Monday Morning Commute: Color Your World

There’s no denying the fact that the holidays are over. It’s now officially time to clear the house of any reminders of merriment. Toss that tree out the window, decorations. Mop the floors clean of all the champagne and puke. Sober up, shave, and get back to work.

Shit. I hate this time of year.

Well, since we’re all getting back into the arduous grind that destroys souls and smears smiles, we might as well celebrate those wonderful bits of reprieve. This is the Monday Morning Commute and it’s the venue for sharing those activities we hope will keep us from going postal in the upcoming week. First I tell you what’s on the horizon for me, then you hit up the comments section and tell me what you’ll be doing.

Got it? Sick. Let’s do this.


Rockin’ / Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar
Paul Gilbert’s a goddamn stud. Not only is he the guitarist for Mr. Big but he’s also a shredder-extraordinaire. So while he has no trouble serenading you with the chords to a classic rock-ballad, he can also dazzle you with his fretboard freneticism. I think that Paul Gilbert is one of those rare breeds of artist who can operate in all three sections of the Venn diagram: emotive expression, technical prowess, and the overlapping between the two.

Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar is a perfect exhibition of the guitarist’s ability to successfully operate in various musical theaters. Gilbert runs the stylistic gauntlet, alternating between straight-ahead rock, progressive, classical, G3-worthy shredfests, and even a goofy-ass funk number that could’ve been used to score a classic porno. Yes, it’s sexy.

Composed of such a wide variety of tunes, this album has been a regular feature of my rotation. Actually, Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar has been the highlight of my rotation – I’ve spun it at least once every day since purchasing it. Since all the tracks are instrumental, the disc is perfect for both active listening and as soundtrack for daily activities.

If you like guitar, music, rock, or even just smiling, you need to check this album out.


Watchin’ / El Topo
Last November I learned of a Chilean cult-film director named Alejandro Jodorowsky. From what I read, it seemed as though the director had secured infamy by creating movies that were rife with sexuality, spirituality, violence, and drugs, all of which were presented though surrealist imagery. Needless to say, I was interested immediately. I downloaded The Holy Mountain and gave it a view.

I was simply blown away.

Over the weekend I snagged a boxset collecting the better-known (which I suppose is a truly relative term in this case) of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Put in a Western-mood by my recent viewing of True Grit, I decided to watch El Topo. The only frame of reference I had for this flick was the description provided on the back of the DVD case:

It was the landmark cult film that began the whole Midnight Movie phenomena of the counterculture crazy 1970s. EL TOPO was the most talked about, most controversial quasi-Western head trip ever made, transforming the way risk-taking audiences, seeking mainstream Hollywood alternatives, watched edgy underground films. Classic Americana and avant-garde European cinema sensibilities meet Zen Buddhism and the Bible as master gunfighter and cosmic mystic El Topo (played by writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky) must defeat his four sharp-shooting rivals on an ever-increasingly bizarre path to allegorical self-enlightenment and surreal resurrection.

After watching El Topo, I can attest that the DVD-description is on the money. The first half of the movie sees El Topo, a gunfighter clad in black, first stumbling upon a massacre. As a bad-ass, he takes it upon himself to hunt down the perpetrators of the heinous act. But upon righting the wrong, El Topo hands off his young apprentice (a child completely naked save for his cowboy hat) to a monastery and rides instead with Mara, his newfound lover. Mara convinces El Topo to challenge the four best gunslingers to duels and he does just that. But upon vicotry, Mara abandons her man for the hot babe that they picked up along the way.

Yeah. The second half of the feature sees El Topo trying to assist the tribe of deformed peasants that took him in during his time of need. Living under a mountain, the peasants are castigated by the rest of society and have become monstrous due to excessive incest. So of course our hero takes one of them as his lover and they head into town to raise money so that a tunnel can be dug, connecting the underground lair with the rest of society. In the process, El Topo runs across his old apprentice (now fully grown) and enlightenment is attained.

Don’t be alarmed if you think El Topo sounds insane. You’re not alone. But this movie is fuggin’ nuts in all of the right ways. With the ubiquity of cookie-cutter nonsense, it’s refreshing to bit into cinematic-peyote. If nothing else, one has to appreciate the cinematography of El Topo, as it makes for visually breathtaking experience.

But this movie is a straight-up acid-trip Western. And I’m probably going (re)watch it more times than I should this week.


Drankin’ / Coffee (Black)
Back to the work, I’m going to require the universe’s ultimate cup of coffee…BLACK! Damn, it’s really going to require copious amounts of caffeine to once again get the synapses firing before noon. I know I’ve informed the OL-faithful that I’d be drinking coffee before, but this is a notice of a return to form. No more milk. No more sugar. No more nonsense.

Ah well, at least I’m in the wonderful company of Ziltoid the Omniscient.

[photo credit]


So that’s my week – six-string masters, hallucinogenic movies, and black coffee. What’re you doing this week?