Dusty Wright's Culture Catch - Smart Pop Culture, Video & Audio podcasts, Written Reviews in the Arts & Entertainment http://culturecatch.com/node/feed en Film Maudit 2.0: A Celebration of the Scandalous, the Perturbing, and the Too Delicious http://culturecatch.com/node/4168 <span>Film Maudit 2.0: A Celebration of the Scandalous, the Perturbing, and the Too Delicious</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>January 24, 2023 - 18:55</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/899" hreflang="en">drama films</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2023/2023-01/maudit_festival_poster_0.jpeg?itok=RjxsLs2M" width="1200" height="522" alt="Thumbnail" title="maudit_festival_poster.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>The Los Angeles-based Film Maudit 2.0 began on January 12<sup>th</sup> and runs until January 22nd. </p> <p>For those of you not on the West Coast who can't get your butts to the Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica  let's say for some reason you're situated in Idaho or Djibouti -- you can still partake of the Fest's extensive offerings online (<a href="https://mhznetowrks.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=83e01ef553801494b88dd4933&amp;id=3bf5bda600&amp;e=ac977c6f58">watch.filmmaudit.org</a>), and you can watch them for free or pay what you will. Doublecheck that and get back to me.</p> <p>As for the literal translation of the term <i>film maudit</i>,<i> </i>it's "cursed film." Well, back in 1949, <a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/4074">as I noted in last year's coverage</a>, the writer/director/god Jean Cocteau ushered in a jury that pulled together a showcase of cinematic offerings that’d been slighted at the time or were judged "shocking, outré, and bold." The result: the legendary Festival du Film Maudit in Biarritz. Among the showcased were Kenneth Anger's zipper-exploding <em>Fireworks</em> (1947) and Jean Vigo's <i>L'Atalante </i>(1934).</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vzTN0YnKmOs?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Well, as you’ve might've heard, the actress Candice Bergen once insisted: "Dreams are, by definition, cursed with short life spans." Not so with the over 100 visions from over 25 countries that you will view at Maudit. Once seen, many of these concoctions that first percolated within the skulls of those who watched <i>Un Chien Andalou </i>and <i>Planet 9 from Outer Space </i>way too often will instantly begin to rattle your brain cells and continue to do so for years to come.</p> <p>Take<a href="http://www.ryanmcglade.com"> Ryan McGlade's <em>Buddymovie</em></a>, winner of the Best U.S. Narrative at the prestigious Drunken Film Fest Oakland. This 12-minute short begins with an unshaven, nameless gent (Jeremy Levick) being belittled telepathically by a large, corrugated metal warehouse with a British accent: "If you don’t stop singing, I'm going to cut your fucking dick off. . . Your family doesn't like you. No one fuckin' likes you, so why don't you do me a favor and fuck off?"</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="759" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2023/2023-01/the_buddympvie.jpeg?itok=frPzVW6K" title="the_buddympvie.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Still from Ryan McGlade's Buddymovie</figcaption></figure><p>The warehouse continues that no one in school liked the Nameless One because he smelled. In fact, everyone called him "Big Dump." Upset by that recollection, BD runs away and starts using his umbrella as a sword on invisible opponents. Mid-thrust, an old school friend (the transporting Rajat Suresh) pops by, recalls the whole "Big Dump" bullying, and eventually the pair go see a film at the buddy's house-of-sorts. The funny movie they see causes BD to pee down his leg and into his own shoe.</p> <p>Many directors, like Spielberg, would end the short here, but instead there's a fabulous Sartrean finale that includes the overbearing warehouse. Imagine an existential Laurel and Hardy one-reeler, and you have it.</p> <p>(By the way, slyly enrapturing Levick, when not acting, writes for <i>The Onion </i>and pens video scripts such as "<a href="https://twitter.com/theonion/status/921074218367721472">FBI Investigating Fourth-Grade Kid Who Said Has Seen Over 200 Dead Bodies</a>.") </p> <p>Decades ago, Christopher Durang wrote the now classic <i>The Actor's Nightmare</i>, a short play<i> </i>that captured the fears of a thespian walking on stage and not knowing what play he’s in, let alone any of the lines. Is it Noel Coward or Beckett?</p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/608377115?h=67cec3f539" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://vimeo.com/608377115">The Breakdown Parables :: Official Trailer</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user15580100">Irrelevant Media</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p>Emil Benjamin now explores another actor's nightmare: the audition. In the cleverly titled <em>The Breakdown Parable</em>, there are five skits about five groups of actors vying for five different parts. The action takes place in the waiting room of a casting office. The central soul here is a failed would-be actress-turned-receptionist (the amiably overwrought Maria DeCotis) who has to check them all in. Between filing headshots, she yearns, she weeps, and she might even have sex, but that could just be her fantasy. It's that type of short. With a multitalented cast that can sneer, break furniture, backstab, dance in drag, and overact with the best of them, all in front a group of bemused classical paintings on the walls, Benjamin energetically unsheathes the untethered manic underpinnings of Those Who Would Be Stars.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A33mU78duuE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The Australian Owen Lawie does not like <i>Luca</i> at all. He wrote on Letterboxd: "The same corporation-feigning-humanity bullshit as ever. Western animation is plagued by a violent allergy to doing anything even remotely close to unexpected or challenging." Well, those are fighting words that Mr. Lawie lives by. Clearly, he has set a high-bar template for Disney and Pixar with his hilarious, strung-out, psychodelic-licious short, <em>Christmas Movie</em>.</p> <p>The film opens with two blitzed bros on a couch watching TV, one in a shirt and tie, the other in his undies. Well, out comes the bong, and suddenly when they look at each other, one sees a tiny dog, the other a beaver-like creature. Immediately, they start making out and quite possibly having wild sex. Who wouldn't? But we can't be certain because taking over the screen is a skipping female elf and her buddies, followed by kaleidoscopic visuals that only Timothy Leary might find sedate. Then there's the best visual equivalent of someone having an orgasm without displaying someone having an orgasm in the Biden era.</p> <p>After copulation comes depression. That's a fact no one can deny. So our underwear guy, possibly due his former foreign-substance inhalations, perceives himself as being confronted by a creature in hazamat suits with glowing white bulbs for eyes. Hey, is that Santa Claus? Oh, no, why is Santa letting trouser fall to the floor?</p> <p>And to all a good night...</p> <p><strong><em>AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MISSED LAST YEAR'S MAUDIT, READ ON...</em></strong></p> <p>The literal translation of the term <i>film maudit </i>is "cursed film." Well, back in 1949, the writer/director/god Jean Cocteau headed a jury that pulled together a showcase of cinematic offerings that'd been overlooked at the time or were deemed "shocking, outré, and bold." The result: the apparently legendary Festival du Film Maudit in Biarritz. Included were Kenneth Anger’s zipper-exploding "Fireworks" (1947) and Jean Vigo’s <i>L'Atalante </i>(1934).</p> <p>Sixty years later, the Harvard Film Archive saluted the Festival with a program that presented among others John Waters' <i>Pink Flamingos </i>(1972), Robert Aldrich's <i>The Killing of Sister George </i>(1968), and Pasolini’s <i>Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom </i>(1975)<i>. </i></p> <p>A highlight of my early reviewing life occurred when the latter Pasolini adaptation of the Marquis de Sade novel was screened at the New York Film Festival just before its American release. Sitting in the mezzanine, leaning over the railing, I was able to watch over two-thirds of the sold-out screening running out in heels during the infamous poop-dinner scene.</p> <p><i>Pink Flamingos </i>also included a poop-ingestion moment that immediately bestowed stardom on the actor Divine. Audiences at its midnight screenings, however, never ran out. They were too stoned.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gLTnzo-nd8Q?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Now carrying on this tribute to unappreciated, experimental, and sidelined films is the Third Annual Film Maudit 2.0. Presented by the L.A. Performance Space and Gallery Highways from January 12-23, daring cinephiles will now be able to envelope their minds in over 100 works from 23 countries both virtually and in person. Thanks to Festival Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly, you can expect both the new and a few classics from the vault such as Russ Meyer's singular paean to man-killers with massive bosoms, <i>Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Kill! </i>(1965).