Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #172: Julien Duvivier’s Pépé le Moko. The strange start of this film – all the time spent describing the cosmopolitan melange of the Algerian casbah travelogue-style – is the key to understanding what’s happening inside the typically clever head of notorious jewel-thief Pépé le Moko. The man is [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #48: Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus. I tried watching this many years ago, but wasn’t in the right frame of mind to get through it. I’m glad I gave it another shot, because it’s a wonderful movie. The myth of Orpheus & Eurydice is my favorite, and it translates [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #312: Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy. Having read Shusaku Endo’s Silence many years ago, the persecution of Catholicism during the Tokugawa shogunate was something that immediately grabbed me here. It came as only a slight surprise to discover that Masahiro Shinoda directed an adaptation of the book six years after [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #44: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this movie, as I haven’t had much luck with Powell & Pressburger in the past, but it was good. The costuming, makeup and other production values were well situated to make the most of [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #427: Juan Antonio Bardem’s Death of a Cyclist. I can’t recall the last time I saw a film where the scene transitions were handled so masterfully. One character blows cigarette smoke to end a scene, a cut, and in a different time and place another character gets smoke blown [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #45: Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry. Apparently, the entirety of Iran is a giant gravel-pile construction site. That’s the impression given in this film, and considering how little I know of the country due to my own nation’s sanctions against it, I’m going to choose to assume that Iran [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #565: Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. Not Chaplin’s greatest work, but certainly a strong propaganda film. What struck me most is the ignorance with which the prison camps and Jewish ghettos are betrayed. There are some obvious instances early in the film where it seems as [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #47:Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Insomnia. Ever need a good night’s sleep so badly that you just stop caring about anything and everything around you? Your morality foggily disintegrates, your goals become disjointed, your ego shrivels, and even your id is only capable of short bursts of primeval action. That’s what life [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #41: Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. There’s an awful lot of British “Adieuing” in this play about the Battle of Agincourt. Had to get that out of my system. This is film that is best talked about in terms of its historical context, which Bruce Eder’s Criterion essay does and [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #467: Nagisa Oshima’s Empire of Passion. What goes around comes around; and in this tale of lust, murder, guilt, and insanity, a circle motif appears time and again as a reminder. Many Japanese period pieces feature characters with the agency & power to change their world; or failing that, [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #267: Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha. This is a very thought-provoking film. The story could have easily been turned into farce but for the unbearable tension that Shingen’s double is forced to shoulder in maintaining the pretense that he actually is the ruler, while the real Shingen molders [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #452: Martin Ritt’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. If only all spy movies were along these lines. Expertly acted, with a tight plot and tighter script, the intricacies inexorably unwind throughout the movie. Layers within layers with layers of plotting, no gizmos, no flashbang fight sequences, [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #305: Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved From Drowning. I have relatively large, completely personal issues with old French comedy. À nous la liberté is pretty much the only old French comedy I’ve ever really liked. I think it boils down to a feeling that comedies of this stripe are constantly [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #20: Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy. I’m not a fan of this biopic about Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen and their tragic, drug-fueled, destructive relationship. The series of elliptical, tangential vignettes of key moments in their life together does well to simulate the rare surfacing lucidity of drug addicts, [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #135: Alfred Hitchcocks’s Rebecca. There are, specifically, two things I want to write about in regard to this film. The first one is the acting of Joan Fontaine. It was no surprise to me that she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, as [...]
You can download my Best of 2011 mix from the linked image.
The author of this book, James Renner, is a friend of mine. Reading this book is like watching a freight train barrel toward you and being unable to move, while remembering a time in your past when you watched a freight train barrel toward you, only to wake up to find out there’s a freight [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #53: Akira Kurosawa’s Sanjuro. At first watch, this film is more comedic and less compelling than Yojimbo. At its essence, this is a buddy flick, but Sanjuro has a double handful of impetuous idiots to wrangle instead of just one. Because of this, Sanjuro’s utmost capability stands out at [...]
“A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame… as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But [...]
“There are only so many people capable of putting together words that stir and move and sing. When it became possible to earn a very good living in advertising by exercising this capability, lyric poetry was left to untalented screwballs who had to shriek for attention and compete by eccentricity.” Mitchell Courtenay in Frederick Pohl [...]
Once again, I was given the opportunity to attend a performance of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra. This time it was at Blossom Music Center, there was a Meet the Musicians panel before the performance, and a chance to meet the featured violiniset, Leila Josefowicz, during intermission. We were also plied with wine & hor d’oeuvres [...]
Look, I know there are a thousand-and-one posts on the internet about the best smartphone apps. I’ve a bunch of apps on my phone, and I use some more frequently than others. However, I want to share the ones that I enjoy which might not be so ubiquitous. Productivity/Administrative ConnectBot – This app connects you [...]
I remember when I was a battalion intelligence officer in World War II, in Northern Italy. [...] We were passing through these little old towns. The houses weren’t big, but all the generations were there. The old weren’t put out to pasture. They were our best means of communication. They were what civilization is about: [...]
I went to the Cleveland Cinematheque last night to watch Bill Plympton’s most recent animated feature: Idiots and Angels (2008). Mr. Plympton was in attendance and was kind enough to do free autographs and sketches for those who asked. (I asked.) Before the feature, Bill introduced us to this short he made with students in [...]
On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to see the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra perform two works by Béla Bartók and a couple of bonus works by Japanese composers. The tickets were free on the condition that I write about my experience. It was Blogger’s Night. I had a great time the last time I had [...]
I think there is something not right about [psychotherapy]. It doesn’t do any good to anyone. I have a metaphor: If you illuminate your house with strong lights to the very last corner, the house becomes uninhabitable. And it’s the same thing if you try to illuminate a human being to the last crevices of [...]
You do not consist of any of the elements — earth, water, fire, air, or even ether. To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these. If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful and free from [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #40: Michael Bay’s Armageddon. Despite the laughable fact that this movie is included in the Criterion Collection; and the almost certain financial & business-tactical reasons for its inclusion, I’m going to try to review this film in good faith. This Michael Bay blockbuster came out in 1998, and [...]
I went to the 2010 Cleveland Dragon Boat festival with Bram on Saturday. We had a tough time getting there because I forgot just about all of the bridges in the Flats are closed, so we missed part of the opening ceremonies. And then we ended up leaving early because I got an inch long [...]
I talk about Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction too much. By too much, I mean every couple of years. I really should read some other stuff that he’s written, so I don’t get too pseudo-intellectually scholarship-boyish. Like I’m about to. I collect stuff, not a lot, but stuff nonetheless. [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #28: Paul Morrissey’s Blood For Dracula. Blood for Dracula is little different, in essence, from it’s partner, Flesh for Frankenstein. I guess if I had to pick, I’d say I enjoyed this movie better, mainly due to the ridiculously gratuitous nudity, hot lesbian make-out scenes and a scene [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #27: Paul Morrissey’s Flesh for Frankenstein. Also known, for obvious marketing reasons, as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, this film only uses the name “Frankenstein” as a pop culture reference to go along with the other clichéd horror tropes; mad scientists, castle laboratories, sundry chunks of corpses, creepy assistant, etc. [...]
On 13 May 2010, I went to the Front Room Gallery for John G‘s Caveman Diaries 7 ‘zine release; Megachurch‘s album release & show with Clan of the Cave Bear and Swindlella. Great crowd, great exhibition by John G, and great music. Unfortunately I forgot my earplugs. Fortunately, I got my mitts on CMD7, the [...]
Das Schnitzel Haus Udupi East Coast Original Custard Korea House (The Bibim Bam is as awesome as I remembered) Punk Rock Softball Caveman Diaries/Megachurch CD Release (more to come) Paint upstairs apartment Eat southern-roasted turkey, polenta and roasted red onion & avocado salad with neighbors Jack Frost Donuts (I’ve had the donuts plenty of times, [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #17: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Chances are you won’t like this movie. Even if you do enjoy it for its cinematic and allegorical value, you won’t like it. If you do like it on anything approaching an emotionally satisfying level, please seek [...]
Big Purple Records Smog Veil Records Snax Records Sun God This Moment in Black History Cool shit happens when you work together.
Yesterday I went to the Sachsenheim for Cirque Imaginaire, a traveling art gallery. There were a lot of arts & crafts packed into the hall, and I squeezed through the throngs with a giant mug of beer. Two booths really caught my eye, the t-shirts from Psycho Reindeer, and Erin Carek’s science-fiction collage work. I [...]
This was the opening weekend for the eponymous Bắc, the new Asian food place in Tremont. I’d spent most of the day yesterday tramping around Cleveland in the snow, so it was a welcome change of pace to spend some time in a warm room with great atmosphere and cute wait staff. The change in [...]
This Christmas season I have made: 4 batches of Art of Darkness Brownies 3 batches of chocolate-dipped pretzel rods 12 pounds of fudge (soon to be 16) 4 batches of 7-layer bars a dozen Best of 2009 CDs
I have this ridiculous idea for a gimmick restaurant. This is not the hostile takeover of Grumpy’s in which everything with “cajun spice” would be removed from the menu (which would allow us to basically write a whole new menu), all wait staff would be forced to wear floral print aprons and the place would [...]
I’ve either got what Bram had, or something from a coworker. Christmas shopping is finished, though I almost got into a fight at the liquor store buying something as a part of my secret santa gift exchange at work. All that I have left to do is further baking. Apparently, chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks are a [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #42: John Lurie’s Fishing With John. As a fisherman, watching Fishing with John was quite an experience. Walleye and pike are only mentioned once, by Tom Waits; the rest of the time the fishing was much more exotic than what a Midwesterner like me is used [...]
I was invited, along with a bunch of other bloggers, to liveblog a dress rehearsal of Opera Cleveland’s Falstaff. Debbie is here with me and will be posting some updates while I run around like a certain opera chicken with my head cut off taking video and pictures. We’ve never been to an opera production [...]
Mastodon blew my fucking mind for two hours last night. For the majority of the show I was in the pit. At one point I was pushed over a dude right as he fell down and received an elbow to the face that popped a lens out of my glasses. I found it after the [...]
I finally made it to Blue Arrow Records on Saturday, and picked up two Bowie albums that I’ve been haphazardly hunting for: David Live at the Tower in Philadelphia and Aladdin Sane. While I was in the store I determined that Pete Gulyas doesn’t see his job so much as shopkeeper but as a curator. [...]
Junior Boys kicked off their American tour the other night at The Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights. This is the second time I’ve seen them and they put on a great show. That night was officially the first time that anyone in the States had a chance to buy their new album Begone Dull Care, [...]
On Saturday I was at the Beachland to see Gunslingers: and Terminal Lovers: Lou was there as well. So was John G at NinePanelGrid, who just finished a month-long poster-a-day marathon. I’ve collected a lot of John G’s work from shows I’ve attended over the years. Here’s his poster for the Gunslingers show [click on [...]
I used MPEG Streamclip to snag the audio from the bands I’ve recorded over the last two years. The hard part was putting all of the metadata on the resulting MP3s [Many of the songs have 'Unknown' as the title. If you know what the title is, please let me know]. I’ve zipped them up [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #116: Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. Well it has been 9 months since I last reviewed a Criterion Collection film. I suppose having a 7-month old will do that to you. I had a chance to sit down last night and watch The Hidden Fortress. I [...]
Here’s a great excerpt from the book I’m currently reading. “This afternoon Sallie’s three youngest pups, Sue’s Sirius, and Mrs. Chippy, the carpenter’s cat, have to be shot. We could not undertake the maintenance of weaklings under the new conditions. Macklin, Crean, and the carpenter seemed to feel the loss of their friends rather badly. [...]
Ingredients 1# kielbasa, sliced 1 box frozen pierogies 1 green pepper, diced 1 red pepper, diced 1/2 red onion, diced 8 oz. frozen corn 2 T. butter Recipe Put the butter in a 13×9 inch casserole dish and stick it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400° Prep the other ingredients, and toss them [...]
I was listening to David Bowie’s cover from the 1973 album Pin-Ups of The Who’s 1965 song I Can’t Explain when the main riff caught me in such a way that it reminded me of another song. After much thought I came up with Fatboy Slim’s hit Going Out of My Head. Wikipedia confirms. I’m [...]
