Monday, December 3, 2007

listing to one side, or the other

Oh it snowed on Saturday and I was delighted. Lovely big, soft flakes downtown Seattle. I love the snow, I love it almost as much as I love puppies. I often wish I lived in a town with real winters. Of course if I got a real winter, then I'd get a scorching summer as well, and I really dont want that.

I suppose I should just shoot for the dream-make enough money to winter in Montana, say near Whitefish, Summer in the Northwest, and spend Spring and Fall in NYC. With, of course, various vacations across the globe. Is that so much to ask?

So it snowed, then, of course, turned to rain a few hour later, and washed all the fun away. And now there is flooding and landslides and it's raining in my studio building and things seem to be perfectly PNW winter. Wet and gloomy. But cheer up dear readers, there is always fun to have, like preview I saw just the other day...

Sly Stallone is releasing "Rambo" 4. I am terribly amused. This comes on the heels of last year's Rocky Balboa. So, as he seems to be establishing a trend here, I expect next year for Stallone to release another sequel from one of his big 80s hits. Which gets me thinking...what would I most like to see...

Top Films Stallone Should do a Sequel for Release in 2009:

1. Over the Top (greatest movie about arm wrestling ever)

2. Death Race 2000 (reprising his role as Machine Gun Joe Vitero)

3. Cobra

4. Cliffhanger

5. Demolition Man

6. Tango & Cash

Okay, well, maybe he's fresh out of money making sequels afterall. You know, Stallone, for all his cartoony acting through the years, was actually excellent in the movie Cop Land. That film is very well done. (the first 2 Rockys and Rambo: First Blood are also excellent and surprisingly smart pictures-for the record)

Dear Reader,

Let me take a moment to apologise for the sheer length of this blog.

Film Reviews: (as always, reviews are 1-5 Molos, 1 being something like Howard the Duck, 5 being Radiohead's OK Computer)

I started watching Inland Empire the other day and had to shut it off after 10 minutes. Lynch has become a caricature of himself. Unlike highly stylized directors like say Cronenberg who have further developed and changed their style through the years, Lynch is getting worse-or he's the same. It gets old if you don't take it someplace new. 1 Molo

This is the common trap that artists always have to deal with, staying both fresh, and commercially successful. Many fall into repeating themselves over and over. Repetition for the sake of exploring a particular idea can be a great thing, but for the sake of "everyone likes it", is one of the most dangerous forms of selling out. Basquiat wrestled with some of that before his early death. Contemporary artists like Deborah Butterfield (found in many museum collections-the horses) milk their one successful idea to the bone.

I despise that and I also have a great fear of falling into the same trap myself.

Lynch is doing it. I though he might break out after he did that film about the guy on the lawnmower that was a straight picture...but now he's back repeating himself. On the other hand, maybe the movie was brilliant, after all I couldn't stomach it past the opening bit.

The Arts Reviews:

I have spent now about 2 months with Patricia Piccinnini and her show, Hug. In the short I'd say the show is somewhat entertaining fluff. She has created a silly future of genetic engineering gone wild (literally and figuratively) with these hybrid creatures running amok and interacting with people in various eerie but harmless ways. Patricia is a good example of one of the things that I have trouble with in a lot of contemporary art. She brings up some basic themes: endangered species, genetic engineering, environmentalism in general, but simply plays with the themes and does not say anything at all with the work. It's just simply entertaining.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm perfectly fine with art as being simply entertainment. I know full well that many people take simply as entertainment. But what gets me, what is so difficult to swallow with a show like Patricias is all the diatribe about it...all the wall text, all the curatorial bullshit, and even much of what she says herself...simply declaring that you are interested in say environmentalism and that you want to save the world does not make the work mean anything.

Let the work speak for itself, and let the public and the academics come to their own conclusions.

The Printed Word:

I finished David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster not long ago. The book is a collection of essays over the last 10 years on wide ranging subjects such as John McCain's presidential run last time around to the porn industry. I can't say that the book was overly impressive. DFW is a great writer, and he has a knack for really describing the whole nasty American consumer culture-ness and general absurdity of things, but the essays rarely intrigued me. However they are full of insights on their individual subjects, which I suppose was their initial purpose. He's at his best with the McCain press tour piece, which shares a lot of insight about that whole scene...probably more than you'd like to know. 2.5 Molos

Joan Didion wrote a painful book about the death of her husband and near-death of her daughter called The Year of Magical Thinking a few years back. The book is an easy and very sad read. It's simplicity and honesty is hard to not let get to you a little bit, even with the idea of this story being so...almost self exploitative. It's dangerous, write these stories that are first person accounts of the tragedies of your life. It can be so overwrought, so uninspired. Joan's book, though, avoids all the usual trappings of such an undertaking. It's strong, interesting, and insightful even. And it reads like she had to write it. To if not work through her grief, to at least document it, for further study perhaps. 4 Molos

Top 10 Flicks that I have seen, 2007:

1. No Country for Old Men

2. Grindhouse

3. Superbad

4. Eastern Promises

5. Before the Devil Knows You are Dead

6. American Gangster

7. Zodiac

8. 300

9. The Host

10. Shoot 'em Up

Top Musical releases that I have heard, 2007:

1. Radiohead In Rainbows

2. Kings of Leon Because of the Times

3. The White Stripes Icky Thump

4. LCD Sound System Sound of Silver

5. Imperial Teen The Hair, the TV, the Baby, the Band

6. Silversun Pickups Carnavas

7. Busdriver Road Kill Overcoat

8. Interpol Our Love to Admire

9. The Arcade Fire Neon Bible

10. Grinderman Grinderman

11. Explosions in the Sky All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

12. Two Gallants Two Gallants

13. The Cave Singers Invitation Songs

14. Albert Hammond Jr. Yours To Keep

15. Film School Hideout

16. Talib Kweli Eardrum

17. Devandra Banhart Smoke Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

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