Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Change Jar: Monarch School

I'd like to give a spotlight once a week to somebody or some place I think is doing some serious good. This week it is Monarch School, they help the homeless and at risk youth of San Diego county make it through school. Providing shelter, food, school supplies and healthcare. Check it out.

Friday Scramble

Never can say goodbye. As mentioned last week The Uniform Project wraps up tomorrow. There's still time to drop a dime for the kids of Akanksha their way. I will truly miss this project and wish its creator the best in whatever she does next.

I was made to love her. A novel's worth of human observation in a single blog post. (via @ebertchicago)

It seemed a good idea at the time. Because I love you all, a collection of inexplicable musical numbers from the inexplicable slasher/Lauren Bacall vehicle, The Fan. (via Amelia Mangan)

Feeling in a hippie mood, so to tune in, turn on, and drop out...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Marks

Son of Morning by Joyce Carol Oates. A tortured literal prayer of a novel that tells of the rise and fall of God's favored young preacher, a Mr. Nathanael Vickery. It manages to capture the almost unbearable ecstasy of religious belief and visions and it's interesting as a look at the last gasp of religious fundamentalism before the Moral Majority turned American Christianity into tacky plastic. Published in 1978 it observes the cusp of the tent revival shows turning into the televangelists. It's greater interest and value is looking at how our finite minds create, look at, and even talk to God. And even what exactly "God" is. As typical with Oates reading it can feel like having open heart surgery performed with out anesthesia but every time I finish one of her books I feel a little more alive.



Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday's Verse, "Utopia" by Wislawa Szymborska

Island where all becomes clear.

Solid ground beneath your feet.

The only roads are those that offer access.

Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.

The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.

The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.

The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.

If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.

Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.

On the right a cave where Meaning lies.

On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.

Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.

For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.

As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.

Into unfathomable life.

Bits and Pieces

Cannon Movie Tales: Red Riding Hood, One project that's been percolating for a good long while is some kind of look at film versions of fairy tales. It's meant watching a lot of off the beaten path flicks. Producers Golan and Globus who built and burnt through a film empire in the eighties, exemplified by such product as the increasingly absurd Death Wish sequels and the Mission in Action franchise, tried their hand and a series of live action musicals based on classic fairy tales. Featuring an actor or two who were hot at the moment but could rarely sing and being a cheery musical while being quite faithful to the dark Grimm storyline these should be a lot more weirdly enjoyable than they are. Instead they're just odd, like a comedy sketch that got out of hand.

To make the Red Riding Hood story stretch to 80 minutes they added Craig T. Nelson as a pair of twin brothers, one good and long absent from the kingdom and the other the villainous local lord. He tries to woo the reluctant Lady Jean (Isabella Rossellini) and his right hand man is a sinister figure who can transform into a wolf at will. Again, this never takes flight either into something genuinely entertaining or camp. The songs are inoffensive but unmemorable and even though these where shot in Bulgaria none of the Gothic local color seeps through and the film remains as sunny and fresh scrubbed as something filmed in Southern California. For a magnificently mad Cannon musical, pick The Apple.

Get thee behind me Satan(ically bad writing)! One compensation for Monday is the weekly posting of Evangelical Christian Fred Clark's whipping of the execrable Left Behind series of books. A Christian more concerned with what Jesus of Nazareth actually said than with genital politics his barbed commentary on the appalling theology and even more appalling storytelling is never less than wickedly funny.

Ooh Shiny. I got me one of them tumblr thingys.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"I Have Dreamed of You so Much" by Robert Desnos

I have dreamed of you so much that you are no longer real.
Is there still time for me to reach your breathing body, to kiss your mouth and make
your dear voice come alive again?

I have dreamed of you so much that my arms, grown used to being crossed on my 
chest as I hugged your shadow, would perhaps not bend to the shape of your body.
For faced with the real form of what has haunted me and governed me for so many 
days and years, I would surely become a shadow.

O scales of feeling.

I have dreamed of you so much that surely there is no more time for me to wake up. 
I sleep on my feet prey to all the forms of life and love, and you, the only one who 
counts for me today, I can no more touch your face and lips than touch the lips and 
face of some passerby.

I have dreamed of you so much, have walked so much, talked so much, slept so much 
with your phantom, that perhaps the only thing left for me is to become a phantom 
among phantoms, a shadow a hundred times more shadow than the shadow that 
moves and goes on moving, brightly, over the sundial of your life. 

Photobucket

Faces I Love II

As seen here.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Scramble

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword. A response to Confederate History Month. (Found via Max Sparber)

Late to the party. One of many "meant tos" was contributing to Final Girl's film club round table on Spider Baby. Well no matter, read all about Jack Hill's gleefully insane confection here.

Looking good and doing good. One of my biggest loves of this past year is The Uniform Project. The brilliantly simple idea of wearing the same dress every day for a whole year has evolved into a globetrotting sustainable fashion revolution. And it's all to benefit the Akanksha Foundation a nonprofit that sends underprivileged kids from India to school. Check out close to a year's worth of looks and consider tossing some coin the project's way.

And now we sing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Long Has This Been Going On?

This could easily be one of the first things I delete but I want to throw up some words to at least remind myself what I'm trying with this. I am 26 years old. By this point in my life I expected to have been or done the included, but not limited to, things; writer of several novels and perhaps a book of short stories, a film director, screenwriter, script doctor, cinematographer, ballet dancer, fashion photographer and archaeologist. That exactly none of these have happened is completely my responsibility.

I have a terrible habit of writing or imagining the most perfect book/movie/whatsit in my head and it never reaching the page or even the the earliest stages of construction. Well no more, I'm tired of being an idle spectator in my own life, and time seems to be speeding up into a frightening blur. I'm going to keep repeating a saying I spotted a few weeks ago, "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now", repeatedly.

I like movies, books, culture, anything that makes you feel warm and connected to the creative thread running through the universe. And I'm going to write about them and whatever crosses my mind. And I'm going to post it here, to be deleted if it proves hopeless or to be edited and worked into shape.

I won't make a grand list (at least online) of what I hope to accomplish less I look back in six months and feel embarrassed. But there we are again, I'm tired of looking back six months down the line and feeling embarrassed and knowing I've got no one to blame but myself. So I want out, I want to give back to the creative pool just some of the pleasure and education it's given me over the years, and one of my goals is to write and direct my own film. I'm done trying to be perfect, I'm ready to be a work in progress. I guess I write this to ask for your patience and to say stick around. I'm a jumble of likes, impressions, and obsessions and hopefully this place will reflect that.

Photobucket

Faces I Love

Essential reading The Sheila Variations has an occasional feature I adore called Faces I Love (see here for an example.) It's too good an idea not to lift wholesale so without explanation or justification here are a few of mine.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Suzy, do you know anything about... witches?"

Photobucket

A favorite blog, Arbogast, is having a second go round of the achingly lovely The One You Might Have Saved blogathon. That character that if you were guiding the hand of fate, or of the screenwriter, you would have spared.

The first one to come to mind for me was Sara from Suspiria, played by Stefania Casini. We meet her and her immediate taking of Suzy (Jessica Harper) under her wing puts us in her corner. Her kindness, warmth, and curiosity would have marked her as a fine lead herself. But alas, she is the fatally too curious best friend of the final girl. The very things that make her so alive are the very things that doom her.

It's rare to see a healthy friendship among young girls in film which makes it especially sad to know it won't last. The two have a chemistry that oddly feels more at home in the impish innocence of The Trouble With Angels than Argento's black hearted fairy tale. In horror friendships tend to end in betrayal or cruelly cut down, Suspiria gives an extra twist of the blade by giving us both. Further, horror often speaks to our ache for companionship, for connection, and how that not being met or (sometimes literally) severed leaves far more traumatic scars.

At the film's end, as Suzy wanders from the burning mansion dazed and smiling (slipping into madness?) I can only wish she had Sara walking beside her. Two girls frightened, but having each other to lean on. Not even minding the rain and wondering what on earth they are going to tell the police when they walk to the end of the dark wood and out into the land of the living.