Friday, September 22, 2006

Four Hours, Well Spent

Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film - a great and complete analysis of his career (without commentary from celebs and former superstars) - courtesy of PBS Thirteen.

(Of course, they did whimp out and bleep the title of his film Blowjob - guess that's not cool for public broadcasting...for all intents and purposes, though, the allusion to the act was still intact.)

Above: Stills from Chelsea Girls

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Light Kept Him Company

This post is in fond memory of Sven Nykvist, arguably one of the greatest cinematographers in the history of film. According to the Times, he past away yesterday in Sweden. He frequently photographed films for Ingmar Bergman and later Woody Allen (the latter during his "Bergman"-fueled mid-career phase - Crimes and Misdemeanors and Another Woman being the best examples).

Highly suggested: Persona.

Pretentious, maybe...but downright earth-shaking and radical in its use of photography - which drives the plot unlike any other film. The opening sequence - even today - is stunning.

Filmography at IMDB

Also suggested - a very thorough and moving documentary about his life: Light Keeps Me Company.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ode to Narrative Television (Or, Requiem for Reality)

Oh, idiot box,
How do I love thee?
Well, honestly, stud,
Now that you're well
Into your fifties,
And you're chasing skirts
And you're lying and cheating
Now more than ever
And you're banging up
Anything for a buck,
I have to say
With some regret,
You're not one to ripen
With age, my friend.
You were cuter
When you were young.

(Oh, who am I to kid -
You're just slow to come
To your Second Act -
So, hasten the deed,
Make it quick -
Axe reality and
Focus on quality,
Not on shit.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Like Today, But Warmer. (Or, Five)

It was an intoxicatingly beautiful day - no clouds, all sun, full-blown lingering Summer - which made the events of September 11, 2001 all the more painful. On sunny September days since then (especially like today), I can't help but be thrown right back to that (other-in-all-capitals) day.

Oddly enough, I was on a bus in New Jersey when it happened.

My then-employer had scheduled a "bonding outing" that particular Tuesday at a luxe country club in Northern New Jersey. I was reluctant to go, since I had mentally checked out of the job months before when a horrible round of layoffs left the company in shambles. The outing was meant to bring the remaining staff together in ways seemingly important to the executives that cook these things up at pre-pre breakfast meetings or too many clandestine Scotch-and-sodas behind closed doors at lunchtime "meetings" or post-work expensed dinners or post-post work trips to strip clubs. Playing golf and tennis with the boys in charge was supposedly going to make amends for ripping a company in two to "bolster the bottom line."

So, that's how I got to be in New Jersey. Our charted bus arrived at the country club just before the second plane struck the second tower. We were already glued to the televisions in the club's dining room by then. I spent the day with the coworkers and bosses I was attempting to flee - trying to find meaning staring at images of our city - from which I had unintentionally escaped for that Day of Days.

Occasionally, I would go outside to smoke, finding no relief in the over-rendered beauty of the golf course. My mind at the time - given the images of destruction we were all overwhelmed with - could only think about the amount of manpower it took to keep a landscape so perfect looking.

Even nature that day was unnatural.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Very Necessary (Or, Sojourn, Er, Truth)

I should take a moment to apologize. I haven't even tried to be remotely funny here in quite some time. There are more than a few reasons for this (a meaty one: having a blog has become something of a social disease), but mainly I've stopped writing because I've been (perhaps obsessively) watching too many documentaries about the State of the Nation. The following should be necessary viewing for every American at this point in time:

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

Why We Fight

Helen's War (About the incomparable Dr. Helen Caldicott and her fight against the War in Iraq from 2002-2003)

The Trials of Henry Kissinger

Look, summer's over - so put the trashy paperbacks away and get down, get down with how far down we've slumped in the last six years.

I'm also taking bets on some other "Liquids on a Plane!!" style horseshit faux-disaster to strike before the November elections.

Karl Rove and Co. are anything but subtle.