Amoeblog

Just When You Thought You've Seen Everything, There's Guy Maddin

Posted by Miss Ess, May 9, 2007 03:01pm | Post a Comment
A couple nights ago I had the great pleasure of attending a screening of Guy Maddin's newbrand upon the brain guy maddin film Brand Upon the Brain! at the palatial Castro Theater as part of the 50th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival.  (The festival actually ends today....)
guy maddin
I can only bow to Guy Maddin's genius.  His films are totally idiosyncratic, totally dynamic, totally gorgeous.  This newest film was no exception.  Guy himself was there to introduce the film, and the screening included live Foley Sound Artists, a full orchestra, a castrato, and a narrator, Joan Chen.  Did i mention Brand Upon the Brain! is a silent film?  All the sounds for the movie were created live onstage in front of the audience. 

The film's plot involves a boy named Guy Maddin (natch) who lives on a bleak island off of Canada in a lighthouse which serves as an orphanage.  The orphanage is policed by Guy's overprotective, youth obsessed mother.  When she is looking for Guy, she turns the lighthouses' rickety huge lantern out and around the entire island while yelling for him to get home.  Guy's father works tirelessly and wordlessly in the basement inventing things and mysteriously producing some kind of strange nectar....
brand upon the brain sis guy maddin
There's also this whole part of the plot involving Guy and Guy's sister ("Sis") both falling in love with the same woman, who leaves and then returns to the island masquerading as a man to try to win Sis' affection and also get to the bottom of the mysterious nectar.  Sis and "Chance" begin a hot and heavy relationship, all the while trying to keep hidden from the watchful and disapproving eyes of Guy and Sis' mother.  Guy tags along jealously, somehow drawn to and growing a "boy crush" on this new "male" figure on the island.

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Growing Up Is Hard To Do: Little Children

Posted by Miss Ess, May 6, 2007 12:00am | Post a Comment
I watched Little Children last night. 

little children, kate winslet, patrick wilson

It's a strange but thought provoking movie, with just a shred of cheese throughout.  It's directed by Todd Field, the dude that directed In the Bedroom a while back.  Remember how In the Bedroom was every f-ing where that year at the Oscars? I mean I love Sissy Spacek and all that, but I was so over it being everywhere all the time that i never even saw that movie-- too much, too much!  I'm glad I didn't know he directed Little Children until I watched the credits.  I guess I am still not over that oversaturation so many years back...I hold my Oscar grudges a long time, it's true, anyone that knows me can tell you.  But I digress....

In Little Children, as you've probably heard, Kate Winslet plays a suburban housewife who begins having an affair with the hot stay at home dad who takes his son to the same playground where she takes her daughter.  Whilepatrick wilson little children on one hand I can't really blame her for being unable to resist somone as hot as Patrick Wilson (did anyone else spend half the movie wondering why her "full of rebellion" character would ever have been interested in her neanderthal husband Mike?), I was jennifer connollydisgusted by how easy it seemed for her character Sarah to jump into cheating on her husband when there is a child involved in their relationship.  Same goes for Patrick Wilson's character Brad, but it is clear why he was interested in his wife in the first place, as she is played by sexy lady Jennifer Connolly

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Still Crazy After All These Years: Gary Higgins & Mark Fosson

Posted by Miss Ess, May 3, 2007 09:15pm | Post a Comment

gary higginsSpeaking of radical upcoming shows, did you know that underground heroes Gary Higgins and Mark Fosson are coming to town for their first San Francisco appearances, despite the fact that their records were made oh, about 30+ years ago?  Yes, they have been revived, thanks in part to the vigilant Zach Cowie in the case of Gary Higgins, and thanks to Mark Fosson's cousin Tiffany Anders in his case, each of whom rediscovered the records that never got their due: Mark Fosson's Lost Takoma Sessions and Gary Higgins' Red Hash, and managed to get them released on the illustrious Drag City Records

mark fosson the dakota sessions
Mark Fosson's songs were recorded for John Fahey's label in 1977 but were actually never released cause the label dissolved soon after.  It's super fitting that Fosson's record was gonna come out on Fahey's label cause he's a definite influence.  He plays the 12 string guitar and his songs are all instrumentals and beautiful! 

Gary Higgins' story is a little more complicated.  In 1973 he recorded his album Red Hash, put it out on his own label, promptly got arrested for pot possession and spent a couple of years in the pen; Thus he was unable to tour or promote the record, and thus the record made pretty much no mark on the world at large.  True to its title, Red Hash is definately a stoner folk record.  There's much hypnotic repetition, lots of hippie-isms and a lotta acoustic guitar hooks. 

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Free Elvis Costello Show! Tomorrow @ Village Music in Mill Valley

Posted by Miss Ess, May 2, 2007 06:17pm | Post a Comment
Just wanted to let all y'all know that the one and only Elvis Costello is playing a FREE show tomorrow at Village Music in Mill Valley.  He's actually going to be playing songs from his favorite records he has found at Village over the years.  It should be a really special event and the perfect excuse to ditch work, right?

 elvis costello village music mill valley

It's a Definite Slice: Heartworn Highways

Posted by Miss Ess, May 1, 2007 07:17pm | Post a Comment
This weekend I re-watched a favorite of mine, Heartworn Highways. It's a documtownes van zandt heartworn highwaysentary about the Austin Music Scene in the 1970s. It came out on DVD only a couple of years ago and the DVD comes with over an hour of extras, all of which are well worthwhile. 

My favorite parts of the movie all involve Mr. Townes Van Zandt.  Van Zandt was a folk singer from Texas who wrote some of (as far as I am concerned) the finest songs around. He was also a total character, a total alcoholic/addict and a total genius. I am sure I will devote some other blog to the life and times of TVZ, but for now, you should check out his song, "Waitin' Around to Die" as performed in Heartworn Highways:


It's pretty heartbreaking for me, with Townes' blacksmith neighbor Uncle Seymour Washington crumpling and crying just listening to Townes' song. The film is mainly made up of moments that feel close at least to something authentic and real, and this performance is really the pinnacle moment of the film for me.

Townes is also shown in the film hanging out near his trailer with the essentials: his gun, his dogs, his whiskey and his girl Cindy. Good times.

Some of the other musicians in the film include Guy Clark, Steve Young, Steve Earle, rhinestone cowboy david allen coeRodney Crowell, and, hilariously, David Allan Coe, who rocks a prison in his complete Rhinestone Cowboy garb. (Speaking of moments that are real and true and all that...) There he is, playing in the penitentiary in front of all these inmates dressed in nothing but their prison jumpsuits, and he's decked in rhinestone bedazzled EVERTHING, complete with huge earrings and a gigantor belt that says his name in sparkling diamonds. He spends a good amount of time trying to relate to the inmates, telling them about his brief prison stay when he was 18 and trying to rally their ire toward the guards by telling them how the guards all drive Cadillacs. It's pretty over the top, to say the least. He's like Marky Mark, I mean, serious actor Mark Wahlberg, trying to convince the homies he's hard cause he stayed in the pen for a couple of days.....geez. Oh and speaking of being hard, David Allan Coe has that hipster star tattoo right on his neck.  he predated all y'all!

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