Saturday, December 19, 2009

All the weather reports said there would be snow for sure

music: Taken By Trees - My Boys


I love the cold. It makes me feel alive and numb at the same time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Victim

music: Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is the Move



I've just listened to SOLOBOB's The Victim, and although the music is awful, I kind of like the lyrics -- I guess this song would come in addition to the rather self-mocking Teenage Angst mixed tape I've recently made.

Teenage Angst mixed tape

(all songs *no 19 are included in this youtube playlist)



01. Placebo - Teenage Angst
02. Elliott Smith - Ballad of Big Nothing
03. Radiohead - Creep
04. Bright Eyes - Something Vague
05. Blur - Resigned
06. Muse - Screenager
07. Two Gallants - Despite What You've Been Told
08. The Cure - The Reasons Why
09. Los Campesinos! - Miserabilia
10. The Smiths - How Soon Is Now
11. M83 - Teen Angst
12. Green Day - I Want To Be Alone
13. Rufus Wainwright - Vicious World
14. Modest Mouse - Missed the Boat
15. Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
16. Tears for Fears - Mad World
17. Nirvana - Pennyroyal Tea
18. Maria Taylor - Xanax
19. Brazzaville - Up All Night
20. Air - Dark Messages
21. Violent Femmes - Nothing Worth Living For
22. The Mountain Goats - Deserters (demo)
23. Chris Garneau - We Don't Try

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hello, Insomnia

music: Leonard Cohen -That Don't Make It Junk



I'll listen to the darkness sing -
I know what that's about.

Friday, December 4, 2009

3 days in wondermovieland

music: Anouk - Michel

I've always thought that deconstructing and analyzing movies takes away the magic. I couldn't have been any more wrong. It's the exact opposite.


For three days, I've been in wondermovieland. CCF organized un atelier d'analyse de l'image avec Florent Darmon, and it was amazing! I was in awe the whole time I was listening to Darmon. (Plus, it's like the Refresh button on my French was activated.)

[to view large, click on the image]

The most important thing I've learned is that I know nothing about cinema. I hadn't seen any of the movies presented during the workshop (at least I had an affirmative answer to the question "Vous connaissez Godard?"), and I realized that I don't even know how to watch a movie. I only follow the narrative line (if there's one) and analyze the thematic aspects of the movie. Hopefully, all this will change. Also, I've come to the conclusion that the quantity of movies I watch is not that important (they say a film critic should have seen over 1000 essential movies); I guess it's more important to watch the same movie several times in order to be able to analyze it in great detail. Then, if I learn how to analyze movies by the book, I can start worrying about the quantity too.

The first thing that I need to do now is to watch all the movies analyzed during the workshop (listed below) and then take all my books about cinema and seriously start learning.

Do you remember?

music: Anouk - Michel



I don't exactly know how I've ended up listening to Anouk's Urban Solitude this morning; but it was certainly nice to rediscover Michel, which I was pretty much obsessed with at the time it came out. I love the simplicity of the video and I love Anouk's look; actually, the first time I saw the video was also the first time I'd noticed how beautiful Anouk was.

*****

I need to write about Lettre d'une inconnue. Maybe writing will help. Or maybe not. All I know is that I need to write about it. Later though. Right now I can barely keep my eyes open. My hands are shaky and I'm afraid I'll drop the cup of coffee that I hope to keep me awake till 6 p.m. Ah, 6 p.m. will bring sadness... l'atelier d'analyse de l'image will be officially closed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vibes and beats

music: Flowers From the Man Who Shot Your Cousin - Childhood

I know (almost) nothing about jazz, and because of my tone-deafness* I don't think I'll ever be able to learn much about it. But I try.

A few months ago, I was watching TVR Cultural, and there was a show about this Romanian vibraphonist**. I jotted down his name -- Alexandru Anastasiu -- and later added him on my MySpace page. I've been waiting for a concert of his in Cluj, and the waiting finally ended yesterday.

Alongside Lucian Maxim, Alexandru Anastasiu started a series of concerts under the name "fIRST bEAT, nEXT VIBE".


fIRST bEAT, nEXT VIBE basically means nu-jazz, etno inspired jazz songs and standard jazz songs. The concert in Cluj was really great; so refreshing. I feel that the earthy tones given by Lucian Maxim's beats and the celestial, dreamy tones given by Alexandru Anastasiu's vibes were the perfect mix.


Plus, it was certainly interesting to be in the Radio Hall at Radio Cluj. I've never been there before. I cannot believe yesterday morning I was actually thinking about not going to the concert anymore just because I was supposed to go alone to a place I had never been before. I would've definitely regretted it. Also, I didn't quite feet like being around a lot of ppl -- on Facebook, 150 ppl announced their presence at the concert. So imagine my surprise when I got there, ten minutes before the concert, and all the seats in the Radio hall were empty. I couldn't believe this! And I was worried that I got there too late, and that the Radio Hall would be already full and they wouldn't let any more ppl in (like it happened last week, when I wanted to go to Teodora Enache's concert at the Art Museum). In the end, around ten ppl showed up. So yeah, shame on you, Cluj (to paraphrase that lady from Conor's concert).

