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VOLTAIRE

june 2011

Get enlightened music movies

The Cars Page 3 Railroad Revival Tour Page 4 Creeping Cruds Page 6

Letter from the editor Welcome to Voltaire – Music. Art. Entertainment. Life. I thought long and hard about the purpose of this magazine, and it keeps circling back to the words the old man once said: “Speak freely and give others the right to do so” – that is, that is what, and that is what will be the sum total of what Voltaire Magazine has to offer. While I may disagree with what our contributors have to say from time to time, I believe completely in the thankless job they are performing. By going out and writing up their keen observations to include in our upcoming issues, our writers will be the lifeblood pumping through this magazine month after month . For the record, this is not a BLOG. With writers on three continents and a firm grasp on the pulse of popular culture, I can promise our readers that you will never hear about what color sox I am wearing today, what the kitties are doing or the type of lint in my bellybutton. We will do our best to keep up if you do your best to keep reading. If you are interested in writing and have something to say, we are always looking for talented people. Enjoy the ride. Joe Mishica Editor-In-Chief Voltaire Magazine editor@voltairemagazine.com

Volume 1, Issue 1

Paul Simon Page 7 Prince Page 8

Thor Page 11

dvd picks Tron Page 12 American: The Bill Hicks Story Page 13 Twilight Zone - Season 4 Page 13

art Tim Burton exhibit Page 9

television

Dr. Who season premiere Page 14

entertainment

life

family

Summer of Disney glee Page 10

Beer in Hand: Confessions of a Home Brewer Page 16

Contact us

Amanda Noelle Nuzzo - Santa Cruz anuzzo@voltairemagazine.com

Joseph F. Mishica - Editor-In-Chief editor@voltairemagazine.com Kristen McCarthy - Executive Editor kmccarthy@voltairemagazine.com Kori Filipek-Ogden - Advertising kori@voltairemagazine.com Jason Bolen - Beer In Hand beer-in-hand@voltairemagazine.com DJ Pivot - Music Reviews djpivot@voltairemagazine.com Paul Thomas - Hong Kong hongkongpaul@voltairemagazine.com Johnny Suede - Music jsuede@voltairemagazine.com Louis Repucci - San Francisco louisrepucci@voltairemagazine.com PAGE 2

Kingsley Ruther - Movies kingsley@voltairemagazine.com Christopher Arnold - London londonchris@voltairemagazine.com Nick Ogden - London nick@voltairemagazine.com ‘Scary’ Sheree Allen - Nashville scareesheree@voltairemagazine.com Zachary Romo - Music And Events zromo@voltairemagazine.com Ask a Harpy - Advice Column harpy@voltairemagazine.com P.S. If you are a Nigerian Prince or a Viagra Salesman, we’re all good here, Thanks! -Editor VOLTAIRE JUNE 2011


VOLTAIRE

music

The Cars crash – or at least have a fender bender

By Gig Girl Ever been on a date with an ex-boyfriend from high school? You catch up on old times, hear him tell the same jokes, chuckle along to the same old stories, hear the same lines that got you into bed with him the first time around? Maybe it’s the thought of him pawing at you in the back seat of your friend’s car during winter formal or the realization that he had a thing for your best friend while dating you, but something is amiss. I mean, there’s a spark there, but the flame is long since gone. And try as hard as you will, there’s no way you’re going to go home with this guy. That’s how I felt at The Cars reunion show last night. After 25 years, lead singer Rick Ocasek and drummer David Robinson decided to rejoin guitarist Elliott Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes, cut an album, and tour in support of it. If you were a Cars fan 25 years ago, you’ll like the new album, but something is missing. While technically proficient and sounding just like vintage cars, the album sounds like outtakes from previous cars albums. The new album, like the performance, sounded exactly like The Cars should sound, but lacked any true passion. The sold-out Hollywood Palladium crowd sang along to hits like, “Let The Good Times Roll,” “Since You’re Gone,” “You Might Think,” “Touch and Go,” “Heartbeat City,” “Let’s Go”, “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Moving In Stereo” and “Just What I Needed.” We politely endured half the cuts off of the new album, “Move like This,” but the absence of bassist Benjamin Orr, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2000, was palpable. To reiterate, the band, while technically proficient, was lacking any sort of stage presence. Singer Ric Ocasek was just this side of phoning it in, and it showed. Hannibal Lector strapped to a refrigerator

Dear Cars: It’s not me. It’s you.

dolly had more to offer in way of stage presence. The sold out Hollywood Palladium crowd sang along to hits like “Let The Good Times Roll,” “Since You’re Gone,” “You Might Think,” “Touch and Go,” “Heartbeat City,” “Let’s Go,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Moving In Stereo” and “Just What I Needed.” I really tried my best to get into the show, but it was to no avail... AND I WAS HIGH FOR CHRISSAKES!!! The sound system could have been so much better. Or maybe it was just the one speaker I was standing next to that was buzzing so badly it would have drove Hellen Keller crazy. On the plus side, the Paladium has a smoking balcony. The number of women’s restrooms were plentiful and the security gauntlet was not nearly as invasive as it used to be. Thank you sneaka-toke! Thankfully, even bad dates eventually end. After the twosong encore, the band took its bows, and the crowd shuffled out to their cars and went home. On second thought, I don’t think drinks would be such a good idea. It’s not you. It’s me. Yeah. It was good seeing you too. No, I’ll call you. Contact Gig Girl at giggirl@voltairemagazine.com.

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music

Bound for Glory: Railroad Revival takes back Americana

By Kristen McCarthy In this world of craptastic, corporate-dictated music in which most tours are based solely upon market dynamics, trending tweets and ticket-driving intrapersonal drama (although I admit, I kinda miss the Gallagher boys’ feuding), it’s really, REALLY easy to get jaded. I fully admit that I sniffed rather loudly at Coachella’s “big” headliners this year — and kind of ignored them on purpose, just to be a bitch. Wrong? Perhaps, but it can be tough to get excited these days… and nearly impossible to be surprised anymore. <Famous. Last. Words.> What happens when you take three top-flight bands — Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Mumford and Sons — put them on a 14-car vintage train to ride cross-country, play a few gigs, and document the whole damn thing? Magic. Fucking magic.

Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor, Willie Watson and Morgan Jahnig rip it up,

From the moment the Railroad Revival Tour was announced, it grabbed my heart and imagination and said, “HA! Take that, you cynical harpy!” Taking a cue from greats such as the Dead, the Rolling Stones, Woodie Guthrie and Jack Kerouac, this tour restores the rural heart of music and the American spirit of adventure by slowing life’s too-oft frenetic pace, reveling in the moment and simply enjoying the journey. How damn refreshing. Whether in front of, in back of or on the stage, this tour emitted a vibe that’s nearly unheard of these days — a sense of communal inspiration. With familial, pre-set “love-ins”; balls-out finales with members from all three bands; and, honestly, some of the coolest, most accessible musicians (and their families) I’ve ever met, this place was full of magic (What? You didn’t see the double rainbow? Hmmmm). Even better, it was evident, on- and off-stage, that these people like and respect each other… and that rare brand of unadulterated joy and camaraderie permeated the air.

Left to right: Ketch gives this girl a wink, and this girl giggles madly. Marcus Mumford takes it up a notch.

Old Crow Medicine Show kicked off the evening, welcoming the impending dusk with its keroseneinfused Tennessee bluegrass that just makes this girl’s heart pitter-patter (and if you missed them because you only care about M&S, you, officially, are lame). They rocked “Tell it to Me,” and “Minglewood Blues,” as well as the popular “Wagon Wheel.” And I quietly giggled as Marcus Mumford (humbly) worked his ass off to keep up with Ketch Secor during the set’s finale. (continued on next page)

Aaron Embry, pianist for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, provides a glimpse of the ivories. Psst... Aaron, you’re a gem.

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Unfortunately, that pace was set slightly askew by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, who — well — were just having a hard time getting it together, starting off with a convoluted “Desert Song” and continuing with intra-band discussions regarding the apparently non-existent setlist and Alex Ebert’s rather rambling monologues that, while entertaining, gave off a slightly creepy wanna-be messiah/ Charlie Manson vibe. Thankfuly, they managed to pull it in as the set wore on, with tunes like “Janglin,” “Home” and “40 Day Dream” and got the crowd back, ending with a stage filled with musicians and non-musicians, alike (not to mention a certain photojournalist;). Mumford & Sons delivered just as they had at Coachella (No, they were not on the “ignore” list). In fact, they took it up a notch and a half. Starting with “Sigh No More” and “Roll Away Your Stone”; throwing a few new tunes, including “Lover of the Light” and “Lovers’s Eyes” out there; and closing with “Awake My Soul” and “The Cave,” Marcus and the boys perfected the balance between soulful balladeering and rompous, sweat-inducing mayhem. And the encore? Guthrie’s “This Train is Bound for Glory,” with a wildly overcrowded, wholly talent-bloated stage, placed the cap of Americana soul on the night. As evidenced by Dave Matthews’ upcoming caravan and other such endeavors to come, this certainly won’t be the last we see of this kind of touring, which is cool. Yet, ever the slightly cynical harpy, I think it remains to be seen is how long it takes until it turns into a commodity. Regardless, the Railroad Revival Tour caught lightning in a bottle with this one, and I am eternally grateful for the surprise. Kristen lost the office pool and will be covering Burning Man this year. If you have a goggle or respirator contact, hit her up at: kmccarthy@voltairemagazine.com

Clockwise, from top: Marcus Mumford does the dreamy, and I’m OK with that. The crowd rallies for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ finale. Alex Ebert rocks the Jesus. Willie Watson, Aaron Embry and Cory Younts embace the camaraderie that ruled the evening. “Country” Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane make my heart go pitter-patter.

Photos by Kristen McCarthy. (©2011 bitches)

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music

Dispatch from the Evil Dead state: The Creeping Cruds By “Scaree” Sheree

Greetings to all my Groovy Ghoulies! I’m happy to spread the word about an amazing band from Nashville: THE CREEPING CRUDS. I heard about The Creeping Cruds from a dear friend and was more than happy to finally see them live over the weekend. They are locals and, although very busy with lots of shows around the hood and in the city proper, they managed to play a super secret show last Saturday night — and played so goddamn loud, I thought they were gonna raise the dead! Deemed “Tennessee’s ‘Original Horror Rock’ band,” that title only begins to pick at the scab that hides the oozing goodness that is The Creeping Cruds. The boys have been together forever and some hail from other well-known lineups, such as Psycho Charger. I would say that they are probably the best thing to come out of Nashville since, well, Nashville Pussy. The song “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” sounds like an unholy marriage between The Cramps and Motorhead, if Lemmy was from Tennessee. Not only do they kick ass with their unrelenting guitar work, howling vocals and even the occasional cowbell thrown in for good measure, its secret weapon lies hidden in its use of sampling vintage horror movies like “Night of the Living Dead,” “Frankenstein” and a super-spooky reading from the book, “I am Legend.”

The Creeping Cruds: The cure for the common band.

I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about those samples that adds a deeper context to them, taking a good song and making it even better. Not only that, but when you have song names like, “I Eat the Living,” “Tennessee Bloodbath,” “Come Out Neville,” “I Sold My Brain” and the aforementioned “I Was a Teenage Werewolf,” you know good and well that the only chance of Justin Bieber, Ke$ha or Lady Gaga joining these guys onstage would be if their heads were on six-foot spikes. The Creeping Cruds is a tight group of fiends that mixes strong musicianship and excellent songs, as well as very gory and highly entertaining videos! Watch just one and you’ll be scared to death, as well as catching yourself singing along. It’s infectious and best played LOUD! I will be using my stalking powers for good and try to interview these boys properly in an issue here very soon!!! For discounted shrunked heads, fetal pigs and other rarities, contact Scaree Sharee at scareesheree@voltairemagazine.com.

The Creeping Cruds next performance: Saturday, May 21 B.O.A. 4902 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, Tenn. (615) 739-6758.

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VOLTAIRE

Paul Simon and The Clusterfucks

music

By GigGirl

No, The Clusterfucks were not Mr. Simon’s backing band. The Clusterfucks in question would be whoever was handling the check-in of the people standing in line for the show. While I applaud both Paul Simon and Goldenvoice for attempting to thwart rampant ticket-s calping by mandating a two-ticket, WILL CALL ONLY pick-up policy for the Music Box at the Henry Fonda Theatre. There has to be a better way of dealing with the problem. I will admit that this system worked perfectly. Sort of. The 1,300 people waiting patiently in line had to present a photo ID – along with the credit card used to buy the tickets – to gain entry to the show. This should have killed the scalping issue, except a second option allowed entry to anyone with photocopies of the purchaser’s ID, credit card, and a NOTE from said purchaser giving consent to pick up said tickets, which completely defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? After getting in line at 7:26 p.m. at the corner of Carlton & Selma and moving less than 100 feet by 8:17pm, we sent a recon patrol up the front of the line to find out what was going on. Turned out there were exactly three people to check in 1,300 ticket holders, or 433.33 per Will Call staff member. Considering we had only moved a sixth of the distance to the box office in the past hour, and the show was already 20 minutes behind schedule, people got angry. Not “The Lakers Just Won the Championship” angry but that kind of passive-aggressive anger that educated people display whilst waiting in line at the DMV when they had already made an appointment kind of angry. And then the line began to move. Not just incrementally, mind you, but a steady stream, almost a trot, to the front doors of the venue. No I.D. checks. No credit cards. No goddam notes. The masses had won; the three Will Call staff members manning the check-in table threw up their hands, dropped the velvet rope, and got the fuck out of the way. It’s a free concert from now on… The Music Box filled up fairly quickly and, once inside, Simon and his band, including Tony Cedras on accordion & keyboards; percussionist Jamey Haddad; Bakithi Kumalo, who famously wrote the bass solo for “You Can Call Me Al”; Vincent Nguini on guitar; Jim Oblon on drums; Mick Rossi on piano; Andy Snitzer on Sax; and Mark Stewart on guitar took to the stage, playing a twohour set to a sold-out and one can only assume a partially sneaked-in crowd. Starting the set with Graceland’s “Crazy Love part 2” and weaving through a 40+ year retrospective of solo work, covers and the occasional Simon and Garfunkel song, Simon played a flawless set that included several cuts from the new “So Beautiful or So What,” an album many are calling his best work since 1990’s “Rhythm of the Saints.” Being one of the most accomplished American singer/ songwriters to date, Simon has honed his craft to the point of timeless perfection and, to someone unfamiliar

with Simon’s body of work, they could/would be hard-pressed to zero in on what decade some of these songs were written. Acting at times like a proud father showing off his songs to an adoring audience, the interpretations of most of the songs stayed true to their roots, but Simon allowed the band was able to stretch out and explore different musical avenues, especially a brassed up and funky version of Simon’s 1975 hit “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” Each song was a work of art and, never one to shy away from mentioning inspiration for his songs, Simon, after finishing up a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Vietnam,” said it was the inspiration for 1972’s hit “Mother and Child Reunion.” Even when it was just Simon and an acoustic guitar, the songs still chilled folks to the bone, as he did with the S&G classic “The Sound Of Silence.” Thanks to the soothing backing vocals provided by Camaroonian guitarist Vincent Nguini, the musical highlights of the evening were the heart a wrenching 1983 meditation on divorce, “Hearts & Bones,” and the 1970 S&G classic, “The Only Living Boy in New York,” which Simon had completely forgotten about until seeing the 2004 film “Garden State.” Despite the rough time standing in line, everyone had a good time: the Hipsters trying to show off their indie cred in front of their model girlfriends, the octogenarian who broke his hip falling down the lobby stairs during “Slip Sliding Away,” and the dudes trying to score some pot, man. I waited 25 years to see Paul Simon, and he did not disappoint. I definitely recommend the new album. On my out, I walked over to the Will Call table. As the harried staff member handed me over a pair of now worthless tickets, I couldn’t help myself as I asked her, “So what have we learned from tonight?” Plenty. Contact Gig Girl at giggirl@voltairemagazine.com. PAGE 7

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music

Prince: Welcomes U 2 America By Johnny Suede The Forum partied like it was 1999 last night, and not in a good way. The air conditioning was either broken or not turned on, which raised the ambient temperature inside of the venue to approximately 105 degrees with the relative humidity around 95%. My cell phone didn’t work, the bar was cash only and The Forum’s only ATM ran out of money. Just like 1999. If Visa is everywhere I wanted to be, apparently I did not want to be at The Forum. On the plus side, the men’s room was the cleanest I had ever seen it and — because it was Inglewood — I did not have to tip the bartender. As for the concert itself, no complaints. After an energetic warm-up set by the Sheila E band, Prince took to the stage for a nearly three-hour performance that was a dream for both the die-hard fan, as well as the casual listener. Playing a 23-song set dating all the way back to 1981’s “Controversy”; a great solo performance by Sheila E doing her hit “The Glamorous Life”; and a ten-song medley of his racier songs, including a taste of the infamous “Darling Nikki,” Prince was able to skirt the line between spirituality and sexuality perfectly. I was rather impressed with the song choice, considering this had been an issue for fans and himself alike since he became a practicing Jehovah’s Witness and refused to play the song for many years. But, while Mr. Nelson may have excised some of the racier lyrical content from his songs, he had no problem shaking his booty and humping the stage while his eight-piece band and identical twin back-up dancers played and danced behind him, in front of him and around him on a custom-built, theatre-inthe-round type stage in the shape of his ARTIST FORMALLY KNOWN AS symbol. Not only has this design allowed more people to see the show, but it also was instrumental in allowing ticket prices to range from $25 to second-mortgage territory. I am sure that the $40 Raspberry Berets and $80 tambourines that left me deaf in one ear for most of the evening did their fair share with augmenting the bottom line, as well. Prince was sold to suburban kids in the 1980s as the antiMichael Jackson, just like The Rolling Stones were marketed to ’60s kids as the antithesis of The Beatles. But, looking at the past quarter-century, Prince was never accused of child molestation. Prince never sold out wholesale to advertisers and Prince, while a bit risqué’ by 1980’s standards, did more to unite the tribes than Michael Jackson ever did, would or could. I defy you to tell me that Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” packs the visceral punch delivered by “Sign of the Times,” the latter released five months before “Bad.” “Y’all feel good? You’ll feel better tomorrow. Music does that to you,” Prince said to the audience during the “Purple Rain” encore that Thursday night — and that really was what it was all about. If there was one lasting memory I will take away from this experience, it was that statement. Prince embraced not just his own quirkiness, but was able to embrace the sexuality and spirituality of the entire human race: black, white, straight or gay — he made it feel OK to be odd. It did not matter if you were the 60-year old, church-going grandmother in garish purple sequins or the 22-year-old gay black kid wearing lipstick and holding a purse. For a few short hours, we were all were together as a family. Did I feel good at that night? Yes. Did I feel better that Friday morning dragging ass into work to write up this review? I did.

Photo by Claudette Magnus.

PRINCE has performed six nights of a 21-night residency at the Forum. Tickets start at $25. Johnny Suede, when not helping Prince unite the tribes, can be contacted at jsuede@voltairemagazine.com.

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art

Halloween comes early as Tim Burton’s melange of mope calls LACMA home

By Joe Mishica It takes something extraordinary to drag any self respecting Goth kid into the daylight, save for The Cure going on tour or Bat’s Day at Disneyland. Well I found another reason to brave the sunlight: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will present Tim Burton, a major retrospective exploring the full range of Tim Burton’s creative work, both as a director of live-action and animated films, and as an artist, illustrator, photographer and writer. Taking inspiration from popular culture, fairy tales and traditions of the gothic, Burton has reinvented Hollywood genre filmmaking as an expression of a personal vision.

theatrical features and shorts, as well as a lavishly illustrated publication. On view at LACMA from May 29 through Oct.31, 2011, the exhibition features many objects from the artist’s own archive, as well as from studio archives and private collections of Burton’s collaborators. Burton’s films include “Vincent” (1982), “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985), “Beetlejuice” (1988), “Batman” (1989), “Edward Scissorhands” (1990), “Batman Returns” (1992), “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (as creator and producer) (1993), “Ed Wood” (1994), “Mars Attacks!” (1996), “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), “Big Fish” (2003), “Corpse Bride” (2005), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005) and “Sweeney Todd” (2007); writing and Web projects include The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories (1997) and Stainboy (2000).

Taking inspiration from popular culture, Tim Burton (American, b. 1958) has reinvented Hollywood genre filmmaking as an expression of personal vision, garnering for himself an international audience of fans and influencing a generation of young artists working in film, video and graphics. This exhibition explores the full range of his creative work, tracing the current of his visual imagination from early childhood drawings through his mature work in film. It brings together more than 700 examples of rarely or never-before-seen drawings, paintings, photographs, moving image works, concept art, storyboards, puppets, maquettes, costumes and cinematic ephemera – and from unrealized and little-known personal projects that reveal his talent as an artist, illustrator, photographer and writer working in the spirit of Pop Surrealism. The gallery exhibition is accompanied by a complete retrospective of Burton’s

This exhibition was organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Los Angeles presentation was made possible in part by LACMA’s Wallis Annenberg Director’s Endowment Fund. When not pounding his head on his desk in frustration, Joe can be reached at editor@voltairemagazine.com.

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VOLTAIRE

family

Disneyland offering up a full plate of summer fun

By Joe Mishica It’s looking to be a busy summer at Disneyland and California Adventure , with the brand new Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Under The Sea Adventure, The rebooted Star Tours, Goofy’s Sky School mouse coaster, A new Parade and a much needed makeover to the Disneyland Hotel. All new for 2011, “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” officially steps off for Memorial Day weekend with an explosive musical score, thrilling rhythms and bold percussion that will have guests dancing to many of their favorite Disney tunes. Live musicians will amplify the fun, and colorful dancers will entertain guests to the beat of a syncopated drum line, twinkling cymbals and steel drums. Mickey Mouse and his pals will be jamming like never before, riding down Main Street, U.S.A. on whimsical float units. (May 27) At Disney California Adventure park, get ready for an all-new voyage with one of Disney’s most beloved characters, Ariel. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will invite guests to take a magical journey under the sea to experience all the fun and adventures in Ariel’s world. From the great songs to stateof-the-art animatronics and special effects, guests will become a part of her world in a way that’s never happened before. The experience is a musical retelling of

the classic motion picture as the bestloved songs come alive in magnificent scenes. Guests will sing along with Sebastian and Flounder, keep an eye out for the evil Ursula, and watch the Little Mermaid fall in love. (June 3) For those who dare to venture into the deep, dark corners of the universe, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue officially launches in Get ready for intrastellar travel – in 3D – starting June 3 in Anaheim. Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, taking guests on along Paradise Pier beginning June 3, this interstellar adventurers to Coruscant, coaster attraction is inspired by the Tatooine and other destinations in the “Star classic Goofy “How-to” shorts of the 1940s Wars” galaxy. With the return of favorite and 1950s as well as the cartoon short Star Wars characters and the addition “Goofy’s Glider.” The theme is a flying of more familiar faces and destinations, academy with your pal Goofy as the wacky guests will experience Starspeeder travel instructor. Guests will enjoy all the dips, in an all-new way . . . in 3D! This attraction twists and thrills as Goofy tries to teach a also launches at Disney’s Hollywood group of novice pilots how to soar through Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on the sky. (July 1) May 20. (June 3) As part on an exciting renovation project, Goofy’s Sky School – Joining the fun

the Disneyland Hotel gets a retro theme with a contemporary twist. Along with beautiful new décor in the rooms, guests will enjoy historic and nostalgic elements of Disneyland park, circa the 1950s. In keeping with that spirit, the new Tangaroa Terrace restaurant will open this spring, along with the new bar called Trader Sam’s. The tiki-inspired design and storyline for this restaurant and bar tie in thematically with the mid-century modern architecture of the Disneyland Hotel and the adjacent Dream Tower, soon to be renamed Adventure Tower. Disneyland is open seven days a week. For more information, visit Disneyland.com. When not consoling his executive editor regarding her pathetic excuse for a love life, Joe can be reached at editor@voltairemagazine.com.

So what? We dig retro. Sue us.

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movies

GETTING HAMMERED WITH THOR By Captain Kingsley

“Thor” does everything a movie needs to do. Take a few superpowers; throw in some good, oldfashioned Viking dialogue; and you have yourself a thunder-god who reigns destruction on all he touches. Thor does a great job of captivating its viewers with insane fight sequences and enough of a story to keep the ball rolling.

Earth. Now that the audience is filled in on the mysterious blonde, the focus shifts to the scientist, Jane Foster, and her group. They set out on a comic series of attempts to teach Thor how things work on Earth (i.e., we don’t shatter cups on the ground for more drink; instead, we ask for a refill).

The movie starts off with some should-beblonde scientist (Natalie Portman) who seems sorely disappointed that her hypothesis regarding atmospheric anomalies isn’t quite working out. That is, until a massive tornado appears and the chase is on. The trio set off in pursuit of the tornado in their barely running Volkswagen bus; but, just as they are capturing the footage they want, they seem to hit a very large, blonde-haired man who happens to be quite dreamy. This sends the movie spiraling into a flashback in Thor’s homeland, Asgard, on the day of Thor’s graduation.

After a while, the story finally picks back up and we learn that Loki the Deceiver (Thor’s brother) takes the throne and sends the family pet to finish off the powerless Thor. Unfortunately, the Destroyer isn’t the sharpest tool so it takes out half a town in the process. Finally, Thor gives in and decides to give himself up instead of making the rest of the town suffer. Only when Thor finally “dies” does he get his powers back, rights all his wrongs and they live happily ever after, with the exception that Thor is now stranded in Asgard until the Avengers movie comes out. Roll credits. Down with Natalie Portman.

Just as Thor is about to be crowned king, the ceremony is interrupted by tall smurfs who try to steal some blue box. The king dispatches the family pet, the Destroyer, which incinerates the intruders. This leads the angry Thor on a rampage, seeking revenge on some distant ice world full of frost giants and ugly creatures. After a pretty brutal fight sequence, Thor and his companions retreat just in time for the king to jump in and save the day, except it is now known that Thor just started a war between the frost giants and the Viking gods.

Though “Thor” was entertaining and shiny, it did follow the usual superhero template. It’s the same process of superhero discovers power, learns the value of power, and then open up the proverbial can of whoop-ass. Thor never really seems to distinguish itself from the other superhero movies. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, giggling like a little girl whenever Thor called down lightning. But, if the whole superhero movie thing isn’t for you, this movie probably won’t be any different.

Soon after, the king puts Thor on time-out by taking his powers, weapon and exiling him to

To report for duty, contact the captain at kingsley@voltairemagazine.com.

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dvd picks

Tron: Legacy

The sequel to the 1982 original hits the shelves By Chris Arnold “Tron: Legacy” is the blockbuster squeal to the first Tron, released in 1982. The original “Tron” showed truly creative designs and introduced a whole new element to film-making. So what’s good? Many people disliked much of this film, stating that the Daft Punk was the only good thing going. I disagree, as I think the special effects were beautiful. Not all right, not good – beautiful. Disney clearly put a lot of time, effort, money and attention to detail into this, at least visually and musically. The characters are well defined and incredibly well cast, though I feel that Michael Sheen’s Ziggy Stardust-esque Caster ran away with the show. That being said, the landscape and environment of The Grid itself played a wonderful supporting role. The last time I could say something about a movie in which the environment and landscape actually reaches out is in “What Dreams May Come.” In fact, would watch this film again just to sit in awe at how well The Grid is actually designed and portrayed as almost a living, completely interactive environment. In the 1982 original, light cycles and disk battles were vital aspects to the film. In “Legacy,” they hold double importance. I can sometimes be biased toward films such as these, and this whole concept of a “disk-based weapon” is one of those reasons. Find me another movie in which disks can be used as information keys, weapons and can stick to your back like a magnet? It’s a completely different twist compared to the usual laser gun. Now, throw Olivia Wilde into the mix and you have a blockbuster going. Finally, I found Daft Punk’s cameo appearance brilliant. Seeing writers, musicians, producer, etc. actually in the film, really shows that those behind the scenes are proud of their work. What could be improved upon? I keep a very close eye out for little inconsistencies within movies, as well. While some would call this looking for flaws, I see it more as looking for perfection in a film. I did notice, however, in Flynn arcade, after having been shut down since 1989, has a Mortal Combat machine. Mortal Combat was not released until 1992.

Also, when Sam is first brought to Clu (the main villain), the close-up shot shows that Sam’s data disk is not illuminated. The inner ring on both sides should be, yet it is not. This is also the same for other characters. Sure, it’s great to throw a lot of money and effects to make a film look amazing, but if the small details that make it that extra bit believable are not there, then the illusion is somewhat broken. I am also currently fighting the urge to comment on how Quorra’s hair slants from left to right throughout the film – but that would be petty of me. In summary, “Tron: Legacy” was a pretty fantastic movie. It brought Disney back up to scratch with its visual and sound effects, along with a creative side that ventured further than undead pirates. At points, the story was hard to add up and maybe there was not as much action as I hoped for, but I would still urge those who have yet to see “Tron: Legacy “to watch it. Or, if you really need a more convincing reason, then Olivia Wilde in black latex should do the trick. Oh wait…Damn… “Tron: Legacy” is available at all major retailers. PAGE 12

If he can ever pry his jaw off the keyboard while ogling Olivia Wilde, Chris can be reached at londonchris@voltairemagazine.com. VOLTAIRE JUNE 2011


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dvd picks

American: The Bill Hicks story

Bill Hicks never received his proper due in America- including the infamous Letterman Show snub that Dave himself corrected 15 years later, but in England, Bill Hicks was revered as a comedic messiah and to this day holds a place in the hearts of nearly every Brit I’ve ever run into. His life cut short by Pancreatic cancer at 32, Hicks’ brief time on the planet and as a comedian who shunned airplane food humor in favour of biting polital and social commentary. He was on a mission to teach the world something about itself: That we are all one consciousness living subjectively through itself. My fave Hick’s bit though: The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, “Hey don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.” And we kill those people. American: The Bill Hicks Story will be available June 7.

Entering another dimension: The Twilight Zone: Season 4 Season 4 of The Twilight was one of those “Neither Fish Nor Foul” Seasons. Gone was the venerable two 30 minute episode format, replaced with a single episode hour that was a bit long in the tooth. To quote creator Rod Serling: “Ours is the perfect half-hour show,” he said. “If we went to an hour, we’d have to fleshen our stories, soap opera style. Viewers could watch fifteen minutes without knowing whether they were in a Twilight Zone or Desilu Playhouse.”

#107 Mute

While some of the shows are dragged under by the new format, Season 4 offered some of the best episodes of the entire series, including “Deathship”, “Printer’s Devil” with Burgess Merideth, and “On Thursday We Leave For Home.”

#117 The Incredible World of Horace Ford

Full Episode List #103 In His Image #104 The Thirty Fathom Grave #105 Valley of the Shadow #106 He’s Alive

#108 Death Ship #109 Jess-Belle #110 Miniature #111 Printer’s Devil #112 No Time Like The Past #113 The Parallel #114 I Dream of Genie #115 The New Exhibit #116 Of Late I Think of Cliffordsville #118 On Thursday We Leave for Home #119 Passage on the Lady Anne #120 The Bard Additional Bonus Features • Saturday Night Live Clip (SD, 4:34): A vintage SNL clip aping the style of the Twilight Zone, featuring Dan Akroyd as Rod Serling. • Genesee Beer Commercial (SD, 00:33): Rod Serling pitches Genesee. PAGE 13

• The Famous Writers School Promo (SD, 5:54): A promo for Serling’s correspondence school for young writers. • Zicree Interview: George T. Clemens, Part 4 (SD, 29:57): The fourth part of a massive interview with cinematographer George T. Clemens. The other parts can be found in the Blu-ray sets for the previous seasons. VOLTAIRE JUNE 2011


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television

Telly Time:

Dr. Who – The Impossible Astronaut By Chris Arnold I was told once that, “Everything is possible, the impossible just takes longer,” but — for The Doctor — this statement could be the death of him. In the season 6 opener, we saw the return of Matt Smith, portraying The Doctor in the hugely anticipated premiere. This season has promised more scares, bigger plot twists, deeper secrets to be revealed, and that it will be just downright bolder than any Doctor Who before. Therefore, what better way to start such a season than in Monument Valley, Utah?! Steven Moffat has set this season up with a truly fantastic start — not only with the location, but by doing the One small step for man. One giant leap for Dr. Who fans. complete reverse of previous seasons. explanations for such questions are just too The beautifully ironic situation in the first two episodes of this season is that they feel much to ask! While this week’s episode is a bold and confident move by the BBC, it like a finale and truly deliver a rich story is still too mind-boggling. I tried to arc, filled with tense, gripping elements. introduce my 13-year-old sister to Doctor It would seem Moffat has been planning certain story elements that date back to his Who by watching the premiere with me 2008 written shows, “Silence in the Library” and, not halfway through, she turned and simply replied, “I am really confused and and “Forest of the Dead,” and we are just have had enough of this,” before adding starting to see how the story of The Doctor some other harsh things I dare repeat here, and River Song actually came to be, followed by walking off. without too many “spoilers” along the way My point is this: Doctor Who has become being given, of course. As mentioned, unlike any previous Doctor a cultural phenom and, since the show Who premiere, it is set as a two-part finale, began, it has tried to appeal to both the younger and older generations; yet, I feel which sets an incredibly high bar. Not only that, but the number of questions you’re left it may be losing that slightly and pursing a more mature audience. You merely have to with simply puts you feel somewhere look to any news agents to find a between thinking, “What the fuck?” and Doctor Who magazine aimed at the lusting for more. From a show’s point of younger years or even a Sarah Jayne view, this is brilliant. It can guarantee high ratings and a successful run. From my Smith article (R.I.P. Elizabeth Sladen). point of view, I hate it. Then again, there is Torchwood, which was aimed at a more mature audience and While patience is a virtue, asking focused on darker elements. But, going one to wait to hear the reasons and PAGE 14

back, if the show cannot no longer hold the attention of the younger generation due to such complex stories that have to be watched over again to understand, we could — for better or worse — this season could see a major paradigm shift in viewers. So what was good and which bits come to mind at first thought? I still find the show charming and it still holds much of the true subtle, yet brilliant, lines and appearances. To summarize, I think a combination of both actors and writers was fantastic, especially when: • The Doctor now wears a Stetson and, naturally, Stetsons are cool (although used in the episode “The Big Bang,” it still has its charm) • The burning of a particular character’s body on the lake, Saxon-style • “I just popped out to get my special straw, it adds more fizz?” (continued on next page) VOLTAIRE JUNE 2011


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Telly Time:

Dr. Who – The Impossible Astronaut • “Doctor River Song, you bad, bad girl, what have you got for me this time? *slap*” • When being caught eavesdropping on the president, and merely looking up and rolling his hand in a continue notion • The first contact with a particular Alien named merely, “The Silence,” in which we witness maybe one of the most darkest and sinister deaths ever before the watershed hour on Doctor Who • Having introduced Canton to the TARDIS for the first time and having Rory try to introduce the concept of a machine that moves through time and space • River Song foreshadowing her own death to Rory. Brilliant acting and story-writing on both parts. We see Rory picking up a more heavier bit of the story, as well as his role in the TARDIS • Finally, the cliffhanger ending Now, having asked others what questions they wanted answered the most, all mainly followed the same story line (i.e., who is the astronaut that clearly has a bone to pick with The Doctor? Who is Canton and what is his part in this story? What are these aliens that are in sight, but out of

mind?) Good question, but obvious ones. A more subtle question or two I wish to be answered are as follows: 1) The Doctor mentions he is 1103, when previously he was 908 when he last encountered Rory and Amy. Many would ask, so why wait over 200 years before seeing them again? A more puzzling, yet disturbing, question comes to mind. Has he been wearing that same outfit for more than 200 years? Did David Tennant not have the choice between two or three suits?! Not to mention the same haircut? The man must dry clean his suit as he goes. 2) On a more serious note, at the beginning of the episode when The Doctor rendezvous with the rest of the team in the middle of the desert, he is seated on a car. I looked over and over and found no TARDIS in them shots. Even by the lake, it would appear he drove them all there. I would like to know why, if you knew what was coming, you would leave your TARDIS. And, if so, where? Who with? Did it get destroyed like in the episode “The Big Bang”? The Doctor mentioned someone must have caused the explosion. Could this have been afterward — or maybe before? PAGE 15

Or could it have been during these events? Or maybe he just had to leave it as insurance at the rent-a-car store...? Food for thought right there, folks. But as it stands, the show has started in a very strong, confident manner and I hope it continues. Moffat has given us a taste of what is to come and, frankly, it’s pretty damn good. Then again, even if The Doctor did leave his TARDIS parked on a rent-a-car station somewhere in outback Utah in 2011, what would be so wrong about that? It’s not like he will need it or anything anymore… Doctor Who can be seen Saturday evenings on BBC One and BBC America. Dr. Who – The Impossible Astronaut Stars: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, Mark Sheppard, William Morgan Sheppard, Stuart Milligan Writer: Steven Moffat Director: Toby Haynes When not busy braiding his dreamy, ginger locks, Chris can be reached at londonchris@voltairemagazine.com. VOLTAIRE JUNE 2011


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life

Beer in Hand:

One Man’s Quest for the Perfect Pint By Jason Bolen PART ONE: Becoming a Craftsman I was your typical American beer drinker. I drank the pale, clear, yellow stuff and lots of it. Sometimes two at a time. I’d gulp bottles, cans, ‘40s and party balls (remember those?) — and, of course, the ol’ beer bong would make an appearance on those most special of occasions. I was living the high life and loving every minute of it! Let’s face it; I was an idiot who didn’t know any better.

rather have been somewhere else at the time. Looking back now, I wish I’d have paid more attention to the old man as he hovered over large pots of boiling liquids, dipping thermometers into the brew and writing down numbers and ingredients as they went into the pot. My job mostly involved cleaning and sanitizing 22-ounce brown bottles that the old man had sweet-talked away from the Japanese restaurant owners in town. I’d peel those godforsaken Asahi and Sapporo

How Does It Work?

After all, I was a 17-year-old high school student in Santa Barbara, CA, where every weekend was a party at someone’s parent’s house, which was a lot bigger than mine, and my only concern was scoring enough beer to properly tie on a good buzz while I hoped to find a girl with questionable morals to share a Mickey’s and a make-out session with. Bud Ice? Pass one over. Natty Light? You know it! I was on the road to beer purgatory and I couldn’t even vote yet.

Let’s avoid all confusion and talk in general terms to learn the brewing process. Yes, I know that there are hundreds of variations and everybody has “their way” but we’re going to keep it simple so that we understand the process together. From there, we can introduce different ingredients, techniques, etc. So let’s get started.

And then one summer day on San Remo Street, my life as a beer drinker changed forever. Gone were the days of MGD and Coors Light as my go-to buzz inducers. No more swiping Olys out of my dad’s garage fridge. Oh no my friends, I had what alcoholics call a moment of clarity: I tasted my first homebrewed beer, and beer drinking as I knew it would never be the same. Now don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy cracking open a can or five of Busch Light on a hot summer day and pounding down to my heart’s content. What red-blooded American doesn’t? But why — in today’s day and age, when craft brewing has become a $7.6 billion dollar industry with 1,753 breweries in operation nationwide in 2010 —why would you want to limit yourself to drinking the same mass-produced light beer day after day? We can do better. YOU can do better! And I’m here to show you how. My father was a home brewer, and that first taste of ale came about four weeks after yet another Saturday session in the kitchen. I don’t remember much about those sessions, other than the fact that I’d

intimidating place. Walk into any brew shop and what you see often looks like a combination hardware store/science lab/ food co-op. Big glass jugs, plastic buckets and bins of grain line the walls. It’s enough to make a guy say, “Screw it!” and walk across the street to a bar for a beer. But don’t be afraid, my friends, because with a little basic knowledge and the desire to make something tasty, you can go far as a home brewer. Let me walk you through it.

labels off of the bottles after a nice long soak in the sink. Then, during the bottling process, it was a mad rush to keep a fresh supply of bottles handy as my dad filled them one by one and capped them off, only to squirrel them away in the hall closet for the next few weeks. He was probably hiding them from his beer-thieving son. The whole process seemed to be way too complex and take way too much time from start to finish for this impatient young man but… once I had that first taste…well, it was in my blood after all. For a novice, the world of home brewing can be a confusing, complex and PAGE 16

Beer is made up of four ingredients: Water, starch, hops and yeast. That’s it. The starch is typically malted barley. “Malted” means that the barley grain was soaked in water to start the germination process, which is stopped once the enzymes needed to convert starches to sugars are developed. These grains are then dried and can be roasted to different levels of darkness, which intensifies their flavors and, ultimately, gives beer its color and body. These grains (or their liquid extract) provide the sugar for the yeast to feed upon. When yeast consumes sugar, it produces two by-products: alcohol and carbon dioxide. Now, all of this sugary water wouldn’t be very tasty without the addition of a bittering agent to give it some bite, and this is where the hops come in. The hops used in brewing are actually the flower of the hop plant grown extensively in Germany and the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington. These flowers, which look and sometimes smell very similar to marijuana buds, contain an alpha acid in their resin, which acts as a preserving agent and provides your beer with a distinct bitter flavor and a crisp aroma. How much hops are added to (continued on next page) VOLTAIRE JUNE 2011


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Beer in Hand (continued) to a yeast-friendly temperature, we strain it into a fermenting vessel (bucket, glass carboy, etc.); top it off with clean water to the 5-gallon mark; take a specific gravity reading (relax, no scientist needed); and, at that point ,we can “pitch” the yeast. We’ll There are basically two types of home give the fermenter some vigorous stirs to brewer: Kit brewers, also called extract brewers, and all-grain brewers. Kit brewers incorporate oxygen into the wort, then seal use either malt extract (get it?) or powdered it with an airlock because after this point air contact is a bad thing (think contamination). malt to provide the sugar for their yeast. Now, it just takes some time. Find a nice, All-grain brewers use only grain, and lots dark place to store your fermenter, and the of it, and extract the sugar from that grain yeast will begin to do its work, converting by carefully steeping the grain in hot water fermentable sugars into alcohol and CO2. in a process called mashing. Most home In roughly seven to10 days, all of the brewers start out as kit brewers, so this is available sugars will be converted and your how I’m going to introduce you to airlock will no longer bubble. At that point, brewing in this column. Later, when you we’ll transfer, or “rack” the beer from the want to expand your horizons, you can fermenter to another vessel (typically a make that transition from kit brewing to all glass carboy) called the “secondary” where grain with ease. it can sit and condition. During this The basic brewing process goes conditioning time, the particulate matter something like this: 2 to 3 gallons of water is heated to roughly 150 to 170 degrees, at in the beer will settle out and the beer will clarify, as well as develop flavor and body. which point a nylon mesh bag Our beer can sit in the secondary for three containing between ½ to 1 ½ pounds of days or three months, but who the hell cracked barley is steeped for 10 to 30 wants to wait three months? minutes to release some fermentable your beer and at what point in the brewing process they are added will determine the taste and smell of your beer. (See what I mean about the variables?) Try to relax, because this is actually very easy!

starch and add some color to the young beer which we call “wort.” After the steep, the specialty grains are removed and the wort is brought to a boil, at which point the malt is added. The wort is returned to a boil and a portion of the hops is added, either loose or in a mesh bag. I prefer loose, which is slightly more work to clean up but I feel you get more out of the hops during the boil that way. It’s a personal choice. This wort is now boiled for an hour or so, with hops added along the way — depending on your recipe — at which point it is removed from the heat. The wort must now be cooled so that we can transfer it to the fermenter and add the yeast. Yeast is very fragile must be added only at temperatures below roughly 78 degrees Fahrenheit, so the hot wort has to be cooled to that level or below. This can be done by placing your boil kettle into an ice bath or using a wonderful invention called a wort chiller that we’ll cover in a future column. Once our wort has come down

At this point, it’s time to bottle or keg your beer. This is another polarizing discussion that we’ll cover in a future column; but, for now, we’ll assume, like most new brewers, you’ll be bottling. The beer is transferred to

PAGE 17

a bottling bucket (your now-cleaned fermenter!) and a small amount of sugar solution is added (remember that the yeast ate all of the sugar in the fermenter) to give the yeast something to feed on in the bottle, which will then carbonate your beer. After about two weeks in the bottle, your beer will be ready to drink and you will find that (to a certain extent) it will continue to improve as it ages. That’s the basic crash course on the brewing process. I think by now you’re getting the idea that there are lots of things within the process that you, as a brewer, can do to give your beer a different taste or twist. I hope that I’ve also removed a layer of mystery from the brewing process and shown you that it’s really nothing more than a very simple recipe that, if followed correctly, will produce a fantastic product. In my next column, we’ll step inside the brew shop and discover what you need to buy to get started in this craft. Start saving some cash now so that, when you’re ready to get started, you have a nice little nest egg of beer savings to start with. Welcome to the world of home brewing! You’re about to be the most popular guy on your block! Questions? Comments? Contact beer-in-hand@voltairemagazine.com.

VOLTAIRE JUNE 2011


The Flazh!Alley Art Studio Private Collection Exhibit Flazh!Alley Art Studio announces the first exhibit from its private collection by 21 accomplished artists from throughout the country.

Diane Arbus-Davidd Batalon-Richard ChauDavis Andre DeLoach-Daniel DeRoux-Wim Griffith Sam Kirszencwajg-Lolita-Jose Lopes Ken Merfeld-John Middelkoop-Erin O’Neill Alan Papaleo-Craig Poindexter-Miriam Preissel-Liezel Rubin Andrea Rushing-Brooke Shaden-S. M. Shifflett Matthew Stork-Odessa Stork

public reception 7 to 9 p.m. on San Pedro’s 1st Thursdays Art Walks June 2 and July 7, 2011 18 and over ONLY “The Private Collection” also seen by appointment. Please call, 310.833.3633 or flazhalley@aol.com Flazh!Alley Art Studio 1113 S. Pacific Ave., Suite B, San Pedro, CA. (ParkIng is available in the large city parking lot behind the Ramona Bakery at Pacific & 11th Street.

www.flazhalleystudio.com

Voltaire Magazine June 2011  

music. art. entertainment. life.

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