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HIS POP CULTURE MOMENT SEEMS TO HAVE PASSED…

Because I tend to be a bit obsessive when it comes to music and film, I tend to go thru periods of listening to or watching certain things. Just recently I have found myself re-visiting the musical work of Ryuichi Sakamoto. …Not his film scores, but his pop/rock work including YMO from the early 80’s.

For those of you over 32, you probably can remember when he was on the cusp of mainstream success for a while in the mid-90’s. Then he released “SMOOCHY” in 1996 featuring him in those dance club like shots wearing a pretty pink shirt and a boa — I think it was with that CD that his solo rock career sort of died. Anyway, I still like his stuff. But, his last work, CHASM, really bums me out. His hair has gone gray and he seems to be “borrowing” a lot from the warped world of Brian Eno. And, I think I may be the only person who bothered to buy it.

April 13, 2005. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

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ENOUGH ABOUT JUNGIAN THERORIES — LET’S TALK ABOUT MEREDITH MONK!

I had to take a break from the Jung book and I overheard two men discussing a Meredith Monk CD. ????? So interesting did I find their conversation, I never even turned on my Walkman. Yes, I sat there and just listened in — but they were discussing art so I don’t think they would have minded. Still, I was left wondering a few things.

First of all, who is she? Does anyone out there know? I am aware of her name, but I’ve always associated her with modern dance. However, it appears she is a composer and a bit of an opera singer! How did I miss out on this?

As you can see I have so much to share with you today — I don’t even know where to begin. That’s really not true. I’ve nothing to share tonight other than I did not know that Meredith Monk sang and composed. Perhaps she dances to music of her own design! Well, if anyone knows more — please share!

…of course, there is always google.

April 12, 2005. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

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A MEME!

Everyone’s favorite Trash Addict, Mr. Lubin, passed along a meme for me to complete! Please visit Lubin’s site — find the link to the right and below. For some reason I am having trouble with Blogger tonight and can’t provide a link in my post. Grrrrrrrrr.

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

My first choice would be VALLEY OF THE DOLLS by Jackie S, but that option was already taken. So, I will go with my second choice which would be Lewis C’s THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS — I would enjoy all those nooks and crannies that Alice failed to fully explore. Talk about a head trip!

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Yes. Stanley Kowalski from T. Williams’ A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. Just a fantasy/porn-like crush, tho. That character is just so down and dirty. Would not want to hang with him at all in reality, but in fantasy it might be a bit of rough trade fun!

The last book you bought is:

Don’t make fun of me, but I just bought MY LIFE SO FAR by Jane Fonda. Look, I wanna know about those wacky antics in Hanoi like everyone else! Plus, my hope is that she will discuss wardrobe fittings for BARBARELLA and provide more details regarding the poorly done boob job of 1988. I mean, the woman had money. How did she end up with such bad ones?

The last book you read is:

I usually read 3 to 5 books at a time. However, things have been a bit hectic. So, the last two books I read were PIECE BY PIECE by Tori Amos (I love her because she is both wildly talented and original — and I also think she might be just a little insane) and HAROLD’S END by JT LeRoy (which I now consider one of my fave books!) —- am still working my way through A CRACK UP AT THE RACE RIOTS by Harmony Korine (I’ve not fully formed an opinion at this point, but color me confused for now) and JUNG ON ACTIVE IMAGINATION (no comment)

What are you currently reading?

See above and add Jane Fonda’s new book. I also just picked up HERZOG by Saul Bellow yesterday. Haven’t started it yet, though. Karl just told me that Mr. Bellow recently died. I didn’t know what with all this Pope business.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS/ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (I can read it over and over and over)

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (never has bad taste been so glam and wonderous!)

THE ANARCHY OF THE IMAGINATION (Fassbinder was a genius!)

CONFESSIONS OF A PRETTY LADY (Sandra Bernhard’s first book and it saved Madonna’s life — it says so on the dust jacket!)

THE BARBRA STREISAND SCRAPBOOK (the boy can’t help it!)

