking for a singer.” And for about two months we authe band happened to meet a young ditioned all kinds of people… And singer named George Harvey Strait. then one day I went back up there to It all started with getting fired. check the bulletin board and on the The year was 1974, Terry was in colother side there was a card that said, lege, and he and the band were still “Singer looking for a band.” working in deadbeat clubs. It was Terry went back to check on it, a late night, playing at a now nonbut instead found that the band’s existent club called the Split Rail, where the hours were 8:00pm to card was gone. They auditioned for a while after that, but decided to take a one in the morning. They were tired, week off after two months of nothing and, due to some (un)lucky streak, they liked. Almost as soon as he left, the lead singer fired all of the other Terry got a call from George. And four members when the band didn’t want to play any extra songs. The four from there, as Terry says, “The rest is hysterical.” He’s been playing with decided to stick together, however, Strait for 35 years, the Ace in the and immediately started looking for Hole Band for 37, and they still a new lead singer as soon as they got
do around 25 to 40 sound check. He’ll Terry and the band on stage during a Strait concernt in Baltidates a year during even practice in the more, Maryland. Taken from the three week blocks, bus, when he can. audience. usually with a week When he’s not on or so off in between. tour, Terry plays Even with all of this gigs with other loplaying, however, Terry still thinks cal Austin artists almost every other it essential to do one of those things day in addition to all of his personal that most teen musicians love to skim playing. He has several groups with over: practice. Rick McRae, and has kept a jazz gig “When I’m not on tour and the at Los Palomas for 11 years. Terry Union’s keeping me busy right now, also plays with other local artists I’m really down to about an hour a when they need back up, like Floyd day, which is embarrassing and I’m Domino, Cindy Cashdollar, and sorry to say it,” said Terry, shaking his Javier Chaparro as well. head in shame. “In this summer when “When we get a call for a gig, you all this nonsense is over, I’ll kick back have your guys you call first, and then up to four hours a day.” you go down your list,” says Terry. These days of long practice hours “We all keep each other employed.” are perfectly normal for Terry, who In addition to being involved in takes his bass into his hotel even the local musicians union, Terry is when he’s traveling with the band also connected with many up-andand run through the entire show coming musicians in Austin. He before the band even goes through had a long stint of teaching at Red 15
Leaf School of Music, as well as a few local high schools, teaching both upright bass and electric bass guitar. “If I can do anything to give anyone else a break, I’m more than willing to do it,” he says, smiling. “And it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life; I have to be honest with you.” Terry’s teaching career is over now, though he is always willing to give his students some free advice and a set of strings or two. He himself is taking lessons from his son to improve his music reading skills, and he’ll be practicing every day. Apparently, there are still things to learn after 44 years of playing and pushing through gig after gig. “I’m gonna learn to play it one of these days, Olivia, I swear.”
Who Should Have Won?
Do you think that The Hurt Locker deserved to win? What movie would you have liked to see win? Who would you have liked to see win the Best Picture Oscar? The Hurt Locker? Up? Up in the Air? Put in your input here, find out who else would have wanted to see that same movie win. See what movie was the most popular, and which movie had no chance in the world of winning. Everybody was betting on Avatar, but is that what the majority of LASA believes? Or did you get to see your favorite movie The Hurt Locker win? Read, or participate in the poll to find out which movie the rest of LASA was pulling for, and who nobody seemed to want to win.Well lots of people seemed to be pulling for Avatar, but is that really the clear choice? See how Avatar compared to all the other movies going on this past year.
The Hurt Locker
3% Up in the Air
A Serious Man
The Blind Side
0% An Education 5% Up
Should Avatar have been nominated for so many awards? Did it deserve to? Find out here. Story by May S.
C R A CK
Photos by Onat Lopera and xploitme
AVATAR IS CHOSEN for nine Academy Awards, and won two Golden Globes out of the four it was nominated for. In 2009 Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars, and four Golden Globes. Should this be allowed? Should one movie win the majority of all the award categories? This is unfair to all other movies nominated for every other award category, like actors and directors, etc. If one movie is nominated for best picture, it is a given that it will be nominated for every other category, because those are what create a good movie. In the past couple of years there has not been a best picture nominee that has not been nominated for multiple other categories. In my opinion, any movie that is nominated for best picture should not be nominated for any other movie category.
Avid Avatar fans would say that these movies deserve all of these awards, that they qualify for all the categories and that they should win. I don’t 19
think Avatar reaches these standards. It’s not the best choice; it’s just the one that made the most money. Avatar has exceeded Titanic in the box office by $651, 604, 794, but this does not qualify it to win multiple Oscars. Critic Jay Richards has said that this movie had obvious great effects, but the plot was an “…illogical, downright stupid plot.” And yet Avatar may have been light years ahead of its time, design and graphic wise, that just makes it aesthetically pleasing, not best movie quality.
Some movies that are nominated for
so many categories are always rumored to win some big awards. Usually this movie is the highest grossing, most talked about, and has some of the best actors. As the Academy Awards official page displayed, over the past years there has been
a continuation of the best picture winning multiple Oscars in certain award shows. The movies that are the most popular, been rumored about all Oscar season, and are the highest grossing that always win.
