Two Thousand and Seven

Well, I'm sitting here in my apartment-ful of Christmas boxes & pre-holiday mess, but before I get to that the priority is making THE LISTS. Or rather, the LIST and some one-off favorites, seeing as how I cannot for the life of me put together ten great movies (despite, or perhaps because of, going through with a pledge to see every Summer Blockbuster as I did in my teens) or books (having started 'Library School' and not having time to read a damned thing in the last four months). TV- yeah, yeah, Lost was okay, South Park was amazing, Peter Mansbridge still rocks The National, so the status quo's in place all around (although when I actually happened upon Oprah for the first time in years & Cormac McCarthy was on, that was pretty awesome).


1) Iron and Wine, The Shepherd's Dog

I think Sam Beam has the 'current' Bob Dylan beat in terms of lyrics and musicality. Enough said there.

2) Museum Pieces, City of Brotherly Love

Even though they live in the same town and run in pretty much the same circles that I do, I am such a nerd for this band. New material from Tyler Messick & Andy March makes me feel the same way I did when another tape from R.E.M.'s back catalogue would arrive for me at the local record store when I was a music-gobbling sixteen year-old.

3) Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch, Twin Peaks Season Two Music

The original Twin Peaks soundtrack is my most listened-to recording of all time. This might match if not beat that record.

4) M.I.A., Kala

And speaking of over-listening- it's only been two days since I first heard this, but man, it makes the world a better place, and will I think go non-stop straight through the summer for me. I remember as the eighties turned to the nineties all these major-label princes like Bono, Sting, and Michael Stipe were smugly stating that this big world-music-fusion thing was going to happen, but I'd reckon they imagined it would be a lot safer than this (like Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing up Paul Simon ballads safe). When I actually liked U2, every new release seemed like it was simultaneously blaring out of cars in Paris, Brazil, New York, their righteous message doing the globe a world of good. I really hope it's the same for M.I.A., in Paris dancehalls, Brazilian ghettos, what have you- but the U.S., ain't gonna see her live like we do, cause they done banned her- which means she's doing something a)right or b)important. Check out this remix of 'Paper Planes':

5) The Acorn, Glory Hope Mountain

Along the lines of Arcade Fire's Funeral in terms of theme and feeling, kind of. Very bold & very nice at the same time, which is tough to pull off.

6) Julie Doiron, Woke Myself Up

Some real grown-up songwriting & pretty much an Eric's Trip reunion at times, which incidentally was the second-best show I saw this year.

7) Jenn Grant, Orchestra for the Moon

I had this in the car all summer, cruising around Nova Scotian country roads. & After she closed out QEH with her CD release show it was everywhere in Halifax, in coffeshops and living rooms, like a unifying force. And, it was brought to us in part by Jason MacIsaac and Dave Christiansen.

8) Tegan and Sara, The Con

For the four repeated piano notes in 'Back In Your Head', which, now that I've thought of them, will be Back In My Head for a few more weeks.

9) Great Lake Swimmers, Ongiara

Tony Dekker seems to be coming to terms with his abject misery, which makes for less interesting subject matter, and, as noted by a slew of CBC on-air personalities, writing 'tighter, better' songs, meaning 'more boring'. But this is still growing on me.

10) Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Unlike a lot of mainstream media critics, I thought a lot of the 'political' lyricism on this was, well, juvenile and stupid, kind of, like some of the stuff my buddy Lance would write when he was a passionately frustrated twenty-year-old activist (sorry, Lance, I wrote those songs too). But, still, these guys have le complicite and a great spirit. And really made the list because they put on not only the best show I saw this year, but the best rock show I've ever seen.

Some honorable mentions: Buck 65, Situation, Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (talk about Bob Dylan; this guy's rhymes sound like Early Bob sometimes), Wu-Tang Clan, Eight Diagrams (which I haven't heard yet, but hey, it's the Wu), Bright Eyes, Cassadaga, John Abercrombie, The Third Quartet, Soundtrack, The Darjeeling Limited.

This one for Kanye West's 'Can't Tell Me Nothin', featuring Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham:

If they gave out Oscars for Most Incredibly Delivered Single Line of Dialogue, Daniel Day-Lewis gets it for this trailer.

Though I had 'fun' at The Darjeeling Limited and Margot at the Wedding, the only contender from my Summer Movie-a-thon was, yes, here we go, that's right, Transformers. I've been waiting for a kick-ass, empty piece of awesome smackdown entertainment since The Phantom Menace, and this takes it, and would take it still if the whole movie was the ten seconds where Prime says "Megatron" and Megatron says "Prime".

Don Domanski, All Our Wonder Unavenged

I've known Don since I was born, and as I've grown as a person he's grown as a poet. And this year he won the $25,000 Governor General's Literary Prize for Poetry for this, a book that shoots the moon and will put him for good and for sure among the best poets on the face of the Earth, forever.

Well, good people, there you go. I hope everyone had a worthwhile 2007 and that you're all excited about something or other in 2008 (real-life stuff, I mean- but hey, there's Indiana Jones IV in the summer and Star Trek at Christmas, & isn't the Watchmen movie next year?). I had a rather... intriguing year myself, as is hinted at throughout this blog, but my resolutions are in place and I'm more than ready to hang my new calendars, so to speak. Peace and goodwill to all y'all.


supplement to the previous

I need a break from schoolwork. Here are some of the more, er, frivolous inclusions on my films list. A nice subtitle for this might be 'starkly horrifying children's films of the 70's and 80's'.