…I would also try to sneak Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s THE LITTLE PRINCE on to the island as well while no one was looking. I find this book to be so beautiful and inspiring. It is full of love and wisdom.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Too bad I can only pick 3, in fact, I think I am going to have to go with 5 — but links to each person’s site are below and to the left!

Karyn — Vexed In the City because she has exceptional taste and always expresses it so beautifully!

Underling — Very well-read and always insighful

Adrock2xander — Not sure if he will actually do it, but this Outrageous, Beautiful Misfit is one of my new fave bloggers and I am curious to see how he would answer!

Sexy Thomas of KUNG FU KITTEN fame — Thomas, share with us!

Tim at Non Stop to Tokyo because he rocks

…I would also pick my pals Jon and Karl — but they have already done this!

April 11, 2005. Uncategorized. 7 comments.

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CRASPING JUNGIAN THERORIES …AND, THEN, A BIRD SHIT ON MY MESSENGER BAG

I just couldn’t get any quality sleep last night. In fact, I do not think I fell into sleep until sometime after 4am this morning! However, I was able to catch up on the sleep and even managed to met my pal, Tom, to take in a screening of EROS in Cambridge.

It was a really nice day — temp was in the mid 60’s, the sun was out and there was a nice breeze. While waiting for Tom, I slid on my Walkman and listened to the song stylings of Mylene Farmer while trying to focus on a book regarding the theories of Jung. I like a lot of what can be found in Jungian thought, but some of it seems just a bit too new-agey to me. However, as I was starting to really get into the book I noticed something fall from the heavens. That something turned out to be a large clump of bird shit which landed directly on my beautiful messenger bag which was given to me by a fellow blogger this past Christmas. I was quite bummed.

I am not sure if this relates at all to the teachings of Jung, but the hidden tresures of myth and archetypes took less import to me as I cautiously scraped the shit from my book bag. As with most things in life, it certainly could have been much worse — the bird’s deposit could have been made on my head. And, yes, I am aware of the belief that this is a sign of coming fortune, but to me — all that would have meant is that nature had taken on dump on moi. And, that would not have been cool in my book!

Hey, there is a new CD out from Garbage tomorrow! And, we all thought they were breaking up! Little did we know. Oh, and I am the only one who finds the new Beck CD to be a bit lame. Don’t get me wrong, I love Beck. But the new CD is a sort of retread of his Odelay. I mean, why didn’t he just hire the Dust Brothers and maybe it would have at least been as good. ???

April 11, 2005. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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IS IT ILLEGAL?????

I only ask because I feel slightly guilty, but the thing is I just didn’t want to deal with her anymore. She was starting to freak my shit out, ok? I can’t quite explain it — but when you pull that little string and she whispers in a somewhat sinister tone, “I have a secret. Do you want to know what it is?” — well, I would have to stuff her into the foot chest in the living room because I do not need some old lady doll stealing my soul at the witching hour. The thing I did was — as I gave a TV set to my little brother, an aspiring and gifited Manhattan artist, I more or less forced him to take my Mrs. Beasley doll.

Yes. I made my brother take Mrs. Beasely. My hope is that he will sell her on Ebay for a good amount and get rid of her before she tries to harm him or his lovely girlfriend, Mayumi. Was that wrong of me? Am I going to go to Hell for that? Well, I don’t think there is a hell, but what sort of karmatic feedback am I destined to experience for sending that evil 60’s sitcom-inspired doll home with my innocent brother? I fear it is not good.

