Amoeblog

Spirit of Armenia

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 2, 2007 06:22pm | Post a Comment
I checked out the "Spirit of Armenia!" Sunday night up at the Hollywood Bowl with my beloved Ngoc em. I've lived in Los Angeles. for more than a few years now and, shamefully, it was my first time up there. I'd definitely like to go back soon.

Anyway, I didn't know what to expect at all. My exposure to Armenian music is mostly limited to KSCI where I've seen seen more than enough Tupac-indebted gangsta rap. Still, I would possibly prefer that to my even stronger dislike of five thousand-year-old tunes played on a fretless bass.

The Bowl was pretty full. Even though we were outside and there was no smoking except outside, the air hung heavy with cigarette/cigar smoke and perfume. We brought 2 Buck Chuck and cheese with sesame pita chips. We found our seats. Saw a couple of friends near us but sat where we were assigned.

I don't think I've ever been to one of those concerts with the big screens projecting what's going on the stage before. No lie, I think the biggest concert I'd ever been to (before last night) was Big Audio Dynamite in a park in 1992.

I found myself alternating between squinting at the stage and craning at the big screens. I wished I'd brought binoculars or opera glasses or something. It's like being at a sports bar. Even if you want to focus on something, the televisions all around hypnotize with their pretty colors! It's even more difficult to look away when you're periodically blinded by the gleam of gargantuan images of Adiss Harmandian cracking smirks and busting out in his Tom Jones-like gestures.

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Michelangelo Antonio Dead

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 31, 2007 10:05pm | Post a Comment
Michelangelo Antonioni died yesterday. He was partially paralyzed by a stroke in 1985 and unable to speak for the last 22 years.

 

He began his career in the 1930s but really began to make a name for himself in the 1950s. While his peers made gritty, immediate neo-realist films focusing on social issues and the struggles of the poor, Antonioni used film to examine the space between bourgeois characters with a highly refined and stylized directorial aesthetic.


In 1960 he released L'Avventura starring the iconic Monica Vitti. It was a radical departure from European film before it. The film remains an amazing depiction and evocation of alienation and dread. Its title is seemingly ironic (although "avventura" also means "fling," apparently, in addition to "adventure").

marking the beginning of a new venture -- or, my first post

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 26, 2007 11:49am | Post a Comment
I finally got around to watching the most recent 北野 武 Takeshi Kitano dvd the other night-- 2005's  Takeshis' ...

It concerns an established actor, Beat Takeshi, and his crossing paths with a struggling actor, Takeshi Kitano. A significant number of the cast play dual roles, which I was embarrassingly slow to comprehend, given the fairly confusing abstractions within film. As Beat Takeshi, Kitano plays himself as boorish and self-important and satirizes his own artistic conventions to comic effect. In his film-within-a-film, he plays a bandaged yakuza character. Annoyed by cicadas at his Okinawan hideaway, his character "unexpectedly" shoots his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.

The second half of the film grows even less conventional. Sometimes it just seemed strange for the sake of being strange. It moved toward abstraction like David Lynch's last few films have, as if to bait the deluded fans into comparing their own narrative reconstructions. I started to lose a bit of interest at that point since that kind of "artistic innovation" became pretty cliché long before my parents even met.
One ingredient I quickly realized was possibly detracting from my enjoyment was the absence of longtime musical collaborator Joe Hishaishi (or, Hisaishi Joe, Mamoru Fujisawa's Nipponized version of "Quincy Jones"), whose moody, jazz and Japanese-influenced scores have always contributed to the tone of Kitano's previous films so complimentarily. I guess Takeshi Kitano and Joe Hisaishi got into it on the set of the amazing Dolls a few years back and lamentably ended their artistic arrangement. Apparently, Kitano saw Hisaishi walking in the rain with Hayao Miyazaki.

 


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