Search Crosstawk
Donate to Crosstawk
Contact CROSS|TAWK
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Sunday
    Oct032010

    Karl Teaches Kontinuity: Episode 2

    KTK returns in its second episode to make sense of those strange, strange comic books!

    On this episode, Karl is joined by his older, Golden Age-ier brother, Gustavo Castaneda as they get deeper into the Silver Age and how it all came crashing down, from the death of Gwen Stacy to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

    When you're done listening, be sure to explore Crosstawk.com and read Karl's review of The Social Network, subscribe to Crosstawk's brand new Twitter feed and get a great new episode of Thoroughly Manly Musicals. And when you're done there, head on over to iTunes, rate and review us, and bring it all home with an email to crosstawk@gmail.com. We want to know what you think, so get off your butt and tell us!

    With that said, we'll see you next week, folks!

    Direct Download

    Friday
    Oct012010

    Film Review: The Social Network

    There's a lot to like about The Social Network. David Fincher's a proven director with a track record of beautiful photography and an eye for interesting subject material. Aaron Sorkin's about as close to a sure thing you can get in the world of screenwriting with films like A Few Good Men and the incredibly underrated Charlie Wilson's War under his belt, not to mention being the creator and show-runner for The West Wing. Some people don't like Jesse Eisenberg, but personally, I think he's one of the most talented actors under 30 working today. Throw in a score by Trent Reznor and you've a bag of Instant Oscar Buzz. Set for 90 seconds, then wait 45 seconds while it cools. Feeds two.

    So why does this movie feel somewhat lacking?

    Honestly, I think it comes down to the haphazard depiction of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and focal point of the film's story about a young genius who'll cut anyone down on his way to glory. That isn't to say that I think it's slanderous or that the people involved with this picture have any obligation to telling the story accurately (this isn't a documentary - liberties are taken to enhance the drama and I'm fine with that). I'm talking about Mark Zuckerberg the character.

    At first I wasn't sure why I had a problem with the character, but ultimately, it's the distinct lack of pathos and character development. The Mark that opens the film is largely the same one that closes it, which would be fine were the story not centered on his relationship with Eduardo Saverin, Facebook's original CFO and Zuckerberg's best friend at Harvard, played by future Spider-Man Andrew Garfield. The more Facebook prospers, the more we see Mark and Eduardo become adversaries - we watch as their friendship deteriorates from its supposed heights in college to opposing each other in legal battles interspersed throughout the film.

    The problem here is that it's never really that clear why they were friends to begin with. Eduardo is portrayed as incredibly likable and sincere, if a little naive, while Mark hops from trashing his ex-girlfriend on the internet to screwing over business partners, all the while projecting a constant barrage of snide and condescending remarks.  Their relationship is something we're told about, but it's never something that's seen, which really lessens the emotional impact of their eventual parting of the ways.

    The closest thing Zuckerberg has to motivation in this movie is being the wounded nerd who never got over a girl, which is a point tangentially referred to two or three times during The Social Network's 2+ hour runtime. Otherwise, his reasons for doing what he's doing seem to be either random or orchestrated by Sean Parker, the founder of Napster who sees Facebook for being the billion-dollar idea that it is and hitches a ride. The story plays out around him, but we as an audience never get the feeling that he's driving it forward. While Eisenberg turns in a much more watchable and compelling performance, it's this same lack of pathos that made Brad Pitt so forgettable in Benjamin Button.

    What makes it all so obvious is that the rest of the supporting cast seems much more fleshed out. Andrew Garfield does a spectacular job bringing Eduardo to life, and we see him go from being cautiously on top of the world to finding himself way over his head to seeing all of his dreams snatched away from him. Justin Timberlake is absolutely electric as Sean Parker - he's incredibly charismatic, and he steals just about every scene he's in. Even Armie Hammer, who plays the dual role of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss,  has a more clear character arc than Zuckerberg.

    Having said that, I'd like to go into more of what I did like about The Social Network. Sorkin's dialogue is as snappy as ever, and Fincher's cuts from the past at Harvard to the present in legal hearings keeps the pace quick - 120 minutes fly right by. As I mentioned above, Garfield and Timberlake both turned in spectacular performances, and in the case of the former, I wouldn't be surprised if he received an Acadamy Award nom for Best Supporting Actor. And while I obviously had problems with the character himself, Jesse Eisenberg plays the part of a distracted, elitist intellectual absurdly well.

    I'd also be a fool not to mention the atmosphere that Fincher's able to wrap the film in, from the freezing and distinctly New England Harvard to the carefree Palo Alto to the rainy days of the legal proceedings. Reznor's score provides tons of moody ambiance, which lends a lot of intensity that wouldn't have otherwise been present.

    I really did like The Social Network. It's a brisk film, and a compelling one while you're watching it. Unfortunately, the issues with Mark Zuckerberg as a character prevent it from staying with you after you're finished, keeping it out of that upper echelon, but it's still easily recommendable.

    Sunday
    Sep262010

    Thoroughly Manly Musicals: Jesus Christ Superstar

    If you heard last week's episode of Box Office Poison, you know that Stan's got a lot to say about Norman Jewison's 70s rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. Well, he's back this week with a brand new Thoroughly Manly Musical. Give it a watch and send your thoughts over via the comments section and by emailing us at crosstawk@gmail.com!

     

    Sunday
    Sep262010

    Introducing: Discover Music Project

    From the mind of Jonathan Metts comes Crosstawk.com's newest addition: Discover Music Project. In it, Jonny and Co. will discuss music that at least one person on the show isn't terribly familiar with. The hope is that, by playing the very best from that genre/band, they (as well as you, the listener) will expand their musical horizons.

    In this debut episode, Jonny's showing off one of his personal favorites, Phish, to Box Office Poison and Rough Draught's own Mike Sklens. You might have a lot of preconcieved notions about Phish (and their dirty hippy fans), but I think you'll be plenty surprised with how much there is to like. Here's the set list:

    1. Julius (Hoist)

    2. Light (Joy)

    3. Frankenstein (Live, Miami 2003)

    4. Dirt (Farmhouse)

    5. Down With Disease (Live, Miami 2003)

    Encore:

    Trey Anastasio & Friends - "Eyes of the World" (Comes a Time)

    Also, here are a few links pertaining to things discussed in the show:

    - Beavis and Butthead Phish Crossover:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4O_X8E2zzE

    - Endless Boundaries:
    http://www.endlessboundaries.com/

    - Phish Live in Miami in December 2009:
    http://www.livephish.com/live-music/0,523/Phish-mp3-flac-download-12-28-2009-American-Airlines-Arena-Miami-FL.html

    - The Encore's Tribute Concert:
    http://stash.nugs.net/attics/cat050924.asp?artist=62&show=330&cmd=shows

    As always, send all of your questions, suggestions and concerns to crosstawk@gmail.com As Jonny notes towards the end, we're absolutely looking for your input on future episodes, so get writing! Also be sure to head on over to iTunes and rate/review us, as it's the best way to get the word out.

    Jonny and Mike did a fantastic job here, so I know you'll enjoy the episode. Come back next week when Karl Teaches Kontinuity returns!

    Direct Download

    Wednesday
    Sep222010

    Follow Crosstawk on Twitter

    So apparently if you're a website/podcast you need to be on Twitter.

    So we're on Twitter.

    Follow us and make us feel like we matter, won't you?

    You can either check us out/follow us via the widget over there on the right, or you can hit us up directly.

    I should also note that, in addition to regular plugs for things that you already know about, the Crosstawk feed will also be host to sweet, sweet drunktalk. I've been told this is the thing to do.

    Friday
    Sep172010

    That Little Box Over There

    Hey folks,

    So if you've been visiting for a while, you'll probably notice something new over to the right. Under the search button and About Me and the RSS feed and such, there's a PayPal Donation button. There's no reason to be coy about it, so why bother? The button is there to collect money from you for the purpose of growing my own bank account. There's no charity at work here. This is just plain ol' me, asking you for cash.

    Let me start out by saying that I don't really like having the button there.

    For one, I've always been of the opinion that new site features should be features, and not just window-dressing. Crosstawk.com is pretty sparse, and to be honest, I like it that way. We don't even have Google Ads. So having a button over there that serves you no purpose other than to take your money just feels kind of wrong.

    So why is it there at all? Well, Crosstawk.com is actually kind of expensive. There's the monthly plan I pay for at Squarespace.com, not to mention our hosting plan at Libsyn.com. They're not bank-breakers, but over the months, they do add up. This isn't even taking into account new episodes of Rough Draught, which entail bussing up from Miami to Tallahasee and buying new and interesting beers. That kind of endeavor costs nearly $200 per trip.

    And the thing is, I wouldn't change a thing about it. It's rewarding enough, personally, that I don't mind spending the cash to make it happen. Whether people decide to donate money or not, I'll continue to do these things, and I'd never even think to start charging for content. Everything on Crosstawk.com will always be free, and I have no illusions that people would stop listening altogether if it wasn't.

    So, to bring this awkward post to a close, I'll just say this: if you'd like to donate some money (of any amount you see as fitting), I'd appreciate it more than you could ever know. If you'd rather not, I'm still right there with you. You guys don't owe me anything, and I don't expect anything of you aside from your ear each week.

    Please believe me when I say that I'm truly grateful for you taking the time to read this,

    Karl Castaneda

    Friday
    Sep172010

    Box Office Poison: Episode 3

    Box Office Poison returns! Evan couldn't make it this month, unfortunately, but Mike's back to round out the quartet along with Jonny, Stan and Karl. This episode, we discuss The Expendables, Machete, Tommy, Black Dynamite and a whole lot more.

    For our Movie of the Month feature, it was Stan's pick, so we all sat down and watched Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Norman Jewison. Did this movie save us from the Hell that Caligula brought on, or is it another false messiah? You'll have to listen to find out.

    Next month we'll be watching: I'm Not There (2007).

    Don't forget to check out all of our other great Crosstawk shows, including the brand-new Thoroughly Manly Musicals and Karl Teaches Kontinuity. Also be sure to send all of your emails over to crosstawk@gmail.com and rate/review us on iTunes.

    That being said, we'll see you next week, folks!

    Direct Download

    Wednesday
    Sep152010

    Thoroughly Manly Musicals: Tommy

    Ever since I was a young boy, I've played the silver ball. From SoHo down to Brighton, I must have played them all. But I ain't seen nothing like this in any amusement hall. That throughly manly music dude... sure edits a mean video?

    That's right. This week, Stan's tackling the the 1975 rock opera, Tommy, based on The Who's 1969 album. I could try and sum up what the movie's about, but honestly, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Just watch. You'll see what I mean.

    Friday
    Sep102010

    Introducing: Karl Teaches Kontinuity

    This week you're in for a brand new show from Crosstawk: Karl Teaches Kontinuity.

    In it, I, Karl Castaneda, will go in-depth and explain all of the convoluted weirdness that is comic book continuity. For this first episode, we'll be getting into the various Ages of the comic book industry, starting with the Golden Age, and explaining the begining of the Silver Age. This is the first of a two-parter, so be sure to come back next time to hear the rest of the story.

    Also, don't forget to write in about any of Crosstawk's shows at crosstawk@gmail.com and head on over to iTunes to rate and review us. We've had a few reviews show up recently, and the only way to get the word out is to write more.

    Next week Box Office Poison returns, so see you then!

    Direct Download

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Listening back, I noticed that I mistakenly referred to Earth-2 as being the Earth where the Silver Age heroes live. This is not correct, so when I later refer that Earth as where the Golden Age heroes reside, pretend I was saying that the whole time!

    Saturday
    Sep042010

    Thoroughly Manly Musicals: Across the Universe

    Proving that he runs on Duracell batteries and badass flannel robes, Stan Ferguson's back with a brand new edition of Thoroughly Manly Musicals. This week, Stan's talking about Across the Universe, the Beatles-inspired 2007 love story directed by Julie Taymor. Like the song goes, Stan's getting better all the time.

    Enjoy: