Dusty Wright's Culture Catch - Smart Pop Culture, Video & Audio podcasts, Written Reviews in the Arts & Entertainment http://www.culturecatch.com/node/feed en Song of the Week: "Colors" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3877 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Colors&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 17, 2019 - 11:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/548" hreflang="en">R&amp;B</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0G383538qzQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Black Pumas' frontman and former Santa Monica busker Eric Burton has a voice that would make Donny Hathaway smile. His bandmate/partner Grammy Award-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada heard it immediately. The buzz around their camps in Austin, TX brought them together shortly after Burton moved to Texas. Born in the San Fernando Valley, he grew up in church and then got heavily involved in musical theater. His vocal chops married to Quesada's timeless tunes keep their organic vibe infectiously delicious. The funky single "Colors" is from their self-titled debut out on ATO Records. The band will be performing on Friday, September 20th at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg. <a href="https://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1872259-black-pumas-brooklyn/" target="_blank">Grab your tickets here</a>. See you on Friday.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3877&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="rmnefzjlXVR26H1D92x8JVE-83oQdPXxD-ljlUwtBIY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:47:18 +0000 Dusty Wright 3877 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3877#comments 3 Gay Films http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3875 <span>3 Gay Films</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>September 12, 2019 - 13:49</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/832" hreflang="en">LGQBT</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ELA_DhBp6qg?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Three of the Year's Best Films So Far Are Queer</strong></p> <p>Argentina, Brazil, and France over the past several months have served up some rather hard-hitting, astutely directed films, each with a distinguishable personality, each exploring varied aspects of the homosexual in modern times. Although, surprisingly, their plot lines, all situated in the now, wouldn’t feel out of place in several other decades with just a few alterations.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WF0h-HymbY" target="_blank"><i>The Blond One </i>(<i>Un Rubio</i>)</a><i> </i>is Marco Berger's sixth feature, no doubt the reason for its assured unhurriedness and its ability to make the most commonplace conversations (e.g. "Was it you who fixed the bathroom tap?") and actions (e.g. drinking yerba mate) rife with tension.</p> <p>The simple setup has the amber-locked Gabriel (Gaston Re) subletting a room from his co-worker Juan (Alfonso Barón) in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. They, both hard-bodied and in their thirties, are employed in a wood-cutting factory. Gabo, as he's called, is a widower with a young daughter in the second grade. She lives with his parents in the country.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="731" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/the-blond-one-film-still.png?itok=Bii0LuzT" title="the-blond-one-film-still.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Marco Berger’s “Blond One” showcase Love Brazilian Style</figcaption></figure><p>The brunet Juan, an unequaled womanizer, has numerous guy pals popping in regularly for beer chats and to watch soccer games on TV. When not ranting about their machismo conquests, one chap might spout, "I'd kick this dyke's butt so hard she'd be flying over Buenos Aires" or "weak fathers bring up queer sons."</p> <p>How come then, as the days and night swiftly fly by, is Juan adjusting his crotch in front of his new roomie, posing at the door, and walking about nude in the hallway, especially after his female conquests have left?</p> <p>What follows is a half hour of one of the most erotic seductions you have experienced in filmdom. The innocent Gabo is confused but seemingly intrigued. Is he himself gay? He certainly waters plants a lot. But as Juan appears to be moving in for the kill, pouncing to and fro like a boxer ready for the kill, the blond seems to be looking forward to being KO'd.</p> <p>Finally, there's the touch of the crotch with one daring finger, a few more digits go past the waistband, and so forth. A night of passion arrives, but what follows is never quite what you might expect. Was Gabo just a conquest? Can Juan commit?</p> <p>As John Lennon, among others, have noted:</p> <blockquote> <p>"Life is what happens to us while you're busy making other plans."</p> </blockquote> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/blond_one_film_still_2.png?itok=n8DrD0UY" width="1200" height="1001" alt="Thumbnail" title="blond_one_film_still_2.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Differentiating this tale of two guys searching for completeness within each other, besides its several unexpected twists and its Argentinian take on homophobia, is the stellar acting by Re, Barón, and the rest of the cast, plus the finesse of the production.</p> <p>Clearly, these last few years have been a robust time for imposing LGBTQI moviemaking, and writer/director/editor Berger, with his deliberately observant scenes that are often unafraid to be dialogue free and that are all beautifully shot by Nahuel Berger, has extended this blissful run. His message? A subtle take on "Come out, come out, wherever you are."</p> <p class="text-align-center">----------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>Alexandre Moratto's feature debut, <i>Socrates</i>, which was created in conjunction with the UNICEF-supported Querô Institute in Brazil, a non-profit that aids teens from low-income communities through filmmaking. With a crew of 16 to 20 year olds, which includes the co-writer Thayná Mantesso, you're not surprised then by the overpowering vistas of the slums of Sao Paolo as depicted and the aching emotions they provoke.</p> <p>The film, which made an impressive showing at this year's Indie Spirit Awards, including nominations for Best Male Lead and the John Cassavetes Award, immediately opens with the death of the mother of 15-year-old Socrates (Christian Malheioros). From that moment on, we can only hope the young man’s tale will avoid high tragedy, causing him to follow in the steps of his namesake.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hikXt_qVLlE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>But how can Socrates earn a living when the minimum age for hiring is 18? Will he be evicted? How can he avoid being sent to a home? Where is his next meal coming from? Will the young man he falls in love with respond in same? Why is Socrates avoiding contact with father? What is it to be young and gay in a religious, heteronormative society with absolutely no one trustworthy to lend a helping hand?</p> <p>To reveal more is to ruin your "Socratic" experience. This brave little film, a tale of an uncomprehending hero whose every step seemingly is a misstep, is not unlike the best offerings of Italian neorealism of the post-war years. <i>Socrates</i> rubs all of your senses raw. Malheioros and Tales Ordakji, who plays his love interest, are quite extraordinary as is Moratto's helming.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="712" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/socrates-film-still.png?itok=ZjodZkTz" title="socrates-film-still.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>SOCRATES (CHRISTIAN MALHEIOROS) MOMENTARILY FORGETS HIS HUNGER PANGS WITH THE ENIGMATIC MACON (TALES ORDAKJI).</figcaption></figure><p class="text-align-center">----------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>There's been quite a few memorable films about male prostitution. John Schlesinger's <i>Midnight Cowboy </i>(1969), Paul Morrisey's<i> Trash</i> (1970), and Greg Araki's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Lp5v4oQZRw" target="_blank"><i>Mysterious Skin</i></a><i> </i>are prime examples. Joining their ranks is writer/director Camille Vidal-Naquet's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU8dwjRsO4g" target="_blank"><i>Sauvage</i></a><i>.</i></p> <p>Félix Maritaud, who was last seen on these shores as a French AIDS activist in <i>BPM</i> <i>(Beat Per Minute)</i> (2017), plays Leo, a 22-year-old hapless street prostitute, who's looking for love in all the wrong places. Basically illiterate, a habitual drug user, often homeless, he's surprised when a doctor says he should change his ways. "Why would I?" he wonders aloud.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wcV7Hk-OqsE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>As Leo wanders the streets, with his winsome looks, like a battered kitten left to fend for himself, we meet the young man's clientele, a cornucopia of gents showcasing the fact that some homosexuals can be bastards like anyone else, while others can give St. Francis of Assisi a run for his money. Or didn't we know that already?</p> <p>The film is erotic, shocking, tender, brutal, funny, and bears repeated viewings. Four times so far for me. Just watch Leo cuddle up with a septuagenarian widower while a photo of the man's wife looks on kindly. Then there's the barbaric gay couple trying to stiff our hero of his wages after violating him brutally. And so forth. Sex for survival. Sex for bliss.</p> <p class="text-align-center">----------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>After screening all three, you can't but wonder whether Leo's back story is Socrates' future, or whether either of these young men will ever meet a Gabriel, who will cherish them, hopefully before they are too broken to love him back.</p> <p>(<i>The Blond One </i>is ended a week's run in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall on September 12th. <i>Socrates </i>is now on DVD and VOD. <i>Sauvage/Wild </i>has also made it onto DVD.)</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3875&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="ed5-kSW7IDljXEuoLmadH3s-VOZ6sQ7kRS-WAKNNgJY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 12 Sep 2019 17:49:44 +0000 Brandon Judell 3875 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3875#comments Food For Thought http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3874 <span>Food For Thought</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/leah-richards" lang="" about="/users/leah-richards" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Leah Richards</a></span> <span>September 12, 2019 - 09:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/theater" hreflang="en">Theater Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/88" hreflang="en">off broadway</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/dining_with_ploetz_-_photo_3_by_kate_gaffney.jpg?itok=c804oRXh" title="dining_with_ploetz_-_photo_3_by_kate_gaffney.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo Credit: Kate Gaffney</figcaption></figure><p><i>Dining With Ploetz</i></p> <p>Written by Richard Ploetz</p> <p>Directed by Richard Ploetz and Steven Hauck</p> <p>Presented by Theater for the New City and Nedworks, Inc.</p> <p>at Theater for the New City, NYC</p> <p>September 5-22, 2019</p> <p>Aside from some connection to food, the trio of one-act plays that comprise <i>Dining With Ploetz</i> all feature people coming together around some significant milestone: a birthday, an (almost) anniversary, and the hashing out of plans for an unusual dinner party that will fulfill one man's intensely desired dream. From the pen of Richard Ploetz, a multidisciplinary author, voiceover artist, director, and professor who has written for the page, stage, and screen, <i>Dining With Ploetz</i> serves up three courses of comedy spiced with "food for thought," to borrow a description from the program, and garnished with delectable performances. To top things off, five percent of net profits from the show will be donated to World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit NGO founded by chef José Andrés to function as "Food First Responders" for communities affected by disasters.</p> <p><i>Goldfish</i>, the first of the triad and directed by Ploetz, has some of the feel of a grittier, more eclectic New York City that is increasingly vanishing today (and, relatedly, some of the feel too of a strain of NYC plays represented by playwrights such as Edward Albee). When the play opens, following a piano rendition of "Happy Birthday" merged with Beethoven's "Für Elise," only a single guest has shown up for the birthday party held for six year-old Sabrina (Claudia Fabella) by her parents George (Christopher Borg) and Cindy (Elizabeth A. Bell). The fête is in what they call their loft (reasonable rent; no heat on nights or weekends), located in the rug district and containing an amalgamation of painting supplies, rolled-up rugs, mismatched furniture, a piano, the titular goldfish, and other heterogeneous items. The single guest is Cindy's former coworker turned business partner, Beth (Wynne Anders). Just when it seems that they will have to declare the night finished, however, a stone sails neatly through the glass-less window, announcing the arrival of Rick (Steven Hauck) and Susan (Jamie Heinlein), both invited by Beth, both dressed for a cocktail party (George, in contrast, is sporting a track suit, partly unzipped to reveal his white undershirt; and Cindy is still wearing her waitressing uniform), and trailing an impressively bearded, overalls-and-bandanna-wearing poet, Bill (Ryan Hilliard), whom they met on a street corner on the way over. What follows includes some relatively inappropriate flirting, questionable table manners, and class-inflected masculine posturing—this last allowing Hauck, whose Rick once upon a time fenced, to render the words "thrust and parry" much funnier than they have any right to be. Fabella, even with almost no dialogue, gets a few big laughs herself, including one involving a toy truck and some bones (bones, come to think of it, are another motif uniting all three plays in<i> Dining</i>, even if they only enter the second play through a waiter's enthusiastic mispronunciation). Intermingled with all of the strangeness and even silliness are unrealized ambitions and unfinished thoughts and sentences, an underlying lack of fulfillment such that Susan gives unexpectedly serious consideration to a proposal from George just because, she says, it would be something different.