House Party: The Musical?

Last night over dinner, my wife and I engaged in conversation with some friends on topics ranging from education and work to sports and television. But the pivotal moment in our time together is when my old friend revealed a significant disagreement that he and his wife have when it comes to one of history's best cinematic gems.

Simply put, he says House Party is a musical.

She thinks not.

Well, my friend, I'm here to support your theory. Wikipedia defines a "musical film" as follows:
The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate "production numbers".
Let's break this down.

1. "...songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative..."


If you're familiar with House Party, you're aware that this scene is more than just an arbitrary chance for Kid 'n Play to pick up a mic. It's Kid finally getting the chance to rhyme after it's become clear by this point in the film that this is his grandest desire. It's a back-and-forth between two friends filled with lines that absolutely contribute to the plot of the movie. A few such lines that you can't miss come from Play:
  • "The party host with the most..." [The party takes plays at Play's house]
  • "Boy, you're goin way out, I'm ready to serve you; If you can stay out past your pop's curfew." [A subplot of the movie involves Kid being at the party against his father's wishes]

And this is just one example of a significant musical number. Let's not forget Bilal serenading a girl at the party with Heatwave's Always and Forever or the guys from Full Force finding Kid hiding in an abandoned fridge ("Wherever you go we can smell you like gas...").

2. "...sometimes accompanied by dancing..."

Again, this is no simple dance number. This is Play coming to the rescue of his friend-in-need in order to claim dance superiority on their home turf. Play maintaining control and keeping his guests in check is certainly a significant component to the House Party plot (although, at times, his level of "control" varies).


So...

Songs interwoven into the narrative? Check.

Sometimes accompanied by dancing? Check.

I think it's safe to say we've got a musical on our hands. Yeah, I did it. Cry two tears in a bucket...

The Old Guy at the Rock Show

This past weekend I had the chance to see one of my favorite bands play live -- a band I hadn't seen in over seven years.

Seven years, people.

This may not seem like a big deal, but NIL8 is a regional band that may not play as often as they once did, but when they do, it's usually not more than an hour away from where I live. In my defense, though, this seven year drought happens to be the same amount of time it has taken my wife and I to increase the size of our family from two to five.


I showed up to the Castle about the time the doors opened with plans for my handheld Sony to capture a listenable audio recording of NIL8's set. The small line which had formed outside was just entering the venue. After being gouged for a few extra bucks at the door (not worth explaining), I headed inside and quickly realized that my plans to record from the balcony would need to change since the upstairs was closed for the night.

No problem.

I grabbed a cheap draft and a shot of Jim Beam from the bar and parked myself at a table near the back of the room.

This was brand new territory for me. Not only was I "the old guy at the rock show," I was "the old guy by himself at the rock show." My brother and I had discussed this new stage in life a few weeks ago when we saw Deer Tick play and we comprised a portion of the oldest 1% in the room. Gone are the days of face-in-speakers. Say hello to the days of cotton-in-ears.


I drank my beer and sipped my whiskey while I caught up on some reading to pass the time.

Seriously.

There's something awesome about having a few drinks at a bar while you wait for a metal show ... and doing some reading for a study you're doing at church while you wait.

NIL8 was set to be the first of two bands -- the second of which (The Pimps) had already set up and completed their sound check prior to the doors opening. With barely 30 minutes until showtime, NIL8 was nowhere to be seen and the place was filling up.

Then there was Bruce with his bass. Then came Wes dragging in some drums. Old School Cock (Damon) had his guitar. Last, but not least, was Jeff who was cruising up the center aisle at quite a clip -- not running, but not walking. Sort of that super-fast walk kids do in the hallway at school so as to stay within the acceptable range of the no-running rule. As the guys in the band hustled to get the stage set, it hit me -- after all these years -- this is why I love NIL8.

There was no annoyance from crowd members checking their watches. There was no dog-and-pony show of sneaking the band through a secret back door. There were no nervous roadies feeling the pressure of an anxious and eager crowd. It was just NIL8 running cables and making last-minute adjustments in preparation for a gathering crowd knowing full-well that we were about to have our faces rocked off.


Anyway, it may have been seven years since I've seen a live NIL8 show but they haven't slowed down one bit. Aside from Jeff's early-in-the-show stretches, this was clearly still the same band that used to pack the Dungeon in Charleston back in my mid/late 90s college days.

Powering through an hour-long set of NIL8 classics mixed with some more recent material, my face had been figuratively rocked off in the name of amazing punk-ish/pop-ish metal.

Regular FASTE readers are likely aware of my constant efforts to fill online voids left where deserving people have no adequate tribute within the world wide web of information. I did it for singer-songwriter Todd Snider with EighteenMinutes.com. I did it for Mister Rogers with NeighborhoodArchive.com. Over the past several weeks, I've been back at it again with a new site dedicated to South-Central Illinois' finest -- NIL8. SwitchDrops.com (named for one of my favorite NIL8 classics) is in its very early stages but something tells me there are others ready to read and/or contribute to such a site.

Staying through a majority of the Pimps' set, I headed to the quiet parking lot across the street and pulled from my parking spot just in time to see Jeff stepping away from his van a few feet away. Part of me considered rolling my window down and filling him in on SwitchDrops.com and begging him for anything and everything he'd be willing to contribute. But I didn't want to be "that guy." You know, that guy who approaches you in a dark parking lot and tells you all about his new website based on his multi-decade following of your band.

That's not cool.

That's creepy.

So I opted for a quick nod of acknowledgement and headed for home.

We'll see where SwitchDrops.com goes from here. I know there is a ton of stuff out there that could make this site something great for NIL8 fans everywhere. In the meantime, though, I assure you it won't be another seven years before this old guy at the rock show sees NIL8 again.

For the good of the cause, here's Switch Drops from the last time NIL8 visited the Castle.

Deep Adult Conversation

After spending my days working with high school students and then coming home to evenings with my own kids, sometimes I simply crave deep adult conversation as the day winds down. I can always count on my old pal Derek in my time of need. Me in the blue...

Love is the Answer. Stop Buying Stuff.

God bless the internet.


(Video courtesy of Matthew Silver)

This Week's Celebrity Encounters

This week, my brother met Mike Mills from R.E.M.


My pal Derek met Sgt. Slaughter.


I'm not sure who had the more awesome celebrity encounter.

In other news, the new Billy Joe Shaver album is out this week and the title track is fantastic!


And I met Billy Joe Shaver one time. So there.

Day 60: Epilogue

I can think of no better way to wrap up the Summer of Tim than with a good old-fashioned backyard water fight.


What started as a simple effort to corral the kids for dinner quickly escalated. I won't say who instigated it, but the culprit was not born in the 21st century.


Sixty days. Sixty days gone by much too quickly.

The Summer of Tim concludes as I head back to work tomorrow for the start of a new school year.

Like that...it's gone.

Day 59: Get random.

You might think that I'd live it up as my summer break winds down.

Nope.

Let me hit you with a dose of random instead.

Scroobius Pip has a new DVD coming out. You can download the main feature from his site for a few bucks. Or pounds. Or something.


Dwyane Wade wears glasses that are way too small for his head.


This is extremely uncomfortable to watch.


Okay. Okay.

Truth be told, I spent a good majority of my afternoon today working on stuff to get me ready for the coming school year. I had a stack of work that I should have been working on all summer but I've managed to put off until the last few days of my break. It wasn't all that bad. I watched The Karate Kid and most of Part 2 while I did my work. No reason I shouldn't finish my summer in the same way it started.

But for now, it's time to turn in. Headed to bed for the last time this summer without setting an alarm.

Cheers to you, Summer of Tim. One day to go.


The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 58: Cool water. Cool beer. Cool neighbors.

This is it. The end of the line.

As summer break comes to a close, it was nice to get in one more sunny day at the in-law's pool. I swear, my kids would stay in there for a week straight if we'd let them.


To add to today's summer cliché, I headed home to mow the lawn and then have a beer with my neighbor across the street. That's what grown folks do after they complete grown folk tasks, right?

With only two days of summer break left, this seems appropriate.


For a little bit longer, the Summer of Tim continues...

Day 57: Must be my lucky day.


After staying up way too late last night watching Full House on Nick at Nite, I armed myself with a giant cup of coffee this morning and joined my dad and Anna on his front porch for some sidewalk chalk.


We spent a few minutes looking for four-leaf clovers which brought to mind two things.

1. This great song by Abra Moore.


2. A few of my favorite Todd Snider lyrics.

I found a four leaf clover in my yard today
It had one leaf missing off it, but that was okay
Looking it over I could easily see, four is only really just one more than three
That's close enough for me...must be my lucky day


Hope today's your lucky day.

The Summer of Tim continues...

Day 56: Sports Movies, Puzzle Record, The Truth About Fonzie

This morning I got a text from a friend I hadn't heard from in a while. He told me that Dan Patrick was on the radio discussing whether or not the Karate Kid is a sports movie.

In my ever-enlightening brilliance I responded appropriately that it is not a sports movie...its THE BEST SPORTS MOVIE EVER!



Anna and I decided part-way through the morning to make a quick trip down to visit my dad and my brother. In addition to my wife and I working in education, my brother and his wife do as well. If I didn't get down for a quick visit, I knew it wouldn't be until the dust settles from the start of a new school year before this might be possible again. Two hours, a stop at McDonald's, and a few One Direction albums later, we arrived with absolutely no agenda in mind.

We decided to tackle a giant Disney puzzle.


I think we beat my brother's previous record by about 120 minutes.


My brother had been clearing some space at his house and had a pile of stuff to get rid of. Even though I've got CD copies of my own, I couldn't let his old Beastie Boys cassettes go to the junk store.


Speaking of the Beastie Boys, he had also found a book for cheap somewhere that he knew I'd appreciate -- the 33 1/3 volume about Paul's Boutique. That combined with a Saved By the Bell book (unfortunately, one I already have) and a copy of The Truth About Fonzie he got free somewhere, this trip was worthwhile right from the start.


Of course, there was visiting with my family and spending some one-on-one time with Anna that made it worthwhile, too...but...you know.

The Summer of Tim continues...