Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 16, 2008

Zombie Strippers & Other Cultural Highlights

Yes, it’s spring — a time when Hollywood dumps most of its schlock before the summer blockbusters, a time when the attention of the 18-35 yearold male demographic turns to baseball (yes, I know I’m not 35 anymore, but let’s say  I am for the sake of argument), and a time when when a few key Democratic primaries are right around the corner. Hurray for April!

The schlock that shocks for today is something called Zombie Strippers, a real movie coming out in a week or two. It’s most likely a spoof or something not altogether serious. But it’s probably also a hack project with a bunch of cheap, easy jokes and a few lame scary scenes (plus some gratuitous T&A for those 18-35 year-old boys). Therefore, if you’re looking to get into a really good zombie comedy, go rent Shaun of the Dead, a cool, goofy British flick from about four years ago. Or if you gotta go out to a theater, see Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead in the new British/American comedy Run Fatboy Run, David Schwimmer’s first feature film directorial effort. The Fatboy script is by American actor/improv artist Michael Ian Black, who some of us may remember as the goofy bowling alley employee on the tv show Ed, but who is much better as a commentator or writer on such shows as “I Love the 80s”, Stella (the name of his comedy troupe), or in print for the hip literary journal McSweeney’s (founded by another fave of mine, author Dave Eggers).

Baseball-wise, take note that the Sox (both White and Red) are in first place today. Meanwhile the Cubs are a weird but exciting team to watch… the new Cardiac Kids, with an extra-inning game every three days or so. And up-and-coming pitcher Graham Nielsen had his first tee-ball practice yesterday. Right away, Dad got roped into being an assistant coach (oh, who am I kidding?, I loved it), and it turns out his manager Karen Fabishenko has some great teaching methods for these little squirts with the attention span of a chipmunk. (e.g. the glove is a “hungry alligator” that eats baseballs… this gets kids to squeeze their mitts like a gator’s mouth.)

I also note with great gladness (but not surprise) that favored Boomer-Rocker Bruce Springsteen is endorsing Obama for president today. If The Boss says it’s okay to vote for wisdom instead of “experience”… well then, it must be okay. As for Hillary’s experience claim, Irish peacemaker and Nobel laureate Lord David Trimble threw her under the bus a few weeks back for claiming she was “involved” in the peace process during BIll’s terms in office.

Finally, I’m immensely enjoying Stephen Colbert’s weeklong run in Philadelphia in advance of the upcoming Pennsylvania primary. Philly’s mayor was pretty funny on Monday, with some smart and practical perspectives on gun control. And Tuesday night, my boys (and Philly natives) The Roots were onstage with Stephen for a rousing performance. As for Obama’s so-called “elitist” comment, yeah, I admit he could have talked about Western PA more gently and in a more P.C. manner. (Barack admitted it, too.) But I think the fact that he even mentioned guns at all  is what mainly caused the stir. As Colbert ironically brought up on Monday’s show, the Philadephia “elitists” vs. the western PA “gun nuts” has been a battle brewing for over a year now, in the courts and in the news.

But by all means, get out your shotguns and go hunting for black bears, Pittsburghers. In my opinion, it’s better than wasting your time going to a Pirates game, and Mr. Colbert will love you for cutting down on the worldwide bear population.


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