Friday, July 29, 2011

Well, This Just Sucks Dept.: Video Culture to Close in Murfreesboro Aug. 14

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM

It is with heavy heart that I come to you today. I am here to announce the end of an era, the final nail in the coffin in of one America's greatest institutions: the video store. Specifically, my second favorite video store of all time, Murfreesboro's Video Culture.*

For anyone who did time in Bucket City, you know that Video Culture was/is a cinephile's dream, crammed full of obscurities and oddities and staffed by some of the most knowledgeable film nerds this film nerd has ever met. It was the sort of place where — much to my wife's chagrin — you could “run in” and emerge hours later having thoroughly discussed the filmography of Ruggero Deodato, the sociopolitical ramifications of post-Magnum Force action cinema and the later works of Z-movie meister Al Adamson the way some people talk about the weather.

Needless to say, I logged a lot of hours at that store and watched a lot of awesome movies I might never have seen, all thanks to the great folks at VC. Which is why I got super, duper, extra bummed out when I found this message, pulled from Facebook, in my inbox this morning:

after 16 years of serving up the best of filmed entertainment, we are closing up shop. August 14th will be our last day of business. everything in our inventory is up for sale, so come in & get it while the getting's good! thanks to everyone for the love & support over all these years. we will miss you!!

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Camden, Tenn., Residents Speak out Against Landfill They Say Is Making Them Sick

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Tuesday evening in Camden, Tenn., more than 150 community members arrived for a public hearing in the Benton County Courthouse to express their anger at a local landfill. Area residents, specifically those living within a one-mile radius of a five-acre dump site operated by Environmental Waste Solutions (EWS), have complained of a strong ammonia smell that arises multiple times a week — an odor they say is so potent they must confine themselves inside their homes to escape the toxic fumes.

“First time I noticed it, I got out of my truck, and I thought I was gonna pass out before I got to the front door,” resident Roy Sharpe said during the hearing.

The Class II industrial landfill — which collects waste from neighboring counties and cities, including Nashville — began recycling aluminum waste in 2007 and processing a waste product called aluminum dross. When dross comes into contact with water, it emits flammable and toxic gases such as ammonia, which can reach unsafe levels if not properly managed. The EWS dump site borders Camden’s wetlands and large creeks.

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Val Kilmer and Harmony Korine Team Up for ... Something or Other Involving Motivational Speaking and a Roller Rink [Updated]

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 10:00 AM

The Ice Man humpeth
  • The Iceman humpeth
OK, so we learned a few things from the Internet yesterday. One, Val Kilmer is collaborating with Harmony Korine on a new "experimental film" (naturally), which they are filming in Nashville. Two, the reason we know One is that Val Kilmer has a Tumblr. (!) Where he said this:

I am about to create an experimental film with Harmony Korine here in Nashville, where we are rehearsing and where we will film on the 11th of August in a roller skating rink. I will be playing Hector. Harmony says of the character, “I don’t know if he’s ‘crazy’ - I don’t know if I know what that word means anymore… He’s the WORST motivational speaker on earth. That’s for sure.” We went last night to visit Dan Auerbach and friends, of BLACK KEYS fame. He was recording a beautiful woman’s record, but I didn’t catch her name. We soaked up the soul- but not even NASHVILLE’S finest can save HECTOR- motivational speaker sponsored by the -LOTUS COMMUNITY CENTER- (the current title, for our experimental film).
Harmony and I met a couple of years ago in New York with his lovely wife Rachel, and have been talking about a project ever since. This looney monologue is the first opportunity that materialized.

Kilmer and Korine — two great tastes that will undoubtedly taste insane together! Could the "beautiful woman" Kilmer mentions be Jennifer Pierce Mathus, who seems to have tweeted this obtuse Kilmer reference from Auerbach's studio the other day? After all, according to the IMDB, she is credited as "Good Looking Woman" in a movie called The Last Ride. I don't know, but I've heard Twitter counts as journalism these days. Anyway, I'm sure that you, Pith reader, are wondering the same thing as I: What will the follow-up to Trash Humpers and the Die Antwoord vehicle "Umshini Wam" be like? I'll probably be the last to know, since two of my colleagues knew that Val-Harmony was happening and didn't bother to tell me, citing some sort of of "promise" they had made. But in the meantime: Time to start scouting roller rinks. Who wants to ride shotgun?

Update: I just got a call from Coy Martin, who is Valerie June's manager. She's in town from Memphis, working on a record with Auerbach and Kevin Augunas producing.