In my opinion, this takes the fun and en-
joyment out of the Oscars, when the presenter announces the best picture and you know automatically who will win. It was predicted that Slumdog Millionaire would win all the Oscars that it was nominated for, which turned out to be true. There are no surprises in the Oscars anymore; the most obvious choice is always the one that ends up winning. A movie that is nominated for best picture usually will be nominated for other categories as well, because the other categories are the qualifications that make a best movie. The winner of the best picture will probably end up winning every Oscar that it is nominated for. No movie would win best picture and not be nominated for any other category. This is why movies nominated for best picture should not be nominated for anything else.
Other movies that have been nominated would have had a great shot at winning, except that they were neither in 3D or incredibly high in the box office-The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, etc… Tons of movies have been over looked because maybe there aren’t the biggest name actors, or because the director is up and coming, and is a beginner. The past movie winners have been very high on the box office list for their year. Other movies that came out at the same time as Avatar haven’t been even considered because they have been in the shadow of Avatar and all the movie’s glory for having come out at the exact same time. If a movie is nominated for best picture, then it should not be nominated for anything else. Just because it is highest grossing does not mean that is best picture quality. A lot of people are blinded by how enjoyable and fun it was instead of what it actually means to be the very best movie.
8. The Blind Side $255,861,997.
25. Inglorious Basterds $120,540,719.
27. District 9 $115,646,235 $83,823,381.
65. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire $47,566,524.
117. The Hurt Locker $16,400,000.
132. An Education $12,567,051
145. A Serious Man $9,166,863 21
Photos belong to their own production companies respectively
38. Up in the Air
Following Their Passion Two local Austin artists doing what they love Story by Colleen F. Photos by Traci Goudie and Quentin Fennessy
“The level of talent here is really inspiring to me.” Coming from André Moran, an experienced guitarist and Austin resident, this is high praise for a city dubbed Live Music Capital of the World. Moran and his wife, Noëlle Hampton, are local musicians. They are an example to young aspiring musicians of artists who can actually get paid –not your stereotypical starving artist –doing what they love. Their careers demonstrate that you don’t have to be famous to make a living in music. Hampton and Moran now work together as musicians, but their musical careers started out very differently. Hampton majored in graphic design in college and always wanted to be an artist. However, one day while she was in college she decided to pick up her dad’s guitar to try it out, and right away learned three chords. “Art had always been really fun and therapeutic, but music all the sudden, it was like I literally saw the light bulb go off. And it changed my whole 23
direction.” Hampton said. She taught herself how to play the guitar and sing. “I was not a good singer when I first started singing,” she
said, which is hard to believe now because her soprano voice is so rich and powerful. “I really just got better by doing it every single day, singing, and singing,
and singing, and teaching myself and listening to other musicians, and listening to other people that I liked emulating.” Moran, on the other hand, started his musical
career earlier in life, and in a more conventional manner. He started playing the piano when he was 10, and picked up the guitar when he was 14. “I remember before that like listening to the radio and wanting to play guitar, but my mom said, ‘Well you should learn how to play the piano because it’ll be easier, you know.’ Which is advice I give people nowadays because I think its true.” Moran gives this advice while teaching private piano and guitar
lessons. In addition to that and his full time music job, he teaches two classes at Austin Community College- a recording class and a computer-based music production class. To top it all off, he also works as a recording engineer. “He works all the time nonstop. The fact that he’s here right now sitting here is a miracle because if he sees an inkling of a space in his schedule on our iCal, he fills it with something instead of going ‘Maybe I should have that time to, like, do my own
thing, or go to a movie or you know’ whatever, he fills it because it’s like somebody needs to finish their record and he feels bad and he wants to finish it,” Hampton says. As for Hampton, although her other job isn’t related to music, it still involves something creative: designing jewelry. However, when she lived in San Francisco, she worked as a waitress/hostess at different restaurants. But for one year, she got to work on nothing but music. This is because she was in
the very first commercial for iTunes and got paid a huge amount of money, as well as health and dental insurance through the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). “I thought I’d just about died and gone to heaven. I thought, ‘I should’ve been an actress!’” Hampton laughed as she recalled the experience. It gave her an opportunity she wishes all young musicians could have. “[Music] is absolutely a full time job,” Hampton said. An example of this is how
hard it is to get gigs in Austin. “A lot of it is just kind of who you know and how you get your foot in the door,” Hampton explained. “Maybe you have a friend that’s already playing a club that passes on some information to the club owner for you.” And even though they’ve lived in Austin for a good bit of time, it’s still a challenge for them to get gigs. “It was a lot easier to get gigs when I was touring from San Francisco than it was when I moved here and was actually a resident,” Hampton admitted. But they love Austin too much to leave. “We started coming through Austin a lot on tours and we fell in love,” said Moran. “People here were just so cool and so welcoming and supportive.” Both also mentioned the talent of the people here and how inspiring it is to live around so many gifted musicians. “We had reached a level in San Francisco where we were kind of one of the top dogs. We were pretty big in San Francisco at the time. And that was great, we worked really hard for that. We really did work for years and years to get to that level.” Hampton explained. “[But] we wanted to get our asses kicked again.” And while they might gush about the talent level
of other artists in Austin, Hampton and Moran wouldn’t be able to make it in this city as musicians if they weren’t talented themselves. Hampton composes, plays harmonica and guitar, and has a full, sweet soprano voice. Moran is a well trained guitarist and can improvise over any song, even if he’s never heard it. “André is one of the most tasteful guitar players I’ve ever heard anywhere,” Hampton said. “His sense of emotion about the song is immeasurable.” Moran’s improvisation is one of the main things that makes him stand out from other guitarists. “It sounds like a record,” said Hampton, but Moran is very modest about his talent. “Learning to improvise is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and just swim,” he explains. While Moran’s specialty is his gift for improvisation, Hampton composes deep, melodic music. The subject material can be depressing, but the flow and melody are indescribable. The type of music she writes is unique, and she gave it a unique name: roots rock or lush roots rock. “It embodies the roots, the country, and the Americana side... and the rich rock thing that we do when we play with our band,” Hampton explains.
The unique name, she says, also helps people understand how she is inspired to write her music. When Hampton first started writing music, she was more inspired by artists like Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, and Shawn Colvin. She toured with these artists when McLachlan organized the Lilith Fair, a group of female singer/songwriters touring across the nation. Later, however, she started to be more inspired by male artists like Bob Dylan. But for Hampton, inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, and at anytime. “There’s some kind of like energy that I feel like comes *shi-koom* into me,” Hampton said, using her hands to indicate a lightning bolt hitting her head, “[and] at that moment and I just get a lyric or something pops into my head, and I don’t really know honestly where it comes from, or why.” Hampton tried to better explain this feeling for people who don’t compose. “It’s like really good reception, like a radio and I receive for that moment and then I don’t receive for like months sometimes, or weeks,” Hampton elaborates. Once she gets her inspiration, she writes the music and then the lyrics. “The music will tell me if it’s a happy song, if it’s an angry song, if it’s, you know, a sad song,” Hamp-
ton explains. “The chords will tell me.” Her songs appear to come from her own personal experiences, including her relationship songs, but they really aren’t. She says her relationship with her husband doesn’t really have any drama, so she can’t write those songs from personal experience. That’s when she uses the experiences of the people around her. “I have to tap into what’s out there, what’s happening, like it can’t just be ‘And I came home and we had spaghetti and our life is perfect’, the song would be so boring you know?” Hampton laughed. As well as composing and playing, Hampton and Moran love to listen to music. Some of their favorite bands are The Beatles, Tom Wait, U2, The Police, Emmy Lou Harris and Patty Griffin. “I really like almost anything,” Hampton said. “But we do like a lot of the stuff that’s kinda in our genre,” Moran amended. These two Austin musicians are both doing what they love, and provide an inspiration to young start-up musicians. And for Hampton and Moran, it doesn’t matter if they’re never as famous as the Beatles or Willie Nelson. As long as they love what they do, they will enjoy the rest of their careers.
are a great way to support local Austin artists as well as to discover new music. While the artists that play at the concerts arenâ€™t always mainstream, all of them are extremely talented. Jon Green, who runs the house concerts, makes you pay $20 at the door, and because this isnâ€™t his full-time job, all of the money goes to the artists, making this venue more profitable than many others around town.
Photos by Quentin Fennessy
Experience Austin Music Greenhouse concerts
Meet the Artists The artists who perform are talented and inspiring. They are all examples of musicians who make a living without being famous. From left to right Devon Sproule, a Canadian songwriter, Mother Banjo, a fun-loving songwriter who plays the banjo, and NoĂŤlle Hampton and AndrĂŠ
Moran (see article). The next picture is of Ruth Moody, a young Canadian singer/songwriter. The picture below is of Amelia Spicer, a pianist and songwriter. Many artists who play at these concerts just use a guitar, but a few, like Spicer, use other instruments such as a keyboard or a bass.
