Monday, September 22, 2008

Muppetite for Destruction?

This cracked me up...

Done by Memo Diaz.

My Yuppification Continues...

First Starbucks made me compromise my morals and got me through their doors with those thirst-quenching Green Tea Lemonades they so evilly offer. Now, as the seasons change and the weather cools, I thought I'd finally be able to break free of their corporate coffee grip. But no, now they have to go and start selling these irresistible Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Curse you, Howard Schultz!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pio Pio Salon

While Mutsumi and I can usually quickly agree on food, this week our Saturday dinner discussion quickly devolved into a heated debate. She was adamant about going to Kyoya for Japanese and I dug my heels in on Hill Country BBQ. So rather than continue our impasse while our stomachs grumbled, we each relented and threw caution to the wind, venturing out into the wilds of the Upper West Side to try out one of the many new up-and-coming eateries in our neighborhood.

My buddy Nick Lowe, the Marvel Comics editor, not the "Cruel to Be Kind" crooner, recently invited me to one of his post-softball drink-ups at Dive Bar on 96th and Amsterdam Avenue. And while I walked the fourteen blocks up Amsterdam between my apartment and the bar that evening, I was amazed at how many new restaurants had opened up on that strip. I'd eaten Italian at the always incredible Celeste on 84th and of course had all kinds of appetizing at Barney Greengrass on 85th, but beyond that a new alley of Amsterdam eateries had sprung up.

We stepped out Saturday night really wanting to try this new Belgian Brasserie that's been promising to open up, the B. Cafe, but that was a no-go as it was still under construction. We'd recently tried the Mermaid Inn next door to it, and found the food overrated and the service lacking. So we kept walking. We kept passing restaurant after restaurant and got hungrier and hungrier as we couldn't make up our minds. We were about to call it quits and just turn back to settle in at the ol' reliable Saigon Grill when a boisterous little corner joint suddenly caught our attention... the PIO PIO SALON on the corner of Amsterdam and 94th. A quick look over their Peruvian menu told us we had found the place where we would fill our bellies. And we knew soon after stepping in that we'd made the right call.

PIO PIO was excellent!! We weren't really all too familiar with Peruvian food and didn't recognize a lot of what was on the menu, but we've always been adventurous and that proved to be a good thing here. We asked questions, took recommendations and eventually ordered much too much food, enough to make the waiter question the size of our order. But we forged ahead, eyes bigger than our stomachs, and didn't regret it as every dish was absolutely delicious!

The simple avocado salad we had to start, packed with fresh, crisp vegetables, was the perfect warm-up to the Palta Rellena Con Camarones, which was half an avocado stuffed with large grileld shrimp topped with corn, red onion and this amazing lime-cilantro dressing. That then lead us into the Papa Rellena which was a football-shaped mass of deep-fried mashed potatoes stuffed with a Peruvian meat sauce that was simply fantastic in its use of spice and mix of flavors! And those were just the starters. Next came the Arroz Con Mariscos, or Rice with Seafood, which was a plate of food that could have fed four to six people. It was piled high with clams, mussels, squid, octopus, shrimp, scallops and a huge prawn sitting like an angel on top of it all. There was more seafood than rice in the dish! And it was cooked to perfection! This was all accompanied by a side order of Salchipapa, which is basically french fries and hot dogs. Needless to say, we did end up taking food home. Oh, and I'd be remiss, if I didn't mention the amazing jalapeno garlic dressing/sauce they keep on each table as a condiment. It was out of this world and we were able to sweet talk the recipe for it out of them!

As for atmosphere, it was loud, boisterous and a lot of fun. The place was packed to the gills with people who were clearly regulars, mostly large groups of families and friends. Everyone seemed to be drinking and having a good time. The sangria flowed like water, the music was pumping and there were many occasions when the entire place erupted into song. So if you're looking for a quiet date spot for you and your significant other, this is not that place. But if you're on the market for an amazing eating experience with wonderful food and warm people, PIO PIO is definitely a restaurant I recommend you check out.

Oh, and as for prices... we had one salad, two appetizers, one entree for two and a side dish, plus plenty of sangria and beer. The bill came to only $65.00! You can't beat that.

With PIO PIO now in the neighborhood, we might not be exploring the Upper West Side much more anytime soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not Fade Away

From the far reaches of the back of our closet, I just pulled out a tie-dyed Grateful Dead tour shirt from the summer of 1990. Yes, The Dead. You may not know it from knowing me, but I was into them back in the day. Kinda. You couldn't call my '80s metal-loving ass a Deadhead, but every summer, me and my friends would pack up and head out to the Meadowlands when Jerry and Co. rolled into town.

To be honest, I went to Dead shows more for the experience than anything else. I always loved that sense of community that surrounded the Grateful Dead. That sense of family. That togetherness. I was never a drug user, so the weed and acid never held much appeal for me. I let my friends smoke their bones and drop the "orange creamsicle" or whatever was going around that summer. Although I do remember partaking of a little nitrous from these massive balloons we bought from a guy who had tanks of it in the back of his rented U-Haul. But usually I sat around and drank beer, hung out and took it all in. And played hacky sack. I kicked ass at hacky sack. Still do.

I did score tickets and go in and see the live spectacle that was the Dead on three or four occasions. And I enjoyed it every time. They were always great live. No denying that. I remember someone freaking out as they played Dark Star during one of their sets one year which I guess they hadn't played in years. However, the song I always loved and waited to see them play live was "Not Fade Away". Yes, it was a cover, but it was always the song that bonded the crowd in my opinion. I clearly and fondly remember that whenever the chorus rolled around it was like being part of a big stadium-wide group hug as tens of thousands of Deadheads stood and embraced and swayed and chanted to the groove. Then the music would stop but the crowd kept on singing... "Not fade away"... over and over and over. I still so love their version of it.

So in honor of finding that old Dead shirt, I'm cracking a beer, putting on a live version of "Not Fade Away", and toasting the spirit of good old Jerry G., whose left me with fond memories of many a summer gone by. But one thing I won't be doing is putting on said shirt, which definitely no longer fits after 18 years.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Cowbell

Flipping channels and caught the closing credits of BALLS OF FURY. Christopher Walken was singing Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me". Never saw the film but that alone might have been worth the price of admission.

Goran & Eames Still in Our Hood

They're filming Law & Order: Criminal Intent for the third day in a row outside our building. They've moved around from the main church on 82nd St., to expand over a three block radius shoot yesterday, and have now condensed back down into the church rectory today. Still haven't caught a glimpse of D'Onofrio, Erbe or Goldblum yet though, despite Mutsumi's attempts to find them.

Seeing all this Hollywood style hustle and bustle gets me excited for some reason.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Aviles Report

As problems with my camera and internet connection prevented me from blogging while I was in Aviles, Chris Weston has posted a great recap of what was truly a wonderful convention experience...

And if I ever get their permission to post it, I do have video of Liam's "concert" as well as the now legendary Jusko/Oeming chicken fight!

Afro Samurai: Resurrection

The trailer for the sequel to the Afro Samurai anime series, which I had the pleasure of working on for Gonzo and Spike TV, is now up online...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

More X-Infernus MySpace News

Just got some great news from my buddy Sam over at MySpace...

"Hey guys –

We’re experimenting with a new “Featured Tab” on the home page, and I was able to get X-INFERNUS/MCOCB in there for today!

It serves to roughly 50% of people logging in or going to the home page. Screenshot below.

Have a great weekend."

Check it out...

Better Off Drew?

A few news sources are reporting that painter Drew Struzan is retiring, which caught me a bit by surprise. Drew is easily the most prolific movie poster artist of all time and I just expected to always see his art gracing new release posters in theaters. While it's disappointing we may not be treated to anything new from him in the near future, here's to hoping his retirement will be as short-lived as Jay-Z's and Brett Favre's. For any who haven't seen it, a few years ago there was an artbook published of Drew's collected work, OEUVRE, and I high recommend checking it out. And while we all have the iconic images from such huge franchise film posters as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Harry Potter forever burned into our minds, let's not forget his wonderful work on some less popular films, such as Coming To America, Adventures in Babysitting and this classic gem...

Friday, September 05, 2008

X-Infernus Artist Revealed!

X-Infernus Art & Artist Are Revealed In This Week’s MyCup o’ CB!

This week, fan favorite writer C.B Cebulski takes over the reigns of MyCup o’ Joe for the very first MyCup o’ CB at and reveals X-citing news! Who’s the artist on the fiery X-Infernus? C.B. has the answers! Want a first look at their rendition of the X-Men? C.B’s got that too PLUS news on Loners, Chesterquest and more! As always, Marvel EiC Joe Quesada has answers to your fan questions and an exclusive preview of X-Men: Worlds Apart!

Make sure to click over to for all the X-News straight from C.B Cebulski and answers to your questions from Joe Q! Don’t forget to leave your questions for Joe—he’ll be back next weeks with answers to loads of your queries!

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