On Wednesday I went to The Grog Shop to see Toadies, one of my all-time favorite bands. They played all of their old hits and most of their new album, which, after a few listenings, is quite good. The Grog was full of folks that looked like they hadn’t been to a concert since Cobain [...]
I ran across a disc of the films I made in college, so I figured I’d upload them to YouTube. Now I just need to scrounge up that VHS of the stuff I made in high school and get it digitized so I can treat it similarly. Cash Flow This was a silent film assignment [...]
Over the last few weeks I’ve eaten at a couple of new [to me] Cleveland-area food places. My favorite aspect of Cleveland is the ease with which one can go to an authentic ethnic restaurant and never run out of such places to attend. I made it to Sterle’s Slovenian County House awhile back and [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #420: Agnès Varda’s Le Bonheur. After quite a long hiatus from watching Criterion Collection films [and an abortive reentry with Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming], I got back into the swing of things with this charmingly menacing film by Agnès Varda. Foremost, the film is beautiful [...]
Last Thursday I went to the Grog Shop to catch Cadence Weapon while everyone else was at the Beachland seeing Explosions in the Sky. I managed to chat with Rollie for a bit before the sets started. He said that their tour had been intersecting with EitS a few times already. He was also sick [...]
I just finished reading A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. Since I’ve been cultivating a gestalt knowledge of the science fiction canon for nearly two decades, I was able to notice nods and reflections of past works. The book owes an obvious and huge debt to James Blish’s Cities in Flight, but there [...]
I’ve been burning up Immortal Technique lately; digging through a bunch of covers by of Montreal, Downloading the thousands of songs in the SXSW music torrents, the online-only release Over the Counter Culture by Tim Fite [who was in my 2006 Best of CD] and this electronica release by Fake Corporation of America: You Are [...]
If you click on the cover you can download the mix.
I finally had the chance to try out the Euclid Corridor today, riding the #6 to a Flash ActionScript class at the Cole Center for Continuing Education. When I started at the ISC just over a year ago the director emphasized his encouragement for us to take skill-building classes. If there was an award for [...]
Pie Day! Last night, we made pie. A slight alteration to my mother’s pecan pie recipe [maple syrup instead of corn syrup] and a new one, an Apple and Tart Cherry pie. Debbie made the crust from scratch, impressing the hell out of me. It took a few hours, and I was exhausted by the [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #39: Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter. While this is another Seijun Suzuki gangster film, it is vastly different from Branded to Kill on just about every point. Most notable is the use of bright swathes of single colors in different scenes; the same set might be yellow, [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #38: Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill. Watching a Japanese B-movie was a great way to get back into the swing of Criterion reviews. This is the first Seijun Suzuki film I’ve seen, but it reminded me very much of Samuel Fuller, and it is even a [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #36: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. I no longer have any Criterion Collection films queued up at the library. After the inundation I’ve had with them over the last few weeks, I think it is time to take a bit of a break. Thankfully, the [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #35: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques. This movie is amazing. I’m not one for horror movies, because I never get scared, but the ending sequence of this film even creeped me out. Pretty much any time you hear anything about this film there will be the inevitable [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #30: Fritz Lang’s M. Fritz Lang always blows my mind. The precise craftmanship in all of his films, the exactly correct framing for a shot, the inspired, slight, understated camera movements, the chiaroscuro and beauty of the black and white would be worth watching in a [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #37: Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits. Woops. This movie totally didn’t do a damn thing for me. And usually I really like Terry Gilliam. I would have preferred something like The Adventures of Baron Munchausen as the Criterion pick, if they were going to go with a [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #43: Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies. It is tough getting children to act well; just ask anyone who’s ever had to get children to act well. A vast majority of the cast in Lord of the Flies couldn’t act their way out of a wet paper [...]
Jon Hicks has a show of his concert posters at B-Sides under the Grog Shop. Last night was the opening and a free show by mostly local bands upstairs. Mystery of Two, Paleo, Brian Straw, Chum and Blk Tygr all put on great shows. I really need to get a better low-light camera if I’m [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #46: Irving Pichel, and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s The Most Dangerous Game. As soon as this film kicked in, I realized that it was an adaptation of Richard Connell’s short story that I’d read years ago, loved and lost. So, I was excited to see how it [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #32: David Lean’s Oliver Twist. Two years after David Lean’s Great Expectations, Alec Guinness is back in another Dickens adaptation. This time he’s very aged through makeup and a giant prosthetic nose [that got the film denounced as anti-Semitic], but his portrayal of Fagin really shows [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #31: David Lean’s Great Expectations. Upon seeing this version of Great Expectations, I’m fairly sure that I’ve seen it previously. As book-to-movie adaptations go, it suffers from the normal malaise of truncation, but not so much as other stories, since the verbose Dickens is involved. Alec [...]
I made this quick and simple pasta with a bit of a kick last week and made it again because it is so quick and delicious. I highly recommend it and it is also good for the heart, blood and immune system. The meal might not contain any of the 8 foods you should eat [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #34: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. For a film named after and about a single man, Rublev is remarkably absent. Instead Tarkovsky exposes and lingers on specific events that intertwine and illuminate the life of Russia’s most famous icon painter. A chance encounter with a jester, the [...]
This past Friday was an event that I’d been looking forward to for several months. Tower Control Records’ CD Release Party for The X Bolex and Jerk. 12 bands, $5 cover and free food pre-show. It was super-well organized, no chance to miss a band’s performance and just enough time in between them to snag [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #26: John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday. The Long Good Friday stars Bob Hoskins and contains a Gayish Pierce Brosnan. It was made before I was born, but having seen it, I believe that Guy Ritchie loves this movie. Maybe because the film is argotful of [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #29: Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. Despite the fact that Gheorghe Zamfir smears his panflute are all over the the score for this film, it isn’t a bad movie. It seems to be Weir’s Australian interpretation of the Lady of the Wood mythos, with liberal [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #24: Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low. Almost the entire first hour of High and Low takes place in one room, but there is no lack of activity despite this fact. Just synchronizing the blocking must have taken a ton of work. The room is spacious because [...]
The Economic Naturalist by Robert H. Frank was a fairly easy read and interesting to me from the standpoint of economic ethnography. I don’t know much about economics in an academic sense, but after reading this book and reflecting it is obvious that I use it on a daily basis. In retrospect this makes sense [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #25: Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville. Watching this film, one of the first things I realized is that Jean-Luc Godard has no idea how to make convincing science fiction. The next thing I realized was that Godard was merely using enough of the science fiction idiom to display [...]
I went to Pat’s in the Flats last night to see a couple of bands. I know The Very Knees and like them muchly, and wasn’t familiar with Heartwarmer. Heartwarmer are from Kentucky and had some danceable poppy tunes, a bit reminiscent of Of Montreal sans the glam and nods to the orchestration of Arcade [...]
I ordered The Road from the library a day before I found out it won the Pulitzer, because of a year-old review from an old copy of Stop Smiling that I picked up at Pitchfork. The Pulitzer notification, coming as it did from a thread about literary critics and their derision for genre fiction, stayed [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #21: David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers. Dead Ringers is based on a true story about identical twin gynecologist drug addicts; both played by Jeremy Irons. The film is a psychological thriller deeply concerned with obsession, sexuality and co-dependence. Cronenberg doesn’t overdo the shots that contain both Mantle [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #360: William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm is most interesting to me because it is a experiment in which, for the most part, the people in the film know they are being experimented upon and then become participants in the experiment themselves. It is uncontrolled metafilmmaking that defies [...]
I was at the Pitchfork Music Festival this past weekend. I took the Megabus to Chicago on Friday after work, even though I still didn’t have my tickets. I’d called up Ticketweb and had them hold the tickets at will call instead. Once I got there it seemed to be the case for just about [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #22: David Lean’s Summertime. I didn’t like this movie. Sure, David Lean, sure Katharine Hepburn, sure Technicolor, sure boring. I think this is one of those films that doesn’t age well in terms of its accessibility to audiences. It plays pitch-perfect to pre-sexual revolution morality for [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #18: Samuel Fuller’s The Naked Kiss. Sam Fuller is widely regarded as a very masculine filmmaker; his works associated with violence, bravado, exploitation, primitiveness and vulgarity. And while those associations are correct, the masculine label is misplaced. A film like The Naked Kiss illustrates Fuller’s claim [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #133: George Sluizer’s The Vanishing. The Vanishing is a very 80s movie with a very 80s score. It is a pretty good thriller/horror, especially because of its unorthodox methodology. Much of the film is spent with detailed views of a sociopath’s life; the man who kidnaps [...]
I took a break from pulling staples and inhaling what might be lead paint dust to go to the Beachland for a show. Just about everyone I know in the Cleveland music scene was there, which is always a good sign. I’d even found my old “THE BOSSES YOU LOSE” shirt on my last visit [...]
THIS POST CONTAINS A PICTURE OF AN EVISCERATED CORPSE, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE IT, DON’T READ THIS POST. A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #184: Stanley Brakhage’s By Brakhage: an anthology. I’d forgotten how good Stan Brakhage is at the avant-garde filmmaking gig. It has been 5 years since my [...]
Hollowed, the body upon a table; no verbs for the inanimate, a cicada shell. And men in long coats have removed them; peeled flesh – skull over face – sawn through bone cracking walnuts for the meat inside; each soft and hidden part apprised; the inside of your breast, the open boat of your body [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #379: Kon Ichikawa’s The Burmese Harp. The Burmese Harp seems less the anti-war film it is often billed as, and more of a post-war re-evaluation of Japanese nationalism. For practical purposes there are two characters in this film, the deserter Mizushima and the rest of his [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #380: Jules Dassin’s The Naked City. Even without the ridiculously annoying narrator, The Naked City would still be a mediocre film. It is basically an episode of CSI without any of the technology. A police procedure film about the murder of a young model that takes [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #384: Shohei Imamura’s Vengeance is Mine. This film was much more graphic than I expected it to be. It also has some great sex scenes. I’ll get into what I mean by great a bit later. The film is based around an actual Japanese serial killer [...]
During unending hours in the back of a conversion van and brief respites on land in Canada I read Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City. This book was recommended to me by Nate Scheible during a discussion outside of Parish Hall while waiting for a noise show to start and over a few Commodore Perry IPAs. [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #357: Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol. Carol Reed and Graham Greene, what a combo. I think a large part of the reason I don’t read much modern fiction is that Graham Greene’s work is so fully satisfying that I can’t fathom a reason to try anything [...]
1 Cup Organic Cranberry Juice 3 Bananas 1/2# Strawberries 7 ice cubes 2 scoops protein powder Gone in sixty seconds.
I first heard Division of Planes on MetaFilter Music. I told them to come to Cleveland because I thought they’d go down well. One of the band members contacted me for more info. Well, they’re coming to Cleveland, and they got the gig on their own gumption. If you check out their website they’re described [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #100: Beastie Boys Video Anthology. I have a distinct memory of dancing Intergalactic stop-motion style at some dance or other with my high school buddies senior year. I was never a huge Beastie Boys fan, though I certainly got down to their music. For a person [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #164: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris. My Dostoevsky professor once said that Russians are more Oriental than Occidental in temperament, and the contemplative pacing and constant importance of the unimportant throughout Tarkovsky’s Solaris seems to support this assertion fairly well. For those used to Stanislaw Lem’s whimsical cybernetic [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #374: Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves. Bicycle Thieves is one of those films that ends up on every Film History syllabus. It shouldn’t be avoided, but I think that it appreciates to a viewer who has actually had to live and scrounge to make ends meet [...]
Blk Tygr was playing again at the Beachland last night, so I went and heard one of their new songs. It was an odd bill for them, since all the other acts were rockabilly associates. I particularly enjoyed Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival. Their act is just as cognitively dissonant as their band name. For instance, [...]
Been Listening to: Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation Pacha Massive – All Good Things Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Living with the Living Lifesavas – Gutterfly Coco Rosie – The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn The Very Knees Chum PJ Harvey Charlie Parker Getachew Mekuria + The Ex + Guests
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #312: Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy. Like any good spy movie, most of the time in Samurai Spy the viewer doesn’t know who is who, who is what and who is where. This is good. The film also has a bit of an Ian Fleming flair to [...]
