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June 2005
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August 2005

Danny Elfman Scores Big

Remember Oingo Boingo? Did you love them or where they too goofy and new wave for you? Chances are, you’ve never heard their final and brilliant studio album recorded under the name Boingo, very dark and very cool. It’s the one with the really weird clown cover… Get that CD now. Usually you can find it used, but it’s getting harder. At any rate, that was Danny Elfman’s band and even if you don’t remember them, you’ve heard Danny Elfman’s music. It’s all over the place in great movies. From Edward Sissorhands to Nightmare before Christmas. Danny disbanded Oingo Boingo and has gone on to make millions scoring these incredible films. I’m not a big soundtrack guy. Most film scores are just background music to me without much meat to them. Elfman’s work usually rises above that and can often include vocals and actual songs, not just orchestration. A great example of that is the Nightmare Before Christmas CD. It’s fun and musically very creative. But Danny has topped himself with the soundtrack to the new Johnny Depp movie, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  This is his best soundtrack by far. It’s fun, clever and manages to incorporate numerous styles without loosing focus. From the Willy Wonka Theme, which sounds like a Barnes and Barnes novelty hit from the Dr. Demento show, to Beatle-esque pop and Queen style rock. Give it a shot!

Forgiving Harry Potter

You'd have to be dead or at a family camp in Ely, MN (pictures and post on that coming soon) to have missed the hype surrounding the release of the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I haven't read it yet, but all the reviews say the same thing, boring beginning and incredible ending with some interesting middle bits thrown in there. I don't want to yak it up about Harry, there's plenty of that going on already. I want to turn you onto another book, one you probably haven't heard about yet, and it's called Forgiving Solomon Long, the debut novel from comic book writer and journalist Chris Well. This is an incredibly entertaining crime novel about a mob hit man who finds a conscience. Well avoids most of the typical "my first book" traps and delivers a great read. This is the perfect summer vacation page-turner! Click on the book cover to the right for ordering info.


This is the first year that I can recall it not raining at Cornerstone. Every year on the 4th of July weekend there's a Christian rock music festival in western Illinois called Cornerstone...and every year it rains during the fest. Not this year. No rain. Just hot and dusty. If you were a vendor in the merch tent, it was not a fun year to be at the fest. There was so much dust you could literally watch it build up on the table and the CD's. That said, it was a fun time overall.

The highlight of the fest for me was the same as it is every year, hanging out with friends. Seeing people and artists that I don't get to see very often.

Musically, I thought this was one of the weakest line-ups yet. But there were a few great shows. My favorites were John Davis (of Superdrag) and the Lost Dogs. Both put on incredible shows that were very mature and artistic, two things lacking from most of the other sets at Cornerstone this year.

Check out my pictures from this years festival. Click on an image and read the titles and captions as you scroll through them. CLICK HERE to see the Cornerstone '05 pics!

Andre Salles at Tuesday Morning 3 AM has written a much better and more detailed piece about the fest than I could ever hope to muster, so check that out: