Heavy Metal Monk Cesare Bonizzi Performs at Gods of Metal

By Frances Kennedy 
BBC News, Rome

At first glance, Cesare Bonizzi looks like the archetypal Capuchin monk – round-faced, stout, with twinkling eyes and a long flowing white beard. But beneath his robes beats a heart of metal.

Brother Cesare is the lead singer in a heavy metal band which has just released its second album. A former missionary in the Ivory Coast, he lives in a small friary in the Milan hinterland. The 62-year-old monk’s love affair with heavy metal began when he attended a Metallica concert some 15 years ago. “I was overwhelmed and amazed by the sheer energy of it” he says.

Brother Metal

Hard rock and heavy metal have, over the years, been criticised as the work of the devil. It’s a claim which Brother Cesare, also known as Brother Metal, says is nonsense. He started playing and recording cassettes, firstly with “lighter” metal music, but gradually he realised that what really moved him was the hard core.

  People think that I am in fancy dress, they can’t believe a robed monk is on the stage playing their music 
Brother Cesare Bonizzi

The members of his band were at first sceptical at the idea of teaming up with a Capuchin monk but their doubts soon evaporated. “Five minutes after meeting Brother Cesare I decided to go ahead, because he manages to convey so much energy, that other musicians and youngsters often don’t manage to express,” lead guitarist, Cesare Zanotti, told Reuters.

Sex, drugs and alcohol

Brother Metal recently appeared in the Gods of Metal festival in Italy, along with giants such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Slayer, playing to a crowd of leather-clad hard-core metal fans. “It was wonderful being there among all these young people” he told the Rome newspaper La Repubblica. “The only problem was that at one stage out slipped a “what the f…” because each time some people think that I am in fancy dress, they can’t believe a robed monk is on the stage playing their music”.

With a booming voice, Brother Metal belts out lyrics that are decidedly gritty, talking about real-life issues and not shying away from sex, drugs and alcohol. He does touch on faith and religion but is adamant that he is not seeking to draw people to Catholicism through his stage performances. Video clips of his performances on YouTube have helped spread his popularity and fan base.

Devotion to God

His second heavy metal album, “Misteri” (Mysteries) has just been released. In a sign of Brother Metal’s eclecticism, it drew inspiration from a group of women in southern Italy who sang about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and a heavy metal version of that song is on the CD. Other songs talk about how alcohol warms the heart but excess drinking can damage the liver, and how important sex is to man.

Brother Cesare says he has never had any trouble with his superiors over his choice of musical career and would like to send his new album to the Pope. “He is a music lover and metal is music!” he says. While Brother Cesare always wears his traditional brown robe and sandals as a reminder that he has chosen a life of devotion to God, he is keen to distinguish established religion from faith, and from proselytising. “I do it to convert people to life, to understand life, to grab hold of life, to savour it and enjoy it. Full stop” he says.

Film review by Superjudge: ‘Forgetting about Sarah’ ****

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a sweet little movie, although some might say that the story is as thin as non-fat milk, which we will get back to later. In short the whole thing evolves around Peter (played by Jason Segel who also has written) who is dumped by his über-cute girlfriend Sarah (Kirsten Bell). Sarah plays the lead in some thirteen-on-the-dozen, but yet very popular, crime TV-show called Crime Scene (which, worth mentioning, includes William Baldwin as the male lead, in what probably is the most fun he has done in years), and thus haunts Peter not only on said TV-show but also showing up on talk shows and what not after the break-up. A break-up that by the way includes full frontal nudity by said Segel. To forget Sarah Peter goes to Hawaii, where he, keep in mind the thin story here, of course not only runs in to, but also shares hotels with, Sarah and her new boyfriend, the British rock singer Aldous Snow, played to the point of perfection, bordering lust-mord on his own character, by Russell Brand. Peter gets even more depressed, but also begins to take on to the sweet, but at the same time cool and independent, receptionist at the hotel, Rachel (Mila Kunis). And from there on it’s mostly pure fun to be honest.

Yes, the story is thin and the events unfolding are a bit sketchy and actually sometimes come out of nowhere with not so much to build on. But what the movie does brilliantly is that it’s aware of this and it doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Instead of trying to create explanations to a story that doesn’t care if it’s thin anyway, it just gallops along with hilarious (and often sweet, mind you) conversations, situations and jokes. Some might say that the level of humour is low and fixated on sex, and therefore too juvenile to take seriously and would only attract the, when it comes to sex, the double moral US audience who hasn’t moved beyond college movies. Saying this would be putting oneself on too high horses though, and looking for something that film is not meant to be. And the jokes are almost all the time weighed up by a sweet touch built in making you liking the characters for some of their ways of being, although they obviously all have their flaws.

