Archive: June, 2009
A new kind of tree is emerging.
Post-Rock. It is an elusive term. I have heard it described as 'what would be left of rock after the apocalypse,' 'rock instrumentation' not-rock music.' The implication is that rock has progressed so much that it has actually surpassed the boundaries that made it a distinct genre in the first place, like a tree planted in a sidewalk panel removed, whose roots have begun to destroy the pavement surrounding it. Like a poorly formed and immature caterpillar emerging a beautiful butterfly from a cocoon. But at what point does prog-rock out-prog its rockiness? Where is the line?
On Tuesday night it was in the basement at International Waters (532 S. 48th St.). Be it the undulating kinetic pulse of Big Ocean's explosive drumming and intertwined guitar/organ polyrhythms, Bear Is Driving's long, through-composed landscapes and stories, headliners Upsilon Acrux's intense assault on meter and melody, or the joyous magic strewn about the room by costumed show-closers Make A Rising, something new is bubbling up from the fault lines in pop-culture. A new kind of tree is emerging out of it and beginning to bear fruit. I say let's eat.
Admit it, you want more from this week's Movie section.
Year One [B-] did not screen in time for publication, but we sent Pat Rapa anyway. Here are his thoughts on the matter:
Biblical comedies have a decision to make regarding the jokes/story ratio. Will this be a Python-esque romp or a Mel Brooksian schlockfest? Harold Ramis' Year One ' wherein Jack Black and Michael Cera wander into the Old Testament from the Stone Age ' falls somewhere between the two, and falls quite a bit. The problem is not Black's hyper mugging or Michael Cera's flustered muttering, as you might expect, but the strange shifts in tone from wacky to serious. Too many scenes end with plot-advancing dialogue where a zinger would do. That would work better if "plot" were something this collection of character-driven sketches appeared to be striving for throughout. So many holes. How'd they escape the snake? Why is rival Marlak suddenly their friend for 5 minutes? The thing is, Year One is hilarious when it wants to be, full of gross-outs and cameos. David Cross makes a great weasely Cain. Hank Azaria has his least annoying film moment ever as Abraham. Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Matt Besser and McLovin all have their scene-stealing moments. Let them all get stolen, Mr. Ramis. You have a schlockfest. Let your people go.
Cindy Fuchs gave Food, Inc. [B] the review treatment this week, but that's not all CP has in store for you. Felicia D. over at our excellent Meal Ticket blog has an interview with director Robert Kenner:
Meal Ticket: What was the inspiration behind this film? Did you have some kind of motivating personal experience?
Robert Kenner: It wasn't really that. I was just curious, you know, to find out where our food comes from. An interesting exploration. I wanted to talk to all the different producers of our food system, and I found out agribusiness did not want to talk. Not only could I not see into their kitchens, they didn't want to speak to me at all. I was a threat. They don't want us to know where our food comes from. Food has fundamentally been transformed without us seeing it, or thinking about it. What we realized was that there is a movement percolating ' we didn't know about it until we got out there. It's going to take a movement to change things.
Read the rest of Felicia's interview here.
More movies after the jump.
The first line of my C- review of the The Proposal: "According the audible sighs heard throughout the screening, the real star of Anne Fletcher's rom com is Ryan Reynolds' abs." For those who don't believe me, check out the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly:
No, seriously, THOSE ARE HIS ABS.
Like the old adage goes its all fun and games until someone gets hurt, this definitely holds true in Fifth Form. Set against the first Gulf War, An elite New England prep school Hudson Academy becomes the battle ground for the prank war of all prank wars. Think getting hit with paint balls after getting out of the shower, from someone in a Nixon mask. The new Jewish student Josh Schuster takes center stage in the battle. But the jokes and laughs all end when it turns into an all out racial battle, with Fifth Formers Harold and Ravi being dragged through the mud, culminating into the most stereotypical and racially offensive newspaper image you could imagine depicting a white, an Asian, and an Indian (just think Ku Klux Klan gear, Asian miner getup and a man in a turban).
No doubt the rambunctious guys make for an interesting movie, and some humorous boys-will-be-boys lines. Even with the bro humor and pranks Fifth Form falls a bit short. Not that the movie doesn't have what could and is a good storyline, but the plot feels undeveloped. The tone shifts from the teenage guys fooling around to racially tense situations. The real story is Josh's coming of age, as we see him deal with a long distance relationship with his kid-crush Amanda and people from various backgrounds. Still, without a well developed central storyline it feels typical.
