The Gentleman Loser

Thoughts and Musings of a Loser

FRIDAY NIGHT (or Saturday morning)

It’s 4am and I am driving around Madison. Too awake to go back home and not ready to call it a night. I checked out the official afterparty. It wasn’t for me. Immediately I was greeted by a drunk fratboy yelling “Brandon!” at me. Clearly I was in the wrong environment, and clearly, my name was not Brandon.

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So now I am just driving aimlessly around Madison, the streets eerily empty this time of night. I’m listening to “I knew that you knew” by The Love Generation. I’d change the radio, but there wouldn’t be anything else on anyway. I want to smoke a cigarette, but I’m out of matches. Doesn’t matter though, Denny’s is on the horizon and I can start writing all this down.

Last night I had the singular pleasure of opening the Reverence Showcase of Forward Fest at The Frequency. We had been practicing and writing new material for almost two months leading up to the show. It was a success and I could now start enjoying the shows.

The Dark Clan played after us. Dan looked like a pirate. A far cry from the image portrayed in their previous album “The Vampire Wore White.” But perhaps a proper choice for their new EP “Goths on a Boat” which I was too drunk to remember to pick up.

As I am writing this, something like half of the performers for tomorrow night’s Reverence lineup walk into the restaurant, say “Hi,” and take a seat in the booth on the other side of the room. I am suddenly conscious that I am still wearing my “artist” pass.

Thursday night concluded for me with two more bands in the Reverence lineup. The Atomica Project brought their trip-hoppy sound and provided a nice segway from Dark Clan’s rock to glassGhosts’s dark atmospheric goth.   Atomica does a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “We’re In This Together” a nice reminder of the band who recently played their last show.   glassGhosts then wrap the night up with one of their strongest performances ever. Vocals were perfect, and the sound mixing was more balanced than ever. For their stage show, a man dressed as a skeleton appears to resurrect a dead lover by turning her into a marionette puppet, only to have her escape her bonds and do the same to him.

Tonite played out differently thought. Due to clusterfuckary in the festival schedule I was unable to see three of the bands I planned on catching: Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Sleeping in the Aviary, and The Gusto. So my home base for the night was mainly The Orpheum for the Reverence and Wongz Wok showcases.

Pezzettino stomps at The Orpheum Lobby

First up for me was Pezzettino, energetic accordion rock from Milwaukee.  Margaret Stutt stomps on the cement floor in her stockings while working the accordion like it were a living thing in her hands.  Needless to say, I was impressed.

The New Loud was, well, quite loud, though audio issues kept Jessi’s vocals from having their proper impact.  She was visibly frustrated by the problems, but compensated by screaming that extra bit harder.  I was about to leave to The High Noon to try to catch Margot, but was duly informed that I should check out the next band Terrior Bute and I was glad I did.  I have no idea how to describe them except to say that it was like a controlled fusion reaction occurring in a small corner of The Orpheum Lobby.  Bonus points to having the equipment cabling hang from the overhanging stairs down to the band.

Arriving at The High Noon Saloon, I was surprised to not be hearing any music.  Shortly thereafter I was informed that the band just getting on the stage was the first band, and the show had been delayed something like an hour and a half from it’s start time.  I stayed to watch the first band Princeton.   Wow, they sucked.  They were dreary and the singer seemed to be trying to emulate John Lennon crossed with The Weakerthans.  Then they finish their set with a cheesy synthpop wannabe song that made me lose faith in humanity.

I realized that I wouldn’t be able to stay here long enough to see Sleeping in the Aviary nor Margot.  As it turned out, Sleeping in the Aviary got moved to the end of the night anyway, and played a really weird long and possibly improvised song.  Margot played with only 2 of the band members present.  So basically both of the bands I had went there to see but couldn’t ended up played really unique sets that would have been a great experience to see.  It wasn’t a total wash, I picked up some vinyl from both bands at the merch booth as a consolation.

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The second band, Archie Powell and the Exports were a breath of fresh air though.  I resolved to catch a few of their songs before leaving for The Corral Room.  I go up nice and close to the front of the stage.  Ra Ra Riot’s gear was piled up in front of me and made a nice place to stash my newly bought records and rest my camera on.  Archie et. all played good old fashioned rock with more than a few nods to classic rock roots.  The vocal styles reminded me The Selfish Gene songs where Webber did the vocals.  What ever happened to that guy?