The clever thing of making a somewhat thin story and a bit inconsistent characters, and knowing it, is also that you can create extremely funny jokes as you go along without really caring so much why they are made and who delivers them. One fantastic example of this is a weird, unwanted, double date dinner that the two new couples, i.e. Peter and Rachel, and Sarah and Aldous, end up on. Throughout the dinner allegiances change over the table and both support and cutthroat-comments shift, making it a marvellous discussion-mayhem, but all the time within the boundaries of this sweet and likable touch to it. Not least the part where Peter and Aldous finds common ground is a bit heart warming, although there actually hasn’t been that much building up to why they would quite suddenly bond.

As so often when Judd Apatow is involved (he’s producing this one as everyone probably knows) one must not forget some of the funny sidekicks, also so very easy and useful thanks to the way of unfolding a simple story where you just can put in a funny guy (because it is most often the guys that are carrying the stories in Judd Apatows’) without it really having to take the story forward. All the way from Peter’s half brother and his wife trying to give advise via the laptop and Matthew the waiter (played by Judd-favourite Jonah Hill) who is in total awe over Aldous Snow, to the very sweet newly weds with problems in bed and the permanently half-stoned surf instructor and the helpful big-boned Hawaiian waiter.

Segel does good with his average likeable guy, Peter, and the ladies do an alright job with what they have to work with. Not least adding to the fact that they manage to show that they are all both victims and perpetrators in brake-ups and when it comes to finding new loved ones. But the one who steals the show is Brand’s Aldous Snow who evolves from, what you think, plain stupid and self centred, to loveable go-with-the-flow guy that just cracks you up and puts a let’s-just-enjoy-life glow over the whole thing.

To refer to the above mentioned on the guys carrying the story, this might be my only objection. The ladies could have done with some more of the jokes. Especially Bell as Sarah comes out kinda flat in the being funny area. Kunis’ Rachel is given more attitude and some in your face comments that makes you like her even more (if that’s possible since you just have to glance at her to love her, but that’s another story). But all in all there are some scenes that open up for the leading ladies to explore the jokes even more, but without really using that. Or maybe it’s just that you are so busy laughing at Aldous philosophize over this or that, or at Matthew the waiter not really being able to handle that his biggest idol is staying at the hotel, that you don’t notice that there are also other characters being funny at the same time.

How the film ends and how it reaches the end isn’t that important (and even less difficult to guess). This is simply a sweet and very very funny 112 minutes of entertainment. And if you take it as that it’s a 4 out of 5 if you ask me. If you want to judge it from a perspective that it isn’t at all trying to accomplish, maybe you will think it’s juvenile or under your standards. But if that’s what you’re after you probably haven’t laughed or been to a simple, but likeable, comedy in the last ten years anyway, so you probably won’t bother to go to this one either…

/ The Superjudge

Short story: Michael and Eva (1)

By: Eva Schlink

 

Amsterdam, 1 April 2008 

 

Day 1

Holy Mother Mary Hospital

Her face is smiling. Even in her deep sleep she shows her warmth, and, both brows suddenly arched, her strength. Damn. Why did she have to give us this big scare? It seems that she feels it her task to keep on teaching us lessons. It’s her mission. Well, it seems it will be her last now.

 

My grandmother just had a stroke. Quite a severe one actually. She is not conscious. And she will not be for a while, so the doctors told me.

 

Sitting next to her hospital bed, I nervously pluck the embroidered sheets. She is the only one I have left. My father left me and my mother before I was even born, and my mother shortly thereafter died a broken heart. I have no memories of her. But the way my grandmother talks about her she must have been one hell of a woman.

 

My grandfather she never talked about. And I dare not ask anymore. Maria always seems to know how to avoid answering these questions and slowly I stopped asking.

 

The door opens and a gentleman peeks inside. Did I see him before? He’s old. A lot older than my grandmother. But he too has a smiling face. Marked by life, but smiling. He nods a greeting to me. And is clearly hesitating to come in. Now I see he pulls a dialising machine with him. He must have kidney problems. Does he know my grandmother? Or is he just looking for a quiet room to do his dialysis?

