2010/06/07

Anatomy of Creation



This is an unorganized ramble of my day's most significant happening.


After being ejected from the eight hour jigsaw puzzle called work, from which I can't quite find the place for myself, I decided to walk my remaining Strength over to the South Street Seaport and finally visit the Bodies Exhibit.


Nature:

You crazy architect, you genial engineer, you write the music and the lyrics at the same time, nothing overlooked, everything in its right place, slowly improving on the design depending the set background to the script. Dearest Matrix what are you influenced by? What is Nature the nature of?


Micro/Macro.

I'm obsessed with not being satisfied, I can never accept things as they are; I try to find strings, links, networks at times unapparent, a body and an eco-system, a circulatory system and a city's financial infrastructure, tumors and mushrooms...sometimes they connect, sometimes they branch off to a dead end, never reaching the other side.


There's nothing like seeing your internal organs floating with the dissected body like a knights armor removed, to see exactly why you are as your are, it wasn't a mistake, it wasn't done because it looks cool--No. We were designed by practical hands, the way every piece on an iPod is where it needs to be for convenience and function.


The arteries and nerves, their stretching branches over a skull like vines swallowing an abandoned house, giving me the impression of growth, an evolutionary reach that responds to the need of new uses for newly relevant muscles, the way a musician would near the proximity between himself and the instruments he's intending to use, so does the brain need exclusive access to its guitars, keyboards, drums, etc. the organs of its Body Song (Jonny's soundtrack was by the way, what I had on my iPod during the exhibit, because I'm a dork like that).


I wish I could see a single cell become a human, in hyperspeed and certain moments in super slow motion, to watch the exact moment an internal vertebrae is introduced, connecting to a brain, and then nerves extending like a plague throughout highways of veins and arteries, none conflicting, to watch skin cover it all up, and then forgetting about the sub-surface as the exterior can be so beautiful as well, only matched by the care with which this planet ruled it necessary for our insides to be organized in exchange for our continual existence.

2010/05/17

Life is but a Dream


Abandoned Cast Aways:

a letter to you both


Okay, so we've been stranded on this little boat for 3 years now. This I've not to tell you, it isn't or shouldn't reach you as a surprise; you've been right here beside me, the both of you and I beside you just as well, or worse. I should think that if at all surprised, it should be by the length of time being so short not so long. I may not speak for the 3 of us but it has felt like much, much longer. If either of you have truly been here, solidly, then I do confide that I must speak for the 3 of us when I say its felt like far much longer than 3 years. The farthest of "much longer" in fact.


We've each spoken of going our separate ways, taking a chance on our own. By the time you read these words, that is where I'll be, for well or worse, I have swam out further and am now possibly alive just as likely as dead. My morning swim has become a full day, depending by what time the two of you discover this letter. It shouldn't have been hard to find, our Titanic would surely sink if even one of James Cameron's camera's parked on our stern. At the driest corner where the sun upon its proudest of noons would bow down its rays and hold warmly an inviting attention; there; you must've found this page and on the page, over the sketches that documented as well as tormented my thoughts, I have written these words. Boldly and violently etched into the 8" x 11" manilla sheet.


I am gone. I have left. I wish you both the best but I am gone and I shall not return. I am selfish and I apologize if the consequence of my action hurts or harms either of you whom I do truly care for but I refuse to die out here. Out at sea, in the middle of the ocean. Stranded on a row boat that sips in water through the three holes under our feet. 3 years and we've become comfortable with transforming the situation into a unique circumstance and adapting ourselves as if we could go on as this for 3 more years, or whatever it takes before we either die or are rescued.


I realize I am leaving you both with more work, we are three but without so much as 1/3, the labour of each remaining person increases but twice. I hope my departure awakens in you both, a sense of alarm, a sense of time and necessity. I hope that my example strengthens your courage, provides a battery for your will, gasoline for your self-preservation and promotes your urgency to act now. This instant, as you're reading...I hope that your minds are made up regardless of your feelings towards me, for abandoning you both, for writing this letter and having the neural gall to claim its an action executed in love; despite your immediate impression of me this instant, I do wish you both, do urge you both to please leave this boat. Lets part ways and we'll be better off alone, I am sure of it. If only one of you leaves, please do your best to convince the last person not to remain alone, not to attempt to keep the boat on their own. You'll surely sink, the 3 holes are much stronger and consistent than any one of us. If you die even an inch further away from where we've been stranded for 3 years, then you have made progress. You have been as consistent as the holes that mean to drown you.


Goodbye, so long.

We'll meet on dry land,


Our End.

2010/05/16

Curious About Kim Novak


Somehow Calm as She Walks Off Stage


Kim Novak is such a peculiar actor, its probably because she's not a good actor but the characters she's played are all intriguing in a hollow way. She always comes across as cold and empty. Even so, I always feel interested enough to romantically believe that there's more there than meets the eye; that the blank personality is only the surface to a submerged and highly exclusive truth that's too sacred to herself to reveal.


