Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Janet Jackson in Hong Kong: Number Ones, Up Close & Personal

Who would figure this martian would fly 8000+ miles from the muthaland to see Janet Jackson perform live in Hong Kong island at the convention center in Wan Chai on valentines day! One word mofo’s, spaceship!
The concert space was in exhibition hall 5bc at the HK convention center which is comparable in terms of size to Hall H at the San Diego Convention center for you comic con geeks out there! The HK convention & exhibition center’s roof structure resembles a turtle shell if you look at the building from a birdseye view. It’s really cool looking!
The crowd at the concert was a mixed bag of asian faces, western gazes, & other martian races doing a two step while twisting their hips from side to side!

Miss Jackson was on her 4th stop in Hong Kong for her 35 city tour of NUMBER ONES: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL World Tour! The planet chocko chain gang have not seen Janet play live since her rhythm nation tour in 1990 at madison square garden! You can bet I was sporting her rhythm nation tour baseball cap & bandanna like some reject from POETIC JUSTICE. Oddly enough, I couldn’t get tickets for her Radio City Music Hall show in March.
Janet is dedicating a song to each of her 35 city worldwide tour. For hong kong, “IF” was that song. Don’t hurt me now, but I was busting a dirty side to side groove & sporting some RERUN moves from What’s Happening to that one! I don’t remember the exact setlist from that night, but as you can imagine, it was a playlist from all her number one hits. Miss Janet portioned out 3 interludes to accomodate the mood & her outfit changes! After the opening dedication song & video, she romped out to pleasure principle, then to a medley of Control, What Have you done for me lately, & Feedback! The 1st interlude revealed throwback video clips of Janet appearing in the show Good Times, Different Strokes & movies like Poetic Justice, The Nutty Professor, & The Klumps. I’ve read somewhere that they showed clips of her in FAME at the philippines concert which would of been cool seeing her busting a groove, fame style! After the vids, Janet shifted down a gear or two, sat down on her fine rump, & serenaded us to some slow jams which included Nothing, Come Back to Me, Let’s wait awhile, & Again in her beautiful, flowing pink dress! No lie, Miss Jackson sounded great & looked dee-lish! 44 years old, what?! It doesn’t really matter! The 2nd half of the concert started out with my favorite performance and song of the night, DOESN’T REALLY MATTER! She blew up the stage with her dancing, singing, & choreography to that tune! She also belted out another planet chocko fave, Escapade! I remember free floating to that jam on our car ride enroute to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta! Other songs she played that night incude All for you, Love will never do, That’s the way love goes, Black Cat(included some buck guitar riffs), & Rhythm Nation. The crowd roared when they started to play Michael & Janet Jackson’s collaboration on Scream! Miss Jackson capped off the night to an encore of Make Me, & Together Again! No doubt, Janet can still rock the stage! I will always consider her the queen of pop! Miss Jackson performed well, but I was hoping for a more personable speech or at least banter to greet, & hype up the hong kong crowd! After all, it was valentines day! I guess it was business casual as usual for Miss Janet. Now, what’s that toll free number to ticketmaster again?…Radio City Music Hall!
It looking more & more like craigslist or ebay!


5 Pointz, Queens NYC






VOLTURE

VOLTURE is a Heavy Metal Band straight outta VA featuring Municipal Waste’s Ryan Waste (bass), Brent Hubbard (vocals), Twisted Tower Dire’s Dave Boyd (guitar), Nick Poulos (guitar), and Barry Cover (drums). They’re influenced by the New Wave Of British Metal (NWOBHM) era and their shows are guaranteed to make you bang your head and lose your mind. Their debut mini-album titled “Shocking It’s Prey” is out now! A big shout out to Ryan for taking the time out to do the interview. If you haven’t been to a Volture show, I trust that sooner or later, you will find yourself in their clutches!

