Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Anarchists"



A very nicely edited video...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Little Reading...

From 2006, Spook Country by William Gibson....


Bigend's smile opened again. It reminded her of the lights in another train when trains pass at night, going in opposite directions. Then it closed. It was like she entered a tunnel. "go on." He sipped his piso, which looked a lot like Nyquil.

"And it's not DJ-ing," she said, "or making mash-ups, or whatever else he does publically. Its whatever makes him mark the floor of that factory according to the GPS grid. He won't sleep in the same square twice. whatever makes him confident he's important is also what's making him crazy."

"And that might be?"

She thought of the wireframe cargo container, how chombo had so abruptly tried to yank the helmet off her head, almost pulling her over. She hesitated.

"Pirates." he said.

"Pirates!"

"The Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea. Small fast boats, preying on large cargo vessels. They operate from lagoons, coves, islets. The Malay Penninsula, Java, Borneo, sumatra..."

She looked from Bigend to the crowd around them, feeling like she'd fallen into someone else's pitch meeting. A ghostly studio log line, left to hover near the bar's massively timbered, corrugated ceiling, had fallen on her, the first likely victim to sit at this table. a pirate movie. "Arr," she said, meeting his gaze again and downing the last of her gin-tonic, "matey."


"Real pirates," Hubertus Bigend said, unsmiling. "Most of them, anyway."

"Most?"

"Some of them were part of a covert CIA maritime program." He put his empty plastic glass down as though it were something he was considering bidding on at Sotheby's. he framed it with his fingers, a director considering a shot. "Stopping suspect cargo vessels to search for weapons of mass destruction." He looked up at her, unsmiling.

"Irony-free?"

He nodded, a tiny movement, very precise.

Thus perhaps did diamond factors nod in Antwerp, she thought. "This isn't bullshit, Mr. Bigend?"

"It's as expensively quasi-functional as i can afford it to be. Material like this tends to squirm a bit, as you can well imagine. One rather deep irony, I suppose, is this program, which had apparently been fairly effective, fell victim to blowback from your domestic political struggles here. Prior to certain revelations, though, and to the name of a cover company being made public, CIA teams, disguised as pirates, accompanied real pirates boarding merchant vessels suspected of smuggling weapons of mass destruction. Using radiation detectors, and other things, they inspected cargo holds and containers, while the real pirates took whatever more mundane cargo they chose to acquire. This was the payoff for the pirates, that they could have their pick of cargo, provided the teams were given a first look at all of the holds and containers."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Watching...



Kerry Washington is one of my new favourite actors. She is so so good in Life Is Hot In Cracktown a movie that has an astounding ensemble of actors and is one of the best movies I've seen in a few months. I felt claustrophbic...in fact, I sort of had a panic attack during the beginning of the movie. I had a snack...but lost my appetite completely. I just simply loved this movie, loved the storytelling, how it played out and the editing and how the director, who was also the writer put this group of stories and people together. You really really have to see this movie. 10/10. Trust me, the trailer doesn't do it justice...but at least you can see what an incredible cast it offers.

You see those three boys...I almost didn't put their pic on here...i was so mad at them in the movie. I hate them thats what good actors they all are...





Isn't this a great image? Megan Fox was superb in her supporting role as a ditsy starlet. I was pretty impressed with her voice work and portrayal in what turned out to be a totally fantastic movie called How To Lose Friends And Aliienate People. Its not fast paced, its not slick...but its got a sweet and slow growing humour and a soft centered protagonist who first appears as a total jerk...but he grows on us. I have to admit I partly liked this movie because the main character kind of reminds me of me ha ha. Just the way he puts his foot in his mouth and says things that are true but really bother people, I have had this experience as a foreigner many times in the USA. Stagg is always telling me "Candy, you can't say that!" We have seen many fish-out-of-water movies right? This one has a tiny feel like Peter Sellers in The Party. British guy tries to make it in Hollywood. There were just little things that gave this tried and true plot a couple of nice new flavours. Lots of heart and very funny. 10/10. Stars Simon Pegg, you know, the genius from Shaun Of The Dead.


Advertized as a comedy I found Four Christmases to be a cleverly disguised horror movie posing as a comedy. What a nightmare. I mean that in a good way. Cute funny movie about visiting family during holidays. 7/10.




A real life hero, von Stauffenberg, who Cruise really resembles: The Nazi officer who tried to kill Hitler.

