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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Faith No More Reunion! Let me dust off my Raiders Starter Jacket and party like it's 1992! (and 1998!)

So the Internet has written! A European reunion tour is "confirmed" for the summer. So what FNM milestone am I most excited about? Hmm, their collaboration with Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. from the Judgment Night Soundtrack? I don't know, that movie was pretty much dwarfed by however many issues of Spawn I purchased that day. What about "The Perfect Crime" from the Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey OST? Getting closer, but I distinctly remember that Kiss cover of God Gave Rock and Roll To You II being pretty good. Or the Primus song ("Tommy the Cat," right? (and who the hell was just talking to me about Primus? Brain, you're gonna have to start pulling your weight around here or I'm sending up more poppers)). No, the Megadeth song "Go to Hell" with all the children praying. When my grandma took my brother and I to see that in the theater, I think she bypassed the heartfelt relationship between Bill and Ted and appreciated more the friendship-played-musically between lead and rhythm guitarists, Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman, respectively, when she heard the five seconds of the song played in the background of some unimportant scene.

Seriously though, there is no Commodores version of "Easy," only Faith No More's - and this coming from a guy that has actually been to a Lionel Richie concert (not a lie). In fact, some jerk in a car was stopped at a traffic light right outside the Holland Tunnel with his windows down blasting that song, and right before the guitar solo I yelled out, "EWW!"(like in the song) and expected at least a silent nod, some type of acknowledgement. Nothing. And then when I ran up to his car and started drooling in his lap while asking/screaming for money, he barely had the courtesy to give me all the change in his ashtray. I tell ya, this city...

George Michael Rides Again!

The long-rumored "Arrested Development" flick may actually be a go now, as lone holdout Michael Cera has apparently agreed to reprise his role as George Michael.

This is great news, as "Arrested Devlopment" is really one of the great TV comedies ever, and Cera is an integral part of the show. This could be amazing.

This Will Be Horrible #1: Jimmy Fallon Hosting "Late Night"

In yet another new feature, This Will Be Horrible, we here at Robot Sweatshop will predict what upcoming movie, album, TV show, or whatever is bound to disappoint and infuriate. To kick things off, we name Jimmy Fallon Hosting "Late Night" as the first inductee into This Will Be Horrible.

Fallon endeared himself to audiences pretty early on in his SNL run. He seemed like some kind of great mix of Adam Sandler and Mike Myers, playing guitar, doing impressions, etc. He quickly wore out his welcome, however, as he reached new levels of annoyingness: laughing incessantly during every sketch in which he appeared, creating obnoxious characters, and finally, leaving SNL to make terrible, terrible movies. And now he's going to replace Conan as host of "Late Night?"

Wait, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he actually created awesome characters. Remember the college dude who taped himself on a webcam? Or the Boston guy who always yelled "Nomaaaaah!" And maybe his movies were actually really good! Y'know, Taxi, Factory Girl, Anything Else. Gems like those. No, wait. I was right the first time. Those were all terrible.

Thus, while there's a chance Fallon may be decent as host of "Late Night," it's probable that he'll continue his streak of awfulness. So join us in proudly predicting that This Will Be Horrible!

(I found this pic by doing a Google image search for "Jimmy Fallon," FYI.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PSP2 Is Coming, Says David Perry

In an interview with gaming blog Kotaku, Acclaim's chief creative officer David Perry said that Sony is indeed prepping the PSP2 and it will -- get this -- have no disc drive. That's right -- all games will be delivered digitally.

"I spoke to a developer who is working on it right now," he said. "I know this developer is already working on it, so that means they have a prototype. That would sound like a fall release to me."

Sony has had a pretty hard time with the current PSP: the media format created for the machine, UMD, has all but tanked as movie format with dismal sales; game releases are few and far between; and overall, the system is being obliterated by the lesser powered Nintendo DS.

This'll be interesting to watch. Complete digital delivery will all but eliminate the used game market (good for Sony, bad for retailers), and could move portable gaming closer into the iPod's arena, with the potential for more features. Still, since Sony has managed to screw up just about everything in its games division for about 3 years running now, who knows what will happen.

