CINEMA: Destroy All Monsters

GODZILLA VS KONG (Directed by Adam Wingard, 113 min., USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The original King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) was a weird East meets West affair that simultaneously exploited Japan’s burgeoning obsession with professional wrestling and celebrated the 30th anniversary of Godzilla’s corporate overlord, Toho Co., Ltd, by having the two larger than life icons duke it out on the big screen. Now almost 60 years later, we are getting an American-produced rematch that wants to be the Batman Vs Superman of the Legendary Monsterverse. The primary difference here is that director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, […]

SH*T MY UNCLE SAYS: American Carnage Cont.

  BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Hey, hey, NRA–and the political pawns you pay to perpetuate your mass-murdering ways — how many Americans did you terminate today? If that sounds radically morbid, I certainly hope so. Since 2018 some 1,453 Americans have been killed in mass shootings in this country (I would have included the staggering mind-numbing year-by-year gun violence statistics but that still wouldn’t sway these conscienceless Republican killers one scintilla). Have Republican politicians EVER done anything substantive about gun violence? Of course not. Will they? Not a chance. Their feet and their feelings are so calloused that they can’t even […]

WORTH REPEATING: The Insurrectionist In Chief

Illustration by Andrew Zbihlyj THE NEW REPUBLIC: In February’s Senate trial to impeach and convict Donald Trump for the crime of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the modern GOP had one last shot at rescuing its long-battered image as a responsible governing party. It might have reclaimed something of its former standing as an honest broker in the American two-party system, committed (among other things) to the peaceful transition of power, the conduct of free and fair elections, and each federal lawmaker’s oath to uphold the Constitution. Instead, it chose, yet again, the path of […]


  BY JONATHAN HOULON FOLK MUSIC EDITOR Here come the Rodins!  There is a grand and awkward tradition of non-Anglos (especially the French) trying to imitate American and British pop sounds and sometimes even singing in English.  But the Rodins, in one of the greatest examples of reverse marketing since Gordon Sumner essayed an entire album on the lute, try something truly unique here:  Americans singing French pop in French!  As if that were not willfully obscure enough, on “Voyageur”, from the Rodins’ just-released self-titled EP, they recount the plight of the 19th Century French Canadian fur trapping trade.  No […]

CINEMA: Is That All There Is To A Fire?

BILLIE EILISH: The World Is A Little Blurry (dir. R.J Cutler, 140 min., USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Early on in Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Bit Blurry, the Apple+ documentary that charts the meteoric rise of the young green-tressed pop phenom, there’s a moment at a sold out concert where Eilish parts the crowd of screaming preteens like Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments so security can carry out an injured girl. Obviously shaken by the ordeal, Eilish asks the crowd if they’re okay, she then emphatically states “they need to be fucking okay, because they […]


  BY WILLIAM C. HENRY This just in: Determined to keep the former would-be Fuhrer at the forefront of their lily-white-skinned nationalist agenda, CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) has announced that effective February 28, 2021, it will be changing its acronym/name to ATAC (Annual Trump Affirming Conference).  In keeping with such action I think it only fitting and fair that some of Donnie’s phoniest, most two-faced, spineless, self-serving curtsiers and ring-kissers get a bit of well earned homage as well. I mean, it’s the least we can do. Here, in no particular order of their ignominy, are perhaps the most repellent of […]

CINEMA: Who’s Afraid Of Sam Levinson?

  MALCOLM & MARIE (directed by Sam Levinson, 106 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Malcolm & Marie is Sam Levinson’s follow-up to 2018’s Assassination Nation, which was a film that I think was a bit too smart for its marketed target demographic. I say that because copies of film that perfectly weaponized the metaphor of the social media witch hunt are always plentiful at my local used movie store. Assassination Nation was a film that stuck in my craw long after the press screening, and the more I thought about it, the more I found to appreciate […]

GO FUND THIS: Restoring The Shriner Mobile

GO FUND ME: I recently purchased the most magnificent 1948 Buick flower car that the Reading PA Shriners originally customized into a Shriner parade car. This is after years of me trying to track it down. For reasons known only to them, they grafted a Packard hood with a vertical grill to the body, above the now better remembered toothy Buick Roadmaster horizontal grill. Benches to carry a whole flock of shriners were added where the flowers once were. The really nice family that owned it vetted me and decided I was the right home for it. I’m honored! It […]

CINEMA: The Best Of Sundance 2021

  BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC This year I had the honor of attending Sundance as a member of the working  press — well, virtually that is. We are still currently in the middle of a pandemic. Sundance, the Park City, Utah-based film festival started by Robert Redford 36 years ago, is well known to film buffs for premiering the can’t-miss films of the year. This year Sundance ran from January 28th to February 3rd and screened 72 features and more than 50 shorts. I’ve attended more than a dozen virtual film fests in some capacity over the last year […]

SH*T MY UNCLE SAYS: Profiles In Cowardice

BY WILLIAM C. HENRY Listen up, all ye would-be retainers of your precious Republican (in name only) Senate and House seats, all you timid, trembling, yellow-bellied, come to truth latelies, who’d reluctantly proclaim you’re finally willing to put your country above pandering to Trump and his pestilent hoards of punks and chumps, and meekly beg the forgiveness of the REAL Republican party. Pay attention! I’m about to present you with a guaranteed, fool-proof, fail-safe means of doing the right thing, the patriotic thing, the decent thing for a change; something that just may provide you a second chance at salvaging the courage […]

CINEMA: The Dearly Departed

  JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (dir. by Shaka King, 126 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC It’s rare that you see a first time filmmaker just race out of the gate with such a grand and assured debut, which feels like something a more seasoned filmmaker could work their entire career and never achieve. But Shaka King has accomplished just that with his second feature Judas and the Black Messiah. The ambitious biopic which just premiered at Sundance is based on newly declassified documents similar to MLK/FBI and Seberg, and if you’re thinking there’s a pattern starting […]


  BY JONATHAN HOULON FOLK MUSIC EDITOR 2020 was a brutal year all around and the folk ghetto here at Phawker was hardly spared:  John Prine (covid), Jerry Jeff Walker (cancer) and Billy Joe Shaver (stroke).  And, then, they had to take down one more hero on the way out the door:  legendary bluegrass singer/guitarist Tony Rice died on Christmas … of all days.  In bluegrass circles, Rice was long acknowledged as one of the greatest ever, both as a picker and as a vocalist.  But outside that rarified jurisdiction, he is almost completely unknown to the general public.  Well, […]

ALBUM REVIEW: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

  Bad news for all you work-from-home folks. The new Psychedelic Porn Crumpets album is going to bring your house crashing to the ground. Don’t worry about it. Lucky for you, it’s also going to serve as the badass soundtrack to your new life as a gallivanting cowboy roaming the land in search of brand new sensations. The two-sided goliath, dubbed SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound, brings fans a new lease on life in the form of luscious, towering riffs, anthemic vocal melodies dripping in static, and a palatable sonic energy. Hardly a departure from their previous albums, High Visceral Pt. […]