<i> </i></p> <p>Once considered porn-ish, the flick has now gained quite a few feminist credentials. Just ask revered critic B. Ruby Rich who, after 50 years, has revised her initial stance. She now insists that <i>Faster Pussycat</i> is no longer "a prehistoric relic of a film, steeped in misogyny and outdated values."</p> <p>John Waters adds that <i>Faster Pussycat </i>is "beyond a doubt, the best movie ever made. It is possibly better than any film that will be made in the future."  And who can argue when the screenplay offers dialogue that includes: "Women! They let 'em vote, smoke and drive -- even put 'em in pants! And what happens? A Democrat for president!"?</p> <p>Moving on to current fare, there's Johannes Grenzfurthner's deliriously witty, yet highly discomforting, <i>Masking Threshold </i>(2021), a feature that brought me immense joy when I finally realized it was not a documentary. The chance that I could have ever actually run into its deranged IT worker, P.T. Alcorn, on the street would have made me quite agoraphobic.</p> <p>(The locale of <i>Threshold</i>, by the way, is Apopka, Florida. Population: 51,800 as of 2019.)</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZQzaYXYcYWc?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Mr. Alcorn, who we never get to see in totality, is a polymathic nerd of a man suffering from <i>extreme</i> tinnitus in his little, unkempt house. "Tinnitus," he explains, "is the hearing of the sound that has no external source." The resulting unending attack on his eardrums has upended his gay relationship, his ability to go to work, and his sanity. He is now searching for a cure employing various devices and creatures such as a Blackmagic camera, a polyester shirt, purchases from Best Buy, worms, ants, and lots of fungi. "I want a chance at a normal life," he insists. His mother suggests gingko might restore him to normality. Otherwise, her boyfriend, an Asian, alcoholic acupuncturist who works as a dishwasher at the Olive Garden, might be the answer.</p> <p>The film is a detailed chronicle of Alcorn's increasingly mad experimentations, his phone calls and email, and his hatred of barking dogs. Then there's the added bonus of closeup shots of his clipping his toenails and removing his earwax with Q-tips. (You just might never want to look at a Q-tip again.)</p> <p>There're also loads of quotable dialogue you'll surely want to share with your loved ones: "Many people die at 25 and aren't buried until they are 75"; "Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people"; and "If life gives you lemonade, inspect it closely. It might be piss."</p> <p>With one of the best screenplays of recent years (preferable to <i>Licorice Pizza</i>'s), with the superb cinematography of Florian Hofer, and the awe-inducing editing by both Grenzfurthner and Hofer, <i>Masking Threshold </i>is a wry, dissective look at modern society's derangement. It might get a little too Grand Guignol for some in its closing moments, but if you can embrace a character that's equal parts Woody Allen, Norman Bates, and the Cartoon Network's Dexter, has Festival Maudit got a film for you!</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QIrcz-E9qEw?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Jean-Christophe Meurisse's <i>Bloody Oranges </i>(2021)<i> </i>is probably the closest we'll get this year to a first-rate, off-the-wall French satire on the governing and the governed, one reminiscent of Luis Buñuel's <i>The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie </i>(1972). Brazen hypocrisy is seemingly king here among the ruling Gauls. The Finance Minster is squirreling away hundreds of thousands of Euros across the boarder while his sycophants are dreaming of ways to do away with the citizens' pensions and benefits. "What if we tax abortions?" one asks.</p> <p>Then there's the onion-burping female gynecologist whose advice to a 16-year-old virgin about men, first-time-sex, and aging vaginas might be too-in-your face. Oh, and let's not forget the elderly couple competing in a rock 'n' roll dance contest to pay off their debts; the lawyer who believes males are a superior breed and that truth should be overlooked by his guilty clients; the rather insane leftist who feeds his gigantic pig sausages; and the extremely abusive taxi driver who . . . . Well, some things should remain a surprise.</p> <p>Giddily witty, shocking now and then, while consistently entertaining, <i>Bloody Oranges </i>exposes the inanities of both the privileged and underprivileged classes, sexism, and passion, while showcasing an amazing example of true love and a horrifying new use for microwave ovens. Meurisse claims this quick-paced offering, one you’ll want to rewatch, was inspired by actual news stories. Now that is more than a bit discomforting.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Jj-9K1W9sds?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>For those of you with an extreme fondness for British bus drivers, amateur theater groups, and Ridley Scott's <i>Alien</i> (1979), your prayers are answered by the documentary <i>Alien on Stage. </i>The directors, two long time friends, Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey, accidentally came upon a "serious" dramatic production of the cult sci-fi film enacted by a company of mostly middle-aged bus drivers in Dorset. The group's goal: to raise money for charity, I believe, and have fun.</p> <p>With wobbly sets, well-intentioned costumes, dedicated "would-be" actors, and some sincerely meant direction, the play attracted an audience of 20 and was considered an unassailable flop. A flop until it wasn't one. Or as someone notes, when "the right piece of art [is] met by the right audience, you get magic."</p> <p>Brought to London, to the Leicester Square Theatre, the very same stage that regularly hosts the likes of Joan Collins, the one-night, under-rehearsed production was quickly sold out and greeted like it was the rebirth of <i>The Rocky Horror Show. </i>"Crikey!"</p> <p>"We're bus drivers. We're allowed to cock things up. We always do," one star noted.</p> <p>There were cheers, unrestrained laughter, lengthy applause, and, of course, a standing ovation. Just wait until you see the alien creature break out of the character Kane's stomach. Who needs millions of dollars of special effects? Or as one ticket buyer asserted: "I've been at the National and ENO and Convent Garden. I predominantly work in opera, but <i>Alien, Live on Stage . . . </i>was one of the greatest moments I think I've ever had in the theater." This doc captures that glee in spades.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3o7EL6Q1C_0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Moving to another genre -- tongue-in-cheek horror -- writer/director Javi Camino's <i>Jacinto </i>is billed in its press notes as what occurs when "<i>The Texas Chain Saw Massacre</i> meets<i> Forrest Gump</i>." There's a good chance that the creator of that allusion never saw either film.</p> <p>Jacinto (Pedro Brandariz), the anti-hero here, is sort of mentally disabled, even muter version of Nicolas Cage's character in last year's acclaimed <i>Pig, </i>except he can't cook<i>.</i> Living with his parents and his pet hog Martino in Mallou, a semi-impoverished village in the Galician mountains, Jacinto lumbers about, sometimes wearing huge paper-mâché masks and often being bullied about by local teens for online videos. When alone in his bedroom, he watches decades-old vampire flicks on VHS tapes supplied to him by his coke-sniffing, heavily indebted brother. To Jacinto, the bloodsucking ghouls on his TV screen are not figures of fantasy, but actual beings debauching the world. </p> <p>The Old-World priest with his fiery rants at the local church increases Jacinto's belief in this evil possibility every Sunday: "The Pope spoke about the Devil as I have spoken to you many times. He said the Devil isn't something vague. He is a person. The Devil might be your neighbor."</p> <p>Oh, no! Two leather-clad females, members of a heavy metal group, have just moved next door to Jacinto's family, and they are pounding out the Devil's music while at times wearing facial makeup à la Kiss. Lucifer and his ilk have no doubt arrived causing Jacinto immediately to get out the garlic. And the spikes!</p> <p>Will discordant electric guitar strumming barraging his eardrums and the possibility of Martino being turned into sausages further unhinge the already unhinged gent? Of course!</p> <p>With a sense of the macabre not unlike that of the William Castle films of the late 1950s/early 1960s; a dash of class-struggle realities; some group folk singing around the dinner table; and superb cinematography, here's quite an enjoyable offering that was a Jury Award Winner at last year's Austin Film Festival.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mMMJXeVMtQQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Then there's Austrian director Norbert Pfaffenbichler's <i>2551.01</i>, subtitled "The Child."</p> <p>Consider the following raves from a handful of top critics: "One of cinema's most unsettling nightmares." "A singular work of the imagination, a harrowing, heartbreaking plunge into the darkest recesses of the soul." And "a film that [takes] elements that one might have encountered in other movies in the past -- black humor, gore, surrealism, erotic imagery, gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and oddball performances -- and presents them in such a unique and deeply personal manner that the end result [is] something that literally looks, sounds and feels like nothing that had ever come before it."