View current page
...more recent posts
Rover Anthony Feyer, whose work I only know from the card below, which I received in the mail, is showing at Suite 106 gallery in Soho. I'm guessing this is a digitally manipulated photo. Dear God, I hope it is. It's not entirely clear in the scan, but that's a person in an animal suit in the uppermost vehicle, holding a sign that says Jesus Loves You. I assume it's the eponymous "furry."
Moody Wins Coveted "PreVie" Award
Is runner-up in second category
(AP, January 13, 2004) Artist and weblogger Tom Moody has won a coveted PreVie award, given out annually for the best "prereviews" of Hollywood films.
"It was a three-way tie for 'Best Rant,'" says an ecstatic Moody. "The award committee really liked my review of the movie, The Order. No, not the one with Jean-Claude Van Damme, the one about the rogue priests."
"Prereviews" are an Internet phenomenon, where reviewers describe and opine about films they don't see.
"In an information-blitz society, there is so much data out there about films that one can formulate a reasonably good opinion about them," observes Charles Sheckley, a media studies professor at Virginia Polytechnic University. "Also, frankly, Hollywood films are so cookie-cutter and filled with platitudinous 'conventional wisdom,' who actually needs to go?"
Inspiring many other prereview websites, Joe McKay's "PreReview" was the first, and "still absolutely the best," according to TinselTalk, a Hollywood-watching site. McKay raised a few eyebrows by judging this year's competition, especially since he gave himself one of the awards.
"That was a bit tacky, but hey, it's his site," said TinselTalk's Sherry Flanagan.
Moody was also runner-up for his "Classic PreReview" of the movie Top Gun. Classic PreReviews apply to older films and must also not have been seen by the reviewer.
"Yeah, I'm probably the only person in America that hasn't seen Top Gun. But I wasn't confused when everyone was comparing it to Bush's flight deck stunt. I certainly knew it well enough to review it," Moody said.
New Strong Bad email features different generations of cheesy video games. A Pong-level charmer called "Secret Collect," ye texte-bafed gamme called "Dungeonmaster," the ultra-sophisticated "Rhinofeeder," and best of all, a 3-D vector game called "Strongbadzone." In the last, you use your cybershield to block Strongbad's "perplexing 3-D geometric attacks" and whenever you lose a point, a message appears on the screen saying "YOUR HEAD A SPLODE." Wait a few beats after the end of the email and playable versions of the games will appear. Back off, baby!
Great interview here with Christopher Guest, who plays Nigel Tufnel in This Is Spinal Tap and who directed Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. I was surprised to learn that he's a British Lord, his half-brother is Anthony Haden-Guest, and if I can get even more gossipy, he's been married to Jamie Lee Curtis for 20 years. Here's one of my favorite monologues of his:
In Best In Show, Guest played Harlan Pepper, a solemn, lugubrious outdoorsman from South Carolina who bore an uncanny resemblance to his bloodhound Hubert and possessed a talent so absurd that it's hard to imagine anyone but Guest dreaming it up. In Pepper's words, "I used to be able to name every nut there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy. She would hear me in the other room, and she'd just start yelling. I'd say, 'Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.' That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She'd say, 'Would you stop namin' nuts!' And Hubert used to be able to make the sound - he couldn't talk, but he'd go 'Rrrawr rrawr' and that sounded like macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it's also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut."[via]
UPDATE: The Guardian's transcript of the monologue is abbreviated. Here's the full text (still missing some "awhhm"s as Harlan thinks of perfectly ordinary nuts, according to Bill):
I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, "Harlan Pepper, if you don't stop naming nuts," and the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that's what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she'd just start yelling. I'd say, "Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut." That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She'd say, "Would you stop naming nuts!" And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn't talk, but he'd go "rrrawr rrawr" and that sounded like Macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it's also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.
[The following links are for mp3 d0wnlo4ds at a site called http://www.progarchives.com. Most of the site seems to be devoted to neo-prog, which is 3rd and 4th generation progressive rock bands lamely taking their names from classic prog tunes or the usual Tolkien characters. I had a lot of fun making these love/hate links to old-school (1970-75) prog songs, but I must have stumbled onto a mirror site or "members-only" area that eight hours later could no longer be accessed. Or it may just be bandwidth issues. In any case, if one link doesn't work probably none of them do. Sadly (for me at least), this post may not be here long.
