Author Archives: Joon

Gonzo

“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” – Hunter S. Thompson

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4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days

In the spirit of the ongoing merriment at Cannes, I decided to update with the trailer of last year’s Palme d’or, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days:

It’s a shocking film, this one. Deceptively simple, too. Sort of a master class in how indie films that want lots of static shots should be done. Because I forced 4:30 upon myself last year while crashing a soci class, I’ve come to really despise unnecessary static shots, and indie films that have no idea how to use silence and static shots to move a story forward.

-end of rant-

Just a Tranquil Darker

by John Hodgen

The old woman asks if she can have her sunglasses just a tranquil darker,
and the optometrist, without blinking an eye, does not trifle with her,
says he can do that, says he’ll take care of that for her.
And I think for a moment he is William Wordsworth listening to Dorothy,
her spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, her perfect tranquillity.
Or maybe he is God himself, the great optometrist, or at least that dim image
we strain to see of the omniscient god who mostly does not trifle with us.
The occasional hat flown off our heads, perhaps, the tossed banana peel
with the businessman’s wingtip approaching, the hurtling safe heading
down for our heads, all of us so intensely looking elsewhere, as if our lives
were God’s New Yorker cartoons, all his back issues stacked up, the ones
with the Elizabeth Bishop poems, teetering, in his waiting room.

Mostly He gives us our due, God, or Wordsworth for that matter, for the things
we choose to believe in, the things we say we’ll see if we can do, like loving
each other, like being true, like the woman who accompanies her husband,
the lawn mowing man, and sits on the steps of the houses he goes to.
(See her, by the daffodils?) She watches him moving from row to row,
loves the ease with which he moves, sees the lawn changing right before
her eyes, like some eye chart of I’s and E’s slowly coming into view,
her love for him the one thing that is perfectly clear.
It is as if they live in some peripheral light that is always glowing,
that we can see sometimes, like a lark that flares up suddenly
out of the corner of our eyes, somehow always lifting
from this cock-eyed part of the world, away from the glare,
to some other place where everything is just the way we want it,
just a tranquil darker.

——————–

from good ol’ Slate.

Poetry like this feels so comfortable.

The Wackness

So now it’s time for 90s nostalgia. Hurray.

“It’s the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop and wafting with the sweet aroma of marijuana—but change is in the air. The newly-inaugurated mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is beginning to implement his anti-fun initiatives against “crimes” like noisy portable radios, graffiti and public drunkenness. Set against this backdrop, Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) spends his last summer before college selling dope throughout New York City, trading it with his shrink (Ben Kingsley) for therapy, while crushing on his step daughter (Olivia Thirlby). Famke Janssen, Mary Kate Olsen,and Method Man round out the cast in this edgy, bittersweet, and funny coming of age story.”

You read that right – Mary Kate Olsen is in this film. But you only see her about twice in the trailer, so it’s not terribly dangerous to your health.

The music is really good!

Concerts a emporter

I first stumbled on this site thanks sort of indirectly to zatandad, who, on one day sometime around ad’s birthday and the new year, I went over and they were all like “YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO AND LISTEN TO THIS GUY WHO WALKS AROUND AND PLAYS HIS TRUMPET ON THE STREET”.

That guy was Beirut’s Zach Condon, and I quickly got obsessed with the trumpets, the drums, the violins that make up his eclectic Eastern sound. The walking in the street thing, as it turned out, wasn’t completely his thing (although it really does fit the nomadic gypsy vibe he has) – it belongs (if such a thing can belong to someone) to the people at Blogotheque (yes they’re really French) who film bands who swing through Paris. They take these bands, who are forced to strip their music down to the essentials and walk around Parisian streets entertaining/weirding out Parisian folk.

The site is a bit hard to navigate cos it’s mostly in French, but if there’s an indie band you like and they’re relatively known, you can bet they’ve strummed a guitar through Paris and it’s on film 🙂 And it’s a really awesome way to check out new music – it’s such a nice, fresh way of watching a group perform live without the shakiness, darkness, general mayhem that are live shows on YouTube.

The Beirut-Blogotheque relationship is pretty special cos the French guys travelled all the way to New York to film every song off the Flying Club Cup album in New York. You can see all those videos here.

Apparently there have been some copycats, and I know one of them is called the Handheld Shows but I couldn’t find anything on Google. If you do, let us know.

Bonus bonus: The reason I was thinking about Zach Condon this morning was because of this guy – Merz. You probably don’t care that Coldplay likes him, but check him out anyway!

Want a depressing weekend? Here you go!

True story: I listened to Feist’s version of Lover’s Spit in its entirety on Wednesday morning while waiting for the bus … and afterwards I felt really, really bad. Like, want to feign sickness, go home and crawl into bed kind of Feistbad.

Which, of course, means that Lover’s Spit is a very GOOD song. I first heard the Broken Social Scene version a year back, then again when I went for Mosaic. But the Feist version hit me like a fat brick when I watched Half Nelson.

See – one paragraph, three other things you should check out.

Listen here.

(The antidote to that Wednesday morning gloominess was Vampire Weekend –> you will definitely see/hear more of that band on this blog soon. Heh heh.)

Sufjan Stevens and The Ghost of Carl

Although I listened to Illinois quite a bit when it first came out (fuelled by my intrigue for a man whose name incited so many useless pronounciation arguments), I never really bothered with YouTube-ing him to death. Which is weird, as you know, for me.

I always knew that Sufjan’s (Sufyan? Soo-yan? Soppian??) finely-crafted music would be a shame to watch ‘live’, because, well, he’s not Rufus Wainwright now is he. But I don’t mean to rag on Sufjan. Rufus doesn’t use a gazillion instruments. And strictly-piano players always know the right way to scale their songs down for live shows.

Having given you all that useless prelude, I come to the point of my post:

Come on! Feel the Illinoise! -Part I: The World’s Columbian Exposition -Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream

a.k.a. longest song title ever. But the movements in the song seem to merit that length. My favourite part is Part II. I googled Carl Sandburg: an American poet, historian, novelist, balladeer and folklorist. (prepare to spend a good half an hour or so at wiki)

The second part of this Sufjan Stevens song is like, the best quick promo for a human being ever. I am now going to find myself some Carl Sandburg poems while you listen to the song (part II starts about 3 mins into the song):

Come on feel the Illinoise! Carl Sandburg visit me too!

(to see proof in favour of my ‘Sufjan Stevens is probably not very good live’ theory, see here)

And randomness:

Illinois

reminds me of

New York Trilogy

(Paul Auster’s book cover designed by Art Spiegelman!)