How did everybody in the band meet each other and form Volture?
The five members of VOLTURE for the most part have known one another for quite a while. I’ve been friends with our drummer Barry Cover the longest. He filled in for Municipal Waste on drums for our first European tour and helped us out of several other jams. Brent Hubbard (vocals) and I met over nine years ago and I immediately wanted to do a heavy metal band with him upon hearing his incredible singing voice. Brent, Barry and I formed a band called Immortal Avenger back then that played some serious heavy metal but it never really took off. I played bass then, which was my primary instrument and I wanted to go back to the four strings once again. Nick Poulos (guitarist) had moved to Richmond around the same time Immortal Avenger was playing gigs and we became friends, but we never jammed together until a few years ago. I made him some mixes of old NWOBHM and other obscure heavy metal acts and we talked of doing a band in a similar direction. It had always been a lifelong goal of mine to put a real deal heavy metal band together and Nick was the missing link. I called upon Barry and Brent once again to fill out the lineup. We recently added Dave Boyd from Twisted Tower Dire on second guitar and the pieces have all fallen into place.

Describe the music the band plays.
We play upbeat rock-based heavy metal with piercing leads, high vocals and hard-driving rhythms. This is heavy metal music in it’s purest form with no drum triggers or overproduced studio trickery. We stand by our passion for real heavy metal and don’t compromise to current trends.

What metal or punk bands are you inspired by?
Mercyful Fate, Heavy Load, Gotham City, Persian Risk, early Priest, Sabbath, Scorps, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Satan (UK), Black Axe, Black Flag, Witch Cross, Talon, Boston, Trouble, Candlemass, Cacumen, Brats, Bleak House, Crucifixion, Tank, and a countless amount of NWOBHM & early US/Euro Heavy Metal.

How has the reaction been for the mini-LP Shocking Its Prey?
The reviews have been quite flattering actually. We’ve been receiving a lot of mail from overseas telling us that we’re playing the kind of heavy metal that old-school heavy metallers can appreciate. We’ve been getting a good amount of feedback from young people who seem to dig it too. So I guess it’s a pretty wide spectrum, which is great.

Do you have a favorite song on the record?
That’s a tough question. If I didn’t like them all then I wouldn’t be doing this. My favorite song of ours is one that’s not on the album called “Rulebreaker”. We wrote it right after we recorded the album. We might release it as a single and it will definitely come out on our first full length album. We are just getting started, so the best is yet to come!

I’m digging the logo and art on the album cover. Tell us a little bit about how that came about.
I’m very involved in the process of the cover art and logos, so I appreciate you pointing that out. We wanted a mascot for the band and the only fitting one would be the electric winged bird of steel itself, the VOLTURE! It was a major back and forth ordeal in the sketching process. We went through two artists and finally Sean McGrath, who drew the logo ended up tackling the actual drawing. We actually came up with the final concept when we ran into each other in Guadalajara, Mexico oddly enough. I always wanted the image of a metallic bird swooping down and attacking instead of waiting for it’s meal to die like an actual vulture would. The Volture was electrically charged and it acted on getting what it wanted. We decided to leave it a mystery to what it was preying on, so you’ll have to wait for the full length to delve deeper into it’s mythology. The painting was done by my good friend, the talented Andrei Bouzikov. He and I had worked together on the last two Municipal Waste album covers and I knew he’d be perfect for the job. He brought the drawing to life in paint and I have it hanging in my bedroom.

How have the live shows been so far? Any highlights?
We’ve played four live shows as of now and they’ve all been killer. The highlights for me have been just seeing the reaction on peoples faces. A lot of headbanging went down. Three of the shows were with our good buddies in CAULDRON and the highlights were all in the ham. We get a really mixed crowd too, so it’s cool to see a lot of people getting into heavy metal that you wouldn’t normally expect. I still think the US is warming up to proper heavy metal. There are always the die-hards out there, but I wish the States had the same passion for heavy metal that Europe or South America has. I’m sure you can guess where we will be headed next…

What bands are you listening to now?
Everything I mentioned in the “inspired by” question of course…but lately: Dealer, Mendes Prey, Gotham City, Limelight, More, A-II-Z, Survivor, Excalibur (UK), Griffin, H-Bomb, Lezlie Paice, Alice Cooper, Wildfire, Oz, Black Rose, Traitor’s Gate, Trespass, Gary Moore (R.I.P.) and a lot of AOR & Soundtrack stuff

