…and the quest to see everything

Other Things

Gainsbourg’s Bonnie and Clyde


I am not submitting a Best Shot entry, I wrote about Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde and I don’t even know if that post makes any sense, especially as a Best Shot post. So instead I’m posting a video that doesn’t have the same sexuality as the sonic experience of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot’s song about the ill-fated couple.

I imagined two people with the wind blowing on their faces as they traverse the Southern crossroads, not two glamorously dressed people pointing guns and posing away from the camera. Adrien Brody/Vincent Cassel and Lara Stone should do a photo shoot or a full remake of this video. We’ve come a long way from music video artistry/acting.  It also delights to me watch Disgusting Racist Bardot’s looks slowly deteriorate. She held on to her looks long enough. Either way, it’s a relief to see that musicians didn’t have to be good looking back then.

I first heard of this song in Laurel Canyon but this song was apparently on Rush Hour 3 and I’m almost willing to forget Brett Ratner’s homophobia for this. Also, I’m drunk now.


Seminal Video: Bjork


Everyone who watches Stephen Colbert knows about “Biophilia” and how “Cosmogony” kind of sucks. At least, that I wasn’t in the mood for it. If anything “Cosmogony” didn’t make me cry as “Unison” did. And I don’t want to make my readers cry so here’s “Earth Intruders” instead, Michel Ocelot’s tribal imagery being kind of literal for Bjork. Writing about music videos are so easy compared to movies. Anyway, two thoughts about Bjork: First, what if she was in the music videos for the dance remixes to her songs like this or “Hyperballad?” The closes we’ll get to that is the dance-y “Violently Happy.” Second: I have a copy of Dancing in the Dark or I had until I lost it. Vanity Fair already ruined the ending for me and I missed my chance to see it at TIFF but one day. It might even be my deathbed movie, replacing The Piano. Third: Bjork’s evolving better than Radiohead, still.


Seminal Video: The Cool Kids


My music taste isn’t just made up of crappy diva pop music, it’s also made up of hip hop. I have no idea what’s going on with music, much less rap. I’ve liked The Cool Kids since I was in college, a hip hop duo who somehow makes sense with the white hipsters who’ve appropriated them as their own. And I really thought that old school was a Toronto thing as opposed to something that the Midwest also did. What is Toronto doing now? How do I verbalize or describe the sound of what Drake is doing? Anyway, I wanted to catch up on what they’re doing recently, which is apparently lending their music to “Entourage.” I actually wanted to post some of their new stuff, but that’s not as good. “Pennies” isn’t their best song neither. I don’t even like the two-note hook in the chorus, I prefer my beats low, which their other, greater sons like “Popcorn,” “Bassment Party,”  or “Hammer Bros,” have. But I found myself rapping whatever words I knew from that song. Yes, rapping. Enjoy.


Seminal Video: Vision of Love


Like any sane person infected with collective panicrity, I searched for Whitney Houston on Youtube. There’s a sobering quality to her mourning, actually. Some of us celebrated Michael Jackson’s with a morbid dance party, Amy Winehouse’s made us energetically growl.

I’m not saying there’s no energy in Houston’s songs – at her peak, her windpipe can power a small, hippie European country. Besides, during the night when the news spread of her death, the gay clubs reportedly only played “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and moved on because what other choice did they have? And she’s one of the cases where drug use or mental duress doesn’t cause productivity so her creative output and her troubles were separate. And in her early years she had the most amazing power ballads, making us react in different ways. We could be annoyed at their ubiquity and dated-ness, we could sing them off-key with a bit of humour. Her lyrics might have told us something about the loss of love but they equally celebrated it. And although I’m proud that I’m known as a sap within my new circle of friends, I could never cry to her songs because they weren’t downbeat enough. That’s also partly because “I Will Always Love You” came out when I was five which was too young for me to realize ‘influential’ and stuff like that.

One the latter sections of Houston’s page contained a link to another about ‘melisma.’ What is that, some sort of disease that afflicted her as a child/this year? No. According to Wikipedia, it’s ‘the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession.’ Anyway, melisma – click, Mariah Carey’s Vision of Love and it’s apparently unfortunate influence on the vocal stylings of the American Idol generation – click, random girls covering the song and sounding so good it has to be auto tune, click – the official music video, click. Which made me think that was a Rene Magritte music video. The tan walls, the candelabra, the tree in the background that might as well be floating on air. Maybe it’s the spare quality of the visuals that make them seem like they don’t add up. That video is exactly why I need to sleep now.


Seminal Video: …All Your Luvin’


Yes, I’m still reeling from the Madonnabowl. Sorry for my lateness, I don’t watch music videos unless there are necessary exceptions. She hasn’t changed her sound in a decade, and I probably will forget this song after hearing it. But it takes me back to my cheerleading days. That’s something me and Madonna have in common, other than a Canadian heritage and promiscuity.


Seminal Video: with Ryan Gosling


Via Jezebel. So this place has degraded itself to writing about videos while I’m doing my real writing everywhere else and I have six reviews to write (including four here) and I owe Queen Video a DVD and I have to finish a book and read parts of another and a preview for a Kate Winslet film (She and her kids escaped a fire is Richard Branson’s house, by the way. Yesterday just kept giving me strange emotions.). It’s so weird knowing that Gosling lives in the Lower East Side – I got of the wrong stops off the F train then. What entertains me more in this clip are the New Yorker narrators, who are proof that even if Gosling can stop rough New York fights, he can never stop The Notebook. Enjoy!


Seminal Video: Runaway.


Today’s a lazy day. The backlog is there as well but the inspiration has been slow for me. So here’s a daily dose of ballet. And yes, this also proves how behind I am in current pop culture and music. ETA: Full length version courtesy of Andrew Parker.

 


Shout Outs


This post probably exists so that I can spread the comment love to the websites I write for.

I watched Joe Wright‘s Pride and Prejudice a long ass time ago and write at Yourkloset about it. I talked, or more appropriately, rambled on about a lot of things about the film, including Keira/Brenda Blethyn type casting, the camera movement, and a little about the costumes. I regrettably forget to talk about the sister casting and the reverse Bechdel Test.

‘You’re a serial killer.’ This is the greatest screen shot you will ever see in your entire life. It seems like the last few films I’ve written about are British films, but for Castor Troy of Anomalous Material, I fast forwarded a century or so to Richard Ayoade‘s Submarine, a movie that feels like its protagonist, Oliver Tate, is telling your his secrets without making it seem like purgation.

I’ve also been reading Charles Frazier‘s Cold Mountain after accidentally rewatching the film adaptation in French. I’m not being pretentious because I’ve lost all the French I’ve studied in Grade 9. I bought the book a long time ago after seeing a store closing shop, and I thought that reading it might add to what I might write about the film. The lyrical prose is a positive influence to the four unwritten movie reviews dancing inside my head but not on this post, sadly. I’m at page 49 now which is actually good but also means that I won’t get to write about it ’till next week and that I’m procrastinating.


Worst. Hot Docs Coverage. Ever.


ph. hotdocs.ca

I didn’t get to see a lot of movies from Hot Docs this year because of scheduling conflicts and other cluster fucks. This is not a personal blog so I’ll just go right ahead and talk about the whopping two movies that I did see as a plebe.

There are many similarities between Who Took the Bomp – Le Tigre on Tour and The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. They’re both a part of the late night screenings this year, both about experimental musicians who do need to be properly introduced to the viewing public who may not know about the genres and the musicians, both refuse to be elegies by showing their own brand of quasi-hipster happiness.

The first scenes of Bomp are shaky, not knowing the balance between performed amateurism and the band taking themselves seriously enough, but these  aspects of Le Tigre’s mission statement eventually merge. It’s like a Hello Kitty doll giving the finger, the film punctuated by the band performing its danceable tunes about feminism, LGBT visibility, etc. It seamlessly weaves through its characters equally showcasing each band member so it’s not just about lead vocalist/guitarist Kathleen Hanna, who has her long provenance. It’s also about the fans, like one who is memorably touched by Hanna’s kind words. 4/5. I should have given it a 3.