I was at Edison’s last night for some great music. First off was Blisse Anonyon Atu from a redirected show at Visible Voice Books. It was just her, an iPod with her tracks on it, and an effects machine. The result was an ethereal bit of indie-electronica, dancy and languid at the same time. The [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #57: Stanley Donen’s Charade. What struck me most about Charade was the way in which it could show callous and sometimes vicious murders in such a carefree way that you felt free to not care about the dead schmucks. That is a feeling that lasts throughout [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #263: Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny och Alexander [Theatrical Version]. Although I’ve yet to see the five hour television version of this film, Fanny and Alexander seems an odd title for a film in which Fanny is little more than an afterthought foil to her brother Alexander. There [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #82: Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet. Laurence Olivier did remarkably well in his transplant of Hamlet to the silver screen. Although the transplant involved a gastric bypass of much of the play’s text, Olivier mitigated this omission by inspired camerawork. Terrence Rafferty’s Criterion essay suggest that the camera [...]
I went to a sparsely attended but good show at Pat’s in the Flats last night. Three NYC bands played for an audience of about 7 folks, while everything wrapped up in about three hours, it was a good time. The first group was The Two Man Gentlemen Band; a banjo, a bass, a rhythm [...]
This spring/summer seems to be turning into biography time so far. I’ve been picking up books at Visible Voice, and the Walker Evans biography was one of them. For the most part it is an interesting well-written and informative look at the personal life and motivations of my favorite photographer. Chronologically it gets a bit [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #382: Stuart Cooper’s Overlord. I was contacted by a NYC marketing firm to review Overlord, which was released on the 17th. So hey, free DVD. This is the second time that someone has happened along my movie reviews and asked me to do one for them. [...]
Last night was the first real night of summer for me. Filled with music, familiar faces and late-burning eyeballs. Asterisk Gallery had a fairly impromptu show featuring Chiara Giovando and Daniel Higgs [lead singer of Lungfish]. Ha Ha La was the first act, a sort of Daniel Johnston with a dash of Sigur Ros and [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #371: Oscar Micheaux’s Body & Soul and Kenneth MacPherson’s Borderline. Body & Soul Paul Robeson and Oscar Micheaux are legendary, so I was eager to see what they could do in collaboration. Body & Soul is Robeson’s first screen appearance, and quite an opening act. The [...]
As I wait for Amazon to ship me the latest Tolkien release, The Children of Húrin, I find myself disagreeing with several reviews I’ve read, in terms of placing this work in context with his other stuff. The lede in the Washington Post review: If anyone still labors under the delusion that J.R.R. Tolkien was [...]
I went to the Beachland tonight to see Blk Tygr and ended up with a cartload of local music. I either know enough people, or the right people enough to end up with stuff just getting handed to me. Of course, I also stopped by Music Saves and picked up three CDs I’ve been meaning [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #358: G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box. I said I’d finished watching all of the films that I’d seen before, but Pandora’s Box showed up at the Library recently, and I’ve currently got Bicycle Thieves in the queue. Watching Pandora’s Box this time around was much more fulfilling [...]
I just downloaded this awesome iTunes plugin called iConcertCal. It uses the iTunes index and then searches for artists in your playlist and makes a calendar showing when and where they’ll be in your area. It isn’t foolproof, since I imagine smaller groups aren’t going to be easily found, but it is certainly better than [...]
US Guys is a book by journalist Charlie LeDuff; a series of vignettes that are marketed as an examination of manhood and masculinity in American culture. It starts off well enough, the writing is crisp and the observations are fresh and interesting, but by the end Charlie seems to have run out of observations about [...]
I busted out the grill for the first time and cooked some cheapie Spencer steaks on it yesterday. I made a lime and olive oil marinade; I stole the idea from Fahrenheit, only I put a lot more lime in mine. Since the steaks were so skinny I made sandwiches out of them, with just [...]
I saw Ratatat for the second time last weekend. The first time was almost two years ago when they were touring with Clinic. Stroud didn’t appear to be pounding whisky as hard as he was last time, but I wasn’t paying much attention, since the Beachland was inundated with middle and high school kids in [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #67: Jean Cocteau’s The Blood of A Poet. At first, this film seemed impenetrable to me. It only clocks in at 50 minutes, but the film is so filled with a need for interpretation that “pregnant” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Jean Cocteau explicitly states [...]
On Saturday I saw 1.5 films at the 31st Cleveland Film Festival. The first was called A Map for Saturday and was a self-doc about a guy who quit his job to spend a year backpacking around the world. It was interesting to see, since he is about my age, and it wasn’t really a [...]
My favorite song off the new Air album is Napalm Love. Wincing the Night Away didn’t do much for me, I think I’m outgrowing Shinsish music. On the other hand, Ratatat’s Classics is finally starting to grow on me. Ratatat Remixes would be better if the rap wasn’t quite so gangsta. I’m liking Cat Scientist, [...]
I had some folks from the neighborhood over last night for a winter barbecue. I made about ten pounds of pork barbecue and had green beans, corn bread, potato salad, cole slaw, banana pudding and pecan pie. And lots of High Life. The pork barbecue turned out really well, I put a BBQ rub on [...]
I’ve got a couple of cheap pulp novels that have to do with my name. The first is Donald Barr Chidsey’s Captain Adam: The history of an audacious young seaman from the American colonies who duelled and prayed and sinned his way to magnificent adventure on the lawless seas of the early 18th century! The [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #176: Robert Siodmak’s The Killers; Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Killers; Don Siegal’s The Killers. Here’s another example where The Criterion folks are in a position to provide a unique cinematic experience. In addition to Robert Siodmak’s classic noir, they’ve also provided Andrei Tarkovsky’s first student film and [...]
James Agee has long been one of my favorite writers. Recently I received a book of his film criticism from the library. It is published by one of my favorite publishers: The Library of America. Typically I’m not a fan of any particular type of journalism or journalist, but Agee doesn’t really fit a type; [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #174: Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à part. Bande à part is only loosely a gangster film, only loosely a noir, and a very unconventional film in just about all other respects. It is also one of the most influential of the French New Wave and is still [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #70: Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. Ever since I first saw this movie, I’ve loved it. There was a controversial screening of it at Notre Dame when I was an undergrad. But instead of talking about how everything that differs from dogma is controversial [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #108: Michael Bay’s The Rock. Oh God. I can’t really believe that The Rock [and Armageddon] are on the Criterion Collection list. But then, Michael Bay has a contract with them. Anyway, their eccentricity as films on this list is a good opportunity to apply critical [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #166: Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law. Jim Jarmusch knows how to shoot in black and white. I always forget this until I rewatch something of his. I own Dead Man, and I should probably get my hands on this film as well. Shot in New Orleans, [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #158: Anthony Asquith’s The Importance of Being Earnest. I have a queer affection for this film. It isn’t my type of film at all, in fact. But it is so deliberately smarmy and the dialogue so witty and refreshing that I quickly forget that I’d want [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #138: Akira Kurosawa’s Rashômon. There isn’t a whole lot to say in critical terms about Rashômon that hasn’t been said before, and better than I could say it. So instead of talking about it in terms of its examination of truth, its cultural context, or its [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #112: Jacques Tati’s Playtime. M. Hulot is back, at least part-time, for his last appearance in cinema. Playtime continues Tati’s tradition of satirizing the mundane, but unlike M. Hulot’s Holiday, this time the focus is on modernity rather than leisure time. Filmed nearly 15 years after [...]
Pork Barbecue is one of my favorite things to eat. Good pork barbecue is one of the toughest things to cook. I gave it my first shot this past weekend, and it turned out better reheated than freshly cooked. I used a recipe from a suspect site, but its simplicity is what drew me to [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #315: François Truffaut’s Shoot The Piano Player. I only have ten more films to rewatch in The Criterion Collection before I can start watching stuff I haven’t seen before again. I’m looking forward to that day. Here’s a little context about Shoot the Piano Player. It [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #336: Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. -Peter De Vries The screencaps are crummy in this review because the library sent me the Full Screen version instead of the Criterion Collection version. I had to grab screencaps from elsewhere. Dazed [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #196: Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima mon amour. Rien is, perhaps, the most beautiful word in French. In Hiroshima mon amour such words of emptiness and loss echo throughout. The opening sequence in particular is stunning for its evocation and dialogue; it is so full of implication that [...]
What is interesting about this post is that I tried to post it via YouTube’s WordPress API. After hitting submit, I was given a notice that there would be a delay before posting. I figured they meant a few minutes. Apparently they meant two days. I won’t be using THAT functionality again. Soft Spots I [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #175: Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. America is the first country to have gone from barbarism to decadence without the usual intervening period of civilization. —Oscar Wilde I’ve never used any sort of illegal drug, so offering an examination of the verisimilitude of [...]
I saw Soft Spots, formerly Friend, formerly Little Songs at the Beachland last night. They’ve quickly become one of my favorite Cleveland bands, if not the favorite. They started less than a year ago, and their music, already good to begin with, has only tightened and matured with age. They blindfolded the willing last night [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #252: John Cassavetes’ Faces. I think, maybe, that the correct reaction [at least in terms of the reaction Cassavetes was aiming for] to Faces is supposed to be loathing. It is a long, torturous journey through the darkest parts of married adult life, and there are [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #251: John Cassavetes’ Shadows. I said I was dreading the Cassavetes films that I was going to have to watch as a part of my somewhat manic determination to watch all of the films in the Criterion Collection, so, of course, I ordered the two I’ve [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #51: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this film and this time it gave me the creepy crawlies. This is satire done right, and the fact that after 20 years reality has nearly caught up with its prescience is what makes me feel [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #110: Jacques Tati’s M. Hulot’s Holiday. I have a theory that the quality of a country’s comedy is inversely proportionate to the quality of its cuisine. Thus, the genius of Monty Python and the horrid dish known as Toad in the Hole have the same sort [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #16: Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island. Unintentional Mifunefest concludes with Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island. Most folks say that this is the best of the three films, and I have to agree at least in terms of plot and characterization. I think [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #15: Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple. Unintentional Mifunefest continues with the crepuscularly spectacular Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple. Even as a middle portion of a trilogy this film is strong enough to stand on its own. The lack of firm resolution might [...]
I celebrated Repeal Day at the Velvet Tango Room yesterday with a Rusty Nail, a bouquet of Bourbon Daisies and some complimentary sushi from Ginza.
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #52: Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. You might know the remake of this film better than Yojimbo itself. Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone retold it as A Fistful of Dollars. I’ve not actually seen A Fistful of Dollars, but this is the second time I’ve seen Yojimbo. While [...]
Just as I was getting bored yesterday Rafeeq called me up because he needed a ride to Cracker Park to pick up some shoes. Rafeeq is good for me because he helps me loosen and lighten up. So we got valet parking for my car, which, if you’ve seen my car, is hilarious. We got [...]
I made vegan snickerdoodles last night. I used this recipe. Although they didn’t turn out as tasty as classic snickerdoodles, they are still good. The recipe itself could use a little work. The ingredients list says baking powder, but the directions say baking soda [I used the soda], and it makes about 2 dozen cookies, [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #157: Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. As I pointed out in my review of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, I don’t like Wes Anderson’s films. This creates a slight problem for me, since he’s got a contract with Criterion Co. to have his films [the [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #14: Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai I: Miyamoto Musashi. Miyamoto Musashi is the first installment of Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai Trilogy, an action-packed series of films that follows the life of Japan’s greatest warrior as he grows into his legend. This initial film shows a very different Musashi from [...]
This was another ridiculous weekend of music, art and poetry in Cleveland. Last night I went to C-Space and listened to a few local women poets followed by the double-barreled feature shotgun that is Alixa + Naima [MySpace page]. The poem Being Human [read it here], made me tear up. I snagged their CD and [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #160: René Clair’s À nous la liberté. Ever since I first saw this film a few years ago its cheery theme song comes back as an earworm at least once a month. “À nous, à nous, la li-ber-té!” While it is no longer roll-on-the-floor hilarious, it [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #56: Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. I would like to preface this review by saying that Marian Keane’s Criterion Essay linked at the end is going to be much better than anything I will write here. The 39 Steps is my favorite Hitchcock film, made when [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #97: Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. It might be a bit reductive to compare Spike Lee and Jane Campion [An Angel at My Table] in terms of minority filmmaking, but it is interesting to see how their films exert themselves in that sort of space. [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #289: Peter Gilbert’s, Steve James’s, and Frederick Marx’s Hoop Dreams. I never really wanted to watch this movie again. I saw it twice in college during my History of Documentary Film class [along with Nanook of the North] and as it is nearly 3 hours long, [...]