I then went to The Corral Room hoping to catch a few songs by The Gusto before heading back to The Orpheum for Cyanotic.  Unfortunately I found that not only had none of the bands started, but The Gusto had been pre-empted by one of the bands from the Absolutepunk.net showcase that got bumped over from that showcase running too long.  So my stop there was useless, though I ran into my brother which was nice, and was able to apologize to Jason at least for missing the show.

Back at The Orpheum, Los Bastardos Guapos was in the middle of their set.  Pretty much exactly what I expected from them, except louder and harsher.  Industrial beats, faux Mexican accents,  tequila, sombreros and calling cards for escort services.  Cyanotic’s set was intense.  Probably the most metal-infused I have heard industrial music be, while still being decidedly industrial-styled.  Lots of songs about society, drugs and decadence.

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I closed the night out with YACHT out in the lobby.  A band with their own built in cult-like  belief system was a must see (though YACHT is not a cult and would like you to know this).  Arriving through the back entrance I immediately could smell pot smoke, something I would never have expected within The Orpheum.  Looking at the mass of bodies in the center of the lobby, it was clear that the audience was thoroughly indoctrinated.  There was trippy (often alternating) black and while video splashed across a wall.  The bass vibrating through the projector made the video stranger still, giving it a stuttering quality.  Jona is in the middle of the crowd holding a microphone dressed all in white like a preacher.  Earlier in the set he was dressed all in black.  The duality of lightness and darkness is a big deal with this band and more information about their philosophy can be found on their website.

And so, having now finished eating my Taking Back Sunday-branded Denny’s late night meal, I end this rambling scrawl, snag a book of matches, and head home.

SATURDAY NIGHT (or Sunday morning)

I’m tired.  I smell.  The rather cold night’s air has dried off all the sweat though, and a trip to Woodman’s (where I ran into fellow Reverence-goers) yielded some butternut squash ravioli that is currently in a boiling pot in my kitchen.  The day started out nice.  Slept in (as was necessary) and woke up hangover-free.  Relaxed.  Ripped video footage from my Thursday performance as well as footage from Cyanotic’s performance last night.  Then headed out to The Frequency to start things out with a little bit of Little Red Wolf.

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It was the right way to ease into things.  A beautiful sunny day, though merely warm, not hot, with a slight breeze.  Too calm to just jump into the Reverence Showcase which I would be spending the remainder of the day at.  Their music was mostly a mellow experience to soothe me into the afternoon.  Though that changed.  We saw Emily Mills play the accordion (hot damn, two accordion acts in one festival) and that eventually gave way into “Bella In the Elm” which saw the tempo and the volume rise considerably.   The band members all changed places and the closing track brought things back down, though only a little.  I did my best to help them move some equipment back to their van and then I raced off to The Inferno to catch Parasite Twin.

Parasite Twin put on a good third year Reverence performance.  The vocals on Twins of Pleasure seemed somehow improved, but only hearing the song once a year made the change hard to pinpoint.  Of course there was their new cover of Lady GaGa’s “Pokerface” which was a real crowd pleaser in it’s irreverence.  That lead into Captive Six’s first live performance.  Powerful basslines and drums meshed with distorted vocals and samples.  Sadly their merch box got misplaced by the airline and apparently ended up in Texas.

Perhaps CTRL, hailing from Austin, could have brought it back.  Instead they brought the noise (did you see what I did there, I am such a wordsmith).  CTRL brought your standard level of industrial harshness but the vocals were more melodic and position them to stand out a bit from the crowd.  Sensuous Enemy was up next with their seductive brand of electronica.  Near the end of the set they busted out a cover of Garbage’s “Push It” that appropriately pleased the Madison crowd.  Cover’s seemed to be hot that night, as  Null Device pulled out quite the surprise with a cover of Jace Everett’s “Bad Things,” best known from the intro music to True Blood.  In addition to that, Dan Clark from The Dark Clan got called up to stage and together they did a companion piece to Dark Clan’s “Lestat in Cuba” called “Lestat in Punjab” which complemented Null Device’s diverse middle east to eastern instrumentations.

Alter der Ruin 3

Alter der Ruin pretty much stole the show though.  Intense beats, samples, and unrepenting glitch made this band almost an endurance challenge.  Bonus points go to both keyboardists using apparent home made keytars with Kaossilator attachments.  Did I mention that they were wireless?  Yeah they were, and one of the keyboardists repeatedly bulldozed through the audience.