Ballad, however, is a film version of a shrine, showing home videos of a dominatrix/artist/musician Lady Jaye accompanied by voice-overs of her pandrogynous husband, industrial musician/artist Genesis P-Orridge. The dreamlike Lady Jaye can’t speak for herself, in her part within their strangest of couplings – they decided to undergo plastic surgery to look more like each other. But her image and Genesis’ voice is enough to make us feel the happiness of a person who finds his true love while on an impressionistic journey in finding his true self. 4/5.


Conteporary Canadian Politics


Jack Layton.

Image via Wikipedia

Friend says: where are you in the world?
Paolo says: back home. so lazy
Paolo: *i am so lazy
Friend: me too
F: but i have a hangover hence
P: is jetlag justified after two days? besides, I did vote three hours after I got off a fucking plane.
F: thats something to be proud of
F: what is your riding?
P: Don Valley West. I should have voted for Gay Rob.
P: Knock.

F: i feel bad rob is gone

he was pretty cool
good ol gay church minister rob

P: My sister volunteered for him (that’s why I know he’s gay). The Muslims of Thorncliffe loved him. He did a lot for my hood, which I doubt the Conservatives would do.
Church minister? Anglican? United? Unitarian Universalism?

F: lol
take a guess
you got it in there
one of those three

P: First one.

F: united

P: Dammit. Yeah, some white guy was telling his baby that ‘Liberals SUCK’ and was trying to help his sister/wife to vote.

F: i should have ran this year
it would have been an easy win

P: Deets on my wall?

F: are you leaving?

P: I need to eat breakfast.

F: lol okay ill just message u later.

P: Change the e to an a like Jack Layton.

F: he wont stop until the tug-job is done

P: He won’t stop until there are benefits into our mouths.

F: harper wont let that happen

P: No! I want freedom in my face!

F: stop protesting
harpers going to make gay illegal

P: He’s going to put all of us gays to prison, where we’re going to withstand brutalities BEHIND us 😛:P

F: heathen

P: I want the devil inside me.

F: you need a blessing
open your mouth and recieve the sacrement

P: I will kneel down accept the big sacrament.

I got a new theme!


…again.

I’ve liked the slide show feature of the previous theme, Modulary Lite, but once in a while, I remind myself to look at the WordPress announcements to check out new themes. Most of them suck except for this one. Other commenters in the WordPress blog have already called it retro, which is why I chose it. It comes with a retro font, too, but I have to upgrade my Firefox to see the result. Nards.

Also, I have a heading like a real blog now! And it’s from Jane Eyre! Yay! But I might remember/forget to change it once every ten posts. Boo. The fact that my original blog name, ‘Brown Okinawa Assault Incident’ ran down to two lines in the header made me want to shorten my blog name. Still too esoteric, though.

Everything in this new theme feels too big, the header, the font. I don’t want the reader to have to scroll down to see my content. And I have to put more pictures in each post [UPDATE: which means it’s probably going to take longer to load my site.] so that the visual and written parts are balanced within the computer screen. But meh. This theme stays for another six months, I guess. Or when something better comes along.

UPDATE: Because I’m not talking about this theme change again tomorrow, here were rejected suggestions for my new blog name, which blogspot hasn’t updated yet. I have the best Facebook friends.

  • “blog”
  • Cutekittenssavedafterthejapaneseearthquake-notthelybianwarblog-movies.wordpress.com
  • Blog Bloggerson
  • Ordinarypeopledontwantsartsfundingvoteharper.wordpress.com

Evening With Stephen Sondheim


ph. DreamWorks

The Mirvish company hosted An Evening With Stephen Sondheim at the Princess of Wales Theatre. He was introduced by Des McAnuff, who among many things, said something really nice about “Sweeney Todd.” Something along the lines of how effectively emotive or haunting the Johanna song is. I can’t remember for sure.

Sondheim’s not an island. McAnuff in his introduction talked about the composer’s trusty collaborations with his longtime collaborator/choreographer/director Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and many more later in his career. Sondheim’s let us in that Robbins scared him but the final results of working with him were worth it.