</p> <p>After a brief intermission, the strong second half of <i>Dining</i> starts with <i>Memory Like a Pale Green Clock</i>,<i> </i>directed by Hauck, which takes us to a different kind of fishbowl, an upscale restaurant, and offers a different take on not remembering. <i>Memory</i> sees Christopher Borg and Jamie Heinlein as English professor Robert and his wife, Louise. Louise is suspicious of the roses that she was sent and this fancy night out, but Robert assures her that, thanks to a little inspiration from James Joyce's "The Dead," he has just decided to celebrate their sixteenth anniversary a little early. "The Dead" is a story, ultimately, of personal and national paralysis, which should perhaps worry Louise a bit, but the meal is going well and plans for later seduction are being described, until, when a woman in dark glasses (Elizabeth A. Bell, who also does some great work in <i>Goldfish</i>) sits at a nearby table, Robert's conviction that he knows her derails the evening. It leads, for example, Louise to question why he always "inspects" other women and Robert to ask why she doesn't look at men, and, while there are some highs and lows for the couple, the questions don't get any less fraught from there. Borg and Heinlein, both excellent in<i> Goldfish</i>, here create a terrific portrayal of the teasing, charged, intimate dynamics of long-term couples. We discover that the couple completely misreads Helen, as they do the waiter, Walter (a very funny Ryan Hilliard, trading in poet Bill's free spirit for reserve and exasperation), in a moment that occasions a breathtaking shift in tone. These misunderstandings speak to our tendency to empty out or project onto others, since others effectively cease to exist for us when we aren't with them. Further, as Louise says, we even create a nostalgia for what never was, so that when our sense of our own memory is disrupted, we feel betrayed, reminded, unwished-for, of our mortality.</p> <p>The plays that make up <i>Dining with Ploetz</i> are successively more stripped down—leaner, if you prefer—and <i>Bone Appetite</i>, the final play, directed again by Ploetz and loosely based on events that took place between Bernd Brandes and Rotenburg resident Armin Meiwes,<i> </i>features just two chairs and a pair of men meeting for the first time. These men are Arny (Christopher Borg), an enthusiastically salt-of-the-earth guitarist for a band called The Cruds, who were involved in a Great White-style nightclub fire; and Matthew (Steven Hauck), a rather more refined man with a particular culinary predilection. Arny dreams of being an orgasmically spectacular roast. In pursuit of this dream, Arny has answered Matthew's ad. When someone responds to one of his ads, Matthew likes to get to know the whole person, and the conversation between this odd couple touches on pleasure, acceptance, and, again, memory. Borg is superb as the kind of guy you might run into in a dive bar with unsigned bands playing in the back room, and Hauck plays off him in terrific fashion, as Matthew's cultured exterior is penetrated by Arny's weirdly pure ardor.</p> <p>Juxtaposing the three plays of <i>Dining With Ploetz</i> allows them to speak to one another in interesting ways, much as the melancholy notes in all three stand out the more for being set against the predominant comedy. Entertainingly executed by a splendid ensemble, <i>Dining With Ploetz </i>is worth making a reservation for. - <em>Leah Richards</em> &amp; <em>John Ziegler</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3874&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="T3Cx_HV6rQ4C6Bd4wkFX48Y5P2zptjTTHqhTGoE1di0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:28:00 +0000 Leah Richards 3874 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3874#comments The Joys of Wonderful, Obscure Folk Music Finds http://www.culturecatch.com/music/little-sisters-joys-love-mgm-records-1963 <span>The Joys of Wonderful, Obscure Folk Music Finds</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>September 6, 2019 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/735" hreflang="en">folk</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7CJtcTcA_8I?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>The Little Sisters: <em>The Joys of Love</em> (MGM, 1963)</strong></p> <p>Some album covers can intimate to a vinyl junky too rewarding and intoxicating a hit. Imagine a pair of blonde girls <em>a la</em> Edie Sedgwick -- beautifully and perfectly shot in black and white -- with lazily dressed blonde hair. The one in the background is laughing, whilst the other looks dreamily skywards. Both appear timelessly and unbearably chic. It can only be hoped that such a delightful promise can deliver even a fraction of its beatnik suggestion. <!--break--> The liner notes by the legendary Johnny Carson -- they appeared three times on his show in 1962 -- beguiling reveal: "The Little Sisters are actually sisters. Mary is 22 and Patty is 21. Each girl is married; Mary to a poet who speaks only Spanish (she speaks only English) and Patty is an artist. They live in Greenwich Village, New York City, a gathering place for artists, poets, and folk singers, as well as writers, sculptors, and musicians. A casual stroller through the haphazard streets of the Village might see the girls bustling about in the course of their daily routine. They usually wear plaid leotards, beige car coats and beanies -- one red and one green, but which one wears which one is a point I haven't yet pursued. Their father is a cartoonist. Their grandmother was a vaudeville artist." Forty-three years later in an English Record Fair, all that sounded too good to sound any good, but the sleeve was worth more than the dump bin price of a pound. Sometimes things turn out far better than one could hope. What emerged was a stunning record of remarkable brevity and freshness. The longest track is 2 minutes 18 seconds; the shortest 1 minute 30 seconds, whilst the entire affair lasts a mere 24 minutes. These little sisters understood the dictum that less is better.