'Filled with Disney magic and adventure', alright- plus headless witches, a destroyed, post-apocalyptic Land of Oz, and a pre-punk rock Fairuza Balk. This was the only film ever directed by the great American cinematographer Walter Murch, and boy does it come outta left field. It's based on actual Baum books, and hews exactly to the John R. Neill illustrations from the original imprints, but is DAAARK; kind of like that Anne sequel the CBC made where she goes back and Green Gables is all ghetto with pigshit and dirt kids all around.
The Black Hole- just look at that still. Another misled Disney production in which one can witness Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Perkins brutally murdered; the latter by the spinning blades of the robot Maximillian. Like the 'Dr. Who' music, the opening credit score of this film is also creepy as shit.
Here's the film that created the PG-13 rating. And also coined the phrase 'roller coaster ride'. I can't find a soul who agrees with me on this, but this made an indellible impression on me, not just for the awful, awful situation Indy gets himself, a prissy beauty and a little kid into, but for the roller coaster ride itself, that wicked sequence where they're escaping in the mining cars. I'll take this over the 'family-freindly' sequel with Sean Connery any day.
Not entirely scary, Krull, but some friends recall being taken aback by the scene wherein the noble cylops is crushed to death in a rock door. This film looks like it was made by a couple of D&D geeks with fifteen hundred dollars and a really big backyard. And Liam Neeson is in it.
I am by no means a Transformers 'fan' (though I think the live-action film was the best time I've had in a pop movie in years)-but this thing is a trip. & in the disturbing category, see the slaughter of, like, ten beloved characters in the first five minutes.
Then there's L'avventura, perhaps the originator of the 'pretty girl on a boat' genre. You've got your adult exitential terror going here.


more fun with lists

1) INLAND EMPIRE, David Lynch, 2006.

At a David Lynch festival in Montreal- this stands as the single best cinematic experience of my life.

2) Blue Velvet, David Lynch, 1986.

 3)Manhattan, Woody Allen, 1979.

"Why is life worth living? It's a very good question. Um... Well, There are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. uh... Like what... okay... um... For me, uh... ooh... I would say... what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing... uh... um... and Wilie Mays... and um... the 2nd movement of the Jupiter Symphony... and um... Louis Armstrong, recording of Potato Head Blues... um... Swedish movies, naturally... Sentimental Education by Flaubert... uh... Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra... um... those incredible Apples and Pears by Cezanne... uh... the crabs at Sam Wo's... uh... Tracy's face..."

4) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Peter Jackson, 2001.

This says as much about the blurry nature of good & evil as Blue Velvet does. And it looks just as good too.

5) My Own Private Idaho, Gus Van Sant, 1991.
6) Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch, 1992.
7) Gummo, Harmony Korine, 1997.
8) Baisers Voles (Stolen Kisses), Francois Truffaut, 1968.
9) Festen (The Celebration), Thomas Vinterberg, 1998.
10) Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner, Zacharias Kunuk, 2001
11) My Dinner With Andre, Louis Malle, 1981.
"The life of a playwright is tough..."

12) Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Robert Wise, 1979.
13) The Last of the Mohicans, Michael Mann, 1992.
14) Apocalypse Now Redux, Francis Ford Coppola, 1979.
Second-best cinematic experience. In Imax. Just look at that f**'n still.

15) Star Wars, George Lucas, 1977.
The Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kershner, 1980.
Star Wars- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas, 2005.

Yeah yeah. Tom Stoppard did 15% of this movie a world of good- "Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes."

16) Gates of Heaven, Errol Morris, 1980.
17) Lost Highway, David Lynch, 1997.
He called the mind and soul of the post-millennial man waaaay back in the 90's with this.

18) A Perfect World, Clint Eastwood, 1993.
19) Nosferatu, Werner Herzog, 1979.
It looks like 1979 rules my list.

20) Le Sang d'un Poete (Blood of a Poet), Jean Cocteau, 1930
"De l'air! De l'air!"




Finally, it has happened to me, right in front of my face, and I just can not hide it

I put together a Facebook profile, largely due to school requirements (!) so, ...sigh... check me out there if you'd like, but if you're reading this you likely already have.


'manpower', part one

A short film I did a while back has inevitably found its way to YouTube. This is a segment of a larger script which is poignant and hilarious, & I believe there are more to come. Tell yr. friends.


my dark arts prof is such a fucker

so, here I am on my first day of school... what's in store for the young naif? definitely not much blogging, not that I did much in the first place- it looks like I'm'a succumb to Facebook and ditch this (right now I'm in a commons with maybe two hundred computers-190 of them are displaying Facebook) so if anyone's by and wishes to pick up the stag photos or anything, get 'er done.


a detailed update

What's been going on? Well, saw the Simpsons Movie, apparently.


la petite cour

some French-themed photos- these, from Montreal in May- some Lynchian chairs in a gallery that I really liked

then closer to home & more recent-
nothing like outwardly mocking the great little community you're about to enter- but come on
this is the French Shore of Nova Scotia, at Universite de Ste-Anne, where I've never been
there's this great halo-ed Mary
& this church which is 18 storeys tall & the largest wooden church in North America.
Much of the French Shore makes some Anglo regions of Nova Scotia look pretty sloppy.
That's my little car in the lower left corner, which people tend to call R2 (as in D2) , but which I like to call R4 because I know, someday, Buzz Droids will come and cut its head off. And that, friends, is your hyperobscure Star Wars trivia tidbit of the day. Hey if you want to name yr. car correctly you've got to do your research.