Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NYFF 2010: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Man and animal coalesce in Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s ode to a Thai of his past that greatly influences the Thai of his present

Apichatpong Weerasethakul / UK, Thailand, France, Germany, Spain / 2010 / 113m

Are we really humans, or just animals grazing about in a forest? How can we tell the difference? Are we waiting to be hunted, or are we creating a new species by having relations outside of our own? Are we just zombies, sitting in the theatre waiting to be profoundly impacted by a simple piece of art? What defines a piece of art as simple? Are we continually attempting to reach out to our past lives (even if it is subconscious)? Am I really here right now, or am I living this life somewhere else?

Based on a self-published book from 1983 and centered around a character who was fleetingly mentioned in 2004’s Tropical Malady, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives defies simple description. It exists in that rare space of cinema as a film you experience rather than view in the traditional sense. Weerasethakul overtly breaks no new ground plot-wise with Uncle Boonmee and it is clear that this is not his intent as an artist. His previous works are marked by a particular avant-garde and experimental aesthetic, and it has never been as beautifully synthesized with his ideas on art and life as it has with this film. Uncle Boonmee is a mood piece, one in which mortality and being are mused over against the backdrop of a dying man’s ghost story.

And a ghost story it is, but definitely not in the common sense. Within the first few scenes, we are introduced to Uncle Boonmee’s deceased wife and estranged son, who comes back as half-monkey half-man with laser red eyes (which prompts an honest and hysterical line about him growing out his hair). At first it is frightening to see this figure (as he pops up right before the film title’s card), but it is not long before the audience trusts him. This is in part because Boonmee, his sister-in-law Jen, and his son Tong approach the ghosts with apprehension for just a few seconds before welcoming them back into the world of the living with open arms. Weerasethakul’s success is that he forges this acceptance as fairly accessible to the audience, which makes nearly anything possibly within the realm of his filmmaking and further blurs the spheres of the living and the departed.

But this is not Weerasethakul’s sole success, of course, because we have not considered his seamless merging of man with nature. His camera frequently remains stationary and lingers on landscapes of forests and animals like water buffalo, which works in conjunction with the immersive sound design to transport the audience into these foreign places. These foreign places end up not seeming foreign at all, actually quite the opposite - they end up seeming familiar, due to Weerasethakul’s skill as a filmmaker to make time irrelevant and ignite a deep sense of site specificity the focus point. There is a universal sense of nostalgia when Weerasethakul shoots a sun descending through the trees because it is not your typical sunset, and we all have experienced it. Although this universal sense of nostalgia is pervasive in some of the sensory-heavy shots, Apichatpong allows for a personal reading as well.

What is specific to this film is part of what makes it so transcendent, like when Uncle Boonmee makes Jen taste honey (which she describes as “heaven” after walking in the sun all day) on his farm or when Weerasethakul breaks off into a thrilling and natural scene where a woman who questions her beauty begins talking to a catfish and is subsequently depicted fornicating with it. The catfish scene is not shot in a provocative or exploitative manner. It never, at any point, feels less than an ordinary way to deal with an identity crisis and not to mention it also furthers Weerasethakul’s contemplation on the convergence of man and animal.

Nearing the end frames, Uncle Boonmee makes it clear that the past affects the present and the future more than we think it does and more than we would like to believe. Weerasethakul adds a very subtle, quiet political edge when a monk takes off his robe in one of the final scenes, which could be interpreted as him dealing with his problems with the Thai government censoring his 2006 film Syndromes and a Century. This scene, among others, firmly grounds the film in Weerasethakul’s reality, a reality which becomes more glowingly optimistic and hopeful as the film progresses (the reality of a Palme d‘Or also helps, and moreover, the recognition the film has received since winning that award is astounding and invigorating).

During the Q&A, Apichatpong spoke about how every reel of film he used (which is about twenty minutes of screen time) was a different ode to his fondness for the Thai films, fables, and folklores of his childhood. His success in this department is singular: it never feels choppy or segmented, one sequence flowing into the next with relative ease and, although it may not be apparent at first, there are interrelated social and philosophical yearnings that permeate the film as a whole. The final scene begs questions about the media and cinema that other filmmakers could only dream of asking in so few words, and that is the power of Mr. Weerasethakul’s cinema - he is able to convey so much with so little.

Monday, September 20, 2010

beautiful bodies.

his beautiful body
in the last rays of the sun
he is not dancing
but his body is

mosquitus interruptus
biggest fucker i have ever seen

his body lacks the definition
of a statue
of a Greek youth
but is so much more

the outline of his form
is living
and a dog
is running
across the grass

I gravitate towards this rock
because it is closest to the 69th Street entrance.
But that is not the only reason.

If he knew I was admiring him
he might hate me
but that might only be out of fear.

Why did
that man
and carrots
in my lamb gyro?
it changes every day.

shirt back on
and back to work

but i have seen
the battle and the bruises
and i am blessed
to have had the opportunity
to do so

and now i am only sure
of the light hitting my body
and this notebook
and him
sitting beside me.
i never did see his face...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Invention of Comics, Amiri Baraka.

I am a soul in the world: in
the world of my soul the whirled
light from the day
the sacked land
of my father.

In the world, the sad
nature of
myself. In myself
nature is sad. Small
prints of the day. Its
small dull fires. Its
sun, like a greyness
smeared on the dark.

The day of my soul, is
the nature of that
place. It is a landscape. Seen
from the top of a hill. A
grey expanse; dull fires
throbbing on its seas.

The man's soul, the complexion
of his life. The menace
of its greyness. The
fire, throbs, the sea
moves. Birds shoot
from the dark. The edge
of the waters lit
darkly for the moon.

And the moon, from the soul. Is
the world, of the man. The man
and his sea, and its moon, and
the soft fire throbbing. Kind
death. O
my dark and sultry

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why I am taking African American Literature.

I was first exposed to a lengthy piece of African American writing in my eleventh grade honors English course. My teacher, Olivia Macaluso, gave all of her honors English classes a long list of authors about halfway through the school year, from which they would choose one and select a novel on which they were expected to write an extended paper weaving literary criticism with their own writing on a topic of their choice by the end of the school year. I was a little late to the game, so by the time I asked Mrs. Macaluso for recommendations on whom she supposed I would enjoy, Ralph Ellison was already taken. She then offered a few others, of which Ishmael Reed was the only one that I had a mild interest in. She warned me about students from previous years having trouble with his work, but I would not back down. I traveled about a half hour away until I finally found a bookstore that had a copy of Mumbo Jumbo available for my taking. Reed's surreal, hyper-attentive style appealed to me, and made me want to do research to understand some of the allusions he was making that I was unfamiliar with.

On October 3rd, the day I was born, of 1998, I received Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man as a present from my mother. Mind you, she did not read my mind, or anything of the sort, she just got what I had asked for a while back. I put off reading it, because I had also received two or three novels and had a difficult course load for my honors English class that year, until the summer after I graduated. That summer I took an Introduction to Cinema course at Hunter, and since I live in New Jersey I commuted four days a week, taking the bus and then the train. I remember, quite vividly, being so absorbed within the world that Ellison had constructed that I frequently forgot I was even on a train at all. I did not want it to end, and after I had finished it I thought... I wish I could be someone's boo'ful. But then I discovered, I probably was, and I just didn't know it yet.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov.

