If You Find The Earth Boring...

Contra Controversy

I’ve written about the Vampire Weekend album Contra before, so I won’t go on about it, but I’m somewhat fascinated by the drama and subsequent legal case that has arisen from the album cover.  If you’re curious, read a nicely written take on the story from this past summer here and see the photo portfolio here.  The legal verdict is still undecided.

Winter & Summer Of Stop Motion Photography

I’ve gone from being stranded in European snowstorms to being stranded in Mid-Atlantic snowstorms in a matter of days.  I was just forwarded a link to Michael Black’s short film by a friend and thought I would post it here.  This video is a great example of stop motion photography and was “filmed” yesterday not far from my current location.  The film consists of a still photo every five minutes over a 20 hour time period. [vimeo 18213768 480 390] The above film reminded me of another video that was forwarded to me earlier in the year; another great example of stop motion photography.  In this film, Graeme Taylor shot the Bath Spa train station from an Intercity 125 train at 210 frames per second and then assembled the photos into this film. [youtube m1xSa7gcYmU 480 390]

Favorite Sites

do nothing for 2 minutes BLOGS of Friends ‘Buked & Scorned The Life and Times and Amazing Adventures of DJ Bunny Ears Stochasticity It’s Better Outdoors GOING SOFLO - the blog of a friend’s wife who I have never met, but I do like her writing… The Furnace When I need a good laugh: Least Helpful Shit My Students Write Best of Craigslist Ice Cubes Recipes Let’s Not Date Other stuff I like: Awesome Image Blogging - FFFFOUND! Collage Artist Blog - Notpaper The Scale Of The Universe (like a modern Powers Of Ten) The Composites

The Ersatz Assurance Of Closed Doors

I often go to the movies alone.  Some people think this is weird.  I’m usually not talking with anyone during the movie and the only part I truly miss out on with my solitude is the discussion with someone afterwards.  Film is for me one of the most moving and engaging of the “arts”.  I’ve been fortunate to have access to Cameo, a great and diverse art house theater just down the street from where I now live.  Cameo, of course, shows plenty of French films, although the movies I typically see are (undubbed) movies in English with French subtitles.  In addition to seeing a movie, this is a good way for me to practice with my translation skills. Cameo has a great array of movies in house for December or on deck for the next couple of months.  Some of the movies I would like to see include: Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, The Coen Brother’s remake of True Grit, Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, Manoel de Oliveira’s The Strange Case of Angelica, and Jean Luc Godard’s (!) Socialism.  If I went to see all of the films they have scheduled for this month, I would be seeing 57 films.  Let me say that again: fifty seven different fucking films.  Thinking about that makes me even more annoyed with the regular 12 movies-a-month showing at my local theater in the United States. Last week I went to see the movie Lullaby (entitled Lullaby For Pi elsewhere?).  I have to be honest, my interest in this movie initially stemmed from my (until now) secret crush on actress Clémence Poésy, but I became a little more interested when I read the movie tag-line - “A washed up musician falls for a reclusive artist” - so I curiously went to see this solemn romance.  While not one of the best movies I have ever seen, it will probably fall among in my favorites of the year.  This is actually an impressive feat for first-time Canadian writer and director Benoît Philippon.  The movie also features best actor Oscar winner Forest Whitaker.  It’s basically a story about a down-on-his-luck blues singer, played here by Rupert Friend, who spends most of his time in a hotel room drowning his sorrows in whiskey.  His luck happens to turn around when he meets a young artist who, speckled with paint, seeks refuge in the bathroom of his hotel room.  Each finds themselves sensitive and hurt.  They communicate via words and Polaroid photographs passed under the door.  The two begin a relationship only from their interactions behind the closed bathroom door.  Without giving away anything else from the story, the relationship between the two develops.  The story may sound absurd, but in a world of fiction, truth can sometimes be stranger. One thing I love about film is how it can communicate life in its rawest form.  Just like in this movie, there is comfort in having your doors closed off to the world.  One can only learn, love, and live via an open door.  It’s nice to have a visual story to remind me of this simple fact.

Raul Midon, Seu Jorge, and Sharon Jones & The Dapkings

This show seems like ages ago, but I don’t want to miss out on the chance to tell you about a great performance I saw in Nancy’s Parc de la Pepiniere (I’ve mentioned this park before here).  This night of music was aligned with Nancy’s huge Jazz Pulsations festival.  This show included Raul Midon, Seu Jorge performing with his backing band Almaz, and lastly, the amazing Sharon Jones & The Dapkings. Raul Midon started out the night at the park.  Raul was born in New Mexico but has spent most of his life living up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States.  He seems to me to be obviously inspired musically by Stevie Wonder, both musically and spiritually.  Raul Midon is a consummate song writer - the song takes precedence above all.  Here it was just him and his guitar, so his songwriting showed through quite well, especially in this intimate in a live setting.  He was quite impressive tonight in support of his newest record Synthesis. Seu Jorge & his band Almaz performed after Raul Midon.  I was truly excited and surprised by the number of Brazilians here in France showing support.  You probably would recognize Seu Jorge from his movie roles in Wes Anderson’s movie The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou as well as the great Brazilian film City Of God from 2002.  Seu Jorge & Almaz have a new record out on Egon’s Now Again Records called The Model which you should check out. Sharon Jones & The Dapkings were the main reason I wanted to see this show.  I skipped on a chance to see them play earlier in the year in the US and had time to regret this decision, so I wanted to take advantage of this show in Nancy.  Sharon Jones always puts on an amazing show; she’s arguably the most energetic performer in the world.  The show was incredible.  The band did a tribute set to great Soul legend Solomon Burke who passed away just a few days before this show.  The band also played a bunch of songs from the new album I Learned The Hard Way.