I’m not in a content-providing mood this week. Instead, for a change, I’m linking to others’ content. Today I’ll post some links to mp3s you may or may not like. Eric Satie: 1. Four Gnossiennes 1-Lent 3:34 [mp3] — Satie was a French composer who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If [...]
This clip, gratuitous and exploitative as it is, is one fine piece of filmmaking; which is the main reason it is so deliberately gratuitous and exploitative. Note how the timing of the cuts and changes in shot framing ramp up the sexiness of the scene, and by proxy, its comedy. Also, take note that I, [...]
A few weeks ago I received a request to review a short film that acts as a teaser for a feature film called Sex, Love & Z-Parts. I received the screener last week, along with comprehensive supplemental materials and have also traded a few emails with Marcus D. Russell, the driving force behind the production. [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #62: Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. I must admit that the first time I saw this, I slept through the majority. I was fresh from fencing practice in the womblike screening room of O’Shaughnessy Hall and there was no accompaniment to the [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #224: Samuel Fuller’s Pickup on South Street. I first saw this in a film noir class I took in college, That same week we watched Kiss Me Deadly, so I got a bit confused and thought this film involved Mike Hammer and ended with a nuclear [...]
I made ribs for the first time yesterday. They were on sale for $1.99# at Dave’s last month so I picked up a pack and planned on inviting some folks over when I finally cooked them. I called up my uncle, the family grillmaster, and asked for advice. Since I don’t have the hi-tech grill [...]
When I first moved to Tremont almost two years ago I only knew two people in the neighborhood. They’ve since moved to New York City, greener pastures, and better opportunities. As I’m not very good at making friends, I decided that a good way of meeting people in the neighborhood would be to start a [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #227: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Corbeau. Le Corbeau was made in occupied France in 1943. It was denounced by the Vichy government, denounced by the French Resistance and denounced by the Vatican. For a film that seems rather innocuous in 2006 America there must be a lot [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #13: Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. “Nothing is so frightening as what’s behind the closed door. The audience holds its breath along with the protagonist as she/he (more often she) approaches that door…” Stephen King in Danse Macabre and before that Val Lewton The [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #19: Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor. It was nice seeing this film again. Samuel Fuller has that peculiar position that only seems possible in the world of film; a master of cinema, but also a producer of schlock. Shock Corridor is a perfect example of this sort [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #11: Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Rev. 8:1 There is little I can say about The Seventh Seal that has not been said before. I will [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #33: Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North. This is the third time now that I’ve seen Nanook of the North. I’m currently rewatching films I’ve already seen but not reviewed that are on the Criterion list. Despite the fact that Nanook of the North is filled [...]
I was at Edison’s last night meeting with some neighborhood folks about a possible synergy between the larval Tremont Civility Project and a possible mentoring program to bring together new residents, long-time residents and even longer-time residents. I also got pretty drunk. Rogue Brewery’s Dead Guy Ale This ale was moderately hoppy with a thick [...]
I swung on up to Ohio City last night for some sushi from Kimo’s before going to the last night of interviews for this round of Neighborhood Connections Grant-making. Kimo’s was closed again. The third time in a row this has happened to me. I know he does the sushi for the Indians, and that [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #23: Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop. This is a good time to explore the Criterion Collection’s mission statement, since I know plenty of people think that having RoboCop on a list with The 400 Blows and 8½ is an abomination. The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important [...]
Yesterday was a terrible day to be heading west on I-90. I hit Buffalo right after the Bills game got out, had torrential downpours all the way to Cleveland and arrived back in town right when the Browns game finished. People were driving and not-driving like jackasses in the rain. The people pulled over on [...]
I’m in Kingston, Ontario, Canada at the moment and just got back from the Kingston Brewing Company Limited where I had a Dragon’s Breath Real Ale, which is an English-style ale, non-carbonated and hand-pumped from the tap. It was thick and grainy like you’d expect from an English Ale, and very smooth to drink, especially [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #280: Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword of Doom. As I watched this, I kept thinking that if Samuel Fuller had been Japanese, he would have made The Sword of Doom. This film has the curious mix of shlock and art, brutality and grace that Fuller was known [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #12: Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap. This will be short since I don’t know if I’m capable of speaking critically about a film that is so near and dear to my heart. In a sense, its execution was prescient, though rockumentaries like The Song Remains [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #332: Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana. Viridian comes from the Latin viridis, meaning green, but color has little to do with Buñuel’s Viridiana. He took the name from the life of a St. Viridiana [Feb 1st], but that is tangential to the action of the film. It is [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #294: Anthony Asquith’s The Browning Version. Summer is over and since all the children are heading back to school I thought I’d better pick up where I left off 4 months ago and start watching Criterion Collection films again. This film happens to take place at [...]
I made my first fall pot of vegetable stew this weekend. I pretty much eat stew all winter long.
I had a full and excellent weekend, full of superlatives. I had sushi at Pacific East because Kimo’s was closed for the Indian’s game, watched A Murder of Crows by Mac Wellman at The Liminis and had a Pisco Sour and Bourbon Daisy at the VTR. A Murder of Crows [I'm probably going to go [...]
My high school buddy Phil came in this weekend for a visit. We did a tiny music odyssey, went to a show at The Church, the Rock Hall, and the Happy Dog. Even though this wasn’t the best weekend to see a band [nobody particularly big was playing] we still rocked out to noise on [...]
Last night at The Church I saw three bands. Slackjaw [soon to be Early Girl] was a folky-moving-toward-rock band from Cleveland that put together a decent sound but I seem to have caught them in the awkward part of the transition. The vocals are still folky and get overwhelmed by the music. Amy Kasio was [...]
I made Spaghetti Carbonara AKA Heart-Attack on a Plate yesterday. Here’s how I made it: Ingredients: 5 teaspoons olive oil 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 7 slices bacon, sliced into julienne strips 1 pound spaghetti 3 beaten egg yolks, room temperature 1/2 cup heavy cream 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese basil to taste Preparation: [...]
Saturday was an extremely full day for me. I rode my bike down to the Hanna building and then took a 6 hour neighborhood tour of Cleveland. Once that was over I went to a free all-day local band rock show at The Compound and then went to Parish Hall to see the legendary The [...]
I went to the Grog Shop last night to see my friend’s band Humphry Clinker and Tim Fite and Tarantula A.D. and drink a few Newcastle’s. HC put on a good show, but the surprise of the evening for me was Tim Fite. He’s got a passionate Southern feel to his music, a bit of [...]
I saw Terence Malick’s The New World a few days ago. He’s really known for his cinematography, [You must see Days of Heaven if you've not already] but what struck me most about The New World was the montage. Not the spinning newspaper stuff that is most prevalent, but honest to God rhythmic montage. The [...]
This past weekend I watched Kino’s restoration of Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen, a five-hour silent film from 1924. I’ve always been interested in this Nordic/Germanic epic and its adaptations and retellings; initially due to the interweaving of myth and hero-legend with historical fact [Siegfried kills a dragon, Attila's invasion, for example] but now my interest [...]
My newest film infatuation is Forbidden Zone, a creation by The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and featuring a great soundtrack enhanced by Danny Elfman. True to my ever-eclectic film taste, this cult masterpiece combines my favorite German Expressionism, old style Bosco cartoonishness, extra-dimensions, midgets [Herve Villechaize!], frog butlers, hot topless women, and bondage [...]
I don’t like vague directions when I’m trying out a new recipe. Not vague like Patrick’s black beans, but vague like this: I made mango sorbet this weekend and the recipe called for reduced sugar water, but the directions simply said bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. .5C of [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #61: Monty Python’s Life of Brian. I’m taking a bit of a break from watching Criterion films I’ve not seen before and doing a little catch-up by writing reviews for films I’d seen before I decided to work on this list. Appropriately, Monty Python’s Life of [...]
A group of folks from all over the country was in town learning about the small grant program sponsored by The Cleveland Foundation. You know, the one I’m on: Neighborhood Connections. A few of the committee members [and one lucky alternate] were asked to go along for a neighborhood tour yesterday and then share dinner [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #140: Federico Fellini’s 8 ½. Cinema is the art form that lends itself most easily to postmodernism and 8 ½ is the most snugly postmodern film I’ve seen in a long time. Self-reflexivity is its bread and butter, and while that may be gimmicky now, it [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #328: Louis Malle’s Murmur of the Heart. In the Criterion-associated strange synergies of my life I’ve had two separate works in two separate days that replay the story of Oedipus and his mother in new fashions. First, Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, in which the 15 [...]
I went to an advance [for Cleveland] screening of The Promise last night at the Cedar Lee. This is one of those films that uses CG stuff to keep the budget low at the price of quality. I can’t decide if I’d like it better as completely live-action with no CG or completely done in [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #240: Yasujiro Ozu’s Early Summer. As contemporary dramas go, Ozu’s Early Summer manages to select issues that are both timeless and practical in the instant of their genesis. It is at once a story of post-war Japan and family crisis, and a chance to examine both [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #329: Louis Malle’s Lacombe, Lucien. Lacombe, Lucien is a film intentionally filled with symbols, almost allegorical in effect, pertaining to issues about the loyalty and responsibility of French civilians during the German occupation in World War II. Lucien is necessarily the most nuanced character, since the [...]
Thankfully I’ve seen a ton of these already. The bulleted and bolded ones. From Roger Ebert: • 2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) Stanley Kubrick • The 400 Blows” (1959) Francois Truffaut • “8 1/2″ (1963) Federico Fellini “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) Werner Herzog • Alien” (1979) Ridley Scott “All About Eve” (1950) Joseph [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #326: Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan. Metropolitan is a movie about the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie, debutantes and their escorts, people who read literary criticism but not the actual books, and kids who obsessively worry about their own downfall, debate theoretical political systems and don’t know how to drive [...]
What should I read this summer?
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #105: Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus. The first time I saw this film I was about ten. Therefore I missed all the political criticism, sexual undertones [there should totally be a lounge band called The Sexual Undertones] and pathos contained in the film. I also knew jack about [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #59: Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter. There is a picture of a naked woman at the end of this review. If you or your workplace has a problem with that, you should probably not read this or wait until you get home. The Night Porter is [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #317: Powell and Pressburger’s The Tales of Hoffmann. This is another Criterion film that didn’t do so much for me. I’m not too keen on musicals and there are some very large hurdles to surmount in turning a musical into a musical on film. The Tales [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #320: John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln. Young Mr. Lincoln is a film by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda, about Abraham Lincoln when he was just a greenhorn lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. The Geoffrey O’Brien essay linked at the end of this review is so well done [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #244: Jean Renoir’s Elena and Her Men. I’ve had plenty of strange coincidences in my Criterion viewings so far. I’ve not been picking films with any rhyme or reason, but stuff like this has been happening all too often: The last movie I reviewed was by [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #321: Ingmar Bergman’s Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring]. The Virgin Spring is based on a Swedish ballad called “Töre’s Daughter in Vänge” that, for the life of me, I cannot find online [although it is available as part of the liner notes for the Criterion edition of [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #7: Roy Baker’s A Night to Remember. This is a film where I’m going to talk nearly as much about the Criterion DVD as much as the film itself. Or maybe not. But it bears mentioning that the commentary on this release comes from two Titanic [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #288: Orson Welles’s F for Fake. This is a movie about charlatans and hanky-panky men, charismatic liars and magicians. It is something like a documentary but one in which a con man tells you he is a con man and is so good that he cons [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #300: Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I don’t like Wes Anderson films for the same reason I don’t like Quentin Tarantino films and the same reason I don’t like most of my poetry. It is all too referential. Yet, The Life Aquatic with [...]
I watched The Iron Giant last evening. I’m a huge fan of animation and had heard good things about this movie, so it surely took me long enough to get around to seeing it. It is a good movie and while the plot is typical kid movie fare, the art is very well done, and [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #304: Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth. Musee des Beaux Arts About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters: how well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully [...]
I’m currently at the Phoenix on Lee [Where is Jeff Hess?] applying for jobs. Ever since George posted my frustration, I’ve gotten quite a heartening response from folks in the area. I just finished a meeting with a fellow blogger about applying to his company. You people are the reason I love Cleveland. I’m starting [...]
After my run yesterday I went to Dave’s and made myself a salad and grabbed a Braeburn apple. It was what my body was craving, so apparently I needed some iron [the majority of the leafy greens were spinach] and sundry other ruffage. It disappeared in no time. When I was working over the summer [...]
Girl and I had dinner at Opa! over the weekend. It was both a tasty and nice time. We started out with an Octopus Salad which was a bit too smoky and olivey for our tastes and I had Pulled Lamb over Penne and Girl had Cherry and Apple glazed Pork, both of which were [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #9: John Woo’s Hard-Boiled. John Woo must like Jazz clubs, because both The Killer and Hard-Boiled feature them, with Woo making a cameo as the club bartender in Hard-Boiled. Rarely have I seen a film with a body count as high as Hard-Boiled. The influence of [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #8: John Woo’s The Killer. There is something of a directorial dialogue between Eastern and Western filmmakers. Few things so appropriately evince this tendency than the relationship between Jean Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï and John Woo’s The Killer. Woo readily states that Melville is a great [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #306: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï. In a film like Le Samouraï, “never” means “always”. When the police inspector says that he never thinks, we know he is always thinking and when hit man Jef Costello [Alain Delon] says he never loses we know he’s already lost [...]
I watched just over half of the Super-boring Bowl [complete with lame-ass commercials] and then headed over to the Beachland Tavern to hear a few bands. I saw two locals, The Driven High and my friends Humphry Clinker and a band from Boston called The Beatings. All three bands had chick leads, which was nice. [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #301: Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table.
My bros Bo and Phil [who are bros] just started an mp3 weblog. Go check out Lead Singer Disorder, bro.
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #297: Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar. One would expect a painter-turned-filmmaker to have an eye for composition, and Bresson definitely exceeds that expectation. Throughout Au hasard Balthazar “shots as paintings” abound. This is the first film I’ve seen by Bresson, and before I watched it, I [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #311: Hideo Gosha’s Sword of the Beast. It just happens to be coincidence that I was reading the Hagakure when this movie came in on my hold list at the library. Naoshige once said, “The Bushido signifies desperate death. Several tens of sane samurais could not [...]
The house across the street from my apartment is for sale for $50k. The house payment would be cheaper than my rent, but upon looking at the inside I estimated another $50k would need to be invested just to make it livable. I don’t have the time, money or inclination to do that kind of [...]
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #10: Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout. It is probably just me, but it seems like the 1970s were filled with films featuring nubile and naked young Australian women in Edenic settings. Walkabout is one of those films. I could put a full frontal picture of Jenny Agutter’s character [...]
In which Adam reviews spine #4 of the Criterion Collection: Federico Fellini’s Amarcord.
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #6: Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête. At the present moment, a film that goes against average taste gets few bookings in France, and outside of some ambitious pictures undertaken to maintain prestige, production is almost at a standstill and the studios deserted. A poet [...]
In which Adam reviews spine 5 of the Criterion Collection: François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows.
In which Adam posts about a new recipe.
In which Adam reviews spine #3 of the Criterion Collection: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes.
In which Adam reviews spine #2 of the Criterion Collection; Akira Kurosawa’s Shichinin no samurai.
In which Adam reviews spine #1 of the Criterion Collection; Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion
In which Adam gives brief reviews of two old science fiction movies.
In which Adam talks about a new movie list he has started watching and a possibly new book list to start reading.
In which Adam reviews a restaurant specializing in fried things and Southern food.
Another Chili Recipe
In which Adam reviews Free Live Free by Gene Wolfe
In which Adam reviews another book by Gene Wolfe.
In which Adam reviews Gene Wolfe’s first novel, Peace.
In which Adam reviews A Case of Conscience, a science fiction novel by James Blish.
In which the author reviews the latest addition to the vendy.
In which Adam reviews the eleventh installment in a fantasy series that he has been reading for sixty percent of his lifetime.
In which Adam is happy to learn that the film he worked on two years ago is finally picked up for distribution and exhibition.
In which Adam reviews the Japanese film Shinjû: Ten no amijima [Double Suicide].
In which Adam reviews the dated but strangely appropriate science fiction novel The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner
In which Adam returns to the vendy and meets a heretofore unknown but not unimportant person.
In which Adam reviews a Boom Bip and Interpol concert at the Agora Ballroom.
In which an anthology, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, is reviewed and the critic shows some of his inherent racism.
In which Adam comes out of retirement to eat another something hideous from the vendy downstairs.
In which Adam visits Pittsburgh for the first time, has an excellent chai latte, and attends a sparsely attended rock and roll music show.
In which Adam explains a culinary misfire that wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
A review of Sin City with links to comparisons between shots in the movie and the graphic novels.
Okay, I stole the title for these from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, but that is beside the point. They were tasty enough and took less time to make than even spaghetti. About 15 minutes from lighting the oven to stuffing my face. What I used: 2 really really small pieces of sliced pork loin [...]
Last evening I made vegetable moussaka and strawberry shortcake for my friends. I’d never made or even had moussaka before, and I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I think I’ll like it even better with spicy sausage or lamb in it, or maybe it just needed to be a [...]
Some weeks ago I had the Pierre™ Foods Pizza Parlor Meatball Sub [$2.05USD 1.65€] from the vendy. I didn’t review it at the time because the experience was still so freshly traumatic, so fraught, that it was the best I could do to lie in a puling mewling fetal position under my cubicle and moan [...]
We all have music that reminds us of certain times in our lives. So here are my top five albums from High School, and the top five from Notre Dame. Also, what I associate them with.
Grillions of people told me to watch this movie, Cidade de Deus, and while the plot didn’t do much for me [Brazilian Boyz in the Hood], the technical skill of the film was definitely impressive in a few ways. Structured in journalistic vignettes, the film tells us about Cidade de Deus [Rio's Trenchtown] by charting [...]
Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow is just like most reviews you’ve read of it. 100% pulp. Granted, it has that fanboyish nostalgia for the golden age of science fiction, and it works in the retroartdeco hipness that has been popping up lately, so pulp should be expected. Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs [...]
This is movie-watching week for me. Last night I watched La Cité des enfants perdus . My rather oversimplified review is past the jump.
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #182: Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs If ever there is a movie that fulfills the maxim “Beware the wrath of a quiet man” Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs  [don't miss the essay from a real film critic] is it. One of the many things Peckinpah does well [...]
Baraka, a Sufi word somewhere in the neighborhood of “blessing” is vested with just about as much meaning as arete. So when I checked out Baraka [tons of screenshots] from the library, I expected a complicated movie. It is complicated in the fact that it is and isn’t complicated.
I had a small dinner party on Saturday night. It successfully broke in my newly refinished table. I served a Lemon, Leek and Mushroom Risotto with Red Onion and Goat Cheese Pastries and Baked Apples for dessert. Wines served were Trimbach Alsacian Gewurtztrameiner, Caymus Conundrum and Woodbridge Pinot Grigio. I really liked the risotto, I’m [...]
The vendy is almost empty this Friday. Someone, other than me, has been eating stuff from it. I hypothesize that the folks working all night on the 4th floor are to blame. All that was left in the machine were things I’d already eaten [Muffin, Chicken Salad, Pickle] except for a chimichanga and what I [...]
In my ongoing quest [previous reviews: Heck's; Swenson's] to find the best burger in Cleveland, I took a trip out to Euclid with Five Dollar Beer last night to check out Stevenson’s Hamburgers. We learned about this place from the honorable FoodGoat. This was a damn good hamburger, definitely the winner from the three burger-centric [...]
I shouldn’t have done it so soon, but I did. Today I purchased the Pierre Foods Fast Choice® BBQ Pork Rib Shaped with BBQ Sauce Sandwich from the vending machine. Bad idea. To say that my stomach is upset after eating this would be like saying that Mike Tyson has an eating disorder.
I’m a big dumbass for not thinking De-Lovely, a movie about Cole Porter, would be a musical. Of course it was a musical, you big dumbass! Not you. Me. I don’t particularly like musicals, so bear that in mind as I review this one.
As was recommended to me, I read J. M. Coetzee‘s Disgrace. And indeed it was a good book. Folks seem to like calling Coetzee’s writing “sparse;” and I guess you could say that. I tend to think that writers who are wordy don’t really know what they are trying to say. What comes through with [...]
I hope to the Almighty Dog that my buddy from college who is from Philadelphia never reads this. I’ve been eating pretty healthily lately [apart from eating a whole box of Donut Sticks on Monday], so today I purchased the Pierre™ Philly Style Cheesesteak Beef Steak Patty Sandwich with Green Peppers, Onions and Cheese from [...]
Parallax is one of Tremont’s newest restaurants. I had the privilege of eating there this evening. While the prices are up there, the quality of the food is worth every penny. Full review past the jump.
As far as movies about abortion go, Vera Drake [Leigh, 2004] seems easier to understand in the context of British class issues than the contemporary abortion debate. I guess the whole movie is about context, really. So I’ll try to make my way through some of it past the jump. Spoilers ahead.
I’ve been defeated by a mere cucumber! Well, not perhaps mere. The Kaiser Famous Dill Pickle, made by Kaiser Foods in Cincinnati, OH [no website] is a dangerous adversary. The pickle, which I’m assuming weighed in at just less than one pound, came in a plastic bag and was sitting in its own brine. It [...]
Another visit to the Pierre Foods kitchen today at the vendy. I got 2 Char-Broils with Cheese for $1.50. Total weight: 4.8 ounces. Unfortunately I could not find the exact same item on the Pierre Foods site. Instead I’ve linked to the closest one. No nutritional information available, unfortunately.
I had lunch at Swenson’s Drive-In in Seven Hills. It was unlike Kunkel’s Drive-in in Connersville, they didn’t have the old boxes to call inside, instead you turn on your lights. The carhops run to and from the vehicles, I imagine they stay in good shape doing this. One of the carhops looked like she [...]
Now that I am fully recovered from my sickness, I’ve restarted my exploration of the refrigerated vendy downstairs. This morning I bought Big Mike’s Gourmet Sausage and Biscuit for $1.50.
The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writing by Richard Brautigan came in the mail yesterday. This is a collection of Brautigan’s writing from when he was young [21 or so] and unpublished. It sat in a safe deposit box for years until Edna Webster, the mother of his first girlfriend, contacted a publisher.
The Unreasoning Mask by Philip José Farmer is yet another first edition hardcover I picked up for 50 cents. I’d been impressed with his book To Your Scattered Bodies Go, so when I stumbled across something else by him, and for such a good price, I picked it up. It was alright. I think Mr. [...]
Otis Spunkmeyer is at least a recognizable name in the creepy refrigerated vendy downstairs. Yesterday I bought a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffin for $1.00. It was 6.5 oz and 700 calories of muffin goo, held together only by long chain saturated fats, but nonetheless was tasty in a processed sort of way. I was going [...]
A few months back I picked up a first edition hardcover of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik for 50 cents. I finally read it, yesterday. It is typical, full of mind-bending Dickisms, so worth a read. Spoilers past the hoo-ha.
By recommendation I read Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. It is a novel about the history of philosophy, written in such a way the the concepts from the pre-Socratics through Kant and up to Sartre could be grasped by a juvenile. Spoilers past the jump.
I finally saw Garden State, and didn’t like it at all. I can forgive the sloppy editing, but for me the characters were all absolutely lifeless, and the story was like stale artificial sweetener. I think the movie inspired deadness in me because I in no way connected to the lives or problems of any [...]
It isn’t often I do a DVD review, but then, when what I’m reviewing is a bunch of stuff from the beginning of the 20th century, I guess you have to make do. I finally sat down and watched all of Méliès the Magician a DVD that has been resting on my television for quite [...]
Polish science fiction was new to me. Stanisław Lem is great. His Cyberiad is appropriately subtitled Fables for a Cybernetic Age and concerns itself with two wily constructors, Trurl and Klapaucius, who are just stupid enough to get into all kinds of scrapes, and just smart enough to get the best of everyone in the [...]