Novak never seems convinced of herself, almost a lack of confidence that refuses to admit she's a beautiful star. The women she's played appear to not understand why they are desired. Vertigo, Strangers When We Meet, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Picnic are the four films I've seen her in so far. In each film, we find a woman, more or less, who is a simple girl set upon an overwhelming circumstance. When the drama swelters into a scene and she has to perhaps step out of a comfort zone, its noticeable and I sense as if it taxes her a bit. She's an actor who doesn't like to expose herself into any role. Which is fine but she also doesn't like to expose the characters into her roles. In fact, she pulls the characters into herself; almost hides and keeps them securely kept away from the surface, where no one can harm them.


Regardless of what I've said above its only the opinion of a voice that has not enough material with which to fully or accurately judge his subject. So I am forming a list of Kim Novak films to watch that I've not seen. Hopefully, the intention is to gain a new perspective on a performer whom I already consider interesting.


Graphic Tee Party

Yesterday I walked around LES for a bit, I remembered the Obey Pop-up Store that had temporarily parked on Orchard. I hadn't visited yet and apparently today was a book release party for some artist; Name Tagging was the book's title. On my way to Orchard, I found an opening reception on the corner of Bowery and Stantion. It seemed like a hole in the wall invaded by multiple canvasses and appreciators of said canvasses, along with variable scenesters and the absence of music. I walked in and immediately hated what I saw. Smeared paint of light colors on canvas with these weird odd shaped circles that seemed stuck on and painted over; each piece had one of these circles, I soon noticed. Then I realized what the circles were, after which I found two pieces that were cool.


This was one:

Sitting the Cook at the Dinner Table


The artist had taken t-shirts and stretched them over each canvas and painted over the fabric of the shirts. Some of the pieces utilized screen-printing which was like saying if so-many artists use a t-shirt design technique on canvas, why not bring the t-shirt itself in on it? After all, t-shirts love art too.


The weird circles were actually the head-holes of the t-shirts. And while I felt some of the screen-printed pieces were interesting or just nice to look at, there were far more pieces that I didn't like, that just seemed like I was expected to have been impressed solely on the fact that they were painted on a t-shirt stretched over canvas. But I'm sure other people were into it and they probably hated the pieces I liked, but whatever...thats art. I didn't want to know the artist's name, I didn't pick-up the info-sheet by the make-shift gallery's entrance, nor did I start any engaging conversation to see what anyone else thought about any of it. I kept my headphones on and Synchronicity was convincing me I want to have an affair with an older, married woman.

2010/05/15

Dark Knight Returns!


Harry Brown - Anyone else want to see Alfie Dark Knight the shit outta street toughs without a bloody cape and cowl! Its great to see the star of such action films as Get Carter and The Italian Job reprise his no nonsense badass brit grit. The main difference is that now that Michael Caine is older, he's even scarier...Old people with weapons in general are just a perfect example of Frightening. If anyone knows what a spit in the face life can be, its surely our elderly inevitables, luckily memory fades for some, but the more acute of the lot truly can impress alarm if added to some form of violent-expressive relief. I remember a few years back my grandma wanted to take out the baseball bat on some kids who accidentally wet our apartment window when they were playing outside with a water hose. I had to hold her back.

2010/05/07

I Know the Hooker's Real Name

The Girlfriend Experience - (2009) Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring Sasha Grey, Chris Santos, Philip Eytan


This is a really good story and a very interesting film to watch. Prostitutes have always interested me, prostitution is one of the oldest professions, is there any doubt as to why?


Some things to note when you watch this film is; there aren't any sex scenes, which is great because even though the protagonist is a prostitute the film is not at all about sex. The editing makes for a sort of smorgasbord of scenes that seem to keep you off balance but eventually you start to gain along with Soderbergh's rhythm. The story takes place nearing the 2008 presidential election. All throughout the background of the drama we find financial unrest and all the insecurities that festered most Americans during that time. Another thing I found pretty cool was the seemingly purposeful paralleling of the escort and the personal trainer. Two very physical jobs, that depend on some sort of trust, ego-peppering and an unescapable superficiality towards the client who on some level knows that the attention is bought, is a service, and not an unconditional relationship.

God Won't Show, He Sent a Poet Instead!

So I buy a Bible...you know a friend of mine has an idea, some sort of photo shoot, involving me and a Bible--I don't ask questions. I buy the Bible on my lunch break, I took a really long time deciding between cover colors, a black pleather or a mahogany pleather; "what would god choose?" I think to myself and go with the black. Now I feel a bit strange as I purchase this $6.99 Bible, King James' Version. As I walk out of Shakespeare and Co. onto Broadway, this was just the preview, this was when the Bible still had the plastic wrap, the condom if you will. We all know God with a condom is no God. After work I strip the cover from out its protection and take down Lafayette with one hand in my pocket and the other swinging the Bible. Something strange occurred after a few moments.


Before I get into it, I should now mention that I looked like a mormon, in dark gray viscose pants with a striped collared tucked in and covered by a light, almost heather gray v-neck. Its breezy enough that I can get away with my gray skully, not because of its color but because others tend to take too personal another person's apparel.