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Pick of the Day: Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention 2011 at Gaylord Opryland Resort

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention 2011
When: Fri., Sat. & Sun. July 29-31
Where: Gaylord Opryland Resort

So here’s the thing. As supportive as I am of dorks getting together to dork it up on a grand dork scale, I can’t help but wonder if said dorks realize how completely absurd Star Trek conventions look to the outside world. Even Creation Entertainment’s “official” Star Trek convention, an offshoot of the Las Vegas con that regularly attracts thousands of attendees, looks downright silly. Sunday morning Klingon breakfast? A “rat pack” of character actors doing a Vegas-style Star Trek variety show? Thirty dollars for a picture with a Ferengi? Even the most die-hard Trekkers must find some humor in this madness, right? [Editor’s note: This sounds awesome.] Aside from the usual nerd festivities like costume and trivia contests, panels and memorabilia out the wazoo, the whole con leads up to an appearance by William Shatner himself on Sunday, hopefully singing “Rocket Man” to a crowd bordering on hysterical.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Council Candidate Ken Jakes Wants to Make the Fairgrounds More "Rad!"

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 2:50 PM

"Radification?" Good thing Council at-large candidate Ken Jakes quickly sent out this correction:

Please disregard these links. There is an error on the wording of the fairground referrendum [sic]. A corrected link will be sent out soon.

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Quote of the Day: Herman Cain Is Sorry if He Offended You or Your Muslim Friends

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM

“While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends.”

—Presidential hopeful and former Allahfather's Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, kinda-sorta apologizing for some of the stuff he said, while also not taking back any of that stuff he said about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

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Arrest Him, Officer: Artist Brandt Hardin Offends Me With His Portrait of the Governor and His Wife

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Clarksville artist Brandt Hardin is tempting fate by posting his NSFW portrait of Bill and Crissy Haslam (NSFW stands for "not safe for work," for those of you about to click on that link) on the Internet where it is subject to the new state law banning the transmission of potentially offensive images. "My main motivation behind this work," Hardin writes, "can simply be summed up with one of my favorite quotations: 'If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.' —Thomas Jefferson."

Is the image offensive? Well, I'm offended. I mean, Haslam is Haslam and deserves his lumps however they come, but Crissy shouldn't be collateral damage. Plus, isn't it obvious that, if this portrait were a comment on reality, Mr. Haslam would be in Mrs. Haslam's place and Mr. Haslam's role would be played by Ron "I refuse to accept I wasn't elected Governor" Ramsey?

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Pick of the Day: Doc Watson at The Ryman

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Doc Watson
When: Tonight
Where: The Ryman

Recipient of every award there is to receive, and adored by a still-growing legion of fans around the world, Arthel “Doc” Watson makes only a limited number of appearances these days. Some might grumble at his placement at the close of The Ryman’s Bluegrass Nights series, arguing that he’s not a bluegrass artist, and in a sense, they’re right; Doc’s not a bluegrass artist, but rather an artist whose music incorporates bluegrass even as it transcends it. And he’s one of a small handful of folks who, by virtue of longevity and achievement, have earned the right to be grumpy old dudes who mutter about how bluegrass or folk or whatever music is going to hell in a handbasket. But instead he remains as open-minded, inquisitive, experimental and wide-ranging as ever, and with 60-plus years of music to rummage through, he is simply not to be missed. Longtime buddy and engaging old-time entertainer David Holt opens.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Least Surprising News Ever: The Convention Center Is Likely to Go Over Budget

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 9:57 AM

JR Lind reported earlier in the week the least surprising news ever — that the convention center is in danger of going over budget. The city is embroiled in three lawsuits claiming they underpaid for property that the half-done convention center is sitting on. In the first lawsuit, a jury agreed with the original landowner, and the city (unless it appeals) has to pay the original landowners over $16 million dollars, not the $14 million dollars they originally paid. The other two suits are unresolved.

Like I said, that's not surprising. Anyone who remembers back when we were all fighting about this as a city also remembers that people were warning that we could easily go over budget. Here's the surprising part, from a story in The Tennessean:

But the project’s manager said it was premature to speculate on how the government would pay for a possible overage.

“Until they (the project’s legal team ) present a recommendation to us and we have a chance to discuss it with the Convention Center Authority, it’s premature to speculate on next steps,” project manager Larry Atema said.

Premature?! I'm no financial wizard, nor am I building a huge convention center in the era of GoToMeeting, but I would have thought it would be a pretty standard thing to have contingency plans for how to pay for overages. I mean, it's a government project, a huge government project. Of course there are going to be overages.

We didn't plan for those? No one in the mayor's office ever once said "Hey, we should give them $14 million for the land but let's be clear, we're taking a chance. They might take us to court. If they do, they could be awarded more money."? We're actually caught with our pants down here?

I find this worrisome. We're taking an enormous gamble. Is there no one in the mayor's office who's thought through all the risks? Surely, we can afford another $60,000 a year part-timer whose job it is to come up with worst-case scenarios so that we can plan for them, right?

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Quote of the Day: No Debt Plan, No Pay, Says Cooper

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 6:32 AM

“Failure is not an option. But, if default occurs, another paycheck for congressmen and senators should not be an option either.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, announcing his plan to introduce legislation that would halt congressional salaries if the U.S. defaults next week on the national debt.

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