JNORULAMS

I struggle with finding information to talk about. I like to write about things that I enjoy, in the entertainment industry, I only truly am interested in music, film, and food.  I don’t care to much for sports and especially celebrities.  I hate celebrities.  They are so boring, I mean hell my life is more interesting than most celebrities… I just do get the attention.  Joke.

When writing about entertainment journalism I wanted to be different.  In life I always like to be different.  However, I spent too much time trying to write about things that only interest me,  I feel short.  Recently I realized that our individualism will come out naturally in our writing, and that it is not what we write about, but how we write about it.  Consumed with the idea of being different, I could have written on celebrities and still produced a fresh idea.  I just needed to write.  Plain and simple.

Fear is our biggest enemy, at least for me, and in this class toward the end I was able to loose that fear.  I always questioned my writing style, but it is actually one of my stronger skills, sometimeI fear people will read my work and laugh.  I am dyslexic, so it comes out in my writing. Understanding the importance of writing just to write was huge for me.  In entreatment journalism that is all its about.

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Back to the basics. For real.

Entertainment journalism is about production.  Being able to produce a well written piece of work in an extremely short period of time, and being able to do so with frequency.  You have to learn how to enjoy, or at least pretend to enjoy everything you write about.  Know how you work as person in terms of writing and interests, and take advantage of your individualism.  If you focus too hard on trying to stand out, you will get bogged down in your work and become extremely frustrated. At least I was. The point being that we all write differently and it will show in your work.  I feel that it should be a requirement to take a basic journalism class before delving into the crazy world of the internet and social media.  Because if you don’t know the basics, you will struggle with the most simple tasks.  The internet is dangerous, but at the same time, it gives anyone the opportunity to be heard.  Before you get into digital journalism and by that I mean anything that is not printed, learn how to first write a good story, spell corecctly, and know the basic punctuation rules.  I swear technology has made my dyslexic.  

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R.I.P John Mueller

For those of you who have not yet met John Mueller, you will  now most likely never get a chance.  John Mueller was the pit master at John Mueller’s BBQ off 1st street, known to be one of the best BBQ joints in Austin.

Almost a month ago John Mueller was fired reportedly for being an alcoholic and having issues with substance abuse.  Every time I went to eat at J Mueller’s he was always there making some sarcastic jokes, mostly enjoying himself and never appeared to be an alcoholic mess as described by his sister, who fired John and renamed the restaurant La BBQ.

To be completely honest, when you are working almost every day of the week smoking meat, how could you not become an alcoholic? I feel its almost a given. If you make BBQ for a living good chances are that you enjoying drinking. The line at John Mueller’s was always long and the BBQ was always consistent and damn good.   So what if who makes the BBQ is drunk- still tastes good to me.

After re-branding, La BBQ hired a chef from Franklin’s BBQ to take command, that had been working alongside John for a year or so.  When I first heard the news I was extremely upset, John Mueller’s was the best BBQ I have had, certainly the best brisket hands down.  Franklins is great, but the brisket is not as good, and the line is almost guaranteed a three-hour wait.  Once I was over my depression from hearing John Muller had been fired; I was craving BBQ and wanted to bittersweetly try for myself this establishment who deserted the master of BBQ.

Today, I went with a good friend and lover of John Mueller however, we were both upset with the decision and more importantly the BBQ.  The brisket was dry, which I have never experienced at John Mueller’s, and the new BBQ sauce was terrible.  It was like a beef stew. Definitely not BBQ sauce.  Give La BBQ a try if you have had John Mueller’s, to compare the two, and I guarantee you wont be happy.  Otherwise I would suggest going to Franklins and waiting in line.   Hopefully one day John Mueller will be welcomed back into the BBQ business.

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Johnny Rotten & PiL

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Photo by PiL

Fun Fun Fun Fest this year acquired one of the most well known punk musicians to ever live on this world of ours- the Sex Pistols Johnny Rotten.  When I found out that Public Image Limited was playing I went wild and was going to see one of my favorite singers and front men of all time.  If you like punk the least bit than you would know how significant Johnny Rotten playing at Fun Fun Fun fest was.

PiL the very cleaver name the band goes by played at the main stage and despite that it was one of the largest crowds, it was still very easy to get a great spot.  To be honest I was a bit nervous about Johnny Rotten performing because he has some tendencies to show up completely drunk and cause some trouble.  However, I think Johnny was having a good day because he sounded fantastic for an old punk rocker.

PiL’s music is kind of a mixture of post-punk and alternative dance.  The show was almost like a punky-dance party and everyone was dancing around even the hard-core old punk rockers. PiL released their first album in 1978 and have released an album almost every few years until they spilt up in the early 90’s, which lead to the 2012 release of This is PiL their first album in ten years.  F3F is truly a great experience and I would suggest it to anyone, just please don’t tell your friends, because what makes it so special is that it is not ACL.