Anyway, as I'm crossing Astor, northern bound to 14 St, I suddenly become reached, held, proposed by this overwhelming sensation. Its almost as if the Bible beside me with the words, "Holy Bible" thick and gold on the pleather cover, were a weapon not a book. A pistol, some sort of side arm, phallic and making up for some need within me to extend my manhood through the power of a weapon. I feel as if I could control, fear, excite people, shape their minds with whatever I feel they should interpret as relevant. For whatever reason, as I walked up Lafayette, I felt a legacy of murder, conquest, violence, and prejudice surge through my palm and like a bribe, slipping in, I savored the imagined taste of taking apart a human brain and reconstructing the pieces as I saw fit. This was strange, perhaps even uncomfortable but not frightening. Not frightening in the slightest bit.

2010/05/05

May We?

My Monthly Aresian Horoscope

March 21 - April 19


Aries is about Orange and Apple Juice. Its about making a fool of yourself but then dusting the dirt off and stepping right into your natural tempo. Its an older gentleman saying you have a "walk" and remarking that no one can talk to you while you walk 'cause you seem so far away even if you were standing right next to the person. Spring is the season that seasons you, adds flavor and compliments your taste to create an original note on the palette. Spring is one long Valentines Day, four months of a truly New Year. March or April should be the first month of the year, other countries know the deal, a year should begin with Spring not the climax of Winter. Today will be Wednesday, day of Mercury, messengers, Miercoles, words exchanged, hints noted.

Guns! Razors! Knives! (fuckwitme)!




Diamond Eyes is red...soaking wet.


Its far more livelier than Saturday Night Wrist, with a more straightforward approach to being loud and seemingly less complex. The synths are less apparent with the main focus on guitars, drums, and vocals. Even the lyrics, though as beautiful as ever have become more frank than we're accustomed to hearing from frontman, Chino Moreno. However, the most charismatic feature of Diamond Eyes is attitude. This album doesn't walk it gambols across, head nodding and lips licked provocatively, it taunts and teases, titillates and even torments the listeners who feel like more as the songs creep across their skulls.


From the heavy drive structure of Rocket Skates to the swing bounce of You've Seen the Butcher, to the way Chino's voice rides the beat on Risk and Prince; there is definitely a lot of new elements indigenous to this album that the band has introduced to their repertoire. There is also the noticeable absence of electronic drum programming, almost a tradition since White Pony's Teenager and later followed by Lucky You and Pink Cellphone. Diamond Eyes takes it back to Around the Fur, which was the last album to contain a title track.


The lyrics seem to be about intimacy, trust, and truth, subsurface appearances and the nakedness of one's true identity. Though, as a result the songs sound like they're about sex, a subject that is well adept to teach all of the aforementioned ideas. This is just my impression of the words. I mentioned above that Chino is at his most frank, well thats only in comparison to his other albums; he no doubt still retains that elusiveness that so trademarks his words.


While we're talking opinions, Rocket Skates is the penultimate song of this album. Abe's drumming and Chino's guitar are having so much fun and yet the song is deadly and seems like it might fly out of control at any point. Delgado's sine waves are like background warnings, while the lyrics are sweet and proud, threatening and flirtatious. You don't know whether you want to fight or fuck when you hear it.

2010/05/04

Scams, Plots, and Everything

Presumed Innocent - (1990) Directed by Alan J. Pakula

Starring Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia, Bonnie Bedelia


Every Time I Die - She's My Rushmore


Cut your break lines, brake your headlights

and waited for you at the stop sign.

Disconnected iron lungs, insurance fires,

our smothered young.

Always the first one on the scene.

A pyromantic midsummer night's dream


Thank you lord:

1) for this oil slick.

2) for her car wreck.

3) for I'm lovesick.


Heaven sent us a hero, but Hell tried to his resolve.

And when you thought we were done for. I pulled through.

While you rested your eyes in the driver seat,

I sat and watched you.

Always the first one on the scene.

A pyromantic midsummer night's dream


Trust me.


We'll wait for it, pray for it,

step on the brakes till we're over it, under it,

screaming like bombs for it.

Oh dear me, I've done it again.


Thank you lord:

4) for the loaded gun.

5) for the bad aim.

6) for I'm lonesome.


God is smiling down on us,

he shines his grace on everyone.


(p.s. - The greatest lovers

were murderers first.)

Plenty - (1985) Directed by Fred Schepisi

Starring Meryl Streep, Charles Dance, Tracey Ullman

John Gielgud, Sting, Ian McKellen, Sam Neill


Deftones - Feiticeira


Buckled!

I'm drunk

But I'm on my knees

The police stopped chasing

I'm her...new...cool...meat


She pops the trunk

And she removes me

The machines take pictures of us

And my jaw and my teeth hurt

I'm choking from gnawing on the ball...

And just before I come to

Move to the back of the car

She made me touch the machine

New Murderer...

Fuck!


