Casting Internets

The Princes Leia in gold bikini Peek-a-Boo pen is pretty hilarious. Get one free with every order at StarWarsShop.com (via StarWars.com)

Check out this pic of Walt Disney World’s World Rivery in Florida, an abandoned water park that shut down in 2001, though I don’t remember ever hearing about it on my trips there.

Potential political bias aside, the fact that media heavyweights Rupert Murdoch and Steve Jobs have teamed up to create a digital only, iPad-ready newspaper called Daily and hired 100 reporters to work for it is huge. I wonder if they need someone to write about toys and comics? (via I Heart Chaos)

I learned two interesting things about last weekend’s Notre Dame victory over Army at Yankee Stadium from NBC.com. First, because they added seats for the game, it actually boasts the largest attendance at the stadium ever. Eat it Yankees. Also, now ND is actually bowl eligible! Maybe next year they’ll be ranked!

Go check out today’s 10 Craziest Cartoon Transformations (Not Performed by Robots) list over on Topless Robot which just so happens to have been written by yours truly.

Hey, the Miz won some WWE championship thing. Good for him! (via Cool Kids Table)

Check out Kevin Smith talking about Smodcastle and the Smodcast Podcast Network on KTLA. There’s not a lot of new information if you’ve been following his career lately, but it’s kind of nice to actually see him. Dudes really likes to talk with his hands.

If you’ve been dreaming of a Torchwood/Star Wars/Avenue Q mash-up check out StarWars.com and see what that would kinda sorta look like. This is Thelonious Monk, he was an amazing jazz pianist. I got this off of Only The Young Die Young which might be my favorite Tumblr page around.

I’m Sure SDCC Is Rad, But So’s The Met

Okay, so New York’s Metropolitan Museum Of Art probably isn’t as cool as SDCC, but it had a few things going for it. One, no weirdos in costumes. Two, it didn’t have that familiar con smell to it. And three, I got to see some cool art, which included sketches by one of the most famous artists of all time, some pop culture relics and a giant hall filled with armor, so it wasn’t TOO far off. The above picture is of the American Wing of the museum, which was featured on Project Runway last season (I don’t remember it, but the missus does, which lead me to searching for this pic). We kicked things off with a tour through the incredibly boring American Wing which mostly had furniture. Holy shit, you guys, looking at old chairs is boring. Anyway, I eventually ducked into the musical instrument section where I saw some crazy old instruments, heard some incredibly pretentious teenagers discuss the intricacies of outdated instruments and got to see two pieces of musical history. I love jazz. When I started getting into it, I thought big band guys like Benny Goodman were squares, but as I delved in I found that he was a sick musician whose orchestra could swing like no other. His Live At Carnegie Hall two disc set is absolutely worth checking out for anyone interested in the man or swing or jazz. Anyway, I was pretty excited to see Goodman’s clarinet on display. According to the sign next to it, it’s the one he has in the picture which was taken just a few days before he died. The other piece of popular music history on display was Ringo Starr’s Golden Drum which was a gift given to him by the Ludwig drum company in 1964. It’s not super interesting, it’s not like the 70 year old Beatle actually played the thing, but hey, I still haven’t been to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame yet, so I’ll take what I can get. Here’s another pic. We didn’t actually go down and walk through the Hall Of Armor (I have no idea if that’s what it’s called, it just makes sense because, you know, it’s filled with armor) but I snapped this pic from above mostly because the armors look awesome and it reminded me of how Jim Lee drew the Batcave in All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder. I want to see a movie set just in this wing where these bad boys come to life and kick the hell out of each other. There was also a pretty big showcase of Picasso artwork that was kind of whatever. I guess I’m not really into the man’s art or at least I don’t want to look at it with tons of other slow and smelly (hey, I guess it is like a con) people in small rooms. There was an interesting display at the very end of the circuit with drawings Picasso did. The man sure loved to draw naked women. My favorite piece that I saw was this one, I can’t remember the exact name of it though, but it’s something like “A Former Patron and His Ingenue Visit An Old Artist.”I got a kick out of this one because my reading of it is that Picasso’s poking fun at himself, showing himself drawing these huge naked people while his stuffy old patron shows up and is most likely embarrassed and confused by what had come over the artist. Hey, I just found a link on the Met’s site, the piece is called “Patron and his Retinue Visiting the Studio of an Old Painter,” check out more info here. The last picture I snapped, I wasn’t supposed to. It’s a cartoon for The New Yorker by artist Barney Tobey (you can read his 1989 obit here to learn more about the man). I’m not sure if you can read the caption, but one well-dressed woman is saying “Keeping it dusted must drive them crazy!” to another well-dressed woman. It’s kind of meta, but it was fun.

We also checked out the American Woman fashion installment, which was kind of cool, though, again, not really my thing along with a collection of photographs by Leon Levinstein which I loved. He basically walked around New York in the 60s and 70s and snapped pictures. They’re amazing. Nowadays we have reality television to give us a look into peoples’ lives, but back then, all there was was guys like Levinstein snapping pictures on the streets. I loved it. It helps that I’m fascinated by New York’s long history, but he had a great eye for snapping pics that really capture people in their natural element. Absolutely worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Supergroup Showcase: The Quintet

For the purposes of Supergroup Showcase the term supergroup means a band or group of musicians made up of two or more artists from previously successful bands, but not a super huge bands like Led Zeppelin.

THE QUINTET
THE PLAYERS: Charlie Parker on alto sax, Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Max Roach on drums, Charles Mingus on bass and Bud Powell on piano.
THE HISTORY: Five of the biggest names in jazz came together in Toranto’s Massey Hall on May 15, 1953. It was the first and only time they were recorded playing together. (via Wiki)

My last semester in college was a pretty light one. I had front loaded my schedule so I’d be able to take it easy and enjoy my last few months of school. In doing so, I decided to take a course on jazz in the music department which was like a campus unto itself. My only previous exposure to jazz was when Blue Note records approached me about my old bootleg trading page and asked if I would advertise for them in exchange for some swag. I said sure and got some fantastic records by Charlie Hunter, Soulive and Karl Denson, but that was about it for a few years. One of the requirements for the class was purchasing Ken Burns’ 5-disc jazz compendium. I felt a little bad for putting that one on the ol’ school tab, but I listen to it way more than I read those old text books. Through the course of the class, I highlighted plenty of groups and performers, but the one element that intrigued me the most was the album dubbed Jazz At Massey Hall featuring five of the biggest names in jazz.

It would take a while, but I eventually got my hands on a copy of the CD. It’s the basic recording, not the newer one with the night’s previous set by Powell, Mingus and Roach, but that’s okay because it’s the five guys together who are the real draw here. To use the parlance of the time, this is one hot record. All five men fire on all cylinders and seem to play off of each other really well as if they’d been playing together for years. I think Jazz At Massey Hall’s a pretty great jumping-on point if you’re curious about jazz, especially bepop because it’s basically a sampler pack of all the greats. Like the sax work? Check out Bird (Parker) solo or together with Dizz who has his own huge catalog featuring his unparalleled trumpet work. Dig Mingus’ bass work? Go pick up Mingus Ah Um or Oh Yeah (both great records that I picked up before getting this one). I haven’t branched out into exploring Powell or Roach beyond the Ken Burns box and their appearances on other jazz records I’ve picked up, but just from the small sampling I’ve heard, these guys are the best of their bunch, just check out Roach’s drum solo on the end of “Salt Peanuts” or “Wee.” Damn, that’s some goodness right there. It’s hard to come up with a modern comparison to what the Quintet’s performance was really like because each of these guys were bandleaders in their own right (or would go on to be). Beyond that, though, they were also the bringers of a whole new kind of jazz called bepop, so not only were they the best in jazz, but also created something brand new. There’s just nothing like that around now. We’re lucky that the show was recorded in high enough quality that it can still be enjoyed today (though Mingus overdubbed the poorly recorded basslines on the original record, newer recordings don’t include those dubs). The only thing that could have made this performance better, in my humble opinion, is if Miles Davis had been in the neighborhood and got to blow with these guys. The Sextet has just as nice of a ring to it as The Quintet in my opinion.