Monday, February 21, 2011

Cover Me Happy

As if their cover of The Carpenters Superstar wasn't enough to make you cry happy tears.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ready To Start

Beyond happy about last night.
The Grammys are more than a little fucked up.
But last night was glorious.  
Album of the year for Arcade Fire! 

First band from an independent label in the award show's history to win this accolade apparently. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This Weekend You'll Find Things In Unexpected Places

ARTstor is one of the most amazing online image databases.
It has all the copyright issues in order for students in need of pictures for assignments.
It is nothing less than a life-saver.

Decided to have some unadulterated fun with the ARTstor archives today.

My search with "vogue" yielded some beauties:

These shoes are a Steve Arpad design, and from I can determine from around 1938-39. 
Though something about them made me think they were from some sort of Elizabethan period. 
Platforms of today and quaking in their soles.  
Maybe they will be Lady Gaga's next acquisition. 

Don't you just?
Adverts from cosmetic companies these days do not possess half enough mystique.

To feed my constant New York nostalgia, I typed "NYC music", et voila:

All images from ARTstor archives.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's White and Red and Sad All Over?

This is a dark, dark day.
The White Stripes have announced that they will no longer be recording material or performing live together.

The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011,
their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live.

The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any
health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.

It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about
the band and have it stay that way.

Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible
support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of the White Stripes’ intense and
incredible career.

Third Man Records will continue to put out unreleased live and studio recordings from
The White Stripes in their Vault Subscription record club, as well as through regular

Both Meg and Jack hope this decision isn’t met with sorrow by their fans but that it is
seen as a positive move done out of respect for the art and music that the band has
created. It is also done with the utmost respect to those fans who’ve shared in those
creations, with their feelings considered greatly.

With that in mind the band have this to say:

“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong
to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is
that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your
involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

Meg and Jack White
The White Stripes

I have taken to the blog for this is a lamentation that I never got to see them live. 
They were one of my favourite bands when I was a teenager, and continue to be.

Get Behind Me Satan is an album that I would consider to be perfect as I can blissfully listen to every song.

That is not the only reason I loved this band.  They have some of the most legendary and unique music videos of our generation.  Synonymous to their aesthetic; musically and stylistically.

Directed by Michel Gondry, who else?

Obviously Jack White is something of a music genius, experimental and eccentric, but all the same level-headed.  A true rock hero.

But even Jack professes that The White Stripes would be nothing without the drummer-stylings of Meg.  I was once told I sort of looked like her.  Fuck yeah.  Her Marc Jacobs adverts are a feat in indie-cred commercialism.  They have the grainy, seventies, seedy retrospection, with the added spice of Meg White infallibility.

The myth of their relationship is irrelevant to me, to fans, to the music.  It was all part of their enigma.  Let them be brother and sister, or let them be former lovers.  Just let them be them. 

They brought the reincarnation into the realm of rock music without falling into farce or pageantry.  The looks adopted had thematic and emotional purpose.  

The band were notorious for recording their albums in a impressively short period.  The longest recording session was with Icky Thump, three weeks

One of the best part of the Icky Thump art and promotion was the chance to see them dressed as pearlies.

I know that Jack White will be around forever, what with his producing and many other side-projects... I guess their no longer "side".  *Tear*
It just ain't the same.

Is it just me.... or did they just own a certain Bowie mystic?  

So long... fare well.

Look of the Day

Rachel Bilson in Burberry ruffle perfection at a premiere in LA.

All Tangled Up

On a lighter note cinema wise, I went to see Tangled with my niece last night.  
It was fantastic!
By no means my new favourite animation, but a great film.
Disney has its mojo back.
One of the greatest heroines ever.  She did not dwell on the idea of true love, it was all about seeing the world for her.  I can identify sister!
And may I say, best sidekick ever.  A mute chameleon.  Oh and as well as a military-precision horse.  

The King's Triumph

Who would have thought that the best bromance of the year would come in the form of a period drama that chronicles the journey of a Royal crippled by a speech impediment?  The story arc of Tom Hooper’s masterpiece revolves not around the controversies of the British Royal family, nor does it concentrate on Britain’s entry into World War Two, but rather revels in the remoteness of the development of a begrudging friendship between two men who, traditionally to the bromance milieu, instantly clash. 

One is Bertie, the younger son of King George V, an aristocrat afflicted with a stammer that stands in the backdrop of the national crescendo, but is ultimately destined for greatness.  The other is the unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue, a boorish Aussie gent who is passionate about acting.  He is sought by the Duchess Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) to treat the despondent Duke. 

The establishing sequence shows Bertie as he is drowned in the reverberation of the microphone’s echoes, overwhelmed by the monumentality of pubic speaking as a monarchic figure and is physically dwarfed by the microphone.  The man is literally choked by his legacy and lineage.  The subordination he endures by his father and brother ensures that he is wrought by an inferiority complex. 

Rather than a clash of personalities, it is Bertie’s (Colin Firth) refusal to acquiescence that causes their initial friction.  His hesitance transcends into fury as the casual Lionel (Geoffrey Rush) insists on calling him by his family name Bertie and dropping the Majesty while in treatment because it is, as he says, “My castle, my rules.”

One instantly equates that the bumbling Brit Colin Firth is perfect for this type of role.  He has after all in the past played the charmer who fumbles for the appropriate words on many occasions, (see Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually).  If you think you could expect nothing less than the prerequisite “Colin Firth performance”, you my kind audience, are mistaken. 

Beyond the awkward persona of yesteryear, Firth’s Bertie is regal and pompous but peppered with the right amount of torture.  He creates an alt-hero in this timid figure, contrasting beautifully to the brother Edward.  Guy Pearce plays the part as the bratty older brother with Great Gatsbyian flourish.  When his brother questions what his time has been spent doing while neglecting his royal duties, he professes that he has been terribly busy, “Kinging.”

Rush though is the main allure, he commands the screen and enlivens Lionel with whimsy and empathy.  Mind you, perhaps he’s a Bolshevik.  Another reason to go see the film, you will not get that sentence unless you do.

If there was any doubt that the film revolved around the performance of not simply acting, but the performance of daily life, Michael Gambon’s terse, tyrannical patriarch King George V exposes the evolving responsibilities the royals must undertake as, “We’ve become actors.”  The performances presented this piece are both stoic and full of humility.  The flaws and merits of each character are given equal, profound exploration.

As this is being written, it was announced that The King’s Speech had been nominated for twelve Academy Awards.   Deservedly so, it is one of the view award-show-darlings that are utterly convincing.  The King’s Speech virtue lies in its denial of the grandeur and sumptuousness that usually lies within the big-budget fare in the depictions of the privileged.

However it is anchored by the essentials of contemporary cinema, characters that captivate, and actors who inhabit their roles unabashedly and completely.  The subtle manner of its emotional insurgence is invigorating and incomparable. 

*Disclaimer - originally published in The UCC Express, Feb. 1st 2011, Vol. 18, Issue 9
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