First untie me

Untie me for now

You said you would right

And you were right

The Fortune Cookie - (1966) Directed by Billy Wilder

Starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich


The White Stripes - The Nurse


The Nurse should not be the one who puts salt in your wounds

But its always with trust that the poison is fed with a spoon

When you're helpless with no one to turn to alone in your room

You would swear that the one who would care for you never would leave

She promised and said, "you will always be safe here with me"

But promises open the door to be broken to me


2010/04/29

You Feel Cold

John and Mary - (1969) Directed by Peter Yates

Starring Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow


As a month passes by; one that began with a birthday and a girlfriend has ended with a developing beard and a heart that isn't as broken as it is loosened, I have gone through a flash flood of thoughts. Merciless thoughts, un-silenced thoughts, restless, questioning, oppressing thoughts. Endlessly haunting, staring at a reflection that stares at you as if you were the one in the mirror, displaced, unsure, identity as thin as your patience, as thin as your nerve endings and what suddenly makes them spark and sizzle like cooking oil.


As a month passes by and Scott Walker sings, and Beach House fits me like a glove, and everything is a living code of itself. And instead of seeing things as they are, I only see the code. I spend my days deciphering, cross-referencing, running the answers in my head, vividly observing as they, like a subtle metamorphosis, become questions. The period stretching into a line and curling into a question mark as a new period parks underneath it.


What good does a film like John and Mary to this tenuous condition? The impressions absorbed through this ripe fidelity towards romantic melancholy. Almost like a mirror played as moving pictures, with a story that stands there like a body, showing you yourself. But its one of those funhouse mirrors, it has to be--Because everything looks slightly nicer and works out better, its memory the way a memory is usually kept, with bias. If its a bad memory, you focus on the bad; if the opposite then the opposite. John and Mary took all the good and made me a body song. Something to look at and hum along because I don't know the words but the melody is so familiar.

The Joke on Prince Street

Chronicles of a Fuck-up

I Think an Unwritten Smiths' Song Just Happened to Me


So I'm walking down Prince Street on my lunch break and this girl who's too attractive to smile at me, smiles at me. I smile back very surprised. But then again, she smiled with her mouth open and a nod, so really...an attractive girl on Prince Street laughed at me. I have no idea why. She had some funny looking dog and shades. She walked normal so I couldn't see anything that she or her dog may be doing that she'd laugh at when being noticed by another person in the act. Maybe I gave her dog a funny look, I won't rule that out. I did take a small hop-step from the sidewalk to the street, which I didn't think resembled a misstep or trip. Maybe she was laughing at that. Maybe she was just a crazy person. Typical. Maybe I knew her and just didn't recognize her and she was delivering one of those, funny-running-into-you-here-of all-places sort of laugh greets. Or maybe its the most obvious, me walking down Prince Street on my lunch break is very quite a laughing matter. Comedy.

2010/04/28

If You See Something Say Something

Doctor Zhivago - (1963) Directed by David Lean

Starring Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin

Rod Steiger


I saw Doctor Zhivago today. On a big screen, digitally restored and for the first time, viewed at the Tribeca Film Festival. Should I talk about it? Tell you about how great the story was, or spin sentence after sentence about David Lean and all the beautiful shots he gives you. Omar Sharif or Julie Christie? Better yet, Tom Courtenay and Rod Steiger?


I'm not going to talk about it. "Please watch Doctor Zhivago if you get the chance", is all I'll say.


I, instead, am going to tell you about the episode I witnessed today just before entering the Clearview Cinema. As I cued along with others, an older gentleman spoke to me and others about films, music, history, many subjects, each in which he held some sort of worthy insight to share. He wasn't really bothering anyone. He made silly jokes and teased some of the Cinema staff. Whenever one of these ushers in bright yellow windbreaker TFF jackets and sunglasses would approach he'd ask if they were bringing him his ticket. It was a harmless joke and I couldn't imagine that it got to any of their nerves. As the line grew, I'd say about after maybe a good 15 people cued, the older man's younger wife showed up. He, by the way, was the first person on line; and when she showed up, everyone noticed. She was cool too, both really nice, friendly people. He told me about an film essay he has been working on for 2 weeks now, he told me about Hedy Lamarr and how she pretty much invented the technology responsible for the cellphone and internet with any due credit. Seriously. If you heard the story yourself it would not sound as crazy as it does when I write it.


Oh, I think I smell a rat!


It appeared that someone on line did not agree with his wife showing up late and taking a spot in the front. "It wasn't fair." Anonymously, word was slipped into one of the usher's ears and they approached the older man. "Its been brought to our attention that in all fairness, she (his wife) should go to the back of the line since its ticket per body, first come - first serve." Paraphrase, whatever...They split up the old man and his younger wife, the first 10 people are escorted to the ticket vendor, I'm glad to be moving as I had been shaking from a chill that echoed through me. He buys his ticket then explains his case to the vendor. I smile inside and think to myself he's a slick bastard, smooth operator because he had complied without much of complaint when the ushers linearly divorced him from his lady. He knew who to talk to. The vendor was ready to sell him the ticket or at least have one of the managers hear his story. I paid my tickets and then three people after me handed the vendor their ticket vouchers. The three people behind me were together and they were speaking with the old man earlier, everything seemed cool. But as we all headed towards the Cinemas entrance we passed on of the ushers who spoke with the old man earlier. One of the three people behind says to the usher, "hey, the old man is trying to game the box office." To this, the usher says, "good call," as he directs his energy on heading towards the box office where the old man probably was about to get his wife a ticket.

You ratted me out!


What business is it of yours if he gets his wife a ticket? Really, you ratted out another person, for what? What did it get you, doing "right", you got your ticket, what was the point in interfering? I don't get it.

A Marked Man

I'm not sure what it is about Richard Widmark that draws me into any role he's playing. He's got just as much intensity as Kirk Douglas yet it doesn't come across as it does for Douglas as Desperate Mania (which I love about Douglas). His voice, as distinct as Henry Fonda or John Wayne, as well as the grit of Charlton Heston. Widmark is just great to watch! My first film with Widmark was Judgement at Nuremberg, though at the time I didn't know who he was nor Burt Lancaster. Little did I expect that both names would soon become friendly assurances on my film viewing selections. Here are my latest Widmarks...


The Cobweb - (1955) Directed by Vincente Minnelli

Starring Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Charles Boyer


I really enjoyed the characters in this film and felt the weaving of the story to be almost a thriller in that the audience held a vital piece of information or understanding that most of the characters didn't. The plot was thick and the performances solid, Gloria Grahame and John Kerr in secondary, however essential roles provided just as much punch as Widmark and Lillian Gish, even the minor characters such as Sue and Mr. Capp were very well-rounded. Minnelli sure knows how to deliver a widescreen film.

I sure hope the day arrives when I could see his films on a large screen.


Don't Bother to Knock - (1952) Directed by Roy Ward Baker

Starring Richard Widmark, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Bancroft


Marilyn Monroe as a crazy woman, and surprisingly she's pretty effective as such. Maybe its not surprising. I myself was surprised, I was just about ready to never give a chance, ever. Perhaps this role meant something to her, perhaps she was under some pills and that did the trick, or maybe she just tried so hard to be bad in this role that it worked against her and the result was a sad character that one could help feel sympathy for.


This film is full of surprises; in its content, I found it too be very adult, the situations were mature and some of the violence perhaps, ahead of its time. Honestly, in one scene I cringed when a character received a blow to the head from an angrily desperate Monroe.

2010/04/26

All Sorts of Intimate Acts, Oral and Whatnot

The Firm - (1993) Directed by Sydney Pollack

Starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman


I don't know if it was John Grisham, David Rabe, Sydney Pollack, or Tom Cruise himself that produced such a great performance out of Mitch McDeere. I have said many a word against Dr. Scientology but he really packed all his pros into this role without any of the cons that would later surface in many of the characters he plays. It must be that Tom Cruise became too used and we started to see that he was doing sort of the same thing in most of his films and we got bored. But today I say this, "let Tom be Tom, you be yourself, and I'll do likewise." After that, wherever we land is our business and no one else's concern.


The soundtrack to this film won a well deserved Oscar, the keys and chords worked on my nerves like a spider on a web, and what a tangled web we weave...There's something about the music when combined with the suits and the very straightforward way of presenting the story that seems typically 1990s, however I am not sure if this is one of the films that indeed set the glossary to that vocabulary. If nothing else, its definitely the deal sealer, the closer of the lid that solidifies Wilfred Brimley as the ultimate badass with a handle bar mustache. That was until this episode of Seinfeld air:


I Want to See the Big Picture, I Do!

THE SET-UP:

As many of you know, we are amidst The Tribeca Film Festival until sometime next week. Act accordingly! I have to admit that I don't really care. As much as I love films; as much time as I spend juggling TCM and Netflix; as much as I'm always tempted to feed my paycheck to Amazon.com's open mouth in exchange for some classics-- I can't seem to be moved by any film festival really. Actually, I wish I could be over on the pacific, at the 1st ever TCM film festival, but even then I'm sure its a load of hype and ridiculous packages for limited unlimited access.


However, my Grouch tendencies aside, I am excited about one part of the Tribeca Film Festival which sort of ties in TCM. On Wednesday, 28-April/21010 the Clearview Cinema on Chelsea will be showing David Lean's epic film adaptation of Boris Pasternak's epic novel, Doctor Zhivago. Viewing this film, that carries with it a magnanimous reputation of being a masterpiece achievement in cinema; viewing this film which, mind you, I've never seen on a big screen or any screen for that matter; viewing this film for the first time in this manner makes me feel...I don't know what exactly but I feel...everything, at the same time, I feel everything!


The Inevitable Let Down:

I just hope its not a rip-off. I mean, its cool that they're showing Doctor Zhivago, granted I'd appreciate it in some way. But I want a big screen, David Lean's wide frame will find no justice or peace in some cozy little theatre with a chalk board screen. No offense to IFC or Sunshine Cinemas, and much love for showing older films but the rooms they're shown in gives one the impression of sitting in a weird living room with strangers watching a big TV set.


I remember when I saw There Will Be Blood at BAM. That was special. I knew something good was happening as this larger than life character was presented in the center of this beautiful theatre. most films don't feel like that. Like I said, a room with strangers watching a large TV. I'd love to see Lawrence of Arabia at Kips Bay, or Once Upon a Time in the West at the AMC in Times Square, both on the biggest screen the respective theatre has to offer.