I ate at Johnny Mango’s. In my complicated inner ratio of quantity and taste versus price they score very highly. It also helped that I’d not had much to eat beforehand. I plowed through my plate like those dogs in kibble commercials. Well, maybe not that bad. I got the Mushroom, Tomato, Garlic Burrito Big [...]
Emily Strand played at the Barking Spider last night. It was a good show despite the fact that I was almost asphyxiated by cigarette smoke. I bought her CD for a couple of fivers, found out she works for the University of Dayton and surprised her [I think] by requesting Voodoo Doll [mp3]. She played [...]
My quest to eat all the crap in the vending machine downstairs led me to the Landshire Supreme Chicken Salad Sandwich, today. I paired this with a bag of Porkies Crispy Fried Pork Rinds.
The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002 I finally managed to track down every book on the above list, many are/were unfortunately out of print. But I did it. I’ve read them all. Mini-Reviews of all 50 are inside. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. TolkienI’ve babbled on about [...]
Today I had my second item from the vendy downstairs. I had the Fast Choice Fish and Cheese Sandwich by Pierre Foods, again. For $1.65 I received 5.75 ounces of…something…with the consistency and taste of a dirty, wet mitten. This item is apparently slightly better for you than Biz AZ Bubba Twins because the nutrition [...]
I just finished The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson [who is, incidentally, from Cleveland]. It is comprised of three books: Lord Foul’s Bane, The Illearth War and The Power that Preserves. With this series I have finally, after three years, finished the Science Fiction Book Club list: The Most Significant [...]
There is a vending machine downstairs, recently installed, that contains a variety of dirt cheap refrigerated lunch products. They all look completely gross. So, since I’m the kind of guy who eats hot dog flavored potato chips just because they’re there, I’ve determined to eat one of each thing in that vending machine. Today I [...]
All My Sins Remembered is the second book I’ve read by Joe Haldeman. The first, The Forever War, was a really good book about the social and psychological effects of extended space travel when it screws with subjective versus objective time. All My Sins Remembered is similar but different.
1/2 C. brown rice 2 C. water 1 C. frozen mixed vegetables 1 T. balsamic vinegar 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil whatever spices 1. Cook the rice in an uncovered pot. This method works excellently. Thank you, Patrick. 2. Cook the vegetables in another pot, cover and simmer once it boils. 3. When everything [...]
In the Realms of the Unreal is a documentary on the life of outsider artist Henry Darger and is currently playing at the Cedar Lee. It is a great doc, with great animation and a great focus. Go catch it before it disappears.
The Book of the New Sun is a tetralogy composed of The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of The Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor and The Citadel of the Autarch. It is sort of a blend of both fantasy and science fiction in terms of genre, but with chapter titles like “Eschatology and [...]
Friday I went to see The Animation Show at the Cleveland Cinematheque. It was really good. Here is what is playing in 2005. Mini-reviews within.
I had dinner with Five Dollar Beer last night. We went to Heck’s Cafe over on Bridge Avenue, because they apparently have the best burgers in town. The burgers were good, but if they are the best burgers in town then Cleveland sorely needs a really good burger joint. Something akin to CJ’s out of [...]
I’ve read everything Cordwainer Smith ever published now. That is somewhat disappointing because I like him and his tenacious stories quite a bit. Norstrilia is one of the classic science fiction books I bought for 10 cents apiece while antique shopping last week.
I’ve read a lot of Philip K. Dick and while this novel is supposedly his breakthrough work, The Man in the High Castle is my least favorite of his works. The basic premise is that the United States of America and Britain lost World War II and now the USA is split between Imperial Japan [...]
I honestly don’t know why this book was in the Top 50 Science Fiction books list. Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison is a collection of short stories that wrestle with gods and worshippers, both new and old, and from different angles.
Wilmar Shiras’s Children of the Atom is a hard book to come by. It had been out of print for quite some time until relatively recently. I now only have four books left to read on this list. Thankfully, I can find them all in the Cleveland library system.
I went to the Cleveland Film Festival on Friday for a showing of six short films. Short reviews of each, and spoilers of course, past the jump.
Robots is an entertaining movie, quite worth taking the kids to see. It is a bit light on plot, but that’s okay. The humor was right up my alley, visual and verbal puns were the main course, cracked me up. For instance, at one point all the Robots do The Robot; expected but hilarious nonetheless. [...]
I’m currently reading John Brunner‘s Stand on Zanzibar. I managed to get my hands on a first edition in fair condition. Paper wasn’t acid-free in those days, so the paper is getting a little soft, but it is still very readable. First off it reminded me a bit of Samuel R. Delany‘s Dhalgren.
A few weeks ago I finished reading The Rediscovery of Man, a collection of short stories by Cordwainer Smith. His real name is Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger and he was the godson of Sun Yat Sen, a professor of Asiatic Studies at Johns Hopkins, spoke several languages, wrote the seminal work Psychological Warfare and was [...]
Press Release: West Lafayette, Indiana. David Ledman, recently of the Prozak Kittens, releases Burn Through Me [2.7Mb mp3], and the world was never the same.
I finally watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. I’ve been wanting to see it pretty much since it came out, but it was one of those things that I never really got around to doing. In any case, while I want to watch it at least one more time before I codify [...]
If you’ve noticed the appearance of a couple of mp3 links up top, it is because my new host provides me with 3Gb of transfers per month. I don’t come anywhere near to using this much, so I figured I might as well share some of my bandwidth. “Guzzle Greed” is a live track recorded [...]
I helped my friend Lauren move to Tremont on Saturday and then fixed a batch of chili for everyone to eat afterward. It turned out pretty good, and though I was a bit leery of using something as strange as TVP, it didn’t roil me gut like tofu tends to do. Actually it was pretty [...]
A Very Long Engagement [Un long dimanche de fiançailles] is a very long engagement indeed. Way too long. About 45 minutes too long. Watching the movie is like eating a plain baguette, It is sort of tasty when you start but you get tired of it long before the end.
I had some friends over on Saturday for movies. We ordered Big Guy’s Pizza and watched some real raspberries in the world of cinema. Two reviews lie after the jump. We watched four, but I’m not going to review the ones I’d already seen.
I made some damn tasty pork chops last night, and if the rice turned out a bit mushy for my taste, I managed to hide it a bit behind some butter, paprika and basil. The pork chops though, were just peachy. If you try this recipe you will definitely makeout like a bandit.
I went to the Cedar Lee last night and saw Hotel Rwanda. It was even heavier than I expected it to be and it definitely bore a bit of discussion with my friend and a bit more thought now. You can listen to an NPR interview with Don Cheadle here. Spoilers within.
I finished Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson this morning because I woke up at 5am, for no reason, for the third consecutive day. It is a “novel in verse” and a blending of Greek myth and contemporary life.
What a curious book. This guy is layered a bit like an onion and there really isn’t any reason to trust anyone who claims anything in the entire book. The humor is droll, very Scotch, and the type that makes you want to smack the people upside the head for being goofballs. It was an [...]
Here is a Top 10 list of my favorite movie badasses. These folks are hardcore invincible types. No animated characters and no superheros. I have eliminated movies where folks are more than just badass. So if there is someone missing from the list that you think should be there, it is either because I haven’t [...]
I’m almost finished with all of the books I received for Christmas. I currently have around 75 pages left to read in Alisdair Gray’s Poor Things and then I have to read Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson and I will be without reading material once again. Here is what I read while my site [...]
I finished reading my first Christmas book today. The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip. Despite the fact that she writes fantasy aimed at a mainly female audience she remains one of my favorite fantasy authors.
I saw Ocean’s 12 last night with Liam and Anne. Perhaps the last time I will see them before they move to NYC. Anyway, Ocean’s 12 is all edge and no teeth. If Ocean’s Eleven [O11] is an intelligent, sophisticated, mysterious and beautiful French woman, then Ocean’s 12 [O12] is a dumb nymphomaniac sorority girl. [...]
My quest to make homemade Little Debbie Star Crunch™ started off yesterday. As far as I can tell, Star Crunch is puffed rice, caramel and a chocolate coating. They are gooey and delicious. My own foray turned out to be pretty tasty, but much chewier than gooier. If you’ve ever had a Charleston Chew, then [...]
My mother came up this past weekend and saw the new place. We had Thanksgiving dinner with my friend from work, Lauren and it turned out pretty well. I roasted Cornish game hens with red potatoes and asparagus, basted in a lemon-garlic mixture, Mom made some scalloped yams and brought her pumpkin and famous pecan [...]
I have purchased two brands of potato chips from the vending machine. Hooters™ Hot Wing Flavored Potato Chips, and Snyder’s of Hanover Hot! Buffalo Wing Potato Chips. Herein lies a comparison.
Wednesday evening was the annual company ‘event.’ Since no one really knows if it is a Christmas dinner or a fall party or what, it is just known as the ‘event.’ It was at the Crawford Auto Museum, so I pretty much only went to see the antique cars. I saw an electric car from [...]
I am still 6 feet, one and one half inches tall, I am 167 pounds, my heartbeat is 71 bpm and my blood pressure is 133/81. I also voted today and am disappointed that I did not receive a sticker.
I am not going to have internet access from my new apartment for a while. That means my plugged into the Matrixness will only be prevalent during work hours. Whatever will I do without the internet? I will most likely:
I’ve been running low on things to read lately. Most of the science fiction and especially the fantasy stuff looks like completely shallow and unoriginal tripe. And while there are plenty of other things to read besides science fiction and fantasy, I don’t really know where to start.
I played live for the first time as a member of Subliminal Self last night. Got free Guinness out of it too.
I read music pretty well, but sometimes I think my guitar instructor thinks I’m an idiot, because I read music strangely.
Over the weekend I had a conversation with B rd over at edlundart about time and since then I’ve coincidentally read several short stories dealing with time travel by Michael Swanwick.
In the middle of the last century, the United States of America was in full swing at the Communist Threat Within. McCarthyism was rife and Hollywood was in thrall to the bullyboy tactics of blacklisting. The rampant success of I Was A Teenage Werewolf  in this time period is surprising given its quite obvious [...]
I finished reading Ivanhoe the other day. It was good, surprisingly so. I ended up liking the main villain more than any other character.
I snagged Logan’s Run from the library because I’ve not seen it in almost a decade. I can appreciate it [only slightly] more now that I’m older.
The Bourne Supremacy is not a movie you want to watch from the front row of an ill-designed movie theater. I don’t, in fact, know if it is a good movie or not, so I’ll just talk about the experience.
Here are some random music thoughts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I will now use my film degree for bastardized purposes. Also, I am growing a beard again.
I went to Jimmy Daddona’s for dinner somewhat driven by this review in the Free Times. It wasn’t very good at all. Now, I’ve gained a little knowledge at the ways of foodie-ness just by having proximity to Five Dollar Beer, so I am using some of his criteria in this review [or, what I [...]
I went to Half Price Books on Friday and managed to not buy the whole store. Instead I bought three illustrated books of fables and folktales. All brand new and all rather cheap.
A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #64: Carol Reed’s The Third Man. With the likes of Carol Reed directing, a Graham Greene screenplay and Orson Welles, The Third Man,  which I recently watched, is a very good movie. And since it was a Criterion Collection DVD, the goodies are just as [...]
Finally saw Spiderman 2, not that I really wanted to see it, but I wasn’t averse to it either. I didn’t appreciate it so much for its story as for the auteurical flourishes that Sam Raimi brought for me. There might be a spoiler or two to follow.
“There are… two concepts of the artist. The one gives all to his work, in a very real way; if he does not produce volumes, at least he goes through many, many drafts. He neglects his life, and his life totters and sways and often plummets into chaos. It is presumptuous of us to judge [...]
I was at Jamie’s Flea Market Saturday and I found something that hit the market when I was 6 years old. Something that shows me what 17 years of bickering, global reorganization and bloodshed has changed in the zeitgeist of America. Yeah, basically nothing. Disclaimer Though these cards claim to be educational, it is well [...]
…if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. -Economy
I don’t think I’ve ever written about food. I’m on an eat what I’m hungry for diet. This is not diet used in ‘what I eat to lose weight’ instead it is used in the ‘what I eat cause I’m hungry’ sense.
I read two books in two days. Yes, I’ve already finished the books I picked up Sunday at the library. Besides both having the word ‘heaven’ in the title and both using the word ‘milquetoast’ in the exposition, they are very different. The Silence of Heaven by Peter Lord-Wolff is a pretty decent first novel. [...]
I woke up today to this on my weather page: But I’m not going to let that get me down. This weekend is the Cleveland Music Festival, and while GWAR is no longer headlining, I’ll still get the chance to see The Misfits and avoid Mushroomhead. Tonight I’m going to see one of my ex-coworkers [...]
I saw Ratatat and Clinic at the Grog Shop last evening. Ratatat was surprisingly good. Just two guys and their guitars, some groovy bells and whistles [and a cool projected psychedelic accompaniment] and lots of jamming. They didn’t have any lyrics but since each song seemed like a blend of experiment, improvisation and virtuosity, words [...]
I was rummaging through my old sheet music last night in search of something simple enough for me to play on my guitar. While doing this I came to the conclusion that eight years ago I was a damn good saxophonist. Up until high school marching band killed my love of musical performance [a love [...]
So, because I have developed a few connections through my work and have started writing music reviews for Urban Dialect, I have now had guestlist access to two shows that I would otherwise had to pay for. Last night I waltzed in to the Grog Shop to see Waiting For Evangeline, Murder By Death! and [...]
Look, you all know that I am a frigging doofus. The fact that you know this is probably part of the reason you read this [if, in fact, you read this]. Thus, it might not surprise you that, in my typical overenthusiastic way, I could purchase concert tickets that are not even worth using as [...]
This album is absolutely amazing. I might have said that about some other albums sometime in the past but I was lying or under the influence of some sort of mind altering substance. In fact I’m under the influence of a mind altering substance right now. That substance is, of course, this wonderfully vibrant and [...]
Tonight I’m going to see Subliminal Self at the Hi-Fi club. Five Dollar Beer is part of this musical creation so I expect most of the songs to be about world foods. I was teamed up upon yesterday by those who I thought were my friends. They tried to convince me that tonight’s show was [...]
Screw Mock-a-Blog week. I’ve got more important things to write on. I watched About Schmidt last evening and it was alright. Definitely an old person’s movie. It was solidly put together with interesting shots but nothing fancy. Jack Nicholson made the movie. It is obvious why his performance got him nominated for so many awards. [...]
I finally finished watching Genroku chushingura [The 47 Ronin]. This film is considered one of the classic films of Japanese cinema and was directed by the always impressive Kenji Mizoguchi. The film was released in 1942 and was commissioned by the Japanese government to be a nationalist rhetoric in favor of war to realize Japanese [...]
Last night I was surprised with a ticket to see 5 Sides of a Coin at the Cleveland Film Festival. Directed by Paul Kell, this too-short documentary concerns itself with five areas of hip-hop: rappin’, scratchin’, breakin’, beatboxin’ and graffiti. I enjoyed the film for what it was, but I think it was lacking in [...]
I snagged Forbidden Planet from the library this weekend and watched it on Saturday. I also picked up Fellini’s Satyricon and Inagaki’s The 47 Ronin. Forbidden Planet is an excellent science-fiction movie. Apparently it is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest which happens to be my favorite of Billy’s plays. I grabbed it mostly because [...]
Franz Ferdinand’s [FF] self-titled album is released tomorrow and is very anticipated. I’ve been listening to it for about six weeks now due to certain connections I have. From what I’ve read they seem to get lumped in with The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and other neo-garage rockers. I think this is pretty spot-on but [...]
My musical tastes change with the weather and seasons. I might have taken this down before but I’m doing it again. Just mark it up as a testament to the fallibility of human memory. …anyway The weather has warmed up a bit here in Cleveland and that means I am going back into the dustbin [...]
Hollywood Video has this great coupon gizmo going on where you can rent up to three new releases for the full five days at 99 cents each. last night i rented In the Cut, Lost in Translation, and Solaris for 5 days and a measly $3.21. without this wonderful coupon [a pile of which i [...]
I spent the weekend working in Medina on Save the Day. I ate much food, talked about the three main on-set topics [films i've worked on/films i've seen, drinking, and sex]. It was a long weekend, 66 scheduled shots, many of them involving fight choreography. I worked as sound assistant for awhile, did some lighting [...]
I went to an advanced screening of the new Viggo Mortensen vehicle, Hidalgo, last evening. The story story centers around Frank Hopkins [Mortensen]; his paint mustang, Hidalgo; and long distance horse racing. Hopkins goes to Arabia to compete in a 3,000 mile Bedouin race across the deserts. A dual review is found below, one praises [...]
I’m somewhat back in the saddle when it comes to filmmaking. For the next two weeks, as my schedule allows, I am going to help out on a Super 16mm film called Saves the Day, which concerns itself with a boy who thinks his older brother is a superhero. I’m just a PA, and the [...]
I just got back from a sweet night of the blues featuring Robert Lockwood Junior. Lockwood is allegedly the only person to have actually learned guitar from the king of delta blues, Robert Johnson. The blues ensemble that played with him was quite good, but it was obvious their style of blues wasn’t the same [...]
Making a Compilation CD [c-CD] is quite an affair. The process is described in detail in several places, some shallower than others. I never make c-CDs for myself. The discs I burn that are composites of artists, aren’t compilations. I just put them on a CD so I can listen to them elsewhere. A c-CD [...]
I won some Cash for Christmas and today I received it. I got the CD- American IV: The Man Comes Around and the DVD- Johnny Cash: A Concert Behind Prison Walls. I also received a couple of stickers. I had heard the album with Phil right when it came out and was impressed, so it [...]
I’m typically not very excited when I am given a hypothetical question along the lines of ‘If you were on a desert island what five things would you want with you?’ My answer is always something along the lines of ‘A Coast Guard ‘copter, fuel for it, a book on how to fly a ‘copter, [...]
I saw Ghost in the Shell last night. The Matrix can suck eggs. “A ghost-hacked human is a pitiful thing.” “A copy is just an identical image. There is the possibility that a single virus could destroy an entire set of systems and copies do not give rise to variety and originality. Life perpetuates itself [...]
I’d heard nothing but bad about The Last Samurai. I saw it last night and was entertained. What brought it down the most was Tom Cruise. The director, one Mr. Zwick, ended up putting a bit too much emphasis on Cruise, in narration, diegetic dialogue, and photo-montage. I got the distinct impression that the movie [...]
I saw Return of the King [RotK] last night at midnight. I got to bed around 4ish and was at work at 7. I am writing this at approximately 20 past 9 a.m. on 17 December 2003. I am a zombie, so bear with if at times I sound a bit incoherent. There are also [...]
I’m on rileydog today! I’m almost done reading Louis Aragon’s The Adventures of Telemachus. Apparently, this is also a parody of a story written by Fenelon in 1699. I’ve had previous experience with Dadaist films and visual art, but not literature. This experience has been appropriately strange. Aragon warps everything for his own pleasure. Greco-Roman [...]
So I just found out today that The Shins played in Cleveland 3 days ago. I could have seen them for $15. Motherfucker.
I finally got around to seeing Adaptation, which has been recommended to me for about the past year as a flik I should see. It was pretty good, I was amazed by Chris Cooper, impressed with Nicholas Cage but not really with Meryl Streep. As an added bonus, the lovely Judy Greer was in the [...]
Minutes ago I finished reading Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is, undoubtedly, one of the best science fiction novels I have ever perused. It makes no bones about its status as allegory [which I, like Tolkien, have cordially disliked for some time]. But it does not strike me as an allegory [...]
I’ve been wending my way through Fritz Leiber’s refreshing short story fantasy lately. I consider myself somewhat of a connosieur of otherworldly literature, and Fritz, I must say, is not a stale author. Much fantasy is either bad Tolkien imitation or based on an RPG of some sort. Needless to say, I’d rather read Tolkien [...]
This is the summer of sci-fi for me. Last year was the beat generation, and distopias. Philip K. Dick could somehow qualify in each of those categories. What I find most interesting however, is the ease with which his stories are converted into films. Blade Runner is based on his novel Do Androids Dream of [...]
I’ve been burning my way through the Top 50 Science Fiction books of the last 50 years. I’ve recently read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Williams Gibson’s Neuromancer, and Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. Currently I am reading Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. I am 28% finished with the list. Last [...]
Powerman 5000‘s latest LP, Transform, marks a transition for the band from gothic space-rock to a niche between n?-metal and standard hardcore. Its not as good as it used to be, but at least it ain’t Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit. If it is anything, Transform is one of the strangest calls to arms I’ve [...]
Deloused in the Comatorium [DITC], the new semantic experience from The Mars Volta. Read my pompous review, but first go buy the album. When At the Drive In split a while back, my friend Kyle was pretty miffed, they were one of his favorite bands. From the splinters of this band emerged two new musical [...]
Every morning, one of the first things I do is read the funnies. I do this online using my.yahoo. I read Boondocks, Foxtrot, and Non Sequitur. Since yahoo provides me with plenty of other options to access, I have chosen to take advantage of a few. One of these is the Barnes and Noble Showcase. [...]
Went to the library again. Got Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon; The Complete poems of Carl Sandburg; and a selection of short stories by Philip K. Dick. As I was checking out, I was checked out by the librarian. She hit on me last time I was there as well. I was wearing me Heathen [...]
Hell, I’m always on the lookout for some good new music. Unfortunately my search often results in less than good new music. There are far too many bands out there with delusions of grandeur, weird gimmicks, and stranger sounds, all of which don’t particularly agree with my constitution. Thankfully, The Decemberists album Castaways and Cut-outs [...]
The second entry, and then I must needs say no more about matrices till November. As a film, The Matrix [original] was authentic in its rawness of mise-en-scene, tight plot, character construction and philosophy. The Matrix: Reloaded, has the mangy paw of Hollywood overproduction and overengineering all over it. Now that the goth look is [...]
I’ve seen The Matrix: Reloaded twice now. Fittingly I will give it two entries, one on philosophy and one on its cinematic qualities. This is the philo one. Most likely they will both contain spoilers. To start out, those who say that this second film lacks [in substance and thought provoking material] are idiots. They [...]
The Summer Reading List currently contains: High Fidelity – Nick Hornby Ulysses – James Joyce The Hawkline Monster – Richard Brautigan The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks His Dark Materials Trilogy – Philip Pullman Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen Something by Kafka I’m always taking suggestions as well, especially poetry. [...]
I had this dream the other night, where I was in this goth club just minding my own business listening to some kickass darkwave, when some dude started something. Apparently I was not sufficiently ‘goth’ to be present in the club [i.e. I wasn't dressed very gothy.] He said something along the lines of ‘You [...]
I’ve been burning up Interpol in my CD player lately. Theirs is a musical experience that I have never had the pleasure of listening to before. Turn On The Bright Lights is a very taut album. It goes through a series of anxious peaks and introspective valleys but remains rife with a feeling akin to [...]
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Trois couleurs trilogy is quite a master’s piece. Beginning with Bleu through Blanc and on to Rouge all three films deal with manifestations of love: quite poignant, and sometimes whimsical but always complicated. The direction is smooth but firm and for those initiated into the films, on a second viewing, the hand of [...]
I saw Queens of the Stone Age and ZWAN last night in Normal, IL. It was a pretty good show, with two very different but capable bands. QOTSA rocked out hard, ZWAN was more of a musical odyssey than anything else. Billy didn’t talk to much, but it was obvious he enjoyed the crowd. Paz [...]
i realized as i went through my collection of mp3s and deleted 853mb of them that i have very few of what might be termed ‘love songs’ on my computer. most of the few that i had were subsequently deleted. what does this mean? does it reflect an inherent lack of love within myself, or [...]
So plenty of people think that The Vines sound just like Nirvana. I can see what they mean. Plenty of people also agree that Creed sounds just like Pearl Jam. I agree with them. Why do I like The Vines and abhor Creed? Perhaps its because every Creed song sounds the same, or perhaps the [...]
Student Film Festival was last night. ’twas excellent. leaving in a few hours to fence at OSU and kick some buckeye ass. The Friday mp3 I’m not too big on rap, yet I like Jurassic 5. They rap with an old school flavor that in a way that is refreshing from crap stuff like Nelly [...]
I finished The Bell Jar last night. I can’t really say that it blew me away. The obvious autobiographical references to Plath’s own life were rather…obvious, and the depiction of mental decay and rebirth didn’t do much for me either. Granted, since the narrator is the crazy one, the narrative is going to be colored [...]
after seeing Y tu Mam Tambien last evening i decided to go with a song by nonpoint called orgullo. that’s spanish for pride. the whole song is in spanish, so i only understand one word in ten but it still kicks ass. as for the movie, its been awhile since i’ve seen unorthodox editing and [...]
Bulletmania! I’ve played The Two Towers video game. B+ (the levels are too short). This post by Mr. Oblivio is great. My Uncle Corbin is here for the ND v. Seton Hall game and will be feeding me shortly. She called my house last night but I was already up here. I suck. This semester [...]
4 barebones movie reviews: Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) This French film is often compared to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and it is similar insofar as the fight sequences are well choreographed by Tak-ngai Yeung and shot in the Hong Kong style. It was also flamboyantly edited by another Asian, David Wu. [...]
I don’t listen to them anymore: they annoy me. They’re going to sleep together. They know it. Each one knows that the other knows it. But since they are young, chaste and decent, since each one wants to keep his self- respect and that of the other, since love is a great poetic thing which [...]
upon rereading Nausea i am interested in the existentialist take on regret. Roquentin seems less alienated to me than he did the last time i visited him, instead he seems more concerned with what used to be and what has changed. he does not accept this change to Nausea and mourns for his past. is [...]
Robert Jordan’s newest Crossroads of Twilight will be released on the seventh. and i must say that i am ready. since i started his Wheel of Time series in 1994 and it offers very few signs of impending closure, i have become slightly impatient and perturbed and even at times apathetic regarding the series. it [...]
For New Year’s Eve I just stayed home with mom. Watched 3 movies: Stolen Summer; The Count of Monte Cristo; Chocolat. Today I watched ND lose. bah!
i’m not one who has much knowledge of literary trends in novel-writing but House of Leaves strikes me as a book that could very well be the great work of postmodern literature. which means everything and nothing. as an experimental novel it is a remarkably well constructed thing. i had a bit of trouble getting [...]
after the extreme quality of the first movie in every aspect, this film was a vast disappointment for me. Hollywood had its dirty mitts all over the plot, adding sequences that were meaningless for the story, changing around the structure and timing of the story itself, making characters behave in manners absolutely contrary to the [...]
I’m not a big one for japanese pop music, or even japanese-american pop music, or even pop music. but i’ll make an exception for this song by Shonen Knife. It is called Jakalope. I find no end of interest in the fact that a some middle-aged japanese women were so fascinated with an animal that [...]
Films I saw this semester: Super Troopers (Jay Chandrasekhar, 2001) – B+ Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 2001) – C Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) – A- Objective Burma (Raoul Walsh, 1945) – B- Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) – B+ The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957) – B The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) – [...]
last night i had the misfortune to watch some blatant anti-Iraq propaganda. Live From Baghdad is nothing more than a modern day Divide&Conquer. Not only is the film a giant commercial for CNN, but it also presents such a frightening picture of Iraqi despotism that it might as well just come out and say ‘All [...]
it is rather difficult to get into the christmas spirit with finals/papers/projects looming over me. every year i attempt it and every year i cannot seem to get excited for the holidays until around the 20th, when school ends and i get to go home. i guess for me holidays don’t exist without family. The [...]
about a year ago i was finishing up my last project for my metal sculpture class. my progression in the world of art that semester was a struggle. i was also taking an anthro class about cultural identities of art. my life was circumscribed by form v. content. in the class on form (metal sculpture) [...]
last night i put together an assembly of the rushes for Vice Versa. i think today we’ll probably watch them in class. I’m pretty sure the rest of class time is going to be spent watching clips. and talking about clips. or listening to Bill talk about clips. in minute and downward spiraling detail. i’d [...]
i’ve been playing Halo way too much for my own good. i’m getting much better though, enough so that when i play multiplayer i can actually contribute a little bit instead of sucking. i still need to become more maneuverable though. we are shooting again today for my film and more all this next week. [...]
Thursday and yesterday, experimental filmmaker Zoe Beloff was on campus. On Thursday she presented two 3-D film works and on friday she showed 2 of her digital works. The 3-D films were a trip, i’ll tell you that. Not only were they in 3-D, which she jerry-rigged from parts scrounged from flea markets, they were [...]
I’m writing my first serious paper of the year for my film noir class. i’m writing on Charles Vidor’s Gilda. When I first saw it 2 years ago i thought it was a film noir; now, after a month or so of class i’m not so sure anymore. noir is such a nebulous category, it [...]
my Society and Culture Through Film class is torture. i’m pretty sure i’ve already mentioned this, but the things people say about movies in that class wound me. For instance: Girl: I just wanted to say that I think it is interesting how they uh, like, never show the Indians being killed, they just, like [...]
motherfucking, goddamn sprinklers. i was all set up for my test shoot, the lighting was done, the talent was arriving momentarily and then guess what happens…the motherfucking, goddamn sprinklers turn on! ergo, i rushed about moving expensive camera equipment and lights around while jets of water squirt about me. shit like that always happens on [...]
This Friday’s song comes from a band that kicks no end of ass: Jimmie’s Chicken Shack. They are funny, creative, sometime political and always good to listen to. They hail from the southeast coast of the US. Heavily influenced by reggae and the dead it is inevitable that they smoke up alot, but hell people [...]
today’s choice was a no brainer. the band coincidentally has the same name as my site, Organic Mechanic. you can sample 4 of their mp3s on their site. but if you just want to grab something now I recommend Life is Everywhere. jazzy, poppy and catchy describe it pretty well. its obvious these guys know [...]
well all three of my film pitches got shot down today. i wasn’t too surprised. i have trouble coming up with ideas for narrative films. thats not what i am concerned with. i’m going to make non-fiction films dammit, i could care less about the intricacies of the Hollywood screenplay. The basic concepts of screenplay [...]
i am a chicken with my head cut off. this will continue till mid december. grad schools, resumés, job interviews, work, web design, practice, homework, papers, tests, quizzes. it makes one fairly pant just reading it. i need to practice bilocating or go clone myself over at the bio building. with that done i could [...]
Reason number 64 why Connersville sucks. It is a whiskey town. I stopped at 3 liquor stores in search of my alcohol of choice: Stolichnaya vodka. none of them had it. Absolut is the “high quality” vodka. however, if you can think of an obscure brand of whiskey they had it, in all its varieties. [...]
i’m about 75% through Screams of Reason by David Skal. Its mostly about Hollywood’s fascination with mad science. Its ok. but a good shot in the dark by my mother who bought it for me. i can see many different tracks where expansion and deeper academic discourse would add some insights but it is pretty [...]
Balls! tis been awhile. Here is the last week. wednesday: went up to Purdue then drove with Phil to Chicago where we stayed with his brother Bo and his fiance? Kerri. played monopoly. lost horribly. i HATE that. thursday: area2 concert featuring Ash, Blueman Group, Busta Rhymes, David Bowie, and Moby. all around good concert. [...]
you probably already know it, but i’m a skinny bastard. the energy my metabolism burns in one day could most likely power a small country for a week. i’m not kidding. lately i’ve been kinda sluggish, and a couple of days ago i figured out why. since i have been cooking for myself this summer, [...]
I’m starting to get hyped up, in a week i get to go see David Bowie and Moby on the Area2 tour, and Juliana Hatfield. Plus I’m going to get to chill with some friends a I haven’t seen in awhile in Chicago. I’ve also been listening to some new music. my buddy Matt recommended [...]
after a summer filled with reading works considered to be fine pieces of literature, my return to the books i have enjoyed the most, fantasy novels, is bittersweet. i relish the stories for their entertainment value, but now they are starting to seem a little…juvenile. perhaps this is just due to the books i am [...]
The only way to watch coming-of-age fliks from the ’80s is while drinking. at least if you are me. the best word to describe my feelings regarding said films is abhor. We watched Can’t Buy Me Love and Footloose last night. It was, perhaps, more fun to rip on the relatively innocent antics and eccentric [...]
Weezer, budd-y! Last night was a good concert night and could only have been improved if the Strokes hadn’t had to cancel. Of course, there was the inevitable roadtrip associated with attending a concert in the midwest but O My how fun it was. I got some free concert tix to a 12 local band [...]
wish I could write like this: Enough searching to know that we’ve lost ourselves in our slot machines, shotguns, and stripmalls baby your technology so slick and functional and me without my nuclear arsenal And if I could kill without guilt or sin there’d soon be a few less record executives and if I could [...]
Day 2: On page 182 of Atlas Shrugged, I figured out who John Galt was. Major Objection: 18% of the way through the book. The story only holds my interest because of the characters’ internal dialogues. Character development does not seem to be Ayn Rand’s strong point and her use of narrative device only seems [...]
It was simply and well written and I was impressed with Huxley’s knowledge and insights into social conditioning, yet as the author himself said in his foreward, it has many flaws. I am now convinced that every utopia is at the same time an antiutopia. Granted, Huxley presents a world free of virtue or vice, [...]
Yesterday, I read Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. It has been on my list of books to read since Dr. Ledman’s US History class junior year of high school when Phil correctly answered one of his father’s ridiculous extra credit questions. They never had anything to do with US history per se and were [...]
5.30.02 INT. NIEUWLAND SCIENCE BUILDING 2:14pm DAY it took awhile to get used to the malenky slovos in A Clockwork Orange but once i got it through my gulliver to understand what it meant to go out with your droogies and use your rooker in order to tolchock some grahzny veck and smeck about while [...]
5.26.02 EXT. MOD QUAD. 6:03pm DAY i think the extreme conservatism here at Notre Dame has made more of a liberal out of me. the hypocrisy, bureaucracy, and oppressive nature of ‘tradition’ that i am constantly faced with has slowly forced me from my rather apolitical fencesitting into a slightly more radical stance where i [...]
5.22.02 INT. SHOWPLACE 16 8:00pm NIGHT i just watched episode 2. george lucas has never been an actor’s director so i can excuse the instances of bad acting except for the extra parmesan in the love dialogue, he should have at least had the sense to nix that. the three zooms were totally unacceptable and [...]
5.20.02 INT. SIEGFRIED HALL RM 450 9:44pm NIGHT i’ve got a lot to talk about. home was good, i stayed just long enough but didn’t see a whole lot of mom which i know she doesn’t like. bo and kerris place in chicago was pretty nice as well, the q101 jamboree wasn’t very fun. the [...]
5.9.02 INT. KEOUGH HALL RM 435 1:00pm DAY all of the marmosets are gone, and so am i. this won’t be updated until i am back on the 20th. for those of you who want to know, here is my summer reading list as it stands now (feel free to add to it). fritz leiber; [...]
5.6.02 INT. DEBARTOLO HALL RM. 316 9:43am DAY there is a reason i smell like a dead animal. marmoset body count: four new film link: curious today i am rancid
5.4.02 INT. KEOUGH HALL RM 435. 11:25am DAY not much to say today. saw spiderman last night. my theory as a film major is that any movie based on a comic book that reminds you of the comic book and runs like a comic book is a good movie for those very reasons. it seems [...]
today was the annual Anthropology Department Goat Roast. At nine in the morning some anthro majors and the profs, using stone tools produced in the Lithic Technologies class, butchered a goat and a sheep. keep in mind that properly produced obsidian stone knives are something like 5times sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel. so the actual [...]
i don’t want to write anything today. so here are some song lyrics. what do they make you think about or feel like or what do you think they mean? actually just say anything about them that you want, i’m interested. Soft now- the lips that dragged me down Soft now- until I hit the [...]
Last night was fun. I ate at this place called Elia’s. Really good Lebanese food. Then after that, I spent several hours (ok it was till 3am) playing Super Mario 3 on the Nintendo over at my friend Cari’s place. Andy was there too and he tried to give me some advice on how to [...]
mom is showing up today for Junior Parents’ Weekend. I hope this is a great experience. We have pornstar seating at table 1 and table 6 for the meals. i’m not getting any work done this weekend, i can already tell you. concerts i have been to: The Beach Boys: I think I was 8. [...]