END OF A 29
art by Jannemans
Online downloading is quickly becoming the standard way to buy new music. But what does this mean for our record industry? story by
AN ERA 30
art by beardenb, Dj tronick, beardenb, and T.Voekler
With the 99 cent downloads that we buy on iTunes, not only does the record store only make 55 cents, but the artist only gets 10 et’s be real here. If I gave cents for every download, you the choice between which is not 16%. Basically, record stores are dying, and driving all the way to the they’re taking the money video store to look for a with them. It’s true that we movie you want or just clicking the remote to download it straight to do have the ability to buy your T.V., which would you chose? Most people (including myself ) would a full album on programs choose the latter. If I can get to my goal of entertainment and avoid put- like iTunes, (Apple even has a feature called “Complete ting in extra effort, I’m going to take the easy way out. Normally that My Album”), but most wouldn’t be a problem, but when we apply the convenience of download- people forgo this useful feaing to other areas, we can see that taking the easy way out doesn’t always ture to simply download one or two song off an album, yeild the best results. which hurts the industry even more. Album sales have always been a The problem I want to bring to those stores that remain are losing primary source for a record comyour attention is occurring in the their revenue fast. Virgin Megaspany’s income. CD sales account music industry. For many people tores, on of the last major record for about 80% of all the sales that who don’t have easy access to record stores that we have, reported losses record labels make every year. Now stores, online downloading can be a of 495 million dollars from 2005 that we have such easy access to blessing. For the rest of us, however, to 2007. leaving the population to online downloading, people aren’t it is having an adverse affect that fend for themselves in superstores buying full albums, which means most people don’t think about. You like Wal-Mart, which became the that record companies are loosing see, when people download songs largest album seller in 2003. These a lot of money due to online sales. from online programs, it generally major retailers, however, don’t In fact, album sales have fallen 45% means that they won’t be going to carry music by local musicians that in total since the year 2000, which the record store to buy a CD. This, could benefit from a few albums was the year when Napster was first as you may have guessed, means that being sold to get their music out introduced. Napster, as you might the record store isn’t making money. to the public and bring individualalready know, was the first widely And when record stores don’t make ity to the local music scene. used downloading program to hit money, they shut down. Even with the knowledge that the web. Even though it was a free Let’s take a trip back to a disrecord stores are and have been downloading program at first, it tant time they called the 90s. Tower disappearing since online downpaved the way for major companies Records was still the eighth largest loading made the seen, some still like Apple, Rhapsody, even Amarecord store in the U.S., Musicland might not see what the major zon.com to start their own endeavwas still up and running, and HMV problem. The biggest and basest ors into the downloading industry. records could still be found in the is money. Record stores provide And even with the repercussions on U.S. There were over 7000 local record companies with more profit record stores that could be found on that what they get from their street corners that brought unique online downloading sales. 15 doland interesting music to the locals. lars may seem like a lot to pay for Today, there are an estimated a CD that might not even have less than 2000 local mom-and-pop 15 tracks on it, but we have to record stores left in the country, and consider where all of that money is the nearly all of the major record going. About 35% of the revenue stores are gone. Tower Records went will go to the store, 27% will go bankrupt in 2006, and Musicland toe the record company, and about filed for bankruptcy as well. And 16% percent will go to the artist.
the music industry, consumers have been very happy with their ability to buy only the select songs that they’ve want, that they’ve probably heard before, one at a time. Lately, however, there has been an upset with iTunes pricing structure. Due to pressure from record companies who have been worried about their falling profits, iTunes has changed most of the prices on popular songs from the standard 99 cents to a whopping $1.29. All this talk of prices brings me to another thing I’d like to mention as a problem in the music industry. While legal downloading presents a problem because we aren’t paying enough, illegal downloading is a moral as well as financial complexity. I’m not going to be able to say much on the moral aspect of this oh-so touchy subject, having engaged in some shady dealings myself, but I do know for a fact that there is a very real problem with the illegal downloading scene financially. The Institute for Policy Innovation released a report that calculated somewhere around 12.5 billion dollars in economic losses every year due to online piracy. I don’t know what others think, but personally I feel that 12.5 billion is too big a number to ignore. With illegal downloading going in addition to the losses record companies experience from their own attempts to make money through the very popular legal downloading system, we shouldn’t be shocked
Tower Records, once the eighth largest record store chain in the nation that went banktrupt in 2004, four years after online downloading started to rise.
if more and more record stores and companies start disappearing. I don’t want to tell you that it’s wrong to download music from online music stores, or that you’re morally obligated to pay for the music you want. I just think people should be aware of the effect their having on the music business when they do these things, and realize that it may not be favorable. I understand all the conveniences of downloading from home, seeing as I occasionally do it myself. I just think that we need to cut back on what we buy from iTunes and Napster, and make sure to buy hard copies of the albums that have songs we like. More often than not, a band that has two or three radio hits has other great songs, too. I’m not saying that we should stop using
iTunes. Apple has made a very good program that’s excellent at organizing music even if you aren’t going to use an iPod. But we must keep in mind the consequences that single song downloading has. As long as we still make a point to get out every once in a while to a record store to buy a hard copy of an album, I think we’ll be okay. It’ll take a little effort, we can bother to get out and buy iTunes cards so we can go home and download, I think we can bring ourselves to go just a little further and buy the actual CD.
I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas This isn’t a bad song. I can actually distinguish individual instruments, and it’s not too synthesized. The chorus is extremely repetitive, and the speaking does not add anything, but all in all I like this song more than some others. 32
Poker Face by Lady Gaga It sounds like there’s a cloth over Lady Gaga’s mouth during the verses, then all of the sudden, you can understand her when you reach the chorus. Also, there’s only so many times you can repeat “oh, oh-oh” without it getting old really quickly.
Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas This song is very catchy, and it’s really easy to get it stuck in your head. Which is too bad, because whenever I hear this song, all I can think of is aliens and robots and spaceships. It’s also extremely repetitive and random.
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz This is a pretty good song. Jason Mraz has some semblance of a good voice. The way the instruments layer is very tasteful. The one thing I don’t understand is the random beatboxing in the middle. I don’t think it adds to the song.