One classic film a month, every theatre in NYC, every last week of the month in just one theatre...it doesn't even have to be all day, maybe just one or two showings per day...on the biggest screen. Really, New York City? It a little embarrassing that I have to ask for this.

2010/04/24

All I Need is an Umbrella called Understanding


I will never complain about the rain again. The craziest part of this video or film is that it takes place here on earth, its the small world that owns a far larger planet than we do. Imagine cannonballs of rain descending from the sky on us, its so violent and beautiful and frightening, it kills just as much as it feeds and helps create. I love how this planet knows what its doing. The Greeks had Gaia, among others and she was the Earth, the kind of woman Chino from The Deftones writes about.


The thought that a quick rain can fall and at most only drench my clothes, but in a smaller context leave a similar scene to the one in this video gives me a strange sense of perspective. It makes me think of humanity's worst, crimes, wars, plagues, famine, all the things we see as ultimate states of discomfort. All these things are as micro to the milky way as rain onto the small world of bugs is to us. The Macrocosm though never directly affected by the Microcosm, is of the same design and what happens on one has its corresponding happening on the other. "On Earth as it is in Heaven" Forget religion, this line always has been an reference to a ratio for me, you might as well be saying "on 2 as it is in 4", or "on 4 as it is in 16". What happens on Earth has its rationally scaled equivalent happening in the Universe.

2010/04/20

The Buzz

Let the Honey Be Your Guide

I love Honey Nut Cheerios. I mean that the way a man would love a woman enough to stand before friends, relatives, and strangers and say "I do." Possibly beyond, I love Honey Nut Cheerios to the point that its perverse. Thats right, loving a cereal as one would a woman isn't perverse enough. I could have sex in a tub full of milk and buckets of Honey Nut Cheerios falling over us like water from the shower-head. I would buy an edible blow-up doll if it was made from Honey Nut Cheerio grain. I don't even want to get into how much I love honey, that's another matter completely.

Its a pretty good cereal and I've been faithful since I was a child to these sandy rings that come alive in milk, soak up and vibrantly excite any breakfast with that first dripping spoonful. And how can you go wrong with Honey and Nuts? Its a pretty good cereal!

I don't know about that bee...the lovable honey bee with that stupid face and cheery attitude...smiling and talking. I can't remember a time when I saw a real bee and my first thought wasn't to slap the air or move out of the way; compromising my cool to whoever happens to see from a distance a grown man twisting and jerking like an apoplectic idiot. Bees don't smile and they certainly don't look like BuzzBee. And furthermore, they would never pour honey over cereal. Because Bees make honey only for themselves. BuzzBee, in real life, would not be as cooperative as the cereal box implies about sharing his/her Honey.


Bee aside, Honey Nut Cheerios is awesome. What about squirrels? Honey and bees, squirrels and nuts; I think Honey Nut Cheerios should have dual mascots. The box should show a bee on one corner making Honey, a squirrel on the opposite corner gathering nuts and then John D. Rockefeller in-between stealing from both!

I love Honey Nut Cheerios!


Remember Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Chilling on a Cheerio Lifesaver, if I were stranded out in a milk sea on a Honey Nut Cheerio, I'd drown but I'd be one full, satisfied corpse.


2010/04/18

Confessions of a Crap Artist: I Just Wanna Say...


I try and try to fit all my thoughts into words. I try to make speech a conduit to brain, a channel from where one is able to express itself through the other. I don't know how to talk out loud...I stop sentences short...I trail off and change topics awkwardly and...its all bullshit anyway. I can't make sense of how anyone can do it...I premeditate the words and it sounds so good, so exact and confident...it makes sense and I'm definitely in control but then its like the words aren't really words; like liquid and solid, the same but not the same. Better yet gas and solid. My thoughts are like some gas that floats and lightly obscures but one could walk through...words on my tongue are solid blocks with weight, height and mass, texture and density. You can't walk through it, you can't make it float and reshape it like clouds at the slight inspiration of wind, once its spoken a word is a word. A thing jumping out of you and you can't have it back...but you can add more words to direct a thought. I'm no good at directing spoken words. Maybe on paper or text/edit when the words are not quite solid, writing is the liquid phase of communicative matter.

2010/04/08

Film Logue

A Little Bit of Plague Makes the People Come Together


Panic in the Streets - (1950) Directed by Elia Kazan

Starring Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes


2 or 3 years back I read The Plague by Albert Camus and I've been meaning to read it again. There is something about Plague that fascinates me, any contagious disease in fact, if it groups a number of people together its everything short of uninteresting to observe human solidarity.


Panic in the Streets is a story that follows a thinning clock, a race against time, as the threat of an epidemic deepens in a New Orleans town when a man with pneumonic plague is murdered and his infected attackers unknown. Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas play the unlikely pair of doctor and policeman in charge of finding the contaminated murderers. The doctor, Lt. Cmdr. Clinton Reed M.D. just as Dr. Bernard Rieux in The Plague or even Dr. Steven Monks in Val Guest's 1963 plague film, 80,000 suspects; all dealt with the tremendous strain of stress, every life that pass, passed through their hands and every action they took was met with immediate response. Under such restraint of time during plague, one must act fast, truthfully, and with little or no regard for ego. I guess this is why plague stories interest me. Only when the threat of death is made a real solid fact, only when it looms about not as a spontaneous thief but as an invited guest who makes you uncomfortable nonetheless, only then do we shed the material layers of life. It brings out of people, that which they are at their essential make up. Heroes can become cowards, beggars can ascend to aristocracy; plague has no class division. During a plague, everyone is in the same position, death may come and carry anyone away. This is true even without plague, Death most certainly can never be called prejudice or predictable but without such an experience like plague, Death can be ignored, a person may distract their attention to other things. And as I would agree a preoccupied obsession with Death isn't healthy nor is the fear of Death that stunts one's experience of life. Plague sheds our costumes and what we are becomes known to us and others.


I'm surprised I haven't heard about Panic in the Streets before. Perhaps because its not based on a Tennessee Williams play and it doesn't star Brando, he isn't in it at all, actually. There are some great performances nonetheless, Richard Widmark is intense and practically blew a few capillaries as Clint Reed and then there's Jack Palance (then billed Walter Jack Palance) as Blackie, the lead assailant who's unknowingly carrier to the pneumonic lung candy that's got the city officials all hot and bothered. Barbara Bel Geddes plays Clinton Reed's wife, Nancy. It took me a moment to realize she played Midge Wood, Jimmy Stewart's friend in Vertigo, I'm very fond of her. I wonder if she was part of Kazan's method class? I'd like to see more of her.

2010/04/04

Film Logue


Tengoku to Jigoku "High and Low" - (1963) Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Starring Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Makadai, Kyoko Kagawa,

Tatsuya Mihashi


Location, Location

This crime-action suspense film plays against type from its opening scene right down to the literal closing. A wealthy businessman in the shoe making industry faces conflict when he realizes that the kidnapper who kidnapped his song has made a mistake. The kidnapper, has in fact abducted the child of his driver. Kingo Gondo must now decide if he should pay the ransom as he most certainly would've when he believed it was his own son who was taken.


Most of the action and investigation happens off screen, us, the viewers are then briefed by report updates or information exchanged between characters. Similarly some of the more dramatic dialogue and exchange of words in the first half happen behind a group of people who are not involved in the argument. A living room full of embarrassed detectives stand forefront, awkwardly lowering their heads, as behind them Mr. and Mrs. Gondo argue about whether to pay the ransom or not.


Akira Kurosawa's plot to High and Low is full of moments like the aforementioned. And even when we see the kidnapper he doesn't speak until the final scenes. In fact, unlike most action films involving a kidnapping, there is no suspense directly involving the kidnapper himself. Instead, the suspense lies in the thrill of the hunt and tracking down the identity of the kidnapper, Ginjiro Takeuchi.


If I had more time today I would watch both Heat and The Dark Knight. A similar sense of intense search and a long postponed meeting between hero and villain is found in all three of these films. High and Low or Tengoku to Jigoku is also location rich, as the name implies from High to Low, we get a sense of a city from its wealthiest to its vulnerably dependent poor.

2010/03/27

Film Logue

Greenberg - (2010) Directed by Noah Baumbach

Starring Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Jason Leigh


Noah Baumbach writes and directs this story about a middle-aging man who wants to do "nothing" for a while. Roger Greenberg played by Stiller is the kind of character, that when you watch as a viewer you cringe and wish you could reach out and hold his mouth, so as to avoid the disaster of awkward embarrassment when he speaks. However, a character like that might not feel embarrassed, you'd feel it for him. Which is all the more reason why you'd want to look out for him.

The Harder They Fall - (1956) Directed by Mark Robson

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling, Mike Lane


Such a marvel to watch, especially quick talking charismatic Rod Steiger as notorious boxing promoter, Nick Benko. I was surprised to find under Rod Steiger's achievements, an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in On the Waterfront. Sure, he wasn't unqualified for the award but Nick Benko was robbed of the recognition that character truly deserved.

2010/03/23

Film Logue

Kramer vs. Kramer - (1979) Directed by Robert Benton

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander

and Justin Henry


I want to see more Meryl Streep. Ever since I saw Doubt last year, I've been intrigued by her amazing talent as an actor. Sophie's Choice only confirmed my fascination.

Kramer vs. Kramer is a really touching movie. I never thought I would sit and watch a film about a single dad, dealing with a wife who walked out on him and his son. Just recently, on TCM I heard a brief segment where Robert Benton mentioned that someone suggested to him that he cannot make Mrs. Kramer a villain. Benton took the advise and from then on knew how to approach the story. I kept this in mind as I watched the film. Its true, and because Joanna Kramer wasn't a villain, because she was a human being; a person with choices and actions, none of which can be summed up and packaged into one neat explanation or judgement. Because I could see substance in such a character's circumstantial layering, I sat and watched this 1979 drama. I can remember this film being shown on channel 11 as far back as I can remember; when I was old enough to be Billy Kramer's age but dismissed it repeatedly then, as it wasn't an action movie.


Long Day's Journey into Night - (1962) Directed by Sidney Lumet

Starring Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards,

Dean Stockwell


One thing I'll say about this excellent story is that James Tyrone played brilliantly by Ralph Richardson made me laugh. It wasn't a disrespectful, unintentionally funny response to his character. No. I believe that character is suppose to be funny. A man who takes himself far too seriously, Edmund and Jamie are always laughing at him and even in the first scene Mary states that her husband is always at the end of some joke or another.


This provided for me a genuine lock for the story. It was key to feeling the story become all the more real. It reminds me of fights and/or lectures from my parents; laughter is always a present element to these otherwise serious speeches. More so, laughter is always inspired when a person is trying to explain their true self (the person they imagine they are) against the image of who they are seen as. This story was very much about everyone trying to explain who they are. All except Edmund, who seems to be either too young to know or care, both on romantic, poetic terms.

2010/03/19

Indirect Deposit


I'm going to let you folks in on a well guarded secret no one cares about.


It's not easy being me.


I repeat, its not easy being me. In fact, even I at times have difficulty managing such a show. Take for instance today, my first payday at the new job. Here, I must admit that the actual payday was Wednesday but no one bothered to tell me. This entire post would be about what I've blown my first paycheck on if that sweet slice of information were disclosed to me earlier enough to be convenient. Anyhow, I thought today was payday and when I got to work and asked my co-worker, East Euro T (real name withheld) about who I was to see concerning my check, he mumbled through whatever he was eating at the time. After a clearing and an extra moment for me to climb over his accent I realized he said, "We got paid Wednesday." He showed me who to ask and repeated how bi-weekly paydays function. I politely nodded and after receiving my check became excited about cashing it.


Its been so long, the last 2 1/2 months were financially awful. I was eager to get to a check cash place and buy a metrocard, some lunch, and walk around some more with that paranoid feeling that someone's going to rob me. I hadn't felt that last one in years, I haven't cashed a check since 2005. The plan was to avoid the bank and the account currently blooming in overdraft. At lunch time, however, I figure let me walk into the bank and see what the damage has been, I make it a point to ignore my account when its in poor shape.


"We all are, act accordingly..."


At the bank I discover my account is -$192. Not bad, I thought to myself, so then I got to further thinking. The wheels in my head were turning despite LeFou's warning of such a dangerous pass time. It shouldn't be too bad if I deposit the check here after all. I'd be saving a walk and a lot of bulky paranoia. I walk in.


I walk out, account with its belly full you would think.


But not quite. No, not at all so very quite. If I'm to follow through with the dining analogy, it was as if the food was prepared and served but the account was not to have a single bite until tomorrow...Tomorrow? But I just deposited the check...Look! Its right there, the remainder is right there, under the overdraft that appears to be the only thing available. Do I really have to wait a day? I spent the last 10 minutes before leaving my apartment this morning, combing my shelves for $2.25 in quarters; to pay for the single ride to get to work.


Maybe it just takes some hours to go through...Lets ask Google...Not good. Why? Are you serious? I have to wait a day? Fuck that I won't except it, I'll just go back after work and ask somebody, what the fuck does a search engine know anyway? A search engine doesn't even have a posable thumb...Its not even a real engine, how the hell did I expect it could motor the comprehension necessary to understand this ordeal?!


There was this one time...I was younger...I thought it'd be cool to pretend I'm drunk. I'd walk around carrying a drowsy disposition, slurring words and walks, laughing through lips and half shut eyelids. I put on the act for a few minutes when Snap! I caught a fish! My "friend" Spaceman bought into it, at least he was willing to entertain the notion. I was working for my Oscar nomination that night. Immersed into character, I let Spaceman take me to the neighboring block. Bad idea...but whoa was I ever a good drunk...subtle, not a caricature...more like a drunk person trying to act sober. I didn't even take the time to notice the first rock hurled at me, or the second for that matter. It was probably the third or forth that kissed my eye. Sharp pain, a flash of red and the sense of sober fear gripped me like a girlfriend. I thought my eye was hanging out the socket, I kept asking what happened and specifically asking if my eye was still in the socket...I felt stupid, once the pain was set in place, once the assessment of damage had been made, I only felt stupid; drunk with stupidity.


Moments like those...all you do afterwards is imagine that one decision that could've voided the rest of the accident from happening. An abortion that never came. I don't like dwelling on these phantom parallels, instead I just sit and swear to myself never to let it happen again. To always trust the first instinct that says "I don't want to do this." The problem with that instinct is that his voice is so weak and boring. No one wants to listen to that guy, especially while Cunning Logic is scatting and doing voice impressions of all your heroes and they're all convincing you that Instinct is just scared and not taking into consideration the spoils of success. It shouldn't surprise you that I listen to Cunning Logic too often, always attempting to take advantage of spontaneous situations. Sometimes I win, fewer times I lose. Today, just as back when my eye literally got rocked, I lost.


I had to play that move where you stand by the turn style in the subway and ask someone with an unlimited metrocard to swipe you through. I was lucky to find that Samaritan after asking just twice. She was sweet about it, a true saint and on my way home I regretted not asking her name since I was already planning to write this post. Thank you Samaritan.