Spidey Swings on Broadway

That's right, true believers: is reporting that a Spider-Man musical will hit Broadway in 2010. Now, normally something like this sounds like it would be terrible, but I'm actually kind of excited.

Entitled "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark," the show will open Thursday, February 18, 2010 at Broadway's Hilton Theatre. And it seems to have some decent talent behind it: in the director's chair is "The Lion King"'s Julie Taymor, and original music is being provided by U2, strangely enough. This actually seems like it could be a fun night out.

(And I have to say, I'm kind of proud of the headline I came up with for this post.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Throw Your Money Down The Internet!

Sure, why not add another novelty t-shirt to your collection. You've already got the Brian Kuh King Of Kong shirt. You've already got the Disco Still Sucks shirt. You've already got the Macho Clown Eating Hair-Gel On the Moon shirt...

Why not add one more member to the family Wardrobelstein?

Simple Plan...

My Uninformed Oscar-Snub Rant: WALL-E Edition

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeva." That could be my favorite line from any movie I've seen this year. Of course, it's from Pixar's amazing WALL-E, and it's the only line of dialog we hear from WALL-E himself: a mispronunciation of EVE, the robot who he falls in love with at first sight. Strange that it's so memorable, but then, that's what makes WALL-E so amazing. Like a great song, it has you from the start. WALL-E should have been nominated for Best Picture.

It seems to me that WALL-E was both innovative and traditional in ways that other films this year were not. It combines several genres -- romance, action, sci-fi -- under one roof. But it also features little to no dialog for the first 45 mesmorizing minutes. I don't recall any mainstream movie doing this, let alone a children's film, in recent memory. But not only does it dare to do something as crazy as contain no speech, it actually pulls it off. WALL-E's expressions and movements are all we need to understand him and how lonely he is. It's brilliant.

When things get more traditional and human characters enter the story, the film even goes anti-corporate and conveys an actual ballsy message. How many children's films, or even live action adult films, attempt this?

Anyway, I could write forever about this movie. But I would just encourage anyone who hasn't seen WALL-E to check it out. I can honestly say that I believed in the love between WALL-E and EVE more than most Hollywood romances I've seen. When an animated movie as smart as WALL-E comes along, it shouldn't be confined to the stupid Best Animated Film category; it should be included with the other great films of the year, live action or not.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Call George Romero. Maybe He Can Make Some Money With Bands Of The Dead?

The next few months are offering a staggering number of bands once thought dead. I guess the recession has hit everyone from the richest business tycoons to... um, The Meatmen. It's true. The Meatmen are just one of the bands reuniting to play shows for kids that could easily be their grandchildren (and there's a good chance they probably are). Throbbing Gristle is also playing their first ever New York performance and their first USA appearance since 1981. I mean, seriously, just do a hard google for frontman/icon Genesis P-Orridge and you'll have enough to think about for a separate blog entry (see, Mike! Robot Sweatshop practically writes itself). And Fear, ah, Fear. Such politically incorrect scoundrels. But check out their "historic" performance on SNL in 1981. John Belushi said he wouldn't do cameos to boost the show's dismal ratings unless Fear was the musical guest. What ensued was a melee, $250k of damages, and a seated audience of mild-mannered B&T folk wondering if they should have told their mom/dad they loved them before leaving the house. You can even see Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Embrace/Fugazi) and John Belushi stagediving. And while it's pretty obvious none of the guys in Fear would help you move apartments, it's pretty fun to see what they got away with (before the producers cut to commercial)...

Oh, and here's those shows I was talking about...