 

Day 1 Lager X

By the time the doors were opened many of us had died already. Unlike some of us I was not panicking. I was only thinking of how to keep my two small children from suffocating in this tiny compartment. The ones that screamed at first seemed to have lost the lust for that quite soon. Or maybe they just spent all their energy and where the first ones to have died. I could not tell. It was dark and, as I said, my mind was busy with other things. My children, Bram and Deborah, bless them, usually notoriously keen on manipulating me into getting whatever they wanted, sweets, toys, or visits to the playgrounds, were dead silent. Impressed by the unfamiliar sounds and smells. They had never heard grown-ups cry. They had never smelled the smell of fear. They were confused when I did not get mad at them for peeing in their pants. They were only 3 and 5. They will be in my heart forever.

 

Short story: Waging wars

Her heart was pounding, adrenaline pumped through her veins, the good guys were feintheartedly smiling their goody grin, the bad guys were laughing out loud lusting in their power and the powerlessness of those on the other side. The self-imposed powerlessness we might add. Like a nightmare. What to do? Doing something would be breaking the pact, breaking the law. Doing nothing would be doing nothing. Would be condoning evil to win. Rights to be shattered. Hearts to be broken. Desperados to be born. Evil finally creating evil. Fire finally being treated with fire. Chaos encouraged.

Would it possibly be an option, in this war against humanity, to have a few trusted warriors break the pact. Run the risk of scourn. Run the risk of being political incorrectness.

Would it be an option to break the pact and just to offer our sincerest apologies. 

An option to break the pact and just suffer the consequences.

What to do in this world where the others act at their convenience, and watch our despair, our hopes seeping slowly out of our hearts. Can and should we allow for this to happen? Or should we cherish the believe that in the end the light win. Eventually. Maybe in another life time…

[…]

IHT article: Sworn to virginity and living as men in Albania

Sworn to virginity and living as men in Albania
By Dan Bilefsky International Herald Tribune
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pashe Keqi recalls the day nearly sixty years ago when she decided to
become a man. She chopped off her long black curls, traded in her dress
for her father’s baggy trousers, armed herself with a hunting rifle and
vowed to forsake marriage, children and sex.

Had she been born in Albania today, says the 78-year-old sworn virgin,
who made an oath of celibacy in return for the right to live and rule
her family as a man,  she would choose womanhood.

“Back then, it was better to be a man because, before, a woman and an
animal were considered the same thing,” says Keqi, who has a bellowing
baritone voice, sits with her legs open wide like a man and relishes
downing shots of Raki and smoking cigarettes. “Now, Albanian women have
equal rights with men and are even more powerful, and I think today it
would be fun to be a woman.”

Sworn virgins became the patriarchs of their families, with all the
trappings of male authority, by swearing to remain virgins for the rest
of their lives.

The ritual was a form of self-empowerment for rural women living in a
desperately poor and macho country that was cut off from mainstream
Europe for decades under a Stalinist dictatorship. But in  Albania
today, with  Internet dating and MTV, the custom is all but
disappearing. Girls no longer want to become boys.

The tradition of the sworn virgin can be traced to the Kanun of Leke
Dukagjini, a code of conduct that has been passed on orally among the
clans of northern Albania for more than five centuries. Under the Kanun,
the role of women is severely circumscribed: Take care of children and
maintain the home. While a woman’s life is worth half that of a man, a
virgin’s value is the same  –  12 oxen.

The sworn virgin was born of social necessity in an agrarian region
plagued by war and death. If the patriarch of the family died with no
male heirs, unmarried women in the family could find themselves alone
and powerless. By taking an oath of virginity, women could take on the
role of men as head of the family, carry a weapon, own property and move
freely.

They dress like men, adopt a male swagger and spend their lives in the
company of other men.

Some also took the vow as a means to avoid an arranged marriage. Still
others became sworn virgins to express their autonomy. Some who
regretted the sacrifice transformed themselves back into women and
married later in life.

“Stripping off their sexuality by pledging to remain virgins was a way
for these women in a male-dominated, segregated society to engage in
public life,” says Linda Gusia, a professor of gender studies at the
University of Pristina in Kosovo. “It was about surviving in a world
where men rule.”

Taking an oath to become a sworn virgin should not, sociologists say, be
equated with homosexuality,  which has long been taboo in rural Albania.
Nor do the women have sex changes. In the northern Albanian countryside,
about 40 sworn virgins remain, according to researchers studying the
custom.

Known in her household as the “Pasha,” Keqi says she decided to become
the man of the house at age 20 when her father was murdered in a blood
feud. Her remaining four brothers opposed the communist regime of Enver
Hoxha, who ruled Albania for 40 years until his death in 1985, and they
were either imprisoned or killed. Becoming a man, she said, was the only
way to support her mother, her four sisters-in-law and their five
children.

