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More film (and music) stuff. Some new PreReviews are up, describing movies the reviewers haven't seen and neither will you: Karate Kid III, Mystic River, The Human Stain, Elf... This is some kinda service. In his Karate Kid review, Joe McKay mentions a bit from the Jamie Arcangel and the Arcangels show I posted about earlier and forgot to describe: the guitar duel between Arcangels guitarist Cory and Ralph Macchio, using clips from the Macchio film Crossroads. That mid-'80s gem, directed by Walter Hill (48 Hours, The Warriors), is basically Karate Kid with an old bluesman instead of a martial arts master; it climaxes with a battle of the bands type scene where Ralph wows the crowd with some stellar guitar, overdubbed by Zappa/Whitesnake prodigy Steve Vai.
At the performance Saturday, a video projector rolled a clip of Macchio playing a few notes, then the tape stopped and Cory tried to "beat" Macchio with his own, live guitar. This continued through several tradeoffs. Cory has the moves to pull this off, up to a point, but a small minority of people (who knew Crossroads) knew that inevitably Ralph was going to kick his ass. Thus, suspense was created and a kind of unconscious caste system developed in the crowd between the Crossroads elite and non-initiates. At the end of the performance, Ralph let rip onscreen with a long sequence of cascading notes roaming up and down the fretboard like an impossible physics formula, while the old bluesman looked on approvingly. This was the big moment, and singer Jamie asked the crowd if Cory should go for it, prompting a chorus of mostly yeses and a few skeptical jeers. Cory started a solo and then a few bars into it petulantly smashed his guitar to the floor and walked off, leaving the feeding-back instrument lying there howling. What else could you do?
Speaking of PreReviews, I need to eat some crow for calling The RZA's great Kill Bill music "generic hip hop" (without seeing the movie). Turns out the complex, sample-heavy score is one of the two reasons to see it. You don't really realize how much material was ingeniously mashed up until you watch the song credits scrolling forever at the end. [Update: For some reason Elvis Mitchell in the NYT gives credit to Tarantino for all the music choices and doesn't even mention the Wu Tang guy. What's up with that???] A really lovely tune plays while Darryl Hannah prepares to kill the comatose Uma Thurman; I want to go back just to hear it again.
Oh, and here is the other reason to go see the film, the second in a series of Females I'd Like to Be Slaughtered By (the first being the T-X Terminator). This kind of unabashed fandom is just to help the film industry and America's ailing economy, that's all, really.
Chiaki Kuriyama: Scary.
[The following found sentence has been inserted for design reasons, to put a kind of text buffer between completely unrelated photos. OK, there's an animated .gif, too, but it's way over on the right.] Less than a week before "putting to bed" the second half of Artforum's two-volume look back on the '80s, organized by my predecessor, Jack Bankowsky, I found myself seated across from sculptor Haim Steinbach at a Brooklyn kitchen, a late winter light waning on the running tape recorder and a half finished plate of marzipan between us.