Any favorite movies?
River’s Edge, Black Roses, Blood Diner, Shock ‘Em Dead, Rock ‘N Roll Nightmare, Rocktober Blood, Phantasm I-II, They Live, Repo Man, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, Maniac, The Thing, The Leprechaun II-VI, Spinal Tap, Fear of a Black Hat, Raising Arizona, Troll 2

Do any members of the band have any unusual hobbies or interests outside of music?
I can cook, DJ and I’m an obsessive organizer. Brent makes my organizing seem normal and he’s an avid weight lifter. Barry DJ’s as well and knows more about Zappa than anyone. Nick has dreads and he can use them in magical ways. Dave brews beer and helps save the environment.

Any updates on Municipal Waste or your other projects?
The Waste is currently writing a new album, enjoying some time off and playing a few festivals in the near future, namely HELLFEST in France (with Judas Priest, Scorpions, Ozzy, Trust, Angel Witch, Sodom, Coroner, etc!!!!)

What are the future plans of Volture?
We are focused on writing a full length, pushing the debut mini-Lp and trying to turn anyone on who’ll listen to our brand of Heavy Metal. We plan to tour Europe next spring and do a few runs in the US in the meantime. We are only just beginning our quest and it’s already a thrilling ride.

Any closing comments?
Thanks so much for your time! You can pick up the album here:
http://store.heavyartillery.us/

or listen and download here:
http://heavyartillery.bandcamp.com/album/shocking-its-prey

For any other news about Volture visit:
www.facebook.com/voltureofficial
and
www.volture.us



Hong Kong action films, a retrospective: Stephan Berwick & Mike Woods at the Museum of The Moving Image


The Moving Image musuem in Astoria, Queens runs a pretty cool monthly series called Fist and Sword which is an event that screens contemporary and classic martial arts movies from all over the globe! Last sunday, they had martial artists Stephan Berwick & Mike Woods, both pioneers from the western hemisphere who graced hong kong action films as performers/stuntmen in the 1980’s & early 90’s! The program was curated by Warrington Hudlin as they showed clips of their special guests in all their kickass glory on the screen with a Q&A session-open forum to follow. There was also a screening of Stephan Berwick’s new 15 minute short film called “Final Weapon” starring Ren Guangyi (Chen tai Chi master) & Mike Woods with a special guest appearance by Lou Reed! They were all in attendance at this event at the moving image! Take a walk on the wild side, baby!
I was getting pretty hyped up when they were introducing each guest by blaring old school hip hop joints when showcasing action clips from each of their selected filmographies! Stephan Berwick graced the screen to ERIC B & RAKIM’s, FOLLOW THE LEADER & Mike Woods got intro’d to PUBLIC ENEMY’s, FIGHT THE POWER! My bobblehead was rockin’ back & forth side to side to Rakim & Chuck D’s aggressive lyrical flow while the kung fu action jackson erupted the adrenaline to the danger zone! A quick bio from berwick & woods revealed that they both got discovered by YUEN WO PING & his crazy clan at their kung fu school in Boston with their famed teacher Grandmaster BOW SIM MARK! Miss Mark is the mom of famed HK actor/martial artist DONNIE YEN! Donnie was a bit younger than Stephan & Mike at the time when they both were studying with his mom. They describe DONNIE YEN jokingly as a wannabe b-boy when growing up in Boston! Donnie’s 2nd “break” (pun intended!) in the film industry included a break dancing-Fu eclectic movie called MISMATCHED COUPLES from 1985! It’s a fun & entertaining flick! It’s worthy of a viewing if you martians can get wind of it! When Donnie was filming mismatched couples, he had asked Mike Woods & his friends to show him a few break dance moves with some pop and lock techniques to which they happily obliged in b-boy style with that celebrated stance!
Stephan & Mike were the 1st wave of martial artists from the USA who were hired by the Yuen Wo Ping clan to guest star in fight sequences when street style HK action was getting too hot to trot so they needed some new tots to kung fu fight for real! Hong Kong directors were in the need for foreign bad boy faces & badass traces of whoopass for hire! As Stephan & Mike described, Yuen Wo Ping & his posse wanted to hire highly skilled martial artists that needed no training that did no nonsense fight sequences, & stunts to the directors raw liking and fly back to the states with no questions asked for basically a barrel of moo shu. The pros of this was that these foreign kung fu cats could get exposure to more films & guest appearances . The cons were that they basically were at the mercy of the crazed directors. Stephan & Mike endured lots of painful outtakes of action sequences & had to take the brunt of full force kicks & punches from the stars of the movie. A question from the audience peeked more interesting stories from the duo including: Did you get challenged to fights on the movie set? In general, they both said no, asians usually challenged asians on the film sets, & left the foreigners alone. (maybe because the americans were bigger and more outrageous!), but they mentioned that there were some instances when competing stuntman-martial artists from other nations like England/Australia would be a little jealous because the dynamic duo from the states were brought in by Yuen Wo Ping. Mike Woods described one encounter in the gym when a friendly challenge by an englishmen ended pretty quickly when woods executed a spinning heel kick to the young lad’s head! Stephan mentioned that his nickname on the movie set when translated to english was “vicious legs” or “poison kicks”. He was known for his outrageous kicking combinations which prompted other stuntmen to challenge him to a little kicking competition. Suffice to say, the other stunthands left him alone after they got a thrashing from the poison kicks! Stephan Berwick did most of the talking in the discussions at the moving image event, but I really appreciated the brutal honesty of Mike Woods when he grabbed the mic. He stated how defiant he was when working in the hong kong movie set & how much more work he could of gotten if he just held his voice in. Woods was not scared to express himself to protect his neck despite the harrowing circumstances beyond his control in the hong kong film industry at that particular time. Woods was a very passionate, honest, & a very headstrong guy. I respect that.