UPDATE: As of Jan. 14, the links are working again.
UPDATE 2: As of Feb. 2006, it appears the site no longer offers these .mp3s for download--ah, progress--so the links below don't work, but if you search the progarchives archive for the band names, you can stream the tracks.]
Gentle Giant - Playing the Game. GG weren't the only British progressive group introducing madrigals, rounds, jigs, and other folk devices into a rock context in the '70s (as well as the expected tricky time signatures, contrapuntal riffs, constantly changing instruments, etc.) but they perhaps went furthest in integrating all of the above into a hybrid form. Very brainy group, apparently fought amongst themselves like cats and dogs. "Cogs in Cogs" and "No God's a Man" are better from this album, The Power and the Glory, but this one's plenty fine.
Gentle Giant - Free Hand. More lovely complex writing, marred slightly by Derek Shulman's over-demonstrative rock star vocals.
Area - La Mela di Odessa. Jazzy and noisy Italian outing, a bit Henry Cow-ish, with a great James Brown funk groove at the end of the track. Demetrios Stratos' Leon Thomas-style yodel may be too much for some.
Caravan - In the Land of Grey and Pink. Veddy British. This is the most folky track posted here; a bit twee, but David Sinclair's Lowrey organ solo is worth waiting for and nothing his cousin, vocalist/bassist Richard (Sinclair) does is ever wrong. He is God. "We'll pick our fill of punkweed/And smoke it till we bleed/That's all we'll need."
Van Der Graaf Generator - Killer. Histrionic but musically amazing. Black Sab meets King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man," with quirky, complicated instrumental passages that just beggar description. Organ, sax, and Peter Hammill's melodramatic vocals are the lead instruments. Full disclosure: this is a song about killer fish.
Van Der Graaf Generator - Man-Erg. A quiet song, also about killers, erupts into the weirdest instrumental break ever written--a kind of demonic horror-movie klezmer. Once you know it you sing it in your sleep, while being chased by monsters. "There stalking in my cloisters hang the acolytes of gloom." Proto-Goth but too passionate for that label, really.
Triumvirat - Triangle. The German Emerson Lake & Palmer. This instrumental track is recommended if you like ELP but not Greg Lake's vocals. The keyboards are as good.
Magma - Da Zeuhl Wortz Mekanik. Talk about high concept--all the Magma albums tell the story of an epic space opera, and they even invented their own language to sing it in. Orff's Carmina Burana and Philip Glass vocalese are big influences, sung over a jazzy background. Someone should put the soprano out of her misery, but this is probably the most sophisticated and least dated of the selections here.
King Crimson - Red. I take that back. This was from the King's heavy metal period, and it's absolutely fucking great.
Yes - Close to the Edge. All 18 minutes of it. We should be very grateful to Vincent Gallo for making Yes cool again, with his movie Buffalo 66. He used "Heart of the Sunrise" from Fragile but this is good also.
Sketches, recently animated, based on the movie Blade 2. Stills/movie review here.
Vigilante or Punisher?
Below is a synopsis, followed by some discussion, of an Alan Moore-scripted story for the DC comic book Vigilante (nos. 17-18, 1985), titled "Father's Day." Moore is the writer of Watchmen, From Hell, and other amazing graphic novels. Poor Vigilante had no legs compared to Marvel's The Punisher, a similar, rival comic from the '80s that is hitting the big screen this year. But Moore's comic makes me wish the reverse was true, and that Moore was still involved: despite its brutality, it has the ambiguous edge of '70s movies.
By day Adrian Chase prosecutes crooks for the county but after hours he pursues them extracurricularly as a costumed hero called Vigilante. In an earlier case of his, a man named Carl Linnaker raped his own 8-year old daughter. Chase put him away, we assume (but aren't specifically told), with a little help from the old alter ego.