He’s very open about his flaws even within his well-loved works. He talked about how the words of “Forum” don’t match well with the music, and accuses himself of creating high music for a low comedy. As he said, it takes as much work to write a good song but a wrong song as it it to write the right one. He also talked about the enormous help that his mentor/surrogate father Oscar Hammerstein II has given him. Hammerstein helped especially on the first musical he penned when he was 15, which is, as he remembers Hammersten saying, is the worst thing the mentor has ever read.

ph. MGM

He also talked about the mentor as an experimental composer in capturing the vernacular in the songs. He said that Hammerstein was better in mirroring the colloquialism in period pieces than with the contemporary-set musicals. That said from the man who brought us the lyrics of “West Side Story,” and I know. I’m actually one of the few people who think that the Jets and the Sharks are tough. Because this is often my angle in the movies I see, and that it’s a topic I can’t really bring up in person, but accents aside, there’s little difference between how the two groups talk. Which is good and that the differences between they aren’t overplayed. Besides, they’re all in Hell’s Kitchen, right? This led to critic Robert Cushman talking about theatre evolving to mimic real-life conversation. Sondheim corrected him about the limitations of theatre mirroring naturalism, that the audience makes a pact as they go into the theatre to believe mostly what the stage delivers. That no one really breaks out into song. Well, not really. The passive aggressiveness was fun to watch.

I was such an embarrassing n00b. The only knowledge I have of him are about two film adaptations of his work. He’s alive? That’s what he looks like? He’s in his 80‘s? And when “Into the Woods” was mentioned, a musical that I’ve never heard, clap away. My friend must have been embarrassed, me being such a poseur like that.

I wasn’t looking at my watch the entire time, but the last ten or twenty minutes of the conversation involved question cards either from probably mailed or e-mailed in. Sondheim was asked about the popularity of the song ‘Send in the Clowns,’ probably one of the last songs from a musical to enter the Billboard charts. It took two years and at least four singers who switched hands in singing the song as their own. Apparently those singers had different interpretations. Frank Sinatra’s (Belated Happy Birthday, by the way!) was ‘You go with a chick. It doesn’t work out. Send in the clowns.’

I can’t remember the question, but the differences between the stage and film of “West Side Story” – He wrote that? That just made him more approachable, not that listening to him talk wasn’t approachable enough, which it is – was discussed. The Broadway recordings always have the song ‘America’ only sung by female cast members while I had to refresh my memory and that the film version makes it a boys vs. girls song. Sondheim clarified that Robbins insisted that the stage version have the song only be sung and danced by girls. He also joked, hopefully, that Robbins had death rights to the choreography that will make future stage productions of “West Side Story” be unchanged. And you know what, Robbins is right.

Another one of the last few questions was about “Sweeney Todd,” the more Sondheimian musical in my understanding of the man because of the elegant words and intricate structures of the songs. Although Burton’s version is better on video, by the way. I might see it in the theatres again. The question was about a translation on “Sweeney Todd” in Korean, and how he felt about foreign translations. He said that he only knew rudimentary French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. Four out of those five. He said he was grateful that other countries perform his work. The people performing his work send a rough translation of the translation, and if it’s in the spirit of the original, it’s ok. Can you imagine how ‘a politician cake would run’ in Korean, though, or what Asian Angela Lansbury might look like?

Oh, and if I had a flask, I would have taken a swing every time either McAnuff, Cushmann and even Sondheim said ‘Shakespeare.’ In the end, the night taught me a lot about the intelligent man, insightful about the specifics and science of his craft, how characters work with their songs and within the body of a musical.


Hair


There are large expository gaps within the musical numbers in Milos Forman’s adaptation of Hair, as first pointed out by a Variety staff writer. I haven’t seen the musical on stage so I haven’t seen it done better. The songs in the film seem like a part of the conversation but director uses the songs to create one set piece after another. What he did to ‘Aquarius’ was awesome but it’s a song that no one can mess that up.

ph. UA

But with my second viewing, I discovered songs that I didn’t pay attention. In ‘Walking in Space,’ the song doesn’t perfectly match with the visuals, but I like the effort within the metaphor. The actress sings the song well. I don’t think it’s the best cast musical (the movie settled with actors who can kinda sing and kinda act, sometimes singing the most passionate songs with the deadest eyes I’ve seen in people), but there’s a little magic in the film when the vocals can sometimes hint on the pathos and beauty of the song they’re singing. It happens in this number.

