Dizzy Heights #36: Unpack Your Adjectives, Vol. I

Opening this show up to the “world” (my Facebook friends) is easily the smartest move I’ve made so far. It’s gotten me out of my lane and opened up the format a hundredfold, and taking requests has given my friends a vested interest in the show’s turnout. It doesn’t hurt that my friends have delivered some phenomenal suggestions as well.

This week’s show: adjectives, one word only. There are lots of those, as it turns out, and I now have TONS of leftover songs, so if I didn’t play your song this time, I will most likely get to it next time.

Lots and lots of acts making their Dizzy Heights debuts, including a couple of shockers: 10,000 Maniacs, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Blondie (!) The BoDeans, The Cure (!!!!), Fairground Attraction, The Housemartins, Kerli, Patsy Cline, Skunk Anansie, Sloan, and a female pop superstar whose name I’m afraid to mention for fear the Web Sheriff will come for me.

Programming Note: Dizzy Heights will be on vacation the week of March 29, returning on April 12.

Thank you, as always, for listening.


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.


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.


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.


Movie Review: The Condemned

Woe is the brainless action movie that takes itself too seriously. “The Condemned” had the potential to be a harmless mash-up of “Con Air” and the Japanese classic “Battle Royale,” but instead is an insufferably preachy indictment of reality television and the soulless drones that consume it. You’ll be hard pressed to find a movie that talks out of both sides of its mouth as much as this one.

The movie begins with a producer named Breck (Robert Mammone) watching video of a Russian prisoner laying a beatdown on two other inmates. The producer likes what he sees, and secures the man’s release for the purpose of appearing in an online broadcast where ten Death Row inmates from various parts of the world are brought together on a remote island and given 30 hours to kill the remaining nine inmates in exchange for their freedom. One of the reluctant participants is Jack Conrad (Steve Austin), who has spent the last year rotting in an El Salvador prison. Jack wants his freedom but isn’t too keen on killing, but is soon forced into playing the game when British Special Forces goon Ewan (Vinnie Jones) begins hunting him for sport.

Admit it: it sounds like it could be mindless fun in a “Surviving the Game” kind of way, right? If only they had embraced the sheer tastelessness of the premise. Instead, they spend well over half the movie focused not on the progress of the fight but on Breck and his production crew, making sure we all realize what horrible, horrible people they all are for perpetrating such a stunt for financial gain. And while that may be true, here’s the thing: the people buying tickets to “The Condemned” want to see the cons rip each other apart. So Lionsgate is in effect reeling people in with the promise of a bloody melee, and then giving them a movie that says, “Shame on you, you snuff film freaks. No refunds.”

Steve Austin will never be mistaken for an actor if he continues to do movies co-financed by his WWE Godfather Vince McMahon. He could probably be a decent action star if he wanted to be: his readings of the two good lines he gets here were surprisingly good, so there is no reason to think he couldn’t handle whatever The Rock turns down (assuming, of course, that The Rock turns down anything). But what he does here isn’t acting: it’s wrestling on film, film that’s shot in a technique that could be called Tennis Cam (back and forth, back and forth, everything in between a-blur). I’m assuming the decision to shoot it that way was for budgetary reasons, since it would require fewer takes in case someone missed their mark in a hand-to-hand combat sequence. That doesn’t make it less annoying. God love Vinnie Jones, then, for embracing the good-bad movie potential within this bad-bad movie and hamming it up for the sake of a joke, any joke. Ten bucks says he improvised half to three-fourths of his lines.

Walking into “The Condemned,” I knew I would be seeing a bad movie. The problem is that I thought I’d be seeing a different kind of bad movie, one that knew it was bad instead of one that only pretended to be bad in order to deliver an “important message” about the hollow nature of what we allow to pass for entertainment. The fact that they made a movie that is every bit as hollow and self-serving as the entertainment they attempt to decry appears to be lost on them.

(1 / 5)