Roy and I had a really cool time. We saw a lame French film, ate really unhealthy food, discussed the horrific state of the world, the embarrasment of US politics and policies and the fact that Arnold Shwarzentager (yes, I am sure I spelled the Nazi’s name wrong. Sorry) is most likely going to be our President one day. You know it will happen. UGH! Oh, and we watched 2046, the sequel to IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. We had a bit of debate over this film. We both agreed that we loved the visuals and the sheer artistry displayed — but I felt Wong Kar Wai was “borrowing” a bit too much from Kubrick and I also felt a bit cheated as the film’s connection to IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE seemed somewhat of an after thought. I mean, Tony Leung’s character seemed to be a different person than the kind man we were shown in IML. …and what was up with the gorgeous robot woman getting so brutually stabbed as Tony Leung watch? And why was this film so long???? Still, I would give the movie an 8 for the cinematography, sets, music and lighting alone. I think Roy felt it was a better film than IML. Maybe he is right. One thing of interest — and something rather interesting to me — I was blown away by the beauty of the women in this film! I mean I don’t think there is a chance in hell I am going to go “straight” — but Faye Wong and Maggie Cheung could definitely make me think about it! I now list them up there with Debbie Harry as the hottest women I know of!

Hope everyone had a great weekend and my the Creator forgive me for passing the Evil Mrs. Beasley to my brother!

love and kisses,
matt

April 10, 2005. Uncategorized. 9 comments.

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ACCIDENT ON THE WAY TO HAPPEN…

Today, as I was killing some time and decided to take a walk through Tower Records. Now, for those of you who know me well — you know that this can be quite dangerous! However, I did quite well! No spending! This might have been a first for me!

Anyway, I was walking through the DVD’s and I noticed that Ji-woon Kim’s fantastic 2003 thinking man’s horror film, TALE OF TWO SISTERS, has been released to DVD in the US! I had to take a look to see if anything special had been added for the US release that might not be on the DVD I have had for about a year. So, I reached to remove one of the copies from the stand — and, I do not know how I did this — but an entire section of the DVD rack collapsed sending well over several hundred DVD flying all over the store. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of noise that rang out. Every single patron on the first floor of Tower Records jumped and was soon staring at me. I just stood there looking on in absolute horror holding a single DVD.

About 5 Tower employees came running to the mess — and as any Tower Records customer knows, this in itself is a small miracle as most Tower Records employees resemble and act like zombies from one of George Romero’s living dead films. And there the 6 of us stood amid the chaos of hundreds of DVD’s and a collapsed shelving unit. Within about a minute, after the shock of everything started to subside into a panic about how this mess was going to be addressed, I noticed all 5 set of eyes glaring at me.

Not quite knowing what I should do or say — I bent down and sat the DVD on the floor, stood back up and said in my nicest voice, “Um, I am so sorry” —– I then sort of ran/walked out the door. I could hear one of the zombies say, “Oh my God” as I ran out to the street. I guess I won’t be going back to Tower Records anytime in the near future. Ugh!

Oh, if you’ve not seen the Korean film, TALE OF TWO SISTERS, you must now do so as you’ve no excuses!

Oh, and for those of you lucky enough to be in NYC or LA — be sure to check out KUNG-FU HUSTLE! I promise you will have seen noting like it before and will get plenty of laughs out of it!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!!!

kisses,
matt

April 8, 2005. Uncategorized. 7 comments.

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ANNOYANCE AND THE LAST OF SUSAN SONTAG

Don’t you just hate it when you make a call to a business and the person who picks up says something like, “Hi! My name is Rachel! How can I save money for you today?”

And, of course, you know that poor Rachel probably hates having to say it more than you hate having to hear her say it.

Does this form of PR/Sales/Marketing still work or didn’t this sort of thing go out with our grandparents? I just find it annoying.

Also, if anyone out there knows something I don’t please correct me. However, I do believe that late Susan Sontag’s last work came our way today via the release of the new Fischerspooner CD. Ms. Sontag is credited with some of the lyrics to a song called “We Need A War” …some how it does seem fitting that the woman who studied and analyzed pop culture would leave us with a contribution to what is probably the most ultimate pop art band since The Velvet Underground.

Still, does this make pop culture more relavent or more pointless?

Personally, despite all of her writing and flirtations with film — my favorite contribution from Sontag was her all too brief cameo in Woody Allen’s ZELIG.

April 5, 2005. Uncategorized. 5 comments.

