Bilgemunky at Chicago Maritime Festival

If you’re in the neighborhood, this Saturday Chicago will be hosting its 2009 Maritime Festival. Event features loads of sea shanties (including Bounding Main!), plus I’ll be revisiting my 2008 multimedia presentation Pirate-Core: Sea Shanties in the 21st Century…

As a musical genre, the sea chantey has gone largely unchanged since the age of sail. But where most maritime artists have chosen to embrace and preserve the rich heritage of this music, others have opted to take their fascination with the sea into surprising new directions. This session will explore the development and current state of Piratecore, a relatively young yet incredibly diverse musical genre that blends the traditional sea chantey with such contemporary styles as rock, rap, punk, metal, and more.

Hope ta see ya there!

“Pirates of the Carrots and Peas” FAILS!

Meet the Pirates of the Carrots and Peas – Modern Healthcare.

I gotta call foul on this one – it is not ok to take our precious piracy and recklessly utilize it towards any and all projects, organizations, or causes. Pirates of the Carrots and Peas is “a determined band of healthcare policy experts and human resource specialists whose aim is to improve worker productivity and lower health spending, saving companies millions.”

Really? Sorry mates, but that just doesn’t pass muster. I’m not commenting on the worthiness of the cause, just the title “Pirates of the Carrots and Peas.” Veggie Tales trying to pose as pirates was bad enough, but at least they did it in a funny way. But trying to make corporate health care reform sexy by incluing the word pirate is just weak. And I have to wonder where excessive rum consumption fits within the PotCaP’s policies, hrmmm? Although Spaniard stabbin’ does make for some right fine aerobic activity.

Review: On Stranger Tides

Rating: ★★★★☆
powers-strangertidesThis may well be the greatest pirate book I’ve ever read.

My discovery of On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers was a strange one. First published 20 years ago, it’s largely flown under the radar amongst the pirate crowds. I’d never heard its name uttered amongst fellow enthusiasts swapping their favorite reads, I’d never heard murmurs of it being made into a movie, never saw it pop up as an recommendation – it’s honestly a miracle I discovered it at all.

It was while reading an old interview with Ron Gilbert – creator of the first two Monkey Island games – that I first learned of this book. The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride has largely been attributed as the inspiration for these brilliant games, but in this interview Gilbert indicated that it was actually the book On Stranger Tides that spurred the creation of Monkey Island. Now, the PotC rides were indeed key to my early love of pirates, and the Monkey Island Games were themselves key during my teenage years. So to learn that there might be a third part of this equation – well, I certainly had to check it out. Continue reading

After Action Report: Reenactorfest 2009

The first full weekend of February, 2009 saw me attending my first ever Reenactorfest in Wheeling, IL. I’d heard of Reenactorfest before, but didn’t feel an initial drive to attend – primarily because my own interest is entirely pirate-focused and I figured my time was best spent at pirate events rather than those that also catered to WWII, ancient Rome, Napoleonic, and so on. But this year I decided to give it a go, partly because it was relatively close to home, and mostly because they invited me to host Bilgemunky’s Pirate Lounge (!!) throughout much of the event. Continue reading

Review: Pirates of the Great Salt Lake

Rating: ★★★★☆
greatsaltlakePirates of the Great Salt Lake has been a long, long time coming. The film was actually completed some years ago, but due to the realities of distribution it’s been tied up until just these past few months. This has resulted in no shortage of anticipation from within the pirate community – a group that’s been eagerly awaiting its chance to finally see a film that is for, and more or less about them (or at least, folks sort of like them.)

Being an independent film, Salt Lake understandably lacks the Hollywood polish. For the most part this isn’t a problem as it remains plenty slick on its own merits. It does have two moments of weakness, though – both of which regrettably occur within the first few minutes, and risk audiences prematurely dismissing the movie before it truly begins. The first incident is during a flashback from generations past in which a demonic pirate is seen – it’s relatively silly and reminiscent of a B slasher film. Not that B slasher films are all bad, but this movie is smarter than that. The second incident is when the protagonists, Kirk and Flint, find their first victims – a catamaran with two ladies and some muscle-bound dude. In a film full of great acting, these three extras are amongst the worst imaginable, and look entirely lost for what to do, save for when they look like they’re trying not to laugh. It’s sad because these two events lower the bar of the film, and some viewers may have difficulty recovering in time to get full enjoyment from all that follows. Continue reading