Now Linnaker is out of prison. The book opens with Linnaker's wife telephoning Chase in a panic. While she is on the phone, Linnaker breaks down her door. Before Chase can get to her apartment, Linnaker stabs her to death. Their daughter Jodie, now 11, flees out the fire escape and upon reaching the street is nearly hit by a car.
The driver is a pot dealer named Fever, ferrying her half-drunk roommate Louise, a prostitute, across town. They are acerbic, sympathetic characters. Learning Jodie is being pursued by a psycho dad, they take her to their apartment.
The next morning the cop-shy Fever goes out for a meeting with Chase to discuss a place to hand over Jodie so the cops won't find Fever's dope stash. Chase shows up in his Vigilante guise. Hand to hand combat and verbal sparring ensue. Ultimately Vigilante agrees not to bust Fever if she'll just hand over the girl.
At the same time hung-over Louise foolishly makes a trip to the store to buy the kid breakfast. Linnaker tails Louise home from the market, knifes her, and snatches Jodie. Fever returns to the flat with Vigilante to discover her best friend and roommate bleeding to death on the floor. Distraught, she vows to avenge Louise.
Searching the back streets for Linnaker, Fever is more savvy than the uptight Vigilante. She has better luck questioning neighborhood people and laughs when his fancy motorbike is stripped for parts while chained to a lamppost. As they continue their search--Fever driving and Vigilante riding in the back after she almost ditches him--she kids him mercilessly about his moral rectitude. One of her girlfriends sees them and asks if he's G.I.B (good in bed). Fever replies "He's OK if you put a bag over his politics." Later, this exchange takes place:
Meanwhile, Linnaker makes plans to drive to the Adirondacks with Jodie, whom he obviously adores. In voiceover we hear him reading excerpts from the tender letters he wrote her from prison, pleading for her not to think of him as a monster. In the car, he frets that her mother has "turned her against him." With the child in tow, he steals a pistol from a gun store, then pushes the proprietor's head through the glass display case.
As Linnaker's car is pulling out of the store parking lot, Fever spots him and Vigilante shoots out his tires. Linnaker flees on foot, taking Jodie with him. Vigilante catches up with him and the two fight. Jodie screams for them to stop. Linnaker drops his gun and Jodie picks it up. Then, surprisingly, she takes aim and shoots, not Linnaker, but Vigilante, in the shoulder. Before Linnaker can grab Jodie again Fever comes around a corner, hits him with her car, and in an act of cold premeditation, locks the rear wheels on her 4WD vehicle and makes a mess of him with the spinning front tires.
At the end of the story, Jodie is taken to the hospital (in shock). Fever kisses Vigilante before leaving town, which she must do to avoid explaining 40 kilos of marijuana found in the apartment with her dead roommate. Chase returns to his flat, nursing his bandaged shoulder, and as he is taking off his costume we hear the voice of the dead Linnaker reading more excerpts from his gentle prison letters to Jodie.
OK, let's count the ways this story is subversive: (1) Vigilante is a peripheral character, and kind of a buffoon (2) Two females, operating "outside the law," are strong, smart, sympathetic leads; the one who survives is cleverer than Vigilante (3) The child molester loves his daughter (4) More troubling, the daughter loves him and uses violence to protect him (5) Just as our sympathies are vacillating because of the daughter's unexpected if misplaced feelings for her father, we watch her become an orphan (as does she) in a spectacularly sadistic fashion. This is played as black comedy. By contrast, the upcoming Hollywood Punisher appears from the trailer to be a typical, by-the-numbers Xtreme Revenge fantasy.
This may be old news to some, but I recently came across a great website, Japander, as in Japanese+pander. It consists of streaming videos of the commercials American celebs who would never sully their images in the States do over there for bucks. Like Bill Murray's "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time," only for real. See Harrison Ford guzzling Kirin beer, or a Labyrinth-era Jennifer Connelly advertising some dildo-shaped container of hair goo. (Requires Quicktime.) Not everyone likes this site; posted there is a copy of a cease-and-desist letter from the lawyer of super-square Leo di Caprio (stuffy Meg Ryan also threatened suit).