Friday, June 26, 2009

San Antonio (1945)



Tough dance hall girl working for the local villain falls for a cowboy trying to clean up the town.

Colorful, but not too exciting western. The story is quite ramshackle and is drawn into length as if to fill in the time needed to make it a feature.

Siri Tollerød


ph: Ellen von Unwerth

Indeterminacy 64


On the way back from New Haven we were driving along
the Housatonic. It was a beautiful day. We stopped
to have dinner but the restaurants at the river’s
edge turned out not to be restaurants at all but
dark, run-down bars with, curiously, no views of the
river. So we drove on to Newtown, where we saw many
cars parked around a restaurant that appeared to
have a Colonial atmosphere. I said, “All those cars
are a good sign. Let’s eat there.” When we got in,
we were in a large dining room with very few other
people eating. The waitress seemed slightly giddy.
David Tudor ordered some ginger ale, and after quite
a long time was served some Coca-Cola, which he
refused. Later we both ordered parfaits; mine was
to be chocolate, his to be strawberry. As the
waitress entered the kitchen, she shouted, “Two
chocolate parfaits.” When David Tudor explained to
her later that he had ordered strawberry, she said,
“They must have made some mistake in the
kitchen.” I said, “There must be another dining
room in this building with a lot of people eating
in it.” The waitress said, “Yes. It’s
downstairs and there are only two of us for each
floor and we keep running back and forth.”

- John Cage

Alana Zimmer


ph: Angelo Pennetta

Sky Saxon R.I.P.

While the rest of the world is mourning the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson I would like to remind that Sky Saxon, legendary lead singer and founding member of the 60s band The Seeds passed away yesterday.

You'll find his biography here.

Here's Sky in a recent concert in Berlin from January 2009:



And The Seeds with Pushin'Too Hard:



You're pushin' too hard, uh-pushin' on me
You're pushin' too hard, uh-what you want me to be
You're pushin' too hard about the things you say
You're pushin' too hard every night and day
You're pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard on me (too hard)

Well all I want is to just be free
Live my life the way I wanna be
All I want is to just have fun
Live my life like it's just begun
But you're pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard on me (too hard)

Well, better listen girl to what I'm tellin' you
You better listen girl, or we are through
You better stop all your foolin' around
Stop your runnin' all over town
'Cause you're pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard on me (too hard)

Well I know there's a lotta fish in the sea
I know some would-uh stay by me
So if you don't think I'm gonna try
You better ask yourself the reason why
'Cause you're pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard on me (too hard)

Pushin' too hard, pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard, pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard, pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard on me (too hard)

Tyra Banks

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Roxanne Carter

Volver (2006)




After her death, a mother returns to her home town in order to fix the situations she couldn't resolve during her life.

A sometimes humorous, sometimes quite dark exploration of women's lives in Spain. The female ensemble is excellent, and Almodóvar manages to tell a complex tale in a very light tone without losing any depth.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Anouck Lepere

Indeterminacy 167


Mr. Romanoff is in the mushroom class.
He is a pharmacist
and takes color slides of the fungi
we find. It was he
who picked up a mushroom I brought to
the first meeting of the class at the
New School, smelled it,
and said, “Has
anyone perfumed this mushroom?” Lois
Long said, “I don’t think
so.” With each plant Mr. Romanoff’s
pleasure is, as one might
say, like that of a child.
(However,
now and then children come on the
field trips and they don’t
show particular delight over what is
found. They try
to attract attention to themselves.)
Mr. Romanoff
said the other day,
“Life is the sum total of all the
little things that happen.”
Mr. Nearing smiled.

- John Cage

Who's That Girl?

