Good friend Adam from 911Studios reviewed and promoted my debut novel Curveball at the Crossroads.
Check out his video here:
All good media needs a good trailer. A video that gets the audience pumped, gets them so excited they will line around the block to buy tickets.
This is definitely true for books. A good book trailer makes watchers into readers. It makes people want to find the book and voraciously read page after page. A good trailer is a hook that brings the reader into the boat, sits them down, makes them comfortable, brews them some nice tea, and puts the book in their hands.
Of course my new novel Curveball at the Crossroads needed a good trailer. So I recruited my friends Patro Mabili of WMNF 88.5 Tampa and sports radio personality Steve Carney to put some of the book to sound. I then worked with my friend Bill McCardle of Xtra Medium Productions out of Largo, Florida to put the the video together. Each of these guys were pros and did amazing work.
I must say this trailer is one of the best book trailers I have ever seen. It might be better than the trailer for Field of Dreams. I think so. After all, it is my story.
I am happy to say the initial rough draft is done. And when I say it is rough, it is really rough. As a matter of fact, it is so rough I am still deliberating on one of three different titles.(That's ok, the way I see it, Return of the Jedi was Revenge of the Jedi until a year before release. And while filming, the movie's code name was Blue Harvest. So that's three names too.)I can however tell you what the book is about. I don't want to spoil it, but it's about baseball, the blues, the devil, the crossroads, and a deal gone wrong. It has humor, sports action, and enough mojo to hopefully keep every reader interested. At least that's the goal.My plan now is to sit on this draft for a little while, at least until I get back to the states, then begin the editing process. There is of course a lot of work that needs to get done before I turn this draft of 120 pages and over 62,000 words of plot into a cohesive story. But such is the creative process.I'm definitely excited.
Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Attack Force (2006) starring Steven Seagal. Seagal plays a special forces commander ....
Nope. You are not getting an attempt at a serious review. This movie doesnt deserve it. It is atrocious. According to reports, it was supposed to be an alien sci fi flick, but they turned it into a drug super serum flick halfway through. And the lead bad guy decides he is going to commit bioterrorism with the drug. So Seagal and his team raid a French village and start killing the residents who show effects of the super drug. Pretty sure that's a war crime.
None of the plot makes sense. The bad guys' eyes blink sideways because they are on "the drug", not because they were supposed to be aliens. The fight scenes are poorly shot. But worst of all, half of Seagal's lines are dubbed by another actor who sounds nothing like Seagal.
So so so bad.
Grade: 1 wtf star out of 5.
Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Xanadu (1980). An artist is inspired by roller skating muse to help open a dance club. Includes a cast of dancers and costumes and spandex.
I had no idea what to expect when i started this movie. I am still flabbergasted. Cheesy isn't the word. Its like if an entire class of theater and dance nerds got together to make a movie and turned no idea down.
Get Gene Kelly to dance? Yes.
Include an animation sequence? Sure.
Have baffling transition effects? Why not?
Load the movie with special effects? Absolutely!
No creative idea was too outlandish for this movie. I cant say this movie was bad, as it completely kept me entertained, even if the plot was flimsy. But don't watch it for the plot. Watch it for the experience.
Grade 4 dancing stars out of 5.
Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Into the Sun (2005) starring Steven Seagal with cameos by Eddie George (former NFL star) and William Atherton (Die Hard, Ghostbusters). Seagal plays a former CIA agent who gets involved in a Japanese gang war.
This movie wasn't bad. The shots of Japan were really cool. The editing was a bit choppy but the lights and colors of Japan were a nice touch. Seagal plays this by the numbers - playing by his own rules and kicking and punching his way through various bad guys. His love interest seemed forced as they tried to give his character depth. But does Seagal really need depth? Who watches Seagal to hear him say "I love you"? We want him to kick ass.
The sword fights were cool. I couldn't help but think they were influenced by the old samurai movies back in the day. Lots of squirting blood.
Maybe one day Seagal will leave the violent life and retire to a nice beach, with a loving family, and a white picket fence. But today isn't that day.
Grade: 3 samaurai stars out of 5.
Last week, I finally visited Key West. Going to the Keys was on my to-do list for years. My first attempt was cancelled by Hurricane Irma in 2017. So after getting laid off of my job a few weeks ago and knowing no one was going to hire me in a week, I took off from Tampa to the Keys for a week of adventure. I had no plan, and only looked at a map the night before to figure out where I was going.
