Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow Tease

I would love to have a good 3 day snow storm just shut down Seattle-not too long, just three days, solid of snow and cold. None of this snowing overnight just enough to make everyone complain about their commute (“we had 3.5 inches in Kent!”) but turning to rain by 11am teaser crap. Where’s the solid foot of fresh powder blanketing the town. Think of the quiet, the peace that would befall.

Today, I woke up to a good half inch on First Hill, with patches of ice. Man I’ll tell you it was rough walking the 4 blocks to get here.

However, as the employees trickle in (“Bothell-2”!), I have plenty of time to round up some thoughts on some of the recent arts activities I’ve partook in around this town.

I saw novelist Colson Whitehead (The Intuitionist, Apex Hides the Hurt, John Henry Days) read at Benaroya Hall 2 weeks ago. My mother was generous enough to invite me to join her in the patron section, which means you are close enough to really notice all the nervous ticks and grooming issues of the fiction writers speaking on the Seattle Arts and Lectures circuit. Not that Colson has any of these issues, it’s just that I always expect writers to be these social outcasts. Turns out that a lot of them are quite respectable, good lookin’ even. Hell Colson can even speak-I mean he entertained the crowd. This was not just a reading, it was a fun talk. Mostly about how he got started writing. There was a fun chart involving “inverbs” that he broke out….inverbs like “wearin” and “lookin”. It all had to do with a semi-autobiographical novel he is writing that takes place in the early/mid eighties and the vernacular of the time involved a lot of insults, slung with in phrases that with the inverbs…so like a descriptor, such as Benson, and inverb, and an object…you can basically choose from a list of descriptors and objects and just plug ‘em in a random to make the insult work. For example, “You Benson lookin’ Motherfucker”. That is a bad example and not very funny- his were all funny-but you get the idea.

I better just move on….so Colson was great, his talk was a 4 Molo talk, not that I review talks, but if I were to review it, I’d give it 4. So I guess I just did.

One of the other interesting points he brought up had to do with Baby Boomers…with how basically, the BB still control culture in this country. Because they control the money I suppose now, or a good deal of it. That’s why there’s still all this reverence for the summer of love and all the hippy crap associated with it. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love the Baby Boomers, my parents are awesome, a lot of cool ideas and culture have come from that culture, but like Colson, I wonder why is this still such a big deal? I mean hasn’t anything important happened since ’69? Or do we still have to “Keep on Truckin’”?

If you did not get my reference there, it’s from the famous cartoon by R. Crumb. The long-haired old guy in exaggerated mid-stride keeping on trucking. If you still can’t picture it, think the Coen Brother’s Dude’s attitude (“take ‘er easy Dude”). The deadbeat Lebowski is one of our most famous heros to embody that era’s attitude, a hippy who never got serious with life while his peers all went on to become tax consultants and brokers.

R Crumb is like the Dude, if the Dude were a really insane, creative, perverted weirdo. Self-proclaimed as such. Crumb has made a living at self-deprecation. An enormous living. Why do I bring him up? Because the Baby Boomers and their cultural liaisons, have seen fit to bring R. Crumb to the Frye Art Museum, for a big retrospective. 40 years of Crumb. Comic book nerds everywhere. It smells like certain neighborhoods in San Francisco in this exhibition. Like a couch that had a thousand joints ashed on it.

The work though, the work is actually pretty fun to take in. I could debate for you, if you want, the merits of a comic book artist show in a museum…I have reservations as to what the point is-I mean what do you gain by looking at these drawing in person, these artifacts and comics that you don’t get from them in print form…but I’ll just leave it at that. There is a ton of work, and if you don’t mind rubbing shoulders with a lot of ZZ Top beards, you might enjoy it. Especially if you are a Baby Boomer, because it is, nostalgic. 3.5 Molos I guess-it’s worth that much just to see the expressions on certain patrons faces when the see some of these comically vulgar images.

So does this mean that in 20 years, when the Baby Boomers children have finally inherited culture, that the old folks will be talking about the 60’s and free love and rock’n roll as the “good ol’ days?”

In mainstream pop-culture:

Cloverfield – Caught this intense flick at the Cinerama the other day. I enjoyed it-very well done….yes the novelty of a shaky cam DV-only picture is a little tired, and yes we have all seen Godzilla before, and yes, it is apparently now okay to play off the fears of Manhattanites for their island to be under extreme duress…but all those interesting things aside, this movie was fun and exciting. It’s stupid fun. Oh and by now you have heard about people getting sick in the movie…yeah the first 15 minutes were rough, but I held it together and once the action started it seemed to be fine. 3.5 Molos

No I haven’t seen Rambo yet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

RIP Joker

RIP Heath Ledger. Dead at 28. “possible drug related death” I guess his cinematic swan song will be at the Joker, in this summer’s eagerly anticipated Batman, the Dark Knight. I predict a posthumous Oscar. I also predict a lot of tasteless gay dead cowboy jokes.

(I hope my talk of fellow Australian Micheal Hutchence's tragic drug related suicide death didn't somehow jinx Heath Ledger, but it is an eerie coincidence)

The Fire Dragon turns 31

January 22, 2008.

It’s the 31st anniversary of the morning after my mother saw the film, “Silver Streak”, which was, apparently, very funny. Funny enough to induce. Labor. Which was great for her, especially since I was due on January 1st. As you can imagine, I was a fairly large baby, something like 9lbs, 6 oz or maybe a little bigger. Had to have my fingernails cut right away. A lot of theories abound as to why I stayed in the womb so long. I can’t rightly say, except that I really enjoy sleeping in.

Thanks for not waking me up, Mom!

Any who, I am an Aquarius, like John Belushi and Michael Hutchence, were also born on Jan 22. I am also year of the Dragon…Fire Dragon. Which I think is pretty badass. I don’t know what it means but I’m sure that I’m destined to rule the world. Wouldn’t you agree? I think the first step to ruling the world is writing a blog.

Speaking of Michael Hutchence. Every time I hear INXS now, I think, “how tragic”. Poor troubled guy killed himself in ’97. He wrote some of the best pop/rock songs of the 80s, and really early 90s. Somehow he was able perfect a kind of ambiguous sincerity that was fun and moving. And made you move. Then, 8 or so years later, his band destroys whatever class they may have still had by doing that stupid ass reality show. I mean I have no idea if INXS would have stood the test of time, or would have remained too much an 80s pop band to speak to future generations, but I still did not need to see that shit go down. I know those wanted to make a buck, but please. Hopefully folks will have forgotten about that sad program, and when I play INXS at my next dance party, they get down.

You have probably guessed by now, that this post has no theme. Sorry about that.

But I do want to thank everyone for coming to my birthday celebrations! I can’t regale you with tales of debauchery and mayhem, because of the Feds. But I can say that highlights included a delicious lemon cake, wonderfully silly drawings by a young budding street artist, and lots of great friends. Oh, and scotch.

Okay, sorry the wit and whit is lacking today.
Let me get in one review:

Diving Bell and the Butterfly the new film by painter/filmmaker Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, Before Night Falls). Great movie, top 3 from 2007 for sure, maybe the best. Painfully beautiful. I wish to speak about it in the most vague terms as I feel like you have to experience this one for yourself. You should know that it concerns a man who has “locked-in syndrome” and can only move his left eye, but retains full mental capacity. Needles-to-say, it is not light fare. But great movie, stellar direction (Julian won the best director at Cannes), and superb acting. 4 Molos

I am still dying to see There Will Be Blood.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Best of 2007

2007 was...

love, loss, growth and frustration. Here's some highlights from pop culture and personal experience:

Best New Gallery: Canvas Gallery. 617 Western. Just happens to have 3 paintings by yours truly on display right now!

Best netflix discovery: Freaks and Geeks-this show is great! I've only seen the first 6 episodes so far, but I'm loving it.

Best Vacation: Camping at the various State Parks in Oregon and California on my way to Berkeley.

Best Party: Crows Eat People III! Not to tute my own horn, but it was the best.

Best Injury: Splitting open my palm in a fall while hiking off the Mountain Loop Highway

Best pet: Crouton the kitten, despite her tendency to drive me insane when I kitten sat her for a week. No one chases the lazer point dot with greater zeal and reckless abandon.

Best novel I read: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Best Song: "Someone Great" LCD Soundsystem. Just too lovely. Even with the vocals that are almost superfulous.

Best surprize album: Busdriver - freaky acid arthouse hip-hop. Stuff on this album unlike anything I've ever heard.

Best big concert: Arcade Fire at Sasquaatch. Built at the showbox.

Best little concert: Shenandoah Davis at Fat Tiger Gallery

Best 10 albums I heard:

1. Kings of Leon Because of the Times
2. Radiohead In Rainbows
3. The Cave Singers Invitation Songs
4. LCD Sound System Sound of Silver
5. Sigur Ros Hvarf/Heim
6. Silversun Pickups Carnavas
7. The White Stripes Icky Thump
8. Busdriver Road Kill Overcoat
9. Arcade Fire Neon Bible
10. MIA Kala

Best 4 albums you may not have heard: Imperial Teen, Grinderman, Two Gallants, Memonia.

Best films I have not Seen but I suspect are good:

1. There Will Be Blood
2. The Divining Bell and the Butterfly
3. Rescue Dawn
4. Juno
5. Sweeny Todd

(and i'm sure a host of indie and foreign films I need to see)

Best films I did see in 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