Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Oh, come on, you know you like it.

So, it looks like David J is still slated to make an appearance in Ramzi Abed's Black Dahlia film, scheduled for release sometime in my lifetime.

I had blogged about this before, when someone purporting to be Ramzi Abed posted on David's message board and said David was no longer involved in the project because he was afraid it might be damaging to his career. But if that was truly the case, it looks like everything has been smoothed over, because David is now listed as a "consulting producer" (what is that exactly?) and as having a role in the film (as "David").

In addition to these J bits, the theme song for the film is also written by David (and sung by Nora Keyes) and is quite good. It has some of those classic David J elements -- quirky, wistful, old world instrumentation, dark and clever lyrics, ominous synthesizer then *BANG*

You can hear it on Abed's Black Dahlia website -- just click on "media" and then "soundtrack sample." There may be other songs by David on the soundtrack -- Abed used Thievery Corporation's remix of David's song "The Auteur" for one of his previous trailers, and David won an award from the Los Angeles Horror Film Festival for the soundtrack, but who knows what will make the final cut.

I am super excited about the soundtrack, but I just don't know about the film -- it still looks poorly acted and sort of like a bad blue movie to me. Only judging from trailers though, so who knows. I can definitely respect the hard work and love Abed and his crew have put into it, only to have a bigger studio, higher budget Black Dahlia film yank the limelight away, but ehhhhhhhhh. I suppose it almost can't do any worse than Da Palma's in terms of reviews though.

I read an interesting book recently about Elizabeth Short's murder and the possible suspects, Exquisite Corpse -- Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder. The book's main theme is suspect George Hodel's close relationship with surrealist artist Man Ray, and it tries to make a connection between Elizabeth Short's murder and surrealist art. It posits that the murder may have been a deranged attempt at the ultimate surrealist act, "to one-up the leading surrealist artists of the day."

The book has pics of the murder scene and juxtaposes it with pre and post Black Dahlia murder work by Man Ray, Dali, etc., and includes visual and narrative portraits of the physical and social environs back then and its players -- Vincent Price, Henry Miller, Orson Welles.

The pics of her body are so awful that I will not post them, but they really do make for a striking study when compared with surrealist works, especially Man Ray. The authors make some really good points. I think this would make a fascinating film. I may not be the only one. Apparently New Line Cinema bought rights to George Hodel's son's book in which he also implicates his father, so we may see yet another Black Dahlia film in the chute soon.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Okay, just because I can't stand looking at myself in my profile smiling at the admittedly beautiful but politically loaded Japanese military flag, I have to post again.

Trevor says (contrary to popular belief -- my words, not his), that I am becoming one with the Tao. Straight up, yo. He also says that I am inclined toward melancholy, which he says he was put on this earth to remedy.

Oh, how I love him.

But, I asked, how can one be prone to melancholy, yet be one with the Tao? He says he feels my Yin and Yang are usually in balance, and that he considers me one of the most balanced people he knows, but every now and then Yin overflows. He says he thinks it's a habit, that I haven't always been this way. But it feels like I have.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, this melancholy. It's hardly ever crushing, but I can see why Trevor calls it a habit -- it's almost soothing sometimes.

I blame another habit for the melancholy -- introspection.

Sure, you can introspect yourself to the point of it being worthless -- criticizing yourself as wrong in everything you do or even the exact opposite. But for me, most of the time introspection is something I really value for everything from checking myself before I wrickety-wreck myself (Thanks O'Shea!), to keeping me from horribly freaking out about things I cannot change, to attempting to inject calm and lucidity into fear or anger or sadness or strife. I guess I think it helps me to see more clearly the Way. So maybe it's not always melancholy that I am feeling, but the (still-foreign to me) placidity of the void.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

So, one with the Tao. Working on it. Er, or not working on it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The fact that we have held on so lovingly to the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education, which were created when we were under the occupation of Allied forces and before we became independent, only proves that we are still under the mind control of the occupation forces.

-- Abe Shinzo

Oh, HELL no.

It’s exactly like Bush all over again, only the East rather than the West is getting the shaft this time. Say hello to more visits to Yasukuni Shrine, more revisionist Japanese textbooks cranking out more clueless nationalists or apathetic model citizens, and more talk of Japan amending their constitution to negate Article 9 and again formalize their military. Say goodbye to any hope for progress in Japan/everyone-else-in-proximity-to-Japan relations. I hope I am wrong, but what does history tell us about a consummate politician with no tangible vision elected on a platform of fear and nationalistic fervor?

And why would Japan need to militarize again? Oh yes, because the rest of Asia is still pissed off that Japan's "effort to save them from the West" -- or, if you're not a Japanese tool, Japan's systematic butchering into submission of East Asia -- has not been acknowledged properly nor apologized for. Oh, and lest we forget, Japan also needs to protect itself from everyone who isn't Japanese. Why, remember the wise words of Abe's nationalist crony Ishihara Shintaro, the governor of Tokyo, when he asserted that Nanking never happened and was fabricated by the lowly Chinese, who, don't you know, have criminality etched into their DNA, which complements nicely his belief that foreigners are the majority of who commits crimes in Japan? My personal favorite nationalistic bile is Ishihara's theory that women who can no longer bear children are worthless to Japanese society.

Just like countries and politics almost everywhere in these ironically insular times, Japan is a silly boys club wanting to wave their dicks about, placating the masses with rhetoric and fear, while the country spirals down the shithole. Meh.


You know me, always wanting to leave on a high note. This cheers me up, or rather, combats the distressing vision of the future that I have when confronted with the above. Hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

These are a few of my favorite things right now...

I just recently got turned on to The Knife, a Swedish brother and sister electronica duo. The stuff I've heard from them is really cool. Actually, it's more kind of strange and sometimes disturbing, but also fun. Their main beats are sometimes eighties throwbacks, and sometimes totally weird and fresh, but they have such curious vocals that it makes their stuff feverish and otherworldly. Their latest album, Silent Shout has been on constant rotation since I picked it up. Check it out if you haven't already!

I've heard they were touring, and that they'd only done a few shows even though they are currently on their third album, and that they don't care for public appearances, so naturally I was like, hell yeah, I'm checking this shit out! Goo, three shows in the States, one in NY (sold out), one in SF (sold out) and one in LA (not sold out but I won't travel like that for this). Oh well, at least I have my cold hard vinyl.

The Knife, Silent Shout

Easy Star All*Stars are various artists from Easy Star Records in NYC. They reimagined Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon as a reggae album and aptly called it Dub Side of the Moon. I have this (but not in red, green, or gold colored vinyl!), and it is awesome. Now they've done the same with Radiohead's OK Computer. The album has been dubbed (heehee) Radiodread. So picking this up.

Easy Star All*Stars, No Surprises

My friend Shoko's band, Experimental Dental School, released their second full length album, 2 1/2 Creatures recently, and now they're looking at a US-wide release for this little gem on October 17. Greg Saunier of Deerhoof (my, that man is getting around) guests on 4 songs.

Fun fun fun, all circusey and distorted and full of surprises. Did I mention fun?

Listen to it here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Attended Rusty and Ken's book release party yesterday at Diesel, A Bookstore for their new title, Paraspheres, from their baby, Omnidawn Publishing.

Paraspheres was conceived of and published as a way to expose Latin America's magical realism literary styles and themes on a more global scale, and is flying the flag of the "New Fabulists." Of course, there are many gringo authors who have been writing in this style for some time, most notably one of my favorites, Rikki Ducornet (who also lends her words to this anthology as well as the introduction) but this is one of the first anthologies to surface, and it is very well done.

Superb pieces at the reading, all different, all touching and complex in their own way, and all with that enchanting glint of magic running like a vein of gold throughout. Amongst the 7 readers -- all excellent -- Charlie Anders spoke as one of a power couple (she a med student, he a law student), mad for each other's love but unable to reconcile their equally mad schedules in order to capitalize on that love, and their so-crazy-it-just-might-work scheme to take turns in cryogenic freezing to allow the other to complete their studies and preserve their love for a later, less hectic date. Carol Schwalberg regaled us with the story of Annie, an artist no longer struggling to make ends meet, but with the guilt over her Jewish identity amid a marriage to a good, safe, secure, but ultimately boring Protestant named Frank, and her dreamtime visitations from the strict and oh so Orthodox Moish, who wants to marry her and make her the proper Jewish girl she never was. And Laura Moriarty, poet and Deputy Director at Small Press Distribution stunned with an excerpt from her latest book, Ultravioleta -- a poem, a war, a narrative, a song, and a science fiction novel all as one.

Pick up Paraspheres directly from Omnidawn, Small Press Distribution, or Diesel, A Bookstore (links above). And if you're local to the Bay or visiting San Francisco soon, check out Omnidawn's second reading for Paraspheres on Thursday, September 28 at City Lights Books, where Rikki Ducornet will be flying in from Colorado to read her contribution. See you there.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

My friend Jon is an illustrator and artist and he just submitted a tee shirt design to Threadless. If you haven't seen Threadless before, I recommend it. It's a really cool site where you can get limited edition tees with graphics created by regular arty schmos like you and me.

If you decide he is indeed worthy, please give him some love and vote for his design over there. It's up for the next 4 days.

Who doesn't love a mollusk?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time to pimp my friends again. No joke though, sometimes I am almost rendered speechless at how supremely awesome some of the people I am blessed to call peeps really are. In this installment, Sarah Hobstetter.

I just went to Sarah's housewarming at her bitchin' new aparto, near the majestic Grand Lake Theater, and the "Jewel of Oakland," Lake Merritt. We oohed and aahed over her beautiful new top-floor place, and crawled out her window onto the roof to say goodbye to the sun and greet the fog rolling into the hills with Tecate and Shermans as her boyfriend Rene spun soul and reggae 45s. This woman knows how to live!

So, I know Sarah is a striking painter, aspiring architect, and just kickass person in general. So very genuine. Halfway through the night she tells us she's fencing competetively again. Again? She talks a little to us about fencing as a child, and briefly about some college fencing escapades.

We rattle her sabres around and Sarah shows us the finer points of proper footwork, etc., and she offers to get us into her club to play around with the fencing equipment (YAY!).

Surfing around the internets today to properly pimp Sarah's portfolio website, I find this:

In 2000, Sarah Hobstetter takes 7th at NCAA Nationals in Epee and in doing so becomes Brown Fencing's first ever All-American.

That modest little mouse. Who knew?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"The one thing I would want to be remembered for is passion and enthusiasm. Conservation is my life, my job, my whole persona."

Steve Irwin, 1962-2006. You were beloved and will be remembered. Rest in peace.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My god. Just listened to 5 tracks from the new Xiu Xiu album due out September 12, The Air Force. Oh my god. These songs are fucking fantastic. I can't say it much better than what is said in the excellent press release from Kill Rock Stars. I can definitely give props to some of their points though.

Xiu Xiu is lush but cold, and like a sample symphony, full of earnestness and angst yet really really visceral. The songs sigh while they're burning you with a cigarette. There's humanity to it, a humanity that isn't airbrushed or dolled up or waiting for the right guy. Jamie Stewart's vocals are so palpable -- cutting, spooky, or even goofy at some times, and absolutely tragic at others. But altogether the symphonic sound, crescendos, and then quietude, coupled with his startling vocals makes the songs curl up inside you.

Xiu Xiu did a cover of All We Ever Wanted by Bauhaus that I posted a while back. The best cover of Bauhaus I've heard, no joke. Xiu Xiu took this beloved, simple song full of wistfulness and saudade from a band that burned hard and fast for 4 albums and is almost untouchable in their innovation from that time, and they made it even more powerful in a different way, while keeping the core elements. The song is more insistent. Xiu Xiu made that song their own. Not many bands can say that for a cover.

Plus, they are from the South Bay, yo. And another Bay Area musician, Greg Saunier, from another fabulous band, Deerhoof, is producing the album.

I can't stop listening to the tracks. This album sounds more accessible than past albums to me, which isn't a bad thing, since some of their work is almost too intense for casual listening. I could play this all day long. It really sounds brilliant.

NP: Bishop, CA from Xiu Xiu's The Air Force