Back on February 23, CL published our annual Beer Issue, which always comes out a week or two before Tampa Bay Beer Week (even though it seems like these days, every week is Tampa Bay Beer Week). I usually take point on the special issue content, with a whole lot of help from staffers and contributors, and this year was no exception. Somehow, as a result of a visit to Ybor City’s excellent Coppertail Brewing to accompany our Artistic Director Julio Ramos on a photo shoot, I ended up on the cover this year, as well.
Here’s what I wrote in addition to the special section’s intro, which is linked above:
Heat and brewmidity (about upcoming seasonal trends for summer)
Road soda (about out-of-the-way area breweries/tasting rooms)
Back in 2002, The Ring heralded the mainstream Asian horror crossover trend, and earned creepy-flick immortality on the strength of its unique (to American audiences) story, complex characters well-played by talented actors, and disturbingly moody visual style, courtesy of director Gore Verbinski. A lackluster sequel followed in ’05, and after that, most assumed that malevolent, visually glitchy spirit Samara’s haunted videotape had gone the way of, well, videotape.
But this is the horror genre, where you’re never truly out of ideas, because digging up something that had some box-office success a while back and rebooting or serializing it is considered “an idea.” And so, more than a decade later, we’re offered a third look into Samara’s backstory — one that manages to exemplify pretty much everything that’s wrong with this kind of filmmaking.
The film opens with a brief plane-crash scene so hacky and unbelievable, you’re actually surprised when it doesn’t turn out to be a movie-within-a-movie playing on a screen somewhere within Rings‘ real opening scene. The wholly unnecessary vignette not only places two strangers who’ve both happened to see the same lost and urban-legendary videotape within a seat of one another on the same flight, but also features some massive collateral damage that runs completely counter to one of the franchise’s central conceits: beyond those who knew Samara while she was alive, only people who watch the video are in mortal danger.
Read the rest at Creative Loafing…
Offering further evidence that there’s nothing craft brewers won’t incorporate into a beer, Tampa’s own Coppertail Brewing marked Friday the 13th with the release of its Captain Jack’s Stone Crab Stout, an “unconventionally flavored” brew that pays tribute to both Florida’s annual stone crab harvesting season and the anglers that brave the slightly colder winter waves in search of those delicious crustacean claws.
And yeah, Captain Jack’s is literally made with stone crabs. For the past couple of years, Coppertail has hosted a mid-season stone crab dinner at its insanely cool Ybor City tasting room/event space. The crab claws come directly from that morning’s catch in Key West; some are eaten, some go home with staffers, friends and family, and 300 pounds go into the beer during the boil, adding “a savory salinity to this rich and roasty stout, kind of like adding salt to chocolate,” according to the label (and press release). This is the third year the stout has made a mid-winter appearance among Coppertail’s consistently tasty lineup.
Coppertail’s not the first brewery to act so shellfishly (sorry). Brewers have been adding flavors of the sea to their beers since time out of mind. But since Coppertail brewmaster Casey Hughes got his start brewing down in the Keys, this one’s a bit of a passion project for him, as well as a nod to his beermaking roots. What’s more, a portion of sales proceeds will be donated to the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association “to promote sustainable fishing, and to help preserve the way of life of Florida fishermen.”
Admit it: You’re curious. Better hurry, then, because Captain Jack’s is only available in limited qualities — some will be distributed, but stopping by the tasting room is probably your best bet.
Most New Millennium punk fans know that Gainesville’s vibrant music scene produced beloved talent like Less Than Jake, Against Me! and Hot Water Music. And if you aren’t aware that Tom Petty learned his trade on the midland Florida college town’s stages and porches, you might not exactly be a walking encyclopedia of All Things Florida Rock. (In fact, your General Classic Rock Knowledge, Class A status might be in danger of revocation.)
But did you know that Don Felder and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles also came of musical age in Gainesville? Or that Stephen Stills spent part of his teen years playing in local bands there? Or that the Elvis Presley hit “Heartbreak Hotel” was conceived there? Or that Stan Bush — whose “The Touch” evolved from soundtracking the closing credits of an animated Transformers movie to becoming the inspiration for a scene in Boogie Nights and an ironic playlist staple — was once a fixture on the scene?
These are just a few of the interesting tidbits from a book about the Gainesville music community’s ‘60s and ‘70s origins that’s jammed with them. Released in April via University Press of Florida, Marty Jourard’s well-researched and insanely detailed Music Everywhere: The Rock and Roll Roots of a Southern Town covers much more than the big names. Starting with rock’s primordial origins in pop, R&B and folk, and their influence on this single (and singular) locale, Jourard chronicles the factors and faces that came together to create a vital and energetic scene that probably couldn’t have arisen anywhere else, and whose influence is still felt globally.
Read the rest at Creative Loafing…
Vampires. Ugh. So tired, so overdone. So sparkly or friendly or stilted or cleanly sexed-up for the CW. You never want to read another vampire novel as long as you live, amirite?
Well, you’re gonna want to read this one.
With his fifth novel, The Suicide Motor Club, St. Pete’s own Christopher Buehlman — a World Fantasy Award-nominated wordsmith whose first foray into vampire territory, 2014’s The Lesser Dead, earned a Shirley Jackson Award nom — breathes new, er, undeath into one of horror’s oldest bogeys. It’s a book as thrilling and dangerous as the classic muscle cars that form the central motif of its story, their amoral power and potential for mayhem an apt reflection of Buehlman’s monsters.
While on a road-trip vacation across the wide open spaces of the mid-’60s American West, Judith Lamb loses both her young son and her marriage to a horrifying random encounter. In its aftermath — and as her attackers continue their chaotic spree along the highways and backroads — Judith, whose life has always included tenuous relationships with both religion and the paranormal, attempts to find meaning in her circumstances by joining a convent. A stranger soon visits, however, to offer her not only that meaning and a chance at closure for her own personal tragedy, but also an opportunity to do God’s work by helping to rid the world of a secret evil.
And so Judith throws in with a unique yet nicely Stoker-esque band of Fearless Vampire Hunters, setting herself on a collision course with the forces that ripped her life apart and wondering if what she truly seeks is righteousness or revenge.
Read the rest at Creative Loafing…