3/27 - Converge - @ Europa, Brooklyn, NY
3/29 - Cro-Mags (jam) feat. John Joseph and Maximum Penalty - @ Europa, Brooklyn, NY
4/16 - Throbbing Gristle @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple
4/17 - The Dead Milkmen @ Warsaw, Brooklyn, NY
4/19 - The Meatmen @ Europa
5/6 - 5/7 - FEAR @ Europa


Album Review: Bruce Springsteen - Working On a Dream

After keeping a fairly low profile in the '90s, Bruce Springsteen has been churning out albums as if he's making up for lost time. His creative resurgence (and first album with The E Street Band since Born in the USA) was kicked off with 2002's The Rising, a strong record, but often a chore to get through, with a bloated running time and tracks that could be just plain boring ("World Apart," "Further On," I'm looking at you). Next came Devil's and Dust, a mostly dark folk album; the excellent We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions; and last year we got Magic, his second album of the decade with The E Street Band, which was perhaps the poppiest album of his career, and featured gems like supremely melodic "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" and the piledriving "Radio Nowhere."

With Working On a Dream, Springsteen has completed what is essentially a trilogy of albums with The E Street Band chronicling the country's mood since 9/11. The Rising documented the saddness, Magic talked about the anger at Bush's bungling of our response to the tragedy, and Working On a Dream chronicles the glimmer of hope we now seem to feel. Interesting, but is Working any good?

The answer is yes, it's definitely good, but it's not the 5-star album Rolling Stone said it was. The songs here are even catchier than anything on Magic (which is not a bad thing -- Springsteen has always been a great pop writer) and it's nice to see him embracing his love of Roy Orbison, the Beach Boys and Phil Spector on tracks like "Queen of the Supermarket." To be sure, there are some excellent vocals on here, and some truly great songs. Lyrically, Springsteen seems like he's on autopilot, but it's hard to care when he's churning out some of the best melodies of his career ("Surprise, Surprise," "Tomorrow Never Knows"). (On the other hand, "Outlaw Pete" may be the worst thing you'll ever hear in your life, with annoying, unfunny lines like, "He robbed a bank in his diapers and his little bare baby feet/
All he said was 'Folks, my name is Outlaw Pete.'" And it lasts for over 8 minutes. Ugh.)

My main problem with the album is Brendan O'brien's suffocating production. What was great about all the E Street albums, up to and including Born in the USA, was the full band sound. On "Born to Run," every instrument is given its own space, exemplifying the warmth of analog, and is one of the most beautiful rock epics ever recorded. But Working is a digital record through and through, with instruments burying each other in a compressed mix. It's unfortunate, but it makes this album sound rushed and bland.

Still, if you can get past the production, it's a solid record. It's hummable, positive, and fun, in ways that Springsteen hasn't been in a long time.

Grade: B

New Peter Bagge Book Out In June!

Everybody is Stupid Except For Me: And Other Astute Observations: A new collection of Peter Bagge comics will be available June 30th, 2009. Bagge is a contributing editor and cartoonist-reporter (bless his heart for being such a thing) for the politically-minded Reason Magazine. Bagge has been contributing opinion pieces to Reason for years now commenting on topics ranging from gun control ("The Right To Own a Bazooka") to the war in Iraq, poverty, and "The Nerd-ification of America."

I think the first thing I ever said on the Robot Sweatshop podcast was something about Hate, an irreverent thirty-issue series about one young man Buddy Bradley and his comically absurd life in both Seattle and New Jersey. While people say it's the perfect snapshot of the early-1990's Seattle scene (and the grunge scene, or as it's known now "classic rock"), it's also a hilarious and at times harrowing tale of growing up/old.

Bagge's contributions to comics are too lengthy to list here but some of the lesser known but must-read/must-see/must-rub-on-skin books include Apocalypse Nerd and his one-off send-up of Spiderman (note: a similar (and what sounds hysterical) parody of The Incredible Hulk (dubbed "The Incorrigible Hulk") is still in Marvel purgatory).