</p> <p><em>The Joys of Love</em> is a remarkably assured debut. It has elements of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris, and Nanci Griffiths, but possesses a knowing maturity that one would expect an album from this time to contain. Imagine the theme from "Dueling Banjos" mixed with Francoise Hardy, filmed by David Lynch. But then again, it was produced by Creed Taylor, the found of CTI Records, and engineered by Phil Ramone. There is a strange mix of enthusiastic innocence and artful experience. Greenwich Village 1963 collides with a Kentucky Barn Dance from a hundred years earlier, but surreal isn't one of the many words such a time-warp proposition conjures up. According to Carson's liner essay, the girls decided to go on the road in their own adventurous and endearingly eclectic way: "They wrote letters to towns they planned to visit, and took whatever engagements at whatever prices were available. As a result they sang in homes for old folks, in schools and auditoriums and classrooms, in tiny clubs, and, on occasion didn't sing at all. To support their travels they took side jobs when they had to. They have been waitresses, shop clerks, and car hops in the cities and towns of the East and South. Much of the music included on this album, their first, was collected first-hand on their travels.</p> <p>The songs aren't "discoveries," of course, but they are authentic because the girls learned a lot of them from their friends in Kentucky and Virginia and the Carolinas." This record is their record of an American sojourn. Appalachian melodies and banjo picking of extraordinary freshness results in a strange slice of American folk music imbued with an air of Greenwich Village worldliness. It seems to be their only long player -- a postcard from the past, which makes you wish you could have been there. It is all too romantic to thinking of these two striking young women continuing to stagger gracefully around Greenwich Village in aging splendor, a pair of Bohemian Beatnik Baby Janes who occasionally burst into song to startle the young. Songs such as <a href="/tunes/cuckoo.mp3">"Cuckoo,"</a> "The Joys of Love," and <a href="/tunes/blackgirl.mp3">"Black Girl"</a> have such a vitality about them, it is surprising that this album rests so far below the radar of those who value the work of exceptional quality. Ripe for sampling, the record has a sweetness that is never cloying, but is far from tongue-in-cheek. A stimulating experience resides in such sophisticated simplicity.</p> <p>Do yourself a favor and get searching. Probably grandmothers by now, these sisters should sing again, and this record deserves to be heard. There is an enthusiastic air of beginning from this that now reeks of unfinished business. Two albums in over forty years wouldn't exactly be overstating one's talent, and Mary may have finally learnt how to speak Spanish, and if she hasn't, at least that would be another story.</p> </div> <section> </section> Fri, 06 Sep 2019 14:00:00 +0000 Robert Cochrane 295 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/music/little-sisters-joys-love-mgm-records-1963#comments Little Q + A: Rick B + BR http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3873 <span>Little Q + A: Rick B + BR</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/529" lang="" about="/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubenstein</a></span> <span>September 5, 2019 - 14:08</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="421" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/shotgun_wedding-lr-1.jpg?itok=ppX4c70s" title="shotgun_wedding-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="564" /></article><figcaption>Shotgun Wedding, 2012</figcaption></figure><p>Rick Briggs is among the first wave of artists to make Williamsburg, Brooklyn his home, having lived and worked there since 1981. He's independent and quixotic, developing distinct bodies of work that reflect his philosophy of making art based on personal experience and out of his own working history. His 2017 show at Ortega y Gasset Projects was occasion for initiating this conversation.</p> <p><b>Bradley Rubenstein:</b> This is a great place to start, with this painting (above: <i>Shotgun Wedding</i>, 2012) .... It is kind of like an index of the imagery and ideas that you are working with now. It reminds me of a kind of work, similar to that of Jonathan Lasker or Peter Halley, in a way. You have organized your gestures and process.</p> <p><b>Rick Briggs:</b> I feel like Lasker's gestures are always in quotation marks, like he really wants that distance. I've always maintained my gesture as being more intuitive and direct, and about capturing a moment. That said, I did begin this painting with a vague idea of indexing different roller pan patterns. This happens when a relatively dry roller picks up the impression of the roller pan, which then looks "printed" on the canvas simply by gently rolling it out. But I can never quite settle on a simple approach to painting, like cataloging a gesture or texture. It seemed too detached, scientific, even. I like to make rules and then break them. Besides, I'm more invested in experimentation and transformation. That's where the round canvases and cutting into the surface and making niches showed up in this painting -- something I began doing in the mid-'80s. </p> <p>A funny story related to this painting is that about a year after I made it, I saw a Sarah Cain show at Lelong. She had done this installation, and one of her paintings had a roller stuck to the surface and holes cut through the canvas. I was with a friend, the painter Harriet Korman, who had already seen my painting in the studio, and we just looked at each other in amazement and burst out laughing. Here I thought I'd done something “original,” and there was someone else on the other side of the country making a somewhat similar painting (in a way), and neither of us knew of the other's work. Collective unconscious? Zeitgeist? I don't know, but I do know painting is very humbling.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/forjmb-lr-1_0.jpg?itok=Dm-NbSrp" width="504" height="462" alt="Thumbnail" title="forjmb-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><b>BR:</b> These new pieces feel really right for the moment. After a period of "zombie formalism" and whatnot, it's interesting seeing paintings that are imbued with a kind of vitality to their gesture -- an "internal architecture" is how I think I first described them when I saw them.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> Thanks, Bradley. Vitality is important to me. I always think of Matisse saying, if you're not ready to go into the studio, go ride a horse. In other words, bring some energy, some verve. After all, we're trying to breathe life into these inanimate objects, and that's not easy. I also like the word "internal" because I'm not referring to any external architecture, but, rather, interested in finding a structure that comes from within. <i>Rolled Structure</i> (2010) was the first roller painting and was a breakthrough in the sense that the painting had previously been made up of all these cute little areas that essentially added up to nothing. It was failing miserably, and I needed to paint the whole thing out quickly. I resorted to my house painting supplies, alkyd primer, and rollers. I knew from experience that these moments of failure are also ripe with potential for creation, and since the surface was still wet, I just kept working on it. A basic image appeared, but without the rhythm of the line, it's nothing. I've always had an affinity for the simplicity of the line paintings of Agnes