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Things We Like: Uninivited Guests, Crazed Hippies and Bowling

23 January 2010 Things We Like 949,748 views One CommentPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

Every Saturday, we rummage though our bookshelves, toy boxes, DVDs, music collections and stacks of assorted stuff to pick out a few choice items that will make your life better.

Scarecrow Video’s Movie of the Week: “Blue Sunshine” (1976), directed by Jeff Lieberman

A group of ex-hippies are haunted by some bad acid they took back in the ‘60s that turns them into bald homicidal maniacs who hate loud disco music. It’s up to a guy named Jerry Zipkin (Zalman King, who quit acting and went on to produce and direct softcore sex films such as “Two Moon Junction” and “The Red Shoe Diaries”) to figure out what the hell is going on. “Blue Sunshine” has a great concept and some memorable scenes but is a little light on the suspense and too much time is devoted to “political intrigue.” Still, the scene with one of the bald psychos freaking out in a disco is worth the rental price — and when you throw in death by fireplace, some cool cinematography and an unusual soundtrack, you have a forgotten, low-budget ‘70s flick worthy of reevaluation. Lieberman also directed the great killer worm movie “Squirm.”Spenser Hoyt

Elliott Bay Book Company’s Suggested Reading: “The Pets” by Bragi Olafsson

According to the Icelandic newspaper DV, Bragi Olafsson — better known as the bassist for The Sugarcubes — is now “among (Iceland’s) best authors.” So says the blurb on the back of this slim and attractive volume. It was the second release from University of Rochester’s Open Letter Press, which publishes translations exclusively. There is something about the cover that can burn the retinas of you eyes from across the room, it practically commands you to walk over and pick it up. It is alluring, unassuming, and, you can’t help but feel it, a little bit dangerous.

Much like the Hammerstein epigraph (“Some enchanted evening…” etc), it seems innocent and charming at first. Emil is an international traveler returning home, giddy at having made a date with a woman he met on the plane, looking forward to the comforts of home. He scarcely gets to set down his bags when his peace is affronted by the knock of a particularly unwelcome visitor. What does our hero do? He hides under the bed, where he will remain for the bulk of the novel.

The brilliance of Olafsson’s novel is that what at first seems like an unforgivable act of cowardice is made almost excusable as the backstory is revealed. This visitor is a terrible person. And the progress of the story is just as terrifying going forward, as the
unwelcome guest answers Emil’s telephone, invites his friends over, drinks his beer, and intercepts the rendezvous with the girl from the airplane. It is a story that stretches out far beyond the pages which contain it, and it manages to expertly walk the line between being smartly funny and psychologically terrifying. – Christopher Sabatini

Your favorite bowling alley

When Leilani Lanes, a tiki-themed bowling alley in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, was torn down to make way for high-rise condominiums, I said nothing. Then the bowling alley in my neighborhood of Ballard, the late Sunset Bowl, was closed for similar reasons, and in the wake of its destruction — it’s being demolished even as I write this — I have to hop up on the ball return, all Lorax-like, and speak for the neighborhood bowling alley. It’s all too easy to take them for granted, but please consider the alternatives: Grossly overpriced “bowling lounges” like Lucky Strike Lanes, or worse still, no bowling alleys at all.

Bowling is fun. You may stink at it (so do I), but the really good bowlers generally don’t get in your face if you can’t keep your mind out of the gutter, so the intimidation factor is low. It’s one of the few sports you can play with a bellyful of nachos and beer. And it’s the epicenter of the slacker faith that is Dudeism, “the slowest-growing religion in the world.” For these reasons, among many others (pull tabs, funky rental shoes, the childlike simplicity of Wii Bowling), I implore you to visit your favorite bowling alley tonight and show it you care. Hug it, Dude. Hug it. – Geoff Carter


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One Comment »

  1. Have you hugged your local bowling alley lately?

    I’m glad to say I have only seen one of our bowling alleys close. As a child of the 80’s I practically grew up in a dirty, smoked filled, bowling alley. My mom and dad were avid bowlers, and now it’s one of my favorite places to go on dates with my husband.

    Unfortunately I can’t say the same for our roller rinks. As a former roller girl, I want to remind people that roller rinks need hugs too. So, next time you rent some funky (looking and smelling) bowling shoes, remember the equally funky rolling cousin, the skate.

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