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TOTALLY & COMPLETELY DIGITAL ULTRA-VIOLENCE …and an issue with a song from 1984

You know, I do not think I have ever had the pleasure of seeing a digitally filmed movie via a digital projector, but today I was lucky enought to catch SIN CITY on the big screen with one of only 2 digital projectors in New England. …at least as far as i know. Anyway, the film which is based on several graphic novels/comics was expertly shot and it was a really impressive looking film. It also had some entratining moments — but did it have to be so very vile? As exciting as it was to see such use of color, editing, set design and cinematography, it was just too repugnant at times.

True, it was meant to be a comic book so the violence certainly hinged on the level over-the-top dark comedy but I feel the directors still took it too far and made it too nasty for no other reason than to take it too far and to be nasty. I guess exploitive would be the appropriate word.

The film was also filled with the geek comic book view of the ideal woman: busty, long legged, tiny waist, pouty lips, big hair, dangerous and nude at all times. And, of course, there seems to be a bit of sadistic pleasure in putting these one-deminsional female characters in peril or torture. And, of course, at the heart of it — the female characters turn out to be the cruelest of the bunch.

Now, one could argue that this fits the genre of most comic books and that I am being a bit silly about it. However, if I were female and saw this movie — I would be offended. And when, o, when will Bruce Willis play a lover or love interest to an actress who would be more appropriate in age?!?!? Do we all feel the need to see Mr. Willis get it on with nubile teens? Is this a reflection of an actor’s ego or that of us?

And what gives with this film securing an R-rating? If any film would deserve the NC-17 label it would be this film! There is no logical explanation for the way films are rated in the US. I think it all depends on the budget of the film and who is producing/distrirbuting it. Even still, I am glad it at least merited an R-rating. However, the sad thing is that the plots and the script in general are really at the 13 to 16 year old boy level. It will be interesting to see if this film does well at all. It certainly has quite a cast. …however, the only reason, in my opinion, to take it in is to see the latest step in a new technology. Very well crafted trash!

Now, I am going to just be honest and let you all know that I have a problem. …well, a new problem. As many of you know, I have a tendency to love the White Trash Operatic Diversions of rock-n-roll composer, Jim Steinman. I love the bombast and melody of it all! I mean, Total Eclipse of the Heart is one of my all time favorite 3 songs! …and one will not find a bad song on the Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell LP! And the once hot Billy Squire fared well under the rock oper stylings of Mr. S — as did, gulp, Air Supply.

Anyway, Mr. Steinman somehow convinced Barbra Streisand to record a song which even poor Bonnie Tyler rejected — “Left in the Dark” back in 1984. It was Bab’s last bid for a pop/rock hit. …the bid failed, tho the video got quite a bit of play during the fall of ’84. However, to hear Babs sing those lyrics which could only be penned by Jim Steinman was too much to resist!

Sample lyric for those of you too young to remember or for those of you who simply do not care enough to know:

“I know that you love me.
There’s no need to talk.
I see that look in your eyes and I got the proof!
And, there are no lies on your body as I watch you undress.
…but don’t tell me now, I don’t need any answers tonight.
I just need some love.
So turn off the lights and I’ll be left in the dark again”

Wow — it doesn’t get much more poetic than that does it, folks? Still as bad as the song is — I love the sencerity Babs tries to invest in the 9 MINUTE opus! And, as with all Steinmann songs — the melody is infectious.

Now, I wish I could tell you that my problem is that I can’t stop playing this song over and over again — and, yes, that is part of the problem — but the real issue is that it is the 45 second cheezzy opening to the song that I like to play on repeat.

…to the sound of tunnled wind and creepy 80’s synth drum-like throbs Babs SPEAKS the following prior to forging head first into this ballad from Hell:

“Where did she touch you?
How did it feel?
Why did you let it begin?
What did she whisper and what did it mean?
Where do you think it will end?
How long did it last?
Do you think it will stop?
Did you get to try anything —- new?
How good was she? …Honestly.
And, who made the very first move?
Who made the first move?” …enter echo effect repeating Babs last line to affinity

Sigh. It both amuses and puzzles me and I can’t stop playing it! Help!

