Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Gordon Willis

Considering his body of work, it's amazing to me that Willis, a cinematographer for 3 Best Picture Oscar winners of the 70s, only has 2 Oscar nominations, and no wins. And none of the nominations is for one of the Best Picture winenrs  (The Godfather, The Godfather II: Electric Boogaloo, and Annie Hall). He was nominated for the third Godfather movie and Zelig.

With Zelig he recreates early 20th century news reels to great effect, but it's Allen's 1979 love letter to New York City, Manhattan, that's my favorite of his. In fact, it's one of the movies that made me appreciate cinematography (it helps that they always showed the movie in letter box format when it aired on cable [my first exposure to the movie] since the movie was shoot in a wide screen format).

Much older and I understand Manhattan to be good entry into cinematography appreciation. I don't know that I appreciated the cinematography in The Godfather the first time I saw it since Coppola's editing is so powerful, it dominates the visuals. 

It's been forever since I saw The Parallax View and all I remember from it is the "test film" shown deep in the movie. Its 6 minutes are remarkable and upsetting and ground breaking.

I leave y'all with the trailer for The Purple Rose of Cairo, one of Allen's most polished movies. I'm not sure why its not given more respect. The movie's look really is something of a cross between Zelig and The Godfather, now that I think about it. And I mean that in a good way. (Apparently cinematographer William Fraker kept cock-blocking Willis's Oscar nominations, since Fraker's work on Murphy's Romance picked up a nomination that year--his work on Looking for Mr. Goodbar was nominated the year Annie Hall was passed over).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Not that you asked

Courtney Love.

You know what, I'm really tempted to just stop right there. Is there any bigger personification of train wreck? Say what you will about Lindsay Lohan, her body count is still 0. Amy Winehouse? Mel Gibson? Pete Doherty? OMG have I got the new season of Dancing with the Stars all planned. Dr. Drew can be on it AND turn it into a season of Celebrity Rehab as well. I really should be a producer.

Anyway, Courtney Love.

Shit, again tempted to just stop right there. But I will soldier on. CL (but not Craigslist) recently gave an interview to something called The Fix, a website about addiction and recovery. Okay, so that makes sense.

And Courtney, whose last album (as Hole), Nobody's Daughter, has probably sold fewer than 100,000 copies, has decided to discuss Lady Gaga, whose Born This Way is expected to sell over a million copies in its first week (in the interest of full disclosure, I bought it because Amazon had it for 99 cents... I mean, come on, that's cheaper than the dollar store and, AND, you get 20GB of Amazon Cloud Drive for a year or 2).

Courtney is worried about Gaga's future.

Not that anyone asked. "Now let's see what Debbie Parker of Lufkin, Texas thinks about Lady Gaga, if we're asking everyone" is my first thought. And if someone finds this post while searching for "Debbie Parker Lufkin, Texas" I don't actually know such a person. For reals.

Or maybe we should wonder what Love's thoughts on bovine growth hormones and ontological empiricism are. I wonder if she's taken bovine growth hormones, just to see if she could catch a buzz. No, wait, she's totally clean and sober. Which is why she was 3 hours late to an 11:00 a.m. concert (her make-up person was a mess AND her hairdresser was late--when my hairdresser is late, I have to be more late... the funny thing is, when she got there, she still looked like Courtney Love), that whole sobriety thing, totally makes you late.
"She may be doing fine at the moment, but I’m worried about her future. She’s very young, and she’s very talented, but she doesn’t seem to have any female friends. Or any straight guy friends for that matter."--Courtney Love, she's like Oprah without the success, empathy or self-awareness
I'm sure Love has keen insight into Gaga's close circle of friends. She probably pays them a lot of attention. It's not like Love's bogged down with being a mom any more, so she needs a hobby.

Hey Courtney, I'm thinking I might repaint my living room this summer, any thoughts on a color?

Song of the Day: "Baby Missles"

I'm not sure at what point a local band from the other side of the country becomes just a band. This is The War on Drugs and they're from Philly.  Slave Ambient, their second LP (along with 3 EPs) is out soon or possibly already.

If I politely compare the sound to Arcade Fire is that going to piss a bunch of people off? (Cause that would totally make me do, if it would.)

Song: "Baby Missles"
Artist: The War on Drugs

Friday, May 27, 2011

Song of the Day: "Holding on to Black Metal"

New from My Morning Jacket. Circuits, their sixth studio album, is out next week.

Song: "Holding on to Black Metal"
Artist: My Morning Jacket

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heroes of American Leadership, part 2

KS State Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane)
Few politicians have the courage to tell the truth about rape, but Kansas state representative Pete DeGraaf is cutting through the hype. On the possibility of a woman becoming pregnant during a rape, DeGraaf gives a response that shows he's nothing if not a leader: "I have a spare tire on my car." Details here.

Take that whiny women.

And quit asking for it with your sexy outfits and your saying no with your words but saying yes with your eyes. You know you want it.

And like a flat tire, you'll endure it as just another inconvenience.

DeGraaf's sure of it.

(h/t Eric)

Heroes of American Leadership, part 1

House Majority Leader/Cry Baby Eric Cantor (R, VA)
"If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental."--Eric Cantor, a hero of American leadership
Except for tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy, Eric Cantor is always consistent in how he approaches spending, even if tens of thousands of Americans have had their lives devastated.

Oh and except for the Iraq War funding.

Oh and also except for the Medicare Rx thing.

Oh and also also the initial Bush tax cuts (really the same ultra wealthy, but whatev).

Oh and also also also Katrina (but Bush was President and deficits don't matter if a Republican is President).

But really for philosophical integrity we shouldn't be bailing them out at all, right? I mean Cantor opposes "government insurance for the uninsured" like with healthcare reform, so why now? These folks (who, by the way, probably didn't vote for Obammer, you know what I mean) should let their private insurance fix everything.

And it's a perfect opportunity for Atlas to stop shrugging and do his thing. Private industry, fix this shit. Can't wait to see how they blow us all away.

And thank you Eric Cantor, hero of American leadership.

Song of the Day: "The New World"

The Drums did a song for Japan following its trifecta of disasters (earthquake, tsunami, nuke-u-lar meltdown). I'm sure thousands faced with the loss of everything and everyone they love now have the strength to go on.

Provided they have access to something that can play this song.

And this song.

Hmm, that's probably not a lot of people.

Oh well.

Song: "The New World"
Artist: The Drums

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Song of the Day: "Strange Negotiations"

The title track from the second solo album from Pedro the Lion's David Bazan. It's infused with standard singer/songwriter melancholia but there feels like something a little more here. I'll let you know what I find.

Song: "Strange Negotiations"
Artist: David Bazan

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Seems like just yesterday

My older sister sent me this picture of the 2 of us. I'm guessing the year was 1982 because I like to pretend I'm younger than I am. Christina's still kicking my ass at Words With Friends (which I totally want to adapt into a Grinder-type hook-up app called Words With Friends With Benefits, but that's a whole other thing) but I think I'm beating her 1 in every 3 games.

Or 4.

Although her accidental resignations help.

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

There's no denying that dude has become more than iconic. He's a quasi-elemental force in American music.

And I have no idea what he's saying when he's singing live. I saw him once, 20+ years ago at Chastain Park (come for the 90+ degree heat and humidity, stay for the pretentious yuppies one-upping each other with their elaborate catering, but pay no attention to all that noise coming from the stage).

"What, yes, the Emperor looks great in those new clothes," I sometimes think. But then I find the lyrics in there and, well, respect.
"People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed"
Dylan won an Oscar for this song, from the movie Wonder Boys.

I wanted to post "All Along the Watch Tower" but can't find Dylan's version on the tubez. Boo.
"My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet/I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming"
The Byrds' version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" made it one of Dylan's most popular songs from the 60s. I have a special fondness for it via Mary Lou Lord (here).

I think it's a testament to Bobby D that as I search for versions of his songs to embed here, I find 5 covers for every actual Dylan version. Here's a duet with Johnny Cash "The Girl From North Country":

In addition to his Oscar and 10 Grammys (including sharing the Album of the Year Grammy for Concert for Bangladesh, according to the Grammy database thingy), Dylan has a Pulitzer Prize of some sort, and the distinction of being the musician whose lyrics are most cited during court proceedings ("trials" seemed to vague, but that's actually what I mean).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! (or, as you might sing "haaaaa baaaattttteeeaaaa, rraawwww aaaaaaaa")

Tactical Women's Alert Team

A million years ago, before I will admit to being alive, I was a fan of the short-lived TV series S.W.A.T. I didn't understand why this comedy bit from Cheech and Chong was funny aside from, you know, girls holding jobs (hysterical). It's Tommy Chong's birthday and this is not safe for work unless you're over it there, in which case enjoy.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Speaking in Tongues"

Arcade Fire will release a deluxe (pronounced "dee lucks" as Ellie Mae would on Beverly Hillbillies) version of The Suburbs, and one of the new tracks features David Byrne (yes, the "Ned Flanders" song guy!!!)
Arcade Fire - Speaking In Tongues by ListenBeforeYouBuy

I'm not sure I'll go out of my way to get the updated version (way to make me feel stupid for buying the record in the first place guys), but I am digging the track.

Song: "Speaking in Tongues"
Artist: Arcade Fire/David Byrne

Rand Paul and Jeff Merkley, standing up for liberty

"We cannot give up our liberty. If we do, if we trade it for security, we'll have neither"--Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY)

I've been pretty happy with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D, OR), my junior Senator; he beat my preferred candidate in the Democratic primary by a margin slimmer than Merkley's victory over sitting Sen. Gordon Smith (R, OR) but he's been solid on issues I case about. So it's weirdly awesome that he should find a kinship with Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY) over ending the Patriot Act (DISCLOSURE: no actual Patriots were involved in making such an act, it's just a Karl Rove exercise in calling things what they aren't as a way to make opponents seem bad; SEE ALSO: "No Child Left Behind"). It seems that there is ANOTHER 4-year extension for the special surveillance powers granted by TPA, and I guess Congress just wants to get it taken care of with no muss, no fuss, and none of that pesky debate.

Glenn Greenwald has details here and here.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D, CA) continues to amaze me with her Bush-esque bluster. With her trivialization of core civil rights and her conflicts of interest regarding defense spending, OMG she's Dick Cheney! Why has she not been "primaried" by a progressive yet?!

Yesterday's vote for cloture passed 74 to 8, with an interesting group in opposition (hey, Lisa Murkowski is still considered a Republican, I did not realize that). I cannot find an accounting for the vote of Sen. Ron Wyden (D, OR). I hope his health isn't keeping him from voting.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm ready, are you?

Just watch the clip.

Happy Birthday H. Jon Benjamin

I know he voiced the son on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, and I was definitely a fan of the show.

But I might not have really noticed him if it weren't for the fact that he sounds a lot like a former coworker of mine. You can really start to hear it when he's doing Coach McGuirk on Home Movies.

I am sad they never made more episodes of Lucy, Daughter of the Devil. I'm sure making an animated series about the adventures of Jesus, walking the earth as a DJ and dating Lucy, the daughter of Satan, probably required a lot more explanation than an episode of Family Guy or South Park, so I can certainly understand them stopping, but still, funny stuff.

I got my first glimpse of him in this hysterical parody of the NY Times Weekender commercial. He's the guy showing up for the dog food commercial audition.

But he's found a perfect role on FX's Archer. As the title character, Benjamin gets to be the center of one of the funniest shows on TV. Seriously, watch it, even if only on Hulu.

He's Bob on Bob's Burgers and occasionally on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Family Guy (and a shitload more). But really, Archer is the shit.

Benjamin picked up an Emmy nomination last year for his work on Archer, which I'm pretty sure I helped him secure (here and here). Hopefully he can repeat this year.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Waiting Round For You"

Dude from Teenage Fan Club and Welsh musician Euros Childs have a power pop side project together: Jonny. Enjoy.

Song: "Waiting Round for You"
Artist: Jonny

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's more than okay, it's AWESOME to be Takei!

George Takei, you fucking rock!

Song of the Day: "Will Do"

Newish from TV on the Radio. Condolences to the friends and family of Gerard Smith who passed away in April.

Song: "Will Do"
Artist: TV on the Radio

"But then a strange fear gripped me and I just couldn't ask"

Happy birthday Moz. Enjoy the lentils!

He called her Kate Muddleton!!! #OhSnap

Happy Birthday Sonya

I think this is 31 or 32 for her. I've known her since college, so that sounds right.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

And you should NOT relocate anywhere that requires me to use highway 1 for more than 6 miles.