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Eye on the Scene

Oughta Be in 'em

UT's Paul Harrill has made the big time, at least in terms of indie filmmakers. His short film Gina, An Actress, Age 29 will be shown at this year's Sundance Film Festival, which will be held Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah. The short was shot in June with a local cast and the filming was made possible in part through the Aperture Film Grant. Gina brings us into the world of a young actress facing her first paying role, a part that will end up testing her ethics. And, should you be traveling to the continent, Gina will also be screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in France. Good luck Paul! Bring home a trophy (or a distribution deal or whatever filmmakers win)!

Local CD Review

dead mark
An Easy Grave

As leader of local pop-rock trio the Plaid, morosely-monikered singer/guitarist dead mark has proven himself a capable songwriter; the snappy power-pop nuggets on the band's inaugural local CD were adhesively tuneful, shot through with ebullience and energy. Unfortunately, stripped of the surging electricity of his three-piece, the dead one's songwriting instincts seem to drift into a heavy-lidded malaise that's all too reflective of his name.

There's a certain numbing sameness to all of the songs on Grave, a snailish pacing and sense of redundancy that's not helped in the least by mark's stark, parched-throat vocals. Cracked and plaintive, his mournful wailing on this collection of spare acoustic pop songs is at times quite affecting, as on the opening track "Father of the Year," or the disc's eighth song, "Homecoming" (a pair of sundered-family laments, one of several painfully personal subjects explored on Grave). Spread thin across nine tracks, however, his confessional schtick seems more artifice than art, no matter how heartfelt his sentiments may be.

The disc's shortcomings are highlighted on song six, a cover of Prince's (or whatever the hell you call him now) "Never Take the Place of Your Man." Slowed down and bereft of the original's free-wheeling funk, "Man" plays up the harsher, sadder aspects of the tune's somewhat ambivalent connotations, morphing into an agonizing acoustic dirge rather than the bittersweet celebration the Purple One intended it to be. It's just no damned fun.

Perhaps it's unfair to look at Grave out of context; mark has experienced serious personal upheavals (including the death last year of his father), and this collection apparently seeks to purge the demons that linger in the wake of loss. But the sine qua non of personal, confessional music is that it must offer some element of universality to the listener. Otherwise, it brings its audience down more than it lifts its creator up.


Thursday: Wait Until Dark at Bijou Theatre. Be ready to have your spine-tingled with this classic thriller about a blind woman who is stalked by some drug-running thugs.

Friday: Pink Sexies with The American Plague at Pilot Light. Former Malignmen open for former Come-ons to make some burst-your-ears music.

Saturday: Trucker at Barley's. Rock 'n' roll from the Plateau.

Sunday: Nap. Watch football. Nap some more.

Monday: Anointed Gospel Chorale, F.O.C.U.S., and Love United Gospel Choir at UT's University Center. Celebrate MLK Jr. Day with these free performances.

Tuesday: Einstein Simplified at Manhattan's. Improv. comedy a-go-go.

Wednesday: Reckless Kelly at Barley's. These Texas-based bandoleros will roots rock you into the wee hours.

—Emma "Wee, wee, wee" Poptart

January 11, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 2
© 2001 Metro Pulse