Viva la Vida by Coldplay This song is actually a pretty good song, aside from Chris Martin’s voice. While the lyrics don’t really make any sense and it’s really repetitive, this song is catchy, but that’s okay, because it actually sounds good. The instrumental is very well done.
Photos by larces, dq, macinate, Hui-Chun Chen, teamstickergiant, Brian Cantoni, stevegarfield
Just Dance by Lady Gaga This song is over synthesized, not to mention the lyrics are about being so drunk that you can’t remember anything. The stuttering, which is supposed to be a stylistic thing, just makes me think Lady Gaga has a speech impediment.
Low by Flo Rida This song is extremely catchy, which becomes quite annoying when you remember the horribly trashy lyrics that someone my age shouldn’t be listening to, let alone someone younger. And who is ‘Shawty’ anyway? I’m not even sure that’s a real name.
Love Story by Taylor Swift Taylor Swift’s music is actually pretty good pop country, and this song is no exception. I’m not really into this kind of music, but I understand why other people really like her. She can be breathy, but overall her voice is pleasant enough.
Bleeding Lowe by Leona Lewis This song isn’t that bad. The chorus is repetitive but you can always tell when this song is playing because of it. Leona Lewis has a little bit of a whiny voice but I can live with it. She’s not as bad as some other pop artists. Overall, it’s ok.
Tik-Tok by Ke$ha Unfortunately, this song is very catchy, but I really don’t like it. Ke$ha is trying to rap but she has a super valley girl accent that kind of ruins it. The music is over synthesized and I’m not sure I actually heard any singing. The lyrics were really trashy. 33
First hand knowledge on one of Austinâ€™s favorite hangouts. story by KIRA S.
Walking through the doors of The Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, one is met with a mural depicting a cryptic public service announcement: “When aliens invade, remember the Alamo.” In the corner of the entrance lobby stands a small tabletop covered with binders displaying the logos available at Mondo Tees. An ancient arcade machine rests next to the comfortable leather couches lining the wall. Upon purchasing a seat, one is given a “movie ticket” that really consists of nothing more than barcode and movie title on cheap, white receipt-paper. Even with their rather mundane idea of tickets, The Alamo Drafthouse has delighted audiences since 1997. With its quirky taste in movies and tendency to serve restaurant-quality food and cold beer, The Alamo’s rise to popularity was not unfounded. You’d think someone would have thought of it before, but part of what makes The Alamo so Austin is that its combination of movies, food, and beer is completely unique. “I honestly don’t know where [Tim and Karrie League] got the idea. Maybe it was in a dream they had or maybe they were just inspired by the line in Pulp Fiction about how you can order a beer in the theater when in France,” says Eddie Nelson, manager of The Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. But let’s start at the basics. Alamo Drafthouse is a movie theater that serves you restau-
rant-quality food, not one that serves your normal popcorn and candy. The Alamo started in 1997 in an old parking garage on Colorado St specializing in food service during the feature. They originally showed only second-run movies; in fact, it wasn’t until 2001 that The Alamo ran its first first-run movie at their (then) new location on Anderson Lane. Since then the Alamo has become a beloved Austin tradition. “The Alamo is truly an Austin experience, and their special events rock. Plus their theaters are cool, do you have a table in front of you at any other theatre? No? I didn’t think so,” says Mikaila S., high school student and loyal patron to the Alamo Drafthouse. The Alamo Drafthouse represents Austin’s unique culture. It’s repertoire of small films, creative comedy, and it’s special events draws crowds from all over the city. This month Master Pancake, a movie-mocking duo, points out the ludicrousness of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Blind Side. If parody isn’t your thing then you could go to a monthly “fantastic fest” and enjoy the food and The Alamo’s “fantastic” movie picks. “I went to a Harry Potter showing they had, I don’t remember which movie it was 36
the only place I’ve ever gone to that mixes just the right amount of carbonated water and syrup.” In the future The Alamo won’t be the only place to experience the menu. In June 2009 Tim League told the Austin Chronicle that he had plans on making a fifties style bowling rink complete with karaoke and shrimp cocktails. “It’s not just a bowling alley, it’s multiuse. Moviegoers from the Drafthouse will be able to hang out here, grab a cocktail, and then we’ll do Southwest Airlines-style boarding for the films. ‘Now seating group one for Up.’” Hopefully the new system of “pre-boarding” will help clear up the mess that builds up on Friday and Saturday nights. Most Alamo patrons recommend arriving to the theater up to an hour before the previews even begin. Otherwise, your seating choices will be non-existent. “We’re going to try and get rid of these film lines altogether. And then it’s going to also be a stand-alone space where people can come to bowl, grab a cocktail, maybe play Skee-Ball, or go for late-night karaoke.” For now the project on the abandoned Salvation Army store is being renovated and has been dubbed “The Palace”. Maybe now Austinites, like Mikaila, can enjoy an Alamo-like atmosphere without having to deal with the crowds. “When you go the Alamo, you aren’t just going to see a movie, you’re going to have a good night, you know?”
