31 December 2009

Thank you 2009

Interesting year.  I must reflect.  Can't help it.  So this year...
- diving
- poached an egg, once
- learnt 3 new pieces on piano
- book club
- jet skiing
- learnt how to use photoshop
- finally bought a MacBook Pro
- paid back my travel debt
- ran 15 km
- finally bought an LP player
- learnt to paint with gouache
- slept on the roof
And now for the more interesting "low points of 2009" list
- got banned from family apartment for a month
- didn't run a marathon, surprise surprise
- didn't quit smoking
- killed/starved 6 agavis, and I estimate 5 palms
- went completely broke
- and not too smart - deciding to create Law of Evidence notes in pictorial form
Ah memories.  Many thanks and much love to everyone who contributed to the memories above listed!

* Note: this post was edited because I wrote it about a week ago, and then it automatically published it

29 December 2009

Ode to green

{ Julie Gayet, I've lusted for those gloves for years }

{ it's a peacock }

{ green Chanel 3.55 }

{ Lilith - Adam's wife before Eve }

{ green tea brioche from Chajin, 24 rue Pasquier, Paris }

{ leaves of grass }

Remains my favourite colour. I've given up on trying to make red my favourite.

And for the road....

28 December 2009

Band of insiders

Out of nowhere, I think I've developed a crush on actor Jason Schwartzman. Slightly pedophilic because I think it was Rushmore induced.  He's now modeling Band of Outsiders collection for Fall 2009. Ready for this?

Extra extra - Jason interview in Interview Magazine

Between the lines of age

Aren't these just beautiful?  From Franklin Evans at Marie Walsh Sharpe Open Studios, New York

27 December 2009

Homeless museum of art

Hmmm. It's the Homeless Museum of Art is a New York initiative, which moves around the city in their very elusive booth.  Honestly, I am a fan if the oh-so-nouveau art booth complete with director.  On the other hand it oozes New York philanthropic chic by also exhibiting homeless modern art it in brightly lit, stark white galleries.  And the collections themselves feel like they're just stepping back in time to Andy Warhol mode.  Really, jello boxes?  However, some pieces are interesting. Check out some of their recent acquisitions for yourself.

My favourite art gallery that I've ever been to, even above the Louvre, Prado, Uffuzi, et al.,would probably be Kunsthaus Tacheles, which is Berlin's not-so-secret art squat.  It sits in the old Jewish quarter of East Berlin and takes it's name from the Yiddish for truth. Originally a department store, it was occupied by a collective of artists in 1990, two months before its planned demolition, and has been a cultural hub ever since.

"A building with a storied history—it started out as a kind of proto-shopping mall in the early 1900s, was taken over first by the Nazis, then by the Communists. And when the Berlin Wall, once located just a few blocks away, came down, the building became the home to a host of German and international artists, many the sons and daughters of Communist revolutionaries from Cuba, the Soviet Union, and China. Today, the building has the outward appearance of disuse—a bomb-pitted facade of gray stone covered with graffiti, stencil art, and stickers, and windows darkened from the inside by more graffiti. But inside is a vibrant, diverse, anarchistic (i.e. leaderless) art community. The building hosts a cinema, a performing arts space, 30 studios (made available to artists, who are selected by an outside curatorial panel, for only the cost of utilities), two indoor and two outdoor bars, exhibition spaces, two galleries facing Oranianburger Strasse, and a high-power projector that screens video art on an adjacent building every night of the week. Artists from Japan, China, the Middle East, and the UK, among other places, curently occupy the studios; probably Tacheles' most famous tenant is recording artist Peaches, who's been there for two years."
- From Eyeteeth
Anyway, went there at the end of 2007, and it's always stuck in my mind.

Precious bodily fluids

Film | Cracks

Not sure of the release date in Australia yet, but I'm really excited to see this film: Cracks.  It stars Eva Green and was produced by Christine Vachon.

Looks to be a hybrid of Heavenly Creatures and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

25 December 2009

Silver bells

There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child."
- Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)

Santa when he's off duty - from Pacific Standard, one of the best blogs on zee net

Music | Deadbeat summer

These days?

Shocked. 'These days' was not originally composed by Nico and the Velvet Underground, it was Jackson Browne. And, he wrote it when he was 16. Brilliant. Things you learn when reading The 10 Rules About Rock and Roll by Robert Forster (The Go-Betweens).

A perfect Christmas - we ate and played music all day.

21 December 2009

Film | Cassavetes's A Woman Under the Influence

1974 | 155min | Col | Marriage Drama, Psychological Drama | TSPDT #160

Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.

John Cassavettes

John Cassavettes (director)
Gena Rowlands (actress)

Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Matthew Cassel, Matthew Laborteaux, Christina Grisanti

Bleak, cathartic, intimate.  An exhausting portrayal of a woman's impending nervous breakdown.  This film is deemed to be the apotheosis of Cassavettes' improvisation-fuelled method, and it shows.  Rowland's descent into madness, complete with strange noises and unpredictable mannerisms, eventually gives way to the realization that that her behaviour may not be as debilitating as it seems.  Her level-headed husband is not as sane as he initially appears, nor are the family members.  Yet it's very easy to criticize the altercations when you stand outside the ring, and within families we all do and say stupid things sometimes.  But in this film, the mistakes the characters make culminate and transform this steady nuclear family into the most volatile domestic turmoil.  Yet somehow the family is still surprisingly operational.  It's so real and touching - the film gains its emotional force because of its honesty.  There's no moralizing, and is free from the standard-issue plot conventions.  I love the use of close-up shots throughout, for spontaneity and emotional intimacy, in this truly character driven film.

I really loved the music in this film, lots of classical and opera.  The music was central but not intrusive.  From 'Cassavetes on Cassavetes' by Ray Carney:
“Just prior to beginning A Woman Under the Influence, Cassavetes asked [Bo] Harwood if he would do music for the film. Harwood was a young, unknown, unemployed rock musician who couldn’t read music, but he embraced the challenge and began experimenting with things on his guitar. A few days later, Cassavetes came in and said he had decided he wanted piano music. When Harwood protested that he didn’t have access to a piano, Cassavetes blew off the objection and said that Peter Falk had one in his offices that they could use. When Harwood said that he didn’t know how to play the piano, Cassavetes was still unfazed. That didn’t matter; he could learn. Then a few weeks later, just as Harwood was getting comfortable at noodling around on the keyboard, Cassavetes came in again and said he had just bought a Nagra [sound recorder] and decided that Harwood would also be doing the film’s sound. When Harwood protested that he didn’t know the first thing about sound recording, Cassavetes again said that was fine: ‘It’s just a tape recorder. They’re all the same. It’s easy. You can figure it out.’ Harwood spent the next three weeks carrying the recorder and microphone everywhere he went, experimenting at hom, in restaurants and on the street.”

Here's the theme by Bo Harwood, courtesy of Snore and Guzzle.com, a site I greatly admire:

"John Cassavetes's 1974 masterpiece, and one of the best films of its decade... Cassavetes makes the viewer's frustration work as part of the film's expressiveness; it has an emotional rhythm unlike anything else I've ever seen." -- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader