Dedicated to classics and hits.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
|Katherine Hepburn in Summertime by David Lean|
d. David Lean w/ Katharine Hepburn
Criterion Collection #22
One of the attributes of people I've learned about from the internet is that it is easier to get people to like another person then a thing. People are more likely to "like" a band/artist then a record label. People are more likely to "like" Jesus then Christianity. People like to like other people. When you apply that principle to works of Art that are group efforts, it means that inevitably the Audience will be more interested in the specific people involved: the star Actor/Direction then the craft of an extremely complicated production. In music, when a new record comes out, people are interested in the novelty of it and what it tells the Audience about the Artist. Audience members do not care about how the record was produced and distributed.
|Sad Katharine Hepburn from Summertime|
Summertime presents two obvious focal points: the director David Lean and the star actress Katherine Hepburn. I should say it now: I have nothing but contempt for actors and their so-called "art." I can recognize and affirm great Actors but I don't think it's a worthwhile avocation for an amateur artist, specifically that it's inferior to being an author, musician or studio artist. I have more respect for Directors and the most for the system of movie production itself, but of course, no one wants to hear about that last one.
|David Lean shooting Summertime in Venice.|
David Lean is most known for his epics: Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, but the Britiish director had a "long and eclectic career" and this vintage 1950s Rom with a dash of Com is a good example of his eclecticisim. Katharine Hepburn stars as Jane Hudson, a "fancy secretary" from Akron Ohio who is on a once of a lifetime trip to Venice...solo. While there she befriends an orphan and has a brief love affair with Renato De Rossi a (married) antiques dealer who may or may not have defrauded her when she bought an "antique" vase from him.
Ah, Italy. Besides Hepburn doing her thing as a lonely, over-educated white lady from the 50s, Venice takes center stage. Having been to Venice during the off season, I can only contemplate with horror what a nightmare it must have been to shoot this film, in Venice, during the high season for tourism. It seems literally insane/impossible not to mention like literally the most expensive undertaking outside of shooting a feature film on the Moon or at the bottom of the ocean- just my impressions from a visit to Venice during the dead of winter in 2010.
I wasn't a huge fan of Venice at the time, but it's hard not to like how Lean shows her off: the bridges, the canals, the plazas, the Churches, the other plazas. Honestly, it seems like not much has changed in Venice since the mid 1950s. Once again, the restored Criterion Collection edition was a sheer delight to behold. Also, this is not a Criterion Collection edition where you need the special features, which are listed on the web page as "Original Theatrical Trailer" END OF LIST- so this is a good title to knock out without regard to missing the DVD only features.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
by Ivan Turgenev
The Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading
Translated by Constance Garnett
with an Introduction by Mary Albon
Really, the history of the reception of Russian literature in the English speaking world begins and ends with a single person, translator Constance Garnett. Between the 1890s and 1930s Garnett translated dozens of Russian novels into English. The list of Garnett translated works includes all of the hits of Russian lit: Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Fathers and Sons, The Possessed etc., etc. Thus, when you rsead a Russian novel in English today, you are most likely reading a public domain edition of a Constance Garnett translation. It's a testament both to her skill and the market for public domain translations of foreign language novels that her versions are still read today.
Spring Torrents is yet another Russian novella from the 1870s. Turgenev wrote Torrents about a love affair between a young Russian nobleman and the daughter of an Italian confectioner living in Germany. The Russian seeks a buyer who his estate- to finance his marriage- and is seduced by the prospective buyer- a decadent and wealthy Russian noblewoman of peasant parentage. Unlike the bigger hits of 19th century Russian lit, Spring Torrents is a mere one hundred and fifty pages, and the breezy tone is closer to an English novel from the middle part of the 19th century then other heavy Russian novels in the same time period.
It's nice to read a breezy Russian novel from the 1870s because, let's face it, War & Peace, Anna Karenina, Crime & Punishment and the Brothers Karamozov are some heavy fucking lifting, from a readers perspective.
Dirty Beaches Drifters/Love is the Devil
Album Release Party at
The Whistlestop Bar in South Park/Golden Hill, San Diego, CA.
Listening party at 9 PM
followed by DJ sets from
Brandon Welchez (Crocodiles)
DD Penny (Dum Dum Girls)
& Rare Vinyl Give-aways
(OFFICIAL FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE)
Promoting a record release party is tough, because... people don't give a shit. Promoting within a single market on Facebook is tough as well- I've completely reversed myself on how I approach targeting for repeat ads within a single market. Initially, I thought it was better to find a narrow, relevant target and hit those people repeatedly, but since I myself have now witnessed the impact of that approach on my own FB page, I think it's a mistake. Your friends and acquaintances are not the people who need to see a FB ad about your event, it's the total strangers who need to see it. Preferably, those in walking distance.
