Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison hopes to cure his loneliness, Amanda Hahn suggests a visit to the bad part of town, Jonda Robinson doesn't leave her house, and Ryan Callahan is exited for climax. Books are the worst. In the fight between sitting down to read a book and going to a cool party, going to a cool party is usually the winner. In fact, going to a cool party is like the Mike Tyson of the category. Sadly, Mike Tyson aged and doesn’t have it in him to battle off sitting down to read a book. And thus, the thing I’m loving this week, is a book. Gross.
My pick comes from one of my favorites, Jon Glaser. Even if you don’t remember his name, you’ve most likely seen Glaser as a writer/walk on artist on Conan O’Brien in the 90s, the recurring character Councilman Jamm on Parks & Recreation, or the brilliant show Delocated. Oh, and let’s not forget about that time he got justifiably mad at Pete Holmes. Regardless of what you know him as, you should be aware of his talents as an author.
My Dead Dad Was In ZZ Top is a collection of short, fictitious letters written by Glaser. The concept of the titular story is that a son cleans out the possessions of his recently deceased father and discovers a number of letters written from the dad to the members of ZZ Top, before they were famous. Beyond that fantastic piece, you can look forward to hearing about Van Halen’s alternate band names, Prince’s set list from the bat mitzvah of Steven Spielberg's daughter, and lyrics from when David Bowie sold out and started parodying his own songs. You can actually find a recording of Glaser singing the Bowie song on an episode of the Fogelnest Files if you want to click this link and jump to the 19:53 mark.
So please check out this book so that I can have someone to talk to about the one book per year I read. - David Allison
The recent announcement that writer/producer/director/star of The Room, Tommy Wiseau, is coming out with a new sitcom reminded me of all the “so bad, they’re good” movies I watched or planned on watching after seeing and becoming obsessed with The Room. One of those movies was the gorgeously titled Hobo with a Shotgun. It was inspired by the intentionally over the top, silly, fake trailer that appeared in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse. The joke probably should have ended there. But I’m glad it didn’t. Keep in mind, it’s not a good movie (which is partly intentional), but it’s entertaining if you watch it knowing this. It starts out with a hobo moving to a new town where most people have completely lost their moral compass. To establish this, one of the first things we see in the movie is the wealthy womanizer that runs the city decapitating his brother, followed by an unknown female in a bikini gyrating over the blood squirting out of his neck. And in case you don’t understand yet that this is a town filled with scum, to really drive the point home, this town is called Scum Town. It’s unclear why any of the citizens that are horrified and run away screaming from these acts of scum still live in Scum Town, but I suppose all of us make strange choices in life.
For a while, the hobo just wanders around Scum Town, watching these acts happen. But then one of the kids in the town, played by Greg from Zenon Girl of the 21st Century, shoves another kid’s face into a literal PILE of cocaine and tries to kill a prostitute. Then Hobo begins his vigilante lifestyle, beating Greg from Zenon with a sock of coins. After becoming BFF with the prostitute, he buys a shotgun to stop a robbery/baby murder, and so begins Hobo’s killing/corny line rampage.
Overall, this movie is filled with graphic killings, people getting their dicks shot off, pedophile Santa Clauses, doctor-killing robot ninjas, groan-worthy lines, and dramatic speeches that include the title of the movie. If you’re in the mood for something cheesy, heavy handed, and downright cartoonish, ain’t nothing better than our dear friend: Hobo with a Shotgun, available on Netflix. - Amanda Hahn
Some days are just made for binge watching TV. I had one of those days this week, and at the recommendation of a friend I spent it immersing myself in the USA show Playing House. The show was created by and stars Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham (both from the Upright Citizens Brigade) playing two best friends at very different life stages--Emma (St. Clair) is a single, 30-something business woman who moved away as soon as she could, while Maggie (Parham) is a married, soon-to-be mom who never left their hometown. When it’s discovered that Maggie’s husband is cheating on her, Emma decides to support her friend by moving home to help her raise the baby.
I love these characters and this set-up because the dynamic reminds me of myself and my longtime BFF, and also because, if needed, I would totally raise a child with her. The other characters who populate the show are fantastic as well, with Jane Kaczmarek as Emma’s estranged mother, Zach Woods as Maggie’s brother, and Keegan-Michael Key as my favorite character, Mark, the local cop and former flame of Emma. (I could probably write this whole post about how much I like Mark, and all my favorite Mark moments, but I won’t, I’ll just say he’s cute and great and dependable and helpful and charming and I hope someday to find my own version of him, blah, blah, etc., etc., you get the picture.) A slew of great guests show up along the way, as well.
The show hasn’t been picked up for a second season yet, but my fingers are crossed, because there are things I need to know. If you’re reading this, anyone with any pull at the USA Network, hear my cry: PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING! - Jonda Robinson
It's that time of year again. The G1 Climax is here! For those of you who are unfamiliar, which I assume is all of you, the G1 Climax is an annual professional wrestling tournament held by New Japan Pro Wrestling. Yes, it is pro wrestling, but it's in JAPAN. Yes, it's still pre-determined, but you wouldn't know by watching the matches. Unlike the American style, which carries an air of "Trust us, this is all pretend," Japanese wrestling is all about believability. Fighting men, each with his own style, each with his own persona, go to war over the course of two weeks to determine who has the most "fighting spirit." The G1 Climax is the closest thing we'll ever get to the Kumite.
The G1 has produced so many memorable matches over there years. The Vader-Keiji Muto semifinal match from the inaugural tournament in 1991 had the crowd in Sumo Hall so excited that they showered the ring with pillows in celebration. The 1998 match between Genichiro Tenryu and Shinya Hashimoto is the gold standard for lumpy guys beating the piss out of each other. Last year's tournament featured my favorite match of the year, a slugfest between my personal favorite wrestler Katsuyori Shibata, whose gimmick is that he kicks people wicked hard, and Tomohiro Ishii, a bowling ball of a man who takes, and sells absurd punishment, and just keeps firing back.
This year's G1 is the biggest ever, with 22 wrestlers competing, including such people you may know, like A.J. Styles, Doc Gallows (formally Luke Gallows of CM Punk's Straight Society), Shelton Benjamin, and Davey Boy Smith, Jr., and people you should know, like Hiroshi Tanahasi (best wrestler in the world), Kazuchika Okada, AKA The Rainmaker (on his way to becoming the best wrestler in the world), the aforementioned Shibata and Ishii, and Minoru Suzuki, the surly former shooter who once wrestled a mechanical mummy.
I spent a week last August holed up in my brother's basement watching the G1. I plan to do the same this year from the comfort of my own couch, starting tonight. If you are a current or lapsed fan of pro wrestling, I highly recommend. The commentary is in Japanese, but the characters are so clear and the action so entertaining that you'll have no problem following. Every show is available on UStream. - Ryan Callahan