Thursday, July 29, 2010
Our good friend Allen is a super funny comedian. Recently we had the bizarre experience of doing a set directly after Louis C.K, one of the biggest names in stand-up right now. His experience is both inspiring and a worthy portrayal of that warm-fuzzy feeling that comedy is capable of delivering every now and then.
Read it here.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
I saw Inception over a week ago, and my thoughts continue to evolve, particularly about the ending.
I need to see it again, but my gut reaction to the last shot was "it won't stop spinning." I was content thinking the whole movie had been an elaborate dream that Cobb was having, and that Mal (his dead wife) had been right all along. He needed to wake up.
But after contemplating further, it felt like there was too much back-stepping justification to truly commit to that theory. For example: isn't it strange that we only see one small part of Cobb's house, both in "dream" and "reality?" And that when he does finally see his kids, they're once again in the backyard, in very similar clothes and positions? And can we really trust the logic of totems, when it's a concept he'd altered in order to "incept" Mal about the slipperiness of reality?
Regardless of all these questions, I feel like if director Chris Nolan wanted me to land hard on a specific interpretation, he would have given it. Judging from his past films, namely Momento and the Prestige, Nolan tends to reveal the true twist. Leaving the ending of Inception so open has more to do with broader notions of the film's themes, and less about making an either/or decision.
Cobb's dismissal of the totem should be more important than if it truly stops or not. Cobb finally deals with his horrible guilt, by confronting the shadowy version of Mal and making the choice to move on. His perception of himself and his situation changes, much like Fischer's own relationship with his father. In each case, their own personal reality has been altered. It's as if Cobb "incepts" himself.
That creepy old man in the strange opium/dream basement sums it up nicely: "Their dream has become their reality. Who are we to say otherwise?" We each have our own reality, and we just witnessed Cobb finally committing to his own.
If you want to read this theory as explained by a person much smarter than myself, I highly suggest this post. Here's a quote that I dig:
In the end, in absolving himself of the guilt, Cobb realizes it’s rectifying your inner reality, not the outer one, which is most important. With this movie we get bogged down by questions of what is and what isn’t concrete reality and that is all beside the point. It’s only the reality of one’s own mind that matters. The reality you believe to be is the only reality that exists.
With that in mind, wouldn't it have been terrible if we saw the totem fall?
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I love this band. The first time I saw Ra Ra Riot live was at a dinky little space at my college, and since then they've graduated to larger venues like the El Rey, another venue in which I witnessed them rock the house with their string-infused brand of buoyant indie rock.
I was trying to figure out why I haven't written about them yet, and realized they haven't released an album since 2008, making them ineligible for the "Best of '09" list from last year. Little did I know that they spent that year on a farm, recording their forthcoming album "Orchard."
The album comes out next month. Did I mention I'm pumped?
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I'm doing the best I can to fully absorb the above lecture (split into six parts) given by David Milch at USC.
Solely to help myself understand it better, below I've summarized one of the most interesting segments:
Kierkegaard (who Milch refers to as "half a whack-job") once wrote that "purity of heart is to will a single idea." That single idea should inform everything you do and govern all your behavior (religious example: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you fully live by that one teaching, you've gained religious purity in the eyes of Krazy Kierky!) Once you achieve this, and all of your actions are born out of this single idea, then "the self rests transparently in the spirit that gives you rise." This is a fancy way of saying that while you are your own singular thing, you're also everything that helped make you. In other words, everything that created you and got you to your current state is still a very visible part of you, therefore you transparently exist with it/rest in it.
A lovely Milch quote: "Despite your seeming separateness, there radiates with a perfect clarity the soul of the universe which created you. There's a paradoxical doubleness of seeming separate from each other yet radiating through each other. That's the state of grace, and I would submit that's also the state of art." Whoever is viewing art has come to see something that "seemed to be separate entities as informed by a single unity." In other words, there's a lot that goes into shaping a single piece of entertainment. It's one thing, made by many people. There's a struggle to "will a single idea" in what the artist creates, a struggle similar to what Kierkagaard was talking about.
So Milch asks the big question: "How does the artist reconcile with the competing plains between addressing a large audience and staying true to the internal logic and spiritual conflict of the story he's telling? Is it possible to do that?"
That's all I have the energy to mull over right now, but suffice it to say that I strongly recommend giving this lecture a listen.
As excited as I am about this movie, I worry about how it'll change my perceptions of a web service I use almost every day. In true Fincher fashion, I might get pretty sad. And in true Sorkin fashion, I might hate cocky assholes even more.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Some day, I wish to be both interesting and well-dressed enough to be featured on the classy website Grain & Gram, which describes themselves as "The New Gentleman's Journal."
So far, they've only featured two dudes, and in comparison to the second, the first piece seems overly concerned with design and less with substance (with such probing questions as "black or brown shoes?") Thankfully, the combination of interview, graphics, photos and video profiling printmaker and entrepreneur Nick Sambrato supremely deliver on what I believe is this website's main ambition: to capture the modern gentleman.
Reading about Nick's work ethic and seeing his no-frills-fashion sense certainly gives all us creative types something to aspire to.
If Grain & Gram keeps this up, they just might make a gentleman out of me.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Believe it or not, this guy has more than one video of himself checking out rainbows and having incredible reactions.
Hey, actors! For those of you who think this might work great as an audition monologue, I couldn't agree more! So here's all of his transcribed dialog for you:
Woah, that's a full rainbow. All the way. Double rainbow, oh my god. It's a double rainbow all the way.Woah, that's so intense. Woah, man.Woah. Wo-o-ah. Wo-ho-ho-ho. Oh my god, OH MY GOD! WOOOOOOOO! OH MY GOD! Oh my-wow! Wooooooooo! YEAH! Oh my! Oh my gaaaah! Oh my god, look at that.It's starting to look like a TRIPLE rainbow. Oh my god, it's FULL-on, double rainbow all the way across the sky. Oh my god. Oh my gah-ha-ha. Oh, god. [Sobbing]What does this mean? Ohhhh. Oh my god. Ohhhhh. Oh. God.It's so bright! Oh my god! It's so bright and vivid! Ahhhhh! Ahhhh! AHHH! It's so beautiful. [Sobbing] Aha ha. Oh my god.[Gasp] Oh my god, it's a double complete rainbow. Oh - my - fucking - god [laughter]. Oh my god [laughter and sniffle].Does it mean? [Laughter] Too much! Tell me what it means! [Gasps for breath].Oh my god. It's so intense.Oh. Ah. Oh my god.
Friday, July 2, 2010
I don't know what impresses me more: how much they nailed the look and feel of the original "Alice in Wonderland," or that CollegeHumor.com is capable of witty political satire.