Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cinema 2013: Curse delayed, not well played

“Lords of Salem” by cult auteur Rob Zombie initially holds promise for the serious moviegoer with some fine visuals and expressionist cinematography only to devolve into nondescript set pieces and hackneyed horror tropes. If “Lords” were a plane its engines would sputter loudly but it would not fly.

The premise of the film is workable: a Salem witch slain in the 1600s is exacting payback on her tormentor’s modern-day descendant, the oddly goth radio personality Heidi Hawthorne (Sheri Moon Zombie, the director’s wife). That dead witch must have really believed revenge is a dish best served cold.

But the film’s exposition stalls when the seeds of impending horror fail to sprout. The slice-of-life scenes with Heidi and crew are enjoyable and strike a spot-on tone but never amount to much. Meanwhile the scary ain’t scary. And while the gory is plenty gory, it entails a frenzy that director Zombie fails to make contagious.

Not only are the low-budget production values here devoid of charm, where is the modern world of the radio audience our protagonists owe their day jobs to? It is nowhere in evidence in this film. Instead, Zombie’s modern-day Salem seems stuck in some 400-year-old warp, resistant to the pace, accoutrements and increased population density of the 21st century. Director Zombie would have been well served by hiring a small army of extras. Not only could he then have turned the Lords’ sparsely attended free concert into an epic gig, he could have populated the deserted streets, barren cityscapes and Heidi’s empty apartment building, all of which taken together build a disconnected vibe throughout the film.

Still, the concert scenes deliver a palpable dissonance and succeed in conveying an acute sense of doom that is perhaps the most poignant takeaway of this flick.

Finally, the movie takes its R rating no doubt from an aggregate of female nudity as well as one particular scene depicting a wannabe kinky sex ritual which, although brief, is actually quite surprising for inclusion in a wide release film.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Muddy wants you!

The one and only Muddy.

Toledo Mud Hens team mascot Muddy is ready for the Home Opener. Are you? Muddy wants you to come out and root, root, root for the home team Thursday, April 11.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hill of thrills

Grounds crew chief Jake Tyler, right, and crew member Jake Dippman pause from mound-building to peer into the dirt for any imperfections in the pitching bump at Fifth Third Field.

Will the 2013 Mud Hens “amound” to something? See for yourself at Fifth Third Field in Downtown Toledo starting Thursday with the team's Home Opener, the first game of a nine-game homestand.

----- Birdbrain

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring weather & baseball in the Glass City

Workers recently installed a brand new Budweiser bow tie and other ads along the outfield fence at Fifth Third Field in Downtown Toledo. The Mud Hens open play there April 11.

Sustained spring weather has finally descended on northwest Ohio – just in time for the Toledo Mud Hens Home Opener, Thursday at 5 p.m.

Unfortunately, local meteorologists Sunday were calling for plenty of spring showers leading up to game day. But it is doubtful any amount of precip will spoil the fun of baseball-starved fans in the Glass City, especially with parties planned all around the friendly confines of Fifth Third Field. Besides free beer on Huron Street, plenty of Downtown watering holes will open their doors mid-morning to accommodate pre-gamers and Hens’ friends of every feather.

Those Mud Hens Sunday booked their first win of the 2013 campaign and avoided being swept by the Louisville Bats. They now head to Indianapolis for a three-game series leading up to the Home Opener. It’s a cinch the players will feel a sense of relief to get home to Toledo and finally play on their home field in front of their fans.

----- BirdBrain

Thursday, April 4, 2013


There is a new Kindle ebook called usa2 that collects a number of "pomes," some of which have been posted on this blog. I recommend wholeshebang fans and nutshell groupies check it out. Those poems, when given fair consideration, deliver an original perspective on the American experience, craft-brewed pop culture, so to speak. You can check it out right here.

It's an important lesson for anyone who truly wants to dig America, from "foreigners" to the indigenous middle class masses. usa2 serves as well as a primer for America's insider experience, so often denied to persons who have immigrated to our shores, so often beyond the imagination of our own zombie-like average Joes.