The last thing I expected to like was the movie Valkyrie. the promotions for this movie did not give us agood idea of what an incredible story this movie was telling. I had avoided this movie because it really looked lame in the trailers. The movie might not be the best movie in the world, but it iis tense, suspenseful and has the feel of a graphic novel portraying history. i found these aspects very interesting but the story was awesome. I had no idea of this plot to kill Adolf Hitler and I think it was such a good idea for a movie. The way director Bryan singer sets up the close cameras on faces, on boots, on street scenes captures the struggle for human touches in a fascist oppressive time and place. Tom Cruise is very good but the actor who plays his protege Jamie Parker, is very very good as is Kenenth Branaugh, Tom Wilkinson (does he steal every movie he is in?)...the beautiful and wonderful Terrance Stamp (who lived through bombings in WWII) and Eddie Izzard are just some of the amazing actors who add to this movie immensely. I cried like a baby at the end. 7/10.


The 10th Annual BET Awards were fantastic last night. All kinds of outstanding performances with Usher, Alicia Keyes, a surprise with "Dark Gable". I had mixed feelings about Chris Brown...he did a dance tribute to Michael jackson with three songs...during the final song "Man In The Mirror" he broke down and cried and couldn't finish the song. The audience for sure was ready to accept and forgive Brown for his scandal last year when he missed the BET Awards after hitting his girlfriend Rhianna. he's a young man and he made a mistake..I hope he does feel bad about it and wasn't faking it last night.


There are a few commercials intersperced in the above video...but if you didn't see the BET Awarfds...this is worth watching . Patti laBelle, Esperanza Spalding, Janelle Monae and Alicia Keyes perform some of Prince's songs...Patti LaBelle kills it. prince gives a short think you...totally worth putting up with adverts to see this video.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Canadian Century?

At the beginning of the 20th century, Canada was one of the richest countries in the world, enjoying boundless natural resources, a privileged place in the commercial empire established by still-dominant Britain, and access to the energetic American market. Against this backdrop, it didn't seem unreasonably boastful in 1904 when Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier proclaimed that "the 20th century shall be filled by Canada."

Ninety years later, his words seemed more ironic than prophetic. The Canada of 1994 in many ways resembled the United States or Europe of today. Deteriorating public finances at every level were causing grave anxiety among both the public and experts. The federal government was plagued by persistent deficits. The national debt was growing at an alarming rate. The media and the international community were all predicting a day of fiscal reckoning with far-reaching implications. The Wall Street Journal went as far as to call Canada "an honorary member of the Third World."


Fast-forward again to today, and Canada seems to be back on track. The country's economy grew at an average rate of 3.3 percent between 1997 and 2007, the highest average growth among the G-7 countries, including the United States. Canada's job-creation record was nothing short of stellar. From 1997 to 2007, Canada's average employment growth was 2.1 percent, doubling that of the United States and exceeding employment growth in all other G-7 countries. Perhaps most importantly for future economic prosperity, during the same period Canada outperformed the G-7 average almost every year on business investment. Canada outperformed the United States on this measure in every year but three over the same period.

So perhaps Laurier was not wrong, just 100 years early. If the country continues on the path it is following today, it's not unreasonable to think that this will be the Canadian century, the era in which the country comes into its own as a world economic power and finally steps out of America's shadow.

The story of how a classic economic basket case transformed into a top global performer has implications beyond Canada. Every one of the tools Canada used to extricate itself from its parlous position is available to the United States. As the world's top economic powers gather in Canada for this year's G-20 summit, U.S. President Barack Obama and his team would be wise to study the Canadian model, or risk being left behind.

Continued....here

Friday, June 25, 2010

What's On The Stereo?






I am loving the music and mixing of Flying Lotus...what are you listening to this weekend?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Memphis Beat


I love Jason Lee and was very happy to watch the pilot for his new series, Memphis Beat which was funny and character driven with a lot of heart about the people and soul of Memphis. Soundtrack was great too! 9/10.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We're Red We're White, We're Danish Dynomite!



The teams I am following this World cup are Mexico, Denmark and USA. (and Canada but bye bye) Denmark made it to the quarterfinals of World Cup in 1998. They had a good game against Cameroon and they believe they are strong: a bittersweet game since Cameroon has also just made it to the quarterfinals in the past too....an emotional match against England in 1990. (anyone else remember that game?) We'll see..Denmark play Japan on Thursday. It's been amazing to see football become more popular in the US since the last World Cup. I mean four years ago...I didn't know anyone in Chicago who watched football. Now several groups of folks have become big fans. Pop culture in the US also has adopted soccer. On a late night BRAVO talk show geared for reality tv shows...the host, Andy Cohen, has a weekly "fave futballer". Vanity Fair has featured Beckham and last month the World Cup players on their cover. The game Farmville (with 80 million players) on Facebook now has soccer items you can buy...like a duck playing soccer, or a cow soccer referee and soccer balls and trophies.