The finale of the event concluded with a screening of Berwick’s short film “Final Weapon”. It stars Ren Guangyi (Berwick’s Tai Chi teacher), Mike Woods, & a guest appearance from Lou Reed (also one of Guang yi ren’s students). There’s very little dialogue in the film, as the images & action speaks for themselves. The mood & heartbeat of some of the scenes were enhanced by Lou Reed’s vintage music (Street hassle,Finish Line,The spirit, & Set the Twilight Reeling). The film throws out the notion to the viewer similiar to weapons of mass destruction, the pondering crucial decision to take that final battle and at what costs? Master Guang yi ren answers that question in the movie with his decision, but the final answer has to be explored in each viewers mind relating to current affairs and not just relegated to combat alone. The actors of the film were also in attendance including Lou Reed as they all assembled on a panel after the screening to answer a few questions! Jose Figueroa, the producer of the film & also, one of Guang Yi Ren’s senior students joined the roundtable for a discussion.
It was a fun afternoon event at the moving image museum that left me thirsting for some action movies! It’s nice to get insider information during a period of filmmaking when Hong Kong action films were at its rawest, most beautiful, & purest form albeit that it was at the expense of the actors & stuntmen. Mike Woods & Stephan mentioned that this all changed for the good when Jackie Chan & his stunt team started to get safety equipment & procedures in place after learning from hollywood! Check out Stephan Berwick & Mike Woods in action in some of my favorite 1980’s modern HK movies in the TIGER CAGE & IN THE LINE OF DUTY series! (see video below with Donnie Yen Vs Mike Woods + Stephan Berwick in TIGER CAGE!)

I’ll leave you with the final question posed to the panel: What is your favorite martial arts movie? Jose Figueroa(Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), Guang Yi Ren (Ang Lee movies including PUSH HANDS), Lou Reed (47 Ronin), Stephan Berwick (Kung Fu Hustle), Mike Woods (danced around the question).

