Archive: October, 2008
The camera pans over three women in a mineral pool as they pant heavily, calling for god's forgiveness. They dip their heads below the water and resurface, gasping for air as their viewer catches a glance of their holy pubes. Raw, sensual and restrained all at once, The Secrets is a movie about the sacred bonds between women.
Naomi, the daughter of a well-respected Israeli rabbi, chooses to buck tradition and attend seminary rather than marry her finance. At Safed, the "Seminary of Knowledge and Truth," buttoned-up Naomi meets Michelle, a cigarette smoking, rebellious French girl. Together they decide to save the soul of a local woman who was cast out after she murdered her husband. As a woman, Naomi cannot become a rabbi, so she takes matters into her own hands and performs a series of ancient Jewish sacraments on the woman to win god's forgiveness.
Each woman is an outsider in her own rite — the too smart girl who doesn't want to marry, the fat girl no one wants, the feminist headmistress and the woman who murdered for love. In Orthodox society, women are not counted fully as people. These women use this non-recognition by tradition to forge their own quiet agency.
The Secrets, Mon., Nov. 3, 7 p.m., $10, Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St., pjff.org.
Read Timothy J. McLaughlin's review of Strangers, also playing at this year's PJFF.
The plot unfolds like a Hebrew West Side Story, complete with young love, cultural conflict and disapproving friends. Rana (Lubna Azaval), a Palestinian expatriate, and Eyal (Liron Levo), an Israeli tourist, are both in Berlin for the World Cup Final. They cross paths on a train where they unknowingly switch identical backpacks and their romance begins while they examine one another’s luggage. When they meet to return their bags and begin to look for hotel rooms, they decide not to discuss politics. Instead, they bond over football (soccer).
The film, directed by Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv, began as an improvised short just weeks before the World Cup in Berlin. Azaval and Levo bring genuine chemistry to their on-the-fly dialogue, but a boom microphone disrupts that genuine quality when it enters the shot during the climax. Strangers does one thing right: it captures the affects of a complicated war on two young lovers. In one scene, the two are sitting in a hotel room, watching video of a violent attack on CNN. They both call home on their cell phones, hoping to find the real story. They hang up, reluctant to look at one another. Their whole relationship is summed up in silence.
Actually just Dres from Black Sheep. It was Def Jux co-founder Ameachi Uzoigwe's idea.
|Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier|
|Photo | Dianca Potts|
CP's Dianca Potts covered Deerhoof's Oct. 25 show at the Starlight Ballroom. Here, she touches base with drummer Greg Saunier to talk about their current tour and their brand-new record Offend Maggie.
City Paper: What differences where there in your approach toward creating your most recent release, Offend Maggie, that varied from your earlier releases?
Greg Saunier: It's always different — we don't have this music-making thing down pat yet. All of our records are just the timid first steps of complete beginners.
CP: What sort of emotives are you trying to convey through Deerhoof's music? Have they changed as your career's progressed?
GS: I'm not sure what [vocalist/bassist] Satomi [Matsuzaki] or [guitarist] John [Dieterich] or [guitarist] Ed [Rodriguez] would say, but personally there's no emotion I'm trying to convey. There's music I'm trying to convey and it sounds very emotional to me. But that's not quite the same thing. The musical ideas that come into my head are what they are, and I'm not trying to force them into any pre-planned emotions, like "I want our album to be happy" or "I want our album to be sad." I always think that one of the wonders of music is that the same piece of music can sound happy or sad — or both at once, depending on how you feel when you listen to it.
CP: What are some major themes, images, messages that appear throughout the songs on your new album?
GS: Maybe a sort of overbearing or unhealthy masculinity runs through a lot of the lyrics and the sound of the music. One that is a bit flawed, or bruised, but that is overcome eventually. That's how I hear it, anyway.
CP: It's been awhile since you last played in Philly. How do you think your live set has evolved since then?
GS: It's funny, because actually I never get to see our live show. The best person to ask would be someone who came to our show the other day. The best I can do is talk about how our Philly audience has evolved. We had such a great time the other night, and it was all about the audience. Every time I looked up while we were playing, I saw grins and dancing, waving arms and mouths singing along. I saw people of all ages. I felt like everyone was there to listen, I mean, you could hear a pin drop in the quiet parts, and and that doesn't always happen. It may have been the best audience we've seen on the whole tour.
CP: Favorite track on the new album?
GS: Ooh, not an easy question. Keith Richards always says it's like choosing your favorite baby, but I think it's worse than that even. More like a love-hate relationship. I can't really listen to one of our songs and get a sense of what it actually sounds like unless I haven't heard [it] in a LONG time. And obviously, our new record just came out a couple weeks ago and we're playing the songs every night, so I'm in maximum confusion mode right now.
CP: Favorite things about being on tour?
GS: Being on tour is fun in all kinds of ways, but the one thing that consistently gives me a pleasant surprise is the audience while we're playing. Their enthusiasm for Deerhoof is the reason we keep going.
CP: Anything crazy happen so far?
GS: Just last night, Jamie Stewart, singer of Xiu Xiu, came onstage for our last song ("Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back") and sang along with Satomi. It sounded so amazing. But really there has been craziness/fun-ness on stage every single night. My bandmates always surprise me It has just been a wonderful tour.