The World Cup captivates more people around the globe than any other event, sporting or otherwise. Every four years, in pubs and corporate boardrooms, thatched huts and flophouses, fans of “the Beautiful Game” gather around televisions and transistor radios—and now, for the deep of pocket, iPhones and 3-D flat screens—to cheer for their heroes. They watch and listen by the billions, holding their breath at every corner kick, falling to their knees or leaping for joy at every goal scored. That this year’s tournament is in South Africa, where apartheid was the law of the land until 1994, only adds to the heightened sense of celebration—this is about a whole lot more than just soccer. May issue, Vanity Fair


Stagg Roasted A Chicken And Other Stories


We picked up some Italian beets, at a farmers market, which I've totally forgot their name...while running errands and going to find a patio to beat the heat. Aren't they gorgeous beets?

We have a new favourite patio where we found some shade and cool air during the brutal afternoon. Also had some beverages and fried pickles. Yum!

Street art...


Stagg cooked a roast chicken on his own for the first time. Okay....well I chopped the onions for him. but he even put fresh sage under the skin of the chicken!


I'm addicted to the game Farmville...and now the game has stuff you can get at 7/11. So we went and got ginormous Slurpee's so I could get cute feature for my game.

Hey check out Stagg's recent blog post about an infomercial...pretty funny....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Theatre By David Mamet

The arena, the card-table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen, the tennis court, the court of justice, etc. are all in form and function play-grounds, ie:, forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. All are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart. Johan Huizinga Homo Ludens.


Introduction

I read a lot of technical material about the theatre when I was young.

The Neighbourhood Playhouse distributed a reading list to its students in 1967, and we were supposed to have read the forty or fifty titles before the first day of class.

The books, as I recall, were predominantly Russian-Stanislavsky's trilogy ( An Actor Prepares, Building A character, and Creating A Role) and My Life In Art; Nemirovich-Danchenko (his partner in the Moscow Art theatre) writing about Stanislavsky; Niolai Gorchakov's stanislavsky directs and his The Vakhtangov School Of Stage Art.

Books by and about the Moscow Art Theatre's second generation, the studios, filled out the list. In addition to the thought of Vakhtangov, we were exposed to that of Meyerhold (his rival, the pretender to the throne).

After the generation of the studios (Meyerhold and Vakhtangov), the locus of succession shifted to their Muscovite disciples in New York and their work. We read Stella Adlr, Harold Clurman, Robert Lewis (Method or Madness), and so on.

I gobbled this stuff up. I was a rotten actor and a hopeless acting student, but I loved the theatre and I loved the theoretical, and I delighted in tracing the vein of Muscovite thought through the apostolic succession.

For that succession extended down to me.

The head of my school, my teacher, was Sanford Meisner, baby of the Group Theatre. He came of age with the Adlers, Morris Carnovsky, Lee Strausberg, Harold Clurman, and the host of technophiles.

(Clurman and Adler made a pilgrimage to Paris to meet with Stanislavsky in the thirties and had received the laying on of hands. Was I not a student of their collegue? Yes, I was. And I am proud to have known and studied with Mr. Meisner, to have socialized with harold clurman, Stella Adler, and bobby lewis.

I admired their accomplishments and pored over their books, but on reflection, i had (and have) little idea what they were talking about.

I exempt Harold Clurman, who age eighty or so took my wife to the theatre. Halfway through the first act she felt his hand on her knee and gliding up her skirt. "Harold, please, she said. "What are you doing? And he replied, "I come to the theatre to enjoy myself."

Well, so do I, and so do we all; and that's the only reason we come or should come.

We should not come, whether as workers or audience, to practice or share a "technique". there is no such thing as a "stanislavsky actor" or a "Meisner actor" or "Method actor". there are actors (of varying abilities) and nonactors.

The job of the actor is to perform the play such that his performance is more enjoyable-to the audience-than a mere reading of the text.

Similarily, the job of designers of costumes, sets, and lights, is to increase the audience's enjoyment of the play past that which might be expected in a performance done in street clothes, on a bare stage, under work lights.

This is a very difficult task indeed, for most plays are better enjoyed under such circumstances, as anyone who has ever seen a great rehersal in a rehersal hall can attest.

