| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
Never listened to him much because my taste runs more to atmospheres and compositional innovation than musicianship and spare dissonance, but his abstract and relentlessly innovative playing/composing has had an incalculable influence on musicians who've never heard of him -- as well as many who have, of course (Fred Frith comes to mind first).
...despite often performing and recording in a solo context, he was far more interested in the dynamics and challenges of working with other musicians, especially those who did not necessarily share his own approach; "There has to be some degree, not just of unfamiliarity, but incompatibility [with a partner]. Otherwise, what are you improvising for? What are you improvising with or around? You've got to find somewhere where you can work. If there are no difficulties, it seems to me that there's pretty much no point in playing. I find that the things that excite me are trying to make something work. And when it does work, it's the most fantastic thing. Maybe the most obvious analogy would be the grit that produces the pearl in an oyster, or some shit like that."
Featuring archival interviews with artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquait, and new interviews with artists and art historians including Ed Ruscha, Wanda Corn, Jonathan Fineberg and Grace Hartigan, IMAGINING AMERICA provides a window into 20th-century America through the eyes of those who both chronicled and transformed it.
Each section of the film examines one of three basic questions: How do American artists represent the world around them ("America Pastoral"); how do American artists represent themselves ("Songs of Myself"); and how do American artists help us understand how mass media has transformed our sense of self and society ("The Media Is the Message")? Through the work, ideas and lives of more than 50 leading artists and scholars, these questions are stimulate the viewer to think about what makes us distinctly American.
Marc Weidenbaum's interview with Christiaan Virant, of the Buddha Machine-creating duo FM3
Weidenbaum: The record industry is so focused on piracy, I imagine that somewhere there's a record executive who wishes he, or she, could so closely tie music with a physical object, as you have. Do you think the Buddha Machine in some way comments on the current issues in music distribution?
Virant: Hmmm, again, living in Beijing, the focus of music dialogue is often different and this is something I've never really thought of before. Of course, there is an extreme piracy problem in China and many of my artist friends complain about not making money from their releases, even though they may sell tens of thousands. And even an FM3 release in 2004 was heavily pirated. But when we designed the Buddha Machine, we were mostly thinking of making our lives easier by having essentially an "instant" sound installation. Avoiding bootlegging never entered into the plan. And, actually, I must say, that FM3 downloads on Soulseek [the file sharing application] have directly led to more gigs for us and a wider global fan base.
Mark Allen's er penetrating review of Brokeback Mountain
Fussed-over and coiffed even in its gritty moments, the film is oddly fairy tale-like throughout... despite its almost sickeningly blighted ending. On the film's surface it is picturesque, poetic, dreamy, slow and subtle. Skilled director Ang Lee casts the rugged wilderness of Wyoming as a gorgeous, ever-turning Marlboro ad kaleidoscope - his take on the beauty of nature would have made Andy Warhol blush. Fitting, because at it's sad, sweet heart, the story being celebrated in the media as "new" and "shocking" - is only so within it's own slim mainstream pop culture bandwidth.
A devout Mormon, Anderson looked upon journalism as a calling. He was considered one of the fathers of investigative reporting, renowned for his tenacity, aggressive techniques and influence in the nation's capital.
Anderson won a 1972 Pulitzer Prize for reporting that the Nixon administration secretly tilted toward Pakistan in its war with India. He also published the secret transcripts of the Watergate grand jury.
Such scoops earned him a spot on President Nixon's "enemies list." Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy has described how he and other Nixon political operatives planned ways to silence Anderson permanently -- such as slipping him LSD or staging a fatal car crash -- but the White House nixed the idea.
Over the years, Anderson was threatened by the Mafia and investigated by government agencies trying to trace the sources of his leaks. In 1989, police investigated him for smuggling a gun into the U.S. Capitol to demonstrate security lapses.
Known for his toughness on the trail of a story, he was also praised for personal kindness. Anderson's son Kevin said that when his father's reporting led to the arrest of some involved in the Watergate scandal, he aided their families financially.
