Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Granny style, 'The Golden Girls' edition

music: Miles Davis - Walkin'

When I'm not wearing the usual t-shirt + jeans combo, I have the tendency of dressing like a granny. Watching The Golden Girls last night I realized Sophia, the funniest of them Golden Girls, can offer quite the style inspiration.

The Golden Girls (season 1, episodes 1-4)

Breaking bones

music: Ryuichi Sakamoto - Seven Samurai

Source: Yahoo! Movies

I wasn't planning a post on Breaking Dawn. Heck, I wasn't planning to see it during its opening weekend. But I have seen it. And in between all the laughs it made me quite angry.

Having a movie like Breaking Dawn come out during the whole planned parenthood debate in the States is quite the backlash. Obviously, the backlash this movie might create can't be compared to the backlash created by American legislators and politicians. However, the fact that a mass phenomenon like the Twilight series carries such an obvious anti-abortion message is just as disturbing as the horror birth scene in Breaking Dawn - Part 1.

Watching Breaking Dawn reminded me of my high school religion teacher. There was smth really strange about that woman. No matter how annoyed I was by the things that she was saying, I was always listening to her, like actually listening. I don't remember an exact quote, but she did say smth about dying during childbirth being the biggest sacrifice a woman could make and that consequently, that makes her a martyr - and not metaphorically. At that time I didn't give it much consideration but now, having seen Breaking Dawn, it got me so angry. Just seeing Bella looking like a corpse but still defending the little monster that was breaking her bones and sucking her blood made me sick to my stomach. And then, the message that the woman who dies in childbirth is some sort of saint is made clear when all her bruises and signs of death are magically erased and she becomes this heavenly glowing creature. (Sreencaps after the jump; apologies for the bad quality).

I gave up on Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn b/c I was already bored with the books but mostly b/c it was really silly. Every line of dialogue made me laugh. I could already anticipate what some of the characters would say, I could anticipate Jacob's imprinting on Renesmee. Renesmee... seriously, that name alone is a good enough reason to stop reading the book. But it was this imprinting business that was the last straw. It's disturbing how many anti-women instances are romanticized in these books.

I sort of liked the first movie b/c it was more like a teen movie. And Edward lurking in the dark in Bella's bedroom, I saw that as him being the stereotypical bad boy Bella should stay away from. Twilight was harmless. However, the amount of anti-women messages in Breaking Dawn is difficult to ignore.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A mixtape (for N.)

music: The Black Keys - Lonely Boy

East Meets West (for Nitesh)


Chapter 1

01. Mahdyar Aghajani - Weasels and Warcies
02. Douji Morita - Tatoeba Boku ga Shindara
03. Akiko Yano - Funamachi uta (Part II)
04. Anoushka Shankar - Traveller
05. Seiichi Yamamoto - Movin'
06. Ryuichi Sakamoto - Chasm

Chapter 2

07. Beirut - Vagabond
08. Sharon Van Etten - All I Can
09. Taken By Trees - My Boys
10. Ariel Pink - Bright Lit Blue Skies
11. GIRLS - Just A Song
12. Zola Jesus - Seekir

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Everyone is hanging out without me

music: David Lynch ft. Karen O - Pinky's Dream

But that's okay. I'm hanging out with Mindy.


I had trouble finding smth pink in my wardrobe but in the end I did find smth that I hadn't worn in years, smth that I don't know why I still have (*cough* hoarder!). Btw, that wall in my room was never supposed to be pink. It was supposed to be red. I still get angry about that sometimes b/c my room looks like the room of a twelve year old girly girl. Anyways. I wanted to wear smth pink b/c that's Mindy's (she's Mindy to me, not Mindy Kaling; now that I've read her book we're totally best friends) favorite color and b/c she's wearing pink on the cover of her book. Conor Oberst Reference Opportunity: that photo of Mindy is taken by Autumn de Wilde, who also took those very pink photos of Conor. And in case you don't know, book-clothes color coordination is totally a thing. Just ask Miranda July.

I finally got the book yesterday, while I was in the middle of getting ready to write a film review. I haven't written one of those in like forever and I really want to start writing about film again but it's so difficult to just start, basically b/c I know the outcome would suck compared to what I would want to write. The book, with that awesome title and that pretty cover, was so tempting, though - in the end, I stayed true to my procrastinator nature and left my own writing aside and read the book. The whole book. Reading an entire book in one day, in one go (!) is kinda rare for me. I am however embarrassed to say how many hours it took me to read it as this is a pretty light read and you should be done with it in about two hours. It took me way longer. I didn't read it "every night for two months" but still: "something is not right".

Speaking of getting ready to write, I loved this paragraph:

I've found my productive-writing-to-screwing-around ratio to be one to seven. So, for every eight-hour day of writing, there is only one good productive hour of work being done. The other seven hours are preparing for writing: pacing around the house, collapsing cardboard boxes for recycling, reading the DVD extras pamphlet from the BBC Pride & Prejudice, getting snacks lined up for writing, and YouTubing toddlers who learned the "Single Ladies" dance. I know. Isn't that horrible? So, basically, writing this piece took me the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy it accordingly.

Reading stuff like this coming from successful writers is quite reassuring. Most of the times I'll stare at a blank page for three hours even if I've already done my research and know exactly what I need to say. So instead of staring for another three hours at my laptop screen I'll do smth around the house or, more likely, keep staring at my laptop screen - randomly surfing the net or watching a tv series or YouTube videos.

I've blah-blah-ed too much about pink and how I read the book and now I no longer have the energy to comment upon the body image issues in this book. Which reminds me: I've never gotten around writing about the body image issues raised by Tina Fey in Bossypants. I'll add these two to the long list of Things To Write About Till 2012, i.e. Till The Apocalypse. Oh, don't worry, I'm not delusional. I know few ppl are interested in body image issues, and even fewer (read: zero) are interested in my opinions on this issue. But you know, I want to write about stuff like this just for fun. Yeah... I should probably stop talking about writing and actually write sth. Ugh.

There aren't many HA HA moments in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? but it's so heartwarming. It left a long-lasting smile on my face.

Now I feel like re:watching The Office just to see Mindy's scenes again. I have a ton of watching and re:watching to do and until I organize my viewing sessions I'll just re:watch these Subtle Sexuality videos.

Subtle Sexuality - Male Prima Donna


Subtle Sexuality - The Girl Next Door


+ The Concerns of Mindy Kaling

In the tradition of "The Concerns of Mindy Kaling":

Good for: The Office fans, ppl who like reading creative ppl's blogs, anyone who thinks Hollywood needs more women writing tv and movies.

Monday, November 7, 2011

PPC (Public Pop Culture)

music: Dirty Beaches - Horses


What in the end is more antisocial: blasting your in-car sound system or boom-box, or walking through a city wearing iPod headphones? The former is a contribution to civic vitality, even if it feels like noise pollution; the other is withdrawal from the street life. Music was meant to spill out into public space. You think of hip hop (with its block parties and party jams, literally music of the streets) and rave (appropriating buildings or public land), but also the poignant stories of people huddling in silent awe around the radio or someone's record player the week that Sgt Pepper's was released. The iPod is fundamentally asocial. OK, you get people who plug their iPods in at parties, but at best this is an update of the host's mix-tape, at worst the vastly expanded update of the boor that takes over the music centre and imposes his taste on everybody else.

The excerpt above is from the book I'm currently reading (still reading, yeah, I know, I'm such a slooow reader): Simon Reynolds's Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction To Its Own Past. I'm loving the book and I have so so much to learn from it. However, I do not share Reynolds's stand on the headphones-in-public issue. Quelle surprise.

What's so great about what's going on in the street that you have to experience it with all your senses? Using your mp3 player as a way of isolating yourself from street life is just a natural response when you do not identify with what's going on in the street. Ppl being loud on their phones, ppl being rude, traffic, construction / road workers, etc. etc. - it's all noise pollution. On some days you might be fine with it, on other days you'll want to mute it.

And you learn to appreciate the invention of mp3 players when you don't have one on you and desperately wish you had one on you because the sound of being in public makes you cringe or downright infuriates you.

These days I'm mp3-player-less. I mean, I still have my mp3 player. Not an iPod. I can't afford an iPod. I have a lame mp3 player with a 1 Gb memory that runs on a AAA battery, which is not exactly environmentally friendly, but then again I don't use it that often as I don't go out that often. I'm trying to stay away from earbud headphones, and until I get a new set of headphones, I have to go out into the world without my mp3 player. That can become quite a problem during my train trips to/ from Cluj. There will be ppl who will be talking w/out adjusting their volume, like they're the only passengers, and sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate on my book. As if that weren't enough there will be the occasional "boor" who appoints himself the train DJ. Because the music he has on his phone is oh so incredibly awesome.

The day after I had read the above excerpt, i.e. on Friday, I was once again taking a train to Cluj and resumed my reading only to be later interrupted by a self-appointed train DJ. I wanted to say sth but refrained myself as you never know what nutjob you might be dealing with. (And at seeing this man get off the train I concluded I was wise in keeping my mouth shut.) At first I got really angry because he was playing the exact type of music I did not want to be made to hear. Then I jokingly told myself I should maybe try to appreciate the anthropological potential of the situation or at least take it as a counterargument to Reynolds's ideas - music is not always meant to spill out into public space. There's a reason headphones exist and that's not only to allow you to isolate yourself from street noise but also to shield you from other ppl's crappy taste in music. Because, seriously, who would want to sit through this playlist?

  1. unidentified manea
  2. unidentified manea
  3. Rihanna - Rude Boy (skipped)
  4. Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce - Telephone
  5. unidentified manea (skipped)
  6. unidentified manea
  7. N & D - Vino la mine
  8. unidentified manea (skipped)
  9. N & D - Vino la mine

Need I say more?

(This is very similar to the type of music my cousin had on his computer a few years ago: maybe a few of the latest international hits, Romanian music, and plenty of manele. His "DJ-ing" was also very ADD-like - he would rarely listen to a song till the end, if what he was doing could even be called listening.)

What's interesting is that more and more ppl are using their laptops on the train (I only used mine twice on the train and I was pretty nervous about plugging it into those sockets). So now you have ppl watching movies in public. I remember these two girls watching a movie together and thinking they were being so rude. I mean, who wants to hear explosions and screams and all that? It's just rude. I don't know how else to say it. You either watch it with headphones on or you don't watch it at all.

Later on last Friday, coming back home, I got a seat next to some cool college kids. I resumed my reading of Retromania and after a few pages I put it down for a sec. The guy next to me asked me if I wanted to watch a movie. (At first I thought he was looking at my other seat neighbor, but no, he was looking at me. Um yeah, that's how huge my insecurities are - even when sm is looking at me and talking to me, I'm not sure if they are looking at me and talking to me.) So I said yes, because why refuse a movie? (although I had just satisfied my cinephage appetite with Tomboy and Din dragoste, cu cele mai bune intenţii/ Best Intentions.) Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. I had not even heard of this movie but the title told me everything I needed to know. It was a Hollywood movie. And no, we were not rude. We watched the movie with headphones on (he had two seats). But then I started feeling rude and like a huge egoist because I realized oh wait I'm not gonna be able to watch the entire movie. Ugh, I should've switched seats with my other seat neighbor and let him watch the movie. What a greedy cinephage I can be sometimes. So I saw half of Percy Jackson, courtesy of my seat neighbor, and the other half the next day, at home.

This got me thinking not so much about the way we consume movies in public (others have ruminated on this subject more successfully than I could) but about what movies we choose to watch in public. My snobby preconception is this: ppl who watch movies on the train will not choose any art house type of movie. They will go for the blockbusters, or for whatever is new on their torrent site of choice. I kinda doubt Romanians check the rating of a movie before watching it, so I wonder: are they concerned the movie they're watching in public, maybe sitting next to a potentially judgmental elderly person, may contain extreme violence and/or (full-frontal) nudity? Do they play it safe and go for a Pixar movie or sth aimed at teens? Anyways. Thank you, kind stranger, both for the movie and for the unintentional food for thought.

Friday, October 28, 2011

How he got his song

music: St. Vincent - Cruel (acoustic)



I was compelled in the midst of that ordeal of packing to go and open my guitar. I have a Conde guitar, which was made in Spain in the great workshop at number 7 Gravina Street. I pick up an instrument I acquired over 40 years ago. I took it out of the case, I lifted it, and it seemed to be filled with helium, it was so light. And I brought it to my face and I put my face close to the beautifully designed rosette, and I inhaled the fragrance of the living wood. We know that wood never dies. I inhaled the fragrance of the cedar as fresh as the first day that I acquired the guitar. And a voice seemed to say to me, “You are an old man and you have not said thank you, you have not brought your gratitude back to the soil from which this fragrance arose." And so I come here tonight to thank the soil and the soul of this land that has given me so much. (Read the entire transcript here.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WWBD?

music: International Liszt Festival (Radio România Muzical, live from The Hungarian Opera, Cluj)

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (#5 "The Chain"), Joss Whedon

Oh, you scared little girl, see, you're even disappointing Buffy. (Um, yeah, I'm talking to myself. I won't be surprised if in 40 years or less I am that lady you see on the street talking to herself.)

Sometimes I'm a completist. And sometimes that is not good ("not good". oh wow, what an immensely rich vocabulary do we have). Those lists of what to read / listen to / watch are getting longer and longer, while I don't know for how long I can keep this up.

Not to mention that I'm getting the itch. The itch to watch Buffy again. All seven seasons. And ohmygosh, I still haven't seen Angel.

Anyways, I'm loving the eighth season of Buffy, and I'm trying to finish it as soon as possible so that I can start reading the ninth season and be up to date.

Meanwhile, I'm begging you: watch Buffy. I know my text in DV is not convincing enough (and not as smart as I wanted it to be) so begging is all I have left. To say that Buffy is more than a vampire series is such an understatement, but I promise you: it's more than a vampire series.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

140+

music: Jay-Jay Johanson - On The Other Side

Just a few random thoughts, some too long for Twitter.

  • I think I'm going to puke a rainbow. If a story / movie is LGBTQ-themed is the rainbow / pink (or purple) / glitter absolutely mandatory? First of all: the message they're sending is that the story / movie is worth reading / watching just for the LGBTQ theme and that there's nothing more to it. Second: some (if not most) of these stories are really sad, and they're not gonna get less sad if you put a rainbow on them. Hey, I get it. They need sth to say "gay-friendly". But I don't know, I guess I'm sick of seeing rainbows and pink used to promote gay-themed stories that are supposed to be aimed at everyone, just as I'm sick of seeing pink used as a marketing tool for pretty much any product out there aimed at girls/women.

  • How many web sites do I have to follow in order to not get behind on the cultural news? Seriously! It's so frustrating. Radu Afrim has a new play at the theater from Satu Mare and I would've liked to go. Had I known earlier about it. And what the fuck is wrong with my googling skills? I must've spent an hour looking for the official page of this theater group.

  • Moi, earlier today: Uuuh, I'm going to write 12 pages on the awesomeness of Buffy. Moi, now: Sugar crash. Zzzz... Roger, c'est moi.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just my type of adventure

music: The Golden Filter - For Your Broken Life

Amanda Palmer to Neil Gaiman: "Are you going to tell them about how you call every trip to the store an adventure?"

On the latest episode of This American Life, Neil Gaiman talks about how unadventurous his life is (which, you see, is funny because his life is adventurous).



Oh, how I envy thrill-seekers. Supposedly, there's a gene that you either have or don't have. I guess I should put thrill-seeking on the list of things I have no control over and not beat myself up over this anymore. So, faute de the real thing, allow me to continue calling my trips to the store adventures.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A to-do list

music: Lesley Gore - It's My Party


*****

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to,
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Walk the walk!

music: Charlotte Gainsbourg - The Songs That We Sing

Source

Just a quick note on the SlutWalk movement. (In which I assume you already know what this is all about. I won't add a list of links because that would take me way too long. Honestly, there are more articles on this topic that I can or want to read. Google it.)

As I've already said a billion times, I'm saddened by the fact that I won't be walking the walk. Where? Bucharest. When? Tomorrow, October 6th.

Yes, the SlutWalk has been the target of some harsh criticism coming from feminists themselves. And it's all valid. I fully agree that the message is confusing - they should've stuck to the anti-rape agenda and not mix it with the sexual liberation. (And if I'm not mistaken, I did see a photo of a sign in the making for the Bucharest SlutWalk that was referring to actual sex workers - even more confusing! Ugh.)

Then, there's the issue of the reappropriation of an offensive term like "slut". I am a fan of Bitch, I am a fan of Jezebel, but I must say I'm not a fan of this practice. I think some offensive words will forever remain offensive and "slut" is definitely one of them. (Okay, I'll admit I use "bitch" every now and then, and I have never had a problem with the word "queer", but then again, I'm not American, I'm not a native speaker and I think that has a lot to do with my level of comfort in using certain words.) Which takes me to the Romanian word for "slut". I find the word "panaramă" to be a very poor translation choice simply because... who uses that word?! I have maybe heard sm use it once, many, many years ago. And it was a woman insulting another woman. And maybe it's used in the Moldovan region, but I'm not sure, I don't remember having ever heard it during my trips there. Anyways, this is besides the point. Feminists can debate the reappropriation of offensive terms for as long as they want, but the real issue is this: ppl don't get it. They just don't. And it's not like "Oh I get it but I don't like it". No. They simply do not understand it. And I'm thinking here both of ignorant anti-feminists and of ppl whom I consider more intelligent than me. I mean, there are ppl out there who have heard about the SlutWalk on the news and think it's a march organized by prostitutes! So, if ppl don't even get to your message because they misunderstand the very name of your movement, maybe that's a sign that you should find another name for it. But to contradict myself: why would you make changes to accommodate a bunch lazy ignorant anti-feminists who are not even capable of following the news?

(Um, yeah, that quick note is obviously turning into a rant.)

However:

Were I in Bucharest tomorrow, I would walk the walk without any hesitation. I might be sitting on a sparkly rainbow that will quickly fade away but I think it's so incredibly amazing that Romanian feminism aligned itself to an international movement. I don't know any of these wonderful girls and women (and guys too, if I'm not mistaken) who organized the Bucharest SlutWalk / Marşul Panaramelor yet I send them a heart-felt "Congratulations!". You are my heroes.

Tomorrow, as I'll be sitting here between my four walls, I will know that I have, once again, failed at feminism. Honestly, though: I have absolutely no idea where I would even begin were I to "get off the Internet". And meet whom in the street? I'll have to admit that I'm extremely uninformed in regards to local feminism. I remember reading once about some academic feminist club at UBB Cluj but I don't even know if it still exists. Besides, I'm not even sure it was open to a general public. Actually, that's what kinda bugs me about feminism in Romania - I feel that it's still very much linked to the academic environment and it's this underground thing where if you want to participate you have to be in that academic environment and you have to know sm who knows sm and so on. And this is exactly why smth like the SlutWalk got me all excited and hopeful about the direction Romanian feminism might take.



I'll just add one more thing and wrap this up.

If tomorrow you're in Bucharest, please, please walk the walk. For yourself, for me, for every girl and woman out there who has ever been harassed in the street, or worse. And yes, I will emotionally blackmail you into walking the walk with this old blog post of mine.


+ the FB page for the Bucharest SlutWalk

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4: Is everyone hanging out without me?

music: Bright Eyes & First Aid Kit - We're Going To Be Friends (White Stripes cover)


Going out. Check.

I found out about this second hand store where they had music on vinyl and today I went in for a visit. Even though I didn't have high expectations, what I found there was more than disappointing. A bunch of German records, mostly from the 70s, hit songs and artists I've never heard of and would never be interested in. And in rest, junk, junk, and more junk. (That red reindeer would be nice as a Christmas decoration though, wouldn't it?) Actually, I'm pretty sure the owner goes in Germany and collects the garbage left on the roadside because all the furniture and electronics in this store look like the type of furniture and electronics that can be found on the roadside, abroad. Obviously, I haven't seen this myself - it's what ppl who've been abroad have told me. Today's little "adventure" outside my room might have been disappointing, but the important thing is: I went out. That's two days in a row. Oh wow, how I can wow myself.

#whatismakingmehappy:

+ The Arrested Development reunion (and the promise of a tv series + movie) - you can watch the reunion on The New Yorker's Facebook page.

(Taking advantage of this type of FB exclusives makes me feel so dirty. I check FB every day, several times a day because I guess it's become like a reflex but honestly, I don't know what I'm doing there anymore or why I even bother posting or "liking" anything at all. It's gotten to the point where I hate it. I really do. Oh wait. This section of the post was supposed to be about the things I like. Anyways, the point is I would totally quit FB if it weren't for these exclusives. Argh, trapped by my own addiction to pop culture.)

+ Bright Eyes and First Aid Kit Cover The White Stripes To Benefit South Africa

A song for kids / your inner kid and Conor's voice blended with the voices of the Söderberg sisters - is there anything more soothing than this? And it's so perfect for a sunny fall day. It makes me wanna take a notebook and a pencil and do some homework and then watch Sailor Moon dubbed in Italian.



+ Great Photographers Who Use Crappy Cameras - I cannot tell you how reassuring this Flavorwire piece is. There would be nothing more frustrating than spending lots of money on a DSLR and then realize that my pictures are as crappy as ever. Besides, I have to admit that I'm not really that interested in the technicalities of photography. So for now I'll hold on to my toy-like camera and maybe, just maybe one day I'll have a spark of creativity and come up with an interesting photo-project to occupy my time.

+ Mindy Kaling's website: http://theconcernsofmindykaling.com/ and her upcoming book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). (Well, I already know the answer to that question. Um, yeah, they are.) I'm looking forward to reading the book. Meanwhile, I've read this excerpt. I like Mindy's style - she's funny but her humor comes from a very honest, sensitive, sweet place. And that is so rare these days. I feel like a lot of comedians are trying too hard to be edgy and raunchy and most of their jokes are simply off-putting.

+ Speaking of comedy and book previews, Leslie Knope's Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America came out today. Entertainment Weekly has two exclusive excerpts from the book: "April's Guide to Hipster Pawnee", which unfortunately is not available online, and Ron Swanson's "The Solitude of Nature: A Diary", which can be read here. Ron's contribution to Pawnee is "typed on an Underwood 5 typewriter with original carriage return that I found in a dumpster and completely restored". Hm, I'm not sure who's the hipster here: April or Ron. Needless to say, this is yet another book I'm looking forward to reading. Knope 2012! (I can't help it. I have to, I simply have to say "Knope 2012!" every time I mention anything about Parks&Rec.)

If you have no idea who Leslie Knope is and how great Pawnee is you need to stop whatever you're doing, like right now, and go watch Parks and Recreation. You can thank me later. (How presumptuous of me to think anyone's reading this, oh my. Or that anyone would trust my taste in pop culture.)

*****

This morning's feelgoodsong was PJ Harvey's Good Fortune:

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3

music: Zola Jesus - In Our Nature






I went out. On a day I didn't have to go out. Oh my gosh, I know! I didn't get too far from my place, but I did spend an entire hour outside, in the warmth of this October sun. And that is kind of a big deal for me. I keep telling myself that if I don't have a reason to go out I need to fabricate one. Like taking silly pictures of... myself, of... whatever. Today I've been so into this solitary game that I've even made the effort to put an outfit together, instead of just throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, like I usually do. Tomorrow... I don't know, we'll see if I'm still in the mood to play.

Notes

{1} We used to hang out here. (Whenever I pass by places like this one Arcade Fire's Wasted Hours pops into my head.)
{2} This pair of shoes had been sitting in my closet ever since I bought them, which was more than a year ago. They're probably out of fashion by now, but who cares? I still like them.
{3-4} Like I've said: silly pictures of myself. (The light was so good today that even with my toy-like camera and my lack of skill I still ended up with a bunch of pics that I don't absolutely hate.)
{5} No, I did not make it to the DV festival. Ufa. But this Dilemateca dossier on Gellu Naum made me feel a little better. Reading this made me realize that I wanna join the Gellu Naum cult. I am not exaggerating. It is a cult. People who like his oeuvre are really into it, like really into it. For now though, I can only take a few timid steps towards them - I still have a lot of reading to do, and most of all, I have a lot of deciphering to do. Meanwhile, I got my ticket to see Ada Milea's adaptation of Naum's Insula on the 9th. It's a really bad seat (this is one of the disadvantages of not being in Cluj - most of the times I get really bad theater tickets) but I do hope I'll be able to get another ticket, for the 29th.

*****

This morning's feelgoodsong was Sade's Cherish The Day:



Also: I enjoyed listening to my nerdy podcasts:
+ This American Life #309 - Cat and Mouse
+ WTF #215 - Jon Hamm

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 1: Tea with MMH

music: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Moya


My love affair with MMH's words continues.

ceva a speriat păsările,
nimic nu s-a clintit în jurul meu.
nici bunăstare nici nesfârşită interogaţie
doar firimituri şi o cumplită sfârşeală.
- Marin Mălaicu-Hondrari, excerpt from "Poemul amorf" in La două zile distanţă (Charmides, 2011)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blockade

Music: Fiona Apple - Better Version of Me



fastforward to the 5:52 mark. play.

I feel like I'm Christina Ricci in Prozac Nation every time I have to write smth. My head, spinning like a record player. My brain, frozen, blocked. Every.single.fucking.time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Go Outside {Icy, Dark Summer}

music: EMA - California

[YouTube Playlist]



Go Outside {Icy, Dark Summer}
(Summer 2011 Mixtape)

Chapter 1

01. Cults - Go Outside
02. M83 - Midnight City
03. Tom Vek - World of Doubt
04. Arcade Fire - Wasted Hours
05. The Drums - Money
06. Rye Rye (ft. M.I.A.) - Sunshine
07. Lemonade - Lifted
08. MEN - Who Am I To Feel So Free
09. tUnE-yArDs - Sunlight

Chapter 2

10. Austra - Lose It
11. Planningtorock - Doorway
12. Bjork - Crystalline
13. Memory Tapes - Green Knight (CREEP remix)
14. Zola Jesus - Vessel
15. iamwhoiam - t
16. How To Dress Well - Suicide Dream 3
17. Esben And The Witch - Chorea
18. The xx - Crystallized
19. My Brightest Diamond - Reaching Through To The Other Side

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Juergen Teller / Desire is WAR

music: Austra - Beat And The Pulse

(blah-blah-blah warning!)

( + a TMI warning!)

When I first read about the Juergen Teller / Desire is WAR exhibits from Sibiu, I thought: oh wow! ppl actually do this? They go to Sibiu just to see a couple of exhibits? Sure, they're worth it the trip, but still... isn't that quite the luxury! At least for me it is. During this past year I missed so many book releases / public readings from Cluj simply because I couldn't stand the idea of spending all that money on train tickets (plus intra-urban transportation) to get to a free event. Ufa, being poor sucks. Anyways. Then I thought: well, I do need to get out of this shit-hole of a town for a bit, and going to Sibiu, seeing the exhibits, and coming back home on the same day sounds doable. But I gave up the idea the moment I saw there were still no direct trains to Sibiu from my hometown, and from Cluj there is only one train that leaves in the afternoon, so that's no good. Now, I am aware of the fact that many ppl my age, and even younger, travel by themselves abroad (!) and they're doing just fine, but... I'm not other ppl. If I were to go alone by train to Sibiu I'm afraid I'd miss my connection and then I'll be stranded in a little train station in the middle of fucking nowhere. And I'd consequently miss the event I was going to, too. The bus is not an option either. I hate traveling by bus. For me not to get car sick I have to have my headphones on and my eyes closed and try to sleep. But what if I fall asleep so deeply and miss my stop? Or what if I need to get off at a previous stop to go the toilet and because of my public toilet phobia I won't be quick enough and the bus leaves w/out me? What if, you know? No, no, no. The stress level would be too high. Then again, I realize that if I just went once by myself either by train, or by bus, just once, then I could easily go again w/out feeling so anxious about it.

So I guess I'm rambling about this tedious thinking process of mine because I wouldn't want to expose, once again, my lameness w/out first making it clear that the intention of going by myself was there. Um, yeah, in the end I went to Sibiu w/ my parents. (As a hikikomori, I hate to admit this, but I hate it that there's no one whom I can ask to come with me on such a trip. Then again, maybe it's better this way. I'm a difficult person to travel with, and that person traveling with me would just end up hating me.) So, my parents were planning a road trip somewhere near Sibiu at the beginning of August. But I changed the date of the trip so that I could go to Sibiu and see the two exhibits - 30/31 July was the last weekend they were open.

Seinfeld Reference Opportunity! Though I really enjoyed the exhibits I'm not entirely sure they were worth it all the hours of motion sickness. I haven't been this car sick for years. Remember the Dinner Party episode? Just like Jerry, I also knew the exact date I last threw up. July 17, 2006. My aunt was giving me a ride from Arad to Timişoara, to Shakira's concert, and just when we entered Timişoara I got really sick. So yeah, I didn't even meet Jerry's record. Five years of not throwing up. Gone, just like that. But I've learned my lesson: from now on I'll pop an Emetostop before going on a road trip.




Juergen Teller: Texte und Bilder. When it comes to photography I feel that seeing a photographer's work online is enough. If you can see it in a glossy magazine or in a book, even better. But ultimately, an exhibition is not a must. Now, please keep in mind that I'm saying this just b/c my eye isn't trained and I can't spot those fine but essential differences between a digital copy and a print. However, it is certainly nice to be able to say you've seen the original prints (official, original? what's the terminology here?), especially when the photographer is so famous that even I've heard of him.

I'm watching Prime Suspect (in preparation for the American remake), so I was looking forward to seeing the Helen Mirren photo. Also, a Charlotte Rampling photo was among the works on display - and I've just seen about half of Swimming Pool, which I've loved so far. I was also glad to see two photos of Andrej Pejic. Yes, I know who Andrej Pejic is. Given my adversity towards the fashion industry, that may be surprising, I know.

I had just found out about this Australian tv show, Art Nation, and I was randomly checking out some videos. When I got to the one about Andrej Pejic I was awe-struck.

