I Heart Danger

Last night I went down to Bushwick (you could tell because of the guy's t-shirt that read KEEP WILLIAMSBURG OUT OF BUSHWICK... too late, man, too late) for a party at 3rd Ward Brooklyn called I Heart Danger. Good times.

On the ground floor, in the alley, they had a rotation of bands and DJs. The stage was topped with a fire installation which would pulse the height of the flames in time with the bass (when they could keep it lit), and the alley was packed with dancers. Video projection from one level up on the fire escape raked across the alley walls, terminating behind the stage, which created the effect of being in a video tunnel. Back toward the entrance, behind the bar, a guy was carving huge blocks of ice with an electric chainsaw and transforming them into sterno-can-bearing torches. There was a crew of people silkscreening shirts with both "I (heart) Danger" and designs of their own.


Up on the fourth floor, accessible via fire escape, was another bar. Also a geodesic dome housing more DJs. A chillout area near the back had a great view out the industrial loft windows, a teepee, video projection and giant foil-covered stackable stars to play with. The main attraction was the Portrait Party being run by Jeremy Nelson.

I spent a good long while watching him shoot portraits and his assistant project them on the wall. Can you find the one of me?

My guess is I'll be at the next party these folks throw.


7.21.07 aftermath


The show went really well. We arrived at the club around 7 to get set up and do a soundcheck. I had ample time to get the recording gear running and was lucky enough to get a feed out of the mixing board to augment the guitar, vocals and keyboard.

We went on at 8:30 (which, according to the club, is what "8:00" means to Lo-Fi Entertainment), and that was great because a few people didn't arrive until minutes before we started. Turnout was probably between ten and fifteen people... I didn't get an accurate count. The band scheduled to play after us cancelled, so we didn't get the influx of people we were hoping for that would have included the next band and their early-arrival audience members.

The sound system was pretty darned good, and Jeff and I could actually hear ourselves sing! Shocking idea, that. I occasionally couldn't hear my guitar terribly well which caused a couple of my dumb mistakes. But overall we were very happy with the sound. The sound guy took some significant liberties with adding extra reverb and delay to the guitars, vocals and keys whenever he deemed it appropriate. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, sometimes it took me by surprise and messed me up a bit.

The crowd, small though it was, seemed to really enjoy themselves and we got several specific and, to all accounts, sincere compliments on a few things.

Anyway, tons of fun, and here's hoping we pulled in enough people for Lo Fi Entertainment to want to book us again!

The show is available for download in both .mp3 and FLAC formats from seizethem.com.
The best way to get on our email list, if you want to be, is to register a username at seizethem.com.

PS: stickers coming soon.



Seize Them! @ The Underscore
7/21/07 8PM EDT
$8 with this flyer, $10 without

Take a break from reading Harry Potter to come rock with Seize Them! in Manhattan. This is our first club show, and we're hoping for a really good turnout so our booking agent will feel moved to grant us more gigs.

Audience taping encouraged.



my robot battles, let me show you them

Last night I went out to suburban New Jersey with some friends to see Transformers.

As a child I liked Transformers. I watched the cartoon and I had some of the toys (some of the ones with actual metal in them, dear readers). While I was never a superfan, I have an affection for them to this day. I, like many people, was excited to hear a couple of years ago that a live-action + CGI Transformers movie was in the works, and then immediately worried upon hearing it was to be directed by Michael Bay.

Bay has always been known for his slickly bombastic action style and scant attention to story and character. In other words, he's the modern era's quintessential summer event filmmaker. I've enjoyed some of his movies. The Rock is entertaining and as much as Armageddon is as over-the-top as possible in every single moment it does make me cry at the end. However, his more recent movies have been uniformly terrible. Pearl Harbor is one of the worst movies I've ever sat through in a theater, and as I've written about elsewhere I feel Bad Boys II is an insult to humanity. I've only seen The Island with the sound off on a tiny TV during a party, so I really can't comment.

What concerned me most about Bay directing Transformers, though, was what I saw during the car chases in Bad Boys II (and, to an extent, in every one of his movies, though the problem has gotten worse over time): his beloved style of hyperkinetic, vibrating, extreme closeup action is basically unintelligible. One of the car chases in Bad Boys II was easily the worst car chase I've ever seen, as it was completely impossible to tell who was where and just what the hell was going on. Cinematically, it was a complete mess and would have pulled me out of the movie entirely if the rest of the film hadn't already accomplished that. Suffice it to say that I was worried I would barely be able to enjoy the spectacle of giant robots battling each other because Bay simply, and ironically, has a terrible eye for action sequences.

So off to Jersey I went, with a friend who is a super Transformers fanatic. He is a nigh-professional collector of Tranformers toys, had just come back from a major Transformers convention, and has been diligently following every single tiny scrap of detail about the production of the movie for literally years. And the theater was filled with a bunch of excited Jerseyites, the type of mass audience this movie was made for. The type that spent several minutes before the movie talking smack to each other about their preferred cell phone, and the type that nearly came to blows over seat ownership once the movie had started. In other words, it was a perfect situation.

Transformers is, by and large, a lot of fun and very successful.

Shia LaBeouf is charismatic, relatable and engaging as Sam, whisking us through the early exposition breezily. I felt the story skipped a couple of character moments with Sam later on that I would have liked to have seen, but I guess that's to be expected. Megan Fox, playing Sam's love interest and partner-in-adventure, is... well, she's eye candy, really, but her acting was certainly not insufferable. Take that backhanded compliment as you will, I suppose.

The robots are incredible, which is no surprise. They're given characters largely similar to that of the original cartoon series; that is to say, they're sentient alien technological lifeforms with essentially human personalities. Their human-ness may or may not bother you if you are a sci-fi fan like I am, but, as with many things in this movie, it's essential to remember that Transformers is a "kids' movie" and that the source material (specifically the original cartoon) is certainly no more sensible or "realistic". Peter Cullen returns in fine form as Optimus Prime, and despite a few silly lines he manages to breathe real life into a 3D model.

My fears about incoherent action were mostly unwarranted, which was a welcome relief. The climactic battle in Los Angeles does suffer somewhat from Bay's style, however there are a few nice wide shots featuring several giant robots clearly battling each other in the street which blew my mind and made me want to see a movie that was almost entirely that. All you screenwriters with Mecha scripts in your back pocket, now's the time to put them in front of some Money People.

There are definitely things for purists to get upset about, and undoubtedly they will. This movie is not really for them. But I'm pretty sure that if I were ten years old or so and you plopped me in a theater and showed me Transformers, it might just change my life.