May 27, 2010

In Memoriam: Ronald Padavona 1942-2010

It's taken me more than 10 days to gather my thoughts and reflect on what happened that Sunday morning, May 16, 2010, when i lazily woke up, turned on the computer and went online to check out some interesting news, instead finding the worst possible one:

[Wendy Dio, wife/manager of legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio (DIO, HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW), has released the following statement:
"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45 a.m. [on Sunday] 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before he peacefully passed away. "Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. "We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. "Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. "Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever." ]

It probably took me a minute to digest what I had just read. I wasn't sitting down when I read it, and I slowly dropped to my knees. My stomach, weak with hunger (I hadn't had breakfast yet) was now overcome with a worse feeling of emptiness...

I learned about him by accident, in 2005. I listened to a great cover of Rainbow's 'Stargazer' without knowing it was a cover. I kept listening to that version (by Argentina's Adrian Barilari, also from Rata Blanca) for a whole week until I noticed two names in the booklet's credits: (R. Blackmore - R. Dio). That's how I started my journey into the great, magical world of Ronnie James Dio. After Rainbow, I set out to find out more about the man with the powerful voice, and I got hold of one of his solo band's most regular efforts: 1994's Strange Highways. I consider this album an oddity, not having a single song that can be called a single (except maybe Jesus, Mary & the Holy Ghost or Here's to You), but on the other hand, it doesn't have a bad or 'filler' song (ok, maybe Pain.) I always wondered when would I have the chance to see this man live, but circumstances made it impossible for me to do so, just like so many other artists I never had the chance to enjoy in concert. So from that year on (2005, not 1994), I have followed faithfully his every move and was overwhelmed by the success of Heaven & Hell. He was one of only 3 metal singers (next to King Diamond and Phil Anselmo) I have followed through their main bands, side projects and solo efforts. He felt like family, like I knew him since he sang 'Stargazer' on that Rainbow album, all those many years ago. So yes, what I read on the black sabbath -May 16- hurt even more so.

Me, being a 2D animator without an animation, set out a few months ago to make a short animated clip, and of course it had to be about one of the things I love in life, music. I was doing some characters and was deciding on the style I was gonna use (If you want to know, it was about Alice in Chains, an idea for a music video I had for a few years) when I read about Ronnie's health problems. You know what I did? I stopped production on the AIC vid and started on a brand new animation about the small man with the giant voice, my friend Ronnie! I even wrote him a couple months ago, telling him about it. I really wanted to have it finished sooner, but between work, other projects, and trying to do it all by myself, it was just impossible. Still, I 'm not gonna stop until I finish it, even if it takes me years to do it. So far I have everything done in pencils, now I need to transfer it to the computer to begin animating. Of course, that's the tough part, so who knows how long it might take me...

We all knew this was coming. We still didn't want to picture it. We wanted to believe that stomach cancer was like a bad flu, a bad thing but something that always had a way to best it. We lied to ourselves with hope. And I always thought that when the moment came, I would cry. Cry like when I found out my grandfather had passed away, cry like when I listened to 'Cemetery Gates' a few minutes after reading the horrifying news about Dimebag's death.

But I didn't cry. I couldn't.

More than ten days later, I finally understand why I couldn't weep for Ronnie James Dio. Unlike my grandfather, who was the first family member I ever knew that died; and unlike Dime who was taken from us so shocking and unexpectedly. Ronnie left us in a state of peace, after doing so much with his life. Just look at his life's achievements and you'll see what I mean. He was part of some of the best rock bands of another generation. He was THE voice of heavy metal. He did it all with great energy and creativity, he inspired millions, he touched them with his magic, and he led a righteous life. You can't ask for more out of anyone.

I lost count of the amount of articles about musicians dedicating kind, heartfelt words to the man, remembering him and telling the world he was one of the reasons they decided to play heavy music. Thank you Ronnie, thanks for everything you did, your words and your music will live on, I know you're in a better place now; know that everyone back here have nothing but appreciation for you and what you did while you were with us.

Maybe I'll finally meet you on the other side, if there is one...