Of students' papers: "I am generally very benevolent [said Shade]. But there are certain trifles I do not forgive." Kinbote: "For instance?" "Not having read the required book. Having read it like an idiot. Looking in it for symbols; example: 'The author uses the striking image green leaves because green is the symbol of happiness and frustration.' I am also in the habit of lowering a student's mark catastrophically if he uses 'simple' and 'sincere.' This is widespread, and when I hear a critic speaking of an author's sincerity I know that either the critic or the author is a fool." Kinbote: "But I am told this manner of thinking is taught in high school?" "That's where this broom should begin to sweep. A child should have thirty specialists to teach him thirty subjects, and not one harassed schoolmarm to show him a picture of a rice field and tell him this is China because she knows nothing about China, or anything else, and cannot tell the difference between longitude and latitude." Kinbote: "Yes. I agree."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Steps, Frank O'Hara.

oh god it's wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meditations from a Boy, Meditations on a Boy.

What is the "correct" way to inspire someone? Who is to say what the correct way to inspire someone is?

Ever since I was young, I was curious... curious about my inherited physical traits, curious about the way people socially and physically interacted with each other, curious about how I thought I was supposed to be, curious about the construction of a society in which I never asked to live. Fear not, I understand that my problem is global and not just societal. Understand, I am not blaming my problem on anyone else, nor am I blaming it on myself, or the sperm and egg that produced me. For even more closure, I am not blaming it on the country in which I have lived my entire life.

I'm not very curious these days. The empirical model [of my life] means just about as much as the next decision I will make (whether to feed myself or not). That was a joke.

I know I once emphasized reason over emotion, but now I approach this way of thinking with apprehension. Recent physical exchanges have taught me to confront the issues I have with others in a more subdued manner, but I know that writing about them now would be unwise.

I must give it time to settle, or else I will not be able to forgive myself.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The City and the Pillar, Gore Vidal.

"Even so," he said quickly, "there are other things in life than being in love. Look at Jim. He's never in love, are you?"
"Of course I am. With what I want." Jim thought of Bob.
Maria was puzzled. "What do you want?"
Sullivan answered for him. "What he cannot have, like the rest of us." He turned to Maria. "Have you ever found what you wanted?"
"For a time, certainly."
"But not for long."
"No, not for long. I've failed, like everyone else."
"I suppose I may want more than any man cares to give. And sometimes I give more than any man wants to take."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Log (June-September), film and music.

[this will be updated throughout September]

films seen [theatrical/festival viewings only]:

06/04 - Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) [Film Forum]
06/12 - Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg) [IFC Center]
06/18 -
The Killer Inside Me (Michael Winterbottom) [IFC Center]
06/28 - Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich) [Clearview Caldwell Cinema 4]
07/06 - Cyrus (Jay & Mark Duplass) [Clearview Claridge Cinemas]
07/13 - Winter's Bone (Debra Granik) [Clearview Claridge Cinemas]
07/16 - A Serbian Film (Srdjan Spasojevic) [Concordia University/Montreal, QC Canada- part of the Fantasia Film Festival ]
07/17 - Eve's Necklace (Daniel Erickson, 2009) [Concordia University/Montreal, QC Canada - part of the Fantasia Film Festival]
07/20 - Inception (Christopher Nolan) [Clearview Bellevue Cinema 4]
07/27 - The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko) [Clearview Claridge Cinemas]
08/11 - Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé, 2009, director's cut) [Walter Reade Theatre - Film Society of Lincoln Center]
09/07 - The American (Anton Corbijn) [Clearview Bellevue Cinema 4]

albums bought:

06/08 - Subiza (Delorean)
06/22 - How I Got Over (The Roots)
07/06 - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Big Boi)
07/27 - Mines (Menomena)

novels read [first time reading indicated by an asterisk]:

*Juneteenth (Ralph Ellison)
*The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
The City and the Pillar (Gore Vidal)
*Pale Fire (Vladimir Nabokov)
*The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Milan Kundera)

shows attended:

06/19 - The Morning Benders with Freelance Whales and Wild Nothing at Governor's Island
07/03 - Portugal. The Man with Alberta Cross and Hopewell at Governor's Island
07/22 - The Antlers with Dinosaur Feathers at Pier 54 on Hudson River Park
07/30 - Avi Buffalo with Chad VanGaalen at South Street Seaport
08/15 - Neon Indian, Prefuse 73, Nite Jewel, DOM, and Miniature Tigers at Governor's Island