Alien attacks are well and good, Alamo, but what will humanity do when Zombies once again roam the earth? Mural, you have failed us all. If worse comes to worse we blame you.
Photos by Olivia N.
nated and you could tell they spent a lot of time creating the atmosphere. My favorite part was the butterbeer they served, and the Harry Potter trivia contest after the movie.” Mikaila said. While the butterbeer is not a constant item on the menu, The Alamo serves a wide variety of beverages, pizzas, burgers, desserts, and salads. “My favorite is the Margherita pizza.” Mikaila says. “Their Italian sodas are also delicious. They’re
AlamoEvents Master Pancake
In one of the Alamo’s funniet events, Hollywood’s worst are ruthelessly ridiculed through live comedy that’s sure to make you feel better about goint to see that Twilight movie.
art by GeekMom Heather, Waverly Films, Alamo Drafthouse, chipgriffin, Rakka, Rev. Xantos Santanicos, and Jeff.
Where amature filmakers show off their stuff with humor, gore, heroism, and parody.
This is the event you come to when you want good, old fashioned awesomeness from a movie. Fantastic Fest shows movies from around the world that the Alamo thinks are the bestest ever.
Open Screen Night
Pretty straightford. Bring your own movie, but make it short and make it sweet.
Explore the darker, dustier corners of cinema that only the Alamo would show.
Sponsored by Vulcan video, it’s the gorriest, creepiest film fest ever. Scary, right?
Including Sing-alongs, Quotealongs, and Heckletheater, Action Pack is one of the biggest (and best) events that the Almao has to offer. Shout at the screenand enjoy the live explosions at the Alamo Downtown.
Music-related films every Monday. No sining, but you get to watch the story of some of your favorite artists.
Rocky Horror Picture Show
It’s your parents movie, but not what you’d expect. The Rocky Horror Picture show is every Saturday at the Ritz. With a live cast, it’s the only chance you’ll get to participate in the script and throw things at the screen.
Perhaps the early iconic cover, taken in a hotel hallway with a disposable camera With the Beatles was released in the USA in November 1963 (the British counterpart, Meet The Beatles, was released a few months later in January 1964.)
A soundtrack made for the movie (and what a hilarious movie it was). It gave us an insight to The Beatles we’d never seen before: a group of four funny guys we were more than a little weird and on the run from their fame and it’s consequences.
Produced for another movie, up there with their all time most popular: Yellow Submarine. This album introduced some of the time favorites--Yesterday, Ticket to Ride, and of course, Help. The cover has them using semaphor positions to spell out NUVJ.
Often sited as one of the greatest albums in pop music history Rubber Soul was the first album to be recorded on one run (with no tour dates interrupting recordings). In fact, it was named the fifth best album of all time by Rolling Stone in their top 200 albums.
First released with the controversal butcher cover and later had the one with Paul in the suitcase this album was a rehash of several previous Beatles singles that had gone unreleased in the US. Now it’s a collectors item from both the cover and the unique recordings.
Released a month before their last tour they opted to not playing it as the songs were too complicated for a live recording. It seemed yet another stop from their roots as a pop group what with their heavy guitar (as apposed to their original emphasis on the vocals).
Recorded over a 129 day period Sgt. Pepper’s was based on a fictional band. The cover features people the Beatles found influential and inspiring, and won awards because it had never been done before (the whole inside sleeve thing)--even now people try to mock it.
This one was another attempt at a movie. Right before it happened their manager, Brian Epstein, passed away. The basic idea was getting in a bus and driving around (this is where we go the I Am the Walrus video with the dancing people in gorilla costumes).
the beatles singles 1. I Want to Hold Your Hand. This was the tune that began it all for the Beatles, and to this day, it remains their biggest worldwide hit. The sheer energy of the Beatles’ vocals and instrumentation balances out the almost childlike sentiment of the lyrics. 2. Hey Jude. Pushing the limits of the two to three minute pop single to over seven minutes, “Hey Jude” was revolutionary for radio. Paul McCartney wrote the song for John Lennon’s son, Julian.. 3. Can’t Buy Me Love. We totally know that it’s totally about prostitution. Completely. Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you about this? This was also their third number one single in the Us.
The last recorded album, this one has “Paul is dead” rumors galore. Taking the picture may seem simple but it took several tries to get them all in step (it was usually George who stepped forward and infront of Paul). In the end though it’s Paul who’s out of step.
Containing their last thee singles, including The Long and Winding Road, Let It Be marked the end of an era of music revolutions. The movie filmed during production of this album is known by many, not as the making of an album, but as the break-up of a band.
4. She Loves You. Written in third person, the song is one of the Beatles’ most playful pop tracks. It was also their second No. 1 Billboard single. This was also the first Beatles song to be written in third person (something they would continue with). 5. Get Back. Written for a play John was writing about his love for Yoko. Incidently The Ballad of John and Yoko is also from this. The play never came to fruition (thank goodness) but we’re left with this single
6. Something. Dubbed by Lennon and McCartney as Harrison’s best song with The Beatles Something is a powerful anthem that speaks of a never ending love. 7. Let It Be. The Beatles had mastered every other kind of popular music, and they conquered gospel music with the soaring “Let It Be.” As this was the last song released while the Beatles were still a group, the 1970 No. 1 hit was viewed as the band’s swan song. 8. Twist and Shout. This is perhaps the most famous of the Beatles’ early covers. The Isley Brothers recorded this dance classic in 1962, and the Beatles took a swing at it the following year. John Lennon infamously struggled with a cold when he laid down the vocals for the track. 9. Love Me Do. “Love, love me do/You know I love you/I’ll always be true...” Yeah, the lyrics are not exactly Keats, but the Beatles sold this song with their exuberant playing and John Lennon’s harmonica. It was a U.S. No. 1 in 1964. 10. Please Please Me. This was early Beatles at their most youthful and enthusiastic, featuring call-and-response vocals and sprightly harmonies. 40
So-called “popular” music nowadays is very different that “popular” music of the past.
Story by Colleen F. Photo by calmdownlove
I’m listening to my IPod, and Viva la Vida comes up. And now that I know Coldplay stole Viva la Vida, I have a whole new perspective on the song. It was plagiarized from the song, called, ironically, The Songs I Didn’t Write, written by the New York band Creaky Boards. That doesn’t keep the song from being just as good (or bad), as it was, but Joe Satriani deserves credit for composing it, not Chris Martin. And this isn’t the only popular music faux pas that has happened. Take M.I.A., who used a sample from the Clash’s Straight from Hell in their song Paper Planes. Even if it’s legal, they deserve credit for coming up with the most memorable riff of the song. These are just some examples of how popular music has degraded from music of the past. As well as plagiarizing music, modern artists have also ruined music. Lady Gaga is a great example of this. She over synthesizes her music, making any pitches and 43
Counter-clockwise: Led Zepplin, photo by Jim Summaria, letter art by Alex D., the Jonas Brothers, photo by DefenseImagery, Freddie Mercury, photo by Carl Lender, The Clash, photo by Oddsock, and Coldplay, photo by Yodel Anecdotal.
melodic flow totally obsolete. I know Lady Gaga’s songs are played on the radio and on TV a lot of the time, and I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I know many of the lyrics to her songs. And maybe because her music is everywhere, it could grow on you. A couple months ago her song Bad Romance started out the new episode of CSI: Miami. Obviously it does grow on a lot of people because her many of her songs have been on the charts, even topping the charts for a while. And yeah, that’s great for Lady Gaga’s marketing and sales, but it doesn’t make it good. Ke$ha is another great example of this. She over synthesizes her music, and half of her song Tik- Tok is speaking. There are many Facebook groups about this song, which made me interested in the song, so I listened to it the other night. And regretted it after 30 seconds of listening. While this may be my opinion, it’s not everyone else’s. In December, Tik-Tok made history by having the highest digital download total for 44
To the left: Lady Gaga. Photo by Zandland Blog. Above: The Who on the cover of their stuido album, Who’s Next. From left to right: John Entwistle ,Pete Townsend, Keith Moon, and Roger Daltrey. Below: The Beatles. Photo by Oddsock.
a female artist in history, 610,000. Again, this is great for her marketing and sales, but that doesn’t make it good music. One of the best things about music is that it’s new and exciting, and up and coming artists are doing something completely different. The Beatles were all of this. They shocked the music industry and music was all the better for it. They inspired many artists that came after them, but their music was completely original. The exact opposite applies to the Jonas Brothers. They are doing nothing new with music, although whether or not you like their music is subjective. And people call them the Beatles of our time. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many Disney stars are the same way—they do nothing with music. We all loved Disney movies as children, so we are inclined to stay loyal to them throughout the years. However, this loyalty does not stimulate Disney to encourage its stars to write original music. Disney promotes them frequently, making them seem new and exciting, but it doesn’t change the actual music. Viva la Vida and Paper Planes are not the only examples of plagiarized songs. Timbaland and Nelly Furtado stole Do It from a Finnish song written by Janne Sunni, called Acidjazzed Evening. Kernel Records, who recorded the piece, say Timbaland “knowingly and willfully stole the song”. Arvil Lavigne is another example of this. Tommy Dunbar and James Gangwer claim she stole their song that they wrote in 1979, titled I Wanna be Your Boyfriend, for her song Girlfriend. Musicians have always “borrowed” from other musicians, but the frequency with which it occurs now is much more than it
used to. And the songs can still be good –I’ll admit I know all of the lyrics to Viva la Vida –but Joe Satriani, the Clash, Janne Sunni, Tommy Dunbar, and James Gangwer deserve credit (and copyright fees, in some cases) for their songs. Whether the music was stolen or not, I still believe that the quality of music has degraded over time. Many people don’t realize there is other music out there. If you want good quality music, listen to older music such as Queen, the Beatles, the Who, and Led Zeppelin.
The Case Against Superman Halfway through the twentieth century superhero movies were making a combeback, but thirty years later weâ€™re still riding on the fad. Should we just kill the industry or continue in our attempts to revive it?
story by KIRA S. photo by CHANCHAN222
In the sixties and seventies, super hero movies were marketed towards small audiences, usually labeled the “dweebs” of your high school days—those still tucking their comic books beneath their jackets to shield them from the jocks in the hallway. But in 1978, it was suddenly okay to be a dweeb. The first widely released super hero movie comes out—Superman. With this release the industry realized something: superhero movies could become a mass-market opportunity, complete with a ready-made franchise. And it is with this realization that the industry began to grow. Then the chaotic day of the nineties start—ones where it seems any super hero script is given the go-ahead regardless of the quality of writing (read: Batman & Robin). However, it wasn’t until 2008, with the release of the Heath Ledger tour de force—The Dark Knight—that a super hero movie surpassed the record gross of over one billion dollars worldwide. Why did it take so long for the industry to reach this size? Usually movie trends fade in and out at a startling pace. If it has indeed taken thirty-one years for super hero movies to reach this mark then why is the movie industry still trying to exhaust the ideas by overproducing them? It should be clear by now that the super hero movies will never get to be as time famous as some of the cinema standards people have come to love, movies such as Gone With the Wind or The Wizard of Oz. The number of super hero movies does not “delight me” as many seem fond of saying these days. Rather, the copious amount distresses me. To the forefront of my mind come the gender stereotypes. The majority of female super hero movies have not profited nearly as high as their male counterparts. A prime example of this is the 2004 Catwoman, grossing an $82,102,379 worldwide, while in the same year its male counterpart, Spider Man 2 grossed a $783 million worldwide. And while most men may have been squirming in their seats at Halle berry in latex and leather, their girlfriends were remembering how much more they preferred Benjamin Bratt in Miss Congeniality. The costumes tie back to the earlier days of the superhero genre, ones where the whimpering
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, the Joker as played by Heath Ledger, Batman and Robin, and a promotional poster from Spiderman 3. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, courtesy of NiJoKeR, Oscar J. Baeza , and chanchan222.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, Malin Akerman, old comics that shall “never be dubbed to movies”, and Spawn. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, courtesy of Magazine Café, Terry Mccombs, and chanchan222.
Lois Lane is (once again) rescued by her valiant savior, Superman. Men might see no problem with this; there hasn’t been anyone (as far as I’ve been lead to believe) that have complained vehemently with the portrayal. Though it does leave a bitter taste in my mouth to shuffle out of the theaters after watching Megan Fox rendered to screaming after a not-so-buff Shia LeBeouf. I just don’t understand how such a well-oiled economic machine, as the movie industry is, could really gain a profit from continuing to sell to only less than half of the world’s population. And really, who went to go see G.I. Joe for the amazing performances given by the all-star cast including greats such as Channing Tatum or Rachel Nichols? Neither did I. And although Heath Ledger gave us a stellar acting performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight and although audiences will continue to buy tickets to see Robert Downey Jr. in the next thrill packed movie, the industry is starting to call for less acting talent. Originally, in the old comic industry, to make it easier to produce the comics at the fast rate that was demanded, if a series had to change artists, it would be okay because the (awesome, kick-ass) character wore a mask. It would take less time to draw and was much easier to keep consistent. But as far as people are concerned, the actors still mater. People were horrified when one of the all time favorite comic books, Watchmen, turned movie. The horrifying aspect was not the fact of the medium transference (as it had been attempted several times previously) but the choice of the primary female role in the comic book, the Silk Spectre II, played by Malin Akerman. Director Zack Snyder briefly considered Jessica Alba before passing her off as too well known. Both choices are disappointing to both fans, who were hoping for a more Angelina Jolie like character (a strong independent woman). Furthermore the scripts have been calling for more a more CGI use. In the 1978 Superman, the effect of Clark Kent running down the dirt road was created by a man riding a motorcycle dragging a bag of dirt behind him. But from the first moment audiences saw the ships in Star Wars soaring overhead the
world was captivated by the possibilities of CGI. Another Lucas film—Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark—used completely practical methods to create the infamous “melting head” at the end of the movie, just a plaster mold of a skull with heat sensitive clay pinched on and about half a dozen blow-driers with a high-heat-intensity lamp to create the effect. Then why didn’t Stephen Spielberg attempt to keep up this morale standing for practicality through the rest of the series? I’m referring to the disappointing recent Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Including an opening centered around a poorly computer-produced gopher in a field and then an entire fifteen minute scene of Indy and his son swinging through the rainforests of South America on jungle vines followed by a colony of flesh-eating ants. Do I really need to ask you why you couldn’t just stare at the script and think “Hey this is kinda terrible”? And while the industry is producing great special-effects films, such as Avatar, why can’t we just look back to our roots and continue with our use of logic. When faced with a scene where something insane happens, think first of how practical it is. If you can’t even begin to imagine how it would happen come up with something more plausible. Regardless I’m getting a bit tired of the abundance of super hero movies. Though we all love our thrill-packed summer blockbusters the fewer the merrier. So please, movie industry, do us all a favor and stop pushing the movies through the production line. 49
We really liked this picture so we put on the last page, as a final salute. Photo by Litfest.
In the town Where I was born Lived a man Who sailed to sea And he told us of his life In the land of submarines