Martin, early David Reed, or even Robert Ryman paintings composed of stacked, thickly brushed horizontal lines. In the early to mid-'90s, I did a series of work that essentially tried to wed the existential angst of Guston's late reductive abstract work of the early '60s with the horizontal line paintings of Agnes Martin with her Zen-like approach -- a collision of approaches, to be sure. With this new linear work I felt like I had circled back to those earlier concerns. <i>Big Yellow</i> (2011) reminded me of a painter's scaffold and had a feeling of monumentality. And <i>44</i> (2014) <em>(below)</em> was one of those where all the pieces just fell into place very organically, where it felt like the painting made itself. I like it when a big painting feels like a tossed-off sketch. I suppose the one that has the most kinship to external architecture would be <i>Space Waffle</i> (2011),  which was perhaps an unconscious response to the anonymous corporate high-rises beginning to go up in Williamsburg. I like the idea of referring to high Modernism, but by utilitarian means.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="453" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/44-lr-1.jpg?itok=YWPne2ur" title="44-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="549" /></article><figcaption>44, 2014</figcaption></figure><p><b>BR:</b> Jumping back a bit, because I think it relates here ... tell me about the <i>Painter Man</i> groups you did.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> Many artists have to support themselves with a job. My two <i>Painter Man</i> series were a darkly humorous pseudo-autobiographical narrative of my life as a house painter. I needed to tell a story and thought: here's a way to empower myself and embrace this idea of the artist as workingman. My work has always had an autobiographical aspect, but with the abstract work it had never been so explicit. It was interesting to think in terms of film, as much as art history, as a source to draw on for imagery. For example, the paintings are flooded with blood imagery, but the inspiration is as much from Kubrick's <i>The Shining</i> as any painted depiction of a martyred saint. Also, since my background had been entirely in abstraction, the challenge of suddenly having to figure out how to represent stuff was interesting. But once I'd told my story and completed those two series, I didn't feel the need to keep retelling it. I'm not interested in repeating myself, which is why I keep moving. What became more interesting to me was the idea of transforming my everyday job materials into art. I liked the ready-made authenticity and spattered surfaces of my used drop covers and the physical, material nature of painting on them. This became the through line between that work and what I'm doing now, with my inclusion of stir sticks, drop covers, paint skins, t-shirts, which, in turn, connected me back to the work I was doing in the '80s -- attaching small canvases on object-like painting. It's very flattering when people tell me now how that ’80s work looks so current.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="413" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/rolled_structure-lr-1.jpg?itok=pAHZlN0S" title="rolled_structure-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="504" /></article><figcaption>Rolled Structure</figcaption></figure><p><b>BR:</b> Your work reflects a kind of '70s aesthetic in a way. I'm reminded of someone like Blinky Palermo, who really broke down the barriers of what were proletariat materials, and gestures. He did a wall piece I saw in Germany where one wall was rolled, and one was brushed. He was basically just painting the gallery white, but the gesture -- the artistic gesture -- of brushing the wall compared to rolling it was an aesthetic question.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> I don't know that Palermo piece, but the conceptual simplicity of it seems quite poetic to me. I went to school in the '70s, so of course that time had a huge influence on my thinking. I'm thinking now of movements like Process Art, Lyrical Abstraction, and Arte Povera, for example. Speaking of proletariat materials, I think people forget how radical Judd's plywood boxes were at the time, or Burri's use of burlap for that matter. I really like that attitude of making art with whatever's at hand. In art school in the '70s, there were people making squeegeed abstraction à la  Jack Whitten; I was scattering acrylic paint on raw canvas on the floor à la  Larry Poons. I loved the freedom of mixing some paint in a bucket and reaching my hand in and grabbing the paint to toss. I guess the use of the paint roller is, in a way, an attempt to maintain that freedom.</p> <p> The Abstract Expressionists were probably my biggest influence. I love that de Kooning and Kline worked as housepainters and that, along with Pollock, used house paint in their work. De Kooning's comment about, all he really needed was a gallon of black and a gallon of white and he was in business, really resonates. I switched to alkyd house paint from oil because I wanted to work large, and the cost is peanuts compared to tubed oil paint. Can you imagine squeezing out paint tubes to make enough paint to make one long roller mark? It's absurd. Plus, I like its ready-to-go consistency.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> In this one (<i>Black Sticks</i>, 2014) you touch on Pollock's <i>Blue Poles</i> (1952), and Miró, with the paint can skin. Your use of those reminds me of Frank Stella saying that he wanted the paint to look as good on the canvas as it did in the can.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="354" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/black_sticks-lr-1.jpg?itok=wAiCvwpY" title="black_sticks-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="432" /></article><figcaption>Black Sticks, 2014</figcaption></figure><p><b>RB:</b> It's funny to think of my little painting in the context of the monumentality of Pollock's <i>Blue Poles</i>. My "poles" are simply stir sticks, which function as line, but there is a connection there. The paint skins form inside the can, and I hated peeling them off and throwing them away. They become ready-made colored circles. </p> <p>I once had a teacher who claimed Pollock wasn't that important because he didn't have any followers, but Larry Poons is someone who certainly comes out of Pollock, and Dona Nelson has been pouring paint for years. You can't avoid your influences, right? The only way past is through. Miró did a lot of weird things; he may have been one of the earliest to pour paint. I'm remembering seeing some pancake-like pools he poured on paintings. I love his playfulness and the buoyancy of his work. </p> <p>Stella once said, “When I open a can of green paint, I wonder why anyone would want to represent say, grass, with it -- it's so beautiful just as it is." I think of Stella when I go to Janovic -- I love buying a gallon of any color I want.