The Gothsicles started off their set with a little video making light of the fact that they had to follow Alter der Ruin, though they didn’t need to worry.  The crowd was wound up and ready to shout along to “Konami Code IV” and freak out to “Nine Dudes Freaking Out.”  They successfully debuted a song about a video game I have never heard of.  Then Matt Fanale of Caustic got on stage as his alter-ego “Sega Lugosi” to sing about balls.

Izoloscope finished out the set with brutal beats.  He would seemingly come to the end of a song only to punch you in the face with a full throttle return of force.  Following his set, Caustic announced that he would do a surprise performance since he was cut from the previous night’s lineup to do festival mishaps.  He debuted a new track called “Shrapnel Condition” and though my earplugs made his vocals less intelligible that usual, the crowd ate it up.

Click HERE to see photographs from the fest.


Exploding Kitten GodheadSo I’ve started going to these Starlight Cinema events at the UW union building. They generally do a good job of pushing the boundaries of the little container in my brain that stores fucked-up shit. This show was no different.

I arrived late, as is, unfortunately, usually the case due to my work schedule. Approching the Play Circle theatre, I could tell the show was midway through, due to the loud droning noise of feedback coming from behind the walls. I knew this was, very possibly, going to be one of the more difficult things I have taken the time to bear witness to. Still, I found an open seat in the front row and took it.

Seemingly random bars of light flickered at seizure-inducing speeds on the the screen as the loud droning feedback squelched from all speakers. Now I figure I should try to explain to you, the reader, exactly what this show is supposed to be. See, there is a line of thinking that through auditory (espeially if there is a specific frequency offset between each speakers) and visual stimulation, one can effect a change in the subject’s brainwave patterns that goes beyond simple viewer engagement. Unfortunately, this usually means that the stimiulation is increadibly noisy (and loud, as to drown out competing stimulation), there is structure, but it is not pleasant to listen to. The video below will give you an idea.

What was interesting, was that the video imagery shown was not some random computer flashes, as I had expected. Instead, the performer, Daid Linton, had a number of different objects rotating on turntables with camera’s aimed at them (candles, glass spheres, cat heads…more on that in a bit). For additional light (and specific frequency strobing as well) was a TV monitor flashing bars of static (sometimes through a color gel that he would put in front of it). All of this feeding into a video mixer produced the images we saw on the screen. The audio, however, appeared to be a series of tracks being cued up on a computer screen.

After about a half hour of staring at the screen, it happened. I started to feel my brain slip off into an altered-state. Something was slushing it’s way up from the bottom of my brain stem, and my mind stated to become diffuse. It was almost as if my proprioception shifted so that my body extended across the room. It was pretty interesting, but then the sound in the tone took a shift for the darker, and feedback stated building into an overwhelming sound that started to reel me back in. Then it happened. On the screen, there was the GIANT KITTEN EXPLODING GODHEAD. An image of a vauge torso with a plastic cat’s head, visual feedback flowing off of the head in two directions somehow in sync with the building feedback of the noise that surrounded me. With a shock like that, you can do little else than be yanked right back into reality.

Looking around the theatre, I saw peoples faces illuminated in the pale light reflecting off of the screen. Their muscles slack, jaws open, minds somewhere else. After a little while longer, the intensity of the audio and video started to subside, and it wound down to a pleasant, medatative atmosphere. The sound started to fade out, and the little table of cameras and light faded down and the show drew to a close. Lights still dim, crowd silent, David blows out a candle, and like the final cleansing rite to some elaborate ritual, the crowd is released from his spell, and comes back, minds returned to the limitations of space and time.


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We had our Spring 48-Hour Film Kabaret and it was as big of a success as I could expect for our spring celebration. This was our first screening in the luxurious Sundance Cinemas.

Sam and I had drawn the theme of “Prop: Ice Cream Cones” on Friday and in short time decided we would make a film about a guy who is at a work meeting with a bunch of ladies. They serve ice cream and the suddenly all the people at the meeting go into this orgy of seductive ice cream eating. Our main character gets a phone call from his wife and ducks into a nearby room. We would cut to him being alone in the room and she asks how things are doing, our main character would sheepishly peer out the doorway to see the ridiculous ice cream orgy was continuing and calmly chock out “Okay.” He would find out his wife will remain out of town, and he decides to take advantage of this situation going on in the boardroom (yeah, he’s a pig), but they are done with their ice cream. So he volunteers to do a snack run, resulting in a montage of purchasing the most phallic looking foods he can find.

