So a few weeks ago I stumbled across a website/blog called Paper Darts. They are …well…you can read their own self-generated description (here) that is infinitely better than anything i would hobble together. Long story short, i had been casually visiting the site on and off, with a growing appeciation and fondness, when they posted this by a contributor? Safy: http://www.paperdarts.org/blog/2012/1/22/a-list-of-greatness-to-stop-denying.html I cannot express how cool I found this posting/list. Exposing someone to an artist who is awesome is about the coolest gift you can give someone in my book (shoutout to saidthegramophone.com, my online crush). And what amazing gifts these are. Thank you Paper Darts & Safy.
I just spent an hour trying to find an old forum posting about a song, “Clowns” by Goldfrapp that i loved from back in the day (~2008) and I finally found it. if you arent familiar with the song, here is a link: . Yes, she has marbles in her mouth or something. dont worry about what she is actually saying for now. Just visit this post for what someone thought she **might** be saying. http://www.goldfrapp.com/msgboard/showpost.php?p=371162&postcount=10 god, i laughed and laughed and laughed… even like 3 years later i am still laughing at this. Now…rewatch the video and read along with the lyrics. the terrifying thing is that if you don’t know better (NO CHEATING!), their interpretation is fairly plausible. Please to enjoy.
I dont know how to talk about it, because it just doesnt seem real. After a prolonged legal battle in the wake of a shoddy trial, the state of Georgi executed Troy Davis tonight. I didnt want to hope…i didnt want to believe maybe justice would get a chance this time, but i really really thought maybe the disintegration of the case against him might cause the supreme court to reconsider this planned murder. I just feel heart-sick. I hurt for Troy and his family, for the family of the man he was accused of killing, i hurt for the hundreds if not thousands who sit on death row in this country, some of whom are innocent, but none of whom deserve to die at the hands of the state. I am so ashamed of our justice system right now, so ashamed of the cowards who lack the moral fiber to take a stand… we have a lot of nerve complaining about the way other countries treat their population when we have state sponsored and run executions. It’s an ugly night for America, and a disheartening night with the extinguishing of another life.
Update 9-22-2011 I have learned of another execution in Texas last night, of a man named Lawrence Brewer. He was accused and convicted of a violent murder back in 1993. There was never much doubt of his guilt, and he had little support, and certainly little or no protest or activism on his behalf. His life and death are now almost an afterthought…it is troubling that I…we… are so transfixed by the murder of Troy Davis, yet relatively few have Lawrence Brewer on their minds today. If we take the stance that Troy Davis’ execution was abhorrent, it seems extremely dissonant that we dont feel the same urgency about Lawrence Brewer…I feel ashamed that I didnt even know this man Brewer, and that he was killed in my name last night.
It was a great night to finish up the 2011 Season of Music in Mears concerts. 3 acts were on the lineup and they were great. The Katie Todd Band was up first, and they reminded me of Ingrid Michaelson, with a mix of shoe-gaze-y singer-songwriter music and energetic jam band funk. The eponymous singer had a strong voice, although I wanted her to push harder–it felt like at many of the climaxes, where i expected her to let our a roar, she plateaued, but she was strong, and her band was solid. It was a lot of fun to watch her bassist and her drummer play off of one another. Her bassist was awesome, throwing in lots of flourishes and runs that played around on the edges of the songs adding complexity and depth without derailing the rest of the groove.
The second act was either Dead Peasants or Jef Lee Johnson & Friends. I think it’s the same people, but there was confusion about which incarnation was at the event. Anyways, the group is kinda hard to genre-ize, as some of their music felt like straight up contemporary jazz, while other songs were like avant-garde rock, while some felt like being at a psychedelic JImi Hendrix concert. They covered an impressive amount of genre ground in an hour. The lead guitarist (Jeff lee Johnson?) was astoundingly good. He went from playing Earl Klugh-esque riffs to shredding like Slash, and hit many notes in between. I was shocked. I have never heard of the guy. His drummer was on point, adding bits and pieces of sound and rhythm all over the place. He seldom sat still or just rode the beat. Finally, his bassist was amazing. His solos, which were too few!, were just breath-taking, and he would just create a funky beat and sit in it for sections, and it was hard to not just get up and hug the man after their set. I had a lot of fun listening to him especially.
The final act of the night, and the season, was local artist Haley Bonar. She was exceptional; literally radiant on stage. She was accompanied by a fantastic guitarist, whose name i have forgotten, but his playing was a great complement to hers, generally adding washed-out, distorted, plaintive accents to her own guitar and voice work. Ive been following Haley for years and years, since learning she was a South Dakota native too, and have seen her live a couple times in the Twin Cities, and this was by far the coolest concert of hers I have seen. She forgot the power cord to her Wurlitzer, so she played the entire set on guitar, which was absolutely fine by me.
I particularly enjoyed “Green Eye’d Boy,” “SIlver Zephyrs,” & “Kid October” but she played a lot of great songs.
The only downside to the set was the swarm of little kids who decided it was cool to have an “i need attention” fest directly in front of Haley, so much of my footage is marred by children running in and out of frame over and over, and screaming. It was cute for about 15 minutes, then i wanted to throttle their parents. Oh well. I will add some videos if I got any decent ones, over the weekend.
So Monday night i went an event out at the Walker Art Center (or more precisely the lawn adjacent, where the infinitely nicer old Guthrie used to reside–ugh the new one is a nightmare) to see a screening of Fritz Lang’s “Spies” IMDB with live music scroing done by Minneapolis musicians Dark Dark Dark(album art on site may be NSFW) (who are amazing) and a choir numbering like 30-40 people styling themselves the Modern Times Spychestra. In short the event was amazing.
