Bob Boilen describes Father Figures as “It was brash, zany, brainy, scary and danceable.” The band formed in NYU around 2007 with Adam Schatz on sax and effects, Jas Walton on sax, Spencer Zahn on upright bass, Ian Chang on drums and Ross Edwards on keyboards.
“Doomed To Fail” is fast and rocking but very jazzy. The two saxes play fast romping riffs while the keys play along. Then things slow down as the bass and keyboards play a trippy, spacey-sounding melody (with occasional accents from the saxes). The middle is noisy and skronky with some great rock bass and drums holding it down. The song builds and builds to a shrieking climax at which point the drummer gives few clicks on his snare before the song resumes again for a brief coda
“This Is The Way We Mean” opens with the 2 saxes playing off of each other before the bass comes in and lays a rhythm down. Then it slows down with more cool, echoing synth sections. One of the sax players starts playing percussion—including things all over Bob’s desk.
The first two songs are about 5 minutes each, but the last one is ten. “Where Did You Come From?” opens slowly and kind of trippy but it slows even further at the 3 minute mark to just some taps on the snare and bass notes. Saxes come in around six minutes but it’s really fun to watch Chang on drums as he’s quite animated. This song is interesting because although it keeps building and building, there is no extravagant climax, it fades quietly as it began.
[READ: July 5, 2016] Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors
By now, the Desmond Pucket series is in full swing (how can Tatulli write these books as well as a daily comic strip?). Desmond is headed to 7th grade. I like that the events of the summer (the previous book) have a huge impact on this book and that things aren’t simply stagnant in the Pucket-verse.
Like the other two books, this one is a really fast read (it’s over 200 pages but feels like it’s about 50). And it’s chock full of fun illustrations (that are by “Desmond”) as well.
In fact even though Desmond is heading back to the same school, this year he’s a 7th grader–he’s weirded out about being in the same building but in a different hallway (and the dorky outfit he has to wear for going back to school).
When he gets to the first class–writing, their teacher tell them to write something original about what they did that summer–but they can do in whatever style they want. And so Desmond creates a graphic novel. I love that the graphic novel recaps the previous summer in a great fashion and sets us up for this action of this book. He gets a B+and is pretty happy about that. But he is unhappy about the note at the end of the book: The Cloverfield Jr High Carnival of Horrors is to be cancelled this year.
In sum: the junior high principal was awesome. She was open to all kinds of things and realized that the school could make a lot of money with a good haunted house. And the money they raised went to the library (this book loves libraries so much, I have to sing its praises even more).
So why is it cancelled this year? Well, Principal Badonkus was promoted to superintendent of Schools (which actually happened in our town, too) and to Desmond’s horror, Mr Needles has been made principal (That didn’t happen in our town). Needles hates Desmond (and vice versa).
And this year Needles has a toady, Keith Schimsky. Last summer Keith helped Desmond to create the scariest things around. But he got in trouble for it and went to military school. He grew huge and intense and he is now willing to do anything to help Needles.
Desmond is really worried that his scaring days are over. So he goes to the library. Ms Ruebbles is there to give him some good advice, “Look around here. What do you see? Answers. They’re all right here at the library.”
And Desmond finds a story that inspires him (I won’t give it away). Soon enough there is going to be another Carnival of Horrors. But, Keith Shimsky will be in charge of it and not Desmond (as he had hoped, obviously).
Through a great plot device (and colorful middle section) Desmond discovers the old gym in the school and imagines turning it into a second haunted horrorfest. He even talks Needles into letting them have a contest to see whose scary house is better.
There’s a plot in here which I also want to mention because it’s the kind of thing that can happen: Ms Ruebbels tells Desmond that she is leaving “because they cut my job to two days a week and I can’t afford to work for just two days…they’ll use parent volunteers for the other three days.” Don’t let that kind of thing happen! And good for Tatulli for bringing it up.
As Desmond and his gang get the old gym ready for these frights, Desmond hits a major road block–all of his monsters (that he bought in the previous book) were stolen. And there is one major suspect.
Then comes the blackmail: Keith will give back the monsters if Desmond agrees to lose the contest–to make his haunted house really lame (there’s an element that I won’t give away here).
And so, Desmond, master horror maker, does make a lame haunted house–the older kids who bought the first tickets come out very unhappy. Part of the deal was that whoever lost the bet would give up scaring forever. Is Desmond going to lose his fake fangs and super creepy effects?
The answer is fantastic.
And so is the end of the book, which includes a graphic novel epilogue and a section called Make Your Own Monster Magic with Desmond’s Notes.
The two things it shows you how to make are fake boogers (using rubber cement), a great gag to play on Halloween if you can remove your screen door, and the best one yet–how to make a ghost mask. Important ingredients at hobby and crafts stores include Fast Drying Mold Making Mix and light weight flexible fast drying foam (these help to make a mold of your head) And I must see if I can find some. Thanks, Mr Tatulli.