Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maps and Atlases and Frightened Rabbit at The Fillmore

Maps and Atlases: best use of cowbell I’ve heard in many moons. Their drummer is a star in all senses of the word: the band draws energy from his funky beats. Wikipedia says that Maps and Atlases belongs to a subgenre of music called “math rock,” not be confused with “post-rock," which incorporates elements of "shoegaze," vomit, barf, etc. I know these music labels are douchey, but still, Wikipedia does a decent job summing up the sound.

Yet, if anyone ever asks me what Maps and Atlases sound like, I'll stammer and babble and vote Republican before saying, "Oh, they're math rock," because I know exactly how harshly I'd judge someone if they ever casually tossed that term out. My eyes would crinkle and my mouth would purse like a chicken's asshole: "Oh, math rock, you say?"

Maybe the lesson here is that I should be less critical of myself and others. No, that can't possibly be the lesson!

Question that I've asked before: How do you talk about ANYTHING in an erudite way without sounding pretentious? It's a give and take: you disclose your opinion then you counterbalance what you've just said by saying something self-deprecating: David Foster Wallace always appeared to have that balancing act down. Emphasis on "appeared."

End tangent. Anyway, Maps and Atlases' lead singer, Dave Davison (why parents, why would you do this?) has his own set of talents:



He looks a lot shaggier now then he does in this vid. He’s entered into the Jesus/Captain Caveman Hipster-phase. Meaning, I can't gauge whether or not he's cute because all the naked eye can see is face-bush.

Here's a little more:




And now I've run out of steam for Frightened Rabbit, which is too bad, because it was a stellar show. The crowd was the culty kind that knows all the lyrics and shouts them out, myself included. The emotional highlight of the show was the first song in the encore, an acoustic version of "Poke," which was infinitely better than this clip, but oh well:



When he finished last night, he told us, "That was my favorite time I ever sang that song. I'll never forget that."

Let's be real: Scott Hutchinson is basically a more electric, Scottish version of Bright Eyes. You either embrace it with your angsty teen soul, or you dismiss it as melodramatic. I'm in the first category.

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Unrelated postscript:

I also saw Michael Chabon read last night with his wife, Ayelet. It was a mistake for them to read side by side. How much does it suck to be an author in your own right and be Michael Chabon's goddamned wife? I don't think she would say it sucks. She seems to like, love him a lot. But I also wonder if she quietly simmers with jealousy? I would. Someone give me an example of a literary power couple with equal levels of talent, please.

"70 Million" by Hold Your Horses

They had me at "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp."

70 Million by Hold Your Horses ! from L'Ogre on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Apathetic Blog Post


Disney is making a live-action "re-imagining" of Cinderella. They're doing that with their time and money. So that's happening.

Remember the mice from the original? They were totally engaging and shit. Now they'll probably be made on a computer and be less engaging, unless they're done by Pixar.

Did you cry when you saw "Up?" Whatever, so did everybody.

If the mice are voiced by the Jonas Brothers, I'll be all like "Alvin and the Chipmunks, much?" But I might say it too fast and be like "Alvin and the Chipmunks, munk?" Then you'll judge me or whatever.

I want Dianne Keaton to play the evil step mother. I like it when she's in movies where she realizes she's never too old to learn something new about herself. In this one, she can just learn that she's evil.

If Ashley Tisdale plays Cinderella I'll be all like "oh, please."

Nose job nose job nose job.

Crater Face

Crater Face from Skyler Page on Vimeo.


I need to stop myself from simply reposting every damn thing CartoonBrew shares with the world, but this Cal Arts short was too damn good.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Non Sequiturs: Because I’m Lazy

1. I’m typing this in a café. Let’s be clear: it’s not a cool café; there are no T. Rex songs playing and none of the baristas have full sleeve tattoos. Actually, there’s only one barista: she’s Vietnamese and was born sometime in the antediluvian period. The coffee here costs less than a dollar, the radio is playing 80’s power ballads, and the whole place smells like the YMCA. I like to come here because nobody comes here. Well, almost nobody. At the moment it’s just me and two other customers. They’re a hetero couple. The man has bulging, wide set eyes that give him a mantis-like head and his lady-companion has the body of a Yukon Gold potato. They’re currently holding hands and talking and looking pretty solidly in love. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

2. I saw The Tallest Man On Earth last Sunday. Ironically, his big raspy voice emanates from a petite, matchstick skeletal frame. I have never seen skinnier jeans on skinnier legs. He did a cover of Graceland in honor of his Mother (it was Mother’s Day). Then he sang some Sade and when he was finished he said, “That wasn’t supposed to be funny.” I am in love with him.

3. If you are looking for catharsis,
here’s the button you press if you want to delete your Facebook account.

4. Werner Herzog reads "Where's Waldo?"


From Herzog's Wikipedia biography:

“In January 2006 actor Joaquin Phoenix overturned his car on a road above Sunset Boulevard. Herzog, who lived nearby, helped him get out of it. A few days later, while giving an interview to Mark Kermode for the BBC, an unknown individual shot Herzog with an air rifle during filming. Herzog continued the interview and showed his wound on camera but acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, remarking, "It is not a significant bullet."

Iron Man 2 is NOT Pirates of the Caribbean!



As the release date of Iron Man 2 approached, I had my fair share of doubts. I wondered if I'd end up likening it to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise: there were hundreds of reasons why the first film should have completely sucked, but thanks to a wild-card actor and strong directorial choices, it turned into a greater film than anyone could have expected. But then, knowing what people liked from the first, they pumped the sequel full with computer-generated steroids, assuming it to be another shoe-in success but ultimately delivering a bloated mess.

Good news! That only happened to a much smaller degree with Iron Man 2!

WARNING - SPOILERS ABOUND!

Iron Man fought a huge and evil version of himself in the first one, so it makes sense that he battles a small army of similarly-equipped drones in the sequel. Because if we liked it in the first, we want to see it multiplied by ten in the second! Thankfully they justify that math pretty well, through the greedy Arms-Dealer Justin Hammer (played by Sam Rockwell, who can do no wrong in my book) and his plot to crush Stark's technology with his own. Hammer teams up with exotic-bird-enthusiast Whiplash, played by Mickey Rourke, who gives a totally passable "bad guy" performance. Predictably, he builds himself an evil-version suit, and then an even bigger one for the final battle, and I leave the theater feeling like I got my money's worth.

On that note, the Suit Case Armor is very very cool.

Outside of the armor and in the fleshy world of relationships, things are pretty hit-or-miss. I'm never quite sure what's up between Tony and Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who could name her next child Beet Farm and I'd somehow still be into her deal), but they kiss at the end so I guess everything's cool.

The toughest dynamic to read was between Stark and Rhodey Rhodes. Replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle seemed like a good move, but they made his job so much harder that I'm not really convinced he pulled it off. It looked like Rhodes didn't want to testify against Tony in the opening, but then he steals a suit from him they fight at Tony's worst-part-of-the-movie-party, then gives the suit to Hammer, but gets to wear it at the Expo for some reason? And somehow they're friends again, right?

In my opinion, the best scene was Robert Downy Jr discovering the plans for a new energy source, using that funky hologram computer system in his office. Watching Robert Downy Jr. think deeply about things is massively entertaining and believable, which has gotta be pretty hard to pull off.

And yet, I found it weird that in a film where every character is telling Tony he doesn't have to bear such a heavy burden alone, he ultimately figures out to how to save his own life all by himself. The people around Tony keep reaching out to him or scolding him, only to find that all he really needs them for is blowing stuff up beside him or kissing him on rooftops.

Coming soon: exactly why Thor is super lame!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"I Just Like the Bubbles."


This man has a shop that only sells soda, with absolutely no Coke or Pepsi. I could listen to this guy's opinions and the way he says "bubbles" forever.

Up There

UP THERE from Jon on Vimeo.


Very cool short documentary about hand-painted wall advertisements.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Bear Film

a bear film from kris anka on Vimeo.


It's no secret that I really like drawing bears. The bear in the above film is downright adorable, while still remaining realistically bulky.

Via CartoonBrew (who claims this film is sexist. I think that's giving it a little too much serious thought than it merits, but you be the judge.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Am Not An Artist


Then what are you? A collection of visually pleasing animated GIFs? Oh, well that's pretty damn cool.


UPDATE: I submitted a GIF, and they dig it! Check it out here, or below:



Monday, May 3, 2010

Lala No No

This hurts me so much.

I'm finally over the whole "NO! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? SHUT UP! SHUT UP! OH MY GOD SHUT UP! WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS? NO! NO, STOP IT!" phase of my grief, and I'm ready to take a step back and look at this horrible event in internet history.

Apparently Apple bought Lala a while ago, which I didn't know, and they chose this moment in time to close it down. My guess: they sat back and let Lala work on perfecting their own service, and now Apple's just gonna rip that model and use it for an updated iTunes.com.

One of the main reasons I liked Lala was the ability to access my iTunes library from any browser, which I later found out is called "cloud-storage." So I guess it makes sense that iTunes would want their own version of that. Whatever, good for them for joining us here in the future.

But Lala was so much simpler and cheaper than the iTunes store. They didn't have any of that fancy "pre-order today and get a not-so-free music video" that iTunes does. When a new album is released, they post it. And you could listen to the whole thing before deciding if you want to buy it or not.

Conventional wisdom might say "if they're listening for free, they're gonna buy less!" but that's not what I've found. Looking at my Lala purchasing history, I've definitely been buying more music more regularly than I have in the past, thanks to their service that allows me to fully explore new artists and their cheaper prices.

I also loved the shit out of their recommendation feature, which let me easily send songs and albums to my friends. I've always loved turning people on to new music, and a service that makes it simpler and free was literally too good to be true.

So step the fuck up, Apple. You just stole the future from the internet, and it makes you super lame. You're crushing the little guy, which seems like a pretty Windows thing to do. That's right, I said it.

Usually you're really good at making new and shiny things that I want, but this time you took something I already had and shrieked "mine!" like some sort of jealous preschooler. So if you're gonna adapt Lala into your own smooth-titanium version, then the least you could do is speed it along, okay? Daddy needs his fix.