Lording it over her large family in her modest house in Tirana, where
her nieces served her brandy while she barked out orders, Keqi said
living as a man had allowed her freedom denied other women. She could
work construction jobs and pray at the mosque alongside other men. Even
today, her nephews and nieces said, they would not dare marry without
their “uncle’s” permission.

“I was totally free as a man because no one knew I was a woman,” Keqi
said. “I could go wherever I wanted to and no one would dare swear at me
because I could beat them up. I was only with men. I don’t know how to
do women’s talk. I am never scared.” When she was recently hospitalized
for an operation, she recalled, the other woman in her room was
horrified to find herself sharing close quarters with a man and
requested a move.

Keqi said that being a woman made her a more compassionate man. “If the
other men were disrespecting a woman, I would tell them to stop.” She
said being deprived of a life of sexual intimacy was a necessary
sacrifice. She did not miss having children, she added, because she was
surrounded by her nieces and nephews. “Once I made up my mind 100
percent, I had the strength to never turn back.”

Being the man of the house also made her responsible for  avenging her
father’s death, she said, including the Kanun’s edict that spilled blood
must be met with spilled blood. When her father’s killer was released
from prison five years ago, by then a man of 80, Keqi said she ordered
her 15 year-old nephew to shoot him. Then the family of the man took
revenge and killed her nephew.

“I always dreamed of avenging my father’s death. My brothers tried to,
but did not succeed. Of course, I have regrets my nephew was killed. But
if you kill me, I have to kill you.” In Albania, a majority Muslim
country, the Kanun is adhered to by both Muslims and Christians, though
the Ottoman Turks and successive governments have all tried to limit its
influence.

Albanian cultural historians said the cleaving to medieval customs long
discarded elsewhere was a byproduct of the country’s previous isolation.
But they stressed that today, the traditional role of the Albanian woman
was changing.

“The Albanian woman today is a sort of minister of economics, a minister
of affection and a minister of interior who controls who does what,”
said Ilir Yzeiri, a critic who writes about Albanian folklore. “Today
women in Albania are behind everything.”

Some sworn virgins bemoan this female liberation. Diana Rakipi, 54, a
security guard in the seaside city of Durres, in west Albania, who
became a sworn virgin to take care of her nine sisters, said she looked
back with nostalgia to the Hoxha era. During communist times, she served
as a senior army officer, training women soldiers in combat. Now, she
lamented, women did not know their place.

“Today women go out half naked to the disco and do not know their
limits,” said Rakipi, who has cropped hair and wears a military beret.
“I was always treated my whole life as a man, always with respect. I
can’t clean, I can’t iron, I can’t cook. That is a woman’s work.”

But even in the remote mountains of Kruje, about 50 kilometers, or 30
miles, north of Tirana, where long dirt roads snake through olive
groves, locals say the Kanun’s influence on gender roles is
disappearing. They said erosion of the traditional family, in which
everyone once lived under the same roof, had altered women’s position in
society.

“Women and men are now almost the same,” says Caca Fiqiri, whose aunt
Qamile Stema, age 88, is the last sworn virgin remaining in her village.
“We respect sworn virgins very much and consider them as men because of
their great sacrifice. But there is no longer a stigma not to have a man
of the house.”

Yet there is no doubt who wears the trousers in the family’s one-room
stone house in Barganesh, their ancestral village. There, on a recent
day, “uncle” Qamile was surrounded by her clan, dressed in a qeleshe,
the traditional white cap of an Albanian man. Her only concession to
femininity were pink flip-flops.

Pointing to an old black and white photo hanging in the entrance  –
showing a handsome young man in his prime  –  Stema said she took an
oath of virginity at age 20, after her father died, and she was left the
eldest of nine sisters.

After becoming a man, Stema said she could leave the house and chop wood
with the other men. She carried a gun. At wedding parties, she sat with
the men. When she talked to women, she recalled, they recoiled in
shyness.

Stema said becoming a sworn virgin was a necessity, and a sacrifice.
“The truth is I feel lonely sometimes. All my sisters have died, and I
live alone. But I never wanted to marry. Some in my family tried to get
me to change my clothes and wear dresses, but when they saw I had become
a man, they left me alone.”

Stema said she would die a virgin. Had she married, she joked, it would
have been to a traditional Albanian woman. “I guess you could say I was
partly a woman and partly a man, but of course I never did everything a
man does,” she said. “I liked my life as a man. I have no regrets.”