Lastly, and I can't believe no one talks about this, Bagge also co-developed the four-part webshow The Murry Wilson Show: Rock 'N' Roll Dad with comedian/Simpsons-producer Dana Gould. It's a fictionalized account of Brian Wilson's manipulative and abusive father Murry. Get ready to burn down a grocery store because it's a laugh riot! You can also hear some pretty notable voice talent from Mr. Show alumni Paul F. Tompkins (comedian and host of VH1 Best Week Ever) and Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ELO Bassist Kelly Groucutt Dies

As a big ELO fan, I'm sad to report that ELO bassist and excellent backup vocalist Kelly Groucutt has died via a heart attack. He was 63.

While Groucutt left ELO in 1983 and had a major falling out with band mastermind Jeff Lynne -- he was not invited back to Lynne's brief 2001 reactivation of ELO -- it was Groucutt's harmonies with Lynne that really helped define the ELO sound. Give a listen to all the albums on which Groucutt sang -- starting with 1975's Face the Music, his first with the band, and up to his last, 1981's Time -- and then listen to all the records ELO made without him. He had a pitch perfect sound that meshed amazingly well with Lynne's rich voice, and gave birth to ELO's great high-pitch harmonies. That influence can be heard today in bands everywhere, from The Apples in Stereo to Grandaddy to Supper Furry Animals.

Anyway, he was a great singer and a good bassist (and had an awesome fro!). Check out "Shine a Little Love" in the video below, which features a great bassline and harmonies from Groucutt.

The Watchmen Vs. Reigning Sound - Help One Man Decide

We can't argue the anticipation for The Watchmen film premiering March 6. I won't lie: Opening night of The Dark Knight (in Long Branch, NJ oddly enough), I was the guy in the theater that yelled "Show it again!" after they showed the Watchmen trailer before the film. Did it get huge laughs? You bet. Did my ladyfriend shrink in her seat as I had just slightly revealed the inner-nerd lurking within? Same answer. But who gives a damn! Not me - (I play life fast and loose). And this is The Watchmen we're talking about. And yes, I see the argument in many people's claims that not every graphic novel needs to be made into a film, however, reading The Watchmen as a younger Mike prompted one of the few times I ever said, "Man, this would make a great movie." And younger Mike knew his shit. So yes, I have March 6 circled with red ink on my hot-girl-leaning-on-hot-rod calendar (lie: calendars are for even bigger nerds).


The Reigning Sound is also playing March 6 at Southpaw in sunny Brooklyn, New York the very same day. And man oh savage man are they good. I'm sure the word "garage" gets thrown in their direction but with some 60's pop consciousness that makes me wonder "can I sneak my flask in to this show and invite my mom at the same time?" Vocalist Greg Cartwright's lyrics have a cracklin' fire to it letting listeners know he's doing his darnedest to get rugs cut. So yeah, these Memphis troubadours are worth a trip to the borough where gangs of rappin' pizzas own the streets. The album Time Bomb High School is damn good and the first album I heard from these guys. Does it disappoint? I don't know, did George Washington disappoint America when he crossed the Delaware River to New Jersey? Hell No!

So now you see my dilemma. Sure, The Watchmen will be playing for months and The Reigning Sound are sure to play my neighborhood again. But I'm one of those jerks who loves to see movies opening night. And I sure, I can attend The Watchmen with people who, like me, want this move to rock (note: we're not the type to dress up (much)), but I could attend the Reigning Sound show with like-minded fans and have a beer-soaked good time just the same. Decisions, decisions. What say you, internet? You've never steered me wrong before.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

24 Hours with Street Fighter 4

Picked up the game yesterday at around 5 0'clock from my local Gamestop (yuck), and have not stop playing it since. So does it live up to the hype, you may be wondering? Hadouken, yes it does!

The game delivers everything it promised with the force of an EX-powered dragon punch to the face. Almost everything about it is perfect, excluding long load times and horrible cut scenes -- really not much to complain about here. So, if you own a PS3 or a Xbox 360, you are doing yourself a severe injustice if you don't run out and get this right now. Heck, even if don't own either of those platforms, this game is worth changing that too. Go out, spend money, do your part to help the economy. 

I also tried my best to grab a SF4 Tournament Edition fight stick, but waited too long and now they're all sold out. So instead I ordered a  Hori Real Arcade Pro fight stick (pictured below), which has been amazing.  

 This is my first fight stick, and boy, color me impressed. It took a little getting used to, but now I'm flicking "sonic booms" like it's no body's business.  

So to wrap it up, the game is simply amazing, the Hori fight stick rocks and it's been a really fun 24 hours. 

Oh, and Dan Brooks is never beating me in this game!

Totally Bodacious Confidence-Building Playlist

Hey there, shrimp. Tired of getting sand kicked in your face? Tired of ordering those get-big-now products in the back of comic books? Tired of the bully from the beach stealing your mail and using the get-big-now products you ordered only to get bigger and kick more sand in your face on the beach? Well spit out those tiny rock babies (sand). You men and women can empower yourselves cheaply and safely from the confines of your loneliest computer room. All you need is, get this, a thing that plays music, and a way to get music that is recommended to you. I suggest any way that is legal and in some way rewards artisans for their innovative and selfless efforts. Unless that artisan is Kanye West. If that's the case, plunder and pillage like a pirate viking straight outta space-jail.

Here are 10 confidence-building songs perfect to listen to right before:

- entering a job interview
- asking Betty or Lindsay to the Friday's Place dance
- standing before a judge

So get the 'rone (body-builder-types like us call it testosterone) and enjoy a 10 song playlist of music that is sure to make you stupidly punch your computer screen in a fit of confident rage.

1) Motorhead - Ace of Spades - Holy Hell. Motorhead came into my life like one of the apostles coming to a sinful ignorant desert village. Except the apostle was actually the influential 1980s BBC comedy series The Young Ones (I was the village). The Young Ones was a surreal look into what a country of weirdos think is funny - basically bludgeoning each other with blunt objects for 30min or so. Regardless, this show was the closest thing to a variety show I ever watched (in fact, the show's producers claimed to the BBC it was actually a variety show because variety shows were given more money). Motorhead exploded on the screen and this song assaulted and brutally beat my morally pure ears like a musical chaingang. Pretty soon I was selling my comic books for glue and speed and whistling at the girls on the tire playground. Hearing this song now fills me with the same relentless can-do/fuck-shit-up/eat-that-thing attitude only a person with his whole life ahead of him can have... or a 10 year old geek who should be outside on a sunny day playing with other neighborhood kids instead of watching an obscure program from a country that is unfortunately NOT America.

2) Sick Of It All - Step Down - Okay, these NYC hardcore legends might not have the most radio-friendly tunes so don't expect your parish or deacon to dig the vocals of Lou Koller, and what the hell are you doing hanging with those dudes anyway- you should be out partying before this country gets sold. In the rare instance someone actually asks me for an opinion such as what old-school hardcore bands are worth a few ducats, I would probably start with this band, this song. It's more melodic than most of SOIA's catalog but there's still a good old fashioned "breakdown" in the middle that you can listen to on your iPod without getting kicked in the face by some guy named Angelo from Crown Heights (but probably has relatives in Staten Island). I saw these guys at a Warped Tour in '94 or '95 then promptly returned to the comforts of my suburban fortress never to venture out among city-folk again (or regular folk for that matter (I order my kleenex box shoes from

3) Operation Ivy - Unity - Holy Shit, what the fuck are these guys singing about? Are we really at war?! I heard something about Iraq and Afghanistan but thought that blew over like the Leave-Britney-Alone guy! But these guys are from the 80s?! What the Eff, are these guys like soothsayers or astrologers? How in the world did they know we would be neck deep in the international shenanigans we've cooked up for ourselves. Woah, just checked this shit in google: Turns out there's been like wars for like a long effin' time but this song is still appropriate. They did the punk/ska thing before it was cool and then REALLY uncool and then just there.

