To celebrate the life of Ease Damn, and raise funds for his son, we’re helping to sponsor a memorial party at Sway on Thursday night. Music will be handled by DJ Schoolboy, Chad Dubz, Roofeo, Roxy Cottontail, Lauren Flax and Prince Terrence. We’ll be sending Ease off in the way most appropriate to his spirit and helping his son have a bright future.
Earlier this morning we sadly learned that we had lost a member of our family, Dito “Ease DaMan” Castillo. I wish I could honestly say that the news took me by surprise, but for years now I’ve dreaded having to wake up and write a post such as this saying goodbye to someone who I and the entire Мишка family truly cared about.
Ease was introduced to us via our friends and family at King Stampede/Boundless as a young local kid with a “Mike Tyson voice” and an unhealthy obsession with our brand. Soon after Ease was interning for us and eventually handling our East Coast sales all the while engraining himself as one of, if not the face of the brand in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. Ease was one of the most unique and vibrant people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and I truly wish I told him that while I still could have. He was very much the life of any party and his exploits (both IRL and online) are very much legendary. He did more living in his short time on Earth than most people can ever hope for. And while he left me with countless unforgettable anecdotes in my time knowing him, the thing I will remember most about him was just how warm, sweet, genuine and good natured he truly was.
I’m certain anyone who’s ever head the pleasure of knowing Ease feels exactly the same way. You will be missed and you will forever be in our hearts and part of our family and this brand. Our prayers are with your loved ones now. Rest In Peace old friend.
The headline said you could eat a Krusty Burger, so what was my first reaction? Simpsons Movie 2 maybe? Remember when they did that store-conversion, tie-in marketing stunt and turned the 7-11s into actual Kwik-E-Marts? That was legitimately cool. That was worth driving 60 miles north into Denver to go to the single conversion store that actually made it up there.
But no, this is nothing like that. BK/McD/Wendy’s didn’t strike a deal with Fox Studios to recreate the Krusty Burger franchise. That would be interesting and surreal. No, there’s just some bullshit theme-park expansion taking place in Orlando that looks like it’s built out of sadness and board meeting deals. “My nephew would love this” kind of shit.
The video preview is from some promotional day where visitors could come walk through this lame food-court portion of a microcosmic Springfield. Admittedly, the structures are pretty true to form, but that’s where my admiration for the whole thing stops dead. You have to pay to go into a Simpsons theme park, and the fucking Kwik-E-Mart is just a gift shop? What the fuck is Cletus’ Chicken Shack, man? That’s some Tyson-ass lookin Grade F meat, from the looks of it.
Maybe I’m getting too buttforlorn over this whole thing, but I’m still disappointed with the endeavor. It looks unimaginative, sterile, unfunny, and most of all just….like…super basic. There’s no weird breach of reality that took place when the aforementioned store conversions took place. And just wait for the lame mascots, silently gyrating because who the fuck is gonna attempt a Homer Simpson impression? You when you’re wasted? Oh yeah, and I’ll bet you anything that there’s gonna be the inevitable inclusion of a fuckin’ 7-foot tall Bart Simpson that does a hang-ten sign and shouts “Aye Caramba!” Then it’ll literally just be me watching my soul wither and wane, eventually succumbing to the dearth of imagination surrounding me.
The Baker boys dropped a new vid, and it’s 12 minutes of pure, unadulterated, 100% “we’re having a better time than you right now”. Nice of them, considering the cold-ass drizzle covering NYC as I write this up.
Truth be told, I used to be kinda scared of the Baker kids when I skated. The whole pre-Baker Piss Drunx crew was before I had even taken my first wee sip of Old English, and I was afraid that if I ever ran across them, they’d make me eat booze at an alarming rate; transforming me from a mewling, weird kid at school to “where did we go wrong” instantaneously.
In retrospect, I kinda wish I had run across them. Sigh.
