Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Babadook and so forth

The Babadook is just great. If anyone read my rant, posted here and quickly removed, about how I'm getting stressed out lately from being my Mom's (somewhat inconstant) caregiver, they might be able to appreciate how deeply the film resonated tonight; it's (probably) the best horror film I've seen this year, is scary, psychologically rich, and skillfully crafted - though you go through some trauma worrying about its characters and what fate will befall them; it's a stressful film to watch. The focus is on a widowed mother who is stressing out about her difficult son, who needs love and attention and is not at all at fault for being a bit of a problem child, but whose needs have pushed her past the point of burnout. They stumble across a malign children's book, Mister Babadook, which talks about letting a demon of sorts into their home; it marks the beginning of a rapid decline in their relationship. You think, at first, that the child is going to be the receptacle of the demon, since he already acts like he's possessed at times... but no. Mr. Babadook - is it a coincidence that his name contains the words "bad" and "book?" - finds home in the mother, who begins to lash out at her child, in increasingly hostile ways. I read the film being about, mostly, the stresses of compassion fatigue, the difficultly of taking care of someone who is dependent on you, the need for self-care and constant watchfulness. At the end - there is a very mild, or at least somewhat indirect spoiler here, if you haven't seen the film - I was reminded of an archetypally-rich nightmare I once had, involving a job where I was the janitor of a haunted building, where there was a particular room in the basement with a very evil force in it, that I had to go down to exorcise periodically. But I was afraid of the room, and not very devoted to my job, so the evil force in the basement grew stronger and stronger, until - I can remember standing outside the locked door of the room, after weeks of "forgetting" about it, and feeling this vast evil presence pulsing within. "Oh shit, this is bad, what do I do?"

Of course, she doesn't go down to the basement to exorcise the demon... but I've probably said too much already. People interested in more should visit the film's website, where you have a chance to pre-order a really creepy looking pop-up book presumably similar to the one in the film! Thanks to Tom Charity, for bringing this remarkable film to Vancouver...

Speaking of basements, I would like to dedicate this blogpost to my favourite Ramones song, which I would sing to myself at work every time I took the elevator downstairs to room B-4 ( nowadays I work on the third floor, but that song still comes to mind every time I have to go downstairs). And by the by, yes, I finally got out to see Death Sentence tonight, for the first time since that show I can't remember in the late 80's/ early 90's, and figured out who it is that Doug Donut reminds me of: Chris Mulkey, in his Patti Rocks years (this has been preying on me for awhile now). It was a fun show, or at least the portion of it I was able to catch, though boy there were a lot of not-very-punk looking people who had apparently come to take photographs of the Wett Stilettos, who played earlier. Were they perverts, or is the band assembling a press kit? They're a fun band to take pictures of, I guess - they seem to strive for that. I will upload a couple of my own in a few days' time...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Wett Stilettos to open for Death Sentence

The Wett Stilettos are apparently enjoying my describing them as "snotty old school punk" in their first ever mention in the Georgia Straight this week. I'm suspecting they might just kick ass this Saturday when they open for Death Sentence, actually. I've seen them twice now, both times through no design of mine. The first show, at Lanalou's a few months ago, they were playing in a bill with that Forgotten Rebels tribute band that Danny Nowak (happy birthday, Danny!) sang for. Truth be known, they seemed a little stiff that night, and I didn't pay them much mind; Danny's band had already played, I was tired, and I headed for transit before their set finished. A few weeks ago, on the other hand, seeing them open for the Furies at the Fairview, I was struck by how much stronger they'd gotten (Maybe I just had more energy that night? They sure seemed to). I might just go check'em out Saturday, opening for Death Sentence at Funkys. While I like Death Sentence just fine - I believe I saw them once in the 1990's, at the York Theatre, on the same bill where I believe I caught the Spores - a gig I barely remember - this time out, I actually WANT to see the Wett Stilettos. They're kind of almost the draw (and "In Flames," of course). Check out a song by the Wett Stilettos here. (Track 16).