*Wiki says Che Guevara was tone-deaf, too ;))
** After having found out about Alexandru Anastasiu, I went to npr.org/music and looked for some vibraphone jazz: Feeling The Vibes: The Short History Of A Long Instrument.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dream voices and dreamboats

music: Scott Matthew - Friends and Foes

I'm currently in a music phase. It's been over a week since I last saw a movie. However, I have been listening to a lot of music, mostly to albums released this year. Besides that, I've been listening to the wonderful music of Scott Matthew and Jay Jay Johanson. I can't take credit for these discoveries, though.

I honestly don't know how this is possible, but I've either ignored Scott Matthew's music or forgotten about it. G. mentioned him, and when I wiki-ed him, I was surprised to find out his music was featured on the soundtrack of Shortbus. And I have seen Shortbus; I have also listened to the soundtrack. I really don't know why I haven't listened to any of his albums until now.

Scott Matthew - White Horse


I've discovered Jay Jay Johanson thanks to M. Apparently, JJ Johanson is going to have a concert in Bucharest this December, which I will obviously miss. I haven't heard of him until now, which is quite the mystery - he's been around for a really long time.

Jay Jay Johanson - Lighting Strikes


Both Scott Matthew and JJ Johanson have such beautiful soothing voices and they're both such beautiful men *sigh*

(for illustration:)

Scott Matthew

Jay Jay Johanson

Say Please

music: Monsters of Folk - Say Please

MoF - Say Please (music video)


There have been so many official MoF videos these days, that I can hardly keep up f(^_^)
Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.) (w/ The Roots) on Jimmy Fallon
Right Place on MySpace
The Sandman, the Brakeman and Me on EW.com

Also, yay again for my crazy sleeping pattern. I was able to listen to the live stream of their concert from the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on WXPN (it was 4 a.m. *grin*).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

(theater x 2) + kumm = update

music: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Sun Ain't Shining No More

On Friday, it was Rhinocéros (Ionesco), mise en scene and performed by Jean-Marie Sirgue, and today it was Art (Yasmina Reza).

[click on the image to view large]


This post is rather pointless as I can't talk about theater. All I can say is "I liked it" or "I didn't like it". And I did like both plays.

To be honest, towards the end of Rhinocéros, I wasn't really there. Instead of focusing on the play, I had to focus on keeping my eyes open. This was the first time I went to the Hungarian Theater. I must say I was quite bothered by the fact that they sold tickets over capacity. Besides, the seats were so tiny; it's like they're saying "overweight ppl are not welcome". Seriously!

Art was really funny. I wanted to see this because it touches a subject I have to study this semester: modernism. Plus, I really want to read Bourdieu, and it seems to me that some of his ideas about art can be found in the play.

In other news:

On Friday, after having seen Rhinocéros, I went to Kumm's concert, even though I was dead tired. I was really disappointed by their performance. I think the release of their new album, Far From Telescopes, was much better in Bucharest (judging by this video). I first saw Kumm in 2007. It was more of an accident. I went to see this French group, GOMM, (you can read my idiotic comment about their concert here) and Kumm was the opening act. I really liked them back then. I don't know when they became so blah. Actually, I have the feeling that all these Romanian indie bands are overrated just because there is a need for indie music and they're all we've got.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Oaxaca and sugar skulls

music: Henryk Górecki - Amen, op 35

It's that time of year when I dream again of Oaxaca and sugar skulls...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Artsy. Zero social skills.