Go to iht.com/europe to listen to commentary from Dan Bilefsky and view
additional photographs of the sworn virgins who live in Albania.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/23/europe/virgins.php

Death by Sexy: The Eagles of Death Metal LIVE in the MELKWEG Amsterdam

EODM are absolutely very sexy indeed!!! And lots of fun. And great performers not to forget…

The Melkweg was completely full with a raving audience. A crowd of glam rock lovers completely went wild, yelling their lungs out and shaking their hips and asses like crazy…Male stage divers were smoothly and professionally escorted back into the audience, while the sexy young scantilly dressed girlies were confidently lured back-stage to be prepared for after the show. Interesting! 😉

 

 

Oerol 2008!!! Impression and reviews

Terschellings Oerol Festival is an annual location-specific theatre festival held on the Dutch island Terschelling in mid-June. Location-specific theatre, theatre in barns, sheds and on the streets, modern dance, opera, visual art, music and the various cross-overs are the ingredients of a festival that uses the whole island as its stage. Over the past 25 years, the festival has grown from a small-scale street festival into an internationally recognised, multi-disciplinary festival. 

This year Terschellings Oerol Festival took place from 13 through 22 June. The theme of the festival had everything to do with ‘time’.

Our bold warrior visited the following performances:

Beumer en Drost: ‘Dick Bos’: 7.5 out of 10

Very well created and executed. At times quite funny. Especially the interaction with the old neighbour-lady. Entertaining. But a bit simple. The main character was convincing and quite facetted, but the story line very one dimensional and predictable. A beautiful show for younger people.  

For an interview and a video with some scenes from the performance (in Dutch), check out: http://weblogs.nrc.nl/weblog/cultuurblog/2008/06/15/oerol-2008-dick-bos-video/

De Jongens: ‘Under Construction’: 5 out of 10

Fragmented, long and pointless. The high energy and enthusiasm of the actors kept the warrior from falling asleep the first twenty minutes. Unfortunately there were 40 minutes more. In which NL-FA had started. Not good. 😉

Boogaerdt / Van der Schoot ‘Tsjechov bij de bushalte’ [Tsjechov at the bus stop]: 5.5 out of 10

Interesting location and concept. Solid acting. Rather uninteresting play-writing. Infinite use of the ‘weapon’ of repetition. Yeah…we get it by now. And…oh…how funny…a high-heeled woman falls into a creek, and yes…she’s stuck. Can we please move on? When is that damn bus coming!!!!!

p.s. Thanks Marjan and Rick for giving the late comers their two minutes of fame:  

 😉

For a different take on this performance check out: theater centraal

Laura van Dolron : ‘Laura en Lars: 8 out of 10

Laura van Dolron shows she is a solid and highly entertaining performer. Her style is daring and disarming, the content of this specific performance a tad superficial though. Van Dolron starts by briefly laying down the theme of the performance, her love for Lars von Trier, but mainly by talking about her main theme, herself and her love for standing in the spotlight. During this slow start she remarkably quickly succeeds in creating rapport with the audience, making us feel we are her friends. Though the friendship got quickly tested when Van Dolron shot some seemingly out of character quick-shot remarks like ‘Can you imagine what it would be like to be a smart character in a Heleen van Rooyen book? [ed.]’, that apparently hit the target for the (in our view notoriously overenthusiastic) Oerol crowd, but seem a bit too easy and stand-uppish for this high-potential performer.

Though Van Dolron was able to keep us interested for more than an hour straight with her captivating stories and to the point observations, especially about the black and white depiction of women in movies and literature (saints or whores), she never dove under the surface of the first sketches of her theme. Her observations were entertaining, but mostly safe and thus less relevant (except for the odd sharp remark like the one about the feminists (‘whores in denial’) :-), quite daring considering the suspicion that this group seems to be very well (even rather over-) represented in the Oerol audience). Hardly any subject was touched upon deeply enough to leave a lasting impression, apart from the ‘theme’ that was Van Dolron herself. But where Lars came in, and the actual relevance of that theme for her or for us remained unclear. Her convincing authenticity and flow of positivity compensated for this, letting the audience leave with a good feeling, but not with an overkill of food for thought. 

All in all Van Dolron shows to be a gutsy and talented lady. Definitely worth checking out…

For a review by Vincent Kouters (in Dutch) 

Volkstheater: ‘Zeeuwse Nachten III’: {5 out of 10]

(review to be inserted later)

Artemis: Priemgeval

Have not been able to get tickets for this one…But we’ve been told by many that it was a great performance.