One wee suggestion for the Wett Stilettos: it would be cool to see a female fronted punk band perform a cover of the Nervous Eaters' "Just Head." I would really enjoy the rude gender politics of that. Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

On torrenting Gone Girl

I don't feel great about using torrent sites, you know? I know they're bad. But I broke down and torrented a few films anyhow this week, because I wanted to watch a few particular movies with my Mom, while I had time to, and they were movies that I knew I was either going to buy regardless, once they came out on Blu-Ray (so no harm done, really), and a few films that I conversely had no intention of ever paying money for without having seen them first to ascertain their quality. For instance, now that Gone Girl is more or less out of theatres - where I might have made it a date night movie - I was never going to pay money to see it on video. I might have waited til it showed up at the Maple Ridge Library to satiate my mild curiosity, but watching it that way wasn't really going to make money for anyone anyhow. So, yes, folks, I torrented it, knowing that either it would impress me (in which case I would make good on my bad behaviour and pay money for it on disc, no harm done), or prove to be something I was glad not to have wasted cash on (harm to myself averted!).

...And my God, here is what torrent sites were made for, because holy cripes, Gone Girl is, in the final analysis, awful. Worse, it's awful in a very sneaky way, because, despite the presence of Ben Affleck, it actually isn't all that bad for the first half. I was curious on sitting down to it whether it was the misogynistic vindication of rape culture that some feminists have described it as being. It might be, but I couldn't take it seriously enough to tease out the implications of its utterly asinine last act. The film accomplishes a great deal setting up a very complex situation, making us care for a fairly mediocre man, then taking us on what could have been a very unusual adventure with a woman who has had enough of his mediocrity. There is a moment where - spoiler! - Rosamund Pike is shown driving away from her marriage, explaining to the cameras how she has faked her murder and liberated herself - and you feel an honest to God EXCITEMENT for her, as a plausible female antiheroine. The moral complexity is considerable; we've discovered she's doing an awful thing, but we're with her, more than her husband - a victim, but a dope, who doesn't really deserve her, and kind of deserves to suffer a comeuppance at least a little. We're invested in this story, at this point, and want to see what happens next. At least I was.

Then the film runs out of ideas - or courage - and simply makes a monstrous psychopath out of her, intelligent enough to fake her own murder and escape her old life, but still, when a crisis strikes, utterly dependent on men. Though she can fake her death and get her husband arrested, she's neither crafty or smart enough to keep her sole stash of money safe (there's a really silly contrivance for her losing it, one of many less than plausible plot devices employed). Nor does she appear to have a credible plan for her future (like, say, a fake identity, which might be helpful if she truly plans to disappear). When she finds herself penniless - spoiler alert again! - she turns to an old boyfriend, whom she uses shamelessly, then murders, as part of a plot to contrive a story (she'd been abducted!) that will allow her to return to her husband, who wins her over via a TV broadcast where he apologizes for his failings (the film is very much interested in how TV operates in America today, but that doesn't make the plot any more believable; it mostly suggests that the author sure watches a lot of TV). How much more interesting would that film have been if she'd gone off to live a new life, and her husband just went to prison? Perhaps there could have been a reconcilation later on. Instead, we get something that plays like a high schooler wrote it, full of drama and plot twists and blood (Presumably GIllian Flynn's novel is much of a piece with the film; she adapted it herself for the screen). It turns its very interesting female main character into a spider lady, and turns itself into a piece of crap culture - possibly misogynist, but for me, it is a far worse crime that a movie be an insult to the intelligence than that it be politically incorrect. There is some great cinematic misogyny out there that is actually worth taking to task for its political failings. Gone Girl is just a bad movie, unworthy of serious consideration. David Fincher has finally, with this film, successfully done what The Curious Case of Benjamin Button could not, and gotten himself permanently crossed off the list of directors whose craft and skill are such that I will watch anything by them based on their name alone. It's a shame. I'm glad not to have spent any money to find this out.  

(I actually went and consoled myself by reading the various negative comments left by other people who disliked this film, below the review of one Brad Keefe. I'm with you, Brad!).

Adam Wingard's The Guest: yes!

Just caught up with Adam Wingard's The Guest. It's great, smart exploitation/ suspense cinema; I liked it even better than You're Next. The trailer I saw made it look like yet another tired riff on the "sexually charismatic visitor destroys hypocritical middleclass family" theme (think Teorema, Brimstone and Treacle, and Visitor Q). I've been skeptical since Borgman, from a couple years ago, that there's life left in the genre; that film seemed positively by-the-books, like the story was already being told one time too often. Happily, it turns out that the trailers do The Guest an injustice: while it IS basically a sexy evil visitor movie, it's terrific stuff, with a lot more political meat than I expected (and an interesting treatment of the theme of bullying to boot, picking up on conversations Erika and I had around the seeing of Stickboy). Plus it owes as much to A History of Violence or your average movie about (spoiler) conspiracies to create super-soldiers using mind control programs as it does to the Teorema template. Better than I expected, and well worth a look.

Oh, and speaking of that particular clique of horror filmmakers, I really liked Ti West's The Sacrament, too. It basically is a Shakycam riff on Jonestown but it has some great moments. Must admit that I was hoping for an even more downbeat ending, believe it or not. It's still really worth watching.

What else? Blue Ruin - which I just caught up with with Ma - was over-praised, if okay. Also, having attempted a second viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy since my previous post, I have to admit that it was over-praised too; a few cute moments lift it above the run-of-the-mill comic book spectacle SF film, but it's still basically a whole lot of mind-numbing special effects strung together at lightning pace. No amount of Groot can make that stuff stay interesting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Al's musical top 10 for 2014

Alex Varty beat me to the punch on this one, article-wise - was writing about it before I even knew it existed - but I am so glad I bought it: Native North America Vol. 1 is on a bunch of top-10 lists on the Straight website, and I heartily concur. In fact, now that I've heard it, I look askance at any critic who DIDN'T put this on their top 10 list! I expected a mixed bag and am stunned at how cool song after song is - check the link and listen if you don't believe me. Simply a must-have for any music lover.

Hard pressed to put together my own top 10 for the year - I don't listen to a lot of new stuff these days - but, besides the above, I think it would include:

The Rebel Spell: Last Run - passionate political punk; I like the songs a smidgen less than the ones on It's a Beautiful Future but the sound is wayyy better. My big feature for the Straight is here. They have a big New Year's gig at the WISE Hall, eh?
The Ecstacy of Gold Vol 4-5: I think these both came out in the last year. Stuff I just want to spin over and over: a massive hoard of music from non-Morricone spaghetti western soundtracks. Volume 1 is already fetching collector's prices: the run of each was pretty limited. I got all five!

The Dishrags' Three: see my feature in the current Big Takeover. Essential, and mostly previously unheard.

Bishop's Green: Pressure. Best local punk band that I'd never heard before being assigned to write about them! (I COULD have seen one of their early gigs, opening for The Meatmen, but this drunken, somewhat irresponsible girlfriend-of-a-friend said she wanted to be comped into the show and I ended up stuck outside the club waiting for her while they played. I wish I had caught that show! Grrr!).

Gerry Hannah: Coming Home. I don't like every song on Gerry's album, but the great stuff on it is great - especially the reworking of "Holy American Empire" with Mike Graham on lead guitar, and one of the new songs, "You Can Take It From Me." Long-form review here. Nice that this stuff is out there again (Songs From Underground should get reissued, too, though).

Most cherished reissues on vinyl: the New Creation's Troubled, on vinyl, all that cool Roky Erickson stuff that came out, the Flesh Eaters' A Minute to Pray, A Second To Die. and Red Herring's Taste Tests, out now on CD for the first time (Red Herring feature here). Did those Dicks reissues come out this year, or was it last year, already? I can't keep it straight. Lot of great reissues, which is what I mostly buy these days.

I've run out of ideas but I kind of liked the Meatmen's new album, too! "The Ballad of Stinky Penis" sure is fun. Big Tesco Vee interview here.

Favourite movies in the theatre were Nightcrawler and Whiplash. Favourite director's cut: Nightbreed. Honourable mention goes to Guardians of the Galaxy, which I expected nothing from and so was quite amused by. Haven't seen Wingard's The Guest yet, but I'm very interested. Oh, and I liked a lot of V/H/S 2 and The Raid 2, and am now going to try to watch everything Gareth Evans (not Edwards!) does.

Happy holidays!

One Last Week At Carson Books (Dunbar location)

Now and then, I still sit in at Carson Books and Records, located for about one more week at 4275 Dunbar; and many of the people who come through, as the sale goes on, remark on the rapidly approaching closure of the location. It's part of a re-development that will affect several businesses, and see a very long stretch of Dunbar deprived of any bookstore at all, until you get up to 41st and Lawrence Books (a big bookstore, but a very different sort of experience from Tim's shop). Most people who come in wish Tim - pictured left, at his previous location - well. One customer, an articulate chap in a Skinny Puppy shirt, contrasted our city's development-minded indifference to supporting institutions like bookstores with the situation in France, where the government subsidizes them. By comparison, my unconfirmed understanding is that the developers who bought the block on Dunbar in fact got some sort of preferential fast-tracking from the city, so that they could get people out sooner and get their new project - condos or what-have-you - underway. No doubt the unique small retail locations that are being swept away will be replaced by something more generic and corporate...

But to return to customer comments, like I say, most people have been positive (and curious as to why the store is shutting down). "At least you're not closing for good" is a frequent remark - though some customers are vocally disappointed that the store is going to be moving as far away as Main Street. One grandmotherly type quipped in pique that "it's too far to drive all that way," so we weren't going to be getting more business out of her!

The fact is - as I rushed to point out to her - Carson never wanted to close down the Dunbar shop. The neighbourhood has more or less been supporting the business: not like it did when used bookstores didn't have the internet, e-readers and Amazon to compete with, of course, but well enough that Tim fully intended to stay in the location for years longer, had circumstances not changed. You can read about his reasons for moving to Main here, in the Straight interview with him. Meantime, note that this week will be the final week at the Dunbar location. The day after Boxing Day, Tim will be boxing up the books and records that he's keeping and getting ready to take shelves down, to re-open in early January at the Main Street store (next to Red Cat Records, in the former home of They Live Video). The Dunbar location will probably be RIP as early as next Monday. The current discount has been "buy three or more books and get 30% off," but by next weekend, that will intensify considerably, I expect. Records are also on sale (with a 40% discount for multiple purchases).

Anyhow, scavengers: there's still lots of good stuff to be had - both in terms of books and records; in fact, there are some real gems in the vinyl, including rare punk, metal, blues, reggae, folk and jazz. It would be hard to imagine an avid reader or record collector not being able to scrape up a few cool items at the shop (though obviously things have been cherry-picked over the last few weeks, and many of the most in-demand items have already been snatched up, or have been boxed up for shipment to Main Street). There are even a few items I have coveted, like a pretty cool reggae sampler with an atrocious (so-bad-it's-almost-great) cover, but some great music on it. If someone doesn't buy this by next Saturday I will probably feel obliged to give it a good home (I believe the correct songs are on a Youtube playlist here, but it'll sound way better on vinyl...).
Maybe we'll see you at the store next weekend? I will probably be giving Tim a hand...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The difficulty of going out, plus Advanced Style

What I get to go see, these days, is increasingly different from what I want to see. There are now so many contingencies that never used to slow me down: am I in the mood? Do I have the energy? Do I have work that I have to do? Do I need to be up early? Is it raining? Am I dressed properly? Do I have to be somewhere else? Am I in the right town? Is my girlfriend interested? Does she have the energy? Does she need to be up early? If she's not interested, where will I sleep afterwards? How long with the commute be? Will there be a bus running that late? One of the reasons I'm ambivalent about this whole having-kids idea (which my girl is really into) is that I barely get out as it is, these days. Add kids and I'll be lucky to catch one show a year.

There was a bunch of stuff I wanted to do last night. A cool friend was having a birthday party. A cool-seeming neo-doo-wop band (Shannon and the Clams) were playing at the Electric Owl. I ended up going instead to see a documentary about Antarctica and the film Advanced Style at the Vancity Theatre. Neither were high on my list. No party was attended. No concert was gone to. By 10pm, I was ready to go back home. I was asleep an hour before the concert would have ended, and I am glad for it. I have become lame.

This all serves partially to underscore just how significant the January 13th Flesh Eaters show in Seattle is to me. I have interviewed Chris D. (Yet to be published). I have secured the time off work. I have bought a ticket. I am going to research train prices/ cheap transit. I am going to go to this Seattle show. I may deliberately miss a night's sleep over it, and suffer thereafter, but I am going. Universe, try to stop me.

On the other hand, I am probably going to be at the upcoming Death Sentence show at Funkys, not because of any great passion for Death Sentence (tho' "In Flames" is pretty great) but because my girl is going away that weekend and needs someone to look in on her cat, and if I'm going to be in town that weekend anyhow...

That's my life these days! (I may go out to catch David M. tonight too but I hope David forgives me if I don't, who knows what the day yet holds).

Incidentally, it's weird to me that more Vancouverites turned out for a documentary about Antarctica than a documentary about senior females with outlandish (or at least very creative/ assertive) fashion sensibilities, you know? I'm just the opposite. You can get your fill of Antarctica on the Discovery Channel, I figure; and how many Emperor penguins does anyone need to see in life? I haven't even finished watching the Herzog documentary on Antarctica, shut it off shortly after the thing about an ape riding an antelope (one of Herzog's more eye-rolling self-indulgences of late). The film now playing, Antarctica: A Year On Ice, is not bad, and has some really beautiful images of the sky and varied atmospheric phenomena, but it isn't anything particularly unusual or impressive. A LOT of time-lapse photography is used - so much that you sometimes don't know if a given shot you're seeing is happening in real time or sped up, which interferes with appreciating what's on screen.  That aspect of the film I found rather intrusive; I would have appreciated a more James Benning-like approach, though it would have made things a lot longer, I suppose. There were a few interesting observations about what it's like to winter over there, but all were done in a kind of chatty, anecdotal way, without much in the way of hard information or deep insights. (At one point you learn in passing, for instance, that its against the rules to help out a seal that has lost its way and is obviously in distress; but you don't learn why it is against the rules. Some abiding devotion to Darwin? The filmmakers apparently wanted to assemble their film using only the voices of their interview subjects, so they don't ask questions, even when the questions would be revealing; nor do they weigh in with information not otherwise provided during the interviews*).

On the other hand, the Advanced Style ladies are really quite charming and lovely; women ranging in age from their 60's to their 90's who have appeared on the blog of one Ari Seth Cohen. Two in particular make a real impression: Ilona Royce Smithkin, who painted a portrait of Ayn Rand that we've all seen, and now makes her own false eyelashes out of her own hair (which she dyes orange); and the lovely and stylish Tziporah Salamon, who reminds me a little of Ann Magnuson (who still is a bit too young for Cohen's project, and who mostly dresses straighter than these ladies, except when she's made up as Kali). I like old ladies, particularly ones who are not shy about standing out in the crowd; most of the women in this doc pull themselves together beautifully, and some are positively punk rock. And they're all eccentric and entertaining, even in their more "Diva" moments.

But by my casual count, there were fifty+ people for the Antarctica doc, and 20- people for Advanced Style. Go figure!
*This approach may still be preferable to having Werner Herzog give his opinion about everything.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

David M. reacts...

This Sunday, folks! Recall that David M. has a tradition of whipping out timely references to current events during his show; perhaps he will incorporate something relevant to the situation re: The Interview, besides this poster? Like, remember the time when No Fun opened for Robyn Hitchcock at the Town Pump, shortly after Cat Stevens/ Yusuf Islam had approved the fatwah against Salman Rushdie, and they did a version of "Moonshadow" with the lyrics altered to, "I'm being followed by an armed Muslim...?"


Of course, the Frank Frink Five are also a totally safe made-in-Vancouver Christmas entertainment option, tomorrow night at Lanalou's... See the poster below-ish for more deets...

Tis the season for Red Herring

...January 2nd, opening for Femme Zeppelin. Might go! By the by, Red Herring's Taste Tests is now available as a CD!

Re: The Interview

I'm pretty dubious about this whole cancellation of the theatrical release of The Interview. Read Mack on that here here here and here, and on the next link below, if you want yet more.

If it's a real thing - if Sony is pulling the film because of threats of terrorism and a supposed "inside job" hack attack - that's definitely on the spineless side, and sets a dangerous precedent.

But the little qui bono gremlin that sits on my shoulder is quivering about the press this is generating (FIVE articles in the Straight? Find me one other movie in the last ten years that's gotten that much notice there). I was pretty interested, a few months ago, to read about the original (alleged) threats against the film, but even then, it was pretty obvious that the controversy was only going to be good for this movie; though I had seen a trailer, the original news story about North Korea's tub-thumping response to the film was far more provocative. And now... there's nothing Sony could have possibly done to generate more interest, really. The whole thing makes me suspicious - even though it's being taken quite seriously, and follows on an (apparently) real cyber attack...

But the whole world is turning kind of fake, you know? You can't have a mass murder, from 9/11 to Sandy Hook or whatever, without someone theorizing that it was all a lie; it's actually become a bit of a boring, predictable response to the world, to wonder if something is a conspiracy (my even wondering as much about this film's cancellation also counts). Plus an increasing number of headlines you see as you surf along are from spoof websites - it's not just the Onion anymore. Nothing is done at face value, nothing you read can be trusted; it's pretty bad for the brain, in fact, since ultimately the only sane response to the amount of disinformation you're bombarded with is just to give up trying to make sense of things. The ultimate subtext is that the truth doesn't matter, as long as we/ you/ whomever gets noticed.
Of some relevance, I particularly like the example of the supposed North Korean documentary Propaganda,  actually assembled in New Zealand under the direction of someone named Slavko Martinov, with zero North Korean involvement (my ESL students even assure me that the alleged North Korean expert who narrates the Korean portion of the soundtrack has a South Korean dialect). The whole film is about the mendacity of western media, so why shouldn't we be surprised that the entire premise of its distribution is founded on a lie? (They're supposedly working on a sequel, too; one wonders if they'll bother to maintain the original film's pretence of being smuggled out of North Korea, now that the cat is out of the proverbial bag).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Weekend options



...that last being the Japanese poster for VIFF favourite The Vancouver Asahi, a Japanese-made movie about a Japanese baseball team that existed in Vancouver in the 1930s, which is opening Friday at the Vancity Theatre. The rest is self-explanatory! Don't know which of these I will actually make it to this weekend, of course, but...

Sunday, December 07, 2014

RIP Brian Goble

Photo at Subhumans reunion show by Allan MacInnis

It's in the Sun so I guess it's true: Brian "Wimpy Roy" Goble has died, at age 57, of a heart attack. That's really shocking and sad. I loved Brian's voice and stage presence - he was the everyman to end all everymen, and a great songwriter - and I enjoyed interviewing him several times about the Subhumans' comeback. Condolences to all who knew him. If it were on Youtube I would post a rarity by him, Garnet Sweatshirt's song "One Thing To Fear," which, to my knowledge, is the best song Brian ever wrote and recorded that was not done with the Subhumans or DOA; those of you who don't have Curse of the Canadian Rock Star, their one album, should check it out (though it's a mixed bag, and that one song of Brian's is by far the best). I will listen to Same Thoughts Different Day on the train tomorrow in his memory.

The Babadook, plus David M. returns to the Railway

I have nothing much to write about here for the time being. Projects loom, work needs doing.
I am told The Babadook - playing a few times yet to come at the Vancity Theatre - is a terrific horror film. Tom Charity highly recommended it, and Steve Newton apparently loves it - calls it "the year's best fright flick." I have not seen it yet and plan to read no further about it on the off chance that I can catch it onscreen. Wish me luck on that.

Also, David M.'s Christmas Alone In No Fun City is apparently returning to the Railway Club this year! December 21st.

That may be the most you get out of me for awhile. Happy horrordays. If I don't catch you at the David M. gig, maybe see y'all at the WISE Hall on the 31st for The Rebel Spell, with an opening set from Jeff Andrew? Or maybe not (I never made the Reischman gig, below, either).

Thursday, December 04, 2014

John Reischman and the Jaybirds: roots music the right way

I genuinely like folk music, but I don't go to see it performed live very often, and there's a whole list of folky types that I keep meaning to see who I never get around to. Every time John Prine or Loudon Wainwright III comes through town, I think, "this will be the year!" It hasn't happened yet. But if I get over the cold I'm presently muddling through (and I can get tickets) I think I'm going to go see John Reischman and the Jaybirds at the St. James Community Hall (3214 W. 10th) tomorrow night. Truth is, I have never heard them before today, but I saw the listing on Livevan.com, looked'em up on Youtube, and went HELL YES, pretty much instantly: this is true roots music, and Reischman is quite the mandolin player. Please don't be sold out! My girlfriend will enjoy this music too!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Gerry Hannah: Coming Home review


Just posted it today! (That's a photo by Dan Kibke of Gerry and I showing off our cans, by the way. His is bigger than mine!).

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

David M: Christmas Alien in No Fun City?

So I sent David M. (among other people) a link to this cool story on fonts, typography, and units of meature in the film Alien, which was sent to me by a friend in Japan (also named David, by pleasant coincidence). This is what David M. responded with:


I wonder if he'll do "Santa Dog" this year? The first time I saw him do that song at a Christmas show, I actually didn't recognize it (I came to the Residents late, what can I say).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some photos: early winter, 2014

These are all kind of obvious, I suppose, and somewhat sentimental, but sometimes you see a sunrise that you just have to photograph, y'know? And I really like the ones taken out of train windows; the dark blurs are trees we're passing. Taken en route to Vancouver from Maple Ridge via the West Coast Express, except for the last ones, not sure where that is. Click for larger images:




























Monday, November 24, 2014

Going to the cinema: why don't people do it more often?

Is everyone's life as complicated as mine? I have to zip back and forth between Maple Ridge, Burnaby, and Vancouver, commuting daily, spread thin all over the map. That's MY excuse for not getting out to see films at the theatre. But what about people who live in Vancouver? Do they even go to the theatre anymore? I hear that the Crime Fest at the Vancity Theatre hasn't been so well-attended, despite a really fun-sounding programme. A couple of feature films I've caught in theatres in the last few months have had surprisingly spare audience turnout - like Jodorowsky's Dance of Reality, say, at the Cinematheque, or even a recent screening of John Wick that I went to in New West (not exactly first run, but it wasn't THAT long after its debut). Is it the shitty weather? ...Maybe there's simply so many options for entertainment ? There are tons of great movies being made, but maybe there are too many, and people are exhausted from having to consume them all the time (or is that just me?).

Carson Books and Records to take over They Live video space

I have an article in the online edition of the Straight about the They Live closeout and the Carson Books and Records re-location to Main. Thanks to Olinda Vriend for taking some pictures...