4) Fucked Up - Baiting The Public - You know the line in Wayne's World where they talk about The Shitty Beatles and how it's not just a clever band name? How many times do you think I made that joke in reference to this band? If you said a shitload, you are pretty close. It's a shit-ton. Seriously, haters love to hate this band. But you know who else was a hater? Hitler. Do you really want to share anything in common with Hitler? Didn't think so. This song is terrific and at 5:57 you can play it to drown out almost 6 minutes of Rock Of Love 2: Bus Of Love. As for the other 3 seconds, that is entirely up to you. Some may suggest a bullet, but if I had to watch to more than 3 seconds of that show I would dust off my grand pappy's colt and give my noodle-noggin a good ol' fashioned roofdoor.

5) Ink & Dagger - Shadowtalker - What are the fuck are these guys so angry about? Who's in the shadows? What shadows? Where are the shadows? These guys were 1) from Philly and 2) great. Sadly, singer Sean McCabe died in an motel room somewhere in Indiana. They were one of the few punk/HC bands I ever knew about actually playing in make-up. Them and Yuppicide (who were also very good no matter what my mother says). In fact I just watched some performance from 1998 in Germany. These guys looked like a hardcore Addam's Family.

6) Queen - Don't Stop Me Now - That's right. Queen. One simple word. They made it easy for you. Impress your friends by recommending a song by Queen that isn't played at every sporting event every day in every state (or province). Guitarist Brian May actually built his guitar from wooden mantle over his family's fireplace. He and his dad built it together. Further proof that the family that builds guitars together, rocks together. The family that walks together, rocks together is 7 Seconds. I remember buying Live Killers on CD sometime in '91 but I had to play it on my mom's special CD player and only when she was home since I only owned a tape deck from the 70s. Eventually we both realized how annoying that all was for the both of us so she just dubbed it to cassette for me. It was the first CD I ever bought immediately followed by those two Sup-Pop comp CDs (remember, one had those two businessmen in a car on the cover and the other had a cartoon).

7) Ram Jam - Black Betty - I was at a Whitney Biennial and one of the "exhibits" was a video of guys dressed in pope, Santa, and mythological Nordic beast costumes breaking into eastern Europen RVs in small villages (I think it was Romania) and hassling the adults and frightening the children. I mean children were actually crying. I remember one guy in a monster costume roughing up one the kids pretty bad. The kid was crying really hard and it was all being videotaped on a camcorder. Needless to say... it was awesome! Oh, and they were all singing along to this song and drinking vodka for a little bit. A routine google search for this song provided no interesting information, however the video is the most no-frills thing from the 70s I've ever seen.

8) Rapeman - Just Got Paid - I know what you're thinking. Really? What's with this band's name? And how come whenever I hear Steve Albini's name it's always followed by "asshole"? Personally, I got bigger fish to fry. Like this 24 Ib Kingfish caught in Clearwater Florida. Mmm, that's good eating.

9) Oasis - Fuckin' In the Bushes - This song was in that stupid movie Snatch. I know some of you may lose sleep putting Oasis on your iPod but this song is actually pretty decent to lift a weight or two to, and then drop the weight on Liam Gallagher's skull. It's also pretty gratifying to learn on guitar. Watch me rock, dad!

10) Sloan - Keep On Thinkin' - This power pop quartet is the only thing I know from Nova Scotia that doesn't go on a bagel. This song is also the outro to a film I made in college with my uncle, cousin, and closest friend. We had been up for about 72 hours with about 8 hours of collective sleep. And even though anything you played me would have sounded like Jesus/Bach I knew that after the haze cleared this would still be a good album. Nay, great album. And still is. And is and is. Weirdly enought, it only exists on youtube as part of a local cooking show. Seriously though, the whole album Navy Blues is perfect like a platinum-soaked pill of some type of alien ecstasy that only the coolest aliens take when they go clubbing.


11) Electric Light Orchestra - Tightrope - You got the job! Now don't take it too seriously and have a good time. Live fast, die young, leave all debts unpaid, and don't forget to look vampires in the eye when you drive the stake in (lets 'em know who's boss!)

Is Your Wii Dusty? Well, Get That Windex Bottle Ready!

