Monday, 28 July 2008

No No Zero Reviews, News & Rejected Demos!

For anyone knee-knocked for new No No Zero content, I present the following newish reviews of our record, along with our official page for garage database supreme Grunnen Rocks - a proud moment on the internet for any band deemed so worthy. In there before five digits!

The Bad News: As you may have noticed, our official band website has been down for many months now. Why is this? To be honest, I impregnated our webmistress and she has borne my seed, and is now too busy breastfeeding to update our site.

So if you think you might be up to the task of occasional updates (I think I'll still do most of the small update stuff here), picture dumps, and maybe even a redesign, let me know. The only problem is you'd have to be willing to do this for free. I can't even impregnate you.

The Good News: I'm not promising anything here but it looks like we may be recording again shortly. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I submit for your acumen some demos I recorded at home over the last couple of years for the band that they've graciously rejected.

In other words, these are songs you probably won't be hearing again (and maybe that's for the best?).

May not be suitable for your workplace. You've been warned.

Gimmie The Nasty
Shut Out The Outside World
Double Twat
Faux Snuff

Friday, 25 July 2008

Porno Theatre!

I recently met up with Starkweather Fix skin-pounder Jay Matuschka, not to record, but to go check out a porno theatre. He's been to Show World in NYC, the lucky bastard, but had never been to Toronto's own Metro Theatre, at 677 Bloor Street West, just a few blocks west of Bathurst. I had been to the Metro a few times before, so I was able to act as our guide for the journey.

The Metro is a grand old movie house, or at least it was in better days; operating for decades now as a porno palace, it first opened very respectfully in 1938. Built in the art deco style, it is presently divided into two movie houses, the Metro and the Riviera, the later interior of which is by far the nicer. It's been for sale for years and so could vanish at any time I suppose, but for now it's the last proper Canadian porno theatre east of the Fox in Vancouver.

The theatre has been used in recent decades to show Indian films, exploitation films, martial arts films, horror films - basically anything with an audience willing to make their way to Koreatown to see it. It's served as concert hall and movie location (1985 Can-Con atrocity The Porn Murders aka Blue Murder). It was the site of the first Kung Fu Fridays, and even Quentin Tarantino has been there (to see Master Killer, no less). Primarily though, the Metro has shown porno movies, from Golden Age reels to today's digital disc and video tapes.

Incidentally, when I first went to the Metro, along with a group of inebriated friends, they were still showing actual films, and I was tickled to see there was no regard whatsoever given to making connections between reels; images would cut from a hardcore orgy to a conversation in some other film entirely, only to switch again a short time later to some third unrelated segment of the first film. When it came time for the theatre to close (11pm), the staff simply closed the curtain while the scene being played continued.

As Jay and I made our way to the Metro, I noted something I'd figured out from going there before; namely, that despite the strictly hetero action on the big screen, there tends to be a great deal of same-sex action everywhere else in the building (theatre seats, bathroom, etc.). If you were to actually produce your penis in the place, one senses, you'd suddenly be very popular indeed.

So yeah, lots of cruising, we're all on the same page. If you just wanna watch the movie, aisle seats are best and, assuming you don't want to be cruised, eye contact should probably be kept to a minimum. Some guys in there will rotate around the theatre, switching their seat every few minutes, eye-balling whoever their new company happens to be; if you just watch the movie and keep it in your pants, you're left alone in my experience.

Upon entering the theatre this evening, we paid $9 and were told our ticket was good for either the Metro proper or the Riviera. Like all good bad-doers, we chose the left-hand path, and that takes one to the Metro in this case - a tall, squat room that is largely dull and grey at this point. Ladders and various crap lay strewn about the stage in front of the screen - a stage which once featured live dancers between films, no less. Open the front door of the Metro and you can still see the signed 8x10s of visiting porno greats, including the ubiquitous Ron Jeremy.

The last time I'd visited the Metro was around lunchtime on a hot late-summer day last year. I was particularly 'sun-struck' that afternoon shall we say, and suddenly emerging into the cool AC of the pitch-black theatre was, for me, truly weird. Out of that big darkness and flickering porn, there slowly emerged the fact of some two dozen men standing against the wall behind the back row of seats, all more or less looking over at me.

As I did then, I did again, shuffling down the aisle, sitting about two-thirds of the way down towards the screen just like I would at any other movie, and again on the left-hand side. The room was pretty barren tonight; maybe a dozen people spread thinly throughout the seats - those distinctive Metro seats which are such a key part of the experience of going, lush beyond imagining, falling back much further than any other similar chair I've ever sat in, with a nice loud creak.

Time and space are manipulated in all movie houses of course, but something about the Metro makes the sense of time here even stranger and more elongated; perhaps it is the fact that one is paying not to see any one film or films, but simply to be let into the theatre, which is always playing a film and takes no breaks whatsoever (and there are no in and out privileges). Much like some theatres in the States then, you can pay to stay for the day, munching on candy counter treats and popcorn, drinking pop and enjoying the cool dark along with whoever else is there.

You relax. The action onscreen comes in fits of course, like sex itself. Sometimes there is a palpable sense of rising tension in the room as a scene comes to conclusion, a mass throb and bob; people usually leave after a scene ends, and rarely in the middle of one. The fan buzzes and burrs, the EXIT sign flashes red and green and blue, and I spend far too long trying to imagine what possible code this communicates to patrons cleverer than I.

The porno theatre - the real deal, not a small cube in the back of an adult bookstore where you whack it to a small screen - operates as a magical place and you are paying to experience something here that is now fairly rare, at least in this part of the world - a mass viewing of sex, the act of human sex. Sometimes there are women there in the audience but mostly it is men and they are all sitting quietly in a big dark room watching a big screen where people dedicate themselves to getting each other off sexually, preferably in particularly degrading or kinky ways. I think that's pretty amazing, really.

In retrospect, the sex was always pretty strong stuff at the Metro. You can perhaps understand why: most of the people coming here are coming here habitually at this point and they, like pervert connoisseurs, seek out the stronger and more extreme XXX after time enough spent with the status quo*. The first time I was here, as a money shot became imminent onscreen, an older man yelled out - "Shoot the bitch! Shoot the bitch!"

The film playing tonight, just starting I believe when we came in, was something featuring not only now 'standard fare' like DPs and ATM but implied piss and scat, and even a few shots of a cigarette being put out post-coitus on a guy's (obviously phony) dick. There was also a person present in every scene, not involved with the sex but filming it, thereby adding a certain meta-quality to the proceedings. I didn't know anybody onscreen's name but Jay informed me that Randy Spears himself was the 'that guy' I'd seen in so many bad 80s pornos before.

After awhile, I suggested we check out the Riviera. It turned out that the Riviera had closed at 10 and it was now almost 11, closing time. So, rather than return to our seats, we spent some time chatting with the guy working there, who was very pleasant and easy-going. He confirmed to me that the Metro's basement was indeed filled with awesome treasures of bygone days but left it at that, and suggested I call the owner if I wanted more information.

Ha! I barely had the $9 to get in. But a man can dream, can't he.

My advice is to check it out while you still can. Sink into the seat. Contemplate the anal, the blow job, the reverse cowboy. It's a flash in the pan from Deep Throat to the VCR (not to mention the internet), and this theatre's days are most definitely numbered. Until punk rockers start screwing onstage or something (and won't the rest of us seem square when that happens?), where are you going to go to be with other people and see people have sex with people?

* not to get into an argument here about how people might gravitate towards 'the hard porn', that's a whole other topic in itself.