Also, ‘Claude’s (John Savage) going to the Army’ is established in the beginning of the film instead of making it a shocking twist in the end. At least the movie has a story now instead of it being two hours of hippies – is that a pejorative? – dancing in Central Park. But with a little narrative, the audience lost the sincerity of the activist movement in the late 1960’s. Sheila (Beverly D’Angelo) stumbles into the hippies instead of being already a part of them. The film portrays guys like Berger (Treat Williams) as beggars, hustlers and apathetic deadbeats. Sure, there were probably a lot of beggars, hustlers and apathetic deadbeats within the movement, but they could have at least had a cast member who knows about the issues. Despite my limited knowledge, Hair is the most eloquent, articulate, incendiary, explosive musical I’ve listened to and this movie didn’t fully tap into those great qualities.

I hate watching movies that I used to like in high school, because the spark of rebellion I saw in those movies fade away.

Word vomit on the film’s context – there were a lot of movies in the ’70’s that tackled the ’60’s as the subject, like a nation took ten years to finally talk about the collective destruction and trauma. Most of those films were Vietnam War films, articulating the multiple deaths in a generation of men. But some focused on the counterculture and its battles fought at home, like Serpico, a film that portrayed a man’s limitless access to information and culture. Or Shampoo and Carnal Knowledge, about the feelings hurt during free love.

(p.s. I also forgot about Norman Jewison’s Jesus Christ Superstar, although it’s ambiguous as to which decade or time in history that the film is representing.)


Image: The Last Waltz


(Who are these people? ph. MGM/UA)


Image: Oil Spill


(via Gawker)


Let’s talk about gay movie drama shall we?


Oh my God this blog is turning into a gossip site. I could have been either talking to you about “Undertow,” “Mid-August Lunch” or “Iron Man 2” but things didn’t go as planned. I already bought my ticket for “Hogtown Homos” and God forbid something stops me from going to that screening.

Anyway, there’s commotion in the gay community about Stephen Harper and Tony Clement withholding funds that annually go towards Gay Pride. I’ve been flip-flopping about this, pardon the double entendre.

First of all, we don’t need the money. The money really is an investment since the event and the business will gain it back, unlike the other events, as reported by Slap Upside the Head, that are getting the money. Giving the funds is also more like a gesture of the government’s support of gays in Canada.

But then I found out last Friday while watching “Poison” that Canadian Heritage and Canada Council for the Arts have given funds to the Inside Out Festival, and the government hasn’t turned its back on the gays. I don’t know if that money provided mere tables or the funds to get the new James Franco movie into this medium-sized festival.

But then the first words of an article of the Globe and Mail states that Harper is probably gonna spend A BILLION DOLLARS at the G20 summit. I understand that they need first class SWAT gear, but if a billion dollars is lying around the country’s treasury for emergency purposes, Stephen Harper can give the gays mop and bucket money.

(The G20 summit hilariously coincides with the Pride Parade. I’m gonna divide my time on both AND the World Cup then.)


I Like Other Things: Banksy


(ph. torontoist)

If you vandalize my home, I will not paint over it. PEACE TO TUPAC! FUCK THE POLICE!

p.s. I wonder if Banksy’s work can actually be bought.


Introductions: Martina


Yes, her name’s Martina and her blog is called That Other World. She already got an introduction but I’ll give her another one anyway. She’s both beautiful and intelligent. I took a film class with her when she was in second year and I was in my last. She brings out my inner child and kinda freaked out that a mutual friend pretended not to know who Heath Ledger was.

She did a post on Parnassus, like I, and gave it tough love, like I.

I want 34 of you to read her and comment the shit out of her (respectfully, of course). Now, my liege!


I Like Other Things: Charice Sings in Gay Club


My mom’s gonna have a heart attack if she ever sees this.