A general rule of thumb in the video game industry is that the #1 selling system will receive the most attention from software developers. As the Wii is essentially obliterating the PS3 and Xbox 360, it should be home to most major game releases, right? Thus far, not exactly.

A common criticism of the Wii is its lack of not only hardcore games, but quality games. I kind of disagree with the no-quality argument -- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Sports and Mario Kart Wii are all excellent games -- but there's definitely a paucity of games geared towards the serious player. Yet it really looks like that's changing.

The release schedule in the coming months for the Wii is more impressive than perhaps it has ever been. Sega's House of the Dead: Overkill, a super-violent, profanity-laden lightgun game was just released, and has garnered much praise. MadWorld, another bloody Sega offering, looks insane with its over-the-top kills and Sin City-esque art style. The Conduit will possibly be Wii's first quality first-person shooter, something that could be really fantastic with the Wiimote. And finally, Ghostbusters, which we saw at Comic Con, uses the Wiimote to control your proton pack gun and the nunchuk to throw the trap, seemed like it might be more fun than its PS3 and 360 big brothers.

The moral, Wii faithful? Don't lose hope! Things are looking up for the Wii in the coming months.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New York Comic Con 2009: Photo Report!

New York Comic Con, a very fun yet maddeningly crowded pop culture gathering, took place at the Javits Center last week, from February 6-8. The show was filled with comic book publishers, video game companies, artists, writers, memorabilia dealers, bad food and fans (many of which were dressed up as their favorite characters, as these are some of the only days of the year that you can dress like a superhero, game character, or whatever and get away with it in public...though I do think I spotted a furry, which is never, ever okay).

We here at Robot Sweatshop made it out to the Con, and brought back these photos as official documentation of the weirdness and fun for future generations. (Unfortunately, my camera is in its twilight years and had trouble focusing in some of the photos below. Sorry 'bout that.) Enjoy!

Oh, New York Comic Con crowds. What are we going to do with you?

This awesome statue of He-Man -- I mean, Faker (he got me!) -- greeted attendees at the show floor entrance.

Here's a view of the crowd from Hobbit Height (i.e. my view).

This is a shot of the convention floor on Friday, the most sane day of the show, where one can actually walk around comfortably.

Snake Eyeseseses!

A bunch of fans pose for a picture with an attendee who dressed up as a Huge Nerd.

Playmates had a great booth set up for the 25th anniversary "Shellabration" of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which included an original, playable arcade cabinet of the great Turtles In Time game.

The aforementioned TMNT booth.

The aforementioned TMNT booth with Chris.

Atari pulled out all the stops in promotion of their upcoming Ghostbusters game, including this awesome Slimer ice sculpture.

Even Ghostbusters had to wait in line to play the game! (Side note: there were a ton of people dressed up as Ghostbusters this year.)

Mattel's "MattyCollector" panel, where they unveiled new Ghostbusters, He-Man, and DC action figures. The two dudes on the left are half of the super-talented Four Horsemen, sculptors of many of Mattel's great action figure lines.

Mattel revealed Hordak -- my favorite He-Man villain -- as the latest entry in their Masters of the Universe Classics line at the MattyCollector panel.

Ghostbuster Ray Stantz as an action figure. I will own this.

Slimer returns. Hopefully Ecto-Cooler Hi-C is not too far behind!

Prototypes of the 6-inch Ghostbusters figures.

We came. We saw. We kicked its ass!

Chris and Caroline frighten the dude in yellow with their enthusiasm for panel discussions.

The new X-Force team in Superhero Squad form. Very cool!

The new line of toys from the Wolverine and the X-Men animated series. These look terrific.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine toys. I'm lukewarm on these.

Now this is dedication. This fan is dressed up in a Wolverine costume designed by Alex Ross, which only appeared once in Wizard Magazine.

Gamers got to try out the new "Ready 2 Rumble" for Wii. Was it fun? I have no idea.

The creators of the excellent indie comics, The Sentinels and Neverminds.

Green Lantern (John Stewart) -- complete with green contacts! -- and me, Super PizzaBagel.

