Archive for December, 2007

Rain

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Lots of people in blog land are talking about the weather. So I will join. The graphic above represents tomorrow’s forecast. It is 33 now, and will be 39 tomorrow. Lovely. Considering I work outdoors.

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Want to watch films about artists?

Sticking with the art theme from my last post, here are some recommended films:
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How to Draw a Bunny
A friend lent me this movie and it sat at my house for months before I got desperate enough for entertainment that I put it in. Silly me, I loved it.
A documentary about the late modern artist Ray Johnson. This guy was so enigmatic, no one really knew him, except through his artwork. Then there is the mystery of his death. Was it just a final piece of performance art? Totally fascinating. Just drop into this alternative world and enjoy the ride. This is from a review I just found on IMDB:

The movie, at least temporarily, lifts the viewer out of the mundane world of tabloidization and banal politics and consumerism, shakes him (or her) up, rearranges him, however slightly, in his view of himself and the world.

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American Splendor
You may have heard of this one, but it might have looked too weird to see. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This film was so unique and wonderful. Paul Giamatti, well, (even if you hated him in that sucky — sorry if you liked it — Sideways,) is.fucking.brilliant. The movie is about comic book author Harvey Pekar, whom I had never heard of before seeing this. The amazing thing is the way the both the actors and the real life characters appear the movie and it works. Pekar himself narrates. Wow. Here is a short review excerpt I stole from amazon:

Which is the “real” Harvey? Is it Giamatti, the actor who plays him? The author Harvey Pekar, who actually appears in the film as himself? The comic-strip character Harvey, who is sometimes animated in the film? It sounds confusing, but the film is so tightly constructed that it’s fun rather than bewildering, an offbeat commentary on the differences between “real” life as it is lived and as we observe it.

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Rivers and Tides
Okay, you might have seen this one. If not, what are you waiting for? Okay it is slow, but slow is good! Anyone who has the abilty to stop and appreciate the ephemeral beauty of the natural world will dig this. And now to the stolen review excerpt:

Human beings spend so much time feeling to be master in command over nature, one another, material and living objects, and RIVERS & TIDES truly brings the message of the temporary state of nature and humankind in the world. It ebbs and flows, and Goldsworthy’s unassuming but dutiful continuity as a true natural artist, working with the medium of mother nature, to design intricate visual sculpture and installations out of the elements we take for granted all too often. This is an especially timely film in this day and age, where we are questioning what is to be done to work toward sustainability and conservation in the world.

One of my favorite parts was hidden in the special features: Leaf horn.
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Tom Dowd and the Language of Music
Same friend who owned How to Draw a Bunny turned me on to this one (Thanks, Rook!)
This guy Tom Dowd was behind the scenes at many legendary recording sessions. A highlight for me is a scene where he sits down with the raw tracks of “Layla” decades after the first time he recorded and mixed them. He messes around there at the board, “remixing” the song, reminiscing about the day Duane Allman and Eric Clapton recorded those legendary guitar parts. Great for me as a music fan.

Watch This Film

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The boy and I sat down together the other night and watched a perfect movie to complement holiday shopping. Manufactured Landscapes is a documentary which follows Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky through China and elsewhere while he photographs places where humans have made huge impacts on the landscape through industry or manufacturing.

In the opening scene, the camera pans through an enormous Chinese factory for what feels like hours and was really about 5 minutes. Other scenes more haunting included a visit to a beach in Bangladesh where young men tear apart oil tankers by hand, and to the former cities soon to be flooded by the 600 km long reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam.

The photographs themselves are breathtaking, both shocking and beautiful. The film was fascinating in that it showed the people and a bit more of the story behind the pictures. We got to go to places most people never see.

If you’ve seen Rivers and Tides (artist Andy Goldsworthy – wow), this movie shared that same meditative quality. There was not much narration, just time to soak up some truly alien landscapes.

Recommended Reading

The Cunning Runt over at Little Bang Theory has posted Part 2 of a three part series on “naming”. It’s a discussion of our culture of “othering”; how names, definitions and branding –politically, socially– are separating people when we should be coming together. He’s all about building bridges, so all progressives here should check it out.

Spawned Out

This is me with my Papa.
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We have always been tight.
Continue reading ‘Spawned Out’

In case you wanted to know

Would you like to know the most impractical and indulgent Christmas gift I really want this year? I suspect my family thinks I’m joking but it’s true.
Continue reading ‘In case you wanted to know’

The story of my musical life

Some of you already knew that I sing in a band. But did you know that at age three I was already in the front row in red pants playing the tamborine?
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Continue reading ‘The story of my musical life’