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No Means No Means NO

Photo by Nomeansno

The beauty of Fun Fun Fun Fest is being able to see bands that have been playing for decades, and do not gain much attention in the United States.  Specifically speaking, the Canadian band Nomeansno who have been around sense the late seventies.  Yes, an odd name and no, it does not stem from some political stance on date rape.  Nomeansno is a punk rock band, formed by two brothers and a guitarist, who play like they have the energy of a high school punk band.

Almost sixty years old, the drummer is relentless and was my favorite member of the band.  Most probably because I am a drummer myself, but I was shocked at how well they performed and to know that I have never heard of them before. I can only wish to be playing at that caliber when I am sixty years old.   My friend had listened to a few songs before and suggested that we go see them.  That’s another great part about F3F is that you see shows you generally would not see.  Nomeansno turned out to be the favorite band among our group of friends.

I cannot describe the raw rocking going on at the show.  It was almost like a Rush punk band.  The best part about seeing them was that they played at the smallest stage, which was perfect because they sound was better, and we were almost front row.  It is rare that I see a band and like every song the first time, I could not stop dancing and rocking out to the insanely-goofy-punk band that kind of reminded me of my dad and his friends.  Nomeansno is not for everyone so consider yourself warned.  If you like punk, Rush, Primus, obscure rock, or just want to listen to some weird music Nomeansno is a must.

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The Black Angels of Rock

Attending Fun, Fun, Festival last weekend for the first time I wanted all festivals to be like that.  Why bother with the enormous crowds that ACL brings when you can relax and enjoy separate bathrooms for both men and women and no lines.  What’s not to like about that.

One of my favorite bands I saw was local psychedelic rock band The Black Angels.  During SXSW in March I saw and heard The Black Angels for the first time and I was absolutely blown away.  I could not get more of the psychedelic, grungy, spacey rock.  The Black Angels have only been around sense 2004 so they are a relatively new band, but are definitely rock starts in Austin.

They played Sunday night right after the sun set, it was perfect weather, the show was no too crowded, and I think everyone had enough beer to drink.  The only downside was the beer lines.  Otherwise amazing festival.  The Angels played a great mix of songs from their self-titled album, Phosphene Dream, and Phosgene Nightmare.  One of the first songs to play was Black Grease probably my favorite Black Angles song- or at least the song that first turned me onto them.  I find the first song you really get attached to when first hearing a band is always going to be one of your favorite songs.

Most of the sets at F3F are relatively short, but the Angels played over an hour set.  If you have not yet heard of The Black Angels and like psychedelic rock you must check them out and support your local Austin Music.  I would suggest listening to their self-titled album first and if you dig it move onto Phosphene Dream.

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Summermoon Wood-fired Coffee

In a given week I typically spend everyday buying coffee or studying at a coffee shop. Generally, it is the location that attracts me to a coffee shop. If it’s close to where I need to be. Secondly, I look for the quality and overall taste of the coffee. I try and stay away from the major corporations like Starbucks and Coffee Bean, not only because I think there is better coffee, but also because I like supporting smaller businesses.

A few blocks from St. Edwards hidden away off 1st Street stands my favorite coffee shop in Austin- Summermoon Coffee.  There are two main things I want in a good cup of Coffee one that the coffee be fair-traded and two the Coffee is organic.  At Summermoon their coffee is both fair-trade and is organic, but what truly sets them apart from other Coffee shops is the wood-fired process in which their coffee is hand roasted and fired with wood.  Sounds simple.

When I went to Summermoon to attempt for an interview I began a long conversation with the man that works there, he to explained that Summermoon is going completely green.  Reducing the carbon footprint, which is extremely important to Summermoon. That to roast the coffee they have attached a bike to the drum to turn the wheel, they even have eliminated the reliance on power using solar panels to allow for lighting and other essential needs of energy.

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After hearing about the plan to go green the employee introduced me to Logan the manager.  I spoke to Logan for a few minutes he was in a rush, so he told me to email him a few questions he would be able to ask the owners and founders of Summermoon.  Needless to say I never got an email back.

The taste of the wood-fired coffee is quite different Summermoon has a fascinating take on milk- Moon Milk.  It consists of a combination of milks they wont release, however,  it is similar to the condensed milk put in Thai Tea.  I generally get the Summermoon late, which is espresso, and moon milk or when I want cold coffee the Wintermoon, which is essentially the same thing, but served cold.  I also recommend the 007, which is two shots of espresso, miked with moon milk shaken, not stirred.

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The staff at Summermoon is fitting to the overall feel of the shop, but  the shop itself is extremely small.  So if you get a good spot at Summermoon it’s a perfect place to study and drink amazing coffee. Otherwise just enjoy the fair-trade, organic, green, wood-fired delicious coffee Summermoon makes themselves.

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Musical Festival Trends in Austin

When I think of Austin Texas one of the first things that comes to mind is Music.  Although Austin has not birth the most famous and well-known artists, music is something that significantly impacts the culture of Austin. 

Having lived in Los Angeles for almost four years, I saw some great shows that would not typically make it to the market in Austin, however music is much more of an individualistic expression on the West Coast.   As in Austin, with my experiences, and as a musician myself- the music culture is a lot more accepting and collaborative. 

