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Irving Gertz 1915 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 23, 2008 11:43am | Post a Comment

I am a big 1950’s sci-fi film fan and aficionado of the scores of these classic and occasionally not so classic B-movies. The fact is, more often then not, the music will be oddly brilliant. Another inevitable universal truth is the lower the budget, the better the soundtrack. Some of the very best ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ scores were composed by Irving Gertz. He died on November 14th in Los Angeles at the age of 93.  

The youngest of eight children, Gertz was born in 1915, in Providence, Rhode Island, where he learned to play the piano, clarinet, upright bass and tuba as a kid. He studied composition at Providence College of Music and privately with composer Walter Piston. In 1938 Gertz was hired by the music department of Columbia Pictures, but left to serve during the Second World War. After his tour of duty, he studied with legendary composers Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Ernst Toch before returning to the industry.

Throughout the 1950’s and until his retirement in 1968, Gertz contributed music to more than 200 films, often without screen credit. One of his most recognized early works is the music for the 1955 western Top Gun, but his most notable musical efforts are in the Sci-fi world. Some of his soundtrack work includes The Alligator People, The Leech Woman, The Curse of The Undead, and The Creature Walks Among Us. Gertz also worked extensively with Jack Arnold, the first certified genius of the low budget 1950’s sci- fi genre, scoring films like It Came from Outer Space, The Monolith Monsters and The Incredible Shrinking Man. Gertz also worked extensively in television, composing for Land of the Giants, The Invaders and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

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40th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEATLES' WHITE ALBUM

Posted by Billyjam, November 23, 2008 10:54am | Post a Comment
the white album
Beatles
fans take note: in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the release of The Beatles' White Album (in actuality their self-titled album), "the producers, engineers and technicians who worked on the LP recall their contributions" in a recommended documentary special by the BBC in celebration of the double LP set that was originally released on November 22nd, 1968 and was the fab four's ninth studio album.

Click here to check it out. Note that you will need Real Player in your computer. Meantime, check out some White Album related video footage (including some rehearsal/recording sessions) of John, Paul, George, & Ringo down below the track listing & YouTube album audio medley (immediately below). Luckily I found a copy of the album for just a dollar in the used vinyl bin at the Amoeba Music Berkeley store some years back (a numbered copy and in good condition too!). It is also available on CD-- both new and used. Get it if you don't already own it. And buy it at Amoeba!


 
THE BEATLES' WHITE ALBUM TRACK LISTING:

SIDE A:

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Jean-Claude Van Damme, Critical Darling: The Mythopoiesis of JCVD (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 22, 2008 07:18pm | Post a Comment
The white meat is on the run
and the dark meat is far too done
and the milkman left me a note yesterday
get out of this town by noon
you're coming on way too soon
and besides that we never liked you anyway.
-- "Sweet Revenge" by John Prine (with a nod to Hunter S. Thompson) 
 

Who'dathunk it, but the Muscles from Brussels has finally starred in a film that's been getting some good critical response. JCVD is an attempt to explore the heart and mind of Jean-Claude Varenberg, the man behind the dissipating Van Damme legend. Director and co-writer Mabrouk El Mechri might've called the film I'm Not There had the title not already been taken. It's a pomo-biopic trying for more versimiltude than Being John Malcovich, but any honesty in the film is more of an accidental byproduct of the essential cluelessness of its eponymous star than the result of actual introspection. 'Tis the the age of schadenfreude, and that's why I went to see this film. As Dostoevsky said, we love "the disgrace of the righteous man," only Van Damme ain't righteous, just famous. As he admits in the movie, he's just a commodity, who's benefited greatly from being so. The film asks us to care about the toy that starts feeling suffocated by its packaging. The resulting drama, however, comes closer to a VH1 special about a boy band member deciding he's a real artist. If you were crying along with Dave Mustaine in Some Kind of Monster or get choked up reguarly watching Oprah give shit away to bourgeois housewives, then JCVD might be something other than comedy relief. This is a date movie for WWE fans.

Killing 'em Softly

Posted by phil blankenship, November 22, 2008 06:54pm | Post a Comment
Killing 'em Softly starring George Segal & Irene Cara  Killing 'em Softly starring George Segal & Irene Cara

Killing 'em Softly with Irene Cara

Killing 'em Softly plot synopsis

Prism Entertainment 2252

J Pop's Golden Apple: Shiina Ringo in translation

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 22, 2008 01:31pm | Post a Comment
Shiina Ringo Jpop singer songwriter
I'm currently hooked on 椎名林檎 (Shiina Ringo), aah-gain. This recurring addiction happens from time to time and, for me, always with the same kind of artist: preternaturally gifted, flawed but beautiful ladies with an unconventional way of expressing themselves though the kind of music that appeals to ears hungry for one-of-a-kind singer/song writers-- you know, the Tori/P.J./Bjork/types (I suppose you can replace Tori for Kate if you must). Shiina Ringo is the J pop equivalent to these select "raisin girls" of too-bold-for-Lilith Fair powerhouses of 90's female alt-rock superstardom. Not only has she been compared to each of the above ladies in one respect or another, she has also aroused Courtney Love's attention because of her song "Gips" ("Plaster Cast") in which she sings, "You always want to shrink away/and that makes me happy/because it's like Kurt/and that would make me Courtney;" she's a huge fan of Janis Ian, and many folks mention Shiina Ringo and Alanis Morrisette in the same breath, claiming that her voice sounds Alanis-ish. Though it's obvious that Ms. Shiina embraces all kinds of music -- her tunes vary wildly from the ornately orchestrated classical to slinky jazz to electro-dance to mainstream rock to grungey punk -- it's her vocal eccentricities (she's famous for rolling her "r"s gangsta style) and her thought-provoking, complex lyrics (which often feature sprinShhina Ringo plays accordion wearing tulle and gartersklings of archaic language and use of uncommon words/kanji characters) that have made her singularly famous. On top of all that, she's got wicked style, a style so influential that recent J pop starlets have fledged new careers by modeling themselves after Shiina Ringo. Vivienne Westwood has the trendsetting Ms. Shiina to thank for making her wares so sought after in Japan and Japanese culture mavins world wide have Shiina-san's recurring, totally "和" ("old Japan") fashion sensibilities to admire as she so frequently weaves the antiquated with the contemporary when it comes to her visual appearance whether it be in photos, music videos or live stage performances. There has even been a popular manga and film created with an admittedly Ringo-esque main character. Despite all this, my first impression of Shiina Ringo was a somewhat convoluted one given my inability to really "get" everything she was spitting, but --holy moly-- was the music fantastic! And that's all that really mattered at first. Since then I've grown into a comfort pocket with her music that, like so many other of my favorite artists, demands rummaging through on a regular basis. This time I decided to find out more about her; here are some basic facts and interesting nuggets of knowledge about Shiina Ringo -- J pop songstress extraordinaire:

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