Examining the Juke Joints with Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, a Preview

15 Aug

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Murahachibu and Zuno Keisatsu are two Japanese punk rock bands who helped form the punk rock music scene during the 70’s. Although the former shifted focus, and the other remain, to consider how their sound evolved to what is heard today, trying to discover what works and exists to music listeners interested in this part of the world has been described by some music journalists as hard to penetrate. The live music scene, according to a 2014 article in the Japan Times, is “notoriously difficult to penetrate. What’s there is said to be tucked away in the basements and upper floors of anonymous buildings, often in seedy parts of town, where the neighbours will be less likely to raise complaints against noise and loitering, with websites that update schedules only a few days before the actual events and that rarely link to any of the artists performing, live venues are like a hidden world open only to those who know the secret handshake.”

Seattle-based pseudo-punk band Tennis Pro entered this realm when they hit the road less travelled to gain recognition in their documentary Big in Japan (2014), but to penetrate Japan’s current scene within a world buried in another one is just as tough to uncover. Enter Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, a documentary by Nick Romi (director) which is set to release December 11, 2017. This video can be pre-ordered at foreverunholystore.bigcartel.com and early birds will get a limited edition poster for a fantastic price of $10. This video will also be available on select streaming video services on the same day.

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Wind Up Geek’s J-Music Quick Fix – August 13, 2017

13 Aug

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By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)

The Back Horn

The Back Horn will be hosting a special live concert to celebrate the release of their upcoming 2-CD greatest hits album, Best of the Back Horn II, and their 20 years as a band. This special concert will be by invitation only and will be held at the intimate venue where the Back Horn had their first paid gig, 下北沢SHELTER (Shimokitazawa Shelter) in Kitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo. Fans will be able to win an invitation via lottery through two ways:

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Looking Closer at In This Corner of the World & Its Canadian Release

11 Aug

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

To my knowledge, few Japanese animated movies exist which looks at a part of history from World War II with a perspective not overdone. Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies is the granddaddy of the genre because it’s so depressingly sad, and Barefoot Gen somewhere on the vein of being positive while it looks at the aftermath. With In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に), the point of view is from innocent bystanders. The atomic destruction of Hiroshima has not happened yet. This particular fact is not dwelled upon. Nobody is aware except for the viewer. Most of the characters are blissfully unaware.

This film looks at the life of an idyllic young girl, Suzu (Rena Nōnen), living her life through a veil. She wants to be an artist and she describes herself as a daydreamer. A significant part of her life is portrayed and it has a Studio Ghibli like quality during this innocent time. This fact is of no surprise as Director Sunao Katabuchi worked on Kiki’s Delivery Service.

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Fan Expo Vancouver Will Sizzle and Be Cool this November!

10 Aug

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Two cool cats will grace Fan Expo Vancouver come November 10 to 12th, 2017. Famke Janssen and Henry Winkler (announced this week) are best known as The Phoenix (Bryan Singer’s X-men Trilogy) and The Fonz (Happy Days).

Before being cast in X-men which made her a household name, she appeared in Star Trek TNG (as Kamala), and for me, I took notice when she appeared in movies such as GoldenEye (Xenia Onatopp) and Lord of Illusions (Dorothea Swann). The latter was definitely of interest because of my love for the supernatural in cinema, and this film is written/directed by Clive Barker. This former model took on a variety a roles post X-men and is always a favourite for playing supercharged characters. Other roles include seeing her as the villain Muriel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and appearing as Olivia Godfrey in the horror series Hemlock Grove on Netflix.

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Winkler had very few roles before becoming an American institution on Happy Days. The Fonz cemented him as the coolest character to be on air when this series premiered in 1974. The later half of the series focused on this character’s growth when Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) left the show, and saw him transition to become a family man. After the show, this actor became a producer and director; his filmography is vast. My top picks include MacGuyver and Sightings; both of which I watched regularly, and he even did voice over work for cartoons like South Park and All Hail King Julian.

Both performers will no doubt help bring several decades of pop culture fandom under one roof because of their diverse appeal. Hopefully I will have a chance to ask Winkler about what led him to produce Sightings and ask if we will ever see a full DVD release of the series.

Happy Days have been made for this fan who watches this show broadcasting on MeTV and tuning into Netflix to binge on paranormal and animated series. Although it’s very doubtful to see The Fonz go toe-to-toe with The Phoenix, a Cosmic Force with different abilities like Mork, perhaps these two will meet and have some fun that some may recognize as a jovial nod to the episode, “My Favourite Orkan”