Posted by Charles Reece, March 1, 2009 08:31pm | Post a Comment
If I can just get off of this LA freeway
Without getting killed or caught
I'd be down that road in a cloud of smoke
For some land that I ain't bought
-- Guy Clark, "L.A. Freeway"

There are few directors I rank up there with Hitchcock, but Jacques Tati is one of them. I finally got around to watching Criterion's release of Trafic, his final installment in the Monsieur Hulot series. If Playtime is his Vertigo, then that would make Trafic his North By Northwest, only it didn't put Tati back on top of the commerical foodchain. After the box-office failure of Playtime, Tati had to take a step backwards, at least production-wise. Maybe that's why the critics never gave his followup the same attention as all the other Hulot flicks, the artistry of each increasing at exponential rate over the last. And maybe the diminished role of the Hulot character in Trafic is the reason it didn't do much better than Playtime among the masses (that's the reason Jonathan Romney gives). I suspect it was due to the same brazen social critique condemning his former film to academic circles, resulting in the charge of pretension from newspaper reviewers and the like. Most people like to keep their seriousness and humor separate.

In the opening credit sequence, Tati looks straight down the maw of an automobile assembly line, creating an effect similar to the infinite regress of two mirrors facing each other. The men are as much like replicas as the parts they're pushing through the machine. After having spent a couple years doing register duty in retail, a musician buddy of mine commented the other night that if America spent as much time habituating its citizens to the piano keys as it does to menial tasks in the service of commerce, the creative possibilites would be limitless. As it stands, those guys in that shot don't stand much of a chance of doing anything else with the procedural knowledge they've acquired. Dan Lalande expresses a similar thought in his evaluation of the film in the latest Cineaction:

Happy Pig Day -- celebrate with pig-related dvds, vhs

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 1, 2009 02:17pm | Post a Comment
Miss Piggy in wardrobe malfunctionPooh and Piglet Walt Disney's Three Little Pigs

Animal Farm Animal Farm Babe

Babe Pig in the City The Black Cauldron Charlotte's Web

Patricia Picinini's The Young Family

Deliverance Gordy My Brother the Pig

This Week At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, March 1, 2009 10:45am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

The March / April calendar is now online:

Printed calendars will arrive later this week.

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday 1, 2 & 3

Superhero Cinema

(1989) 20th Anniversary!
dir. Tim Burton, starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Billy Dee Williams
Sun: 4:30 only; Mon/Tue: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

dir. Richard Donner, starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Marlon Brando
Sun: 7:00 only; Mon/Tue: 9:55, Watch The Trailer!

James Presley Ball

Posted by Whitmore, February 28, 2009 07:31pm | Post a Comment

James Presley Ball
was one of the most successful and famous African-American daguerreotypists of the19th century. Born in 1825 in Virginia, Ball opened his first photography studio at the age of twenty in Cincinnati, Ohio, just a few years after the invention of the daguerreotype. Business didn’t fare well, but the following year when he returned to Richmond, Virginia, Ball found considerable success with his new studio. By 1847 he took to the road again, this time as a traveling daguerreotypist, eventually returning to Cincinnati. In 1855 Ball published an abolitionist pamphlet depicting the horrors of slavery; accompanying his publication was an exhibition of his daguerreotypes on the subject of slavery, which he exhibited several times in the pre-Civil War years. After living some three decades in Ohio, he moved to Minneapolis, opening a daguerreotype studio there with his son. In 1887 Ball moved to Helena, Montana. That same year he was selected as the official photographer for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. While living in Montana he was also elected a delegate to the Republican convention for the Montana territory in 1894. In his years in Montana he produced hundreds of incredible photographs depicting life in the White, Black and Chinese communities. In 1900, he moved to Seattle, Washington opening his final studio, the Globe Photo Studio. In poor health, James Presley Ball moved once again, this time to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he died in 1904. His extensive body of work is housed at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Historical Society, Montana Historical Society, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as in many private collections.

Alela Diane's To Be Still

Posted by Miss Ess, February 28, 2009 06:59pm | Post a Comment
If you live in a hectic big city like me, you probably need a bit of respite now and again, but maybe can't afford the time and dough needed to get somewhere as far-flung as you'd like. If this is your lot in life, and you just need a little escape, I can't recommend Alela Diane's new record To Be Still enough.

alela diane to be still

The songs are bittersweet fables, longing recollections and evocative bits of each season in turn. It's all alela diane and mariee siouxperfectly lovely, laid out with production work by Alela's own father and recorded partially in his studio in Nevada City. Alela is helped out on a few tracks by the always amazing Mariee Sioux and the legendary Michael Hurley, whose duet with Alela couldn't be more delectable.

The album chugs and flows along, from one memorable melody to another. The songs won't stay out of my head-- whether I am walking the street or attempting to sleep, Alela's always whispering in my ear. Her music has an openness and honesty that are quite reflective of the artist herself. The album can't help but be natural and real just as Alela is, yet it still has the power to pull you away from your reality and into an alternative existance, even for just a few minutes. Stay tuned for an interview with her on the Amoeblog sometime in the very near future! [It's up now! Check it out here.]

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