April 23, 2010

March 30, 2010

18 Rambo, RPGs

MOVIES Maybe I can start by talking about the Rambo movies I watched since I wrote post #16. This will be quick and painless...
- First Blood: Crap. What's with this dude destroying a peaceful town? Lock him up and throw away the goddamn key, quick! Silly movie.
- Rambo First Blood II: Awesome. All Rambo movies should be about suicide missions, a lost love and the subsequent gory revenge!
- Rambo III: So many plot holes...well I know it's an action movie, but it was still a dumb movie. I felt like John was out of his element here, the desert doesn't suit him that well.
I haven't seen the last one, but it all points to a return to 'Rambo II' form, I'll cross my fingers.

Also saw Million Dollar Baby... why does every person that talks about that movie mentions they cried at the end? It was sad, sure, but I think I saw it coming. Still a great movie, I admire Hillary Swank as an actress. Morgan Freeman impeccable, as usual. And Clint, well... another memorable character, I guess! haha. I just wish his pants weren't so high, reminds me of my old man...

Up next: Up, Unforgiven, and The Wrestler.

GAMES I went insane with Steam's Holiday Sale. The problem is that I don't have time for all these games! I managed to start with the King's Quest collection, those first games are so damn hard... I still need to play Brothers in Arms, Abe's Exoddus and Company of Heroes. That's for the PC though. Since my last gaming post I've been playing a lot of DS and GBA games. Plus the games my pal [Darth Kain] lent me, two for the Game Boy Advance and 3 for the DS. The worst part is that they're mostly RPGs, so I have a lot to play on the next few months, if I'm lucky and I dedicate a lot of time to them (which we know I won't).

Also, watch this and fall in love with it, quick!

See ya!

March 25, 2010

17 Metallica, Dream Theater in Lima

MUSIC Finally, what every metal fan in Peru had only dreamed of... we saw Metallica on January 19th. It was an amazing experience, you could feel that every one of those 40,000+ souls at San Marcos Stadium was beyond themselves. Here are some pics that my friend Ricardo M. took:

As I mentioned in post # 14, the National Stadium is closed, but thankfully San Marcos will be considered for more concerts (Metallica just proved that it can be an excellent venue for... AC/DC, maybe?).
I also attended the
Dream Theater (!) concert on March 22nd, it was a shame to see so few people, with this guys being in my opinion the greatest band musician by musician, it was a magical experience, seeing John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy destroying onstage, is something I won't forget that easily. Ruddess was on top form too, rivaling Petrucci with a duel solo. So, pics!

I'm too lazy to do a proper review, so I'll just end this post here. More on games and (maybe) movies in the next post (coming up tomorrow). See ya!

November 25, 2009

16 Sergio Leone, my videogame Ruin

Last post was dedicated entirely to the last concerts I attended. So this one will be about everything BUT music.

MOVIES Wall-E was awesome, loved the idea of a future human race that lives a lie created by computers (instead of living a lie in a hell created by computers ala Matrix), The Signal was ok, you really felt the characters were going insane, you felt sorry for them (sometimes, I guess not when they turned violent!), oh! I found the Rambo quadrilogy at work and took it home... hopefully I'll start with First Blood this month.
I also watched the Sergio Leone / Clint Eastwood trilogy I talked about on post #14, and now I know why they made Eastwood a western movie hero and why those movies started a genre. Classics. Especially The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, it was jaw-dropping, if a bit too long.
I still need to see Unforgiven (to close the 'western Eastwood' saga), the last two Dirty Harry films, Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino which I picked up this month. And with those, I will put my Clint obsession to rest (or will I?)

GAMES The Nintendo DS has driven me insane... at first I couldn't put the thing down, now I can leave it for a few hours but I still feel the urge to grab that thing, open it to admire its dual screens, and get sucked into another dimension; the gaming dimension! (oOoooh). My latest reasons for staying awake until 5am (it has happened more than once) are: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Amazing Adventures: Forgotten Ruins and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. Let me tell you, the fact that all 3 have the word ruin in their titles is a huge coincidence, it hasn't been planned. Funny, my favorite Lamb of God song is called... wait! I can't talk about music in this post, what am I thinking? See ya next time!