</p> <p>The above praise is all for David Lynch's 1977 debut feature <i>Eraserhead</i>, yet it all applies equally, and if not more, to <i>2551.01, </i>a tale of an underground dystopia patrolled by a militaristic, white-clad police force. Said to be spiritually inspired by Charlie Chaplin's classic <i>The Kid </i>(1921), the story begins with a man (Erber Stefan) with the head of an ape saving a child (Ionescu David) with a sack over his. The lad, to the apeman's chagrin, won’t leave his side.</p> <p>This is a chronicle of the duo's survival in a world where maybe enduring another day is not always the best choice. What if life was a continued nightmare, one where there was no escape into a dreamworld? Hey! Is that a deranged recreation of <i>Alice in Wonderland's </i>dinner<i> </i>party? Is that moment a bow to the Kafkaesque. A paean to Hieronymus Bosch? That's what this fantasy invokes.</p> <p>Every head here is grotesquely masked, yet oddly beautiful, too. Inarguably, if you were streaming <i>2551.01</i> and continually halting the film, you'd notice every image is worthy of being framed. Yes, this might just one of the most completely realized artistic visions that's reflective of what we're all living through. And Pfaffenbichler promises a sequel. That will be quite a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvHSZpeKwcg&amp;ab_channel=AustrianFilmMuseum">double bill</a>.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4168&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="lS-m_2PR208TFLBSHmJT0lKJQDmRD_zIt3G908hmXnI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 24 Jan 2023 23:55:46 +0000 Brandon Judell 4168 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4168#comments The “Glass Onion” Made Me Cry, But Not in a Good Way http://culturecatch.com/node/4167 <span>The “Glass Onion” Made Me Cry, But Not in a Good Way</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>January 16, 2023 - 22:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/920" hreflang="en">suspense</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity align-center"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2023/2023-01/glass-onion-a-knives-out-mystery-netflix.jpg_copy.jpg?itok=yVMAoVxn" width="681" height="383" alt="Thumbnail" title="glass-onion-a-knives-out-mystery-netflix.jpg_copy.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Where's Peter Sellers when you need him?</p> <p>"Passed away," you say?</p> <p>Oh, that's a shame.</p> <p>"Why?" you ask.</p> <p>Clearly . . . indubitably. . . without a doubt, his Inspector Jacques Clouseau would have salvaged what’s wound up on the screen as <i>Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. </i></p> <p>Try imagining an advertisement for Steuben crystal interlocked with a screenplay based on a tenth-rate Agatha-Christie crimer, and you’d still have a better two hours and 19 minutes than what us Netflixers are now eying. Seldom has a film boasted more glass statuary. As the credits roll, you can’t help but expect a thank you to the manufacturers of Windex.</p> <p>Part of a $450-million rights deal for the detective series that began with the slightly over-appreciated <i>Knives Out</i>, the <i>Onion </i>showcases<i> </i>Daniel Craig in his worst career performance. In his return as the "brilliant" detective Benoit Blanc, his accent once again is a weird hybrid of Southern and moronic. As for his on-screen presence, there was once a false rumor that spread wildly about a heartthrob actor who supposedly went to a hospital to have a live gerbil removed from his derriere. Imagine that star with that gerbil still encased within, and you have the type of performance Craig dishes out.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gj5ibYSz8C0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>But next to the rest of the cast, he's Olivier, with the exception of the Janelle Monáe, who manages to retain her dignity throughout.</p> <p>For starters, his co-stars -- Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, and Kathryn Hahn --  demean their SAG memberships as few others have in recent years. The recent fare of Ms. Hudson and Mr. Bautista have escaped my perusal, but word of mouth has told me that’s a blessing. Believe me!  When you get a bland performance from Hahn (check out her terrific turn opposite Kevin Bacon in the Amazon series <i>I Love Dick</i>), you know you can blame the writer/director, who in this case is the now very rich Rian Johnson.</p> <p>Flaccid dialogue and inept direction upend a plot that might been entertaining under different leadership. Now Mr. Johnson has not been untouched by comic genius in the past. His 8-minute short from 1997, <em><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwAqgkBehxg">Evil Demon Golf Ball from Hell!!!</a></em>, is laugh-out-loud, side-splitting fun. Here a murderous thief is pursued from this world to the next by a revengeful golf ball. Unlike with Johnson's current ode to another orb, the <i>Onion</i>, there's not a bloated unamusing second.</p> <p>The premise of his new film is that a group of obnoxious, self-aggrandizing folks are invited to an island housing an Elon-Musk billionaire, Miles Bron (a bemused Edward Norton) to play a murder mystery game in which the victim, he states, will be himself.</p> <p>Now I once participated in one of these games in the then Connecticut home of America's wittiest playwrights, Christopher Durang. Everyone had a delicious time, and afterwards we all could walk to the little bungalow housing a hot tub.  Deplorably, <i>Glass Onion </i>does not come with a hot tub. I know. I looked. Just with a bunch of instructions that Mr. Bron smirkingly states:</p> <p>"Consider what you know about each other. Know that across the island, I've hidden clues. Some may be helpful. Some may misdirect. That's for you to determine. But if anyone can name the killer. Tell me how they achieved the murder, and most importantly, what was the motive, that person wins the game. Any questions?"</p> <p>"Uh, wait," responds Detective Blanc. "What do win?"</p> <p>The only winners here are those who switch immediately to HBO Max to catch Ana Taylor-Joy in <i>The Menu</i>, a tingling black comedy with both thrills, wit, and well-earned heartburn.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4167&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="q1UMecjeNSqL3gxlhH3ZgnGGLNUV5L5VtYK7teBKGSw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 17 Jan 2023 03:28:24 +0000 Brandon Judell 4167 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4167#comments Lamenting the Vanishing Art House http://culturecatch.com/node/4166 <span>Lamenting the Vanishing Art House</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/7306" lang="" about="/user/7306" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Chet Kozlowski</a></span> <span>January 16, 2023 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/399" hreflang="en">documentary</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2023/2023-01/laemmle_doc_043_0.jpeg?itok=iK8wdpRB" title="laemmle_doc_043_0.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Greg Laemmle</figcaption></figure><p><em>Only in Theaters</em> </p> <p>Directed by Raphael Sbarge</p> <p>You back through the swinging doors because your arms are full: popcorn, candy, drinks. The echoey, muffled sounds become clearer. The show has started. The room is big and dark. You shuffle down the aisle toward the glowing image, get to the row you like, maneuver over knees ("excuse me, sorry, excuse me"), and claim your seat. Dead center. You sense others in the dark, a community of strangers come to laugh, cry, cheer, and gasp. To watch the same thing in the same place at the same time, an experience like no other. You balance your treats, settle in, and surrender.</p> <p>Moviegoing -- the act of going to a theater to watch a movie -- is, to many of us, a seminal experience. So it's hard not to like the new documentary <em>Only in Theaters. </em>It's so obviously a labor of love, and is pure in its intent. The title promises a lot. It evokes the reason why many of us fell in love with the movies in the first place.</p> <p>Director Raphael Sbarge set out to make a movie about the Laemmle Theatres in Los Angeles, which specialize in independent, foreign and documentary film. The cinemas are legendary for championing New Hollywood, pre-blockbuster era films (<em>Easy Rider</em>, <em>Bonnie and Clyde</em>), foreign films in general, and in particular the French New Wave. The theaters were, in other words, a haven for artists and art lovers in a company town that prioritizes commerce above all.</p> <p>Mr. Sbarge is well qualified to tell this story, having grown up with a similar film legacy. He himself is an actor, his father a filmmaker, and his mother a Broadway costume designer.</p> <p>The Laemmle family (pronounced <i>Lum-lee</i>) is steeped in film history, and was there at the beginning. Carl Laemmle emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1884, opened a string of nickelodeon theaters but was blocked from making his own films by Thomas Edison's stranglehold on the industry. Carl sued, went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and broke Edison's monopoly, redirecting the course of film production in America. He went on to found Universal Pictures. His cousins Max and Kurt Laemmle came to the U.S. during Hitler's rise and founded Laemmle Theatres, which would become the preeminent art house cinemas in Hollywood.</p> <p>Mr. Sbarge began shooting his film in 2019 not knowing where it would lead. Surviving members of the Laemmle family opened their lives to him, current company president Greg Laemmle giving him fly-on-the-wall access to his business dealings and private life. Sbarge's project was two years in the making, and he couldn't have anticipated the profound changes the film world (and the world at large) would go through during that time. Streaming would change moviegoing as TV changed it in the 1950s. The Laemmle Theatre chain would be put up for sale and be eyed by conglomerates, which would be the death knell for the brand. The pandemic would change moviegoing and life as we knew it.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yk7NJ2nvLNE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>What emerges in <em>Only in Theaters</em> is a portrait of a dedicated multigenerational family that holds itself to the highest professional standards. As film critic Leonard Maltin puts it, he admires the Laemmles because "business is business, but sometimes it isn't <i>just </i>business. There's a personal layer." The family provides that layer.</p> <p><em>Only in Theater</em> lays out historical context through family photos and home movies. It uses animations, anecdotes, and tributes effectively (a montage of pioneering films projected on theater screens is particularly effective). The access to the family's day-to-day home and business life is invaluable. We're with Greg and his retired father Bob as they negotiate deals on the phone. We're with Greg and his wife Tish chatting in their family kitchen or on evening walks ("It's the only time I get to talk to him," Tish says), which are charming interludes. Some revelations spark further discussion, like Bob's appraisal of the role of pornography in the rise of independent cinema (there's a whole movie in that). An impressive list of talking heads -- including film directors Cameron Crowe, Ava DuVernay, James Ivory, and Allison Anders, and critics Maltin and Kenneth Turan -- sing the praises of the Laemmle Theatres as a refuge for cinema arts, sharing personal recollections of these "sacred spaces" that inspired them to the artistic heights for which they’re known. Mr. Sbarge himself narrates intermittently, filling in gaps, adding personal observations. The film moves briskly in its 90-minute runtime, propelled by a score that adds portent. All is moving at a fine clip.</p> <p>And yet…</p> <p>Midway through the film one realizes we’re not hearing about Laemmle Theaters as much as the art of filmmaking and storytelling. <em>Only in Theater</em> is one of a subgenre of documentaries that's emerged in the past decade, films about those providers who deliver art to us. <em>All Things Must Pass</em> (2015) about Tower Records and <em>Muscle Shoals</em> (2016) come to mind. And while those forms, whether it be film or popular music, were the providers' <i>raison d'etre</i>, their involvement is somewhat beside the point. As in <em>Only in Theaters</em>: the film drifts off into reveries about the making of art that unfortunately has less and less to do with the commerce with which the company is involved.</p> <p>And that, sadly, works as a disadvantage. <em>Only in Theater</em> was either completed prematurely, before essential issues like the impact of streaming are resolved, or left to stand simply as a chronicle of a lost, lamented era. It seems to suggest a call to action, but for what? Greg Laemmle, the current company president, was present at the screening this reviewer attended, and he was asked that very question. Greg is affable and open, but he conceded that the fate of Laemmle Theaters remains in the balance. And there's little the average filmgoer can do about it. Streaming and the pandemic have changed movie-viewing habits forever. The only action to take is to fill the seats in Los Angeles with patrons.</p> <p>Ironically, streaming platforms may provide the best presentation for<em> Only in Theaters</em> by dashing expectations of a feature length runtime. A 45-minute cut shown on, say, Netflix, could be sharper, more to the point, and not have to fill the mandates of a theatrical exhibition.</p> <p>Many of us fell in love with movies in movie theaters. The place defined the experience, made it special: only in a movie theater, only watched reverently. Sadly, Mr Sbarge's film, while a diligent and heartfelt tribute to a pioneering family, can only approximate the visceral thrill of being in a packed movie theater, sharing the air and the emotions. It's like looking out over Niagara Falls after seeing photos of it. They don't do justice to the actual experience.</p> <p>You have to have been there.</p> <p><i>Mr. Kozlowski teaches literature and film at The City College of New York. His short stories are collected in a volume titled </i>Home at Last<i>.</i></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4166&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="yXbsT5WMFinLvHKPkrJEyYYLlmxATrihQ8WMT4PFNzo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 16 Jan 2023 15:00:00 +0000 Chet Kozlowski 4166 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4166#comments Hotel Artemis Rules http://culturecatch.com/node/4165 <span>Hotel Artemis Rules</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/ian-alterman" lang="" about="/users/ian-alterman" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Alterman</a></span> <span>January 4, 2023 - 19:31</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/797" hreflang="en">drama</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2023/2023-01/hotel-artemis.jpeg?itok=KbxSjPtH" width="1200" height="557" alt="Thumbnail" title="hotel-artemis.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>There are some films that fly so far under the radar that they might as well have never been released. And many, if not most, of these films end up with poor ratings (surprise, surprise) and as financial failures (go figure). It is hard to discern why this happens, but poor marketing is often a factor, as is Hollywood politics.</p> <p><em>Hotel Artemis</em> is one such film. By no means an A-list film, it is nevertheless <i>far</i> better than its ratings and box office would suggest. Even the critics grudgingly admitted that it has a lot going for it, not least an incredibly interesting ensemble cast, as well as a visual style that is somewhere between Blade Runner and a slasher film. [N.B. There be spoilers here.]</p> <p>The film takes place in Los Angeles in a not too distant dystopian future in which basic needs are controlled by corporations, and riots are frequent. When the corporation that controls water "turns if off," a particularly bad riot ensues. It is during this time that we are thrown into one of the most bizarre, yet entertaining and well-told, dystopian future stories I have seen (and I am a dedicated aficionado of dystopian future films.)</p> <p>Hotel Artemis is a hospital and safe house for criminals. The actual hospital facility is on the penthouse floor of an otherwise abandoned hotel. It is something of a fortress, and its rooms are named for world cities (patients are addressed by their room names). And despite its rundown appearance, Hotel Artemis boasts state-of-the art medical equipment, including robotic surgery and 3D printed replacement organs. Note also that Hotel Artemis only runs successfully because of "the rules," which include: no fighting or killing, no visitors, no cops, and "what Nurse says goes." Ultimately, the first rule of Hotel Artemis is "obey the rules."</p> <p>"Nurse" (a nearly unrecognizable Jodie Foster) is a severely agoraphobic nurse who actually functions more as a doctor. Her aide is "Everest" (Dave Bautista), who not only serves as a nurse, but also as facilities manager and "muscle." Current patients include "Waikiki" (Sterling K. Brown), an uninjured thief and "Honolulu" (Brian Tyree Henry), his badly injured brother, both fresh from a robbery gone bad; "Acapulco" (Charlie Day), a drug dealer with serious ego issues, getting patched up after his face is severely injured; and "Nice" (Sofia Boutella), a phenomenally dangerous assassin who is old friends with Waikiki. Into this mix comes an injured cop (Jenny Slate), who is only admitted (despite Everest's protestations) because she is an old friend of Nurse, and Orian Franklin (Jeff Goldblum), L.A.'s criminal kingpin -- and the founder and owner of Hotel Artemis -- who is badly injured after an assassination attempt. He arrives with his hapless son (Zachary Quinto) and a small army of henchmen. Only Orian is allowed inside, while his son and henchmen must wait in a small waiting area. As we will see, as the rules continue to get broken, things become increasingly chaotic -- and dangerous.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JqfuKsoEEms?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Unbeknown to anyone, Nice is actually there to assassinate Orian. (It is not made clear if she made the original attempt that brought him there, but we do hear her say that she had to shoot herself (a mild wound) in order to get into Hotel Artemis that night.) And her mission causes trouble for everyone, including the accidental death of Honolulu, and a riot by Orian's son and henchmen when they find out that Orian has been killed. This riot leads to Nice and Everest taking on the whole gang, while Nurse helps spirit away Waikiki. Having had almost every rule broken in one night, Nurse decides it is time to leave -- even in the face of her agoraphobia, which has kept her confined to the facility for many years.</p> <p>The acting here is nothing short of superb. Foster gives one of her absolutely best, if oddest, performances, shuffling along from room to room, and speaking in a patter that is both endearing and sad. (Even in the worst reviews, her performance was noted for its excellence.) Bautista is an unexpectedly perfect partner and foil. He has always been a better actor than he is given credit for, but seeing him hold his own (and then some) with a titan like Foster is amazing. Goldblum does a solid job, and Brown is excellent. But it is Boutella who truly shines here. Playing a role somewhat similar to the one she plays in the "Kingsman" series, she is as fierce and formidable as any assassin we have seen in film in recent memory. She carries herself with a dangerous grace and absolute confidence, and she is relentless. (I would love to see a film series based on this character.)</p> <p>The set and scenic design inside the facility are perfectly shabby, yet somehow comfortable-looking. The lighting is appropriately subdued, and the soundtrack is also appropriate (as part of her agoraphobia therapy, Nurse listens to classic rock on a CD player.) And the direction is perfectly controlled, allowing the story to unfold without the need for fancy camera angles or other filmmaking quirks. This is simply a well-written, well-directed film with acting much better than the material. It is a testament to the excellence of the cast that they make this bizarre story work so well.</p> <p><em>Hotel Artemis</em> has quickly become one of my "guilty pleasure" films -- a film I watch to the end whenever I channel-surf into it.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4165&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="Foz3ChFFkyxlgNSyIm_pzInpwEF4GylkgjiT-57YcxI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 05 Jan 2023 00:31:39 +0000 Ian Alterman 4165 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4165#comments Tunes? Who Needs New Tunes? http://culturecatch.com/node/4164 <span>Tunes? Who Needs New Tunes?</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>December 29, 2022 - 17:32</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/918" hreflang="en">Best of 2022</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-09/bjork-songs.jpeg?itok=0G6akhxm" width="1200" height="754" alt="Thumbnail" title="bjork-songs.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><strong>Best of 2022!</strong></p> <p>Ah, the year of singles. So much music.. so little time to hear everything. Millions of songs are uploaded every year. According to <em>Music Business Worldwide</em>, Spotify uploads 60,000 new tracks every day! Holy schnike!</p> <p>Hard to pick a favorite album this year as I listened to "curated" Spotify playlists comprised of songs of folk, singer songwriters, Americana, hip hop, country, and indie music. The occasional pop track would make me sit up and take notice. Lizzo's excellent throwback track "About Damn Time" from <em>Special</em> made it to my year end list. It's my favorite pop track of the year. (If you've not heard her interview with Howard Stern, track it down. Incredibly insightful.) </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/j5-hSP4IEP8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Superstar Taylor Swift's rootsy melancholic tune"Carolina" from the film <em>Where The Crawdads Sing</em> was far more appealing to me than any track from her new album. I prefer the acoustic, confessional T. Swift over the pop gloss of her latest chart topping  <em>Midnights</em>. Last time I checked, her single "Anti-Hero" boasted 411,273, 351 listens!!! Even the stripped-down acoustic version has 6,290,740. That's serious clout in the world of binary code.</p> <p>Some fantastic hip hop was released this past year. Just too many hip hop songs to pick from... never easy, but Danger Mouse &amp; Black Thought's "Belize" (feat. MF Doom) from their excellent, less-than-mainstream <em>Cheat Codes</em> remained tops for me. Smart. Great beats. Clever lyrics. Total package.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qZFZh62tw3o?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>If you want to go further left of center and just as clever, check out Brownsville, Brooklyn-based minimalistic rapper <a href="https://brownsvilleka.com">Ka</a>. Born Kaseem Ryan, he's a rapper, producer and firefighter. His music is a history lesson of the black experience in America; a distinctive wordsmith like Chuck D and Gil Scott Heron before him. He released two exceptional albums in 2022. His songs are short bursts of brilliance with jazz, spoken word soundbites, avant garde minimalism. Sometimes it's just the cadence of his voice holding down the beat or an upright bass or piano or flute or an Ebow sample. It's all about the space that lets his lyrics float and sink in. I gravitated to the <em>Languish Arts</em> and his haunting track "Ascension." But his other album <em>Woeful Studies</em> is equally worthwhile. Check out "Eat" and all of his music. You will not be disappointed. </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yspLw1dZzhE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>And from Kendrik Lamar's latest "instant classic" album <em>Mr. Morale &amp; The Big Steppers</em>, I couldn't turn off the soulful <a href="https://youtu.be/0kS-MtxPr9I">"Purple Hearts"</a> featuring Summer Walker and Ghostface Killah. </p> <p>As you'll notice from the playlist below, tons of singer-songwriters made the cut. Many you've probably never heard of; my guess -- too much inventory. If you crave for something completely different in said genre, look no further than the always excellent Father John Misty and his homage to the romantic era of Hollywood on his latest long player <em>Chloë and The Next 20th Century</em> and his sumptuous "Goodbye Mr. Blue," a love ballad worthy of Glenn Campbell or Harry Nilsson's venerated canon of work. Talk about wonderful wordplay...</p> <p><em>"That Turkish Angora's 'bout the only thing left of me and you, mmh<br aria-hidden="true" /> Early this morning, it started making sounds that say<br aria-hidden="true" /> 'Don't let the last time come too soon?'" </em></p> <p>My favorite album of the year, it's like a mad fever dream from romantic mind of F. Scott Fitzgerald circa <em>The Great Gatsby</em>. Listen to it on deluxe vinyl for the smoothest audio experience.  </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BVD5Rw0FOpA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Singer-songwriter <a href="https://madidiaz.com">Madi Diaz</a> released 3 singles in 2022. I added all of them to my year end playlist. Her song "Resentment (New Feelings Version)" from her E.P. <i>Same History, New Feelings</i> may be the best song about unrequited love that I've heard in ages. And her stunning cover of Patty Griffin's "Be Careful" with help from S.G. Goodman and Joy Oladokun is equally impactful. Is she the new Joni? </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qnhlgsIq75M?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Elsewhere LA-based singer-songwriter and friend David Poe released an impressive new album <em>Everyone's Got a Camera</em> and a killer tune "People Clap Hands." It's one of my top ten tracks. Read about him on my <a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/4158">previous post</a>. And his touring mate NYC-based Blake Morgan also released an equally impressive album of indie pop-rock nuggets that deserves repeated listens. "Baby I Would Want You" is one of ten tracks from the grand  <em>Violent Delights</em>. Check out his glittering, shimmering Gretsch in the video below.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-Ooih2HtQ0s?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Indie rock was alive and swell from the likes of Beck, Midlake, Big Thief, The Smile, Björk, Cass McCombs, Ethel Cain, Wet Lag, Elvis Costello (!), and so much more. (See my playlist below.) Band of Horses released their sixth effort <em>Things Are Great,</em> one of my top vinyl albums of the year. 18 years on, multiple lineup changes, and still sharing quality music. "Warning Signs" is a tasty tease from their latest.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6iUt6h8XXf0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>But wait, there's more... another impressive effort from one of my all-time favorite rockers, Scotsman Daniel Wylie (former Cosmic Rough Rider) finds him sharing songwriting duties with Ian M. Bailey on his latest single -- the psychedelic jangling guitar freakout -- <a href="https://youtu.be/zXBfkhkfInM">"Let Go of the Gun (Year of the Tiger)."</a> Another top ten track for me. No one does contemporary folk-rock better than Mr. Wylie! Although Ian's new album <em>You Paint The Picture</em> is right up there. Moreover, Mr. Wylie co-writes tunes on said fab album. "Dreams of Love" is like vintage David Crosby roaming The Byrd's sacred folk-rock turf circa 1966.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ItsX6p2w_IE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Country? Did someone mention country? Did you hear the "real deal" Chris Stapleton's crooning "I'm A Ram" for RAM trucks TV advert? When I saw it, I couldn't wait to see if it had been released as a single. Yep. The Al Green/Teenie Hodges cover was transformed into a killer, guitar-forward country blues workout from Mr. Stapleton. He remains The <em>King</em> of Country! </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cUy7sc5gOvo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>And the country women were kickin' ass and taking no prisoners with some outstanding music that needs to played all over satellite and terrestrial radio. Miranda Lambert's new album <em>Palomino</em> had a bunch of killer tunes. Her jukebox-worthy <a href="https://youtu.be/sv9pYq3jzhs">"Strange"</a> was my favorite. My pals The Delevantes released a killer Americana tune in "All In All" from an equally killer album <em>A Thousand Turns</em>, their first long player in decades. And every time I turn around Jim Lauderdale is releasing quality tunes. From the album <em>Game Changer</em> his toe-tappin' 'n' bouncin' <a href="https://youtu.be/L7bZ3L8GJmA">"That Kind of Life (That Kind of Day)"</a> seems like instant classic to my ears. Nashville-based Pill Box (née Nicolette Hayford) has been writing tunes in Music City for over 10 years. Her new album <em>Florida</em> has my favorite production vibe/arrangements/playing. Reminds me of Daniel Lanois' solo work. "Eat Pray Drugs" is just one classic song from said album; a hard hitting song about desperation and an homage to where she grew up in Florida. She's my new Queen of Country.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iV-BAy4FqwY?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Jesus, Reese's Pieces<br aria-hidden="true" /> And a brown bag of none of your business<br aria-hidden="true" /> Flea market boiled peanuts<br aria-hidden="true" /> Styrofoam cup of the shells between us<br aria-hidden="true" /> Hot damn, hot lunch<br aria-hidden="true" /> After Sunday service, there's a potluck<br aria-hidden="true" /> Roll one, roll up<br aria-hidden="true" /> Higher than a choir hallelujah"</p> <p>And no list would be complete without some jamband action. For me Tedeschi Trucks Band remain the pinnacle of the genre even though they defy being pigeonholed into said genre. They released 24 new songs spread out over four "concept" albums based on <em>The Story of  Layla &amp; Majnun</em>, the writer Nizami’s 12<sup>th</sup> century Persian poem about a separated couple that was described by Lord Byron as the "Romeo and Juliet of the East." "Hear My Dear" (<em>I Am The Moon: I. Crescent</em>) is just the perfect love ballad. Susan's soulful voice sits perfectly in the mix of Derek's tasteful slide, crack horns, organ, bass and double drums. A song to get lost in. Hearing it live at the Beacon Theatre back in October only reinforced my feelings about it.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tmWh_E6xSCI?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>And for the prog-jamband enthusiast no album made me smile more than the palindrome-fordward band Dopapod. "Fannie" is just too cool for school. From the 11-song seventh album <em>Dopapod</em>, this Boston-based quartet was formed at <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berklee_College_of_Music" title="Berklee College of Music">Berklee College of Music</a>. See my review of said song <a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/4109">here</a>.  And new to my world of the genre is the five piece Norwalk, CT-based Goose and their congo-driven toe tapper "Hungersite"...a def <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phish" title="">Phish</a> and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umphrey%27s_McGee" title="Umphrey's McGee">Umphrey's McGee</a> vibe permeates the proceedings on their new album <em>Dripfield</em>, but for me they and their new album transcends both.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ktjYcMyW9H0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Here's my <a href="https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2FRgEkKuGSlNj5PpqIhoeY?si=b7f58c9fee594e4f">Spotify year's end playlist</a>. Will probably add a few more. What did I miss?</p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="380" loading="lazy" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/2FRgEkKuGSlNj5PpqIhoeY?utm_source=generator" style="border-radius:12px" width="100%"></iframe></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4164&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="gEsfdVQl-Tn1fkqRdZto1Xc4UzlTbQf7xhy_id3n2eA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 29 Dec 2022 22:32:08 +0000 Dusty Wright 4164 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4164#comments Song of the Week: "C'est La Vie" http://culturecatch.com/node/4163 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;C&#039;est La Vie&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/ian-alterman" lang="" about="/users/ian-alterman" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Alterman</a></span> <span>December 19, 2022 - 08:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/629" hreflang="en">prog rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8eLS1eWu_q0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>My <a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/4141">recent review</a> of the first single (title song) from The Church's new album, <i>The Hypnogogue</i>, explains my long and deep connection to the band and its music.</p> <p>The Church has had three "periods" since their debut album in 1981: the first period covered their first three albums (pre-prog); the second period covered their next three albums (proto-prog); and the final (and continuing) period began with their seventh album, <i>Priest=Aura</i> (1992), which began their extraordinary foray into progressive rock, and their quickly becoming a standard-bearer of the neo-prog movement.</p> <p>Their two most well-known songs, "Under the Milky Way" and "Reptile," both come from their fifth album, <i>Starfish</i>, the second of their proto-prog albums.</p> <p>In trying to "locate" the sound of this second release from <i>The Hypnogogue </i>within the band's history, I realized that it is not "progressive" in the same sense as "The Hypnogogue" or songs from their many progressive albums. Rather, it harkens back (brilliantly) to the band's proto-prog years. It is as if the band has taken its now fully-developed prog sensibilities and overlaid them on one of their proto-prog (or even pre-prog) songs. And this is by no means a rebuff or criticism. In fact, "C'est Le Vie" would have been quite comfortable on <i>Starfish</i> -- and maybe even equaled "Under the Milky Way" in popularity.</p> <p>The song opens with a straight rock beat, and is quickly joined by the jangly guitar work that they have become known for. Founder-songwriter-bassist-lyricist-singer Steve Kilbey then launches into one of his trademark talk-sung vocals, as the song becomes increasingly "present" (increased guitar work and atmosphere). A nice, if too brief, instrumental break occurs about halfway through. The song ends with a gorgeous arpeggiated acoustic guitar duet.</p> <p>"C'est La Vie" is probably the "simplest" song the band has written in quite some time. But it is all the more interesting (and fun) for that. And it makes a perfect foil for the progressiveness of the title track. I have not looked forward to a Church album this much in quite some time.</p> <p>The album is out on February 24, 2023, with a tour to follow.  The band will be at the Gramercy Theater in NYC on March 30<sup>th</sup>.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4163&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="jhHc-fcZMOCbrh-BIcX5hB5czrvO8Cx_8y21DRjA-Yc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 19 Dec 2022 13:48:26 +0000 Ian Alterman 4163 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4163#comments A Middling Review http://culturecatch.com/node/4162 <span>A Middling Review</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/users/millree-hughes" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Millree Hughes</a></span> <span>December 14, 2022 - 15:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Billy Childish: <em>Spirit Guides and Other Guardians Joining Heaven and Earth</em><br /><a href="https://www.lehmannmaupin.com/exhibitions/billy-childish9">Lehmann Maupin Gallery</a>: 501 West 24th Street, New York<br /> November 10, 2022 - January 7, 2023<br /><br /> I'm going to say upfront that this is a "middling review." I think that it's important to write bad reviews now and again because too often nowadays a lot of art reviews are positive and written to promote allies rather than for the sake of the art itself. A middling review's purpose is to suggest that with a little more focus the work could be great.</p> <p>Art criticism is justification for a particular way of looking and of enough judgement to recommend improvements. I like what Billy Childish does. I like his band "Thee Headcoats"-- the neo-prospector drag that he zhooshes* up with his handlebar mustache to "put over" his paintings. I love artists who have a costume: Klimt's embroidered muumuu or Warhol's wig (particularly in the '80s). I tried a ginger one myself for my Lummox Project, but I couldn't stick with it.</p> <p>Childish has stuck with it and going into Lehmann Maupin on 24th street you can't mistake the work and the way the paintings look in the room, for anyone else. You feel, particularly in the second room, like you're standing on a headland looking out across a wide river to another bank and a background of high hills. Like it's you and the North West Frontier for the first time. Painted as if CinemaScope could be rendered in chalky earth colours.</p> <p>He keeps his palette limited to tertiary tones -- lemon yellow and some freezing morning light blues and aqua greens. He has a very convincing line, that carves up space and fills out figures. I can almost see him doing it with a stick of charcoal across a large, buff untreated canvas. There's a stylized fill that you see in some of the dark silhouetted trees in paintings like "Salish Fisherman." It's made of squiggles on the ground of the canvas where areas of paint are "doing" something irrespective of each other perhaps for some narrative purpose.</p> <p>Pulling back, larger parts of the paintings are outlined or repeatedly outlined creating a ripple. Munch does something similar, it can be used to separate a tree from a sky or a face from a lake in the background. I think this kind of paint handling that's both decorative and spatial, sometimes serves another purpose as if some of the areas can be read as energy fields. A metaphor for the vibrations of all living things. Kandinsky and Mondrian were inspired by Madame Blavatsky to enter the spirit world on the way to Abstraction. Childish's figures in hyper-extended landscapes take us back to the end of symbolism and the beginning of modernism. I think he likes the borderlands between art movements and he wants to tap the presence of forces outside of human control.</p> <p>Looking back can automatically imbue a work with deeper contours. Done well it can summon other spirits and their era without directly quoting anyone. But the past can be an issue, while as an artist you want to place yourself relative to the art and artists you like, time has already made its decision about them, you run the risk of them overshadowing you.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1613" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-12/billy-childish-one.jpeg?itok=-9AhWWd-" title="billy-childish-one.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Sat On A Rock - Yuva River, 2022, oil and charcoal on linen</figcaption></figure><p>That said, he has definitely created his own idiosyncratic language of marks for his work. In this painting of a figure the decorated fills take up more space. The rock he's on is dashed and dotted in glittery points and the ripples around its base are tadpole strokes. In the shadow of the man are vibration lines coming out from the body. They are repainted and reiterated as if the first strike is not enough. The painting does have a wood cut feel about it. The land, the sea, and the man cut out in deep grooves.</p> <p>The figures in the boats don't look as if they're actually steering them but are turned towards the viewer "showing" themselves. His swimmer is also looking directly at us as is the one posing on the rock. It's as if they represent Childish's "neo-prospector" look, like a fashion spread or a record cover where the band are trying out a new image.</p> <p>The re-painted line stiffens the figures, making them look more posed, ossifying the initial drawing. When the loose, skittish, decorative marks are laid into areas as fill, it doesn't lighten the feel of the painting but reinforces how hemmed in they are by the iterated and re-iterated line.</p> <p>In one painting "Salish Fisherman," however, everything comes together.</p> <p>The line isn't too stultified and the fills are light and frothy. When Childish manages to balance his influences and his ideas about how paintings should look it really works. This is a great painting that looks both like an old book illustration and a living breathing update on symbolist painting. Something new out of recherche elements.</p> <p>It shows a boat heading away from us down river with two oarsmen looking back towards us. The water is cold and treacly as deep water gets.</p> <p>The forest on the other bank is lit in half tones with dashes of misty paint strokes. Facing us is a bank of darker pine trees whose branches form a loose decorative grid. A painting moment like this reminds me of other formal abstract painters but it's just a stanza here. The painter's ability to both create and decorate space is exciting. There are illustrative elements and bold expressionist strokes like a halfway place between elements, actually more like a crossroads.</p> <p>So, I think, if these were a little better they'd be exponentially a lot better. Some are held back by, on the one hand a cautiousness in the outline and on the other a dashed-off ness in the fill. Mostly if he just laid in his line and let it be I think the impact would be greater. I believe many of his paintings are in the middle, teeter tottering on the edge of greatness.</p> <p><em>*Zhoosh -- Style hair, tart up, mince (Romani -- "zhouzho" -- clean, neat).</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4162&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="j5TZ9CAN785zzE0refKYAWykW7DoQcyjTinYqtqQmCo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 14 Dec 2022 20:44:03 +0000 Millree Hughes 4162 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4162#comments Mulling Over Wakanda for Weeks and Weeks http://culturecatch.com/node/4161 <span>Mulling Over Wakanda for Weeks and Weeks</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>December 14, 2022 - 14:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/765" hreflang="en">fantasy</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YN6N3jIu4ds?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Just before I started writing this review, over a month ago, the exceedingly nice folks at Disney—and they are quite nice<b>—</b>gently requested that critics invited to advance screenings of <i>Black Panther: Wakanda Forever</i> "refrain from revealing spoilers, cameos, character developments and detailed story points<i> </i>in your coverage."</p> <p>Admittedly, this is a bit hard to do when reviewing any film, let alone with this <i>Panther</i>.  In fact, I agree in principle with the studio's intentions. That's why I recommend reading just the intros and finales of write-ups of films you haven]t yet seen, especially those in <i>The New York Times</i>. The <i>Times' </i>middle paragraphs you'll quickly discover are often blessedly worth sidestepping.</p> <p>Well, anyway back then, on the very day the <i>New York Post </i>reported that Meghan Markle was being "slammed for attempting a British accent on her podcast," I took a second to check out how other critics were dealing with the parameters set by Disney for reviewing.</p> <p>Let me just note that <i>The Washington Post'</i>s daring yet delightful Ann Hornaday did not refrain. Well, truthfully, she didn't reveal the cameo appearances so neither will I. I can, however, tell you who's <i>not</i> in the film: none of the Kardashians, neither Mr. T. Chalamet nor Mr. H. Styles, no Lizzo, and neither Gayle King nor Oprah. I also didn't spot a Schwarzenegger, a Morgan Freeman, a Charlie Sheen, or any of the Harlem Globe Trotters, but I did think I glimpsed Jim Parsons briefly in a crowd scene but realized later "he" was just a kernel of buttered popped corn fused to my glasses.</p> <p>Ms. Hornaday also didn't mention "character development." That might be because there's only a mere smattering of the latter. No doubt all abustle to hand her critique in on time, she just understandably might've missed the transmogrifications. (Hint: Look for someone putting on a mask and another going all hue-y.)</p> <p>Ah, but Hornaday did blatantly cold-shoulder the rules by supplying a plot synopsis, which you'll realize after you see <i>Panther 2</i>—and no doubt most of you have already taken in this sequel that has currently grossed $767.8 million worldwide. Her take, though wee, is quite thorough, but without being as convoluted as the actual screenplay.</p> <p>Spoiler ahead: Wakanda has gobs and gobs of the metal vibranium, which the "colonizing" countries (e.g. the United States, France) want to control to weaponize even more than they have already. Wakanda won't have it, but suddenly blue people show up and . . . .</p> <p>Did I reveal anything?</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4161&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="sWr2W5FMeo-RizMGJ09-ooWY9qK3WhdSCRjvb4rVnDM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 14 Dec 2022 19:59:43 +0000 Brandon Judell 4161 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4161#comments Song for John http://culturecatch.com/node/4159 <span>Song for John</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/webmaster" lang="" about="/users/webmaster" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Webmaster</a></span> <span>December 8, 2022 - 14:03</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/745" hreflang="en">John Lennon</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Md0BHD-46Y4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Like millions of others, I am a Beatles fan, a product of the '60s/'70s and, as a musician, I was always heavily influenced by them.  In late 1981, almost exactly a year after John Lennon was killed, I was sitting at the piano, and inspiration hit me with a focused power that I had never felt before, with any other song I have ever written. The chord progression for the song poured out of me as a whole; there was very little (if any) modifying to be done. It had no lyrics yet, but I knew it was going to be my "John" song.</p> <p>Four years later, in September of 1985, I was at CCNY (taking evening classes), sitting in the dining hall, when inspiration hit me again and lyrics started "writing themselves" on a page of my notebook. I knew they were perfect, and I couldn't wait, so I left (cutting class), went home, and put the lyrics to the music. It was a perfect fit.</p> <p>I knew I had to record it immediately, and do…something with it. Since I play piano and drums and sing, I knew I would need a bass player and a guitarist. I got my friend Josh to play bass (and sing -- it is his voice on the first verse) and my brother, Eric, to play the guitar, including the solo (which has an amazing side story in itself). I also got a couple of additional friends, Amy Bachrach and Deborah Culmer, to help with harmony vocals, as did our engineer, Dina Alexander. (Sadly, Josh, my best friend in high school and for several years after, succumbed to Covid in 2020.)</p> <p>We went into the studio in November 1985, and the recording process was nothing short of magical. Even the studio owner/engineer, Dina, felt something special happening, and not only gave me a significant discount, but extra studio time. To this day, I owe her more than I can say.</p> <p>As the recording was coming together, I was coming up with ideas for what to do with it. After all, it was the 5<sup>th</sup> anniversary of John's death. Earlier that year, "We Are the World" had taken the world by storm. Because it was Michael Jackson and other major stars, they were able to get "We Are the World" played simultaneously on hundreds of radio stations around the world at exactly the same time. In my excitement, I figured "I can do that" -- on a MUCH smaller scale.</p> <p>I created PR packages that included a reel-to-reel copy of the song (yup, those were still being used), a lyric sheet, an info sheet, and even a pre-airing intro that DJs could use if they wished. I also included a postcard of John Lennon.  I sent these packages to a dozen radio stations in NYC, Philly and DC, requesting that they all play the song at exactly 11 pm on December 8<sup>th</sup>.</p> <p>The song was in fact played simultaneously at 11 pm on December 8th on at least five stations (that I know of): one in DC, one in Philly, and 3 in NYC -- including WPLJ, which aired it twice: first as the "intro" to Casey Kasem's Top 40 that morning, and then as the intro to their John Lennon memorial program that night. I was interviewed on air on WPLJ immediately after the song played. (Another amazing side story, including that Yoko apparently heard the song -- and loved it.) The song and myself were also part of WCBS-TV's 5-minute segment on the anniversary of John's death on the CBS Evening News that night. (Yet another amazing side story.) WBAI played it every year on December 8<sup>th</sup> for several years. WLIR played it each year until they changed formats a few years later.</p> <p>Needless to say, this was among the most extraordinary events of my life. I hope you enjoy the song.</p> <p>"We all love you, John.  And we WILL carry on, even now that you're gone."</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4159&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="kl2PpnqZ90Dc10ss3EmF4VtfyOjhGfMXh4Eh6Qsi7zM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 08 Dec 2022 19:03:31 +0000 Webmaster 4159 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4159#comments Got Fruupp, David Poe, Dead Kennedys, and an EP from R.E.M.! http://culturecatch.com/node/4158 <span>Got Fruupp, David Poe, Dead Kennedys, and an EP from R.E.M.!</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>November 30, 2022 - 16:15</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/771" hreflang="en">albums</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EMOoNYvlQRo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><a href="https://shop.recordcollectormag.com/product/VINFRUUPP/fruupp-s-masquerading-with-dawn-lp"><strong>Fruupp: </strong><b><i>Masquerading With Dawn </i></b><strong>(Bad Pressings)</strong></a></p> <p>I admit, and without shame, that I hail prog rock. I was an early fan of Caravan, Soft Machine, ELP, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, at al. But even with my insatiable appetite for all things progressive, I did not know of this Irish quartet. Formed in Belfast in 1971 by guitarist <a href="https://www.allmusic.com/artist/vince-mccusker-mn0001461586">Vince McCusker</a> along with the classically trained Stephen Houston on keyboards, oboe and cello, Peter Farrelly on bass, flute and vocals, and Martin Foye on drums, percussion, this highly skilled quartet released four albums. Their fourth and final album <em>Modern Masquerades</em> was even produced by King Crimson/Foreigner member Ian McDonald. (The weird band name was taken from a Lectreset sheet.) They even toured with King Crimson, but never gained the foothold that Fripp and his cohorts did. And so they languished in obscurity, the fringe of the very profound UK prog movement, yet every bit as dynamic, unique, and exciting as any of the aforementioned bands. And definitely every bit deserving of success. The band played hundreds of shows and finally folded up shop in 1976. One would think that was the end, but thanks to the passion of Robert Cochrane and Nigel Wade and only five decades later, it is here for us to enjoy. Said show had originally been recorded with the intention to release it as a live LP, but the master tapes were lost in a fire. And what of the music? Recorded on Dec. 6th, 1975 at the Friar's club in Aylesbury, UK, it's an audience bootleg -- that traveled from Europe to Africa but finally found its way to the Fruupp Facebook user group -- with pretty decent sound; all the instruments and vocals can be heard without fault. It is well-worth your time to discover Fruupp.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sxcbmooSeQs?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>David Poe: <em>Everyone's Got a Camera</em> (ECR Music Group)</strong></p> <p>I met David back at CB's Gallery when he mixed sound. I would often see him play solo or with his band and was constantly knocked out by his songs, vocals, and lyrics. Total package. He was always consistent. So it was no surprise that his latest release, his sixth, would continue that trend. As some readers of this site may recall, I picked the leadoff track of this album <a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/4077" target="_blank">"People Clap Hands"</a> as my single of the month back in February. I'm happy to report that uptempo track remains one of my favorite songs of the year. And now LA-based singer/songwriter Poe has released this wonderful 12-song collection of undeniably must-hear songs. Tracks like "Post," "Gun for a Month," and "Selfie" add handclaps to keep the vibe forward moving and memorable; it's def a clever percussive addition. And if you want ballads try not to <em>feel</em> the nostalgic and sophisticated folk-pop vibe of "Change So Fast" with David's lovely acoustic guitar finger picking and muted trumpet solo. Just a killer track. Moreover, the piano driven ballad "Goodbye Ballerina" boasts a timeless feel with its mournful cello line and David's heartfelt lyrics and harmony vocals. I would suggest that you buy/listen to this album today. Its rewards far outweigh the time you might spend listening to something you've already heard. </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YCL2l-xz5eU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>R.E.M.  <em>Chronic Town</em> EP (I.R.S.)</strong></p> <p>Back in the early '80s I was at a rather sedate party on the Upper West Side/NYC when someone slipped a cassette into my friend's stereo system. The blast of jangly rock hit me, and everyone else in the apartment, immediately -- familiar yet alien. People started to dance to a song they'd never heard before. What was this new rock sound with the swirling, jangly guitars, indecipherable vocals, and steady rock beat? As I quickly would come to find out it was new quartet from Athens, Georgia produced by Mitch Easter. An undeniable juggernaut. A band for our young generation. This would become the "sound" of college radio. "Wolves, Lower" kicks things off with aplomb... and the rest was history. Thankfully, 40 years on and a proper stand-alone CD of this majestic EP has been released. (I own the vinyl version, too. Sooo good.) It remains stuck in my car's CD player on perpetual repeat. And I never get tired of their jangle rock majesty cuz "box cars are pulling out of town"... and you didn't and still don't want to be left behind.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vFU3DYAub6I?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><a href="http://deadkennedys.com/"><strong>Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Manifesto Records)</strong></a></p> <p>Now available on new remixed/remastered splatter-green vinyl, lead vocalist Jello Biafra and his band's (guitarist East Bay Ray,  bassist Klaus Flouride, and drummer Ted) infamous debut has arrived in all of its aurally excitable glory. Boasting a new remix by mastering guru Chris Lord-Agee (Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Kahn, Joe Cocker) with extensive liner notes, unseen photos, and an essay by former DK tour manager and journalist Amy Linden. She sums them up brilliantly: "The band's creative m.o. -- left leaning politics, mordant humor, gonzo imagery (What the hell do suede denim secret police want with your uncool niece, for Christ sake?), and muscular instrumentation. There is no other band that sounded like the DKs." While the 1980 mix remains available and a timeless classic, this new remix is one that needs sharing and played on vinyl immediately.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4158&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="VLjnJiDaMKBticVFg07ugH95iB5VWpYcVdZ5vY_rw-c"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 30 Nov 2022 21:15:43 +0000 Dusty Wright 4158 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/node/4158#comments