Legendary stop motion animator, creature creator, and special FX guru Ray Harryhausen passed away today. Most of you are probably not familiar with his seminal work, as stop motion hasn’t been the go to for creature animation since the early 80s, but trust that he’s one of the dudes that inspired your favorite CGI cat to get into movie making. His stop motion creatures were some of the earliest attempts at realistic creature effects, outside of man-in-suit work. He’s probably best remembered for Clash of the Titans (the original version), which scared the fuck out of many an old head as children. He will forever be remembered as an architect of movie magic.
As the story goes, thirty kids at a high school in San Diego made a twerk video. Presumably because they love the fine arts, specifically dance. The video goes up on YouTube, school officials find it and suspend all involved (28 ladies and 3 dudes—great odds by the way) preventing them walking in graduation and participating in prom. The game is fucked up. Let me repeat myself for clarity, the game is fucked up. We’re living in some straight up Footloose, “dancing is evil” throwback times, where a bunch of old heads come down on motherfuckers for trying to #expressThemselves. Old principal, out here mad as hell no one taught him how to bust a Douglas. Very upset he can’t get Mrs. Principal to bust it all the way open. Beware, dear reader, of jealousy. It is the green-eyed monster, which persecutes.
These stiff backed, ultra beige cats are around every corner waiting to dull your shine. If the world was just, we’d be applauding the three dudes in the video for their very strong Birdman like poses and high levels of composure, in close proximity to “that thang” as Lauryn Hill might say. If we respected the arts we’d be saluting the ladies for the part they’re playing in the emergence of a new American artform.
RIP to Jeff Hanneman, guitarist of Slayer. A dude who was directly responsible for what metal sounds like, and by extension, what we collectively think “evil” sounds like. Dude was always mildly overlooked as Kerry King was always more eccentric, but real heads know Hanneman kinda wrote all the good songs. If you believe in Hell, look for Hanneman there opening an eternity long engagement with a backing band of Beelzebub, Aseroth, and Azrael.
The first, and arguably most popular movie critic most people ever encountered, Roger Ebert passed away yesterday. Cinephiles and Joe Popcorn alike we’re familiar with the long running Siskel & Ebert movie review show, and by extension their “two thumbs up” endorsement. In a world where we don’t put much merit in teaching how to critically appreciate and evaluate art, Siskel & Ebert were the first line of education in how to discuss movies some of us had.
While it may seem hard to understand the importance of two dudes talking about movies on TV now, back before there were 80 million blogs and podcasts on the internet, their work was important. Ebert may not have been the best critic ever, the adversarial nature of Siskel and Ebert was a lil problematic, but he always approached cinema with a desire to find what good was buried in the work. If nothing else, this is what we can all take away from his criticism. Hopefully, homeboy is at the crossroads with Siskel bickering about movies into eternity.
Sadly, Jason Molina the former singer of bands such as Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia has passed away. Molina lost a long bout with alcoholism, and will be sorely missed. Head over to Magnolia Electric Company website to read a touching tribute from his life long label Secretly Canadian.
You’ve got to admire a director who has no time for critics and studio bullshit. Michael Winner was one of those directors. He died yesterday, leaving behind a legacy of cathartic, violent cult action movies. He’s best known for his work with the immortal Charles Bronson, but he also collaborated frequently with Oliver Reed and had some successful dramatic films under his belt as well.
Winner and Bronson first worked together with Chato’s Land in 1972. Two years later they made the film that would define both men’s careers: Death Wish. The film, with its sleazy portrayal of NYC and uncompromising revenge plot, was a massive hit with audiences and ignited the vigilante subgenre. Winner also directed Bronson in the classic man vs. the mob thriller The Mechanic and The Stone Killer.
Winner’s work became sporadic after Death Wish III (arguably the best in the series) and he directed his final film, Parting Shots, in 1999. He wrote a popular and outspoken restaurant review column, “Winner’s Dinners,” until December 2012.
Damn, Winner left behind so many classic films with moments cemented in my brain. The chilling final shot of Death Wish. The dialogue-less first 15 minutes of The Mechanic. The terrifying bit in The Sentinel when all the (actual) disfigured people walk through the apartment. Damn, damn, damn.
Rest well, Mr. Winner, and thanks for all the dead punks.