Saturday, October 23, 2004

Newport Times article 1

Indie Music Lures Hip Crowd to Indie Movies

Daniel Lois looks like he'd be more at home at wild rock club than at the Edward's University Six Theaters. He sports a ratty thrift store t-shirt with a suit vest over it that sports a handful of one inch circular pins bearing the names of his favorite musical groups. He hair is combed a wave of spikes called a faux hawk, a more fashionable variation of the eighties punk rock mohawk. He's here not to see not the bloody zombies of Resident Evil: Apacalypse nor the kung-fu warriors of Hero, but rather the mild mannered off beat drama, Garden State. He's seen this movie before, and number of other Indie Movies that he names off to me. "Lost in Translation, The Royal Tenebaum's, I bought that one. Napoleon Dynamite, that was an indie movie, but a lot of other people came to see it."

He's not talking about the row of elderly ladies sitting in the row behind him, they don't bother him. "A lot of movies are made for morons," he tells me, " I'm into a different kind of stuff. First I was listening to indie rock, then I heard that some movies had indie rock in them and I got into those to. I see the movies in the theater and then I buy the DVDs when they come out. You could say I'm a film buff."

Indie rock describes a new kind of music outside of the mainstream that is put out on smaller record labels run by music enthusiasts not interested in purely financial gain. The music includes everything from British influenced post punk, to synth driven dance music with an eighties feel. Artists like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Franz Ferdinand, and The Killers are examples of bands that have achieved a high level of popularity without needing the backing of corporate record labels. "I think I listen to every type of indie rock," Daniel continues "and now I've been seeing most of the indie movies." When I mention that movies like Lost in Translation often draw a crowd that has more in common with his forty-something parents than teenage rock fans, Daniel points out a rock song played during the movie by the indie rock tranvestite rapper Peaches. "A lot of people might have heard that song for the first time when they were seeing the movie, but I had the CD for like a year before Lost in Translation came out. The song is awesome and it was totaly cool to hear it come on in the theater. 'F--- the Pain Away' (the Peaches song) is not on the soundtrack, but I got that too."

The music is available on CD soundtracks that are marketed alongside hip indie titles in record shops. Finding these was a gateway for Daniel into exploring less known movies that don't always play at the multi-plexes along with the blockbusters. Indie movies are made with smaller budgets that allow for more artistic freedom since their is no pressure to make back millions of dollars in production costs. They often have a quirkier characters and more bizare plots than the mainstream movies. "I did not know as much about indie film when that movie (Lost in Translation) came out, but when I heard that there was indie music in the movie I knew I should check it out and I did and I loved it." Not all the kids at his high school did. "It's got a wierder type of humor that a lot of the jocks and cheerleaders would not get." he says, as we step into the lobby to buy some Hot Tamales. "They can see the stupid Spider Man movie with the stupid Creed songs or whatever in it, and be thrilled." Daniel points out that there are no "bros" in the theater to see Garden State and a quick scan turns up only the affor mentioned senior citizens and a few girls that look like they might be art majors at UC Irvine. The term "bros" is one Daniel uses to describe more atheltic men of any age for fourteen to thirty with "muscles, big shorts, bad tattoos, maybe a trucker hat, basicaly most of Orange County." His look, he explains, would be more commonly found in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silverlake, where there are "lots of theaters playing indie movies and lots of places for indie bands to play." The bros and Daniel share one common trait, a fondness for tattoos, though Daniel assures me his have more meaning, all except for one stupid one that he now hates. It's a triple "x" on the back of his neck that he got when seventeen and he assures me that it has nothing to do with the Vin Diesel summer blockbuster of the same name. "I always tell people this. I got this tattoo a year before I even heard of Triple X. I didnt even go see it. I may not have been into indie film at the time, but even then I was not stupid enough to see that movie."

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