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Category Archives: stuff i find interesting

Paper Darts or: Really?! these people live where I live?! Cool.

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.

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flashback to “Clowns” by Goldfrapp w/terribly misheard lyrics ;)

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.

 

Fritz Lang + Dark Dark Dark + Modern Times Spychestra + beautiful evening = Joy overload

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…

 

Harry Potter goes out with a sigh instead of a bang…

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!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in stuff i find interesting

 

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Basilica Block Party 2011

Or – Drunk and Disorderly brought to you by St. Mary’s Basilica.

Amos Lee with his band

SO last night a coworker and I ventured out the the second night of the Annual Basilica Block Party to enjoy the musical stylings of Amos Lee and Ray Lamontagne.  For folks not from the Twin Cities (or just clueless in general, but living in the Twin Cities) the Basilica Block party is a fairly large event put on by the Catholic church (is it called a diocese, or something??) who’s aim is to raise money for the church and in a roundabout way, gain exposure among a varied grup of folks who may not otherwise have anything to do with the church.  End backstory.  ANyways….there were more people last night than in any night previously ive gone to the event…there must have been upwards of 10000 people.  it was just jame packed.  all in the space of about 4 blocks.  After wending our way back to the main stage (thank you Sun Country!)  we positioned ourselves strategically about 20 feet from the stage more or less dead center.  Now, it was about 500 degress hot yesterday and the humidity was oppressive, so the only sensible thing for the crowd of thousands to do, was to keep pressing in closer and closer to one another.

angry lady and 1000s more at Basilica Block Party

After 4 hours, literally, of being packed like sardines (thank you radiohead)  i was sopping wet, and i have what appears to be friction burns on my arm from the crazy woman who spent that 4 hours grinding and gyrating *against* my arm. I dont care how cute (you think) you are, no one wants you essentailly molesting them at a concert.  Seriously.  If i knew your name lady, i would call you out.  i wish i had your picture…

but i digress.

Enough ranting.  The music was fantastif.  Amos Lee is an incredibly talented and charming musician.  His band is excellent, particularly his Drummer who is extremely fun to watch.  Among other things, he played Flower, Keep It Loose Keep it Tight, SUpply and Demand, A song i imagine was called Elephant Boy, and covered Fat Bottom Girls.  He was a lot of fun to see again.

Ray Lamontagne was excellent.  His voice is so unique.  He sounds like an open wound, if that makes sense…it is like his voice aches with 100 years of suffering and longing and regret, which is amazing given that he is a young man…He and his band turned in a great show, at times slow and mournful while at turns very much like a jam session.  He played among other things, Trouble, Burn, and Shelter You.  Unfortunately i had to get out of the steam cooker up front so i didnt get to see most of his concert from up close.

Gomez also played on the same stage.  They are  UK band sorta like…i dunno…weezer, maybe?  They were good, although i didnt really know much about them beforehand.  Their song  “Here Comes the Breeze” was pretty cool.

Here is one of the videos i shot last night 

If you want to see any of the handful of other videos i shot at the concert, head over to my youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/ominousicity?feature=mhee

 

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an album worth checking out

hey all,

been following Merival for a while on the youtubes and twitter.  was thrilled to see her update her bandcamp site, among other things, you can find a complete album of hers *FOR FREE* there.  Here is probly my favorite track off the album.

She is awesome, and the songs are quiet, and thoughtful, and meaningful.  I hope you enjoy them. You can see her here: http://www.youtube.com/user/merivalmusic or as part of the duo Kildear here: http://www.youtube.com/user/annawify

 

 

Senator Ron Wyden takes a common sense approach to IP Legislation. Whoa.

In a statement released by his office, the Dem from Oregon had this to say:

“In December of last year I placed a hold on similar legislation, commonly called COICA, because I felt the costs of the legislation far outweighed the benefits. After careful analysis of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, I am compelled to draw the same conclusion. I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective. At the expense of legitimate commerce, PIPA’s prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet. “The Internet represents the shipping lane of the 21st century. It is increasingly in America’s economic interest to ensure that the Internet is a viable means for American innovation, commerce, and the advancement of our ideals that empower people all around the world. By ceding control of the Internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the Internet, PIPA represents a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives. Until the many issues that I and others have raised with this legislation are addressed, I will object to a unanimous consent request to proceed to the legislation.”

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/05/sen-ron-wyden-to-place-a-hold-on-the-protect-ip-act.ars