Instead of trying to target specific Audiences I've been using the general preset Audience pickers coupled with very specific geographical designations. For example, for this event tonight I created two FB ads, one posted on Crocodiles page (targeting only Crocodiles fans in San Diego) and a similar post for Dirty Beaches. Then I created an ad that targeted a pre set Audience with the Zip Code of "92104" creating a potential audience of about 5k for the ad.
During the period the ads have been running, attendance has risen from 28 to 38 and honestly, that is great. The difference between 20 and 30 people at a bar like the Whistlestop can be the difference between "fun" and "lame" and expectations need to be kept modest. And I have spent less then five dollars.
Obviously, the benefit to having an event at the Whistlestop is people go there just to drink so you always have a great ambient crowd that takes the pressure off of the specific event.
But the point of this post is simply that marketing an event on FB within a single market repeatedly requires that you broaden your target audience, and try not to target people who can hear about the event directly.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Crocodiles Cockroach Stereogum Premiere
Zoo Music UK/EU/ROW
release 8/20 US 8/19 UK/EU/ROW
Zoo Music will deliver for Crocodiles...just you wait.
|The Australian desert is a lead character in Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout (1971)|
d. Nicolas Roeg
Criterion Collection #10
The more Criterion Collection films I watch the more I realize that my interest lies just as much with the Criterion Collection itself as the individual films in the collection. I'm interested in the order of release, why they chose the films they released as well as the business side of the Criterion Collection. At the same time, though having all these Criterion Collection titles available via streaming on Hulu plus is almost like a relief, particularly since I only need to invest a couple hours in a film (vs. 2-20 hours on a book depending on the length.)
|Jenny Agutter plays the unnamed "girl" in Walkabout by Nicolas Roeg.|
Walkabout is a stunning outing by director/cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (Australia), produced by the guy who made Clockwork Orange. It tells the story of a teenage girl and her kid brother, who are abandoned in the outback when there Father commits suicide on a after school outing. After they are abandoned, they come across an Aborigine who is actually on a real Walkabout- an Aboriginal coming of age ritual that involves the young Aborigine roughing it in the desert for six months.
|Lucien John plays the unnamed "boy"- the younger brother of the girl in Walkabout (1971) by Nicolas Roeg|
Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Enchanted Wanderer
by Nickolai Leskov
Russian Classics Series Progress Publishers p. 1958
Here's a good example of an author I would have never read were it not for the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die (2006 ed.) list. The Enchanted Wanderer was a tough get: no Kindle edition, no Oxford World's Classics edition, doesn't exist as a stand-alone volume, etc.
There are several Russian entries on the list that are Novellas and not full fledged Novels. Many of these Russian hits were initially published not as serials but rather in a single printed journal/magazine. These publications were small editions and rarely repressed. The initial press of The Enchanted Wanderer was unusual in that the first run of the Journal it was printed in sold out, requiring a second pressing.
Leskov is closer to the works of Gogol vs. the Tolstoy/Dostoevsky end of the spectrum of Russian novelists of the mid 19th century. Like Gogol, Leskov's The Enchanted Wanderer harkens back to an earlier mode of storytelling rather then mirroring the developments taking place in England during the early to mid part of the 19th century.
Leskov's Enchanted Wanderer character, the narrator of the story, tells his listeners about his crazy-ass life: his start as an indentured serf, hitting the road with gypsies, working as a horse conisseur working for the Russian army, being kidnapped into slavery by Tartars, escaping from that slavery, working for a nobleman again as a horse picker... and... that is basically it. You get a pretty rich picture of the Russian scene outside the major capital. In particular his depiction of the vast Russian steppe is unique in Russian literature to this point, as far as I have read/know.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
|Josette Day as Belle in the Jean Cocteau version of Beauty and the Beast (1946)|
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
d. Jean Cocteau
Criterion Collection #6
Yeahhh... who I told I was watching this movie both thought I was talking about the Disney piece of s***. Anything sadder then the co-option by Disney of our public domain fairy tales? Sad but true. The Disneyfication of the fairy tale obscures the different origination of fairy tales in their "moden" form. Of course, the main vehicle has been the seminal work of the Brothers Grimm, but there is also a solid French contribution. The modern version of Beauty and the Beast has an actual author, Mme. Leprince de
|Jean Marais as the Beast in Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946)|
Jean Cocteau is another director who I know I should have watched but have not because of not having access to the Criterion Collection, but now I'm on the road to correcting that- Cocteau has four films in the Criterion Collection: The Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, Testament of Orpheus and this one.
|Jean Marais as the Beast in Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946)|
This edition of Beauty and the Beast was of course superb, particularly the quality of the film restoration and the "uncompressed" score by George Auric- both aspects of the release brought Beauty and the Beast to life and made watching it a pleasurable experience.
|Striking exterior wall with stone deer on top from Beauty and the Beast directed by Jean Cocteau|
I spent plenty of time in college and afterwards watching scratchy VHS copies of non-restored classics, spent time in law school and after watching scratched up non-restored DVD's of classics and earlier in this decade, before Netflix lost the Criterion Collection to Hulu Plus, I would get their scratchy copies of the Criterion Collection movies- but they would always skip and not come with the bonus features. Honestly, the streaming function of Hulu Plus vis a vis the Criterion Collection is literally the greatest breakthrough in a decade.
Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast is a world with real suffering intermixed with dreamlike/surreal qualities. It's quite a package for 1946 and easy to see why the Criterion Collection would release it in the first ten releases of the Collection.
Friday, May 17, 2013
|This is a still from Amarcord d. Federico Fellini (1973) one of the many grotesques that appear in almost incidential fashion during Amarcord.|
d. Federico Fellini
Criterion Collection #4
I can't properly express the feeling of joy I get when I think about being able to watch through the majority of the Criterion Collection on Hulu Plus. Seriously, is there anything else worth doing? Which is not the same as saying that I'm going to enjoy watching every film. In fact, I imagine it will be equally as tedious as reading all of the classics of 18th century literature in chronological order, like I did between 2008 and 2011.
|This still shows Magali Noel playing Gradisca. She is perhaps the most central character in the film as she begins and ends it.|
The Criterion Collection is not in chronological order, rather they are simply sequentially numbered like the releases of a record label. So Amarcord, the 1973 coming of age reminisce by Italian director Federico Fellini, is Criterion Collection #4. An excellent attribute of every Criterion Collection title is the corresponding web page they have set up with supplemental material.
|This is the head of Mussolini, who actually speaks to some of the townspeople during a Fascist rally that is both comical and surreal. Like, the mouth is about to open and address the crowd.|
For example, while I was watching Amarcord, I read the essay, Federico of The Spirits by Sam Rohdie. Considering my utter ignorance and even irrational dislike for the collected work of Fellini (Why? I have no idea) I found Federico of The Spirits to be incredibly helpful in understanding/enjoying the film. If you contrast the Criterion Collection page to the pathetic Wikipedia entry for the same film, its easy to see what a tremendous resource the Criterion Collection supplemental materials are for someone watching movies in a vacuum.
|Fellini's use of color in the form of flags and furniture is used sparingly in Amarcord but often to striking effect. Here, I was reminded of Matthew Barney's Cremaster cycle, for some reason.|
Amarcord was late enough in Fellini's career that critics were able to instantly hail it as a masterpiece. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1975 and numerous other critical awards during that time period. There is no central narrative to Amarcord, rather the film is organized around the turn of seasons during the course of a single year. The charteristics of late Fellini: a carnivalesque atmosphere and the presence of grotesque looking actors, saturates Amarcord, shades of contemporary film makers like David Lynch, Harmony Korine, Lars Von Trier and artists like Matthew Barney are evident from stills taken during the film.
|This is a peacock in the snow from Amarcord directed by Federico Fellini|
05/19 - 05/26
- Dirty Beaches Awarded Best New Music For New 2xLP
- Summertime d. David Lean w/ Katharine Hepburn
- Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev
- TONIGHT! Dirty Beaches San Diego Record Release P...
- New Crocodiles Jam From Forthcoming LP Crimes of P...
- Dirty Beaches - Casino Lisboa (Official Video)
- Walkabout (1971) d. Nicolas Roeg
- The Enchanted Wanderer by Nickolai Leskov
- ▼ 05/19 - 05/26 (8)
- ► 2012 (401)
- ► 2011 (298)
- ► 2010 (377)
- ► 2009 (100)
- ► 2008 (67)
- ► 2007 (158)
- ► 2006 (85)