This photo was a victim of my camera's blurriness, but I had to include it here. This girl really looked like Chun Li (of "Street Fighter") come to life.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird. Kneel before Laird!

Longtime TMNT artist Jim Lawson draws for a fan.

Club Namco was one of my favorite dealers at the show. All retro Pac-Man stuff -- how could you go wrong?

Wonder Woman poses for the camera.

I have the power. The end!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Podcast Episode 16.5 - New York Comic Con & Other Junk

Surprise! And Happy Presidents Day!

We're (Dan & Chris) back with a quick mini-podcast, featuring our thoughts on the New York Comic Con, a.k.a. The Time of Year When a #$%load of Nerds Overcrowd the $&#@ing Javits Center, as well as discussions on some other geek-themed stuff. Enjoy, and leave us some comments if you really want to be our friends.

Download this episode

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ninja, Ninja Rap! TMNT Movies Coming to Blu-ray & DVD

As the 25th Anniversary "Shellabration" (do I like that word? I honestly can't decide...) of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rolls along, TheDigitalBits has just posted some pretty sweet info: The original live action TMNT flicks are coming to Blu-ray and DVD in a new Collector's Edition box set in August. While TMNT 2 is garbage and TMNT 3 is okay, the original movie actually holds up pretty well, and I wouldn't mind owning it (and what the hell, the other two, as well) on Blu-ray. No word yet on bonus features, remastering, etc., but my guess is it'll have plenty and look great.

Check out the teaser site here, and note the kick-ass box art for the Blu-rays.

Oh, Internets -- #3

I... I just love that there is "one more gear."

Please Stand By: NYCC Photos Coming

Hey everyone. We here at the 'Shop all attended the New York Comic Con this past weekend, and I've got the photos to prove it. Only problem is that my apartment is being painted and renovated and I can't actually upload my photos. But please, stay tuned! They should be up in a day or so.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Best John Moment...

This may be the greatest thing I've seen all day. Watch John at 10 seconds into the video. So excellent. While the Beatles Bible claims that Lennon thought "Hello Goodbye" was "three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions," he sure looks like he's having a blast...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"I'd like to be, under the sea..."

Last night I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of the IMAX 3D Under the Sea movie. Narrated by Jim Carrey, I was expecting it to be a little on the cheesy side, and it was... but all in all Howard Hall rarely fails to direct anything but top notch IMAX films. I think what confused me the most was the new age 3D glasses. I dunno, I guess it's been a really long time since I've seen a 3D picture show... but hipster 3D glasses? Really? I was also pumped to recognize Hall's wife, Michelle Hall, as one of the producers on the film as well. She's also co-produced a couple episodes of Nature, one of the greatest shows on television today. The only real downside of this film was the Raffi-esque butchering of the song Octopus's Garden. Why. Why why why??!! But, honestly...go see the film.

Cramps Singer Lux Interior Dead at 60

With songs like "Human Fly," "Goo Goo Muck," and "Garbage Man" - Bad Music For Bad People is easily one of my favorite albums of all mike time (which moves remarkably faster and filthier than human time). Fusing rockabilly and punk and laying a thick coat of horror over the concoction, The Cramps created the template for an unmistakable style with Dr. Frankenstein precision. I remember first seeing the album cover on t-shirts worn by the coolest degenerates in my town and thought, "man, first thing I do after I buy those fireworks is buy that album, whoever the hell it is."

Frontman Lux Interior expired today at 60 and left behind a legacy worthy of a hastily-made Hollywood biopic. Ruminate if you have a moment: flirting with hard drugs, playing a mental institution in '78, wife Poison Ivy's part-time work as a dominatrix, and coining the term "psychobilly," laying the blood-soaked groundwork for bands like The Misfits, The Meteors, Demented Are Go, The Horrors, and of course James Blunt.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh, Internets -- #2

No sound, but amazing. How little does that kid have to be? My favorite person (besides the obvious) is the poor kid who has to wash the windows. He does a good job.