Wouldn’t it have been even more classic if Luther Vandross had been given some lines to read back in response!?!?!? Yeah, that would have been way-worse. That might have made it so bad it would have come around to good again!

April 4, 2005. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

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A VERY CREEPY MOVIE AND SOME BEAUTIFUL MUSIC!!!!

I just saw an exceptional film from Thailand — which is a unusual as I tend to find Thai films poorly made. At any rate, should you like horror films and get the chance — do not miss SHUTTER! Tho the filmmakers borrow a bit from the Janpanese film cycle, RINGU, — this horror flick has enough going for it that makes it very effective! Very creepy! I am not sure if it has ever been released in the US, but I was able to get it on DVD.

Speaking of Asian cinema — as I’ve written before, I think some of the finest films being produced at this time are coming out of Korea. One of the best films I’ve seen in years is finally making it to the US this month on the 15th! If you’re lucky enough to live in a city that will be showing OLDBOY starting April 15th — be sure to see it! Awesome film! Choi Min-Sik is my new favorite actor! Warning, tho — not a movie for the sqeamish! If you are a purist, pursue the Korean version which can be found on DVD as the US/UK version has been trimed and altered by about 8 minutes.

Oh! And my new pal, Milford, sent me a CD of Hawaiian hula music by Mark Keali’i Ho’omatu. The CD is titled “Call It What You Like” and it is an amazingly beautiful collection of music unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Qutie haunting and rhythmic. Actually, Milford has turned me on to a whole new cultural celebration thru the practice of hula. And, kids, there is a lot more to it than you probably think! If interested, check out http://www.naleihulu.org ! And, if you’re feeling adventurous — check out this CD! It is quite interesting!

April 3, 2005. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

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CONTEMPLATIONS ON A LIFETIME

There was this great “moment” in the Neil Gaiman Sandman DC Vetigo comic series when “Death” comes to a crib to claim the soul of baby who has just died. As Death is carrying the baby away to the underworld, the baby cries out something like, “It isn’t fair! I didn’t get to live long enough” and Death advices the baby that it is fair —- the baby was given what every single human being receives; a lifetime.

Rather cynical and dark, but quite true when you think about it. We all get one. …at least. And, that lifetime is only as valuable as we make it.

I have been thinking a lot about life as of late. And, I do not mean my own singular life — I mean “life” in general.

It seems that we all waste so much of our time on pursuits (and people) that really do not matter to us in the big scheme of things. It is so interesting to contemplate the way we each touch each other’s lives in so many distinct and important ways. People come into your life — or you into theirs — and, sometimes, just when you think that this involvement is “forever” — it turns out to be quite fleeting and with end. And, then, there are those times when people we expect to make a speedy exit — stay there — forever.

There are a few of you reading this right now who I have yet to meet “in the flesh” — but who have had greater impact on my being than people who are phsysically in my life on a daily basis. I guess it is not so much how we touch each other but more about why and in what way we impact the courses and turns of our lives.

One is unable to predict how others will fare in one’s life — all you can do is trust in God and your instincts …and that person. That moment when you decide to trust someone to come into your life is one of the bravest that you will ever do. And, even if it turns out that it isn’t forever or that it isn’t what it appeared to be in the beginning does not devalue or deminish what the interaction(s)/relationship brings into the lives which are touched.

And, of course, we all know that material things, money and our jobs really mean very little to us at the end of the day. It is our interactions with each other that matter. It is facing our fears and trusting that makes all the difference. I think that it is in that hour when you take a deep breath and jump off the cliff into risk that the meaning of life plays out. It is isn’t a game. It is your life and you must live it to the fullest because whether or not you get 2 days or 100 years —- we all get one lifetime. Make it worth something and try to rise above the temptations of our civilization and focus on what matters. …each other.

As we all know — this is much easier said than done. Still, we can try —— and dream.

April 1, 2005. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

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