“Chasing Trane” & “The Bad Batch”

Chasing Trane follows a linear path from the beginnings of John Coltrane’s career to its spectacular end. All the while, Coltrane’s music, heard constantly over the narration, lifts and elevates the viewer.

In many ways the life of Coltrane mirrors the rise of jazz since WWII. Bebop gives way to experimental and free form styles of jazz. Drugs pop up and are kicked. The exploration of sonic sounds leads to a spiritual awakening. “A Love Supreme” becomes an anthem of purity as well Trane’s most accomplished album release. Coltrane visits the site of an atomic bomb memorial in Japan, which subsequently inspires him to even greater insights.

The talking heads range from McCoy Turner to Carlos Santana to Bill Clinton. Denzel Washington narrates Coltrane’s voice with text taken from his writings and album notes.

Chasing Trane plays at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this weekend on Saturday June 24 at 7 pm., and Sunday June 25 at 5 pm.

downloadMost post-apocalyptic thrillers paint a bleak picture. The Bad Batch is bleaker than most.

The second feature film from Ana Lily Amirpour immediately gets your attention. In the opening minutes the protag Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) finds herself kidnapped by desert cannibals who chain her up, drug her and saw off one leg and one arm.

Left confined like an animal, Arlen hides a piece of rebar that she uses to overcome one of her captors. A skateboard becomes her vehicle for escape as she literally drags herself through the desert. A mute desert scavenger finds her and delivers Arlen to a desert town of odd and sundry survivors. The makeshift community is like an all year version of Burning Man.

Some cool characters thrive in the unrelenting heat, not the least of which is an at-first-unrecognizable Jim Carrey under layers of clothes and whiskers. Keanu Reeves rocks a 1970s-style ‘stache as the leader of the town looking like the older brother of Paul Rudd’s character in Anchorman.

Perhaps the most conflicted character is only known by his chest tattoo that reads Miami Man. MM leads the cannibal tribe but elicits sympathy when his young daughter is kidnapped by Arlen, who herself has turned into a vengeance machine. Miami Man doesn’t kill people for pleasure but for food for his nuclear unit. MM is tidy, and also has talent as an artist. You almost start to admire his pragmatic stance when he carves up his latest victim and wastes nothing.

The Bad Batch portrays society at its basic survival-of-the-fittest level. What brief rays of hope the characters experience are merely drug visions or the memories of how things used to exist.

The Bad Batch unwinds exclusively at the Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park.

“Chasing Trane” & “The Bad Batch” syndicated post

Where It Can Go: An Interview with Thrice

Thrice. Photo: Jonathan Weiner

 

Almost two decades after forming, the post-hardcore outfit are Thrice are as relevant as ever. Recently off a hiatus, the group is now on the road playing shows with the Deftones and Rise Against in support of their latest release, To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere, their eighth studio album. Prior to their show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Monday, Free Press Houston caught up with bassist Eddie Breckenridge about leading the genre, the implications of being a popular band, and what’s in store for Thrice.

Free Press Houston: Are you on tour with Rise Against and the Deftones for the entirety of the tour? What about the other opener, Frank Iero?

Eddie Breckenridge: Yeah, we are. There’s also a band opening called Three Trapped Tigers, and they’re crazy — a super technical, instrumental band. We play right after them. The two headliners flip-flop who headlines each night. Each night feels new and different.

Iero, he’s playing the second half of the tour. He’ll be in Houston as well, though.

FPH: The tour seems like a very star-filled lineup that attracts a lot of people each night. For a genre that is known for being best enjoyed in small dive bars, does it ever seem weird to play these massive venues?

Breckenridge: Um, I mean, yeah. We’re playing a lot of outdoor shows and while it’s still light out. Not every time, though. That’s always a little awkward because our music doesn’t seem to fit that. Sometimes it seems a little odd, but the crowds have been really cool, and the whole vibe of the tour has been really positive and awesome. It’s also really cool to get to play in front of the Deftones and Rise Against! In the crowd there are some people who have heard of us and some people who haven’t, so being able to show them what we got is cool.

FPH: In all honesty and without being too humble, do you feel as if the band is carrying a flag for post-hardcore, especially for being able to continue after almost 20 years at this point?

Breckenridge: I don’t know. I always feel like we don’t fit into a specific genre. And there have been so many bands before us who have influenced us heavily. Hopefully we would be carrying those flags together, you know? Like, I think we’re pretty vocal about the people who have influenced us. If there’s anything to do that’ll let us say where we’re coming from, then hopefully that’s what we’re doing.

FPH: Regardless, do you ever feel that you have to limit yourself on certain aspects, whether it being too political or too noisy than the bands playing those dive bars?

Breckenridge: I mean, I don’t know if I agree with that. I feel like not all of our songs are noisy or political, but a lot of them also are. I guess it depends on the way the listener interprets it. I feel like people aren’t going to support you if they think you’re full of crap. So I would hope that there are more bands gaining success that are doing stuff that’s true to them, a natural expression. Me personally, I prefer noisier, more intense displays of playing music, so I hope that we’re doing that too.

FPH: What are your thoughts on the super political groups like Prophets of Rage? Does that seem “put on” at all, to you?

Breckenridge: I don’t know if I have the right to an opinion about what they do. I think it’s important for bands to express themselves, especially right now. I think that’s something that’s very relevant and honest. More power to them. I also think that it’s important for the listener of music that’s tossing out political ideas to not listen to what someone else says and just run with it. I think figuring stuff out for yourself is important; if you’re not doing your own research, you’re basically a robot, you know? Otherwise it’s just like taking a message and running with it. I don’t know if that’s what you’re asking, but [laughs].

FPH: This is your eighth release. Did you ever think that there’d be this many when first joining? Is there a number you have in mind now?

Breckenridge: We probably exceeded our expectations with the second release. For us, it’s always been in the moment; we work on a record and as soon as it’s finished we’re like, “Shit, we can do so much more.” I can’t wait to do the next one, and that’s how it’s continually done. And even when we took a hiatus I didn’t feel like we were done. We’re always creating new guitar riffs or ideas in general. I also really like working with these guys and playing music. As a team I think we work together really well. It feels good that our work never seems done, so I’d love to continue making records for as long as we can.

FPH: So you already have the bulk of work done for the next release?

Breckenridge: Yeah, we’re already tossing ideas and concepts around. We want to improve upon from the last record and see where else we can go.

FPH: Do you have a favorite in Thrice’s discography? Was it the earlier stuff when the band wasn’t exactly sure where the road would lead to later on? For example, Dinosaur Jr. have said that they wish they could make another You’re Living All Over Me.

Breckenridge: Um, not specifically. Sometimes I wish I could return to a certain mindset, you know, where I was wondering what would be possible with music. What can you do? Where can you go? I think that’s it’s a useful thing, but we’ve been doing it for so long. At times we’re like, “Oh, I know what should happen here. I know how this should go.” Sometimes the better mindset is “what is possible?” The more you write music, he more you have ideas about how things should be. But sometimes it’s important to fight against that and be like, “Well, maybe that’s how I think it should be, but let’s try and see where it can go.”

 

Thrice plays with Deftones and Rise Against on Monday, June 26 at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Where It Can Go: An Interview with Thrice syndicated post

Photos: Noteworthy Houston home of late Tootsies founder for sale

The home of Mickey Rosmarin, founder of Tootsies, is for sale.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Katherine Warren of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty is listing the house for $4.75 million. It is at 1318 North Blvd. near Rice University. Click through the slideshow for photos of the property.

The home is more than 8,500 square feet, and its lot is more than 40,000 square feet, according to the Chronicle and HAR.com, which does not currently list the house for sale. There are four bedrooms…

Photos: Noteworthy Houston home of late Tootsies founder for sale syndicated post

M.D. Anderson UTHealth grad school gets $10.5M donation

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston has received a $10.5 million gift, which the school describes as transformative.

Molecular endocrinologist John Kopchick and his wife, Charlene, of Athens, Ohio, made the donation, which was announced June 23. John Kopchick received his Ph.D. at the M.D. Anderson UTHealth graduate school in 1980 and received the Rosalie B. Hite Fellowship during his time attending the school.

The graduate…

M.D. Anderson UTHealth grad school gets $10.5M donation syndicated post