Urban Suburban Film Festival, Thu., June 18 - Sat., June 20, $10-300, Crowne Plaza, 4100 Presidential Blvd., Bala Cynwyd, 215-477-0200, urbansuburbanfilmfestival.com.
Last week MTV aired 16 and Pregnant, their new reality show documenting the lives of pregnant teens as they deal with the all too grown-up decision of having a child before they're even old enough to vote. When I first heard about the show, I immediately thought it was way to bolster viewership ' even if that means delving into the lives of teens during an extremely challenging period and upping the drama. But surprisingly it was more than just a grab for ratings; it actually delivers a positive message.
The hour-long premiere is shot documentary-style. Each episode follows a different girl but the first episode documents the life of Maci who gets pregnant by her first boyfriend, Ryan. For Maci adoption and abortion was never an option, she figured she made the decision to have unprotected sex so now she must deal with the consequences. Maci and Ryan work to pay for their own apartment ' they started living together after she gets pregnant. ' all while Maci pushes her way through high school graduating a year early even enrolling in college. Still, it's clear from watching the show that the two are still just teens, after all Maci tells her mom about her pregnancy via text message and names her son Bentley. For once people get an honest glimpse into what it's really like to be a teen parent, as Maci struggles to balance all these aspects of her life all while dealing with her deteriorating than enthusiastic about the situation after Bentley's birth. For viewers, particularly teen viewers, the premiere episode sends the message that sex does have real consequences. Even with MTV's True Life, its not often that teens get to see people who are just like them excelling in a less than ideal situation as Maci has. In a rotation of sex infused reality shows and music videos it's nice to see this message being sent.
Last week we told you about Weathervane Music's first project, the release of Austin band Sunset's "Fishtown." The Weathervaners have just made the video for the song, directed by Devin Greenwood, available on their site, which you should go to, sign up for and certainly support.
In which she laughs at fart noises and plays the North Star. Okay, I promise this is my last Ida Maria post for awhile.
The good people at the Playlist posted this trailer of Bj'rk's upcoming Votalic: The Volta Tour DVD. I've never seen the Pixied One live but this makes me super jealous of all the Parisian/Icelandic (Reykjavikian?) fans who got to be see this in person.
'Voltaic: The Volta tour Live in Paris and Reykjavik' is a remarkable, multi-media document of Bj'rk's visually dazzling Volta tour. Full of on-your-feet moments, the film features highlights recorded in Paris and Reykjavik, with performances of songs from Volta as well as earlier tracks including Hunter, Joga, Army of Me, and Hyperballad.
Bj'rk's band on the Volta tour included Mark Bell (LFO) on computers and keyboards and Damian Taylor on keyboards and programming. Drums and percussion were played by Chris Corsano (Sonic Youth, etc.); J'nas Sen played piano, harpsichord, and church organ; and Bj'rk's all female Icelandic 10-piece brass section rounded out the group. A dynamic, grand live experience, the Volta tour has been acclaimed around the world.
Have any of you guys seen Bj'rk live? What are your thoughts? I would have killed to see her do Med'lla live but I specifically remember having to work that night and being extremely mean to all of my customers because I knew what I was missing. Post your experiences in the comments and I'll give you extra points if you were cool enough to have seen the Sugarcubes.
Check Rep Film every week to find out what's going on at the 941 and various other Philly film goings-on.
Sat., June 20, 8 p.m., $7, 941 Theater, 941 N. Front St., 215-235-1385
A piece that began as a commission from the Kingdom of Denmark to create a work inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, on the occasion of his bicentennial, Project's primary narrative follows a Canadian pop lyricist, Fr'd'ric Lapointe (whose albinism mirrors Lepage's alopecia), who has travelled from Montreal to Paris to work on the libretto for a new Andersen adaptation; an international collaboration under the auspices of the Paris Opera.' So it is, among other things, an artwork as meditation on the process of artistic creation, as well as a strongly semi-autobiographical piece, with no small amount of self-referentiality.
Andersen's presence makes it into something of a literary reference game, as well.' "The Dryad," a lesser-known Andersen story (evidently something an autobiographical allegory itself) which is chosen as the basis for Lapointe's libretto, and which is told interstitially throughout Lapage's piece, largely via puppets and projections, also concerns an outsider's complexly motivated journey to Paris.' Another immediately resonant Andersen story, the curious and rather macabre "The Shadow," becomes one of the piece's tour-de-force moments when the somewhat ruthless opera director (who's initially presented to us as a thickly accented caricature of brusque, businesslike efficiency), performs it in a simple but inventively staged shadow-play as a bedtime tale for his daughter, an especially poignant and humanizing scene in the context of his estranged and endangered marriage.