music: Port O'Brien - My Will Is Good


Chatting with G. about music and movies at an art exhibition - oh wow, how very artsy of me. As I was walking home, I ran into R. and he told me about a painting exhibition organized by the University of Art and Design (UAD). This is the first time I've seen works by UAD students and I was quite impressed. These ppl are really talented. Also, Catherine Millet, editor in chief of Art Press Paris was there (she was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Cause earlier today). R. told me about her; I don't wanna pretend I just knew who Catherine Millet was or why she was there. I do know about Art Press. I've never read it, but I suppose now I have a reason to borrow some issues from CCF. I guess I would've liked to take some pics just to remember some of the works I liked, but there were too many professional photographers, and I would've been too embarrassed to be seen with my toy-like camera. I was already embarrassed about my clothes. No matter what I wear, I always feel ridiculous. I love it that now I can wear summer dresses w/ boots, which feels so comfy. However, longish dresses/skirts look bad on me (I'm short and I will not wear heels). Why am I talking about my clothes? R. took lots of photos, so I'll just check those out once he uploads them on FB *grin*. Fuckity fuck! I hate it that I have to wake up at 6 a.m. Why did it feel so weird to hang out with G.? I mean, it was for 5 min or so, anyways. I wish I could hang out with him more, but then again, what on earth would I talk to him about? I mean, I can talk forever about music and movies but I do realize that can be annoying for some ppl. Just for some? Yeah, I guess for most ppl. And lately, because I don't know what to talk about w/ some ppl or maybe because I don't pay attention to what I'm saying, I've developed this really uncool habit. Um... actually, I hope it's not a habit. I hope it hasn't happened more than two or three times because I certainly don't wanna be labeled a name-dropper. I was talking to G., and for some reason I mentioned sm's name; I immediately wanted to slap myself or sth cause that was so not cool. How come I haven't listened to Port O'Brien till now? They sound pretty good, and fun, too. And this Bridezilla band seems ok, too. I don't think I have time to sleep anymore. I need some black coffee.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One more time with feeling: 'Hooked'

music: Regina Spektor - Eet*

If you haven't already seen my Twitter / Facebook updates, here's the piece of news: Hooked / Pescuit sportiv is the opening film at this year's Osian Film Festival (India), AND Nitesh of Indian Auteur has given me the unexpected chance to write about this movie, here (also, the text is edited by Nitesh).

Writing this just reminded me of how much I liked Pescuit sportiv. I'll def have to check if it's out on DVD.


*on Friday, I went to Anamaria & Alex's concert, and now I can't get that song out of my head

Sheep happens

music: Declan De Barra - Red Forests

It's the second year when the guys at Anim'est organize a three-day follow-up in Cluj, and if last year I only saw a series of short films, I promised myself that this year I would go see at least one feature a day. Um, yeah... that didn't happen. I only managed to go see Miyazaki's Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind, and Afro Samurai: Resurrection.

I'm so angry at myself because while watching Nausicca I could barely keep my eyes open; I was so tired (but I don't know, I should've had some coffee or sth *grr*). Plus, I would've loved to write sth about these movies, but that requires lots of hours (it's Japanese animation! I need more than two or three hours to write about Japanese animation. I know, I know: I'm so slow.) Besides, I have a ton of reading to do for school (it just never ends! but if I put Résiste on repeat and sing along - you don't wanna hear that - it gets a little better *sigh*).

So anyhow, loved the movies:

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind


Miyazaki's work is really amazing - I don't even need to say that, it's a known fact. One day, I'll make time and watch all his movies. (Uuh, btw: reading his filmography, I was surprised to find out he directed 15 episodes of Lupin III between 1971 and 1972. I used to watch Lupin III on Italia 1 or Canale 5, I don't really remember, when I was about 9 or 10 *grin*).

Afro Samurai: Resurrection


I read about Afro Samurai on the website of Otaku Magazine right after it was released, a couple of years ago (or wait. was that post about the tv series? now I'm confused...), so I was glad I finally got the chance to see it. The animation is outstanding! And I loved Lucy Liu's voice acting. However, the story line is full of clichés; it's the same old revenge story. Also, is it really that difficult to pronounce "Sayonara" correctly (i.e. with a long "o")? Seriously!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quotes

music: Górecki - Miserere, op 44

"La solitude comme forme de résistance" - Pascal Quignard's view on loneliness (at Culture Vive, RFI).

*****


"The album is named 'Know Better Learn Faster' because you can't," explains Thao. "By the time you realize you should, it's too late. And I enjoy the predicament and the totally devastating, unfunny humor of that."

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Comedy Cluj (II)

music: Love of Lesbian - Universos Infinitos

Update: Comedy Cluj ep 1 / Comedy Cluj ep 2 / Comedy Cluj ep 3


La Chevre



Hindemith


La Cienaga


Mrs. Ratcliffe's Revolution


Du Levande


Ridicule

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Comedy Cluj (I)

music: Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard - These Roads Don't Move

Titanic vals


Secretul armei... secrete





















Louise-Michel


David & Layla


Free Floating


Jour de fete

Saturday, October 10, 2009

@boredtodeath

music: Monsters of Folk - Map of the World



After having watched the pilot for HBO's Bored to Death, I posted a tweet about it, and surprise! The guys at HBO (@boredtodeath) asked me and two other Twitter users if they could quote us in a promo for Bored to Death. (I had no idea Twitter can be so fun!)