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3873&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="RH_w1p3IIZiNXf_asCte2mlOpVu7xMYXkaI54FaKCiY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 05 Sep 2019 18:08:36 +0000 Bradley Rubenstein 3873 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3873#comments A Simpler Fiddler http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3872 <span>A Simpler Fiddler</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/mark-weston" lang="" about="/users/mark-weston" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mark Weston</a></span> <span>September 3, 2019 - 09:52</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/theater" hreflang="en">Theater Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/88" hreflang="en">off broadway</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GWTM3KDttDY?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>Fiddler on the Roof</em></p> <p>National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, NYC</p> <p>After months of resistance, my wife finally wore me down and I got us last minute tickets to see the "Yiddish" <em>Fiddler On The Roof</em> over Labor Day weekend. I've seen <em>Fiddler</em> so many times I figured was it really THAT important that I see it once more.</p> <p>In a word -- yes. It is unlike any production of <em>Fiddler</em> I've ever seen and as though I've seen it for the very first time. And not because it is all in Yiddish with (projected) English subtitles. In fact, this essay will largely ignore the fact that this production is in Yiddish.</p> <p>It is the most simple of stagings on a bare stage with a few pieces of wooden furniture, but blessed with a gorgeous ensemble that feels more like a true tight-knit community than a collection of Broadway actors. For instance, the cast completely lacks the polish of trained Broadway dancers -- but looks and feels like the family and friends dancing at my wife's son's Modern Orthodox wedding last December.</p> <p>And it is in those moments and virtually every other that this <em>Fiddler</em> captures an authenticity that had me weeping from the very first thrilling moment. Because authenticity is what is lacking in every other stage production I've seen (and so beautifully captured in the sweeping Norman Jewison film).</p> <p><em>Fiddler On The Roof</em> says it is about "tradition" but it is also about family -- immediate family, extended family and community family. I'm not sure whether this production's sense of family on stage stems from the fact that the Folksbiene Theatre is a tightly knit ensemble that has been performing "in Yiddish" plays for decades, from Joel Grey's astute and sensitive direction or - most likely - both. But it is this sense of family that permeates every moment of the story - to deeply comic, joyous and, ultimately, heart-breaking affect. And by eschewing "Broadway" stagecraft for this authenticity of family, the musical achieves a universality that goes well beyond the confines of Anatevka or the Jewish experience.</p> <p>Alongside Topol, Steven Skybell is the best Tevye I've ever seen, a human, decent Everyman that is never flashy, never showy, never a "star." When he dances the signature arms above his head it is not a gym exercise, it is an ebullient joy that is half ecstasy and half knocking on heaven's door.</p> <p>I've heard that he has grown into his performance and I think I was lucky enough to see the most mature result of his long run. His Tevye fairly easily relents to the choices of Tzeitel and Hodel. He puts up minor resistance to their falling in love with Motel the Tailor and Perchik the Revolutionary. A smile crosses his face that is the akin to a shrug. Not joyful, but more of a "what can I do about it." So his moment with Chava -- a bridge too far in her love for a non-Jewish Russian -- is more wrenching and more real and -- yes -- authentic than I've ever seen. That moment will stay with me for a long time.</p> <p>The last production of <em>Fiddler</em> I saw on Broadway was visually sumptuous -- a Chagall painting come to life. It was gorgeous to look at, but life in Anatevka wasn't gorgeous, was it? What it gained in Broadway stagecraft it lost in credibility.</p> <p>Go and see this Yiddish <em>Fiddler</em>. Revel in it. It is not to be missed.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3872&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="BjUBE4Y2ARIkgX4viEsT5a2KwUNd26XfHgLJ7bmB_OM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 03 Sep 2019 13:52:04 +0000 Mark Weston 3872 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3872#comments Coming Attractions! http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3871 <span>Coming Attractions!</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 28, 2019 - 11:32</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/399" hreflang="en">documentary</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ve-dkztGutk?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Sir Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror, genre-defining movie masterpiece <em>Alien</em> gets a long overdue documentary about all of the gory details that went into making it. <em>Memory:  The Origins of Alien</em> unearths the largely untold origin story behind Scott's cinematic masterpiece, and reveals a treasure trove of never-before-seen materials from the archives of <em>Alien </em>creators Dan O'Bannon and H.R. Giger -- including original story notes, rejected designs and storyboards, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and O'Bannon's original 29 page script from 1971, titled <em>Memory</em>. The documentary also takes fans on an exploration of the mythical underpinnings of <em>Alien</em> and dedicates focus on the film's iconic “Chestburster” scene.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3871&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="mvemyNT2By40LsT51KCPH_Baa9bUKEDSrN_onkBwa3E"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 28 Aug 2019 15:32:12 +0000 Dusty Wright 3871 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3871#comments Neal Casal 1968-2019 http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3870 <span>Neal Casal 1968-2019</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 27, 2019 - 08:10</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/820" hreflang="en">Neal Casal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/821" hreflang="en">Circles Around the Sun</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/455" hreflang="en">CRB</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Doan_MJfU44?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I had the honor to interview Neal Casal back in 2012 when I was recording video podcasts about once a week. He was touring as the lead guitarist with Chris Robinson Brotherhood, an act that I was just getting into, but still needed to share his own solo material. I knew he was good, but was blown away by how effortless he sang and played in person. So smooth and carefree. A real gentle and peaceful soul, too.  