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Karlie Kloss


ph: Steven Meisel

Indeterminacy 173


Just before I moved to the country, I called up the Museum of
Natural History and asked a man there what poisonous snakes were
to be found in Rockland County. Unhesitatingly he replied, “The
copperhead and the rattlesnake.” Going through the woods, I
never see either (now and then a blacksnake or some other
harmless reptile down near the stream or even up in the hills).
The children across the road warned me that in our woods snakes
hang from the trees. A man who works for the Interstate Park and
who lives just north of us on Gate Hill told me he’d never seen
any poisonous snakes on our land. ¶ On a mushroom walk near
Mianus Gorge in Connecticut we came across thirty copperheads
basking in the sun. Mr. Fleming put one in a paper bag and
carried it home attached to his belt. He is, of course, a
specialist with snakes, works for the Bronx Zoo, and makes
hunting expeditions in South America. However, he told me once
of another snake specialist who worked for the Park his whole
life without ever having any trouble, and then, after getting
his pension, went out tramping in the woods, was bitten by a
copperhead, didn’t take the bite seriously, and died of it. ¶
Among those thirty copperheads at Mianus Gorge I noticed three
different colorations, so that I have lost faith in the pictures
in the books as far as snake identification goes. What you have
to do, it seems, is notice whether or not there is a pitlike
indentation in each of the snake’s cheeks, between the eye and
the nostril, in order to be certain whether it’s poisonous or
not. That is, of course, difficult unless one is already
dangerously close. ¶ Over in New Jersey on Bare Fort Mountain
and once up at Sam’s Point we ran into rattlesnakes. They were
larger and more noble in action and appearance than the
copperheads. There was only one on each occasion, and each went
through the business of coiling, rattling, and spitting. Neither
struck. ¶ My new room is one step up from my old kitchen. One
fall evening before the gap between the two rooms was closed up,
I was shaving at the sink and happened to notice what seemed to
be a copperhead making its way into the house five feet away from
where I was standing. Never having killed a snake and feeling
the urgency of that’s being done, I called, “Paul! A
copperhead’s in the house!” Paul Williams came running over from
his house and killed the snake with a bread board. After he left,
the snake was still writhing. I cut off its head with a carving
knife. With a pair of tongs, I picked up both parts and flushed
them down the toilet. ¶ When I told Daniel DeWees what had
happened, he said, “That’s what I thought. When I was working
in the dark under the house the other day putting in the
insulation, I had the feeling there was a snake there near me.”
I said, “Was it just a feeling? Did you imagine it? Or was there
something made you certain?” He said, “Well, I thought I heard
some hissing.”

Juliette Binoche


ph: Warwick Saint

Shock Corridor (1963)




Bent on winning a Pulitzer Prize, a journalist commits himself to a mental institution to solve a strange and unclear murder.

A masterpiece of exploitation cinema. With over-the-top performances, splendid expressionistic photography and a relentlessly no-holds-barred tragic story Fuller manages to create an atmosphere of madness and claustrophobia.

Who's That Girl?


ph: Calle Stoltz

Caché (2005)




A married couple is terrorized by a series of videotapes planted on its front porch that may be the direct result from an event from years ago.

A very thorough blog on this movie can be found at Ed Howard's Only the Cinema. I hardly have anything to add, I agree in all major points.

What I did want to add is that this movie very much reminded me of Martin Scorsese's Cape Fear. Both works explore a past and hidden guilt that is revealed by an unexpected, almost super-natural force. And in both cases the major story is that the protagonist takes all the wrong steps when confronted with his own guilt. Scorsese's movie, however, is full of irony, whereas Haneke's approach is multifaceted and open.

A Scan a Day





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Kate Moss irrégulière

A Song a Day

Pere Ubu - Birdies

I've been a Pere Ubu fan ever since hey started in the mid-late 70s, and they're still going strong. I did manage to see them live 3 times, and each time it was a tremendous experience. It's difficult to describe their music, singer and head of the band David Thomas just calls it rock music, but it's way different than anything else other bands are plaing. It's a sound all of their own. As they started in the Punk/New Wave era, they were quickly labeled to that, but in reality Thomas was always paving his own road. They're probably the only band in the world that has used the theremin as a regular instrument.

By now Pere Ubu are a rock music legend!

Unfortunately, there's not much of their classic titles available online. The first clip is from the great Urgh! A Music War concert movie, the second clip from a more recent concert. The photo at the bottom is one I took at their Munich concert in 2006.





Birdies

I gotta get holda myself.
I gotta pull myself up by my socks.
I gotta grab myself by the collar and shake!
The birdies are singing.
The birdies are saying what I want to say.

Now watch this close.
(Oh, I should say 'closely.')
Here we go!
The foot goes up.
And the foot goes down.
And so I move along.
And actually get somewhere,
actually get somewhere.
And when the feet,
the big feet get tangled...
Bang!
And I fall down on the ground?
Well, I get back up.
I get right back up!

A tree,
a dog,
a cat,
a house,
a car,
fireplug,
mailman.
Dumpdee dump.
Dumpdee da.
Look at me!
I've got my feet on the ground.
And my head in the air.
And I'm moving along.
The wind's going through.
And my hair's standing straight out behind.
And I'm moving along.
I'm standing up.
And I'm going Some-Where.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Anna de Rijk

Vignettes #26


As you might know I used to be the co-owner of a small cinema store during the mid 90s. Besides selling books, posters, videos and soundtracks we also had a large department of alternative music. Since we were more or less the only store in town selling this kind of music, we did very well, and we were also able to obtain rare titles on request for our customers.

Of course, we bought from our own store, too. I was especially excited when one of the labels announced the publication of a (very) limited edition box of the band Pere Ubu's complete back catalogue to that date called Datapanik in the Year Zero. I've been a fervent Pere Ubu from the beginning, and I certainly needed that box.

So we ordered one edition for me, since we didn't expect any of our customers wanting to buy it. On the day it was to arrive I had off, but I came by because I wanted to pick up my purchase. When I arrived my 2 co-owners told me that a customer had seen the box and had wanted it so badly they sold it too him.

I was very angry about this, and their argument about the profit we had made didn't help much. They did tell me that the buyer was Paul, a friend of mine who used to work with me at the film club (he still does to this day). Since I liked him I thought that at least the right person got the box. I was certain the edition was by now sold out at the label, so I had to face the fact that I wasn't ever going to have the box for my collection.

The next day I worked at the store, and who drops by but Paul himself. He came straight over to me at the counter and said: "I'm sorry, but I have an unusual request. I know you don't take merchandise back, if it has been used, but could you make an exception with this Pere Ubu box? I listened to the music and it is absolutely unbearable! I will never ever listen to their music again!"

The box is now one of my most cherished possessions in my collection...

Karolin Wolter


ph: Miguel Reveriego

They Died with Their Boots On (1941)




The Hollywood version of Custer's Last Stand.

Lively, exciting and professionally made western turning the historic tragedy into a heroic saga. Errol Flynn/Olivia de Havilland's last collaboration.

Heidi Mount


ph: Paolo Roversi

Indeterminacy 17


In New York, when I was setting out to write the
orchestral parts of my Concert for Piano and
Orchestra which was performed September 19, 1958,
in Cologne, I visited each player, found out what
he could do with his instrument, discovered with
him other possibilities, and then subjected all
these findings to chance operations, ending up with
a part that was quite indeterminate of its
performance. After a general rehearsal, during which
the musicians heard the result of their several
actions, some of them — not all — introduced in the
actual performance sounds of a nature not found in
my notations, characterized for the most part by
their intentions which had become foolish and
unprofessional. In Cologne, hoping to avoid this
unfortunate state of affairs, I worked with each
musician individually and in general rehearsal was
silent. I should let you know that the conductor has
no score but has only his own part, so that, though
he affects the other performers, he does not control
them. Well, anyway, the result was in some cases
just as unprofessional in Cologne as in New York.
I must find a way to let people be free without
their becoming foolish. So that their freedom will
make them noble. How will I do this? That is the
question.

- John Cage

Sigrid Agren

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Fumina Hara

Kim (1950)



Adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic.

Colorful and lively, but very loose and not thoroughly entertaining rendering of the novel as adventure. Dean Stockwell as Kim is great, though.

Who's That Girl?