True, most of us missed this due to an acute case of Phillies Phever, but it looks as though Rog and Co. can still fill a house regardless of competing draws.
h/t: YouTube user erbsoccer
|All photos by Dianca Potts (click to enlarge)|
Art rockers charmed the Starlight Saturday night with a living manifesto of avant musical fusion — spearheaded, of course, by their unpredictable hooks and frontlady Satomi Matsuzaki's nonsensical enunciation. Rhythmically surprising, Deerhoof's opening songs, "Milk Man" and "Snoopy Waves," came off like new-fangled, surprisingly jazzy variations on the indie rock standard. Smiling ear to ear while maintaining killer precision, the Left Coast quartet's gregarious stage presence proved contagious, inspiring fans to half-dance/half-skank around a floor cluttered with umbrellas and raincoats.
There's just something about the way Deerhoof approaches each song — head on and with complete confidence, getting lost inside the orchestration while still paying impeccable attention to each chord and chorus line. They kept on-stage banter to a minimum, pausing to thank the crowd briefly but sincerely between songs. Performing the right percentage of tracks from their lengthy discography, their set saw old favorites like "Dummy Discards a Heart" and "Chatterboxes" as well as newer standards, like the catchy-as-hell "+81" off last year's Friend Opportunity. Closing the evening out with a two-song encore, Matsuzaki donned a tiger mask and crawled across stage while crooning Offend Maggie's "Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back."
|All photos by Dianca Potts (click to enlarge)|
Every Monday, the Showdown tells you who to see and where to see ‘em.
Monday: According to their MySpace, Kentucky all-male three-piece Young Widows sounds like "feelings, nothing more than feelings." Stop by the Barbary and judge for yourself. With Gods & Queens and Birth Control, doors at 6:30 p.m., tickets are $10.
Tuesday: Dungen is pretty much an international phenomenon. Back in 2004, Pitchfork gave their album a 9.3/10. That’s pretty impressive. So is being from Sweden. With the Lone Star State’s Headress, at Johnny Brenda's, doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $13.
|They remember Halloween.|
Wednesday: The original Fiend Club, horror punk legends The Misfits plan again to take the stage, minus their former creepy lead Danzig. It's either that or Hanson. Mmmbop or punk rock? You decide. Catch them with Stiff Goat Shrine, Courage Pills, and the Red Fascists, at Crocodile Rock, doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $18. See Hanson at the Keswick with Dave Barnes & Everybody Else, doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $35. If neither floats your boat, check out Saddle Creek's Tokyo Police Club. Namedropped on primetime TV and probably still recovering from their tour with Weezer, their live set is uncomplicated and fun. With Mobius Band, at First Unitarian Church, doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $14.
Thursday: The Philadelphia Orchestra performs works once censored by Adolf Hitler. Initially forgotten by the public after WWII’s end, conductor James Colon recovers pieces like Franz Schreker's "Prelude to a Drama" and scenes from Alexander von Zemlinsky's opera "The Dwarf." With Soprano Mary Dunleavy and Tenor Rodrick Dixon, at Verizon Hall, doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $10-$46.
Friday: Ditch trick or treating for Making Time/R5's Totally Boner Halloween Freakout with DFA's Hercules and Love Affair. Promising to be "the raddest Halloween party ever," this festive shindig will also be H&LA's first performance in Philly. Three floors, 8+ DJs, an open bar from 9-1. Don't miss out. Head over to Transit, from 9pm-3:30am, tickets are $12 with a costume or $15 without.
Saturday: Stop by Fishtown's newest hotspot for Harvey Milk. With Tombs and Hollenlam, at Kung Fu Necktie, doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $12.
Sunday: Got an appetite for emo? MySpace, that place for friends, presents Secondhand Serenade and Cute Is What We Aim For. With A Rocket to the Moon and Automatic Loveletter, at the TLA, doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $19.
|Photo | Dianca Potts|
[Little late notice]
Currently on tour in support of his tour-only EP How Ya Lookin' Southbound? Come In..., Austin's guitar-slinging now-grown-up boy wonder stirred things up with the new and old, leaving just enough time to endorse Barack Obama and make fun of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder.
Set list after the jump.
Wantin' Her Again
Walk On Me
Things I Like to Do
On My Way
This Is War
Penny on the Train Track
In Other Words
* Song title as it appeared on set list
gndcd402's YouTube channel is a treasure trove for all you "Jamily" types.
I still don't really get it.
|St. Martin's, 304 pp., $25.95|
Nothing can be said about the young M.K. Asante Jr. if not that he is a visionary. The 23-year-old professor, poet and filmmaker believes hip-hop can save us all. The North Philly native argues that hip-hop is a misunderstood weapon of social change in the fight for racial equality, which has been colonized by the corporate media and sold back to Americans as “Authentic Black Culture.”
According to Asante, the post-hip-hop generation is one that is ready to deploy hip-hop to fight for civil rights rather than the right to party. This sounds great. I’m down, but I’m not sure I’m invited to the party as a middle-class white girl. Asante’s focus is on rallying black youth, not building a broad-based coalition of whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and anyone else who wants to join. I’m sure he’s not opposed to this idea, but the error of omission undercuts his broader vision of equality if it focuses solely on a black-and-disenfranchised and white-benign-oppressor paradigm.
While the book isn’t particularly groundbreaking, it has some nice moments and sound reasoning. Asante has a conversation with the ghetto that details its origins historically and politically. But if you’ve taken more than one African-American studies or cultural studies class in college, it becomes tired multiculturalism. To Asante’s credit, there is no academic jargon, no talk of “discursive frameworks” and “heteronormativity.”
While those familiar with the power of hip-hop will probably not be surprised by anything in this book, it’s a welcome variation in the usual hip-hop-as-trash sentiment that is so prevalent these days.
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