New York State of Mind Amoeblog #6: The Post Hurricane Sandy Blues

Posted by Billyjam, October 31, 2012 12:30pm | Post a Comment

As New York City slowly pulls itself up by its bootstraps in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the swath of devastation it spread all over the five boroughs, bringing this normally bustling city "that never sleeps" to a grinding halt for an unprecedented period, it is difficult to report on fun, happy events in the Big Apple. Most New York City venues are still closed (or just now today, Wednesday, reopening) and a large percentage of scheduled NY concerts and events for this week have been canceled. For example, the big NYC Halloween Parade in the Village scheduled for this evening that I wrote about here last week. This is unheard of in the parade's four decade history. Similarly, this weekend's WFMU Record Fair (which happens in that same vicinity of downtown Manhattan) was also canceled (details below). Indeed it will take some time before the effects of the “storm of the century” that claimed lives, caused major destruction including destroying homes and businesses, shut down the subway, JFK and LaGuardia airports, and the NY Stock Exchange (until this morning), and left millions without power, are behind us.  Hence for this New York State of Mind Amoeblog I am going to do an overview of some of the impact of Sandy on NYC and a run down of some of the events that have been canceled or postponed as well as ones that are going ahead, along with some ways you can help (scroll down to end of text) plus some basic post Hurricane info and links related to NYC.

First up, check the YouTube clip below video-taped and uploaded Tuesday afternoon by the NY MTA (New York's Mass Transit Authority). It shows the devastation caused to two of the downtown Manhattan subway stations (Ferry Plaza and Whitehall Street - two of the seven subway stations with severe flooding) and will give you an idea of the intensity of the flooding caused by Sandy. While the NYC buses are back in service today, the subway system remains down and may not be back and running in full service for several days due to the damage caused by the salt water to the electrical system on the tracks. Additionally,  all the water has to be pumped out of flooded stations like the ones in the video. However the MTA did announce that limited subway service would resume on November 1st at 6am but not below 34th Street or from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

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Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 29, 2007 11:21am | Post a Comment

I saw Control with Morten. It's the movie about Joy Division and more specifically Ian Curtis. It's funny because the first I heard of it was critics tripping over themselves to point out that they liked it though they'd never heard of the band. The point is always pretty much, "I'm a square. I'd never heard of these guys but I liked the movie, although for a rock band, they sure weren't that much fun." I wonder what those critics were listening to back then. To me, Joy Division is one of those bands that, if you have taste, you should've at least heard during their existence if you were teenage or older. I mean, how separate are the worlds of music and movies that you'd have us believe you've got great taste and an ear to the underground if you still haven't heard of Joy Division? What bigger independent bands were there in the late '70s? And didn't you review 24 Hour Party People not five years ago?

Back to the 24 Hour Party People then. When that came out I saw a lot of dour Raincoats leaving the theater expressing their wish that whole film had been about Ian Curtis and not those awful acid house Blue Tuesdays or whatever was going on after Ian Curtis' death, at which point their lot zoned out 'til the credits. Pity them. And I thought of how awful that would be -- a film about Joy Division. Biopics are so suspect. Made For Cable movies that sit in the wings like vultures to be released in theaters only in the event of the subject's death because what is an awful film will likely reap the awful rewards at the Oscars.

Control is directed by Anton Corbijn, which I didn't know till the end. Whatever you think of the guy, and I love his videos, you've got to admit that his images always have to easy to appreciate visuals. I mean, Bryan Adams got him to direct "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," after all. He's f---ing Dutch, for Christ's sake.

Rembrandt                                                                                         Vermeer

Strongo disliked that it was in black and white. Morten pointed out that the world of Joy Division is black and white. It's kind of like how you're supposed to always film World War II in black & white or viewers get confused. The movie is visually stark, grey and remote. It always looks chilly and breezy year round. As far as plot, Corbijn sticks to the facts, which fans will recognize from the myth that has been passed down. He doesn't attempt to color in many of the bits on one knows about. For a music video director, I'm surprised at how artful, confident and unsullied by commercial demands it is.

Let's look at other music video makers who become movie directors. Remember Tarsem Singh's debut after promising videos? The Cell. For every David Fincher, Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry, there is an example of the opposite. Hype Williams made Belly, which we sell the ish out of, but I won't watch because it has Method Man and worse, Nas and who knows -- James Woods. Joseph Kahnn made Torque, which I still think needs to be on a Crotch Rockets double feature with Biker Boyz, filed in our otherwise perfect Biker Movies section in the Cult department of Amoeba.


For those that know a little about the characters of the late '70s Manchester scene there's a lot of fun to be had. Sadly, Martin Hannett is barely there. Craig Parkinson as Tony Wilson seems to have absorbed Steve Coogan. Toby Kebbell plays Rob Gretton as a self-promoting, slightly salesman-like guy who is nonetheless honest, loyal and charming. Sam Riley plays Ian Curtis as sweet, sensitive, selfish, self-absorbed, and lovable despite his weak will. Samantha Morton is Deborah Curtis (who, to me, has always been vilified somewhat as cashing in on Ian's death by writing a not always flattering account of being cheated on by her husband and the father to her children) and is pretty great. It seems like suffering wives of adulterous protagonists are always made out to be annoyances, not characters we should feel bad for. They are shrill, they're always crying and looking unsexy, their teeth are yellow, they wear housecoats too much and they just don't understand their adulterous husbands who really have no choice but to cheat, e.g. Brokeback Mountain. It's the fault of the crazy, messed up world they're in.

Much has been made of the film's stately, measured pace. That is to say, there isn't a lot of extraneous camera work or other bullshit. A-men. I think if you like either Last Days or Zodiac you'll find a lot to enjoy.


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Posted by Billyjam, August 10, 2007 03:22pm | Post a Comment

Manchester music maven Anthony Wilson, whose life was depicted in the movie 24 Hour Party People, died in hospital in England earlier today of a heart attack (Friday, August 10th), according to news reports from the BBC, Sky News, and NMEReportedly the former radio and TV broadcaster, record label boss and owner of the legendary Hacienda nightclub, who had been suffering from cancer, died at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. He was 57 and last year was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had been in hospital receiving treatment since with the life-prolonging drug Sutent.

Wilson founded the famous Hacienda and was one of five co-founders of Factory Records, which produced bands such as New Order and the Happy Mondays during a period in the 80s dubbed "Madchester." See the clip below in which Steve Coogan plays Wilson in the great 2002 movie 24 Hour Party People and is teased in this funny closing by the God character for not signing the Smiths. And below the 24 Hour Party People clip is an interview with the real Tony Wilson from British TV, in a show about the Factory and Joy Division. For a full tribute to Wilson, read the recommended obit in the UK paper theGuardian from 8/13.