March 31, 2010

5 Spintos 1 Crumar

March 27, 2010

Tui's Play-Doc Festival

Last week we were fortunate enough to do what we do in Galecia's Tui. We flew over as part of the town's amazing Play-Doc Festival.

Besides the amazing people, delicious food, and delightful friendships we found around every corner, we also managed to see some great films. Play-Doc is a festival built around documentary films. Filmmakers from all over the world flood the small Spanish town with the sorts of films that tell the best stories... true ones.

As I had not heard of these films before the festival, I figure a lot of you may not have heard of them either. So, here are the fraction of the films I was able to enjoy during the festival:

Perhaps the greatest pleasure of the week were the creations of a New Yorker living in San Francisco. Jay Rosenblatt was a featured artist at the festival and I was able to catch 5 of his short films. Jay uses found footage and manipulates it to tell stories from his own life. Bullying, suicide, impending doom and the personal lives of dictators were 4 themes he took on. The fifth was a bit different. It was called 9 Lives. 9 Lives is simply footage of Jay's cat dreaming of its past lives.
Being able to see a collection of films by Jay Rosenblatt made each individual film stand out. Using found footage from old propaganda films, student instructional films and nature programs in all his work had a much lerger impact than I thought it would. He reimagines the footage to make it his own. Scenes in which Hitler is standing above the German masses would be soundtracked by a German voice actor, playing the role of Hitler, discussing what foods gave him gas. It was great. I wish I could have seen more of his work.

Sweetgrass won the best feature length documentary at the festival. It documents a year in the life of a sheep farmer. The main chunk of the movie shows the crazy trip the farmer takes his sheep on so they can spend the summer grazing upon greener pastures atop a Montana mountain range. The film had long stretches in which little to no dialogue or music existed except for the sound of hundreds of sheep clopping up a mountain in a wave of wool. During a Q and A after the film, the director, Ilisa Barbash, mentioned that each shot was edited to be a bit longer than anyone could stand as it helps reflect the lifestyle of the cowboys featured. I got a kick out of that. There was also a great joke in the film that you will have to hear for yourself.


The first film I was able to see spoke on the chaos of urbanized China. It was an effective film in that it made me fear life in an overpopulated city. It was basically the opposite of Sweetgrass. This picture was a collection of a few different documentarians showing the ridiculous difficulty of cramming millions of people atop millions of people in urbanized China. Pollution, insanity, and corruption within the police force are all shown. The most powerful scene is when a filmmaker captures an abandoned baby in a park. Many people gather and discuss what to do, but when the baby won't drink the milk they are offering, the crowd slowly dissipates until no one is left to help the baby. I had a friend living in China who had told me similar stories, so this film, unfortunately, left me being truly afraid of China.

The Marina Experiment

I wanted to briefly mention that one of Tom and Sam's favorites was the Marina Experiment. We ate a meal and had some drinks with the star and director, Marina Lutz, who was fascinating and friendly. She mentioned that the film will be up in its entirety on her website (linked above) for a few more days, so take a deep breath and see it for yourself.

Goodbye, How are you?

I just wanted to briefly touch on this film as I don't really know what it is about. I caught the final 20 minutes of it, but it was not in English. That being said, the audience laughter and the vivid cinematography make me want to track down an English version. Check out the clip on the Play-Doc site, it is beautiful.

Finally, we need to give a shout out to Chryde and La Blogotheque. He was another featured artist at Play-Doc for the body of work that is known as Takeaway Shows. If you are unfamiliar with Chryde and his takeaway shows, you most definitely have to watch at least a dozen of them. The Spinto Band were the first band to be featured on the site, thus our invitation to Play-Doc, and ever since Chryde and V-Moon have been filming some true gems. Plus, Chryde is a great dancer and is starting work on something he calls Takeaway Chef.

There are clips of all the films up on the Play-Doc website. Upon leaving Tui, I had a new appreciation for documentary film and the love and devotion that is put into it. It exists happily in the center of art and storytelling and history.

March 23, 2010

Show Announcement

Young and old alike... Come join us during a quieter kookier performance for a fun-tastic afternoon with the awesome kidrockers. This event is focused on youngsters. So if you are a youngster or look after a youngster, come on down to the world cafe in Philadelphia on April 10th at 11:30 am.

March 14, 2010


Well we are pretty excited to be taking a break from playing nintendo recording our album to perform at the 2010 pLAY-dOC Festival in Tui, Spain. It's an international documentary film festival so we hope to catch some good flicks as well. Sam's been practicing his Spanish, but he can't remember how to say "pleased to meet you" (it's "mucho gusto", by the way - Ed.) so we may be running the risk of seeming impolite.

If any readers of this blog are in the area that weekend, they should seriously stop by. I really hope that kid in the red cape and yellow crown is going to be there.

March 7, 2010

The East End Cafe, RIP

Last week we said goodbye to a great part of our rock n roll childhood. Newark Delaware's East End Cafe, the first bar to ever allow the spinto band on stage, closed its doors forever. As you can read about over at Ryan's Pulp Culture, the final hurrah of the bar became quite the send off for a Main Street staple for everyone that has spent more than 8 semesters worth of time in the U of D town. We all loved those early East End days, and it all came rushing back when we spent one last night and had one last round of drinks. We were able to collect on the stage for one last photo before all mayhem broke out. When I got home that night, I wrote Scott Birney (of the Sin City Band) ... I figured I could paste in those words with some photos Tom had as our own little ode to the East End:

Hey Scott- just wanted to write as I stumble onto a computer tonite. The East End holds a great spot in my mind. I shed a few tears on the way home as I thought about those good old days. I remember getting all caught up in how high I should turn up my guitar just in case people caught me messing up...

back in the 7 man spinto band I used to struggle with another thought of whether or not to have a beer to help get rid of the butterflies in my stomach. Would the beer effect my shitty playing? probably... I better hold off.

The East End Cafe for me was an entrance to some sort of realm of adulthood. I don't know if that's an accurate statement, but it seems to speak the truth. The Spinto Band always had the East End. We played shows there before we knew how to play shows and its all thanks to you. You ushered us on stage and the whole audience knew they better not be too harsh as those were Scotto's boys on stage and that meant a lot.

We may never have stepped on stage in a bar if it weren't for the east end. After all the bars in all the lands, that statement seems preposterous, but I think its true. Everyone was perfectly content just hanging in the basement with the four track. In those early days, we had no desire to play live. But then those packed east end shows took place and all Jeff and Joe's friends were shaking their newly developed bodies all over and, upon that stage, we all became men.

I put that last sentence in as a chanelling of Albert Birney. Him and Moses always pull the "This used to be a hell of a country" Card and I think it stands true in the parking lot of the East End Cafe on closing night.

Here we are- a great monument of so much falls in newark, undoubtedly to be replaced by some sort of intolerable cement block and all I can think about is how you trusted a bunch of teenagers atop that stage and helped build our confidence in what has eventually shaped into a career. That stage is the most memorable part of everything for me being in the spinto band.

Thanks for giving us that opportunity. It really became something more than I imagined tonite. While I regret not hanging out at the east end cafe more during the last few years, I can undoubtedly say that the fondest of memories bellowed from its floorboards and resonated within its walls tonite. When I was in a time where hanging out in bars seemed like the coolest thing a dude could do, it was playing at a bar that set me straight and helped make me whatever the heck I am today.

So whether it is the era or the bar or just the whole process of growing up, I think we all owe one or two to that dingy bar.

The Pictures below were taken on the final night of the East End Cafe. March 1st 2010:

We were able to share the stage one last time with Sin City.

the marquee

the last time the spinto band took the stage at the east end cafe.