There are also some highly intriguing but fairly cursory investigations into the historical Andersen's life and times, including a brief appearance from the man himself ' a desperate, pantomimed pas de deux wherein he strips bare a mannequin representing his unrequited inamorata Jenny Lind ' which present him as a much more fascinating and conflicted figure than the children's fabulist most of us remember.' But on the whole Andersen functions as a vague symbolic reference point and an incidental narrative feature rather than the literal focus of the piece, although the connections between his emotional isolation, artistic aspirations, and tormented sexual preoccupations, and the proclivities and predicaments of the play's two primary characters (the lyricist and the opera director), are made amply evident.' (Not to mention the gestured-at parallels between literal and figurative forms of masturbation, which add another level of wry self-reference in the context of an autobiographical one-man-show.)'
Meanwhile, Rachid, a nearly anonymous graffiti artist of North African origin who works as an attendant at the porn shop above which Lapointe is staying (and which the opera director frequents), makes an underdeveloped fourth link in this chain of solitary strugglers.' He's barely a character sketch; with some more narrative attention and stage time he might have brought some interesting additional cultural and socio-political dimensions to The Andersen Project (although that may or may not have made it even farther removed from Andersen himself).' But as it is there's already so much there that it's nearly overwhelming.' A two-hour show presented without an intermission, shifting rapidly and fluidly from scene to scene (one of the more striking transformations progresses, without a break in the action, from a display of luggage at the Andersen museum in Copenhagen to a high-speed transcontinental train to a thumping, psychedelic Hamburg nightclub), it's a wild and unpredictable ride.' But above and beyond its magnificent production values and consistently thrilling spectacle, there's a heart to this piece resonating with a humanism which ' strangely enough, fairly distinct the play's treatment of its own central characters, and certainly unlike its romantically doomed vision of Andersen ' is sometimes grim but never hopeless.
It was an old-school indie rock kinda night at KFN. Seattle four-piece Telekinesis, playing second in a not-clearly denoted co-headlining gig with An Horse (I'd expected them to play last), evoked a very certain type of classic indie rock ' the kind with hard-hitting drums, understatedly dueling guitars, a shy and comely female bassist withdrawing behind bangs, and a stage presence that involved, well, a lot of pondering one's pedal rig. Granted, it's tough to be all that animated when the frontman, Michael Benjamin Lerner, is also the drummer. Of course, when your band's named Telekinesis, there's an expectation of mind over matter. And what the band ' rounded out by guitarists Chris Staples and David Broecker and bassist Jonie Broecker ' lacked in kinetics they made up for in charm. "We're thinking of changing our name to Phillykinesis," joked Lerner coyly from behind his kit before giving props to the South Philly Tap Room, the staff of which was well-represented in the crowd.
The band played energetic renditions of the tracks on its Telekinesis! (Merge, available in full-song streams for a limited time), closing with crowd-favorite "Coast of Carolina" and threw in a cover of The Kinks' "A House in the Country" for good measure.
An Horse, drums and guitar duo from Brisbane, Australia, played to a slightly thinner crowd but delivered a frenetic set that recalled '90s indie rock heroes The Spinanes. Kate Cooper on guitar and vocals and Damon Cox on drums and vocals filled the room and then some; their songs teeter on the verge of samey on record but are blistering and blustery live. The duo's set was punctuated with blasts of confetti which provided nice flourishes for a show that felt very much like a party.
- Arts Events
- First Person Fest
- Last Chance
- On the Fringe
- Philly Artists
- The Curator
- Visual Art
- Arts News
- Artist Profile
- Arts Preview
- Street Art
- Been There, Done That
- Big Ups
- LOL With It
- Critical Mass
- Friday Fill-in
- Ice Cubes
- In Memoriam
- Just Do It
- Just Opened
- Art Phag
- Film Fest
- Movie Review
- On set
- 10 Track Mind
- Album Review
- Concert Review
- Local Support
- Now Hear This
- One Track Mind
- Philly Bands
- Somebody Else Was There
- The Showdown
- concert photos
- DJ Nights Blogged
- Night Watch
- Now See This
- Poetic License
- Printed Matter
- What We Heart
- Idol Hands
- Mad Men
- True Blood
- Useless Lost Recaps
- Couch Potato
- Shore Trash
- Turned ONN
- Video Games
- Free Online Game
- PlayStation 2
- The 1-Upper
- Web Junk
- CAGE MATCH
- Free Online Toy
- Weekend Omnibus