JAPAN CUTS - Festival of New Japanese Film starts this Wednesday, July 2 and runs until July 13th. Lots of great movies, subtitles, giant monsters, after-parties. Check out the LONG CUTS page for all the feature films. So far, Adrift in Tokyo is my fave, but there are lots of good ones to love.
Reading Haruki Murakami and really loving his writing. Weird, fresh, dreamy stories with interesting interlocking parts. I was wondering what it would be like if he and Miranda July had a baby. And that baby did performance art, and wrote stories, and made films, and ran marathons, and collected jazz vinyl. I would want to hang out with that baby.
I lost my phone. Not having a phone is fun. You have to come up with new ways to communicate. Email helps. Actually making plans in advance helps. But not having a phone comes with a price. A friend from out-of-town showed up for the weekend. I couldn't catch up with her - no matter how many cell phones I borrowed. Oh well. Check the skies. I'm sending you messages now via smoke signal.
One of my favorite bands is in town playing a bunch of shows - Herman Dune. I saw these guys play last at the apartment above Blue Monday in Brooklyn, and it was a great show.
Tomorrow! Outside in the park!
Sunday, June 22 - Central Park Summer Stage, 7pm to 10pm - Herman Dune will play first I think. Click the link for info and directions.
Monday, June 23 - Maxwells, Hoboken, New Jersey
Wednesday, June 25 - Union Pool
I just read this book, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson. I suppose I was ready to love it from the start - "I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had." What follows is the story of two girls, one possessed with agoraphobia and the other, the protagonist, deeply entrenched in her own fantastical world of demons, ghosts, and magic spells cast by burying coins and nailing books to trees. The great prize of this book is becoming involved in the protagonist's bizarre and macabre world. I lost my cell phone the other day and I find myself stuck in my own world without contact and confined to my home. Now more than ever, I have a drive to come out of my own world, out of my own head, and have faith and trust in the friends around me. The book is highly recommended.
Here's the most welcome return of the summer music scene - a new album from the Notwist - The Devil You and Me. It's been a long hiatus (5 or 6 years?) since these German's delivered the still fantastic album Neon Golden. This album is a step forward and a nod to everything that makes this band special - stark, sharp, electronic krautrock rapped in a puffy pop pastry.
The Notwist - Gloomy Planets
Great video here for another single from the new album.
Reading a book about witches right now. Just fiction, but still creepy. However, spooky music with the girl from Charalambides is creeping me out even more. In a good way though. Two girls on organs and faintly singing, heavy on drones for about 30 minutes. The band is called Scorces. Wild stuff. More music posts soon.
Just went today with a friend to the best indoor climbing in NYC - Manhattan Plaza Climbing Gym. 20 bucks for a day pass, 5 buck shoe rental, 55 bucks for a monthly pass if you're a student. Really fun neat gym, lots of good routes, good music, good bouldering, and a friendly staff. 3 hours flew by. I've got blisters on my fingers, and I'm a happy camper.
I loved the Roald Dahl books as a kid. The BFG was an all time favorite. I loved how smart kids got pitted against cruel, ghoulish adults and met up with strange, creepy monsters. Being a visual person, what really brought these books to life for me was the chapter illustrations by Quentin Blake. His loose style puzzled me as a kid. How could these rough drawings capture so much character? As an adult, I appreciated his style even more, realizing that the loose, natural quality of his drawing style still allowed me to create the characters in my own mind.
Recently, I was drawn to a new series of books by Trenton Lee Stewart about the Mysterious Benedict Society. Of course the cover and chapter illustrations by Carson Ellis really caught my eye. The book is a great little read with clever, resourceful kids pitted against a creepy world domination brain washing scheme. And the illustrations are the icing on the cake.
You have to love Werner Herzog. Maybe not as an actor in the scuzzy Harmony Kormine movies, but definitely as a filmmaker with his very bent, very German vision of the world. Herzog has a new movie, a documentary, Encounters at the End of the World. It's gotten some great reviews, and I'm already obsessed with the arctic and Antarctica, so I'm completely sold. It's playing at Film Forum in NYC, probably for a very limited time. During this NY heatwave, a film about Antarctica as existential space adventure sounds ideal. Check the trailer.
I find myself really tempted to buy a Lomo camera. In particular, this here Diana Edelweiss model. For those who don't know, Lomo cameras pride themselves on their faith in crumby old light-leaking plastic cameras that use real film to produce authentic, surprising, and beautiful shots. For those that do know Lomo - is it worth it? I wonder if the novelty wears off. Do you find new ways to manipulate the images, are you constantly surprised and engaged? Or do you fall back on the reliability and ease of a digital camera? Thoughts anyone?
It seems all I can post about lately is music. MUXTAPE is a new way to make mixtapes online. Thanks to Tomorrowland for the info. You can listen to everyone else's tapes too. Great for when you're tired of your itunes collection. I made this tape all with songs about night - for some reason...
For pictures of old analogue tapes, head over to www.tapedeck.org where some soul has dutifully catalogued these relics in all their plastic glory.
Just watched the movie Control last night which comes highly recommended. Brilliant, very funny, and tragic story of Joy Division and the life and death of Ian Curtis. Had no idea this story would affect me so deeply. The great part of the movie is how it captures the silly and strange world of four guys barely out high school trying to succeed as a band. Brilliant film.
Goobledigook. I cannot stop listening to this song. Don't remember the last time that happened. Just a fantastic single from Sigur Ros for the summer. This is what the band animal collective would sound like if they cared less about appearing weird and leftfield, and cared more about passionate songwriting that actually speaks to your hips and heart. This is fired up swimming hole, makeout, campfire music. And I'm ready for summer.
You can download the song for free from Sigur Ros website.