Iron Man Ultimate 2-Disc Edition (Blu-Ray)

Whenever individuals may think that the superhero genre is losing steam, a company steps their game up and comes out with a film that is visually appealing, written well, and sets up the prospect for a sequel perfectly. In 2008, there were two films to do just that: The Dark Knight and Iron Man. The behemoth that is Iron Man has enjoyed a number of releases in different formats, but for anyone’s money, the edition that they should strive to purchase is the ultimate 2-Blu Ray disc version. The amount of additional features, coupled with the sharpness in video and audio that is present, far outstrip the experience that viewers will have vis-à-vis any other edition. Continue reading “Iron Man Ultimate 2-Disc Edition (Blu-Ray)”

Dancer vs. Politician – A City Half-Lost

I’ve come to terms with the fact that 19 member bands aren’t all into wearing drug-rugs dropping acid and talking about how great The Dead were. It’s been a hard realization but bands like Dancer vs. Politician make it possible and enjoyable to listen to at the same time. That being said their 2008 release A City Half-Lost, publicized by Team Clermont is a little off the wall, I take that back. Continue reading “Dancer vs. Politician – A City Half-Lost”

DON’T LET THE PRICE FOOL YOU: A JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA’S ‘DIRTIEST HOTEL’

DON’T LET THE PRICE FOOL YOU: A JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA’S ‘DIRTIEST HOTEL’

Cheap prices and a strategic location are always nice, if you don’t really mind the place. But in this hotel I stayed in during my trip to New York City two years ago, you can’t help but notice how bad the place is. And it’s a good thing I don’t explore the internet too much back then, since a recent search turns out many surprising facts about this hotel, more precisely, unsavory facts.

Finding a cheap accommodation, close by to the favorite tourist sites was not easy to find, especially in a place like New York City. I was pretty surprised to find a room for just $120 a night for a twin room in a hotel. There are four of us traveling together so each of us end up paying only $80 for two nights for the accommodation, but what really surprises me was the location. It was located only a block away from the world famous Times Square, the Crossroads of the World, located dead middle in the world’s most populated island, Manhattan. The only thing lingering in my mind was only one; it is too damn good to be true.

By the time our flight touched down at the airport, it was already few hours pass the check-in time for our hotel. Instead we decided to find another place to stay for a night before moving to that hotel the following day. After a few rides on a bus and on the subway, we checked into a hostel near Central Park. We spend the rest of the day walking around the city, including getting to the top of the Empire State Building around midnight and watch the city lights twinkle for a few minutes before each of them died into darkness.

The next day, we checked out of the hostel (with a wake-up call from a pigeon making weird clicking noises right outside our window) and took a subway into Midtown Manhattan. In half an hour, we rode across town in a subway car, snap endless pictures of The City That Never Sleeps on the way and made our way to the 43rd Street. We can see the old, looming building up ahead with a striking sign on top, forming the names of the hotel. We dragged ourselves (and our luggage) to the direction of the aging high rise that housed the hotel and when we entered the lobby, we were surprised.

On the hotel’s website that we checked before we make our arrangements, they mentioned that the hotel ‘has just undergone a renovation’, complete with a picture of an ornate, marble lined lobby that looks like it was transported straight from the 1940s. Now we are standing right in that lobby, the same place, only it was brightly lit with colorful neon bulbs snaking all the way across the ceiling in weird, flashy colors. On our way to the reception, I even managed to steal some chatter from two British guys, amazed by the neon bulbs shooting everywhere, “Wow, I feel like I’m inside a strip club.” They said.

We checked in and then followed the bellboy into a small, claustrophobic elevator that creaked as it goes up. Now I was actually thinking whether this elevator had ever snapped off or killed somebody as it goes up. It actually seems like it did. But I ignored it, must be some sort of a wrongly placed hunch, I thought. I was thankful because the elevator reached the floor where our room is before it really snaps off. As the bellboy took us into the corridor heading to the room, my mind wanders again, now to a scene from The Godfather.

The corridor’s walls were coated with a smudged white paint, peeling in every side, on the ceilings, cobwebs and dust form a barely invisible line of threads all over, and the corridor was dimly lit with sad fluorescent orange light bulbs. The hotel was renovated alright, forty years ago. I had no hopes of seeing a nicely renovated room when I entered, and it’s a good think I have none, because it’s really not renovated at all, and it’s totally decaying. The old television was dead, and the heater isn’t working, the window can’t be closed, and the bathroom looks like a crime scene. Now I really can’t help but imagine all kinds of funny, weird things. At least they make the bed before we came. And yeah, it’s a good thing this isn’t winter.
But the good thing is, I survived my two nights of staying there without getting chopped off by a psychotic killer or got stuck in a narcotics bust by the police. After we check out of that place two nights later, we never heard anything from that place again, until recently.

I was doing research for my upcoming novel, coincidentally set in New York City. It calls for a cheap, seedy hotel for a shootout scene and the first hotel to come in my mind was that same place we stayed when we were in New York two years ago. I keyed in the hotel name at Google, and the first headline to come was ‘Dirtiest Hotel in America, ‘That’ Hotel’. It turns out that very hotel has won the not-so-prestigious award for the Dirtiest Hotel in America for three years in a row by a travel advisory website. I scroll down the articles until something else caught my eye, ‘Murder at ‘That’ Hotel’.
It turns out that a year ago, a female tourist staying in the hotel ended up being a victim of a brutal murderer. Curiosities did drive me to do some more research until I end up in another article about that hotel.

Facts had shown that she’s not the only person departed on that hotel. Ever since the hotel first opened in the 1930s, there have been nine more deaths reported in that place, not to mention the unreported deaths. And do you know the most interesting part of all? That creaky, old elevator I rode did kill somebody in 2005. I was lucky I didn’t know all of these exhilarating facts until two years ago. One thing for sure now, if I’m coming back to New York City, I would never sleep in that place again, I would rather pay a little bit more to live in a more expensive hotel. No, thank you. I had enough looking at the crazy facts.

Next time you found a ridiculously cheap hotel in a ridiculously expensive city; do some very good research on it first before you end up paying your booking fee. Like I said, things like that are far too good to be true.

DON’T LET THE PRICE FOOL YOU: A JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA’S ‘DIRTIEST HOTEL’

By Reva Wibowo

Absolut – Los Angeles (80 Proof)

I’m a serious fan of Absolut Vodka especially their flavored types. But when I picked up a bottle of their 2008 special edition flavor entitled Los Angeles I was blown away. Absolut has taken their master craftsmanship of vodka and flavoring and thrown together one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had in my life. Featuring acai, acerola, pomegranate and blueberry flavors Los Angeles is out of this world. Continue reading “Absolut – Los Angeles (80 Proof)”

Clean Slate 2007 Riesling

Throughout all of my youth and legal alcohol-drinking age, I had not found a single type of wine I liked until New Year rolled around last year. I had purchased a bottle of champagne (Korbel) and liked it, and moved into Verdi soon after. However, I still had my doubts about a more traditional type of wine, until Clean Slate’s 2007 Riesling came across the desk. The smooth mouth feel of the wine belies a sharper nose, but don’t get me wrong: the wine still has enough power to wash away any remnants of a fancy dinner. Continue reading “Clean Slate 2007 Riesling”

Bald Guy Black Suit – Demoo

When I think of a bald guy in a black suit I think of that movie The Driver which is one of my favorites although the sequel sucks. Bald Guy Black Suit a four track EP in the vein of some of my favorite post-punk acts is an energy ridden disc with plenty going on. Excelsior! the first track is played exactly like a song with that title should be played–rambunctious. Continue reading “Bald Guy Black Suit – Demoo”

Two Sheds – EP

Two Sheds five track EP is one of those discs you pop in on a great fall day and just zone out focusing on the music and nothing else. With five great tracks, Two Sheds really shows a lot of talent and love keeping interest throughout. You, the first track on the EP, a well played and sang song really showcasing a band that has a lot of talent and ability. I hear a lot of Jets to Brazil in the first track but Perfect (band mix), the second track belongs to Two Sheds.

As the EP indicates this is the bands mix of the track and it’s done quite well. Undertow (demo) really gives a raw look at Two Sheds talent as a band and anyone with a brain can tell that the talent flourishes in this four piece. And than comes the fourth track, WTF? That’s all I can really say about it is ‘what the fuck’ where did this come from?

WTF? is the gem of this EP who would have known saying what the fuck would have been so catchy? The finale, To Be Alive gives us a bare bones goodbye, an incredibly poetic song hanging on by the thread of the vocals which are so commanding and beautiful. This five song EP is one you won’t want to miss during the Fall months it’s just the right tempo and sound for the weather outside.

I give it a 8.5/10.

Two Sheds – 2008 EP
www.ilovetwosheds.com
www.myspace.com/twosheds
www.filterusrecordings.com

-Kristopher D. Shepard (kshepar2@kent.edu)

Loxsly – Flashlights

Loxsly’s 4 song EP Flashlights is interesting to say the least with even more interesting song titles. Lamprey Eels, the first track on the EP is very engaging and takes a lot to really focus on all the little things that are going on which is a common theme throughout. The song has some interesting lyrics and sound which I’ve come to expect from bands like Grandaddy. Chopper, has twice as much going on which I find hard to take in one listen. So as getting me interested enought to listen more then once goes Loxsly you’ve done a great job with this 4 song jab. Continue reading “Loxsly – Flashlights”

Bees and the Birds – EP

Somewhere out there Conor Oberst and Frank Black are listening to this EP and they’re yelling out their windows to the masses that pass to pick this stellar EP up. Bees and Birds three song EP is just incredible, where have you been all of my life, hiding these lovable tracks somewhere I bet. Bees and Birds are just fun, the name, the sound everything, it makes me smile and move around as if I was hopped on junk or something. Continue reading “Bees and the Birds – EP”

The Republic Tigers – S/T EP

So, Chop Shop Records we need to have a talk about The Republic Tigers, their four song EP you send just…just isn’t enough to suffice me. This four song EP comes not only with the disc but I also have five pictures of the men responsible for the great sound coming out of my speakers, a nice little bonus. Buildings & Mountains, is an head bobber and ass shaker all in a five minute span, while also showing off the musical talent of the band. Sinkin’ Annie, Down, Down, Down, Down, is a bit of a calmer song sticking to one thing and going for it something I can appreciate, but don’t think that fact cripples this song it only makes it better with it’s great hook. Continue reading “The Republic Tigers – S/T EP”