Re-Animate Me, Part 2!

January 9, 2018

The history of my personal love for animation (and the history of the Annual Animation Show of Shows) is laid out in my review for the 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows.

The newest collection of animated shorts had its initial premiere screening in Fall 2017. It was then shown at the Quad Cinema in January 2018. Unlike last year -- when there was only a single showing of the collection, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia on the Upper West Side -- this year the show ran for two weeks, with two to four screenings per day.

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Helene Pavlopoulou: Dithyrambs of Liberty

Helene Pavlopoulou’s Dithyrambs of Liberty series fits into the post-modern art paradigm in that it is inclusive of other cultures and periods. Globalization with its many cultural influences has impacted not only her work, but that of most artists around the world. This blurring of borders, geographies, cultural tendencies, and categories has been the cause for Pavlopoulou’s fluid re-creation of an artistic language that addresses contemporary issues like alienation, the electronic revolution, and political turmoil. Read more »

Coital Exchanges

Written and directed by Kyoung H. Park P
resented by Kyoung's Pacific Beat at The Tank, NYC
January 11-27, 2018

"Radical" may not the first descriptor that most people would instinctively assign to the word "love," but it is precisely that pairing, in its multiplicity of meanings, that lies at the heart of Pillowtalk, by Chilean-born Korean playwright Kyoung H. Park, whose company Kyoung's Pacific Beat dedicates itself to promoting a culture of peace and serving as a conduit for marginalized voices. Pillowtalk, making its world premiere at the recently relocated and expanded The Tank as part of the Exponential festival, which showcases NY-based artists, delves deeply, fearlessly, and often hilariously into the marital life of crusading Asian-American journalist Buck (JP Moraga) and his African-American ex-athlete husband, Sam (Basit Shittu). Park, who also directs, provides the audience with a dramatic look at the specific relationship between two incisively drawn individuals while reminding us that the personal is even more political for some couples. Read more »

Crumb Transmutes Kafka

 crumb-kafka-book Kafka By R. Crumb & Dave Zane Mairowitz (Kitchen Sink Press)

Franz Kafka was the master of the transformation, the dive into darkness, the unpeeling, the alchemical combination of right and wrong, up and down, matter of fact and out of your mind. Which is why, were he with us in the flesh, I'm sure he would approve of the Kismet that brought his story (and his stories) together with artist R. Crumb. It is an artistic marriage made in heaven -- well, to be precise, in hell. Read more »

A Talent To Amuse

Andrew Heard 21st August 1958 - 9th January 1993

The artist Andrew Heard was a combination of contrasts, contradictions and charm. Although his large immensely detailed canvases referenced quintessentially English topics, it is a testament to their brilliance of construction that the viewer didn't need to know who his subjects were in order to be engaged by them. Usually British actors, comedians and neglected television personalities held centre stage. It helped, enhanced and enriched the viewing experience if you knew them, but as he was more successful in Europe, the references were secondary to the visual impact of the work. Heard had more recognition in Germany where his paintings sold well via the Friedman-Guinness Gallery in Frankfurt, he also exhibited at Turske & Turske in Zurich, where the essentially English comic Arthur Askey held little in the way of a visual translation abroad. His work was initially monochromatic and stark but developed into a cavalcade of color. Andrew Heard's pictures are layered, complex and deeply emotional, littered with references both subtle and profane. The term exquisite could be applied to many of his works. They remain a gift to the eyes. Read more »

Bless The Weather

The Snow Queen
Written by Matt Opatrny
Directed by Jessica Burr
Presented by Blessed Unrest at New Ohio Theatre, NYC
December 31, 2017-January 14, 2018

It seems fitting that The Snow Queen opened against the backdrop of New York's most frigid New Year's Eve in decades. Luckily, it deserves a very warm reception. Developed with the aid of a residency at the New Victory Theater and the advice of a class of fourth-graders, The Snow Queen entertainingly adapts Hans Christian Andersen's 19th-century tale, to which it adheres fairly closely in its major events while refocusing a few of its key elements, including the symbolic subtext of its central characters' journeys. The final product is a delightful balance of comedy, adventure, and just a tinge of melancholy. Read more »

Quote of the Week: David Lynch

blue_lynch"I don't like the word ironic. I like the word absurdity, and I don't really understand the word 'irony' too much. The irony comes when you try to verbalize the absurd. When irony happens without words, it's much more exalted."

David Lynch (20 January 1946) - American director, screenwriter, producer, painter, musician, actor, and photographer. Check out his TV series Twin Peaks!

Album of the Year: Cameron Blake - Fear Not

Sometimes music can surprise you when you least expect it to... and so it goes that my family and I were driving home from our Christmas visit in Akron, Ohio and I was bored out of my mind on Interstate 80 -- somewhere in the middle of snow-covered Pennsylvania -- when I decided to play a CD from the Michigan-based singer/songwriter Cameron Blake. What is this, I thought? Rufus Wainwright's twin or Scott Walker's protégé, or Tim Hardin's ghost or... you get my musical reference drift, oui? Somewhat lazy, but a starting point. Yet, he is his own poet. And that voice, like Matt Wilson of Semisonic/Trip Shakespeare, or Tim Buckley, clear and pristine tenor, riding his melodies effortlessly. Damn, I wish I had his voice. What it could do with my songs, but alas it is his and his alone and I am thankful that I have found it before the end of 2017 and that I can carry it with me into the optimism of 2018. And his songs make your mind soar, soar all over our uncharted landscape. Yes, these 12  songs are profound. And require repeated listens to allow their poetry to sink in. And I will take his songs and his voice and his undeniable gift and I will use his artistry to fill my half-empty cup and toast this new year, toast the beauty of life with all of its seemingly impossible obstacles. And that is what a true singer/songwriter can deliver -- optimism for the future, respite from the pain, longing for the simplicity that we all strive to maintain, away from the hostilities that try to consume us. Find the joy in your heart, like Mr. Blake's empathetic music on Fear Not. For it is a place to be, a place to explore, a place to find peace. Happy New Year, Dusty

Dusty Wright - "Weather This Storm"

For survivors everywhere... here's the video collaboration of visual artist Ashley G. Garner with Dusty Wright. The song was produced by d. Bindi, mixed by David Lee, and mastered by Alan Douches for West West Side Music. Recorded by Gio Loria at Black Volt Studio, LA & Straus Park Studio, NYC. Co-vocals by Jay StolarRead more »

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays! It’s time to share some levity to this holiday season as this past year has been very taxing for many of us. No need to rehash or complain, it's Christmas. So let's ROCK! peace, Dusty Read more »

Quote of the Week: Henry Rollins

elvis_costello.jpg"Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on." 

Henry Rollins (born Henry Lawrence Garfield, 13 February 1961) - American actor, author, singer/songwriter, and spoken word artist. Former lead singer of the punk rock band Black Flag and the Rollins Band.

RIP Ralph Carney

Ralph Carney has left this mortal coil far too soon. He was one of us, a musician from Akron who made it out and had become a much-beloved multi-instrumentalist where ever he hung his hat. (The last two years in Portland, OR.) Carney was also the uncle of Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. He added his brilliance to acts like Tom Waits, The B-52s, Elvis Costello, Kronos Quartet, Jonathan Richman, St. Vincent... basically any band worth their salt that needed some brilliant reed component, whether clarinet or saxophone or some other homemade instrument! Read more »

The Dispossessed

The concept of ownership — items, people, ideas — is the heart of master storyteller Ursula Le Guinn’s 1975 masterwork The Dispossessed. Winner of the Nebula and Hugo awards, the highest lliterary awards for science fiction writers, this story transcends that genre’s boundaries. It is a story of a man Shevek, a physicist/anarchist, from the arid and socialistic planet Anarres who creates The Principle of Simultaneity — instantaneous communication — something that will revolutionize interstellar communication between all worlds. This is a tome about philosophical and ideological differences and how one views what is truly the best utopian society or how two neighboring planets occupied by anarchists and capitalists view/exploit the Shevek's discovery.

The book's narrative timeline is non-linear, so one may feel compelled to reread certain passages or chapters, but once you understand the author's intention and cadence the rewards of the narrative will unfurl in perfect order. In fact, I reread the opening chapter several times to unlock a deeper understanding of the protagonist's predicament.  Read more »

Legendary '70s Jazz Sessions Reissued

Michael Cosmic: Peace in the World / Phill Musra Group: Creator Spaces (Now-Again)

For fans of avant-garde jazz who like to dive deep into the music's history, this combination of two rarities is the reissue of the year. Michael Cosmic and Phill Musra are twins who were born, respectively, Thomas Michael Cooper and Phillip Anthony Alfred Cooper in Chicago in 1950. Falling under the influence of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians after being recruited as teens by AACM member Roscoe Mitchell, they studied with Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, and AACM founder Muhal Richard Abrams. A year at the University of Wisconsin (1970-71) gave them the opportunity to take Cecil Taylor's class, after which they moved to Boston along with fellow student Jemeel Moondoc. Read more »

Don't Bogart Those Billboards

If I could, I would rent three billboards and they would read:

Billboard One: This movie is frustrating

Billboard Two: Because its story is badly flawed

Billboard Three: But the performances are great

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri goes rogue after the first act/first third of the movie. Read more »

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