15 Johansen, Ripper, Exodus

MUSIC Has it really been that long since I wrote on my blog? Damn this thing, sometimes I wonder why I have one :)
I won't begin
with the band everyone around here has been waiting for... I'll leave that for a later post (hopefully before the concert, yes?), but I have a few shows I did attend that I haven't written about: Kevin Johansen (august), Tim 'Ripper' Owens (september) and Kreator/Exodus (october).

People outside South America aren't familiar with Kevin Johansen and it's obvious why, he mixes Argentinean slang with english and a few invented words and makes some kind of rock/folk that doesn't sound like anything else. He was accompanied by Liniers, a famous cartoonist from Argentina where they mixed visual art with music, it was a lot of fun. A friend of mine snuck into the backstage and got an autograph from Mr. Johansen, something a lot of my female friends are undoubtedly jealous about :)

Tim 'Ripper' Owens is a guy that yo
u either love or hate. I'm sure most hardcore Judas Priest fans go for the latter, and I feel sorry for them, really... can you watch the Live in London DVD and say Ripper doesn't sing well? Quit comparing him to Halford for F's sake, and listen to the guy. You'll see how good he is. Sure, his stage presence is mediocre, but did I pay to see him jump, headbang and make the horns, or did I pay to hear him sing classics like Painkiller and Livin' After Midnight? At least the 'Ripper' can still hit those impossibly high notes. That's right, I said it. Bring it on, Halford lovers. For the rest, a picture of the event.
...and that's me, on the front left side with a white t-shirt and big-ass sideburns :)

And last but certainly not least, the killer combo of American legends Exodus supporting German thrash-masters Kreator. I had only listened to one Exodus album, and it wasn't a good indication as to what their current direction was, so I'm glad I listened to Shovel Headed Kill Machine (2005), The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A (2007) and the remastering of their first album titled Let There Be Blood (2008) just in time for the show. Their setlist was comprised mainly of these three albums, so I had no problem following the songs and moshing along to them.
My second time seeing Kreator live was a slight disappointment, as they chose to fill the second half of their set with obscure (to me) songs, and I think some people felt like this too. Still, the first half was as killer as I had expected, with soon-to-be-classics like Hordes of Chaos and Destroy What Destroys You. Here's my friend jumping off the stage at the 11-second mark:

July 3, 2009

14 Concert venues, Nintendo Wi-Fi

MUSIC Capitan Memo was awesome, the place was packed! The line to get in was a block and a half when I got there (about 15 minutes before the show started). We all sang, jumped and went back in time to when we were young and worry-free... Memo even made an example of the animals in Fables of the Green Forest, who instead of destroying the environment, live in harmony and peace with it. *sniff*
What surprised me the most was the intro sequence, shown on giant projections, which I later learned was an anime clip used to promote the new Mazinkaiser OAV series. I leave you with a YouTube video of the concert.
Capitan Memo - Intro & Festival de los Robots
Now, the subject I wrote about on my last post was the closing and refraction of the National Stadium, which won't be available either for sports or music events. The quest to find a new venue has started, with options like the Monumental Stadium and the Amauta Coliseum, but they all have problems from security to luxury suites which would allow the owners to watch the events for free). We have nothing defined yet, and AC/DC is looking for a place to play at.

MOVIES You might say my Clint Eastwood collection is complete. It might as well. The Sergio Leone Trilogy, the first four Dirty Harry movies, Hang 'Em High and The Unforgiven. All thanks to a store I found in Polvos Azules that carries all thse classic gems. I'll get Million Dollar Baby from a friend, and my sister has Gran Torino, so that's basically all the Clint movies I care to see.

GAMES So, Nintendo DS, where to begin? Should I start with the music, the movies, the pictures I can enjoy on your tiny, but inviting dual screen? The lipstick-red color of the limited New Super Mario Bros. edition? The Wi-Fi conectivity with which I can play with friends around the world as easy as multiplaying with a friend a few feet away? Or just the amazing range of games I can play on the R4 cartridge?
I can't seem to put down Trauma Center: Under the Knife and Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass. I have around fifty games waiting to be played, but I don't. have. time!