Here is my running - or bar crawling - diary.
Monday - Day 0
Attempted to leave but my car battery was dead. And a bird shit on me. Great start. Had to change my shirt and my battery.
Tuesday - Day 1
Left Tampa at nearly noon. An 8-hour drive highlighted by my ipod playing Moving Right Along by The Muppets amidst hours of hip hop and heavy metal. Arrived in Key West at nearly 9pm. Checked into my hotel and ate a good seafood dinner at Conch Republic Seafood Company.
Found a bar to watch the Rays game. Went back to the hotel and slept.
Wednesday - Day 2
Checked off the Hemmingway House. Not sure if there could be a modern equivalent of Hemmingway. Maybe Bert Kreischer if he was a writer? Hemmingway's writing tree house was cool. But they claim he wrote 500-700 words a day as if that was an accomplishment. I can write that shitty drunk. Which I guess is kinda what Hemmingway did.
(Writer's note: 1-2 pages per night was what i averaged writing my novel. But it took me eight years to edit it. But i digress.)
The Key West Lighthouse was cool. Talked to a nice old time historian at the top. He was full of information. Meeting him reminded me of a video game when you reach a location and engage with a talking character.
Ran into a friend and his wife at the Hemmingway Museum. Totally random. We decided to hang out for a bit. Went to the beach. I took a nap on a picnic table bench. That was fun. Relaxing.Went to happy hour at Pepe's. Cheap tasty margaritas. Split with my friend. Went to the Waterfront Brewery and drank a few Crazy Lady Blond Ales. Very good local beer. Drove back to my hotel and took a siesta. Changed my t-shirt. Traveler's tip: pack two shirts per day. No need to be sweaty when you go drinking.
Welcome to my latest review of the Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records's catalog. It has been a while since I reviewed an album here, so I am excited. Today's subject is The Great Milenko, released in 1997. This is ICP's fourth major release and the fourth Joker's Card album. The card in the album calls this ICP's "most controversial release yet". This should be fun.
Before I start, the album liner notes are particularly interesting. The thanks might be the longest thanks I have ever read in an album. There is also an interesting blurb on who is The Great Milenko. I am not sure I understand what they are talking about, but perhaps the album will make it clearer.
The album starts with a country-western vibe. People are playing a jukebox when a voice comes over the air warning about the Great Milenko. This is actually a very cool and informative introduction of the Carnival of Carnage. It tells the story of why the carnival exists and its purpose. It also describes how three Joker's Cards have already come and gone. This seems like an introduction for those who might not already be down. But it is a good reminder for those of us trying to figure out the clown philosophy.
This beat is nice. Violent J introduces The Great Milenko and who he is. A wizard of the dead. I wonder how Violent J and Shaggy brainstormed these ideas. Was it a team effort? Or did one just go along?
Violent J opens this song with a song introducing that ICP is in town. Nice beat. I can see this song being nice in concert. Definitely upbeat. Even Shaggy's verse in this song is decent. I like the DJ scratch segment and breakdown. This song seems like the clowns are announcing the circus is back and led by the Great Milenko. Fun song.
This song starts in a prison. Woah, a rock-driven beat. Violent J and Shaggy rap about murdering rednecks and rich people. I am still not sure how the anti-redneck theme jives with the circus. Are the clowns avenging the wrongs committed by southern white culture? Is this is sort of a Django-type fantasy? Interesting mention of a rich man as the devil and Violent J killing the devil. Does this pit the devil versus the carnival?
This songs ends with an awkward suicidal phone call.
How Many Times
A slower beat. This seems like a reflective song. Violent J raps about some of the wrongs of the world, especially the awkward responses of people to wrongs and death. I like this song. It really has nothing to do with the circus or the clowns. It is just interesting observations about life from the perspective of ICP. A weird ending by a braggatocious wannab who gets called home by his mom.
Wait, was that a shout-out to Da Lench Mob's "Guerrillas in tha Mist"? Nice. (Ed note: I paused it to find out that "Voodoo, running from my magic" is actually a X Clan line that Da Lench Mob sampled as well.) This song starts with a Shaggy 2 Dope verse. I think he is making things up here. The verse makes no sense. This song also sounds like it would be fun in concert, even if the lyrics are nonsense. This isn't the first time ICP has mentioned Southwest in a song. I am not sure where they are referring. Is it southwest Detroit? Southwest USA? I am confused. Again.
Halls of Illusion
Shaggy 2 Dope starts this song as well. I am not sure what he is talking about. Violent J follows with a verse taking revenge on wrong-doers. Interesting rock-riff chorus. One Shaggy's verses is about how seemingly perfect families and neighborhoods often hide dark secrets.
Under the Moon
This is a weird song about an obsessed dude who kills for a girl. While he sits in prison he thinks about her. Does this song have anything to do with the carnival or the clowns? Dumb song.
What is a Juggalo?
I am not sure this song actually defines juggalos. But I think that is the point. The point is that the juggalos aren't defined by the song, but the fact that they dig ICP and are strong in their identity. Otherwise, if you take the song seriously, you aren't down with clown.
That's part of my confusion with ICP. If this song isn't supposed to be taken seriously, is the carnival? What about their hatred of rednecks?
House of Horrors
We are now back to the carnival theme. Shaggy 2 Dope opens with a verse welcoming people to the House of Horrors. This is actually a good verse, especially if you consider he is trying to scare people who entered the house unintentionally. Cool beat.
Boogie Woogie Wu
Interesting intro. Definitely a horror movie vibe. Violent J is back with a scary verse about the Boogie Man. The Boogie Man scares or kills his victims.
The Neden Game
This song was on the Mutilation Mix album from the last review. It follows a TV game show format. Definitely creative. Not sure what this has to with the carnival or the clowns.
The intro is of a preacher on TV. Then Violent J drops a verse from a crooked preacher's perspective. At least this song is consistent. While I understand the content, not sure what this perspective has to do with the carnival. Why are the clowns not taking revenge on the preacher? The breakdown "pass me the collection plate" is very cool.
Down with the Clown
I like the upbeat vibe of this song. I like the opening verse, in which ICP discuss how they have their niche and listeners will not seeing them selling out. The group is definitely sure of their identity here. And they are asking the fans to be sure of their fandom as well. This is much more of an affirmation song than What is a Juggalo. All ICP asks is that you be down with them. If you are down, then you are a juggalo.
Just Like That
Not sure what to think about this song. It sounds like filler. What does it have to do with the rest of the album? Eh.
Pass Me By
Shaggy 2 Dope raps over a piano-driven beat about how he dies and joins the carnival. Interesting chorus. Violent J also drops a similar verse about dying and joining the carnival and being more happy in death with his juggalo brethren. This is almost a 2Pac-like reflection song. Curious way to end the album.
Overall, I liked this album. Some of the songs are filler. But some would be fun to see in concert. ICP shows a lot of growth on this album. They define themselves and what they believe in. They also invite others to be down with them, while still staying true to their underground roots. This album is not as underground sounding as their previous albums, but it is definitely not mainstream. ICP shows a bit more depth and maturity on this album, as much as they can. It is definitely a deeper album than their previous offerings.
Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Robocop 3 (1993) starring Bradley Whitford (Billy Madison), Rip Torn, and Jill Hennessey (Law & Order). Robocop joins an insurgency against a corporate-backed paramilitary group attempting to evict a Detroit neighborhood.The movie is not as bad as people say. Yes, it is cheesy. Yes, it does not have the original Robocop. Yes, a 10 year old has super hacker powers.
Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Sandlot 2 (2005). This is a movie about a bunch of kids who play baseball and lose something important over a fence. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mr Myrtle, the old man with a big dog the kids are afraid of.During their summer of playing baseball, the kids also go to a fair, go swimming, watch fireworks, and one has a memorable kiss that almost gets them all in trouble.
Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Cry Blood, Apache (1970). This is one of the lowest rated Westerns ever and for good reason. It is super low budget, with bad acting, and horrible camera work.A group of shitty white dudes kill a family of Spanish-speaking Apaches. They kidnap the daughter and attempt to find gold. The son of the family returns from a ride to find his family dead. He hunts down the shitty white guys and kills most of them until the stupid ending. Did I mention that the daughter suffers from Stockholm Syndrome and falls in love with one of the shitty white guys who murdered her family? Because a shitty white guy probably wrote the movie.