(In which Job engages in back-breaking work.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 1, 2009 01:55pm | Post a Comment
Does the glowing spine make me look fat?

The crippling pain hasn’t exactly ruined my week. My new toy has, after all, given new life to my hobby: collecting all music in the world… except for maybe Van Halen. Let me back up a bit…

Ha! “Back up.” You see, five days ago my back gave out while I was in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, battling La Alianza Triángulo de Oro – more specifically, I was in the middle of a back-alley shoot-out with that rascal, V.C. Fuentes (or, as I like to call him El Caca Bigote, which just drives him nuts!).

As we all know, you never want to fire your M4 carbine with your weaker arm, but it was past lunch time, I hadn’t eaten, and an orphaned child I had just rescued from the local orfanato offered me a fresh sopaipilla which I wasn’t about to let go stale; so I was mackin' on that with my right arm, shooting with my left and, just as I was about to send Fuentes to see his own fatal plastic surgeon, I felt a spring go loose in my back.

“Uh-oh,” I thought, and I was right.

So, for the last half-week I’ve been popping Advil like they were Skittles and walking like I was 99. My boyfriend, sensitive care-giver that he is, has taken it upon himself to make endless jokes about my situation, just to make sure I keep laughing. At least, I think that’s why he does it.

Does this statue of Æthelswith make me look fat?

My new toy is an external hard-drive with something like 99 hergozapazillogabytes of memory (give or take 2 hurquatzobytes). This will, hopefully, be enough to contain what can only be described as an obscene CD collection. In addition to this, I have recently purchased a portable turn-table (from, eh-hem, Amoeba Music) with a USB component which will allow me to transfer all my vinyl into a digital format, just as soon as I get written permission from any and all applicable copyright owners of the music. (Eh-hem again.)

World No Tobacco Day

Posted by Whitmore, May 31, 2009 06:06pm | Post a Comment

It seems like every month, week and most any day is dedicated to something, and today is no exception. In 1987 the World Health Organization passed Resolution WHA40.38, "a world no-smoking day." Two years later Resolution WHA42.19 was passed and "resolves that each year 31 May shall be World No Tobacco Day." Every May 31st since has been designated as such. Observed world wide, it draws attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to its negative health effects. The day aims to reduce the 5.4 million yearly tobacco related deaths. In 2007 the tobacco theme was “Smoke-free environments.” Last year's WNTD theme was “Tobacco-Free Youth.” This year’s theme is "Tobacco Health Warnings," with an emphasis on picture warnings, shown to be particularly effective at making people aware of the health risks. More and more countries are requiring tobacco packaging to show the dangers as is called for in guidelines to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. As for tomorrow, June 1st, it is the start of the officially designated Turkey Lovers Month and here in Hollywood we’ll be celebrating with a wide concoction of turkey dishes, turkey activities and tossing around fun facts such as: wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 mph and can run as fast as 20 mph.

June 2 - 8 New Bev Film Explosion

Posted by phil blankenship, May 31, 2009 03:47pm | Post a Comment

June 2-8 New Beverly Film Explosion!
Amoebite Phil Blankenship takes over the New Bev for a full week of double (and triple) features of MOVIE MANIA!

Tuesday June 2

Class of 1984 plus
The Moment Of Truth

Class of 1984 screenwriter Tom Holland will appear IN PERSON to discuss the movie, schedule permitting.

Class of 1984 7:30pm

3:15 The Moment Of Truth 9:30pm

June 3

Witchboard plus

Director Kevin Tenney will appear IN PERSON with other special guests to discuss the movie, schedule permitting.

Witchboard 7:30pm

Witchtrap 9:30pm

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Oiran So Far Away: Making sense of Mika Ninagawa's Sakuran

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, May 31, 2009 12:23pm | Post a Comment
Want candy but concerned about empty calories? I had been looking forward to seeing Mika Ninagawa's candy-colored film adaptation of the manga Sakuran for quite some time and, like a child hypnotized by sugar-filled display cases at the confectionary house, I had become quite sure of its deliciousness before I had a chance to taste the rainbow, so to speak. 

There was no doubt in my mind that this film could be anything but great. The recipe seems flawless: director Ninagawa's photographic vision delightfully compares to the eye-popping, richly colored superworld of noted fashion photographer David LaChapelle, sultry J-pop songstress Shiina Ringo lends her musical caress to the soundtrack, and actress Anna Tsuchiya, an ex-model turned J-pop strumpet who stole the show as a teenage biker girl gangbanger in Kamikaze Girls, seemed like the perfect sort of rough 'round the edges, streetwise prima ballerina to play the rebellious-yet-kept lady of the night lead character trapped in the red light of Sakuran.
anna tsuchiya in mika ninagawa's sakuran
Though we never learn her true name, the story follows a young girl sold to a house of ill-repute in the notorious Yoshiwara district of Edo, a "pleasure quarters" area of what is now known as modern day Tokyo. We watch this girl grow up learning about womanhood, sex, and the art of allure and deception, as it pertains to prostitution, from her working-girl housemates and mama-san handler. (It should be mentioned here that there is a surprising mini-montage of various angles and close-ups of breasts and nipples during a bathhouse scene that caused me to verbally chasten my television for revealing such an unexpected anatomical expose.) The girl is given the name 'Kiyoha' and, armed with what we are supposed to understand as sort of preternatural understanding of "desire," hers becomes the name on everyone's lips whether whispered passionately by admirers or spat out like venom in hatred. This leads to great fame and high, ahem, society for Kiyoha as she eventually makes the move from nobody "new girl" to celebrity oiran, a sort of esteemed courtesan who gets to parade around town in fabulously lofty footwear. Drama!
anna tsuchiya in mika ninagawa's sakuran
The infallible foundation and sturdy framework of the film is not the story, but rather the luscious scenery; the visuals satisfy cherry-pie like cravings while the tepid plot-points weaken the elastic of your undergarments like carbohydrate loading minus the burn. It doesn't help that the story is a familiar one. Many folks draw comparisons between Sakuran and Memoirs of a Geisha and, to a lesser extent, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. It's true Sakuran shares a similar story line to that of Memoirs, but I believe it is the better film for two reasons. First, the cinematograpic orgasmatron that Sakuran flaunts is colorfully, texturally and artfully way above and beyond anything showcased in Memoirs, including that crazy, cathartic dance scene. Second, I've always had trouble with movies that are dripping wet with a specific "other" cultural fragrances yet cast actors for convenient English speaking roles (the artistic biopic Frieda starring Salma Heyak comes to mind); Why? Is it too much to ask of an American audience to check out some subtitles? Too much trouble getting the production staff on the same page linguistically? (Sorry to digress Arsenio Hall-style, but I'll forever store this phenomenon in the things that make you go "hmmm" file.) Sakuran may be just another "geisha" picture, but it's got wicked style enough to make the 110 minutes you'll sit basking in it worth your time.anna tsuchiya rocks some tall shoes in mika ninagawa's sakuran

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No sound no tell, Gay Cinema in the silent era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 31, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Frederic Lord Leighton Flaming June
Frederic Lord Leighton's Flaming June

June, in addition to being Vision Research Month, Fireworks Safety Months, Light the Night for Sight Months, National Candy Month, Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, Cancer in the Sun Month, Dairy Month, National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Pest Control Month, Safety Month, Scleroderma Awareness Month, and Zoo and Aquarium Month, is also Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, first established by Bill Clinton back in '00. Therefore, I may in the coming weeks blog about iced tea or become aware of Scleroderma, but for now I will focus on Gay Cinema.

One of the first things I noticed about gay people's feelings toward Gay Cinema is that they're almost all negative.  Exceptions are usually foreign films, which are almost invariably downers. The first year Amoeba observed Gay and Lesbian Pride month in the movie department in the form of a display, we all had an uncomfortable chuckle about the unfailingly depressing storylines of the films we featured. Films based on the lives and deaths of famous gays like Joe Orton, Brandon Teena, Oscar Wilde and James Whale all ended tragically. And here I thought gay meant happy!


The history of Gay Cinema is quite unlike most minority driven alternatives to Hollywood. Unlike American Asians, blacks, Latinos and Natives -- whose identities have always been fairly obvious (except in cases of passing) -- gays have always had the option of remaining invisilble. Therefore, gays were never required to sit in the back of the bus, attend special schools or live in segregated neighborhoods. In the silent film industry, most gay actors understandably chose to hide their identitites. Though there are few overt representations of homosexuality in silent films -- mostly in European films -- most are merely hinted at. More importantly, however, the contributions of gays both in front of and behind the camera are many and noteworthy.

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