Saturday we finalized the script and got the house cleaned. We were banking on a bunch of our friends being available after the Mercury Players production of Compleat Female Stage Beauty had gotten out. We ran to the grocery, filmed the montage and got back only to find that we couldn’t get anyone to come. We postpone the shoot until tomorrow and come up with some plan B and C film ideas.

Mere hours before the screening on Sunday we filmed our B Plot idea. In the morning, we ran to the local Barnes and Noble, and went to the Cliffs Notes rack. We picked a book neither of us had read or seen adaptations of: 1984 (okay, I have read the first chapter). We read the two page summery and then left the store. Armed with a brief reading of the summary, we set out to make a 5-minute film of 1984.

Where did the ice cream cones fit in? The trip to the craft store to buy pipe cleaners and googly eyes that would transform some ice cream cones into the rats that eat Winston’s face. The film was shot with the help of our friend Julie, who conveniently played the character of Julia, in about 3 hours. The audio was horrendous because we didn’t have time to do a proper recording (it would have added too much time to edit because we use an external audio recorder). However, it was funny nonetheless with such lines as “Dear illegal diary, I had that dream again about the rats. I hope they never eat my face,” read in listless monotone. It was beautiful cheese.

The screening itself went off more smoothly than most Kabarets, with the exception of some cropping issues from the projector’s settings being a bit off. That caused us to have to replay some films that had their tops and bottoms chopped off, and that caused us to run a little late. Other than that, it was a great screening, and I look forward to showing them what a big crowd we can bring to the Fall Kabaret this coming November.


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Thats right. Me, onstage, with a bunch of wonderful, more talented actors, in front of a live audience. But this snatch has a catch, I am only in the last two shows (May 4th and 5th), I’m an understudy.

The play is part of Mercury Player Theatre’s “Revenge of the Mini-Musicals” show. It’s called Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncey and it’s about a group of plus-sized male exotic dancers on an all female cruise ship. Did I mention it’s a comedy? It is. All four plays that are done each night are short (like 15 to 20 min each). Along side Meaty Beaty is a play about some scientists that make up a religon in order to raise money for their research, a play about a gay many who was raised in the jungle by a band of lesbi-apes, and a play about a girl who murders a cabin full of teenagers at “Lake Thug Passion” because “Jesus” told her to. Yes, there is a little something for everyone at “Attack of the Mini-Musicals”, and there is more information available on the Mercury Players Theatre website (which I totally maintain).

So yes, I will (attempt to) sing and dance in order to amuse you, the potential viewer. I even sing some solo parts as well. “Excitement” isn’t quite the right word. “Nervous Belly of Snakes” would be more appropriate.


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Seeing as if I posted day to day life stuff in this blog it would be boring as hell, so I will only post my life in here when something interesting happens that more than just myself and friends thinks is interesting.

It is now technically Saturday, the last day of Blitz.

What is Blitz you ask? Blitz is a yearly event held by Madison’s own Mercury Players Theatre where they lock up 8 writers in the theatre and have them write a short script by morning. That morning directors come in and are assigned scripts, and actors come shortly after. They rehearse during the day and the shows go up in front of a live audience that night.

On Thursday night, my hetero-lifemate Sam and I got locked in. We proceeded to write the most blasphemous stuff we have ever thought up. The Pope, in drag, seducing and raping another man while yelling “Get ready for the REAL passion of the Christ!” The Pope, stabbing a man with a shiv hastily made from the crucifix that Moses used to knock up The Virgin Mary.

The next day, after I had some sleep and got my mind straightened out from the sleep deprivation of the night before I realized: “The crowd is going to lynch us after this play goes up!” Did I mention that this was “Pope Fabulous III?”

In actuality it was a happy ending. The crowd seemed to like, even love it. The play was broken up into little bits that went in between the other plays, and after awhile people would start laughing before one of the bits would even start. They wanted more. I couldn’t believe it, but I’m happy it worked out. We filmed the plays; we will be filming the second day’s plays tomorrow. I have been up all night filming this nights writers for a special featurette on the upcoming Blitz DVD that will get sold though the theatre. I am tired. I am not looking forward to editing the interview footage. Goodnight.

ADDENDUM: Check out this Capital Times review of Blitz. Sam and I get mentioned by name. Well now that I’ve finally made it I can retire and build tiny model ships inside bottles for the rest of my days.


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