Arts Nation: Andrej Pejic

Even when I first saw the photos from the Juergen Teller exhibit, and didn't recognize him at first, I thought that was a girl. (Btw, the text for this one photo w/ Pejic was in English, but sadly, most of the texts were in German, and I couldn't understand a thing. The other photo w/ Pejic was on the hallway and even though it was oversized, I almost didn't see it. But I guess it made sense for it to be displayed in the hallway - the poster boy for gender bending was actually the perfect transition from Juergen Teller to the queer exhibit, Desire is WAR.)

The pics I took are blurry/foggy/crappy, they had no catalogs for sale, so I was glad to find out that in October (or in November) Juergen Teller's book, Pictures and Words, which I suppose is connected to this exhibit, is coming out. I just hope it won't be incredibly expensive because I really want to own a copy of that book.

+ More info about Juergen Teller's Texte und Bilder.






Desire is WAR. I'm pretty sure this is not the first queer exhibit in Romania, but I think it's the first one I've heard of. Also: I was very pleased with the male / female artists ratio *grin*.


I'm quite impressed they got MEN to be a part of this exhibit. Credit Card Babies was playing aloud, and they also showed MEN's video for Who Am I To Feel So Free:


I would certainly love to see more exhibits like this one especially b/c it's quite difficult to get access to queer culture in Romania. Correct me if I'm wrong, but with a few exceptions, like this exhibit, the Internets is the only gateway of access to that (sub)culture. Oh, how I would've loved to go home with all those zines and books they had on display, especially that gender reader. I did leave with a handful of confetti in my bag, haha. I'm such a nerd about these things, i.e. keeping movie/theater/concert tickets, fliers, anything and everything that can remind me of the event I've been to.

+ More info about Desire is War.





Friday, July 29, 2011

#maleobjectification

music: Maria Taylor - Matador

(I'll either hate this movie, or secretly-furiously like it. I already feel dumb just posting the trailer here, but anyways...)



Replay the end of that trailer.

"Seriously?! It's like you're photoshoped!"

I've been reading/thinking/writing too much about faux lesbianism (softbianism, bisexual chic, call it however you want) (and the male gaze), so I feel like I'm entitled to a little male objectification, hehe.

No, seriously. Last time I forgot to mention smth very important: a guy who looks like that is nothing special, actually he's just blah, but a guy who looks like that and talks like this, now that's smth entirely different:
You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.
- Ryan Gosling (source: Jezebel)

(And if you don't want to just take his word for it, (re:)watch This Film Is Not Yet Rated; the MPAA is one sexist, homophobic little devil.)

Last Friday: Mono (Japan)

music: M83 - Midnight City

Later edit: for a better account of the concert, from a music connaisseur, please read cherrypick's post at Babylon Noise.

(I'm only posting this now because my stupid effin Internet connection is working really, really bad. Actually, I'm on a night shift not because I want to, but because this is the only time I can be online w/out going insane from clicking the refresh button. Anyways...)

I'm pretty sure I've first seen the posters for Mono's concert in Cluj and thought they were just another Romanian indie band I wouldn't have patience for. Luckily for me, at a certain point I got curious about this Mono band, and checked the event page on Last.fm. And what a lovely surprise: it was a Japanese band! Then, I wasn't sure if I had listened to them before or not - because I do this: I'll listen to a band, like it, but then forget about it. My memory was telling me Mono was that one Japanese band I had found out about from Re:publik and it turned out she was right:

Mono - You Are There review (Re:publik, 2006)

I was a tiny bit nervous about going to this club alone but in the end I went with CC, yay. We were far away from the stage, right in the back, and at a certain moment I did try to get closer to the stage, but got stuck somewhere in the middle. So, no decent photos, just a few crappy ones (after the jump).

The concert was great, obviously. The problem is that I can't help but feeling that my tone-deafness doesn't exactly allow me to fully appreciate, understand and memorize instrumental music, no matter the genre. I could only recognize two songs they played (T_T). I wish I at least had their set list...) (Later edit: for the set list, check out the comments section! :)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19: blue(berries)

music: Penny And The Quarters - You And Me *

Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, 2010)
* After having read the story of this song I just couldn't resist the temptation of watching Blue Valentine again. The impact of some scenes wasn't as strong as the first time I saw it, but overall, Blue Valentine still caused me a huge heartache, which is so weird because I can't personally relate to this movie in any way. It's like a faux feeling of longing. Or it's probably just empathy for the two characters. Then, if I didn't have such a looong list of films I've never seen, I would watch Blue Valentine even for a third time, asap, just for the brilliant performances. Besides, who can resist the charms of the Gosling? (I might even watch The "Corny" Notebook just because he's in it.) And Michelle Williams has gotten so good over the past few years - it's a pleasure to follow her evolution. (I can't wait to see her as Marilyn.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Aggressive nonparticipant*

music: Tasseomancy - Heavy Sleep

And could it be that in this passivity I shall find my freedom?

C'est d'ailleurs la grande force politique de Duras de s'être concentrée sur des gens perdus qui, parce que perdus, déboussolaient aussi le monde à leur entour. Ce que la cinéaste invente à ce moment-là grâce à ces sociétés de quasi-fous, ce n'est pas l'idée que la folie est révolutionnaire, mais que la perte (et la passivité suprême qui conduit à la perte) est la révolution, que c'est ne rien faire, ne rien être, qui provoque la ruine de l'ordre ancien du monde.
Stéphane Bouquet, «Marguerite Duras, Mai en silence» dans Cinéma 68

Okay. I'm Dostoevsky. You're Anna. We're writing The Gambler. Take my dictation. Who's ever written the great work about the immense effort required in order not to create? Intensity without mastery. The obsessiveness of the utterly passive. And could it be that in this passivity I shall find my freedom?
Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)

*****

TV is. We Are. Imagine Yourself.

Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)


So, uh, what is this... some kind of psychic TV-type parallelism?


Well, we all know the psychic powers of the televised image. But we need to capitalize on it and make it work for us instead of us working for it.

Like how?

