A Couple of Mega Posts From G101

Two people have recently posted massive collections over at Guitars 101. You can find them here, and here.

As a side note, I just want to say thanks to everybody here. Reading through the comments on one of those G101 posts there are several people complaining about what was shared. The OP shared 3,000 shows and people are actually complaining. I’m so glad you all have always been so nice.

Oops

Lots of you just received an e-mail of a post I made with some pretty pictures of a house under construction and some empty lots with a sales pitch included.

Sorry about that.

In my real life, I’m a home builder and I run a separate website for that business. It is also run through WordPress and I accidentally posted something for work on The Midnight Cafe. I have deleted the post, but I hope you enjoyed the pretty fall colors.

Also if you happen to live in NE Oklahoma and are looking for a house to buy, give me a call 🙂

31 Days of Horror: The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (1974)

the killer reserved nine seats

A rich man, Patrick Davenant (Chris Avram) invites a group of friends to an old abandoned theater that he owns. Once there they get locked inside and someone starts killing them one by one. Who is the killer? Why is he or she killing these nine people?

The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is an Italian Giallo by way of Agatha Christie.

All of the guests are financially connected to Davenant, in that he mostly supports them through various means. His death will benefit them all in various ways. It is his life that is almost taken first. I say almost because he is saved at the last minute. A large beam is cut free from its holding rope and it drops down on top of him, but just seconds before someone calls the man’s name, he moves and is saved.

Others are not so lucky. As the bodies pile up so do the accusations as to who could be the killer.

But first, there is a lot of silliness. Because this is a 1970s Italian Giallo and not some actual Christie adaptation by the BBC or some old 1940s movie, the characters spend a lot of their time taking off their clothes and getting horny with one another. What I love about that stuff is they are getting naked with one another even after the bodies start piling up.

There is one scene in which one of the women is attacked by the killer (he’s in a mask so she can’t tell who it is). She screams and shouts for help. A man comes in and fights off the killer. The woman escapes and runs to the others. None of them believe her. They say she is hysterical and hallucinating. When they return to the room where she was attacked and find the man who helped her dead by hanging. They decide he was the real killer and guilt drove him to suicide.

I couldn’t help but watch this scene and think of the #metoo movement. About all the statistics showing that when women cry for help, when they report harassment and sexual assault they all so often aren’t believed. I have no idea if the filmmakers were thinking about such things when they created this scene, but it feels very modern.

The script is mostly nonsense. At least the parts I could understand. There were several moments in which the characters inexplicably started speaking Italian and there were no subtitles. Italian films from this era often had the actors speak in whatever language was native to them, and then they would dub in the proper languages in post-production. Presumably, these sections were moments when the English dub has been lost.

What works in the film is its vibe. The theater setting gives us several different locations with different feels. The stage has working sets for the characters to play with. Curtains rise and fall. The auditorium and lobby are beautiful and ornate. The backstage area is filled with props and costumes. Upstairs the attic is dusty and filled with cobwebs. There is even an old crypt filled with candles downstairs. All of this gives the film atmosphere. The women are dressed in fabulous gowns, and the men are in nice suits. The camera moves about, and the lighting is filled with shadows.

I love that stuff. I can put up with all sorts of bewildering things in a script if the filmmaking is interesting.

Request: Van Morrison at Montreux

I’m working on a project and I need a little help. I’m trying to collect recordings of every Van Morrison performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. I’ve got most of them but I’m missing a few.

I need copies of these performances:

07/19/87
07/18/07
07/09/04 – I actually have an MP3 version of this show, but I’d love to get a FLAC copy.

If any of you have any of these shows would you please share them with me?

My goal is to create a cool mix tape of the best of his performances in Montreux, but it would be nice to be able to cull from all the shows.

Thank you.

Billy Strings

My Twitter feed has been going crazy over Billy Strings for a while now and I finally checked him out. Gotta say I’m fast becoming a fan. I guess you’d put his genre as bluegrass or maybe newgrass, but he plays a lot of rock and roll covers (including regularly playing the good ole’ Grateful Dead). Dude is a great performer. He’s got a bunch of shows on the Archive, and I just listened to this one and I highly recommend it. Check out “Dust In a Baggy” for a taste of what he’s capable of.

31 Days of Horror

Obviously, I like movies. Which is a funny thing for me to say since I feel like most of you had no idea I liked movies until I suddenly started flooding this blog with movie stuff after a decade+ of posting nothing but live music.

I’ve always liked movies. Some of my earliest memories are seeing movies like Return of the Jedi and The Goonies in the theater with my family. As a teenager going to the movies was the one thing I could do with my parents that didn’t end up in a fight or me thinking they were the dumbest people in the world.

That love has grown with me in my 4 plus decades of life on this Earth. The pandemic has only boosted that love. Having to stay at home all the time for 2 years or so led me to watch a lot more movies than usual. I used to watch a little over 100 movies a year, or about 2 movies a week. For the last three years, I’ve watched over 300 movies each year, or at least one movie a day. That’s a little misleading as I don’t really watch one movie every day. Throughout the week I often don’t watch a movie at all, but I make up for it on the weekends.

To help with my movie watching I’ve started creating monthly themes. I’ll choose a genre, or a director, or maybe a country or time period, and then try to watch as many movies from that theme as possible during that month. This helps me watch a lot of movies I might not normally watch, and it expands my understanding of cinematic history. Left to my own devices I’d wind up flipping through Netflix or some other streaming service, watching the same movies over and over again, or at the very least usually choosing safe films that won’t challenge me.

I like horror movies too.

This leads us to October. I’m not the only one who chooses monthly themes for my movie watching. Twitter is full of hashtags directing folks to watch certain types of movies during certain months of the year. October is probably the most popular month for this sort of thing as Halloween leads people to watching horror movies. I usually tag my movies this month with #31daysofhorror but others use things like #hooptober (for Tobe Hooper, director of such films as Poltergeist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as well as many others.

I decided it would be fun to share my list of films that I want to watch here, as well as post about each movie I watch when I watch them. I probably won’t review everything, but I’ll let you all tag along with my viewings.

You can find the list here on my Letterboxd page. If you happen to have a Letterboxd account please follow me, and I’ll do the same.

I won’t watch every movie on the list. I chose 31 movies as there are 31 days in October, but I won’t watch one horror movie every day. Some days I’ll watch a movie with my family (who don’t like horror movies) and I’ll have some official reviews to do for Cinema Sentries. I’ll also likely get in the mood to watch something not on the list. But the list is a good way for me to watch things I’ve been meaning to see and never get around to. It also helps me when I can’t think of something good to watch.

It is, perhaps, a little heavy on the Italians. I got in a Giallo mood while making it. And there aren’t enough true classics, or modern movies in there either. Over the last few years, I’ve watched all of the classic Universal monsters which is why not many of those appear here. I did include one Mummy movie which I haven’t seen. I think I only included one Hammer Horror film on the list as well, and I’ll likely search out a few more of those.

Every year I try to watch all the movies in a single franchise. Previously I’ve watched the Friday the 13th movies, the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and the Halloween movies. This year I’m thinking of doing all the Hellraiser films.

Anyways, this is my list and I’m sticking to it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A Small Update

I think I mentioned before how I have an old external hard drive that is dying. Well, I’ve been saying it is dying for several years now and it is still kicking. What it is doing is being really, really slow. Trying to read any file or move anything around takes a very long time. So long that it is basically useless. Thankfully the vast majority of the files on that drive are also on my Amazon Drive.

Since Amazon told me they were going away, I’ve been downloading those files onto a working hard drive. Today I finished that project. This doesn’t really mean anything to you all, but it is important to me. It is also one step closer to…something. I just don’t know what that something is.

My next project is a massive one. I’m going to go through all of my hard drives, make sure all the shows are on my list (and if they arent’ add them to my list), and then organize everything. Right now many artists have shows on multiple hard drives so I’ll be consolidating them so that everything is easier to find. I’ll also be going through my list and verifying that everything on it does in fact exist on one of my hard drives.

This is going to take me a long while since I have thousands of shows to go through. I’m hoping I can have it done before April when all of my files on Amazon Drive go away. I also hope to have a plan by then as to how I’m going to be sharing shows in the future.

IDrive

IDrive was having a sale whereupon you can get 10 TBs of storage for $3.98 for an entire year. That was too good of a deal for me to pass up, so I’m trying them out. Now, to be clear, I still have no desire to go back to posting bootlegs daily. That time has passed. But as I’ve repeatedly said, I would like to continue to share the music in some capacity.

I still don’t know what that will look like or when I’ll actually start regularly sharing shows. But since I have an IDrive account I wanted to try it out a bit.

So far from an uploader’s perspective, it isn’t great. It seems to be built as an online backup system. It keeps wanting me to sync up my entire computer’s hard drive. That’s not a bad idea, actually, considering how many hard drives I’ve lost over the years, but that’s not why I paid for the storage.

It took me a while to figure out how to upload some different files but I think I’ve figured it out. It uploads pretty fast which is nice. I’ll have to spend some time seeing how I can organize files, but that will come later.

What I really want is feedback from you all. I uploaded three different things. I uploaded a Buddy Miller show that is all zipped up. I uploaded a Bill Monroe show that is unzipped. And I uploaded a photo of the classic screen actress Romy Schneider.

If you would, I’d like you all to download all three just to see how it works. From my experience, it does not seem like you can download an unzipped folder. You have to download each individual file which would make downloading an unzipped show folder really obnoxious. But maybe your mileage will vary.

It also doesn’t appear that you can preview anything. Like the Amazon Drive it doesn’t appear that you can read a text file without downloading it. It does appear that you can preview an image file, but I don’t know how useful that is for our purposes.

Please leave me some comments describing your experiences with this. Since I have it and have 10 TBs of storage I’ll probably use it when I start sharing shows again, but I’d like to find the best way to do so.

You can see the files here.

Pop Culture and Things

When I first started The Midnight Cafe back in 2004 I was using it as a journal to document the year my wife and I spent in France. Over time I started writing movie, music, and book reviews to fill the pages. By the time we got back to the US it had become a full-on pop culture blog.

Eventually, I started writing bootleg reviews which then led to me posting links to the shows. Slowly the bootlegs took over the blog and the pop culture stuff disappeared. With Amazon Drive dying I’ve been thinking about what comes next for The Midnight Cafe. My desire to continue the bootleg blog and nothing but the bootleg blog is nill. I will find a way to continue sharing the music, but I do not know if that will be through Discord, or a chat box on this blog or something else.

But I’ve also been thinking about returning to my roots. Truth is I’ve continued writing movie reviews at a site called Cinema Sentries. I kind of like the idea of talking about pop culture again in these pages.

I don’t know if that will happen. I have no idea what I’m going to do next.

But, the thing is I have a whole lot of pop culture writing that has been sitting dormant in these pages for years. Whenever I turned the Cafe into a private site I made everything that wasn’t bootleg related invisible to everyone. With the Amazon links dying I’ve decided to go back to making the Cafe a public blog. And with that I’ll be making many of those old pop culture posts visible again.

For whatever reason whenever I make those old posts visible WordPress sends out an e-mail like the old posts were new ones. I can’t find a way to bulk edit those old posts and so I’ll be doing it individually whenever I feel like it. So you can expect some e-mails with old movie reviews and other random pop-cultural musings for a while.

Honestly, some of them are kind of embarrassing to read now, as I wrote them many years ago, but they are my words and I own up to them. Point being, if you don’t want to get e-mails with movie reviews from me for the foreseeable future you might want to unsubscribe. It will most likely be April before I make a real decision as to how I’ll be sharing more music so you can ignore me for a while.