Why is this great rehersal more enjoyable than the vast bulk of designed productions? It allows the audience to use its imagination, which is the purpose of coming to the theatre in the first place.

it takes a real artist to increase the enjoyment of the audience past that which would be found in seeing the play on a bare stage, for the first rule of the designer, as of the physician, is do no harm. And, as with the physician, the rule is quite often observed in the breach.

What of the director?

Actors, left alone, will generally stage the play better than it could be staged by all but a few directors.

Why?

Actors never forget that which most directors never realize: The purpose of staging is to draw the attention of the audience to the person speaking.

Each actor in the directorless play will insist (for his own reasons) on being seen, heard and rationally featured for that portion of the play in which the playwright has indicated he should be the center of attention.

Further, actors, thinking, as they should, that the most interesting parts of the play are those which feature themselves, will, in commitee, vote to get on with it, and move the play along. Which is all the audience cares about.

(If you think about it, this desire of the actor to get to the part where he talks and the desire of the character to do the same are indistinguishable to the audience-if we say, as I will later, that there is no such thing as the character, then these two urges are not merely indistinguishable, but identical.)
The task of the good director, then, is to focus the attention of the audience through the arrangement of the actors, and through the pace and rhythm of the presentation.

And there you have it. Actor, designer, director. First and last, their job is to bring the play to the audience. Any true technique, then, would consist-and consist solely-in a habitual application of those ideas that will aid in so doing.

"But," the observant may remark, "did not the Moscow Art theatre, its studios, the Group, et cetera, did they not, irrespective of their adoration of the theoretical, do good and even great work? And has not the author himself and at length, offered the world theoretical treatises?" It is all true; and I suggest that such treatises and theories be accepted not as instruction manuals but as the otherwise incathectable expression of love for an ever-widening mystery, in which spirit I offer these essays.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SYTYCD!



I love the summer season with new dance shows...this seasons dancers are mad good...


And this is just wonderful...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Work Of Art


Bravo Channel has another great idea for a tv show...following the terrific shows Top Chef and Project Runway....now they have Work Of Art. Stagg and i watched the first episode last week and we are hooked. About 20 artists are competing for a solo show...with limited budget of time and money. It's a lot of fun! We wondered who the host was going to be and it turns out to be China Chow. China Chow is the daughter of Michael Chow and Tina Chow: She is an actress and art fan/collector and she makes a great host. She was also in one of my favourite tv shows Burn Notice. It was pretty cool to see the judges try to sort out strong art work, and how apparent the work which was strong to the weak came across easily on tv.


I was always fascinated by China Chow's mother...Tina Chow. In the same way that Linsay Lohan or Anjelina Jolie are hot photo ops...Tina Chow was a mafgazine girl for me in the 1980's...here with artists Warhol and Basquiat. Tina Chow was also the first heterosexual woman to come public with HIV positive status. She died in the 90's.


I really enjoyed the premise of this tv show...so far it's every bit as fun, juicy and interesting as Top Chef and Project runway...but Ross Bleckner disagrees......yeah...I guess having artists produce strong work in a matter of 12 hours would threaten the idea that artists have to suffer to make good work...I call bullshit...and so does this tv show!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Who Lived Here


When I walk around at night time I have an irritating habit...I like to look in other peoples houses or apartments. I like seeing little ways people decorate their place or to imagine if I lived there....I also like going into other peoples places. It's just very secial...and sometimes it happens you go into a place where you don't know anybody or the people. I loved the house in these pictures and took as many as possible...no one lives here anymore...but I found myself starting to create characters of people who lived here in my head...













Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Do do do da doo dat doo...YIPPEE KAY YAY MOTHER FUCKER!!!!!



Wow....I mean holy shit the town is already going nuts...horns, fireworks, helicopters, extra cops on the streets...what a truly beautiful nutty goal Kane made...where even Leighton was sitting there...like...did that really happen la la la if I don't say anything it didn't happen...

Oh JOY Kane got it right upstairs in the attic where grandpa keeps his Playboys!!!!!!

That's what we're talking about!!!!

We were at a pub way down on Ashland..nobody else but us and the bartender. A couple cops stoppped in to check the score. That was it...it was very Edward Hopper. What a night! Can't wait for the parade...it's Friday morning and Stagg and I will be there...I hope we can get his parents to join us what a hoot!!!!

Niemi was a pot of a golaie...


And guess what? Side note...back in November...we put a photo of the Blackhawks, with Kane, on our vision board...I shit you not...