Sunday, January 31, 2010

saturday night showcase: ava k

Last night's Saturday Night Showcase brought to you by the letters A K and L, as in Ava K Lamb, as in Ava K and Curious Poses. Musicians, filmmakers and performers, Ava and Tesla are the video equivalent to spin art, but along with paint they also use ironic humor, improvised dance and punk rock, so in my opinion they are BETTER THAN SPIN ART. Ava also runs an Advice Blog, where you can sign up for her Inspiration Newsletter.

Here, Ava K tells us How! To Do Things

How to Make a Button by filmmaker/actress Miranda July

Betty Boop bats her eyelashes in "Minnie the Moocher" (1932)
featuring the earliest-known film footage of Cab Calloway, some of it real,
some of it him rotoscoped as a ghost walrus

Rowan Atkinson demonstrates What to Do and Not to Do on a Date
(thanks to Steve)

"Lips" by Micachu and the Shapes performed at a warehouse in Brooklyn

I'm leaving home because you're not so sweet to me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

saturday night showcase: captain hippo

Tonight's Saturday Night Showcase is inspired by comedy group Captain Hippo, consisting of Steve, Dan and Mike (aka ALL Productions). They are also filmmakers, cartoonists and frequent contributors to The Landline. Absurdist anarcho-surrealism. Neurotic Jews. Karaoke. Puke.

Captain Hippo's new "American Singer" sketch

Stimpy helps Ren get to sleep in The Ren and Stimpy Show

Adam Golberg tries to order fast food in 2 DAYS IN PARIS (2007)
directed by Julie Delpy

The Dangerous Brothers tell "The Gooseberry joke"

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" as performed by Hurra Torpedo
(thanks to Strzelec)

Sometimes I wish I was in a war, too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

long overdue drones post.

Humble Australians, The Drones.

I was in the computer lab at school, sophomore year of college, when Nathan first played me 'Shark Fin Blues.' He put it on, left me alone in the room and since that moment the The Drones have steadily become one of my favorite bands. Now I'm attempting to write about them, even though, according to frontman Gareth Liddiard, "talking about music is like dancing about architecture."

Apparently, "Jmag recently conducted a poll of over 70 of Australia’s best songwriters, asking them to nominate five tracks and write about the bearing the songs had on their lives. 'Shark Fin Blues' by The Drones beat out thousands of Australian songwriters to win the greatest Australian Song Ever."

They're a band that make me feel like I've lived a lot more than I have, connecting me to stories and images I've never experienced before. Stuck somewhere in the cracks of Liddiard's vocals are worlds of anger and suffering, violently detailed, spackled over in irony.

Though the above song "River of Tears" is a cover, it's a slick example of their temperament.

As the singer, lyricist and lead guitarist, Gareth's hardened view of life is really what it's all about. He's seen a lot, lived a lot, which gives it a sort of undeniable authenticity. As he puts it: "It’s the fucking suffering artist kind of wank. Bad shit happens. It feels fucked while it’s happening, but if you write songs, you will write a better bunch of songs."

And on subjects that don't come from direct experience, like racism, he writes about it "because it’s there. A lot of people won’t sing about anything like that because it’s just not cool. You couldn’t see Jet singing about that shit, or something like that. No matter what you think of Jet – as a fashion statement, it would just be fucked."

Although the rest of the band is essential to the performance, sometimes they just feel like friends, talented musician friends, backing up their troubled buddy who is daily haunted by

morning’s like a walk
into a blunt narcotic fog
until you’re brought back to your senses by
eight wheels nearing a dog that’s dead or

sleeping pills

Cheer up, emo kid! But don't, because you're so good at being down.

Much like Roast Beef:

It is just like that.

And yet it's impossible to be TOO bummed out by all the misery and woe because of their execution. Their sound has been called "The Birthday Party kick the shit out of Neil Young in Hendrix's garage" and when you go to see them play, there's about as much sweat and spit as you would expect from that description.

Thanks to Nathan for this quote from critic Greil Marcus, who puts it epically in his review of their Sept '09 Brooklyn show--which I was at, actually, and got a mouthful of said bronchitis:

"Having flown in that day from Australia, complaining of jet lag and offering to share bronchitis with the sparse crowd, they threw out one ferocious song after another. “Sitting on the edge of the bed crying,” Gareth Liddiard sang over and over, with storms of noise whirling around his head, the words muttered, chanted, shouted, whispered, until the piece seemed less about a broken heart than the human condition. Guitarist Dan Luscombe said they’d be doing songs from their 2005 album …Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By… The music was so strong, so full of loose wires twisting through the air in a spastic dance, that you could imagine that yes, you were the “you” in “your enemies”—and that Liddiard, Luscombe, bassist Fiona Kitschin, and drummer Michael Noga were your enemies, and that as they floated by this was the song they sang."

And that'd be Fiona's copy of the setlist from the show (notice the heart on "Jezebel," a song about life during wartime), swiped by my brother.

Anyway, who DOESN'T want to go out with one eye on the horizon like the victims of circumstance described in these songs? Convicts waiting to be executed, sailors eaten by sharks, spacemen pissing themselves. It all sounds very romantic. AND IT IS. But there is also art, history, dare I say INTEGRITY in their records that separates them from many others. Ewww did I say integrity? YES. I TOTALLY DID.

I just really love 'em. When they're not independently churning out albums (award-winning albums), they're touring all over the world. I've seen them 3 times in Brooklyn in the past year or so and there ain't nothin' like it. I can't wait to see what they do next.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

saturday night showcase: millennium blonde

This Saturday Night Showcase was inspired by Millennium Blonde, made up of Zach, Mike, Nathan and Logan (formerly Bimbo Cartel). Dance, drugs, love. Sick shades. The future!

New single "/power_love" by friends Astro Club Blonde
featuring filmmaker/actress Nini Ten

Blonde Redhead's "Top Ranking" video
featuring filmmaker/actress Miranda July

Scene from ROOM 666, a documentary by Wim Winders (1982)
featuring interviews with Rainer Werner Fassbinder & Werner Herzog
(thanks to Deanna)

"Where's the Disco?" sketch from The Comic Strip Presents,
featuring Rik Mayall pre-The Young Ones

Lou Reed performing "Sweet Jane" in Paris, 1974


Thursday, January 14, 2010

moments of vindication: chapter one

We were 8 years old. I was the new kid, again. She was the class bully. She was about a foot shorter than me. Her name was Amanda, and I was terrified of her.

For some reason, she invited me over to her house on a playdate. I didn't want to go. My mom made sure to stay close by, in the kitchen, with Amanda's mother.

We began playing a game, I don't remember what, but I was winning. This sent her into a rage. She chased me around, screaming, throwing things. She tore the room apart. I told her to relax. She pulled a drawer out of the desk and threatened to crush my skull with it. I yelled for my mom and was taken home.

Later that year, our teacher invited the "big kids" (age 10) to help us with our math. We sat at a large table, each with a partner, counting beans. Amanda sat next to me. She shoved a bean up her nose to impress us. It got stuck and she had to be taken to the nurse's office. No one was impressed. She died.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

new dyke city

I was a camera op this weekend for a reality show sizzle reel called NDC (NEW DYKE CITY). I learned a lot about lesbians. They are great.

-looking hot
-being fashionable
-owning it
-talking about pussy
-getting laid
-having a professional life

-talent (esp. creative)
-androgynous aliens

-coke (passé)
-hair around the nipples
-"pillow princesses"
-androgynous aliens

What I learned about myself is that I really wish I was a hot lesbian. I'm pretty sure they're going to rule the world, so look out, 2010.

Also, courtesy of Andy, what must be the best sizzle reel of all time:

Monday, January 4, 2010


This was my Christmas gift to the Hauvers, whose beautiful house served as the (only) location to my film MOTION SICK.

Cheska says: "Ruff RUFFF RUUU!" I'm still working on the translation.