Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Marcel Dzama is an artist from Winnipeg, Canada who paints small and surreal figurative watercolors. Even if you've never heard of him, you've probably seen his influence on young artists today.
The paintings are hard to categorize, but if I had to free associate some things they connote for me I'd say WWII, Little Red Riding Hood, the forties, Grimm's Fairy Tales and bleak winters. There are dominating themes of sex and violence, illness and death and repressed emotions. Some characters are missing limbs, some are dressed in stylish military garb, some smoke cigarettes and dance gleefully with tree people. His predominant color choices are hunter greens, deep roses and layered browns. He's mentioned previously that he achieves his desired browns by painting with root beer.
I just treated myself to a collection of Dzama's drawings from McSweeney's. Included was a copy of one of his eclectic scrapbooks. Even outside of his artwork, he definitely has a penchant for old timey photos, nature and science, military paraphernalia and other oddities.
Above are some of his paintings. Below are a couple pages from his scrapbooks...
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Winter solstice came and went. Which means the daylight will begin to slowly invade the night hours. Minute by minute. Creeping oh so quietly. In the meantime, we still have months of winter to contend with, so a girl's mind gets to wandering. My urge to travel is overwhelming.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
look across to the building parallel to you.
there are plants in the windows, outlines of hunched figures,
starched white shirts and gray gray gray.
they are living your life backwards.
they are living your life upside down, inverted, inside out.
they are in love, they are lonely, they are angry, they are wistful.
they are curious about you.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Three cheers for useless, nerdy cataloging! Actually this wasn't useless at all. It came in quite handy for researching my top ten scary muppets of all time.
Yeah, so I was a scaredy cat as a kid. Although I would jump around manically every Sunday night when I heard the "Den den den den-den-den," there were many, many muppets that freaked me out (some more easily explained than others). I have arranged them here from "I find you vaguely unsettling" to "Dear lord you are going to kill me."
1. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew
3. Sam Eagle
"So angry! So patriotic!"
4. Swedish Chef "Leave those lobsters alone! Look out, lobsters! He's got a knife! Look out chicken!"
"Yikes! Lips too big! Eyebrows too bushy! Too Big!"
6. Lew Zealand
"Don't you throw a fish at me, you. Don't you throw a slimy smelly fish at me!"
7. Alice Cooper
10. Louis Kazagger (Sportscaster)
"That pointy nose! That pointy wiggly nose! You are going to kill me aren't you???? AAAHHAHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Monday, December 1, 2008
1. Man Called Aerodynamics-Guided By Voices
2. Left-handed-Lali Puna
3. Mistaken for Strangers-The National
4. Only Shallow-My Bloody Valentine
5. Here Come The Warm Jets-Brian Eno
I didn't pick these songs because they are cheery and fun (but that could be another post). I picked them because they are robust and angry. They have gravitas. Like a good butternut squash soup. Er, what?
Anyways, since I am technologically challenged I have yet to figure out how to post songs to my blog, but when I do I will post these songs and spread the heavy, heavy love.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The battles are basically organized chaos. The players fit every dork stereotype—over-enunciating pasty guys with faint moustaches & frizzy pony tails, stern pudgy girls with bushy eyebrows, etc. Their costumes usually involve face paint, felt and sweatpants. When they aren’t playing NERO, many retreat to their basements where they play hours of online fantasy games like World of Warcraft.
The film is pretty entertaining, albeit a little repetitive. It’s especially made for those (like myself) who are really into seeing how the other half lives, but I really wish they delved deeper into the lives of the players outside the game. Some highlights include a guy who eats what appear to be two Denny’s Grandslam breakfasts in order to prepare for what he anticipates to be the vigorous “physical activity” ahead of him. Later, in the midst of one of the battles, he starts wheezing, doubled over and out of breath. Cut to the next scene in which someone has brought him another heaping pile of emergency food, to which he devours standing up, I guess to help open up his lung passages.
There is also a sea elf who, after learning her race has become extinct, tears up and proceeds to question whether people really understand what this is going to mean for global maritime trade and commerce.
Ok, so you can laugh your ass off (and believe me I did) at these folks and their escapist world. But before you dismiss this as a fringe group of freaks from the middle of nowhere, keep in mind there are close to 50 NERO Chapters within the US and Canada. And really, why should it be any more acceptable to watch hours of The Wire (or Arrested Development, as I am doing this very minute) or avidly follow the Eagles or Phillies from your recliner as you suck down beers while sporting your favorite player’s jersey?
Everyone needs to escape once and a while. Even more important is the fact that these people have found a community and they are getting up off the couch and into some fresh air. It’s obvious that many have made the first real friends they’ve ever had. And for others, it is probably the only chance they’ll ever have to get laid! So I say, good on ya, larpers!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I remember scratching and sniffing the lemony DINO-MITE sticker so many times it had a hole in the center.
Monday, November 24, 2008
My friend Laura and I were talking recently about the really creepy episode of Webster where he finds the secret passage (Bah, whatever. Like you and your friends don't sit around discussing Webster episodes).
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I don’t know why, but I find the film appealing. It’s pretty slow-moving and a bit of a mess, but also intriguing mainly because of Cheung’s performance (and this hot latex cat suit she has to wear the whole time). Our confusion with the film mimics Cheung’s confusion in her surroundings as she struggles to make sense of the chaotic scene she’s walked into. She must contend with the batty director’s impossible perfectionism, condescending reporters, language barriers and the overt affection bestowed upon her by the female costume-designer. The fact that she’s playing herself makes the film seem that much more realistic and gives it a voyeuristic quality.
But the reason I felt like writing about the film, and what separates it from being another weird artsy French sleeper, is the incredible last five minutes. After the director's probable nervous breakdown, the cast and crew sit down to watch his final, abandoned cut of the film. Until then, nothing has prepared us for his electric vision-- so rockstar and awesome and unexpected.
Here’s the last five minutes, but I would watch it only if you don’t plan to see the whole film.
Friday, November 21, 2008
--from Ozma of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
Recently, I’ve been preoccupied thinking about the books I used to love when I was younger. I was really obsessed with L. Frank Baum’s Oz books and used to carefully draw the characters with a colored pencil set I had (when I wasn’t drawing Jem & the Hologram paper dolls). For some reason I’ve had the urge to hunt the books down again. Along those same lines, I’ve been meaning for some time to watch “Return to Oz,” the film based on two of the Oz books. It was Fairuza Balk's first movie-pretty cool.
So, I never saw the whole film, just bits and pieces, but a few images have been burned in my mind for years and I recognized the characters from the books. Like this crazy princess who had a rotating collection of heads she wore. The kicker was she took on the personality of the head she was wearing. So if you caught her on a PMS-HEAD day you were screwed. I remember every time I had a cold or a monster zit I would envision screwing my head off and picking out a new one to wear.
The characters that reeeeealy creeped me out were the wheelers. (Apparently I am not alone in this, judging from the countless comments on IMDB and youtube from people who were also scarred by these freaks as children.)
In the book, Dorothy is perplexed by a foreboding warning scratched in the sand “BEWARE THE WHEELERS.” When the wheelers emerge to chase her down she sees they are humanoid men with wheels for hands and feet. Henchmen not unlike the flying monkeys. Seriously, if you’ve ever seen the movie you’ll remember these things were scary as hell. I saw them on a trailer at age ten, and was always too scared to watch the whole thing because they freaked me out so much.
It's funny how awkward or unusual movements can be so unnerving. Check out the Hush episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (sorry to nerd out completely), with the gliding, grinning psychopaths & the straitjacketed men on all fours, and you'll know what I mean. Irrational movements as a fear inducer--it's a concept perfected by Japanese horror-directors like in the movie Ju-On. Our brain processes them, but knows something is amiss. We are creeped out, but we don't know why.
BEWARE THE WHEELERS: