High Street Vol. IV: Who Needs to Think When Your Feet Just Go?

This is the fourth in a series of love letters my DJ partner Ed Walker and I have created to celebrate the legendary alt-dance clubs of the late ’80s and early ’90s that peppered Ohio State’s campus, and this one might be my favorite of the bunch. Beastie Boys, New Order, Tom Tom Club (hence the show’s title), and Yello are here, along with many others. Happy dancing, everyone.

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Movie Review: A Wrinkle in Time

Watching the beginning of “A Wrinkle in Time” felt eerily similar to watching 2017’s film adaptation of “It,” in that the film was enjoyable but in a bubble, a product of its time. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the present the next day, when a high school classmate of mine expressed concern that the filmmakers were going to ruin the last two chapters of the book in order to make political statements.

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New Podcast! Dizzy Heights #35: Going Back to Athens – Songs About Places, Vol. I

This show – and the previous show, the ‘She’ song-filled ‘Film the World Before It Happens’ – are a big turning point in my podcast. I’m going to ride this theme thing for a while. It’s fun, and if the response from my Facebook friends is any indication, people are more engaged with shows that have a theme tying the songs together. This time, I went around the world and listed songs with the names of cities, states, countries, continents…heck, one of them is the name of a New Zealand beach.

I still have over two pages of songs that I didn’t use for this show, hence the Vol. I in the title. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy it.

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Dizzy Heights #34: Film the World Before It Happens

I’m not sure why I’m so lackadaisical about posting my Mixcloud shows here. Really, I don’t.

But this show is a big one, my longest one yet (102 minutes) but one that I think people will like. And there is most definitely a theme. One that you will figure out somewhere between the second and third song.

New shows every two weeks. If you’re interested in following me on Mixcloud, you can find me here. Thank you for listening.

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CD Review: Simple Minds, “Walk Between Worlds”

At the turn of the century – just let those words sink in for a second – Simple Minds had run out of gas. Their twelfth album, 1999’s Our Secrets Are the Same, didn’t see a proper release for another five years, and even then it was as a bonus disc to a box set of live and unreleased tracks. Their 2001 covers album Neon Lights is the kind of thing that polite people do not talk about in mixed company. With their last US Top 40 hit a decade behind them (“See the Lights,” #40, 1991), and their last Hot 100 appearance over a half-decade ago (“She’s a River,” #52, 1995), Simple Minds was aimlessly adrift. This would explain why singer Jim Kerr decided to open a hotel in Sicily around the same time; even he suspected that he needed a side hustle in case the day job went south.

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Movie Review: Black Panther

There is a lot to unpack in “Black Panther.” Solid arguments are made on both sides of the topic of isolationism versus open borders. An outsider armed with a dark heart and fiery rhetoric assumes power, and literally burns sacred traditions to the ground. The governing body of the fictional country of Wakanda splinters, turning countrymen against each other. They’re not being subtle here: this is as Trumpian a movie as the Marvel Cinematic Universe will ever see (one hopes, anyway). On top of this, the movie is led by a group of strong women, who symbolically serve as the #MeToo component. “Black Panther” is so ridiculously of the moment that it’s tempting to believe that, between the perfect timing of Zootopia (race relations) and this film, Disney has “Minority Report”-style pre-cogs in its employ, scanning the future in order to read the room, as it were.

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The Popdose Interview: Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr

This is an interview I did for the super-awesome pop culture site Popdose. And let me tell you, scratching Jim Kerr off of my interview bucket list was one that I never thought would come to pass.

Don’t look now, but with their sixteenth and seventeenth albums, Simple Minds is on a tear. Their 2014 album Big Music earned the band some of their best reviews in decades, and their upcoming album Walk Between Worlds (which will be released February 2) finds the band still exploring new ideas, not content to do what is expected of them. Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr was in France, and yet still volunteered to give 30 minutes of his life to talk to Popdose about the new album, and playing matchmaker with one of the most beloved singers of the Popdose staff.

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Movie Review: Downsizing

The official trailer for “Downsizing” does an impressive job of convincing the viewer that the film is a comedy. Let us make one thing clear: this is not a comedy. It’s occasionally amusing, and at some point in the script’s development, it may have been a biting social satire. And then the first act ends, at which point the movie doesn’t just lose its way: it falls off a cliff. Whatever point it was originally trying to make is long forgotten by the end of Act II, and Act III is completely rudderless. Alexander Payne is “credited” with directing the film, but it’s clear that he was bound, gagged, thrown in a locker and left for dead the moment Matt Damon’s character makes the jump to Smallville.

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Movie Review: Coco

At the beginning of the decade, no one could blame Pixar staffers if they thought their offices were bugged. In 2008, Pixar announced that they were beginning work on a film called “Newt,” about a male and female blue-footed newt that were the last of their kind, paired up by scientists to save the species. Set for release in 2011, the film was scrapped in early 2010 once the studio discovered that 20th Century Fox’s Blue Sky Studios was about to release a film called “Rio,” about a male Spix’s macaw who’s taken from his home to mate with another Spix’s macaw. A few months after “Newt’s” cancellation, “Toy Story 3” director Lee Unkrich, on the heels of the film’s out-of-the-gate success, announced plans to make a film about Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration.

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Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

When word first started circulating that “Thor: Ragnarok” would have a much lighter tone than its predecessors, that seemed strange for about three seconds, and then one remembers “Thor: The Dark World,” and welcomes the new approach with open arms. The end result is indeed heavier on laughs, but it also sports one of the higher body counts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One wonders which came first in the story development; were the laughs added as a spoonful of sugar to help the (violent) medicine go down? It would not surprise us in the slightest if that were the case.

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