Erratical, Fanatical

you keep repeating
the same phrase
like I’m not
“getting it”

you keep denying
as I keep providing
a reasonable escape
a kaleidoscopic phase

break that down
beat beat beat

know your place
do not step out of line

follow those unwritten rules
tell him STOP
Oops, too late

rape rape rape
chk chk chk

modern malaise
heartbroken days
every day



“it’s not easy”
“it’s too easy”

Friday, May 28, 2010

2010 in film, so far.

top five 2010 films I have seen thus far this year (theatrical & festival viewings):

The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)

Greenberg (Noah Baumbach)

Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy)

Casino Jack and the United States of Money (Alex Gibney)

happythankyoumoreplease (Josh Radnor)

HM: The Oath (Laura Poitras)

Sadly, with the exception of restorations (Lang's Metropolis and Godard's Breathless), I have nothing on my to-see list until June 18th when Toy Story 3, The Killer Inside Me, and Cyrus are released. Then July brings The Kids are All Right (07/09) and Inception (07/16), nothing in August (as of now)... hopefully I'll have be able to write up some proper film analyses over the next three months (first on the list is Down by Law, I think).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spirit Youth - The Depreciation Guild (out now on Kanine Records).

This is bliss.

"Crucify You" - mp3 (via The Music Slut)
Buy Youth Spirit by The Depreciation Guild (released 5/18 on Kanine Records, available on their website/iTunes/Amazon).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Subiza - Delorean (out now digitally, in stores June 8th).

I just ordered this on the Matador Records online store and it came with an instant download of the entire album. I'm listening to it now and hoping it encompasses what my summer 2010 will be, because I'll be listening to it all summer no doubt (akin to the Ayrton Senna EP from last year).

Here's a taste (if you haven't already, it's a must): Stay Close [mp3]

...looks like I'll be Barca-Beat fist-pumping these hot nights away, one at a time.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Lucky life is like this. Lucky there is an ocean to come to.
Lucky you can judge yourself in this water.
Lucky you can be purified over and over again.
Lucky there is the same cleanliness for everyone.
Lucky life is like that. Lucky life. Oh lucky life.

Oh lucky lucky life. Lucky life.

- "Lucky Life", Gerald Stern

(above still from Lee Isaac Chung's 2010 film Lucky Life)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

the manipulation: or how I'll never be able to listen to Noah and the Whale the same again.

Tribeca kicked off Thursday night; since then I have seen a total of three films. All three viewings have been affected in some way by my deteriorating mental and physical conditions. I am eating very little these days, somewhat relying on coffee and cigarettes to get me by.

The first film I saw, Lola by Brillante Mendoza, was on Friday afternoon. I felt ambivalent to it at first, but upon reflection I think it might have been more special than I originally thought. I want to rewatch it, with a proper amount of sleep the night before, and see how I feel.

The second film I saw, The Chameleon by Jean-Paul Salomé, was on Friday night. It made me angry. Everything about it I pretty much found repulsive (not content wise, although they did sensationalize the material). It was laughable, and I do not think I would be able to watch it again if I tried.

The third film I saw, Meskada by Josh Sternfeld, was mediocre-to-bad. It was a very by-the-books crime drama, nothing special about it. Nick Stahl was adequate.

The fourth film I saw, Sons of Perdition by Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten, was actually good. My bad streak has temporarily ended. It was a documentary about subject matter that I know little about but it engaged me the majority of the running time.

My lack of sleep is due to manipulation. The manipulator doesn't quite understand me, or himself, to know what the point is, or what the outcome of his manipulation would be. The collateral damage should not be collateral damage, but this is the way it works with people sometimes. I am still myself, he is still him, and doomed to be him for the rest of his life.

I've been avoiding this English paper up until now, but I'm finding it, like I usually do with English papers, therapeutic to write. I am thankful for that. Now to get some food in my body, until next time...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Function of Marxism in Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin féminin (1966).

French New Wave enfant terrible Jean-Luc Godard’s admiration for Karl Marx and his ideas can be charted through most, if not all, of his filmography. In 1966’s Masculin féminin, however, there is a clear distinction between Godard and Marxist philosophy. One of the film’s many intertitles reads “Philosopher and filmmaker share a way of being, an outlook on life that embodies a generation.” This is, in a sense, true when looking at Godard and Marx - both were successful radicals, the former a filmmaker whose films expressed the revolutionary ideas of his generation and the latter a social reformer and philosopher whose writings similarly expressed controversial views that have been studied and accepted as reality for generations. Masculin féminin takes on a philosophy of its own that incorporates Marx’s idea on the alienation of the proletariat and his critique of capitalism with Godard’s own critique of value judgments, among other conceptions on sex, art, and politics. These critiques and theories are channeled through the characters of the film, their expression through dialogues and actions, and the telling nature of the way image and sound coalesce to create meaning beyond the frame.

Masculin féminin was released with the subtitle “15 faits précis” which translates to “15 precise facts” in English. This is only the beginning of Godard’s obsession with adopting the structural revolutions of 20th century poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht. Masculin féminin does not relay 15 precise facts about its subjects to its audience, moreover it relates a number of philosophical standpoints which are aided by intertitles, the purpose of which is for clarity but sometimes just leads to further confusion. Godard’s lens does, in fact, capture a narrative in which anti-bourgeoisie ex-army recruit Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud) courts up-and-coming yé-yé singer Madeleine (Chantal Goya) to disappointing results. The film focuses on their relationship, along with Madeleine’s friends Catherine and Elisabeth. Godard frequently branches off into non-sequiturs, which allow his film to be infused with his numerous philosophies and carry with it a sense of unique urgency absent in the cinema of today.

Paul is fascinated with Marx, and lives primarily by way of the Marxist philosophy. This is not to say that he does not have his own ideas, but he is very much a slave to his Marxist doctrine. In the first scene of the film, Paul speaks to Madeleine about how he is currently working at a chemical plant. He deplores the adverse working conditions, citing the fact that management has done away with breaks to increase output as an example of how awful they are. He also abhors the life of the working class, saying that it is nothing but work, eating, sleep, and more work. Godard, through Paul, even pokes fun at the exploitation of nature, of which Marx also had a problem. Paul has no investment in what he is producing, which is in accordance with Marx saying, “the worker relates to the product of his labor as to an alien object.” Paul is conscious that he is being taken advantage of and exploited by the bourgeoisie, and he actively speaks out against it all throughout the duration of the film. Paul’s activism is a means to an end, though, which goes along with Marx saying, “For the proletarians, on the other hand, the condition of their existence, labor, and with it all the conditions of existence governing modern society, have become something accidental, something over which they, as separate individuals, have no control, and over which no social organization can give them control.” Paul, as a separate individual and as a member of specific social organizations, has no control over the conditions by which he must live.

Madeleine is the complete opposite of Paul, valuing capital and material commodities over social activism. She hopes that her record sells so that she can buy a fancy, expensive car. She loves Coca-Cola and has a fondness for pop culture, especially that of the American variety. She derides Jean-Paul Sartre as reading for rich schoolgirls who do not go out “because their bourgeois parents keep them locked up.” Marx scorns capitalism, saying that, “Within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productiveness of labor are brought about at the cost of the individual laborer.” He goes on to say that, “they [the producers] mutilate the laborer into a fragment of a man.” Masculin féminin challenges the idea that two people with completely different ideologies can form a lasting relationship.

Jean-Luc Godard depicts Madeleine as a frivolous girl, but he is not completely unsympathetic to her condition, unlike Paul. Her blind consumption of American pop culture, and life in general, is seen as a crack in her very foundation by Paul, but it is also what makes her charming to Godard. He questions why Madeleine, and her Coca-Cola generation, are so apathetic to the outside world. This is more vividly and honestly depicted during a segment in which Paul interviews a young beauty contest winner and asks her questions pertaining to birth control, socialism, and war. Her response is passive, disinterested, and foundationless. The way Godard frames her, though, in front of a window with natural light flooding in, emphasizes her physical beauty. Godard, and Paul, do not detest America as much as they are fascinated by it. Paul supports the American youth’s protesting of Vietnam. The problem with Madeleine is that she does not ask questions, while Paul is always on an inquisitive prowl of sorts. The fact that Madeleine’s work is personal to her, she expresses herself through her music, makes her more of a contradictory figure in light of Marx’s philosophy.

Godard, like Marx, understands the function of capitalism in a society. Godard, unlike Marx, does not romanticize a future classless society. He understands that this is an impossible end goal. At the end of the film, he comes to the conclusion that the problem with any society will be that everyone has their own set of value judgments. He also understands that calling for the abolition of value judgments is out of the question, as then people would have nothing to believe in. The notorious quote that Masculin féminin is known for is actually a series of intertitles that arrive near the end of the film saying, “This film could be called The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola.” The more important title card, however, comes a few seconds afterwards saying, “Understand what you will.” The last scene has Madeleine being asked questions about Paul‘s death, and it is revealed that the rumor of her pregnancy is true. What is she to do with the child? Her friend recommends a “clothing rod” abortion, but Madeleine does not know what she will do. Well at least she has a choice, but unfortunately people will not be able to resist making judgments on her moral values.

[all screenshots taken on VLC media player from privately stolen Criterion disc]

Thursday, April 15, 2010

rub down that set, son.

so let me hammer this point home
i see us all as lonely fires that have burned alive as long as we remember
but like all fireworks and all sunsets, we all burn in different ways
you are a fast explosion and i am the embers
and though your flames are quick and mean, they will not last the year,
but expire like a sudden falling star
that only nightingales had seen, before migrating to southern jungles
and in this way you will come find me in December

he said he'd like to move to Nashville to master the guitar
where he would live a single day the way i live a single year
covered his body in mud, went hunting for the sun
then went swimming in the lake of holy water
oh you are too hot for me, i am too slow for you
you are a fast explosion and i'm the embers
you need the one who slowly burns, and burns to stay alive
and in this way you will come find me in December

so let me hammer this point home
i see us all as lonely fires that have burned alive as long as we remember
but like all sacrificial virgins, we all burn in different ways
you are a fast explosion and i'm the embers
and though your flames are quicker than me, they will not last the year,
but expire like a sudden shooting star
that only nightingales had seen, before transforming into bluebirds
and in this way you will come find me in December

...this is one of the most profound songs of the past decade. So for now, I am out for a night of excess. Until next time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

balancing acts abound.

In the sincerest tone I am capable of, I am sorry to all of my followers for not blogging on this blog for the past month and not even telling you all about my new blog (which is, by the way, http://akadaniel.tumblr.com/).

I will attempt to update this blog more often, but it really depends on a few things.

1.) the teetering level of interest in my schoolwork (my last final is on Monday May 24th).
2.) the teetering level of interest in my social life.
3.) the teetering level of interest I have in writing analytically on film and music.
4.) my [impersonal] working status.
5.) my [personal] working status.
and finally
6.) my memory/remembering to blog on this blog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NJ Transit is the spawn of Satan.

The bus I was coming home from school today broke down about a mile away from the bus station. I, along with everyone else on the bus, walked the rest of the way back, which involved crossing a highway going both ways. That was fun.

On the bus ride home I listened to all of This Is a Stick Up... Don't Make It a Murder. There is a journal entry from May 12, 2006 that I found online but I know it's from about a month or so earlier that year. I know this because that album was released April 11, 2006 and this was soon after it was released. I evidently was listening to it while lying on a radiator in computer class freshman year. It reminds me of you, even though I don't think you particularly liked or disliked them.

I think I have figured out my clapping problem. I remember almost every day of freshman year you used to clap all the time during science class (actually, I think it was during most classes I had with you). Sometimes you did it to the tune of Ben Lee's "Catch My Disease". I think I caught that from you.

I still wonder sometimes what happened during the summer of 2004. I know I should not, and I am one hundred percent sure I do not need closure on this, but I do wonder. That is all.

In other news, Shutter Island was a complete and crushing disappointment. A.O. Scott is pretty much spot on when he says "the plot of which does not so much thicken as clog and coagulate". With such a stacked cast, including the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, and Patricia Clarkson, you wonder what went wrong. I don't want to pour all the blame on the likes of Scorsese, because I'm pretty sure the screenplay, written by Laeta Kalogridis, is a big source of the problem. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I am the master of astronomy.

I saw a woman who resembled my eleventh grade English teacher reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being on the 6 train today. It made me smile. I came home to a package from Drag City today; yes, it is the new Joanna Newsom record, Have One On Me. I cannot wait to listen to it in its entirety. I wonder if it will knock Heartland off the top spot of my favorite album of the year thus far. I also convinced Karyn to buy House of Leaves today from Borders. I am excited to see what her reaction to it will be. I have plans to see Shutter Island on Wednesday with a few people. The wait has been, and is still killing me. Until then...

Bonus: Grizzly Bear covered Hot Chip's "Boy From School" - mp3 (thanks to prettymuchamazing)

Monday, February 15, 2010

House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski.

Y g g

What miracle is this? This giant tree.
It stands ten thousand feet high
But doesn't reach the ground. Still it stands.
It's roots must hold the sky.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

First day of class, as a commuter.

With the exception of going to the wrong room for Media Production (I should have known when the professor started talking about Anthropology), my first day of classes as a commuter went exceptionally well. On Thursdays, I have four out of my five classes - which might make it seem like a long day, which it is and it isn't. Yes, I do have to wake up at 5:30am and catch the 6:30am bus... but the fact that I only have class three days a week saves this from being a complete bust (on my part with the scheduling of my classes). My Philosophy teacher, Professor Kilivris, was completely down to earth - but also presented us with our first ice breaker of the day. The variety of favorite songs and films of the moment was, to be honest, quite baffling - ranging from "Hearing Damage" by Thom Yorke to "Superman" by Eminem, and Righteous Kill to (500) Days of Summer. I went with "Winter '05" by Ra Ra Riot as my current favorite song, although it is quite clearly not. I think I was just inspired to say it by the snow falling outside, and the fact that that season of that year seems to be, upon reflection, a pivotal year in my life. I guess my favorite song of the moment, that I only heard yesterday, would be "Odessa" by Caribou, which will be on their upcoming album Swim.

After Philosophy is when I began making mistakes, none too awful. First, I forgot my pea coat in my Philosophy classroom, so I had to run back there to get it. Then I went to the wrong room for my aforementioned Media Production course, so I arrived at the right classroom roughly twenty minutes late. My teacher gave me a syllabus, and a classmate from last semester, Ian, helped me log onto the Mac I chose in the computer lab. Our first assignment is an artist's statement - which seems pretty juvenile, but I guess I enjoy doing assignments like it... even though I know whatever I try and express will be a jumble of words which no one will understand.

After Media, I had a short break so I met up with Sasha. We went to the cart outside Hunter North and got bagels, and I got coffee. Note: From now on I am using my Sundance bottle for water - firstly so I do not have to pay for water all the time, secondly so I can reduce bottled water waste and contribute to saving the environment.

Next came Astronomy, wherein the teacher began teacher within the first ten minutes. This kind of bugged me because no one had a textbook already, and he did not exactly succeed in making me interested in Astronomy, as I was hoping. At least I have a friend in this class - don't know what I would do if I didn't. I'd probably fall asleep, and have no one to get the work from.

Then came another break before Introduction to Literature, with my Expository Writing teacher from last semester, Ms. Baish. During this break, I went with Colleen to Shakespeare & Co. and got all of my books, except for the edition for Macbeth I need that I ordered off Amazon. I also need to find out what textbook I need for American Government. My Astronomy textbook was $126.50. What a waste - but I shouldn't speak too soon.

Introduction to Literature was fun. We introduced ourselves and our favorite books - I said Death in Venice, even though I think Naked Lunch is probably my favorite. Actually, I really can't rank my top three - the third being Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. We ended the class by going over what a sonnet is, and then I quickly scurried out of the class to come home to my bed. Right now, I should get to work and begin my assignments - Plato reading, sonnet readings and responses, and Astronomy Chapter 1. Until next time... ciao.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sundance: A trip in photographs.

the wait list line at Eccles Theatre for the world premiere of HOWL, did not get in but met some cool people.

snow and tree capped mountains of Park City, Utah.

"this is cinematic rebellion" - inside Racquet Club Theatre.

a snowy side street off Main Street, the main strip in Park City.

Gaspar Noé, director of Enter the Void, with actors Nathaniel Brown and Paz de la Huerta.

Josh Radnor, writer, director, and actor of happythankyoumoreplease.

Rodrigo Cortés, director, Chris Sparling, writer, and Ryan Reynolds, (the only) star of Buried.

Sundance Film Festival 2010 - no sleep, just film.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nightmares and delusions of grandeur.

I have recently been imbued with a feeling that is so fleeting for me, a feeling that I can actually change the world one person at a time. A detective I have become, willing to put my time and energy into cracking this case that has been open since August and which will have a hole burnt in it by June. I'm not worried, though. I will wait and see where it leads me.

I feel like I should be supporting a family; holding two jobs, what do I do with this money? For now, I'll put it in the bank and act like it doesn't exist until I need it for transportation to and from school come the end of this month.

Last night I had a dream about Stanley Tucci raping and killing me, ala The Lovely Bones (which I do not plan on seeing; I really just want to hear Brian Eno's score). It was creepy and rooted in strange suburban values.

When I woke up I thought I heard my mother speaking about my grandmother; I quickly fell back asleep and dreamt that my grandmother had passed. When I awoke again my house was empty. My mother arrived home a few hours later to deliver some awful news about another member of my family, which I feel uncomfortable disclosing on this blog.

Tonight I am seeing Owen Pallett (formerly Final Fantasy) at Bowery Ballroom with Samira; tomorrow I am seeing Vampire Weekend (for the second time) at Bowery (again) with Kevin. I look forward to both nights of music; let's hope that humanity does not get in the way. Thursday I take off for Park City, where I will try my best to update on all the films I see.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Facebook Stalker Manifesto.

It’s funny how these social networking sites, like Facebook, are supposed to help people keep in touch. I am not one of those people. I admittedly have a Facebook, but it helps me less with keeping in touch with people and more with stalking them.

This becomes problematic when the people I’m stalking know I’m stalking them. With new applications like “Profile Watcher”, anybody with a Facebook can find out who is looking at their profile. Is this information correct? Who knows, all I know is it makes me worried that people may know I’m looking at their profile or through their endlessly boring photo albums.

Or does it, really? I can’t say I’m really worried, because first of all not everyone adds these applications. Secondly, what do I care if my classmates from high school know how many times I go on their profile or through their pictures?

Finally, and most importantly, I actually do wonder what the people I stalk think. The people in non-question are people I do not see on a daily basis; the people in question are the people I do.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking forward to: Greenberg.

Click here to watch the trailer.

Release date: March 12, 2010 (limited)
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Written by: Noah Baumbach
Story by: Jennifer Jason Leigh & Noah Baumbach
Starring: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Mark Duplass, Chris Messina, Jennifer Jason Leigh

And to cap it all off, new music by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem (who makes a subtle appearance in the trailer; cookie for anyone who spots him).