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April 15 at 10:15am

Johnny Hit And Run Pauline

I have been playing the alternative soundtracks to ADVENTURELAND since yesterday morning.  As good as a group of songs we licensed, and for all the loving embraces Greg gave the bad generoulsly placed them next to the good — and thus allowed the worthy to rise in all their glory, there was also a great amount of truly memorable tunes we considered along the way but had to let go.  And some were truly greats.

I don’t think a song ever blew my away as much as X’s “Johnny Hit And Run Pauline”.  I remember hearing it for the first time in my kitchen on SW Kelly when I was a freshman.  Bingo and Charlie and me were drinking in the afternoon.  Maybe it was the weekend, but I doubt it.  I was a music snob and thought I had heard it all.  The song scared me in that it was so far beyond my imagination and yet still so much of what I wanted.  It went right into my veins.  I was so eager for everything to be faster and harder.  
Mindblowing still is such a seldom reached plateau.  We settle for less unfortunately, but then again such creations help chart the course too.  We need the comparisons.  Every time that song comes on, I get locked in a flashback and stuck in the past but one where I knew the future would be glorious and fulfill many dreams.  Yet bodies would be left in the wake and that rhythm impossible to maintain.  Rare has been an album that reached the power of the first three cuts on “Los Angeles”.  Whew.


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April 13 at 2:58am

Two Great Films Not To Miss

I had been wanting to post about a couple of films I’ve seen and was really impressed by — but time has been short and I haven’t been able to do a lot of things I had hoped.  So when I got an email from director Jim McKay urging me to check out the two films I wanted to post about, well, I thought why not let him tell you about them instead of me.

Hey, folks -

I’m a little bit late on this one, but I finally got out to see it last night and if you’re in New York it’s still playing at the great IFC Center and if you’re not, it’s either on its way to you or on IFC On Demand…

The movie is HUNGER and it’s British artist/director Steve McQueen’s first feature film about the IRA’s early 80′s in-prison protests (no clothes, no wash, and, ultimately, hunger strikes) and Bobby Sands’ role in them.

The film has qualities about it that can come only from a) an artist from outside the film world and/or b) a (first-time) director who is either unaware or unconcerned about “the rules” and has the artistic integrity to insist upon a method of storytelling that is powerful and unique. A perfect film? No. A very complete and confident vision that will shock, inspire, and move you? Yes, absolutely.

Characters are explored who then disappear from the story altogether, other main characters aren’t introduced until late in the film, there’s a jump in time toward the beginning of the film but then that doesn’t become a motif and the device is not repeated…. All things that in the U.S. film-making system would’ve raised red flags of narrative concern from investors, producers, and all the other people whose job it is to make sure a creator makes a film that will be “marketable” (of course 90% of these movies tank anyway….). It’s interesting that another visual artist-turned-filmmaker, Julian Schnabel, has also become one of our more important filmmakers – these are artists who are used to making work for themselves and not for studios or financiers or bean-counters. And the work shows a boldness and independence that is often missing from the typical new narrative filmmaker. Let us give thanks for filmmakers who say “screw you” to those who might say “but that isn’t the way things are done.”

The film is definitely hard to watch at times – violence, torture, etc – but especially now, in the era of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, it’s the kind of stuff that we need to be reminded of and need to make ourselves watch. And for all its inherent artsiness, it’s also a fiercely political film that calls up all the anger and bitterness toward Margaret Thatcher that would in later years inspire Morrissey to ask in his song Margaret on the Guillotine “Oh, when will you die?” and Elvis Costello to sing “When they finally put you in the ground, I’ll stand on the grave and tramp the dirt down.” The film made me very, very angry. In a great way. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

Because of the subject matter, I put off seeing this film for a bit, which was a mistake. I highly recommend it.

peace,

Jim

(PS: I also saw Goodbye Solo this past week and thought it was great. I’m about to head out of town and can’t summon up the time or brain power to write about it right now, but I will when I return but in the meantime, put it at the top of your must-see list).


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April 12 at 10:06am

"Something For The Kids On Easter"

How great is Tom Waits?!! Did you know you can follow him on Twitter? Baudrillard, Jenny Holzer, Marshall McLuan, & Frederick Nitezsche too!

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April 5 at 1:40pm

Bratty Rock At Its Best

“Pushin Too Hard” by The Seeds has been one of my favorite songs since the moment I first heard it sometime in the late 70′s.  I first thought they were a new punk band at the time and only learned later, they came a decade or so earlier.  The song just grabbed me with it’s propulsive rhythm and some of the best bratty vocal stylings ever.  The nasal annoyance teams with the vocals to give it the perfect “get-off-my-back” attitude.

I’ve never seen them perform, but the bad lip-synch is worth the price of admission.


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