It would be easy to dismiss Netflix’s latest hit as nothing more than fare for the Young Adult Fiction crowd. But it would also be a lie. This show was unexpectedly profound, dark, and yes… even important. Watch and discover your own reasons why this show is important. In the meantime, here are just a few of my top reasons why this is more than popular YA fluff:
Holy Wars’ front woman Kat Leon looks like she’ll break your heart. And she will. But she’ll also resurrect it before the night is through. Touted as “Dark orphan rock”, the subject matter is brutal and the pain shines through. But not in a deeply depressing crying in a circle sort of way. It’s more of an empowering weirdly healing ritualistic type of way. As a whole, the band is strong and hard hitting. The guitarist shreds, the drummer is an animal and the bass line brings it. They function as a unit to open up your chest cavity, rip your heart out and carefully replace/dance it back to life by the end of their set.
“Creepers ” (dancers dressed in full bodysuits) incorporate on stage choreography with creeping and crawling their way through the audience and incidentally scared the crap out of me at least a dozen times. The Creeper element couple with the fact that Kat is charismatic and engaging, gives the show a cool interactive feel. Keep an eye on this new LA band, they’re going to hit the scene hard.
Our first full day in New Orleans started with a short walk to District Donuts. Sliders. Brew for some fuel (Read the full District review here). The Lakeview neighborhood we were staying in was lined with trees and beautiful old homes that towered over the streets. From District we took an Uber ride to City Park to catch a street car. Our Uber driver was everything last night’s was not. He drove a pickup truck (first Uber truck ride we’ve ever had), and basically embodied the term “jovial”. His laugh was deep, pointed and resonated. It filled the cab of the truck in an infectious sort of way. He laughed at our bad jokes like an old friend, he loved food and provided us with a list of places to visit.
Driving into City Park was like a dream. The trees dripped with Spanish moss, hanging from the branches like the leftover Mardi Gras beads that were strung along trees and light poles. A tiny body of water in the park was wildly exciting, it’s not a swamp but surrounded by the low hanging Spanish moss it was a beautiful little pseudo-swamp for a couple of tourists to take in. We didn’t spend much time here. Just enough to wander the crooked path and duck under a couple of tree branches. From here we crossed a tiny street to await the Streetcar. We waited with an older couple from the UK, and as the streetcar pulled up, it was like a scene right out of a romantic technicolor dream. Red and shiny, the driver was gruff and spoke only out of absolute necessity. The seats were wooden slatted and polished. The sun came in the windows, accentuating the richness of the interior. The car was relatively empty as we boarded, and we easily grabbed a seat near the front.
The city whirred by as the car became more and more packed with each stop. Eventually we were sitting next to a man ranting about how much he hates Los Angeles (After asking us where we were from), how much he hates “Spanish people” and how he has never seen so many white people in New Orleans (taking over the city). A young man making his way to the back stopped to remind him, “People is people, man”.
We disembarked at Bourbon Street. Everything around us looked like we could be in almost any major city. Buildings loomed over us, but as we crossed the major street and made our way towards Bourbon we began to come into the city’s specific flavor. The buildings grew older, the street was narrow and eventually we were surrounded by bars and strip clubs housed in Spanish architecture. The beauty of these ancient buildings housing modern vices seemed strange at first until I realized modern vices and ancient vices aren’t so different. As far as vices go, only thing that’s changed much is the addition of electricity and neon signs advertising what lay inside.
We wandered, we drank Hurricanes out of gigantic receptacles longer than our arms because that’s what you do, we wandered some more, we got hustled for $20 by a couple of shoe-shiners who engulfed us like a tornado, or rather I should say Jill felt compelled to gift the $20, but we got some beads out of it without having to show any body parts and our shoes did gleam a little brighter, and hopefully those shoe-shiners at least ate well that night. We ducked into tiny shops and stared up at the roofs cutting through the sky in various shapes, colors and sizes. We stared down at the street markers tiled on the corner of every street, and up at the black street signs sharing the same corners. High or low, you knew where you were. Although it didn’t mean much to us on our first day because we didn’t know where anything was in relation to anything else. Today, it was all Bourbon Street and the streets that led off of it to parallel streets.
It was on this afternoon that we met Blind Boy. We were strolling leisurely down Bourbon Street, already well past the thick of it, sipping our drinks and admiring the architecture around us. Off in the distance we heard a voice so raw and so gritty, singing out to no one in particular, that we both stopped dead in our tracks. This was the kind of voice that demands you do nothing but stop and listen. We saw the owner of this commanding sound making his way towards us. A young man with a guitar slung on his back, black frame glasses and a Newsboy cap. As we gaped he walked past us and inquired about the Captain hat I was wearing. Then he asked if he could sing us a song. And right there on a nondescript stretch of Bourbon Street, the guitar was released from its case, a tiny sitting stool was unfolded and Blind Boy opened his mouth to grace us with his gritty God-given gift. Our private New Orleans concert was underway and we marveled at the show of it. It felt like meeting the soul of the city, and it all came rushing in to welcome us.
We wandered down Royal, and as the sun receded marveled at the gaslit lamps that illuminated the quarter. The flames danced, encased in iron and glass, and the sounds of hooves on the narrow roads as the many mule-drawn carriages made their way past us made it easy to imagine another time. We of course checked out Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. It’s not at all affiliated with the actual Marie Laveau, but it is still an interesting stop should you ever find yourself strolling along Bourbon Street. We bought some rings and presents to take home and continued to wander.
We wandered into what is probably our favorite bar of the trip, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Touted as the oldest building in the United States housing a bar, we sipped whiskey by candlelight, befriended a couple from Little Rock, and got some more recommendations from our very cool waitress.
We ended up at Acme for dinner. From the outside it looked like a touristy place you’d find at Fisherman’s Wharf that I would typically avoid, but it had the seal of approval from our jovial Uber driver extraordinaire so we jumped in line. The wait wasn’t long since there were only two of us and we were fine with sitting at the bar. Pam, our server, greeted us and she was all kinds of wonderful. Sampler platter with jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, sausage and we ordered the beef po’ boy for good measure. I’d never had jambalaya and I didn’t expect to like it much. This is the night I discovered my freakish obsession with jambalaya. The meal was so good my eyes literally rolled back in my head as I took my first bite of each wonderful dish. The po’ boy was flavorful and tender. The jambalaya is something I know I will lust after for the rest of my days.
We went to bed with incredible food in our bellies and the music of the city dancing its way into our souls.
Two episodes into Hulu’s new anthology series Dimension 404, and the best description I can give is that it feels like a more adult/bigger budget version of the Goosebumps tv series. And I mean that in the most complimentary way, because I love the shit out of some Goosebumps, Are You Aftaid of the Dark and Eerie Indiana. Continue reading “Binge This: Dimension 404 on Hulu”→
What do you get when you take Davey Havok, Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, Adrian Young and put them in a recording studio? Freakin’ M-A-G-I-C. This is the dream machine that is Dreamcar. These guys have been teasing us with new music from their new supergroup for quite some time now, and they do not disappoint. Wednesday night they played their second of two sold-out shows at The Roxy, and the best thing about the whole damn night was how much FUN they were having up there. It was electric, addictive, and even more than you would expect from the AFI and No Doubt veterans. It also wasn’t lost on me that this will probably be the first and last time I’ll ever be able to see any of these guys in such an amazingly intimate setting. Davey’s voice sounds better than ever, it resonates through the crowd drenched in all the possible electric 80’s, dare-you-not-to-dance goodness. Tom’s catchy surf-vibe reverb riffs are catchy as hell, and Tony and Adrian hold down the rhythm with gut-punch heart-thump beats.The guys deliver a sound reminiscent of dark wave, new wave, synth pop, with their own twist. Badass female musicians and vocalists round out the band, complete with sleek white suits and a face-melting saxophone solo.
Literally cried when they started the opening verse of Bowie’s Moonage Daydream, and proceeded to totally nail it.
With an early nod to Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead this movie starts off promising with killer cults and creatures. Police officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) encounters a raving and blood soaked man by the side of the road, but the real fun begins when they arrive at the hospital. It’s not safe outside, as the hospital becomes surrounded by an ominously still cloaked cult-like crowd, and it’s not safe inside either when members of the hospital staff become inexplicably violent and Thing like creatures begin popping out of bodies. This slimy creation goes deep through the eye sockets and deep into the gross out factor. Lots of exploding creature blood and guts mixed with a healthy dose of oozing pussing creature goop. Eventually the gorefest takes a turn into Hellraiser-ish territory, and I half expected the main villain (no spoilers here) to beckon to Carter with promises of “such sights to show you”.
The beginning really did it for me with some great imagery of the cloaked figures, the middle not quite as much though it was still a fun gore fest, and the ending not nearly so.
If you grew up on Carpenter, Barker and the like, you’ll probably love this in spite of its shortcomings.
We stepped into the night, into a sort of balminess I’ve never experienced. I’ve experienced hot, I’ve experienced humid. This was neither. This was balmy, which maybe I thought I had some sort of an idea of, but had I ever thought that in the past I would have been wrong. Because this was my first truly balmy night, my first encounter with Southern air. It was thick, but not in an unpleasant way. Thick in an oddly welcoming way, like the city was so welcoming that even the air wrapped itself round you in a welcoming embrace. It didn’t sit atop your skin with a stickiness, but you could feel it, and could not help but be aware of it. It simply made its presence known. This was the pleasantly balmy Spring evening I had always read about, and imagined in all the wrong ways.
Our first Uber driver was a non-native and non-talkative. When we asked if he had any recommendations as to where to go, what to see, what to eat, he paused for half a second, and then answered, “No.” One single word, and not a single recommendation for two weary travelers, first-time visitors. Picking up people from the airport, with no language barriers to speak of is literally the easiest conversation one could make, really. And recommendations in a big city for first time visitors is another easy task. Is your city so bad that you can’t think of a single enjoyable thing to do, see or eat!? For fuck’s sake, even something as common and obvious as “Bourbon Street” would have been better than a monosyllabic “No”.
As we exited the freeway and glided down surface streets towards our Lakeview AirBnB, we could see the lush green lining the streets even in the dark. A thirty-three dollar Uber ride landed us on a quiet street corner. The place was was every bit as beautiful as the listing photos. A cosy yet spacious mid-century modern dream nestled in the midst of a gorgeous little neighborhood. We were starving of course, and everything was closed of course, unless we wanted a bar. So we did what any other red-blooded American would do. We called for pizza. I know… in a city steeped in rich history and culinary gifts our first meal was the common mundane pizza pie. And it wasn’t even a local must-try. It was a run of the mill chain, but desperate times call for desperate measures and it was delicious and it saved our lives and it was a wonderful pre-breakfast mini meal the following morning, and the girl who answered the phone said “ya’all” and it made me smile so there was something to be said for our seemingly lackluster first culinary experience for two newcomers to an historic city.
We feasted on pizza and reveled in the excitement of being in a new city, electrified by the anticipation of what tomorrow morning could bring. Properly fed and fueled, we explored our little domicile – our home for the next five nights.
District is the sort of coffee house I’ve always wanted to work in. Greeted by a “what’s up, ya’all!” The baristas are having fun, the music is upbeat (think Def Leppard and Bon Jovi), the decor is a cool rustic/industrial style and when a regular walks in the vibe is more like you’re hanging out at a friend’s place. But the friend is a wicked talented chef, an innovative baker, and brews really amazing coffee. Even if you’re not a regular, the District crew makes you feel warmly welcomed before stuffing you with warm gigantic donuts.
We visited this place twice. On our first visit it was the Croque Madame (which we properly butchered the pronunciation of) – thinly sliced smoked ham, havarti, dijon and bechamel with a District twist. All this goodness was sandwiched between a soft, warm donut and topped with the traditional sunny side-up egg. The donut was not overly sweet, which I was thankful for (I’d choose savory over sweet every time) which gave the sandwich a sense of donut texture without an overwhelming donut sweetness, allowing for a more savory flavor to come through. The egg wasn’t a hot mess level of runny, just runny enough to provide the satisfaction of carefully breaking the yolk to watch it run over.
On our second visit, it happened to be April Fool’s Day, and District was offering up some special donut mashups in celebration. We opted for the Irish-Fetti. The Irish Coffee donut with a funfetti twist. Tastes like dunking funfetti cupcakes into an Irish coffee. In a word… amazeballs. Would have loved to try all the flavors, but these things are so giant, even the two of us could barely finish it. We also got to try out one of the famous sliders this time around. We went for the tofu slider- mushroom vermicelli tofu, mapo mushroom chutney, sichuan pickles and cilantro atop a soft Hawaiian roll. This bad boy is spicy and delicious. I’m a pretty big spice wuss, but it was so flavorful that I just dealt with it for a few bites and did my best to put out the fire with a raw green juice. Which totally balanced out the gigantic donut, I’m sure.
We also tried their hot drip coffee, and nitro cold brew. Yasssssss! Really cannot say enough good stuff about this spot! Go, go, go! Original location is on Magazine Street, we only visited their newest Lakeview location on Harrison but I’m sure all four locations are equally epic.
I like to think I’d look like a badass in the zombie apocalypse. Toting around my crossbow and machete and clad mostly in black fitted clothes consisting of leather and various other textures. The boots would definitely have to be leather. Maybe I would start off that way. But as the months, and maybe years, went by I imagine I would have to scavenge for clothes. Mostly ill fitting clothes and most likely not always entirely fashionable outfits. Somehow The Walking Dead crew, (the girls especially), manage to find fashionable clothes in their size. This to me is probably the most miraculous bit of the post-apocalyptic world they inhabit. The new band of trash dump dwellers is fashionable in a “models in a post-apocalyptic world” sort of way. If I were in the Walking Dead world and stumbled upon their camp, I don’t think they’d let me in.