There are a ridiculous amount of music festivals that have taken over Austin.  The big three being Austin City Limits, South By South West, and Fun Fun Fun fest to name a few.  Austin City Limits started in 2003 and hosts nearly 80,000 people each day.  People come from around the world to see the insane lineup that ACL manages to get.  Starting in 2013 ACL will be a two-weekend festival because it is selling out each year and continues to grow in size.  

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Illustration by ACL Festival 

SXSW started the trend in 1987 and has been swiftly gaining national recognition each year.   SXSW is known for helping to kick starts the careers of small time musicians, but also hosts a plethora of extremely well known musicians who absolutely love the festival.   It is almost ten days of pure music, film, and interactive.   Last year I did not even get a pass for the festival and saw almost every artists that I wanted to see as well as getting free food and drinks.  The entire city goes all out for SXSW every restaurant, every bar, and every music venue known. 

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Illustration by SWSW Festival 

Fun Fun Fun Fest started in 2006 and is the only genera based festival in the Nation.  Austin is the only city that I know of who hosts three of the most recognized, and equally unique music festivals in the nation. 

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Illustration by Fun Fun Fun Fest 

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Halloweekend

As the Halloweekend approached, I could not think of a good costume for my life.  Some pick their costume months before as others pick the day of.  I have never been the person to come up with a super creative costume. On Friday, I was invited to join a party at a private ranch in Round Rock.

I put off my costume decision until the day of.  I went to Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds, which is without a doubt the best costume store in Austin and the best costume shop name in history. I walked into the overly crowded Lucy In Disguise, immediately I was overwhelmed by the amount of people.  I had no clue what to be I looked around and boom!  I found a Noble Man costume that I thought would be awesome to wear.  Tights and all.

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Photo by Me

After all, I needed a costume that would impress because this Halloween party is for serious Halloweeners and you cannot show up with a lame costume. We took a party bus to the private ranch, and the only knowledge about this place I had was from an email and a youtube video online.  The ranch was unbelievable it was private so there were essentially no rules… yes no rules.

It was fantastic, the costumes were unbelievable, and the property was breath taking.  There was a series of caves that could fit probably about four cars and of course I did some spelunking.  Fences blocked off parts of the caves however; an hour or so in people tore them down.   We were able to walk around the blocked off parts of the cave where we found a little sneaky exit that you had to squeeze and climb up and out.  That’s where I spent the majority of my time.

There was also a fun 80’s cover band playing on an awesome stage that was outlined by color changing led lights.  All around were groups of people surrounding the various fires that were started.  It was by far the most fascinating Halloween party I have experienced in my life.

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Photo by Me

Apparently, it was the same property where Sam Bass the bank robber hid his booty. There was even an elaborate firework show that rivaled most Forth of July displays.  I have no idea who threw the actual party, or who owns the property, or even how to get information about the place.  All I know is that I highly recommend to anyone that you must try and go to this Halloween party before you die.  Yes it was that incredible.

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Ar-go-F*** Yourself (Not really).

If you have had a chance to see Argo, you would know exactly what I am talking about.

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Photo from IMDb

Ben Affleck directed his first feature film, Gone Baby Gone, in 2007.  However, it wasn’t until the release of The Town in 2010 that I began to take interest in him as a director.  I gained a lot of respect for Affleck after directing and acting in The Town.  I have always enjoyed Ben Affleck as a comedic actor specifically in Dogma, Mallrats, Clerks, 200 Cigarettes, Dazed and Confused, and Extract, to name a few.

With his new release of Argo, and a cast of amazing actors such as: Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, and Victor Garber.  Ben Affleck both directed and was the main actor of the film.  Argo was loosely based off a true story of Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) a CIA agent who was in charge of rescuing six U.S. Diplomats who worked in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1979 during the Iranian Hostage Crisis’s.  Working for the CIA, Ben Affleck (Tony Mendez) and Bryan Cranston  (Jack O’Donnell) as well as other CIA intelligent agents were looking for a way to rescue the six diplomats that are living with members of the Canadian Embassy.

After much debate, Tony Mendez, brought up the idea of faking a Hollywood Move being Canadians film makers, scouting for an exotic film location for a science fiction film in the Middle East.  I had no idea this story even existed, as President Bill Clinton declassified it and eventually somehow was released to the public.

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Photo By Keith Bernstein

I thought the film was fantastic I would give it an A no doubt.  It exceeded my expectations; of course there was some corny dialogue, but as a whole I would recommend the film to anyone.  The film did an amazing job of capturing the beauty as well as the instability of Iran during a time of chaos from the Iranian Revolutionaries.  One was able to see the extremes of the Iranian Revolutionaries and the frustration with the American government specifically with President Jimmy Carters administration.

If you like Ben Affleck, or even if you hate him, I would check out this film, it is a great portrayal of the relationship that Iran and the United States had during the late seventies and early eighties.

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