Archive for July, 2012

A Night With KISS

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2012 by C. J. Edwards

There are very few rock concerts that I have attended in the past couple years that really stand out in my mind as an amazing experience. Earlier this year I was able to see Guns N Roses for the first time. Yes I know it wasn’t the entire band, but GNR was the first big rock band that I listened to in a pseudo-rebellious stage during my teen years. What I experienced this weekend would have to top my much loved GNR. This Saturday I had the opportunity to not only attend a KISS concert for the very first time, I got to do it in style.

Before I describe this kick-ass show, I have to admit that I haven’t really been a KISS fan. It isn’t that I don’t like their music; I just never really listened to them. Sure I recognize the oft-played titles that are common on the rock airwaves, and I have caught glimpses of Gene Simmons’ television show, but I can’t say I could name a single song.

Before all you rock and roll super fans get all pissy with me, and yes I can hear your future disgusted gasps, I will tell you that this weekend I became a really big fan. Saturday afternoon I arrived at the venue of the KISS and Mötley Crüe show in Tampa Bay Florida. Inside I was able to go back stage and meet some really cool roadies as well as Gene Simmons when he arrived with Paul, Tommy, and Eric.

Now there are probably some grumpy folks out there who would bitch to me about this not being the true band with the two missing original members. Well I have to tell you as a new fan, I was really impressed by the band as it is today. Before the show and getting into costume and makeup, KISS met with a few select fans in a tent behind the stage. Most of the people were old school hard core fans. Gene, along with Paul and the guys, sat down behind rigged up guitars and a single snare drum and proceeded to chit chat with each other and the group. They then began to play a few select tunes that fans would shout out and then give Gene a hard time about forgetting the words. All four band members were great as they riffed and sang.

After about an hour the guys walked around in the group of people and signed whatever was put in front of them and stopped to take pictures with all who asked. While this was going on, I heard one guy tell Paul thank you. Paul stopped, turned back to the man and in the most heartfelt voice I’d ever heard from a rock and roll star thank him for being there. “We love you guys,” he said, and I could see in his eyes that he really meant it.

Another thing that really impressed me was when an older guy near the back mentioned to Tommy Thayer that his son was serving in the military and that he really appreciated what KISS did for the men and women in uniform. Tommy told one of the stage hands to make sure Gene knew about this guy’s son. Gene, who was last around the room due to taking so much time with each fan, spent several minutes with this guy talking to him about his son and made a special effort to make him feel welcome. I didn’t hear what Gene said to him, but I could see the emotion on the man’s face as he talked about his boy in uniform.

Later, when the Crüe show was wrapping up, the same group of fans was ushered back to the tent and was able to take pictures with the band in full makeup and costume. Once again they were great with everyone.

As a new fan the only thing I can say about the actual KISS show is that it ROCKED! Every band out there on tour today could learn something from what I witnessed. It was the best concert I have seen to date, (Sorry GNR) and it brought to mind all the stories I have heard from people who went to rock shows back in the golden age of hair bands and metal. I was mesmerized and loved every second of it. Knowing how gracious these guys are in person, and seeing the way they treat their fans, combined with the artistry and sheer rock and roll awesomeness that they exude on stage, solidifies my membership into the KISS Army.

Long live rock and roll!

Savages Spoiled

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2012 by C. J. Edwards

It just so happened that I started reading Savages by Don Winslow about three weeks before the film came out. The book was excellent. Winslow grabbed me from chapter one, which consists of only “Fuck you.” It was a great read and I was impressed enough to go out and buy a couple more of his books.

When the trailers for the movie began hacking their way across the commercial space of the few television shows I watch, I saw that Oliver Stone was directing. Now Hollywood usually slaughters good works of fiction, but with the director of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July at the helm, I figured it would be pretty good regardless.

For the most part, I figured right. Savages, while not as good as the book (Are they ever?) it was a well done film. Visually it was compelling, and the actors fit right it with how I pictured them in the book, although I thought Travolta could have been a bit sleazier as the dirty DEA agent. He was a little too smooth and humorous for a dirty cop for me.

Overall, I thought the movie stayed true to the book as much as a film can. Most of the changes came in the way of cuts to keep the film from running too long, and the other plot changes were thankfully subtle ones. The problem with Savages on the big screen was the horrible Hollywood ending. With the way he stayed true to the book throughout, I can’t imagine that Stone was responsible for the amateurish and ridiculously unbelievable ending. It was an ending that was better left for the DVD alternate endings in the extras menu.

 

SPOILER WARNING…

The ending as it appears in the film was so obviously contrived, and not just because I had just read the book, that it comes off fake if not downright retarded. As Ben, Chon, and O are engaged in the final confrontation and gun battle with cartel gunmen, we see them fall, as they did in the book, and everything fades away. Yes! A true ending, but wait, we can’t have that ending can we? It isn’t a happy Hollywood ending. Gods below, we can’t have our audiences depressed. What followed was so cheesy it made me want to reintroduce the warm buttery popcorn I’d enjoyed to the empty bag. The film actually rewinds and then play a happy “All the bad guys die or go to jail and the good guys live happily ever after” ending. Not only does this completely contradict the flavor of the entire story, it flies in the face of the way the film opens where O says, “Just because I’m telling you this story doesn’t mean I am alive at the end of it.” Now, she doesn’t say this in the book, but I could live with it in the film, because it sets the tone for a great piece of Noir. Crime by its very nature is a dirty unhappy business, and as the audience fully begins to buy into this, Hollywood had to fuck it up with Travolta swooping in by helicopter to save the day.

So, the moral of this little post is that Savages is a pretty decent movie, but if you want to keep your tasty movie snacks where they belong, content in your belly, when the screen fades at the end of the first and true ending, get the hell out of there.

Full Dark City Press Has Arrived

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2012 by C. J. Edwards

So I went and did it. Well, not just me. I am getting some help from some very shady characters, mainly Alec Cizak, Chris Rhatigan, and a very talented artist and web designer named Derric Murff. After months of research and planning, we have opened Full Dark City Press, an e-press specializing in works of noir.

For any of you who don’t know what an e-press is, I will enlighten you. An e-press is a publishing press that specializes in producing electronic books for Kindle, IPad, Nook, etc. E-books are the future, and the future is NOW. Pretty dramatic, eh? Well for all the grandiose talk, it really is true. 2011 was the first year that e-books surpassed physical books in units sold, and in 2013 they are expected to pass physical books in dollars earned as well. We have done our homework, and now is the perfect time to get out there and help authors be successful in this new electronic world we live in.

To kick us off we will be releasing a collection of short stories sometime at the beginning of 2013. 2013 sounds like an awesome year to start a noir press, don’t you think? In the next couple of months FDC Press will be opening up query submissions for works of noir fiction ranging from 20,000 to 75,000 words. So keep in touch and watch us grow.

Below you will see a link to FDC Press’s website. It is still under construction, but come by and check us out. Also, visit our facebook page and give us a LIKE.

Remember…Keep Writing!

http://fulldarkcitypress.com/