He'd just released his tenth album <em>Sweeten the Distance</em> (The Royal Potato Family), one of my favorite albums of the year. And getting the chance to record him solo -- just voice and acoustic guitar -- was a very special moment for me. Check out that performance of "Need Shelter" (above) and this mournful ballad "White Fence Round House" (below), written following a near-death experience while surfing, both from the aforementioned solo album. </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RQPLfg7tkZU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>In fact, it was back in 1995 when I first discovered him. He'd just released his first solo effort <em><a href="https://www.allmusic.com/album/fade-away-diamond-time-mw0000645414" target="_blank">Fade Away Diamond Time</a></em> (Zoo Records) and that album quickly became one of my favorite albums of the year. It's a timeless classic of Americana roots-rock. For me, that album was a modern day version of Neil Young's <em>After The Goldrush</em>. I was instantly smitten with his talent -- voice, songs, guitar playing, tone, vibe. His sound was something that I would try to replicate for my debut solo album a few short years later.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/sTVCJwUS6b8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>As a member of Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams &amp; The Cardinals, Hard Working Americans, and his killer jam band <a href="https://www.circlesaroundthesun.com" target="_blank">Circles Around The Sun</a>, Neil had become a stellar touring lead guitarist. He was the perfect foil for Chris Robinson, too. I'd seen him with the Brotherhood several times, and each time I was impressed with his chops, tone and inventiveness.  The very first concert I took my son Luca and his friend to see was with Neal and CRB at Irving Plaza. Not sure if he understood how cool a father-son moment it was for me; sharing a cherished musician with your child.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qEN6-g_r4uU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>RIP, Mr. Casal. All of us who knew you and followed your career were blessed to have witnessed your passion for music. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3870&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="7H_ASTSlYREIbf7oWqf2vBcYC_xzQU_w_QQtOAl_4HE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 27 Aug 2019 12:10:32 +0000 Dusty Wright 3870 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3870#comments Cinema’s Thoreau Is Begging You Not to Make a Movie or Write a Book http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3868 <span>Cinema’s Thoreau Is Begging You Not to Make a Movie or Write a Book</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>August 23, 2019 - 22:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-08/aquarela_2_photo.jpg?itok=NJVHUw1K" width="1200" height="800" alt="Thumbnail" title="aquarela_2_photo.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Victor Kossakovsky has no time for fools, especially when it comes to directors and cinema. He's even came up with ten rules for would-be helmers, the main one being: "Don't film if you can live without filming."</p> <p>He nods. It's 10:30 AM, and the no-frills Russian filmmaker, with his graying beard, disheveled silver locks, and bohemian charm joins me in a Mondrian Park Avenue Hotel suite. A publicist monitors the door as the director/screenwriter/editor/cinematographer and winner of 100 worldwide awards for his past work, chars up his critically acclaimed paean to tumultuous water, <i>Aquarela</i>. <i>Variety </i>describes this current effort as a "grandiose, sense-pummeling documentary ride." The <i>British Film Institute </i>settles for "poetic and multi-sensorial . . .  a thundering technical achievement."</p> <p>Back to his rule: "I guess I steal it from Tolstoy," Kossakovsky laughs, which he does a lot. </p> <blockquote> <p>"I believe Tolstoy wrote something somewhere in his diaries or somewhere. . . . This my way. I believe we live in a time when there are too many products, too many films, too many books, too many music . . . and it's actually pollution, intellectual pollution. . . . Every piece of crap has someone who likes it. With every piece of shitty music or crap film, someone will go, 'Ohhh! What a good film!' … So I say to everyone, you should not make good films, only incredible films, only unique. . . .  That's why [filmmaking] must be necessity. Must be like you cannot live without it. You wake up with necessity to grab up camera and show something to people. Otherwise, why? Otherwise, why?"</p> </blockquote> <p>Why, indeed!</p> <p>"You know people always say good films contain story, good characters, and an original way of doing it. This is cinema language. Character, story, and language, right? I would say it's always missing something else. Magic! Magic! For me, it's not enough to have these three components. I need magic."</p> <p><i>Aquarela</i> -- which boasts few words and no framing devices to inform you whether the frozen lakes, pounding seas, death-defying floods and hurricane winds are in Greenland, Russia, or Mexico — wants to showcase a nature untamed. With its numerous international crews and its unexpected scenarios, Kossakovsky woke up each morning thankful that no one had died the day before. Well, almost no one.</p> <p>An exception is in the opening segment on Lake Baikal. The footage was not supposed to record a death. First there is the beauty of white upon white upon white. Then we see two men scraping away at the ice on the frozen water. A car has sunk. There is a body under that ice. How did this shot come about?</p> <p>In his earlier film, the never-less-than-stunning <i>¡Vivan las antípodas!</i>, a young 11-year-old girl exclaims if she could be reborn, she would come back as water.</p> <p>"And I put camera in exactly the same spot where she said it," recalls Kossakovsky. "The first shot in <i>Aquarela </i>after the credits was exactly there. The same place. So actually I came to Baikal to see beautiful ice, the cracks on the ice, and all this, but suddenly on the first shooting date appears this car, and then a person dies just accidentally in my frame, and I realize I cannot continue the film in the same way as I was planning so I just forgot the script and I start [anew]."</p> <p>However, before the viewer can realize what's happening, before the camera comes upon the tragedy caused by the folly of men driving an auto over ice, there is some comic music on the soundtrack.</p> <p>"You know why? Because it's actually . . . in  the patterns of our lives," he explains. The men who live there are so confident that when I said, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t go there, they say, 'Come on. You don’t teach me. I was born in Baikal. I know ice like the lines on my palm. I can see on ice. I can see the cracks, and I know if I should go or if I shouldn’t. You don't teach me, boy.'"</p> <p>"This is overconfidence. This is what we are doing in the world, right? We are all overconfident. We know everything," Kossakovsky chuckles. "We think we can do whatever we want. That's what happened to us but unfortunately. That’s why after this moment, of course, I was not able to continue with my plans."