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July 31, 2007

The passing of 2 masters

When I was a child, film directors were everything to me. That's because we moved to Los Angeles so my mother could work with them. While other children practiced soccer on Saturdays, I practiced cinema, tagging along while my mother organized screenings and moderated discussions with directors about their films. It was inevitable that while fascinated by cinema, and enamored by the larger than life personalities of directors, I would reject film as an occupation. Nevertheless, this never stopped me from passionately loving it.

From time to time, I have one of those days where I gulp after I hear the news of a famous director passing. In the past 24 hours, there have been two: Sweden's Ingmar Bergman and Italy's Michelangelo Antonioni. While I could handle one in a day, the prospect of two has me in tears, for these were no ordinary filmmakers, these men were auteurs. These filmmakers changed people's lives with their works. They inspired others to dream with motion. Their works encouraged countless others to make choices to spend their lives devoted to creating stories of their own. Today, it is as if two of my great-uncles have passed.

Having never visited Sweden, I have always imagined Sweden through Ingmar Bergman's work. This paradoxical land of beauty and darkness, where the gorgeous grapple with death through long winters and celebrate with no abandon during all-to-brief summers. I was probably nine or ten the first time I watched "The Seventh Seal" and I remember lying in bed that night hoping that I got better at playing chess before I met the man in the black cloak. For some years after, I was convinced that everyone Swedish played chess and so whenever I met anyone Swedish, I'd always suggest checkers.

I was introduced to Antonioni later when I was in film school and watched "Il Deserto Rosso" five times one week. At the time, I don't think I had ever seen such a vividly arresting film made about female depression. The vacancy of the character's interior and exterior worlds resonated with my own feelings on privilege and wealth. The film left me utterly despondent and I was intent on figuring out why. Like a detective, I wrote extensively about the elements of it, trying to dissect why it fascinated me until I gave up and admitted it was just a fantastic film. Antonioni's verve for filmmaking, like Death in the Seventh Seal, prevailed. The minimal pre-techno score still gives me shivers, and for a long period of time after, every time I entered a red room, I couldn't help but hum some score.

But these are only remembrances of two films by filmmakers that collectively created many interesting works, constantly challenging themselves and their viewers. They seemed to approach filmmaking with the same precision that 19th century writers approached novels. Each work stood singularly on its own, each piece comprised of a meticulous individual world packed with a unique cast of characters. Many of their plots were simple, but the films possessed umpteenth transcendental moments. Shots, scenes and ultimately the film as a whole are essential parts of my own visual montage of life.

As I write this, I become less and less sad, and more and more curious to revisit some of their films and to watch others I've never seen. As this is one of the loveliest part about films, while its makers may be mortal, their works remain immortal.

In any event, cheers to the spirit of this two filmmakers..

July 30, 2007

99 entries and a David Lynch rap is one

I thought I would be watching a preview of Inland Empire.
Instead I found this.

Beyond the Weather, David Lynch's Coffee

I'm in the midst of writing a piece on my favorite weatherman David Lynch and his upcoming appearance at The Hammer. It's going to be a night of Lynchian proportions with a screening of Inland Empire, and a live performance of Polish jazz with Marek Zebrowski. For such serious artistic times, there will even be the ultimate fix: David Lynch coffee.

You may have read that last phrase twice. I did the first time I saw it. David Lynch coffee?
Yes, David Lynch Coffee.
The man, the myth, the film director that obsessed my teenage life has a coffee brand. And it's organic.
Now, that's targeting a demographic. One thing is for certain for most DL fans. They're not the decaffeinated types.

In browsing through the complicated flow chart that is the various blends, I became curious if there was something on youtube about this.

Ding a ling!

Here's my favorites:

Now drink some more!

July 29, 2007

Elektrons - Get Up - graphic mash beatatoes

Been a plentiful day of digging.

Here's another gem...for screen stomping. That is when you can't help but want to dance, but you're tied to your computer, so you begin to tap to the beat like a maniac.

Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators - Light in the Attic Does It Again

It's incredible! 2007 is yet again having one of those retro modern musical moments, another taste of hip shaking soul, but brand new. Julian tipped me off on this a while back, Mr. Tickle hands in the air.

"If this ain't love, don't know what is, if this ain't love, don't know what is, this is real, this is real. If this ain't love, don't know what is, if this ain't love, don't know what is," perhaps the sweetest chorus of the year. But you know, I'm always a sucker for a good flute in a soul track.

Keep Reachin' Up

Download "If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What Is)" (mp3)
from "Keep Reachin' Up"
by Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators
Light In The Attic

More On This Album

sing along, "if this ain't love, don't know what is..."
if this ain't...

July 28, 2007

Panique au Village

Whenever I get insomnia, I am reminded how lucky I am to be awake - and how much I absolutely adore the first "Panique Au Village" episode entitled, "The Big Sleep." There are so many components that comprise excellent short filmmaking, from fascinating characters to comic digressions to simple story rhythm. I've always been a fan of artists that find extraordinary in the ordinary and this series about a cowboy, indian and horse living in the Belgian countryside grasps a verve few things do.

I hunted down the DVD of the entire series a few years back, but am delighted that you can watch most of them on youtube. I'll write more in detail about it at a later point, but hopefully this will whet your appetite. Enjoy "Le Grand Sommeil..." and tell me how diabolic the ending is...

Le Ballon Rouge tributes

One of my favorite clips in cinema - why I love music, storytelling and film.

In Cannes this year, they debuted a "remake," but before it's released, let's check up on what other ballonisms are out there on the net.


Here's a mashup of sorts.

And I also can't help but admire those so into it, they have made sequels - albeit very silly ones. Bloody hell productions! As Bix would say, it's "muhaha!" There's a part 3 too!

"The Westing Game" Home Movies

If you know OS, this requires no explanation.

If you don't know OS, well perhaps now she's starting to get close to the beginning of the story she's been meaning to write.

Art Videos Continued

Keeping with the tradition of sharing strange videos, today I came across this one. It has me scratching my head...go Miro.

July 27, 2007

My Travel Widgets.

Objetsmart comes from a family of travel enthusiasts. Yet one thing everyone shares in common is their multi-generational disability to PLAN and pack. Perhaps it is sheer genetic disorganization, but through many decades of attempting to travel with them, one thing is certain, no one has really grasped the concept of timing for trips and then understood simple things like WEATHER and how to make to do lists before having to sumo wrestle the suitcase.

Technology may have finally saved us. There's now an answer to our misery. The WIDGET. Yes, my favorite student travel company, STA, once employer to my parents about 35 years ago, has come up with an answer. Not just one widget, but multiple widgets!

I'm going to share with you some of my favorites as they pertain to my grown-up life.
First, the above...THE countdown. Perhaps if everyone in my family visually obsessed over the timing of our next vacation, this would trigger inspiration to organization.

Then, we plot WEATHER. What a cool function. Compare your weather! I know there's a weather section in every paper and our family subscribed to three, but it never meant we read any of the weather sections! As I do remember packing shorts during blizzards and wool during heat waves. The good part was that everyone in the blood line are maximalists, so if we were visiting family, there was always others clothes to wear! But when on holiday in a foreign country, where it rains all the time and you only pack one pair of closed toe shoes and they are canvas, this could really come in handy. That was the trip I realized, I was a fashion victim.

But most importanty, there's the packing to do list widget (pictured below). Perhaps this will stop the sibling from forgetting deodorant while they were opting instead to shove multiple Xbox Madden Games and 40 packs of gum into ridiculously bling duffles. Perhaps this will encourage the older folks to leave all those shampoo samples behind because writing take 12 bottles of shampoo sounds absurd. Perhaps this will even get Objetsmart to pack less and with more organization.
Perhaps. Perhaps.

Because OS can always dream, can't she?


Biz Bennie

I've been working so hard all week I missed Biz Markie. But he's always close on the net. You must watch it to the end even if your windows break.

This one goes out to my oldest friend Erin on her almost birthday. Here's a song for you - redone, as you know I always like my remixes...



And for the purists, here's the original.

Westsider - Will the sequel be called Eastsider?

Curbed LA picked up on this Westside-centric flick on Youtube today.
From the Marina towers to the Westside bimbos, it was the guilty pleasure I needed just now. Enjoy!

The Viral Power of Chocolate Rain

It took less than a week but Chocolate Rain is now bonafide. Tay reminds me of Gary Coleman season 4 of Different Strokes, but three feet taller. His version of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" is also pretty remarkably profound. "Never gonna give! Never gonna give! Give You Up! Ahh hoo!!!"

And by that use of profound, I mean cringe-worthy, head scratching, irony in the ironic sense. Cheers Nick P for turning me onto the man, the myth, the homepage of youtube this Thursday the 26th of July.

Beating down Tay for the No. 1 Youtube spot of the week is simply MJ done by the prisoners. Has the whole world seen this video? When everyone 80+ in my family is talking about it, I say OUI.

Hey, it's much more uplifting than daytrading....

But good to know I made it 36 hours from Lindsay's arrest untiI heard about it. Now that's what I call focusing on work.  

Chocolate Rain!

Soft Spot for No Budget Videos

My car got stolen, but I've found solace. In Youtube of all places. Must love no budget videos. Like mt, something simple is the key.

July 20, 2007

Place Ocho on its Side...Paths From Walking (Mai Yamashita + Naoto Kobayashi


How do you make a path?

By repeatedly walking on it again and again and again, and then again and again.

The artists, Mai Yamashita and Naoto Kobayashi show how on their excellent site.

I love when installation videos get deep and universal and this is one of those works.

Click on "Infinity" and enter their magical world.

And yes, it's a lovely coincidence that the path transformed into objetsmart's favorite number. Because place it on its side and its a symbol meaning infinity...

Here's objetsmart's favorite song about her favorite number.

July 19, 2007

777-9311 is my phone number of choice

Mark and I were talking about my Morris Day and the Time obsession late last night/early this morning driving back home. When he was staying at my house last year, I was deep into the Time. I mean I listened to this record about twice a day for months. How did this happen? Well, a few years ago, I was record shopping and realized just how underappreciated Morris Day was, and how I needed to listen to more of his work. I would always find his records at thrift stores and thought - this has got to be a funky record. Then I heard it and loved it. So I started buying up multiple couples. And it worked well with all my Moodymann/Theo Parrish records.

When I first started buying MDATT tunes, I knew that Prince had worked with him, but didn't realize that Prince had written most of his songs. Yet it didn't matter who wrote these songs, they just spoke to me, they were funky and raw, with candid lyrics about hooking up that made me want to hook up. Something about listening to the music made me feel incredible. I could turn on 777-9311 and the world would seem better. I could listen to Gigolos Get Lonely Too and feel enlightened. if I was in a bad mood, this record made it evaporate. No one ever told me to like this record, I just stumbled upon it and fell in love myself This was an album about discovery to me, and it was my duty to share this lost gem. The album became such an anthem in my dining room eventually everyone started teasing me when I asked if they wanted to come over to play some records. "Well, only if you don't play anymore Morris Day and the Time!"

In any event, it's holy stuff to me.

The beloved track to me is "777-9311." Seems I always thought I was the only one that liked the song. And I was wrong. You can even see a big band version of it. (too bad the embedding has been disabled.)

In any event, I've never seen my close musical pal, but good ole MD is playing at Sunset Junction next month and I'm so excited.

In the meantime, check out the reason why this record was on turntable 1 most of last year.

I so wish my phone number was 777-9311. Even Dick Clark was curious. Now if only I could move my hips like Morris.


777-9311 LIVE IN JAPAN

And another song, this one is Mark's favorite.

July 18, 2007

Objetsmart does MacGyver

For some time, there has been late night rumblings about RDA and the cult of MacGyver. While I always found MacGyver amusing, like camping, it's not really my thing, even if I thought Richard Dean Anderson was hot when I was nine. But I understand in the chaos of the world, sometimes it makes sense that people find solace in a character that could escape dire situations using a rubber band, a paper clip and a drinking straw.


Then today, Aline sent me the above.

So I did a little searching and found that MacGyver and his paper clip seem to have a whole other life online and in commercials. And now I think I'm going to have to start playing with rubber bands, paper clips and drinking straws. In the meantime, enjoy some of my favorite MacGyver online.

MacGyver the Debit Card

MacGyver the College Years

MacGyver on the Family Guy

July 03, 2007

Virtual Window!!!

I had this dream as a child of looking through a window and finding someone else looking through another window. In that window was yet another person gazing through another window and this continued for as long as the eye could see. I would try and imagine what the view would be from the fifth or sixth window and get lost marveling. It is images such as these that I find haunting, inspiring and mostly exciting. And images such as Anne's site on the Iphone are new and dynamic remixes of these dreams.

Anne's book is amazing. The accompanying site I've been meaning to discuss for quite some time, and will do at a later point. In the meantime, explore it yourself.  





Objetsmart on the Iphone

Pretty darn cool to be able to pull up your blog on another device in full color. Now I really know I owe LF a buck.

More iphone pictures here.