Now, I think it's obvious that I don't watch Bored to Death on HBO (*shh!*). (I'm sure it will be picked up by HBO Romania, but only after the first season is aired in its entirety in the US) So of course I haven't seen the promo (I was hoping it would eventually be on youtube, but no luck there). Anyhow, thanks to @thepegisin, I can now share a still of said promo *yay*.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

and the original tweet:

Not a feminist blogger. Not yet.

music: Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins - Rise Up With Fists

A while back, E. told me she and a colleague of hers intended to start a collective feminist blog. Ever since she let me know the blog was up and running (http://alicedowntherabbithole.wordpress.com/ - I love the name of blog :) I've been trying to think of a topic for the blog. Herta Muller winning the Nobel Prize for Literature seemed a pretty cool topic. Plus, thanks to the free access to SAGE Publications, I had found this really interesting article about literature and feminist theory. Indeed, it seemed like all this was a great basis for a good piece of writing. But, in the end, I was so unhappy with what I wrote that I decided I wouldn't send it to E. anymore. It's painful how bad it is. Still, Herta Muller winning the Nobel Prize is a huge deal, so I will write here an approximate translation of what I would've written for Down the Rabbit Whole.

*****

October 8, 2009: Herta Muller wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. A German female writer of Romanian origin wins the Nobel Prize. Yes, indeed, wow! But what it's interesting here is the part about "female writer", and not so much the part about the "Romanian origin". Herta Muller is only the 12th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. However, the fact that during this decade we have three women who won the literary Nobel (Doris Lessing in 2007 and Elfriede Jelinek in 2004) makes me almost optimistic. Is it really possible? Is the literature written by women taken more seriously than in the past? Or is it just that, in the case of Literature, gender has become irrelevant, and the term "writer" is universal?

In 'I am not a woman writer'. About women, literature and feminist theory today* (published in Feminist Theory). Toril Moi asks why the question of the woman writer disappeared from the feminist theoretical agenda around 1990.

But I'll start with the end of the article. To the question "What is literature?", Toril Moi gives the following answer:
Literature is the archive of a culture. We turn to literature to discover what makes other human beings suffer and laugh, hate and love, how people in other countries live, and how men and women experienced life in other historical periods. To turn women into second-class citizens in the realm of literature is to say that women’s experiences of existence and of the world are less important than men’s.

If I take a look at the list of Nobel Prize winners for Literature and also at the literary works that have passed the test of time, I can only come to one conclusion: literature offers us a masculine perspective on life. I'm not sure what high scool kids have to read nowadays, but my question is: why Camil Petrescu and not Cella Serghi, why Hemingway and not Woolf, why The Catcher in the Rye and not The Bell Jar?

Herta Muller, Doris Lessing and Elfriede Jelinek have the advantage of the Nobel Prize, but what about the rest of contemporary female writers? How will their work survive in time? I think it's important that the issue of the woman writer reappeared on the agenda of feminist theory so that the work of other female writers (Jeanette Winterson comes to mind) can be valued as it deserves to. And because, in the end, if feminists don't take care of this, who else will?

* http://fty.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/9/3/259

(This piece of writing doesn't make any sense, right? I mean, it has no structure! Ufa...)

Update: Here's my first feminist blog post. Very frivolous stuff.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MoF on Conan O'Brien

music: Monsters of Folk - Say Please (live on Conan O'Brien 09/22)



I absolutely love that solo guitar. And followed by M. Ward's soothing voice, it's even more amazing! Plus, that piano curl at "everyone gets lost" is so awesome (um... that's called a "piano curl", right? ugh... I'm so bad at this. I really need to get some books on music theory.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumnal Equinox

music: M83 - Too Late

(According to Wiki, this year's autumnal equinox is today at 21:18 UTC.)


Autumnal Equinox Mixed Tape:

01. The Cure - The Last Day of Summer
02. Mercury Rev - In a Funny Way
03. Bright Eyes - Loose Leaves
04. Devendra Banhart - Autumn's Child
05. Yo La Tengo - Autumn Sweater
06. The White Stripes - Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
07. Manic Street Preachers - Autumn Song
08. R.E.M. - Nightswimming
09. Joanna Newsom - Sadie
10. Band of Horses - The Funeral
11. Van Morrison - Autumn Song
12. Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man - Sand River
13. Nick Drake - Rain
14. Neil Young - Harvest Moon
15. Fiona Apple - Pale September
16. Leonard Cohen - The Smokey Life
17. Ryan Adams - September
18. M83 - Too Late
19. Death Cab for Cutie - Meet Me on the Equinox
20. Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends

22-09-09

music: Monsters of Folk - Temazcal






Later edit: Here's a little sth I wrote about Monsters of Folk (in Romanian). I kinda hate what I wrote, but I felt compelled to write sth, anything about the album.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sincerely, L. Cohen - part 2

music: Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

First of all, here's the link to the text I wrote for LiterNet: Un gentleman generos. (Having this published is quite encouraging, but this doesn't mean I'll become delusional and think that I can actually write. Ugh... sometimes I think I'm such an idiot for worrying so much.)

*****

I'm starting to believe that, when I go a concert I really care about, I'm a magnet for drunk ppl :)) Last year, at Conor's concert, there was that drunk lady who shouted "I'm ashamed of you, Belgium!" (that's still quite funny), and this year, at Cohen's concert there were two drunk men, who had seats right behind us. I kind of managed to ignore the one who was almost constantly talking (he was very vocal about wanting to hear So Long Marianne hehe), but other ppl couldn't.

Anyways, what anyone could notice right away was that there were ppl of all ages at the concert. And of all nationalities. I didn't really pay attention to the languages spoken around me, but CC told me there were lots of Israelis and Greeks. Also, we had seats next to some Americans. It's so funny -- this girl we talked a bit to was so surprised that we traveled for 11 hours by train to come to the concert. I mean, they traveled for 14 hours by plane to see Leonard Cohen -- we were supposed to be the ones surprised :P

Overall, only beautiful ppl (^_^)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sincerely, L. Cohen

music: Leonard Cohen - The Future

I wish I had a more interesting story (than this) about how I discovered Leonard Cohen's music or to have a story with his music as the soundtrack to it, but I don't... And that makes it so difficult to explain to someone else why I feel so connected to his music, or why I like it in the first place.

Now I find myself in the same situation as I did last year, when I saw Conor live - how can I possibly explain how amazing it was to see live a musician that I never thought I'd have the chance to see live? In Conor's case, I didn't think that was possible because he'd never come in Romania, and in Cohen's case - I didn't think he would ever tour again, let alone that he'd tour two years in a row and come back to Romania.

But the impossible happened, and I did get a second chance to see Leonard Cohen live. So, September 4, Bucharest (this date will forever be printed in my memory) - CC and I got to the stadium pretty early, and the rehearsal wasn't over yet. I could hear Who By Fire, and thought: wow! this is so weird - last year, when Cohen came in Romania for the first time, I was sitting in my room, into a state of depression, listening to Who By Fire on repeat, and now the fact that I would actually listen to that same song live was so incredible!

[to view large, just click on the photo]

The concert, which exceeded all my expectations, started with Dance Me to the End of Love. When Cohen introduced the band, I thought the concert was already over, and couldn't believe it went by so fast. But I was wrong! That was just the end of the first part, so now I couldn't believe the concert was going to be so long. And the encore! Oh. my. gosh. the encore was so special! It was like a long goodbye letter signed Sincerely, L. Cohen. I feel like we took advantage of his generosity, asking him to come back on stage so many times, but I don't exactly feel guilty about it. I mean, I'm quite sure that this is his last European tour.

The most special moment, for me, was when he performed Hallelujah. That song does something to me every time I listen to it. And I felt so privileged (yeah, I think that's the right word) to be able to listen to it live. I somehow wanted to capture that moment so that I can hold on to it forever. But you know, reality is cruel - no photo or video could do justice to such a moment (I did, however, record a fragment of Hallelujah :P).



I posted the set list on my listography page, here.

(I'm sorry this post is so rushed. I've just written a text about the concert for LiterNet, and now I don't feel capable of writing more. That text might not get published, though, in which case I'll post it here, even if it's in Romanian, because I wouldn't want to "abort" it. Plus, I'll def write another post about the lovely ppl and not so lovely that came to the concert - soonish.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

1 year ago

music: Leonard Cohen - First We Take Manhattan


The Classics

music: Van Morrison - Cyprus Avenue

I'm the worst music fan in the entire world!

For a long time I didn't exactly have access to a lot of music, but I don't have any excuse for the last three or four years - I know ppl with great taste in music, and, you know, it's the wild west out there. Since I'm trying to convince myself to live by the "it's never too late" motto (I'll probably expand on that in a future post), I told myself I should stop complaining about my gaps in the music department and start filling said gaps. So I guess that explains my recent charts / additions on last.fm (btw, if you're reading this and you have a last.fm account, please add me - I like knowing what other ppl listen to).

Anyways, here's what I've been listening to lately:

The Runaways - I really really like these girls!
The Beatles - Abbey Road - I confess: I've never listened to a Beatles record from the beginning till the end until now. I guess that when everybody says that this or that band is the best I become quite skeptical, and I postpone the listening session.
The Clash - I like London Calling, but the rest... I don't know, that reggae thing doesn't really work for me.
Janis Joplin - Greatest Hits
Led Zeppelin - Presence

Also, I've finally taken Tom Moon's book and started listening to some of the albums featured there:
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
The Stone Roses - s/t - I have never heard of this band, and now that I've listened to it, I keep stumbling upon articles about them.
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks - wow. WOW! This album is truly amazing. I would have probably never listened to it if it weren't in this book. For me, Van Morrison is one of those musicians who have a few songs that get so much radio play, that they eventually become incredibly annoying and cheesy. (and oh, yeah. I can see now who Robert Pattinson is trying to imitate - the problem is that he's trying too hard - uuh, I'm being so mean ;))

Sunday, August 23, 2009

LC tickets!

music: Joan Jett - Have You Ever Seen the Rain

CC came over today and she brought me our tickets for the Leonard Cohen concert. At this point, the idea that I'll see Leonard Cohen live still seems surreal. It's like I keep waiting for sth to go wrong and not be able to go to the concert... I'm masochistic in that way I guess. Oh, and of course I'm freaked out about going to Bucharest, but I try not to give it too much thought.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Two weeks away

music: Bright Eyes - A Spindle, A Darkness, A Fever And A Necklace

I've always liked the little story read by that kid at the beginning of Fevers and Mirrors. And until recently, I've just assumed that story was written by Conor, simply because it sounded like sth he would've written. But no, I was wrong. It's actually an excerpt from a children's book, Mitchell Is Moving by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, w/ pictures by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey.

I found the book at Book Depository (which is the most amazing online bookstore because they make free deliveries anywhere in the world), and I received it today*.


Here's the excerpt read at the beginning of Fevers and Mirrors (I especially like the "two weeks" part):
"So long everything!" he shouted
Then he ran next door to Margo's house.
"I'm moving," he said.
"Where?" asked Margo.
"Two weeks away," said Mitchell.
"Where is that?" asked Margo.
"It's wherever I will be after I walk for two weeks," said Mitchell. "I have lived in the same place for a long time. It is time for me to go someplace else."
"No!" said Margo. "You have only lived next door for fifty years."
"Sixty," said Mitchell.
"Fifty, sixty. What's the difference?" said Margo. "I want you to stay next door forever."
"I can't," said Mitchell. "I do not want to wake up in the same old bedroom and eat breakfast in the same old kitchen[...] Every room in my house is the same old room, because I have been there too long."

*I've also ordered Sylvia Plath's Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, but I didn't get it yet. I hope it didn't get lost in the mail...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Horror night

music: Jay Brannan - Zombie

I don't know why, but I've always felt that Friday nights are the best for watching horror movies. Maybe it's because Romanian tv networks would often play horror movies on Friday nights when I was a kid (I was a Chucky fan when I was 10 hehe).

So, last night I started reading Stephen King's Misery (in the room where I was reading, the light bulb was acting all funny, which was kind of spooky), and after 50 pp, I decided it was time for a movie. A silent movie: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. Watching this was so refreshing -- no special effects, no Hollywood horror cliches.


(I should really pay more attention to (early & new) German cinema. I was watching KINO the other day, and they presented some German movies that seemed quite interesting.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Motion sickness

music: Elliott Smith - Wateloo Sunset



I'm in the process of adding photos taken during a one-day road trip on my Flickr page - these are just some of them. (Btw, if you have a Flickr account, feel free to add me as a contact.)

Meanwhile, here's a download link (which should be available for another 7-8 days) for a mixed tape I made for said road trip: Motion Sickness*. I hope you enjoy it :)

*Track list: 01. Conor Oberst - Moab 02. M. Ward - Hold Time 03. Rufus Wainwright - Going To A Town 04. Simon Joyner - Burn Rubber 05. Neko Case - This Tornado Loves You 06. Goldfrapp - Road To Somewhere 07. The White Stripes - One More Cup of Coffee 08. Beirut - Un dernier verre (pour la route) 09. Girls In Hawaii - Plan Your Escape 10. Maria Taylor - Clean Getaway 11. Bright Eyes - Coat Check Dream Song 12. Gillian Welch - I Dream A Highway 13. Son Ambulance - Horizons 14. Jenny Lewis - Pretty Bird 15. Matteah Baim - Wilderness 16. Blitzen Trapper - Furr 17. Alela Diane - Tired Feet 18. Bat For Lashes - Travelling Woman 19. The Magnetic Fields - Papa Was A Rodeo 20. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone 21. Eddie Vedder - End of the Road 22. Russian Red - Take Me Home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MOF know how to tease

music: Monsters of Folk - Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)

Say Please "Teaser"


Dear God "Teaser"


(On MOF's Facebook page, there's also a teaser for Man Named Truth.)

I don't go on myspace as often as I used to, so I was totally unaware that Monsters of Folk had added two more songs on their page: Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.) and The Sandman, The Brakeman and Me. They're both wonderful, in particular The Sandman... -- it's folky, it's dreamy, it's perfect! The lyrics seem to be a variation on Bright Eyes' If the Brakeman Turns My Way (the beginning of this song makes my heart skip a beat each time I listen to it: "when panic grips your body and your heart's a humming bird..." this is so beautiful). Also, there's a piece about these new MOF songs on rollingstone.com.

Monday, August 3, 2009

'El espiritu de la colmena'

music: Bright Eyes - If the Brakeman Turns My Way


Childhood, Frankenstein, Franco's Spain, trains, mystery, bees, pocket watches, a black cat and an abandoned sheepfold -- these would be just some of the elements that make Victor Erice's 1973 debut, El espiritu de la colmena, simply amazing. And Wiki is right: visually, this film is absolutely brilliant. Every single scene is photographic.

Monday, July 20, 2009

25 ghosts

music: Monsters of Folk - Say Please

I feel the need to understand how sm who has tortured so many ppl (or even just one person) can live with himself/herself, but I'm afraid I'll never be able to.

I'm reading a little sth about the concentration camp that existed in my hometown in 1944, and even though I've read and heard so much about methods of torture, I still can't believe sm was capable of such horrible deeds. Or maybe it's more like I can't believe sth like that happened in the little town where I've lived my whole life.

What's strange is that I only found out about this in high school, when one of my English teachers mentioned it. Until then, for me that forest was just a place where ppl went for picnics and to have a relaxed fun day. As a kid, I would go there quite often, and I simply cannot explain to myself how come, in all those yrs, no one's ever mentioned anything about the dark past of that place. Is it just ignorance or doesn't anyone care at all?

I don't know why I felt the need to go there now, why this sudden interest of mine to find out what's happened there... It was so sad to see that there was absolutely nothing there that could remind us of that dark past: around 7,700 Jews held there for 23 days, till they were taken to Auschwitz, and 25 deaths because of the cruelty of their torturers.


(more photos: bright as a nazi lampshade (1), bright as a nazi lampshade (2) and witnesses)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Debut

music: Leonard Cohen - Suzanne

I wrote a little sth for Dilema veche a while ago, and today they published it. I've been so excited about this because when I was reading it in high school I would say to myself that I could never write as well as those ppl write (and that's still true), that I could never write sth that would be worth publishing in those pages. And now that I've finally seen my name there, I don't know... I feel so empty I guess. It just feels like everything I do is so pointless, that nothing's ever going to change (but I think I've already said this here, so this post is rather pointless too).

And then, the insecure kid in me asks 'why?' Why would M. offer me such a chance? I've done nothing to deserve it. Well, I guess I'm not used to ppl doing nice things for me for no reason...

Ugh, I can't believe how ungrateful I can be sometimes! I should just enjoy the moment and stop worrying about the uncertain future and about my meaningless existence for at least one day.

P.S. a link will probably be available on Monday, and I'll update this post.

Update: and here's the link: Povestile Suzannei

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This is really it

music: The Jackson 5 - Who's Loving You



(Smokey Robinson, the author of this song, spoke at the Michael Jackson Memorial, and Shaheen Jafargholi performed that same song)

'When I had you I treated you bad'... I think this song sums up really well sth that seems to be a rule with no exceptions -- we only learn to appreciate sm once he/she is gone. Oh, how the media enjoyed trashing Michael! He had to die in order for the same media to finally take notice of his huge impact on music and pop culture, and of his humanitarian side too. How sad... Unfortunately, I'm afraid they won't let him rest in peace (I mean, they're already digging for some more trash).

Also, I can't help but wonder how come Michael was so alone and so miserable when all these ppl who spoke at his memorial claimed they were part of his life...

My dose of Conor

music: Conor Oberst & MVB - Spoiled

Conor & MVB's performance on Letterman, from last night, is already online *yay!*
(lately, youtube has proven to be an unreliable source for me; nevertheless, you can still find great stuff there)

Spoiled / Letterman, 07/06


(I love Conor's hat! ^_^)

*****

Also, yesterday I came across some scans of a recent Rolling Stone article about Conor & MVB, and I was kinda sad to find out he's planning on putting an end to the Bright Eyes project. But at the same time I'm looking forward to hearing about his future projects I guess. Besides, I'm glad he's the exploring type of artist -- it's quite refreshing to know he won't be doing the same thing for the rest of his life.

*****

I should definitely check out this LJ community more often. This is a little treasure:





Sunday, July 5, 2009

TIME

music: Zbigniew Preisner - Van den Budenmayer

I went to Cluj yesterday, and I just had to buy this:

Friday, July 3, 2009

In love with Weronika and Veronique

music: Bright Eyes - Trees Get Wheeled Away

I absolutely fell in love with Kieslowski's La double vie de Veronique! (I watched it twice in less than 24 hours.) This might be a cliche / sound cheesy but the film is so beautiful that it hurts. Such attention for details, for gestures that create a lovely, magical atmosphere. And that haunting music...

(I'm sorry to say this, but I have the feeling Jeunet let himself a bit too inspired by La double vie de Veronique when he made Amelie.)



Later edit: I've finally uploaded photos of the DVD on flickr. I wish I had a copy of it just for that piece of film:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The exile of Rudolf, Andrew and Dinu

music: Folk Alley's 100 Most Essential Folk Songs

Last night I read the most touching book I've read in... well, in a really long time -- Uncle Rudolf, by Paul Bailey.

Why Paul Bailey is so fascinated with Romania is still a mystery to me, but I can only be glad an English author has written a book about the exile of a partly Jewish Romanian. He has managed to play so well with those Romanian words, and most importantly, with the idea of language as part of an identity. I like this review of the book:
It is Bailey's triumph to show a pan-European catastrophe through an ironic technique of miniaturism and understatement that aestheticises mass terror, while indicating the unfathomable depths of human bestiality over which language is a veneer.
You can also read this review (in Romanian).

*****

The few pages about Dinu Lipatti's final recital brought me to tears... so beautifully written.

I've been looking for some recordings of Dinu Lipatti (on vinyl, if possible) for quite a while, and haven't found anything yet (T_T) Until I find sth, I'll have to make do with what is available on youtube.

Friday, June 26, 2009

This is it

music: Michael Jackson - They Don't Care About Us

At approx. 4 a.m., when I saw this on Twitter, I couldn't believe it. The only reaction I could have was 'huh?!'

I liked They Don't Care About Us when I was a kid (and could not understand a word of English) for its rhythm, and now I still like it for its rhythm and especially for its message.


(The original version of the video cannot be embedded)

*****

Today I remembered about the story of a boy from my hometown, who had leukemia, and whose greatest wish was to see Michael Jackson live (I think this was in '96, when MJ came for the 2nd time in Romania). He never got to see MJ though -- he died shortly after arriving in Bucharest, for the concert...

Des fictions

music: Son, Ambulance - The Invention of Beauty

Louis Malle en parlant du cinema: "Je crois que j'ai trouve quelque chose qui me donne l'impression d'exister." (Interview de Louis Malle par Francois Chalais, 1963 -- complement du DVD Les Amants)

Je me demande... pourqoui dit-il "l'impression d'exister"? Est-il possible que l'existence soit juste une autre fiction collective?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I wish I worked at NPR Music

music: Leonard Cohen - Memories

I so envy the guys at NPR Music! They're already listening to the Monsters of Folk (Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, M. Ward & Jim James). How do I know? Twitter, of course (you can follow All Songs Considered's Bob Boilen @allsongs). Since ppl were asking who the Monsters of Folk were, Bob Boilen also wrote a blog post where he copy/pasted the press release, so now I'm looking at the track list *yay*:

Monsters of Folk track list
1. Dear God (sincerely M.O.F.)
2. Say Please
3. Whole Lotta Losin'
4. Temazcal
5. The Right Place
6. Baby Boomer
7. Man Named Truth
8. Goodway
9. Ahead of the Curve
10. Slow Down Jo
11. Losin Yo Head
12. Magic Marker
13. Map Of The World
14. The Sandman, the Brakeman and Me
15. His Master's Voice

Also, I've just signed up on monstersoffolk.com for the newsletter. If you sign up, you receive a stencil you can download.

Later edit: I just realized that the 7th track, Man Named Truth, must be the one Conor and the Mystic Valley Band played live at 400 Bar in December 2007. I'm curious how the MOF version sounds like.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cahiers du cinéma

music: Suzanne Vega - In Liverpool

I haven't read Cahiers du cinéma for ages! So now, I was thinking it's time for me to browse some back issues. And I've started from the beginning, i.e. with the issue of January '09. On the cover: Che by Soderbergh. Even though I haven't seen it yet, I was in awe the whole time I was reading the review for this movie. If in ten years I'm able to write like that about a movie, then I will not feel like I've wasted my life.


Also, after flipping through this issue I've added a bunch of other movies to my must-see list, among which a documentary with Godard, Morceaux de conversations avec Jean-Luc Godard by Alain Fleischer.


[...] Or la déférence envers lui [Godard] se confond avec l'amour du cinéma, si bien qu'il y a partout comme un renoncement a le combattre, quand bien meme ce qu'il avance peut etre évidemment tres discutable. Godard signale le cinéma, il le porte sur ses épaules, tel Atlas, en meme temps qu'il en est l'encyclopédie et le cartographe - un atlas. Parler avec lui, c'est comme lire le dictionnaire : chaque définition renvoie a une autre, et il arrive un moment ou il faut bien se contenter de l'une d'elles, sans suite.

-- The Atlas by Jean-Philippe Tessé

(excerpts in English can be read here)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cute monsters

music: Conor Oberst - Gentlemen's Pact

So nice to wake up at 6ish a.m. and find out about a new Conor Oberst project! (thank you, Yannell)


They've been putting off the release of the album under the name Monsters of Folk for quite a while (Paste Magazine was writing about this album in July last yr), and I'm so glad this is finally happening! But I don't think I can hope for a European tour (T_T).