I don’t even know how many people still care about David Archuleta, but there’s a quiet shit storm about his appearance in a gay bar, apparently to support Clarice. At one point she wasn’t even allowed to sing about boys, but now she’s singing on top of tables wearing mesh over mesh (she pulls it off, though) while a guy in a thong is serving drinks? Oh my stars! And this is important to me because she is from my home country, after all. Also that what I feel right now is probably the same when we found out that Dakota Fanning was gonna get raped in a movie.

But to the naysayers, I gotta say in my own personal experience that gay divas are more well-balanced than pop stars, and she could have been one of either. We don’t hear about Ultra Nate or Jully Black or Kylie Minogue shaving their heads and doing drugs, right? And if she’s still to young for a boyfriend, she’s not gonna find one in a gay club.

Also, advice for David Archuleta/”straight men” in gay clubs: Usually, you’re not allowed in because straight women to gay bars is like criminals to a church – they go in those places so they don’t get bothered. But because straights allow us in their clubs, we’re letting you in. Here’s a rule, however, that you must wear a sports jersey or loose-fitting hip hop gear so we’ll leave you straight guys alone.

Another thing – my music taste is becoming too gay. I’ve gone to gay bars twice a month now and Lady gaga is invading my iPod. This has gotta stop.


I Like Other Things: Lame Inter-City Rivalries


(ph. BlogTO)

NOW Magazine released their new issue last Thursday about the good things about living in either the West End or East End, although teh cover’s pretty antagonistic.

I can’t find this article I’m citing right now, but didn’t the Star have articles about this too? Instead of Yonge Street, they wrote the Don Valley/River is where the city’s divided. Which makes sense, because I don’t think anyone from Kingston Road can get along with somebody from Church Street. BlogTO makes the same assessment and even have theories of how else the city is divided.

I live in the East End, and yes it is boring here. Nobody knows how to dress here. But we do have the hermits in the Bridle Path.


In which I whore myself


This is obviously countrproductive because I’ll get more traffic there than here, but I’m just proud that I have this to say for myself:

http://www.yourkloset.com/arts-decor/oscars-top-10/

You know now that I have not been a good boy.

Have a nice day.


In Which I Actually Explain Myself


(ph. Diane Arbus 1971 via pica-n-pixel.blogspot.com)

I am still on the fence about blogs in general. I started surfing the internet when blogs were more personal and less niched. Now, everyone (especially with an English degree like me) has a blog, the old guard established itself in the new media, and even the original bloggers are Gap-wearing versions of the old guard themselves. Everyone else’s voice seems drowned out.And one or two of my friends agree with this too.

And I’m also investing time on something I’m not getting paid for.

The I quit Facebook for Lent, but I still wanted to keep note of everything I’ve seen, so…blog it was.

And I ended up looking at Roger Ebert’s twitter and told this person to start a blog, which encourages me a little. Mr. Ebert, if you’re reading this, you are the best person to ever make fun of Justin Bieber.


I Like Other Things


After-after thoughts on Canada winning gold on hockey:

(Upstanding citizens gather and takes their places on a soiree).

  • The hot straight guys came out of hiding.
  • Same hot straight guys are too heavy for body surfing.
  • Optimus Prime hit a lady.
  • You guys wouldn’t have been there if it we won gold for curling instead. You should.
  • I wouldn’t have been there if I didn’t sell my ticket to see a documentary about the Rwandan genocide.
  • Watching drunk people melts cynicism.
  • This is probably better than the time Michael Jackson died and everyone came to Dundas Square, which I missed.
  • We litter so well.
  • I feel bad for anyone who came to Dundas Square barefoot.
  • It’s true Americans, everyone in Canada knows everybody else.
  • Traffic lights are for sitting.
  • A crowd chanting “Let him go!” is more powerful than the court of appeals.
  • Canadian flags are also used as shawls.
  • Hockey gold makes white people krump.
  • Sidney Crosby is a BOY! A well talented boy, but nevertheless…a boy!
  • You’re saying ole like it’s the World Cup. Which makes me really excited for the World Cup.
  • We won’t get into the World Cup.