Having just seen Michael Redgrave's devastating performance in Anthony Asquith's The Browning Version, I wondered whether a good biography existed; looks like Anthony Strachan's Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave, based on unprecedented access to his papers etc., is the one
Redgrave's complex and tortured private life and how it informed his remarkable performances are the focus.
Despite his splendid physical and vocal equipment - the nearest thing to an acteur noble this country has produced - he did not quite fit into a pre-existing mould. "What sort of actor do you want to be, Michael?" Edith Evans had asked him. "Do you want to be like John, or Larry, or Peggy Ashcroft, or me? What sort of standards are you aiming at?" He was in fact that unheard-of phenomenon, an English leading actor who was not an extrovert, always seeking to create from within. Like Charles Laughton, with whom he had surprisingly much in common, he was always in touch with his inner drama, and his best work possesses a sense of fathomless pools of complex life within. Unlike Laughton, his relationship to his own body and his face was not anguished; it is in fact very often the gap between the nobility of his appearance and the turbulence inside which gives his acting its extraordinary tension.
Well worth a look if you haven't seen them are the aforementioned Version, The Importance of Being Earnest (so much better than the recent remake), The Lady Vanishes (in case you somehow missed it), his amazing turn as a ventriloquist in the classic trilogy Dead of Night and Joseph Mankiewicz's The Quiet American -- there are many more (I hear The Dam Busters, Time Without Pity and Michael Anderson's 1984 are worthy), and his stage work was even more accomplished, by most accounts.
He was of course the father of Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave, and grandfather of Natasha and Joely Richardson and Jemma Redgrave.
The Oakland trio's almost ridiculously accomplished set of 'instrumental rock' features eighteen future-jazz excursions that encompass post-rock, dub, jazz, funk, and melodic electronica, sometimes in a single song.
Rosenbaum liked both films but has some reservations about how the issues of compromise and truth -- that both films attempt to tackle themselves -- are handled by the filmmakers:
Both Capote and Good Night, and Good Luck equate journalistic integrity with accuracy and see compromise as a necessary part of working in the mass media. Murrow attacks McCarthy, then interviews Liberace (also shown in archival footage) to boost his ratings -- helping perpetuate the era's myth that Liberace was heterosexual and looking for a wife. In Capote, distinguished partly for the offhand yet honest way it deals with the author's homosexuality, Capote seems more morally confused and self-deceiving than hypocritical -- as when he lies to Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) about how much of the book he's written and whether he's come up with a title.
The films themselves also frequently engage in compromise, lying shamelessly and sometimes unnecessarily about some matters yet trying to be scrupulously accurate about others. I suppose this inconsistency could be rationalized as poetic license, but the desire of both movies to combine poetic generalizations with prosaic specifics creates more confusion than clarity.
Having had to travel to Manhattan to see the latter at the Kitchen, and nearly damaging a brand new Proton monitor to see the former in its vertical format glory, its nice to see this available -- you can watch them horizontally if you want to...
The disc comes with liner notes by the artist in a 16 page booklet, plus an unreleased track.
Ryko has released a 2-CD recording of one of Bill Hicks' last shows, at Oxford University which I be an essential companion to the recent DVD release of 3 shows from the end of his career which is the best representation of his work and the one to get if you don't know him; also just issued is the Sane Man DVD, which I have on VHS and that I'd suggest only for Hicks completists -- it's very raw and sometimes very funny, but more valuable for the chance to see him work out his material onstage
DVD Talk review of the new TLA release of Eraserhead on disc
This edition lists for $24.99, but doesn't include the 20-page booklet included if you buy it on Lynch's site, though it does have the nearly 90-minute doc of Lynch discussing the film. And of course there's also the boxset which includes 5 of his short films as well (this one goes for $79.95, only at his site).
It's a great transfer apparently, and the doc makes the price of the offsite TLA release a good deal.