While i wasnt blown away by the film, it at least wasnt awful. The film was pretty standard fare for the time period, hilarious overacting reminiscent of vaudeville, but typical for films of the time that drew acting talent from the stage and other venues where such exaggeration was standard. You can read summaries of the film elsewhere, so ill just sum it up as a love story with an arch-villian, some gunfights, and a train wreck.
The music and on stage performances accompanying the film were absolutely thrilling. While there were often long periods of quite and lull, there were some key set moments where the music soared and caught me up and immersed me in the moment and in the film. The segment i recorded and posted on youtube, in particular, was quite arresting. One of the ‘squads’ of the Spychestra was waving red lights around, while they, or another squad clanked on what sounded like old clunky bells or pipes or something. It is impossible to capture what a neat moment it was…well..watch the video. I may post some others but this was probably my favorite moment of the night. You can hear me say “wow” like an idiot a little ways into the clip…
Additionally, there mustve been like several thousand people gathered to watch the film, and they appeared to come from all walks of life, which was awesome (although there did seem to be a particularly strong hipster contingent…) the vibe was electric and cool, and in some ways it felt almost like some quasi-hippie gathering from back in college (ah those were the days).
I cannot say enough about the music. Using a lot of repeating themes and motifs, the music was at times sparse enough to leave you wondering if you were imagining you heard something and at others insistent, driving, and enveloping. the piano and cello work, in particular, were fantastic. I felt, during some of the more intense musical sections, that i was listening to a second coming of Phillip Glass. Seriously, words don’t do justice. They were just that good.
If you dont know who Dark Dark Dark are, seek them out. I think there music is more accessible than a lot of similar groups (although they really do kinda have their own niche carved out, so parallels are hard for me to find). I’ll post about Dark Dark Dark soon, with some vids or something…
I’ll preface this by noting i am copy-pasting some of this from google+…sorry, too many dang places to post….
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: 4 hours later, it still feels like it was a bit of a let down..Was thinking perhaps just the melancholy of the ending of an era was tingeing my feelings, but i think now, with more space, i am more sure that the movie was good but a little underwhelming. I cant believe i am saying this, but i really wanted a bit more melodrama than I was given. There were achingly sad parts, but by and large, much of the movie felt like an awkward, dutiful hug at a funeral: steeped in the moment, highly charged, but painfully and noticeably lacking in something ineffable that would make it more effective. At any rate, the movie was a nice capstone to a…hrmm…15? year journey…wow…
anyways, specifically, I would like to have had more face time with several of the characters we’ve grown to know and love…i know in the later books, pretty much everyone besides Harry, Hermione, and Ron are reduced to mostly afterthoughts, but in this final film, it would have been nice to spend a little more time with McGonagall, Hagrid, Neville and Luna….Each had a few moments…literally… to deliver a plot point, or make an aside, but by and large they are scant window dressing for the harry vs voldemort show…which is ok, but it could have felt richer and more meaningful if i had felt more connected to the other characters…at the apex of the film, nameless hordes (of students and teachers) run pell-mell through halls while hogwarts tries to defend itself from Voldemort and his death eaters. what ends up as a fairly distant and disconnected montage, could have been time spent making me meditate on the sacrifices being made and feeling sad about the lives being lost…instead i didnt really feel anything….perhaps that was intentional on the filmmakers part–have the audience mirror Harry’s isolation and unfeelingness at the end–but i wanted to feel emotional highs at that point and i experienced the climactic sequences as a lot of “meh” moments rather than “aha!” moments. oh well. I thought Severus’ death scene and pensieve montage was a nice break from the rest. As with the books, i was left feeling Snape’s end was perhaps more tragic than Harry’s.
I was glad that was conveyed in the film (or at least presented in such a way that i could choose to parse it in a way consistent with my preconceived notions…lol)
I don’t mean to sound like the film wasn’t good. it was highly enjoyable, with at least acceptable acting, and it hit mostly right notes.
I loved the reveal of Ron’s weight gain after 19 years
and Luna and Neville’s moment on the stairs post battle.
I loved Mrs. Weasleys battle with Belatrix (not my daughter, you bitch!) and thought they made the escape of the white dragon from gringotts surprisingly touching…when it pauses on the top of the building before hurling itself into the air, there is a moment absolutely pregnant with meaning when you begin to feel what it must’ve been like to be chained in that dungeon and to have finally escaped. It was surprisingly evocative and i thought one of the best scenes in the film.
One big complaint I do have is i felt like the movie really shied away from Harry’s death, and subsequent meeting with Dumbledore, and the meditations on the tortured being with them, and the purpose of Harry’s journey. All that might have felt like fluffiness to the filmmakers and so perhaps they rushed through it. In my 4 or 5 readings now of the book, i have always spent the most time lingering in that section…i feel like it is central to the book in particular and the whole world in general. I wanted to watch those scenes and feel their great import, but instead i felt like enough was done to nod to their place in the books, but not really focused on for conveying the messages, themes and feelings of the piece. Probably an intentional choice by the filmmakers..pathos may not be the best thing to overdo in a film, but i was waiting for it, almost yearning for it…it would have been a great catharsis. oh well…enough rambling…lol..ill be seeing the film again once or twice, perhaps I will ramble on more. GO OUT AND SEE THE FILM!