Saturday, August 29, 2009

Henry Darger's Realms of the Unreal

When it comes to real outsiders doing outsider art this strange old man is the new "classic" example. Henry Darger lived alone in a small room in Chicago for over forty years, but in this room he crafted his own universe out of trash from the streets. This world he pieced together was it an escape from reality, or his anchor to the real world? Using several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings he tells the "Story of the Vivian Girls." This 15,000 page tale is about a long war and the Vivian Girls are a fighting force of sweet looking children. This manuscript and the art that goes with it were not made for others to see. Henry taught himself several different artistic tricks to make what he saw in his mind, but never showed this effort to anyone. Only after his death when his landlord cleaned out the room did anyone even realize that he was an artist. A great documentary was made in 2004. "The Realms of the Unreal" it shows all the hardship he went through, losing both parents and being institutionalized before his sixteenth birthday. Then getting a life long job in a church gave him a chance to take care of himself and live in his own home. Living as a recluse he spent his time stenciling, drawing, and putting together the collages that make his art so different from what was seen before. Now for a short time you can see this world for yourself on display at the American Museum of Folk Art in Midtown for under ten dollars. (till the 6th of Sept.) Try to check out the DVD of "The Realms of the Unreal" or watch it on netflix (you can stream it over you computer) before you take in this man's madness.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

District 9

This summer is so full of Science Fiction one can't throw a rock and not hit a new Sci-Fi movie. District 9 is a big crazy hyped up alien flick. But if you like your alien's with guns and explosions then believe the hype. A ship hangs over Johannesburg in South Africa. Know one knows what it wants...or why it's lets cut it open and find out. Inside a race of "prawns" are found. The species is brought down to the surface as refugees. They are not to smart but could be dangerous. It seem like they are stuck here so deal, but the people of Johannesburg don't want this to make that bet with the alien's in there back yard. Lets move them out of the city to "District 10." Not a easy task to clear this slum. Lets give a job like this to an unsuspecting boob. Wikus (Sharlto Copley) an MNU field operative is that boob. The film opens as a mock-doc, (documentary-style) but when the twist happens director Neill Blomkamp changes the style to be more like an action movie. This film makes you think of racism in many ways. The way the earth treats these things is unethical. The differences between the "prawns" and us are shown but what about the similarities. This is a big shot them up that has everything, puppetry, CGI, weired alien weapon's, goo everywhere and a good story. A must see if you like alien action movies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dinosaur Jr August 16th, 09

A hot day for some free rock. This Sunday, Summer Stage had one of their free events. Get to these early or be kept waiting outside for the gates to reopen. Be sure to check you're skateboards at the door. Dinosaur Jr is one of the most influential alternative rock bands. They play hard riffs and make a big sound, that's why we call them "Power Trios." These boys from Amherst Mass. have used reverb, and space noise for years. Its easy to see the connection from Neil Young, to Dino. Jr., to Sonic Youth and so on. This reunion of the original 1984 group has been going strong with lots of northeast shows left on this tour. Also look out for the Pixies this fall.
Set list:
want you to know
been there
in a jar
out there
over it
feel pain
don't wanna go

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hercules and Love Affair August 15th, 09

Hercules and Love Affair played on Saturday night in a small venue in Brooklyn. This Dance ensemble was formed by Andrew Butler a DJ from Denver. Spinning from the tender age of 15 he has influences in deep house and electric bands like Kraftwerk. His close associate Kim Ann Foxman and friend Antony Hegarty add Abba like vocals to the rolling grooves. This time they played The Music Hall Of Williamsburg, different from seeing them fronting for the B-52's the day after Halloween at Hammerstein Ballroom. The single "Blind" was the highlight of the show. Both shows had "Vogue" like dancers on stage to shock and amaze you. There self-titled album charted in the top 40 in several countries, coming to this country first as an import.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Animal Collective August 14, 09

This Baltimore trio's freak show in Prospect Park on Friday was uplifting and refreshing in a trippy way. This "Collective" has dived in head first into psychedelia, folk, and noise rock experimentation. This sonic experience has brought them through their eighth album. Being the last weekend of shows in the park, the young people seemed pleased at the promoter's choice of ambient Indie Pop. First Black Dice warmed up the crowed on an all ready hot day. Then Avey Tare, Panda Bear, The Geologist came out on a creative stage with tiki heads, and puppet background with moving waves and killer sharks. The great stage props where done by sister and friends. Live you see the many diverse styles this fee flowing group has to offer. Playing "My Girls" early in the set and then saving "Guys Eyes" for the second song in the three part encore, they covered lots of ground in almost two hours. Strange and fun at the same time, only this from Animal Collective.

De La Soul August 13, 09

De La Soul demoted the stage at the Nokia on Thursday night, and you should have been there. Not only did Brooklyn's own Buckshot put forth some mad rhymes but the trio from Long Island put on one hell of a show. They where celebrating 21 years of Hip Hop making it clear that they are some of the best rappers in history. Its true there classic album 3 Feet High and Rising came out 20 years ago but that's not all they played. When 3 Feet High and Rising came out some proclaimed it was the future of hip-hop, in some ways they were right. Labeled hippie for there peace and love approach they were one of the alternatives to hardcore rap. Puttin' it down by bringing out "Buddy," "Eye Know" and "Jenifa Taught Me," they more then impressed. Even the T-shirts looked like 1989 with daisy's on them. Keeping to their Jazz influence they had a kick ass 10-piece band behind them. Then to make your night they did a tribute to RUN DMC playing "Rock Box" with DMC himself on stage. The main point was that if you feel Hip Hop in you soul your are Hip Hop, you don't have to look or prove that you belong, you are one of us if you feel the beat.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cold Souls With Paul Giamatti

This summer has had some fine science fiction films. When people think "Science Fiction" outer space comes to mind, like "Star Track" or "Moon." These space movies are fun and most of the time full of special effects. Then there is the other kind of science fiction, the thinking man's sci-fi. Films set on earth and with little camera tricks instead of computer animation or explosions. Some down play the science part like "Benjamin Button." Some tell delightful little stories that make people raise their eyebrows. “Synecdoche, New York," “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Being John Malkovich,’’ come to mind. Cold souls is one of these existential Sci-fi movies, even down to the mention of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. Paul Giamatti plays himself, an actor racked with anxiety over not only a role, but life in general. Of all places he finds what he thinks is his salvation in the New Yorker. Seems you can store you soul and get loose from all the over powering emotions. Will this be his answer? At the same time that we see Paul's problems in New York there is a deeper story. Like every commodity there is a black market, a Russian company muling souls in to the us bought off poor workers or down in out artist. Director Sophie Barthes’s debut feature, she makes this souls -in here and out there- experience very abstract and fuzzy. Well done as a thought provoking film, and funny at times. (Jersey...Who would let them ship their soul to Jersey?) That this was set up by the Sundance Lab, a workshop for promising filmmakers and playwrights is cool. Keep a eye out for more from this collective of artist.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rock and Roll Alert-Les Paul Jazz-Guitar Virtuoso and Inventor, Dies at 94

Les Paul, 94, a Grammy Award-winning guitar virtuoso and inventor who helped bring his instrument, typically assigned to chug along rhythmically and compliantly, to the forefront of jazz performance, died today at a hospital in White Plains, N.Y. He had pneumonia.

Les Paul had a long running Gig in NYC two shows on Monday nights, at the Iridum. He is part of this city's music heritage and his legacy will live on forever in his guitar's. Thank you Les for everything.......

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time Travelers Wife- Book Then Movie

My mom gave me this little book because I like Science fiction. It was not only the fastest read but impressed me a avid Sci-Fi reader. Now there is a movie coming out and I wished more people had read the book. The story of a man who time travels with no way to predict it. Jumping back and forth through peoples lives, living his life in scattered fragments. Written by American author Audrey Niffenegger. A must read.....hopefully before you see the movie.

The Skrink

Kevin Spacey aways picks parts of intellectual men at their breaking point. The lack luster movie trailer did this film no justice, except to leave the viewer pleasantly surprised. Spacey is a shrink that starts smoking pot. Who helps the therapist who needs help? His dealer or his friends and colleagues? Working in Hollywood around blown up egos pushes people further from them their real self's. All this trying for personal growth surrounded by the glitz and glamor. A little bit of everything drug use, sex addicts, faded actress, and struggling writers. A great cameo with Robin Willams, very LA. The two main things are personal connections instead of psycho babble, and movies making as art.


"Adam the story about two strangers. One a little stranger then the other..." This was a hard movie to watch, there is a lot more going on then whats in the trailer. Going in you think nice refreshing love story. On the way out you feel like wow, life does change in the most unpredictable ways. Adam not your average neighbor, even for New York. His is a young electronic engineer with a passion for star gazing. When Beth moves in she thinks he is cute, weird, but cute. A teacher of small children and soon to be children's writer, she wants to make friends in her new uptown digs. Director of photography, Seamus Tierney makes uptown look like upstate. So crisp and lovely, they are living by the park after all. The brainy Adam (Hugh Dancy) is different then the normal suitor. He has high-functioning form of autism called Asperger syndrome. Does Beth (Rose Byrne) know what she is getting into with this awkward relationship? Going on at the same time are her own personal problems involving her parents. Adam life is changing too..this is a story about how different people handle change. If you have a disability or not you still have deal with changes, "Time to make a change, Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes." (Bowie) This Asperger role is a hard role to write, play, and eventually watch. Give it up to writer and director Max Mayer for making this picture cute and serious at the same time. Go forth and see this movie but be prepared to think about the changes you and your loved ones have and will face.

Websights on Asperger Syndrome:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Depeche Mode August 4th, 09

One should remember when your late you miss out. Sometimes it is unavoidable and you miss not only the opening band, but also the first three songs of Depech Mode. This night they where from the new album. Walking in to "Walking in my Shoes" one could tell this was going to be worth the price. MSG was set up for sensory overload, the lights, the video screens, the synth. Under that round roof of the garden the band looked and sounded great. David Gahan was dancing and putting forth an amazing amount of energy onto the audience. He's just getting out of surgery and still able to jump right back up on stage to give the goods. The video cameras for the screens where manned handheld, not the ones with the big robot arms like at most shows. This felt more familiar and looked so Rock in Roll. Then there was a sexy change on "A Question of Lust," with a small peep show. It is Hard to believe that they skipped this song the first night. Then they Went in face first with "Miles Away/The Truth is." It was like they could not stop if they tried. Depech Mode have some of the loudest fans. When they left the stage one could hardly stop from covering you ears, it was that load. But you get rewarded for your clapping and hooting, they played not one encore but two. Not just a two song encore, they left after three songs and then came out again for two more. The night seemed like it could go on forever, with everyone singing and dancing. What a night...what a crazy night.

Encore #1
Master And Servant

Encore #2
Personal Jesus
Waiting For The Night (Bare Version)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tool At All Points West August 1st, 09

Tool was the the best reason to brave the rain this weekend at All Points West. It was a long train ride out to Jersey, so if you can next year take the ferry. Many things about the this festival made you scratch your head? Why not put wood chips, or hay down over night after all the rain on Friday. All other festivals put down hay so it doesn't get to be a crazy, sticky, muddy mess. This slipped the mind of the All Points West promoters. Next there is the beer garden problems, and there where many. How much you can drink, how far they are from the show, and they stopped giving out wrist bands 45 minutes before the main act starts. Tool on the other hand never disappoints. They put up a great light and video display. Their brand of thrash metal is kind of bohemian. Playing a little from every album the dancing kids seemed pleased. Hard to imagination that Tool was concerted alternative rock in the 90's. This was so much fun, one of the best days of last week.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

500 Days of Summer

"500 days of Summer" is a cute little flick, not a love story, and tells you that from the beginning. A boy meets girl picture. Like other movies before it, but with all the little Indy tricks. The soundtrack was not just a back drop, it was integrated in the story. This is because young lovers in these new movies all love music. Like "Nick & Nora", just a little bit older. The art used along with a bit of kind sounding narration helped out the jumping around flashback story line. The doodles are reminiscent of "Juno." The fact that the characters are charming and played by a seamless cast makes that you smile throughout this fairy tail like romance. A dark fairy tail that is. Like I said before this is not a prefect end all be all love story, no it is closer to the truth. Some girls just don't want a boyfriend, or maybe just not you for their boyfriend. Some boys want girlfriends or believe that there is a one and only. Till It's not the one, then what? It has the scenes you remember from other love story's, the record store, the diner, the movies, but this love story is one that more people can relate to, "the one that got away." When watching "Garden State" a film buff said "I wish that he would have stayed on the plane," making it a sad ending. I said to him the happy ending was better because to there is to many sad endings in real life. In this film the boy goes through the ups and then the downs of love, then ends up ready to take the ride again.