Make sure to checkout the MOVING IMAGE MUSEUM in Astoria-Queens, folks! I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to check them out! They have a pretty neat archive of photos, costumes, movie sets, toy collectibles, old school arcades, and everything in between relating to american cinema! The collection of vintage production video cameras, film projectors, sound equipment, film editors, microphones, TV’s, phonographs, & radios blew me away! It was a straightup history lesson and timeline for the audio/videophile! Moving image had a few vintage & operational mutoscopes of charlie chaplin movies for you to watch, too! It was awesome! They also had a display called the FERAL FOUNT which was amazing to see in action! It was basically a series of different sculptures spinning on a wheel which created an image when strobes of light were shined on the sculptures in the dark. It basically recreated an animated scene. Definitely check out the Museum of Moving Image for other cool events! Next week, they’ll be screening KING HU’s film, THE VALIANT ONES (1975) with Sammo Hung as the fight choreographer! Represent, y’all! King Hu redefined swordplay-wuxia films with straight as an arrow storylines and non stop action…one time for your mind! The KING pretty much started the rage in swordplay films which I’m sure influenced the period piece chops & passion of TSUI HARK! We love big country films! Tsui Hark’s latest gem includes DETECTIVE DEE & THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME! Check it!


Tura Satana 1935 – 2011

One of exploitation film’s most bad-ass females has passed away at the age of 75. Tura Satana was well known for appearing in movies such as Ted V. Mikel’s THE DOLL SQUAD and ASTROZOMBIES. She is probably most recognized for her role as Varla in the Russ Meyer film FASTER PUSSYCAT…KILL! KILL! I had the pleasure of meeting her a couple times at Chiller Theatre, a local horror convention. She was one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. She was always kind to her fans and she even was nice enough to do an interview for us in the print version of PLANET CHOCKO way back in 1999. Be sure to check out the movies mentioned above. Here is the entire Tura interview (circa 1999) from a truly kick-ass woman of the silver screen…Rest in Peace Tura…you will be missed.

How did you get involved in television and movies?
I was a professional dancer, when I got an offer to do the Hawaiian Eyes Series show. After that, it was like any other job. You work when you get offers.

What was the experience like working with Ted V. Mikels in the movies ASTROZOMBIES and THE DOLL SQUAD?
It was always very interesting to work with Ted Mikels. Ted had a fantasy about me from the time he saw me dance at the Silver Slipper Club, that used to be in Las Vegas, NV. I can keep Ted on his toes when necessary. He thinks that he rules the roost, but that is not always so.

Have you spoken to Mr. Mikels lately?
I speak to Ted Mikels every so often. He is very dear friends with my family and children.

Please tell us a little bit about the filming of FASTER PUSSYCAT…KILL! KILL!
The filming of Faster Pussycat…Kill! Kill! was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. We were filming in temperatures of 110 degrees in the shade. I was able to make Varla a very believable character, I guess she is a lot like me and had the outlet to vent a lot of my anger against the world in general.

What is Russ Meyers like as a director?
Russ is a very capable director and producer. He has the ability to be able to listen to his actors and actresses, without worrying about what it would do to his film. He gave me the freedom to make Varla who she is.

What is your fondest memory from making that film?
I think that my favorite parts of the film were the fight scenes. I also enjoyed the racing scenes and the dining scenes. But most of all, it was the friends that I made with the other people on the set.

Was it easy working with your costars and have you stayed in contact with any of them
Yes, I have stayed in contact with Haji and Russ, plus Stuart Lancaster. Every once in a while we have a nice dinner together and remember those younger days.

What are some of the things you’re doing now?
I am writing my autobiography and planning a film of my life story. I am also helping with a script for a new screenplay that will thrill my fans, I am sure. I also own an engine rebuilding company in Long Beach, CA called Engine Power Technology, Inc.

What is your favorite television show?
I just love the Martial Law Show, plus Walker, Texas Ranger and of course, Xena Warrior Princess.

What are your favorite movies?
Irma La Douce, Chuck Norris films, Jackie Chan films and musicales.

Do you have any plans on appearing at any conventions in the near future?
At the present time, I don’t have any plans yet, but if I get an offer to appear at a celebrity convention or something of that type, I will consider it.

Please tell us about your website and fanclub.
My website is located at www.turasatana.com. The official Tura Satana Fan Club is located at 1027 N. Rose Ave., Burbank, CA 91505. Any letters to me, should be sent there, since they usually know what my current location would be at any given time.

Do you have any interest in working in films in the future?
Yes, I will be working in a film soon, once it is sold to the studios. It is the one that I have been helping write the script on.

Do you have anything else you would like to say to your fans?
I hope that my fans will continue to enjoy whatever work that I may do. I will try to continue in the vain that I am and hope that they will like what they see. I hope that any of my fans will feel free to write to me at my website link. I personally, will be answering their letters and e-mail. I may not answer right away, but I will eventually answer their letters and questions. Thank you all for keeping my image and memory alive. I love you all.

Tina Dico at the Highline Ballroom


TINA DICO performed at the Highline Ballroom on 1/31/2011 with her folk-pop inspired bad self! She was accompanied by a full band this time around including the multi-talented, HELGI JONSSON playing the guitar, keyboards, & trombone. Helgi actually opened up for Miss Tina playing a few earthy tunes of his own including a cover by Roy Orbison, WILD HEARTS RUN OUT OF TIME. Helgi has a real distinct sharp & high voice that hit a few registers that i didn’t know existed for a dude! Getting back to the main event, Tina Dico is mega popular in her home country of Denmark & in europe in general and usually plays to sell out crowds in larger venues. It’s truly a tremendous treat when she performs in the states with her great stage presence, lyrical chops, beautiful haunting voice, long flowing blond hair, dazzling storytelling, & awesome melodies! It’s really a double edge sword because you know that she should be getting much more press than she gets here in NYC, but it’s also a sharper edge on the other side of the blade because we can see her play in a such a small venue at bargain basement prices, $10 or $15 day of show for such an honest & emotional performance! I get hooked everytime I listen to her older tunes like Home, Break of Day, In the Red, No time to sleep (Grey’s anatomy), Room with a View, & Count to 10! Tina’s lyrics mostly comprise of what she calls longing for something, whether it’s longing for romance, hear me outs, observations on urban life like in HEAD SHOP, cravings for that certain heartbeat in the city like her SACRE COEUR song which is ode to Paris! Tina delivered an emotional performance with a song dedicated to COPENHAGEN where she just recently moved back to with a sole mission of soul searching! Why do I like listening to Tina dico? I love her unique delivery & heartbeat in her songs, her powerful voice with clear, cut like a knife pronunciations, her storytelling which grabs your attention, her singing which really grips your heart because she bleeds like an emotional monkey when pitching her songs, & she’s got the look, to paraphrase ROXETTE! My favorite performances of the night include IN THE RED, COPENHAGEN, NO TIME TO SLEEP, LOVE ALL AROUND, an awesome soul inspired tune that Tina wrote for a movie called oldboys, & an old tune from her ZERO 7 days called HOME! It really brought down my home when she sang it! TD teetered from rockin’ out to the electric guitar back to the acoustic when a noticible humming noise was amplified when they crossed back over to the electric. At that point, it was all acoustic, baby! Miss Dico also belted out full force md melodies head on into the mic then faded into acappela mode without the mic which gave it a fresh, organic sound on a few tracks like In Love & Long Way Home. The sound was pretty wicked! I really wish this lyrical danish vixen would play in NYC more often because she’s really got soul, pizazz, & all that jazz! I definitely would recommend picking up Tina Dico’s new album called “Welcome Back Colour”. It’s a 2 CD hybrid album consisting of compilations of her most popular songs with a few new songs like “Welcome Back Colour” and “Copenhagen” amongst others. She describes this new album as a retrospective look in the mirror of herself with a leap of faith going forward for a new colourful beginning! Well, hell’s yeah! Check out the performance of “love all around” & “home” by Tina at the Highline ballroom! (above & below!)

Tina Dico’s Setlist
count to 10
in love (ode to NY)
get to know you
in the red
he doesn’t know
copenhagen
watching him go
room with a view
glow
friend in a bar
no time to sleep
sacre coeur
silence
long way home
love all around
home
heaven and hell

Helgi Jonsson Setlist
Aurura
blindfolded
ashes away
wild hearts run out of time (roy orbison)
digging up a tree