Well, like, to me, my thing is... a video image is much more powerful and useful than an actual event. Like back when I used to go out, when I was last out, I was walking down the street and this guy came barreling out of a bar... fell right in front of me and he had a knife right in his back... landed right on the ground. And I have no reference to it now. I can't refer back to it. I can't press rewind. I can't put it on pause. I can't put it on slo-mo and see all the little details. And the blood, it was all wrong. It didn't look like blood. The hue was off and I couldn't adjust the hue. I was seeing it for real, but it just wasn't right. And I didn't even see the knife impact on the body. I missed that part.
Slacker (Richard Linklater, 1991)

This segment of Slacker drew my attention for several reasons: it's probably the weirdest of them all (I didn't get one thing: okay, the guy is nuts, but why does he have a tv taped to his back?); it says a lot about our visual culture; the guy might be labeled a hikikomori *grin*; I saw this on Monday, and earlier that day I was taking silly pics of my tv while watching Roman Coppola's CQ on MGM, so yeah... I am a character in Richard Linklater's Slacker.

CQ (Roman Coppola, 2001)


(* "Aggressive nonparticipants" is the phrase used by Criterion to describe the generation portrayed in Linklater's Slacker.)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

In which this goose goofs off, or: just a regular hiki day

music: Kaki King Live at The Blind Pig (June 29 2011)

Today I've moved my desk on the floor; I re:watched a Seinfeld episode for the nth time and two three and a half movies (the second half of Pasolini's Il Decamerone, Ro.Go.Pa.G. and the first two movies in The Thin Man Series) and concluded that was enough for today. So sitting there on the floor, like the Japanese, I thought I'd check my mail once more before shutting down all distractions and do some reading. Sounds like just a regular hikikomori day, right? Which is why this video sent to me via e-mail is very well targeted, I guess:



Thank you, Grant, for sharing your video with me.

This makes me happy - not just because it's funny and well made, but mostly because after having watched it I can conclude I still have a sense of humor about this whole hikikomori business. I truly believe that the moment I lose said sense of humor, things will have gotten too serious. Till then I can relax and have a laugh about it. When my brain allows me to do so, that is.

Now, I've never seen The Little Mermaid, so that reference is a bit lost on me. Also: I'm not an otaku, I don't play video games. However, there's one thing in that video I can relate to - being a hikikomori often means forgetting the basics of socialization. If there was a time when you had any social skills at all, which I doubt I've ever had.

Oh, and I certainly appreciate the Japanese subtitles. This reminds me, once more: I have to, I have to start learning Japanese again. Argh, all this procrastination is gonna turn me into a pickle get me into a pickle (oh. my. gosh. this is so embarrassing! I just realized I misunderstood this the first time, and the second time I read about this story - I actually thought the story was about ppl turning into pickles, which wouldn't be such a tragedy had I not written it in a text for DV! *face palm* I usually double-check, if not triple-check stuff; how the hell did I miss this?! Hm, this is ironic, isn't it? I don't know if it was because of procrastination or what, but not double-checking this kinda got me into a pickle, didn't it? This will teach me a lesson 'cause clearly, I don't know my idioms. Ufa, in just a few minutes I managed to go from being amused to being angry at myself.)

Goose Goofs Off

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cinephile in training

music: Patti Smith - Ask The Angels


These days I avoid calling myself a cinephile. There was a moment, a tiny moment, when I felt I had reached that point where I earned the right to wear this label. But I soon started feeling like such a fraud - I realized that I didn't know that much about films. So now I like to call myself a cinephile in training. I guess that's more honest.

Actually, I don't know why it's taking me so long to learn about cinema. It should be easy, right? The problem is that I have too much catching up to do. If I allow myself to look for excuses (and when don't I allow myself that?), I'll have to put the blame on my apathetic environment for my late, my very late, interest in movies. I was reading Andrei Gorzo's text from DoR #5, in which he says that at 16 he started reading books about cinema, and then I remembered that at 16 I was barely renting my first films from a videotheque. Of course, he lived in the capital, I lived in a small town where the only movie-related information was coming to me via magazines like Bravo and Popcorn, and the tv guide.

I realize now that we were lucky to even have a movie theater and not one, but two videotheques. Some small towns aren't that lucky. I often wish I had seen more movies in the darkness of the movie theater, but then I remember why I hadn't. There wasn't much to see - only blockbusters and the occasional Romanian film you had to go to with the class. I've seen so few movies at my local movie theater that I'm pretty sure I can remember all of them. Except that first one. I was ten, it was my mom's birthday but I had an admission exam in French, I was upset because I couldn't remember the name of a character from one of the stories from the 4th grade textbook (damn you, François!), my mom took me for cake to a cofetărie across the street from the movie theater and then she realized we could make it to the 11 a.m. screening. I remember all this, but I cannot remember the title of the movie. It was an American thriller. And then I think: this cannot be the very first movie I've seen in a movie theater. Not having an interesting answer to the question "What's the first movie you've seen in a movie theater?" is one of the things that makes me feel less of a cinephile.

Last year I really wanted to see a movie at my local movie theater because I don't think I've been there since high school. And I saw Splice. And I was the only one in the cinema. Oh, how special I felt! he he I'm sure the lady who sells tickets and the projectionist must have thought I was a weirdo, and I guess I am, but I don't care. Even though Splice was disappointing, watching a movie by myself in a cinema gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling. (^_^) I'm making this count as a cinephile experience. Yes, a screening of Splice can be on the same list as the screening of the restored Metropolis at TIFF 2010, there's nothing wrong with that. *grin*

Splice (seen at my local movie theater)

Of course, one of the main reasons for which my environment wasn't stimulating was that my friends weren't interested in movies. When I was about 12-13 and I wanted to go see a movie I had to beg them to go with me despite the fact that I was always careful to pick sth they might enjoy, like a comedy (Jungle 2 Jungle) or a horror (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer). At the time I thought they didn't like the movies I picked, but now I think they just didn't like me. And yeah, I guess some of them couldn't really afford a movie ticket and maybe they hated me for putting them in an awkward position by insisting that they come with me, but let me tell you this: if you can find the money for cigarettes, you can find the money for a lousy movie ticket. (There's nothing more annoying than smokers who complain they don't have money for this or that. Um, here's a thought: give up smoking!) And later, in high school, I didn't really have friends. There was the occasional movie talk with my desk mates (I had three), and I even saw a few movies with them, but this never generated that cinephagie I wish I had suffered from at that age.