</p> <p>"My original idea was this one," he notes, "to show at least one thousand powers of water. . . .  It's a kind of film that changes you, right? I became a different person because of this film. I realized that we are not the most important creatures. So what do we say say? We say we can live without water for five days. That’s abstract. But when you make film like this and being in an extreme situation, you really measure yourself [against water’s] power, and you really understand that we are really tiny."</p> <p>As for Kossakovsky’s next film, <i>Krogufant</i>, with which he is currently in final edit, "it's about pig, chicken, and cow."</p> <p>Pig, chicken, and cow?</p> <p>"No people," he insists. "No slaughtery. No concentration camps. Nothing like this. Only chicken, pig, and cow. How they are. How they really are. No voice over. Nothing."</p> <p>This animal epic was shot around the globe. "Pig I film in Norway, I film chicken in Whales, and cows I film in Spain."</p> <p>Why no imagery of animals being slaughtered?</p> <p>"I understand that people are filming such stuff, and it doesn’t help," Kossakovsky insists. "It doesn't help anything. It's like people still don't think. They just ignore and they don’t want to know. That's why I decided to do it this way. People like to worship the dolphin or the elephant or chimpanzee, and I say, "No! No! No! I will show who is cow. Who is the other kind. You think chickens cannot teach you. Chickens can teach you how to survive, and cows can teach you to survive, and pigs can teach you to survive." And Kossakovsky can teach you if you will only watch.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3868&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="j42MeOX3nB47-9bRzMPM12vVK-H9C-JzmkCWEtY3xmQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 24 Aug 2019 02:54:41 +0000 Brandon Judell 3868 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3868#comments If We Could Find Woodstock Again http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3867 <span>If We Could Find Woodstock Again</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 16, 2019 - 09:56</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/399" hreflang="en">documentary</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ln9dtQ8tuKk?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Croz was just in New York City, full of joy, bigger than life. The 77-year old David Crosby played a spectacular set of music mixing in CSN&amp;Y, solo, and new material at Lincoln Center's Guggenheim Bandshell at Damrosch Park on Sunday night, August 11th, with his new band Sky Trails -- lead guitarist Jeff Pevar (Steely Dan, Phil Lesh, Marc Cohn, et al.), drummer David DiStanislao (David Gilmour, Don Felder), Mai Leisz (Greg Leisz' wife ), keyboardist/vocalist Michelle Willis,  and musical director/keyboardist/son James Raymond. Historic in the fact that it was 50 years prior that he and CSNY debuted at Woodstock. As I sat there I couldn't believe how amazing his voice sounded, how tight the vocal harmonies were, how hard he and his band rocked  "Ohio" (encore) and "Wooden Ships." His passion for sharing his music is infectious and defies his tumultuous personal life -- addictions, love lost, prison, broken friendships. Even his failing health can't keep him down.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/e4T1nNxoJEE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Wandering around the VIP section at the outdoor venue was writer/producer/filmmaker Cameron Crowe, producer of David's new heart-wrenching documentary <em>Remember My Name</em> (Sony Pictures Classic). I mentioned to him that we share a friend in common and I was planning on seeing his documentary soon.  </p> <p>Well, I saw it on Thursday afternoon, day one of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. It is not a perfect documentary, but then no documentary on David Crosby could be. Our heroes are not perfect. None of us are perfect. Yes, he's left in his wake too many broken relationships; his own insecurities fueling his drug addictions and self-sabotage. There are no interviews with any of six children or current interviews with Neil Young, Graham Nash, or Stephen Stills. He torched those bridges with his musical comrades and has yet to rebuild them. And yet he's very contrite and honest in sharing his reckless regard of those very precious friendships. The doc most certainly functions as a massive mea culpa to anyone he has wronged, both living and dead. </p> <p>Regardless of his own personal demons, one can't deny his influence on seminal rock acts The Byrds and Crosby, Stills &amp; Nash/Crosby, Stills, Nash &amp; Young/Crosby &amp; Nash. His first solo album <em>If Only I Could Remember My Name </em>(1971), written in the wake of the tragic loss of his true love Christine Hinton, remains a timeless and <em>difficult-to-categorize</em> classic. Graham Nash has gone on record stating that the loss of Christine was massive: "I watched a part of David die that day." And so did a piece of David's heart and his ability to process fame and stardom.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TeZS3gpk2aI?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Born and raised in Hollywood, his father Floyd was an Academy Award winning American cinematographer for the movie <i><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabu:_A_Story_of_the_South_Seas" target="_blank" title="Tabu: A Story of the South Seas">Tabu: A Story of the South Seas</a> </i>and shot the movie <em>High Noon</em>, et al. He claims in the doc that his father never told him or his brother that he loved them. Perhaps that fueled his "anger" and his anti-authoritarian and impetuous behavior throughout most of his career. And yet as David's life winds down and he deals with his health -- liver transplant, heart attacks and stents, diabetes -- his need for music and playing it live remain front and center, even if it means he might not make it back home to his wife Jan and his dogs.</p> <p>When pressed by Cameron Crowe in the documentary:</p> <blockquote> <p>"If I were to say, no music but you get <em>extreme</em> joy in your home life... do you make that trade?"</p> </blockquote> <p>Without hesitation, David replies:</p> <blockquote> <p>"No music? No, not interested. It's the only thing I've got to offer, really."</p> </blockquote> <p>In the spirit of Woodstock, I would implore you to witness David's tour and watch Cameron's must-see documentary. I found myself singing along with so many of the classic tunes and even misting up when David bared his soul. If one must suffer for one's art, then David's life has been fueled by undeniable chaos even while delivering so many memorable and heartfelt musical moments.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3867&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="fx5VkyzeZ_GqSL-lACJ5pal4Dafv7BEZzkEP3sCA0xY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 16 Aug 2019 13:56:10 +0000 Dusty Wright 3867 at http://www.culturecatch.com http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3867#comments