I guess the moment when my interest in movies became kinda serious was when I got a VCR. I had a pen pal coming over my place (the only one I've ever met in person; boy, how things have changed since then :), and because I wasn't the clubbing type of person I thought the only entertainment I could offer her was this movie we both wanted to see. I won't mention the title of the movie, or the reason for which we wanted to see it, because one's more embarrassing than the other. At that time I didn't have a VCR, and the way I borrowed one is very lanţul-slăbiciunilor. I went to the videotheque, which was right next to my building (how convenient!), and made sure they had the movie and my dad borrowed the VCR from one of his co-workers' son-in-law. That guy let us keep it for an entire week, and since I already had a videotheque card, I went and borrowed a few more movies, among which Amélie, even though I hadn't heard of it. I don't really know what drew me to it, maybe it was that Oscar sign, but what a lovely discovery that was, and one that really opened up my appetite for non-blockbusters. This was July 2003. I know this because I still have the receipts. After that week, I couldn't imagine life without a VCR. Luckily, at that time we could afford such a thing. I remember I wanted a second-hand VCR, and my dad kept telling me that there was no point in getting a VCR because soon they would be out of use. But I wanted a VCR because I wanted to record stuff from tv. DVD players had just started being sold around here, and there was a store where they had one DVDR, but it was so expensive. We eventually got a combo (VCR+DVD player), which really was the best solution because I could still rent videos (they didn't have movies on DVD just yet). Now that I think about it, I can't believe this combo still works after all these years, and it has never been broken, not once. I had tons of VHS tapes, and I still have a lot of them. For some reason, I can't get rid of them just yet. I'm a hoarder, that's what I am.


Obviously, my interest in movies became serious once I got a good Internet connection. At the same time, I was already living in Cluj, I had colleagues who were as interested in movies as I was, I was going to TIFF, so things improved a lot. But you know, I'm slow. I mean, I'm marathoning Pasolini for the first time. Moreover, he's the first Italian director I'm marathoning. I still have sooo much catching up to do. And my cinephile training is still a solitary endeavor, even though in Cluj there are more and more cine-clubs or special screenings, and I guess there's a chance to connect with other cinephiles. But you know, I have zero social skills. And I don't live there anymore, so anyways. A couple of years ago, or so, I wrote a text about cinephilia in Romania for Indian Auteur despite the fact that I knew I wasn't the right person for that. Writing that was quite irresponsible of me. If there's such a thing as a cinephile scene, I'm def not a part of it. So, it's not fair of me to say that being a cinephile in this country is a solitary experience. It is for me. But now that I've been at TIFF for six years I realize that for other ppl things are pretty different. They go to TIFF and lots of other mini-festivals and they connect with other cinephiles, they get involved in or even curate film events.

On this island of moi, the Internet is King. The Internet has done amazing things for my cinephile training, and I'll acknowledge that each time I have the opportunity, I don't care how alienating that might sound. I wrote this text about cinephilia and film criticism in the digital era; the title may announce a serious analysis, but it's far from that - it's really just a pretext to tell ppl about two of my favorite new discoveries: Project: New Cinephilia and Kartina Richardson's film reviews. (Kartina deserves a separate post. Soon. Soonish, I hope.) They're so inspiring and it's things like these that both make me suffer from Too Many Films To Watch Anxiety Syndrome and make me go forward and see even more films and try to understand them as well as I can.

I still have a problem with writing about films, though. Like Fran Lebowitz says, it's not a writer's block, it's a blockade. I know I can't write anything insightful about a film, so I can't write at all. Meanwhile, I adopted the fragmentarium method. Come to think of it, that's a very 2.0 way of talking about films.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blank

music: Zola Jesus - Vessel


One fucking year. One year of blankness. But I'll try not to splash my depressive melted brains all over the Internets. I hear that can be contagious.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Accattone you'll be

music: Morrissey - You Have Killed Me

Accattone (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1961)

I've finally seen Accattone, and that reminded me of this:



(This post was brought to you by the power of Ginger Tea. I've been feeling so bad these past few days that I couldn't even watch a Glee episode w/out getting a massive headache. But ginger tea is magic, I tell you. Just one cup, and I instantly felt better. I couldn't have made it through Accattone w/out it.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My TIFF updates

music: Bright Eyes - Approximate Sunlight

Last year I didn't have time to post blog updates about TIFF, so I only posted my first impressions about the films I was seeing on Twitter. I'm gonna do the same this year, but I'll also be updating my film blog. Yes, it's up and running. To be honest, I don't know what its fate will be - whether I'll give it up in a few weeks or I'll keep it for more than three years even though no one is interested in it (just like I did with this blog. yeah, it's been three years!). Anyways... I'll probably post bad pictures from TIFF and some more personal notes here.

for example:

Yesterday, I managed to make a fool out of myself. I was waiting to get in to see Womb when I was approached by this girl who asked me if I had seen the previous movie, Copacabana. And I had seen it, but not at TIFF. She asked me what I thought about it, and I didn't really know what to say because meanwhile I had seen other movies, so Copacabana wasn't that fresh in my memory. I start saying sth, but then I see she has a recording device and oh.my.gosh. then I start stuttering and mumbling like crazy. Now this is what I call an ambush. I feel very self-conscious about the sound of my (recorded) voice (it all goes back to my interpreting classes (T_T), so I had no idea what the hell I was saying, or more like not saying. I couldn't even remember the name of the lead actress, and how can you forget Isabelle Huppert's name?! Not to mention the fact that I said sth really really stupid about this movie: I linked it to the Mai 68 movement. What the hell was I thinking? The fact that Isabelle Huppert's character rejects bourgeois values doesn't have anything to do with with Mai 68. On the contrary, she proves to be quite the skilled capitalist. Anyways, I don't even know if the poor girl will be able to understand sth from that recording, sth other than her own questions haha, errr... I'm so lame, I'm so lame. I hope this doesn't get published. :((

and a couple of lousy pics: