16 items from 2015
There is a saying in Baltimore that crabs may be prepared in fifty ways and that all of them are good. • H.L. Mencken
“There is only so far that you can push people into a corner… We’re frustrated and that’s why we’re out there in the streets.” • Charles, Member of the Crips gang
“I would never want to live anywhere but Baltimore. You can look far and wide, but you’ll never discover a stranger city with such extreme style. It’s as if every eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay.” • John Waters, Filmmaker and Writer
“This is a skewed portrayal of the protests; it is what the media chose to portray – the media that consumers bewilderingly seem to want. The real revolution is thousands of people across America standing in solidarity against police brutality. »
- Mindy Newell
Before his death at age 52, Frank Zappa produced one of the most massive discographies in recorded music. The Mothers of Invention leader's music spanned rock & roll, doo-wop, jazz, classical and everything in between, usually accompanied with a lighthearted smirk, over the course of 100 albums released so far. No matter how well you know his music, though, you can't help but feel like you have a perspective somewhat akin to a flea's eye view of an elephant. The only thing more overwhelming than attempting to make sense of Zappa's life's »
The fall festival rush is upon us. Locarno is currently ramping up. Venice has released their line-up and Thom Powers and the Toronto International Film Festival team have dropped a bomb with a previously unannounced new feature from powerhouse docu-provocateur Michael Moore. It is truly a miracle that the production of a film such as Moore’s upcoming Where To Invade Next (see still above) managed to go completely undetected by the filmmaking community until it was literally announced to world premiere at one of the largest film festivals in the world. Programmed as a one of the key films in the Special Presentations section at Tiff, the film sees Moore telling “the Pentagon to ‘stand down’ — he will do the invading for America from now on.” Also announced to premiere at Tiff was Avi Lewis’ This Changes Everything, which has slowly been rising up this list, as well as »
- Jordan M. Smith
Following his acclaimed work with Downloaded and Deep Web, Alex Winter is sticking with the documentary format for another upcoming project. He'll direct an as-yet untitled film about the legendary counter-culture musician Frank Zappa, with the full co-operation of the Zappa Family Trust.The absurdly prolific Zappa made almost 70 albums in less than 35 years, before his untimely death in 1993. His music is difficult to describe - and often just downright difficult - but takes in jazz, rock, electronica and even classical influences. Usually with a good dose of humour: sometimes wry, sometimes more caustic. Hs best known work is perhaps the stuff he did with his band, The Mothers Of Invention. He also gave early shots in the arm to the careers of contemporaries like Captain Beefheart, and up-and-comers like Alice Cooper.Winter's approval by the Zappa estate means he has unrivalled access to the Zappa vaults, which means he »
The Zappa Family Trust has given its approval to a new documentary about the original Mother of Invention, Frank Zappa. The film is in the early stages of development and will likely come out in 2017, according to Variety.
Director Alex Winter, whose early acting roles in the Bill and Ted movies and The Lost Boys have given way to directing tech-based documentaries (Deep Web, Downloaded), will helm the film based on his own script. "There has yet to be a definitive, authorized documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Frank Zappa, »
The star of Bill And Ted turned director is preparing to make a film about one of rock’s most iconoclastic figures with the full cooperation of the late musician’s family.
The director said he envisaged “an epic saga of a great American artist and thinker; a major event worthy of the scope of Zappa’s prodigious and varied creative output, and the breadth of his personal and political life.”
Winter added: “There has yet to be a definitive, authorized documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Frank Zappa. I am beyond thrilled to be embarking on this journey.”
The Zappa Family Trust has granted the filmmakers exclusive access to the Zappa Vault, containing unseen visual and audio recordings, interviews and concert recordings.
“We couldn »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
The Zappa Family Trust has given its backing to the untitled project.
“There has yet to be a definitive, authorized documentary on the extraordinary life and work of Frank Zappa,” Winter said. “I am beyond thrilled to be embarking on this journey. Our tale will be told primarily in Frank’s own words; he will be our guide through this journey.”
Winter expects the doc to be finished in time for release in 2017.
Zappa was a self-taught composer, arranger and producer who sought to push the boundaries of music. He released more than 65 albums and »
- Dave McNary
Oscar- and Tony-nominated character actor and folk singer Theodore Bikel, who originated the role of Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” on Broadway and starred in “Fiddler on the Roof” onstage in thousands of performances, died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 91.
To some, he is best known for his 1990 appearance on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” as the Russian adopted father of the Klingon Worf.
Bikel did his first bigscreen work in John Huston’s 1951 classic “The African Queen” and Huston’s “Moulin Rouge.” After acting in a series of English films, he did supporting work in two high-profile pics in 1957: historical epic “The Pride and the Passion,” starring Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren, and “The Enemy Below,” a WWII submarine thriller starring Robert Mitchum.
He often played Germans or Russians — in his autobiography, Bikel said that his facility with accents resulted in »
- Carmel Dagan
Climb those library ladders and dust off the shelves to find music influenced by or making reference to authors, characters, quotes or plots in novels or any other form of the printed volume
“So many books, so little time.” - Frank Zappa.
The voracious reader, the ebullient book fan, the edgy eccentric, the pithy polymath – what better characteristics are there for the process of songwriting? It was just over 20 years this week that I was lucky enough to be present at a recording, in the old BBC TV Centre, of an early edition of BBC2’s Later with Jools Holland, now of course a cornerstone of British music TV for many a discerning and curious music lover. Elvis Costello, no slacker on literary reference and wordplay, was on the bill, but the showstealing highlight was the still relatively young band Radiohead, who had gigged for years, but were just beginning »
- Peter Kimpton
With 40 years’ worth of material to cram in, this authorised SNL documentary leaves out the drugs and dodgy sketches in favour of a breezy, celebratory tone
On the one hand, an 80-minute documentary cramming in 40 years of Saturday Night Live (SNL) is bound to be a disappointment. There’s no way you can highlight everything. On the other, having 40 years’ worth of material and only 80 minutes to fill ensures the gag-writers and sketch comedians from Studio 8H will seem like the greatest heroes ever to walk the Earth. Director Bao Nguyen’s breezy, authorised hagiography shows how producer Lorne Michaels and his revolving staff kept their show fresh and reflective of the times. Appraising this programme in full is, in many ways, simply looking at smart people looking at the world around them. As such, Live From New York! is a nice macro view of our culture from a wash of specificity. »
- Jordan Hoffman
If you are expecting lo-fi psychedelic pop from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s newest album, “Multi-Love” then you will be pleasantly surprised at what penetrates your senses. With two other albums under their belt, Unknown Mortal Orchestra are no rookies to the game of music. They caught the attention of many indie kids with their Frank Zappa like sounds, and psychedelic ambiance. “Multi-Love” is funky as hell, will make your feet tap, and your body groove.Lead Singer, Ruban Nielson produced, engineered, and wrote the whole album. He is the backbone of this entire record, and you can feel it as you listen. […] »
- Bella Elbaum
Looking back with a bittersweet melancholy? Suggest songs that hark back to the past using the five senses, musical echoes or any other trigger tricks of memory
“I don’t like nostalgia, unless it’s mine,” said Lou Reed, with a bad-tempered smirk. “It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia,” added Frank Zappa, with a humorous frown. But what is nostalgia, and is it good or bad? Well, of course, it’s a bittersweet both. And arguably grains of it run through all music where we cannot but hear inescapable echoes of the past. In fact it is all around us in every aspect of culture and surroundings, from photography to furniture, sounds to styles, food to cars, retro in retail, all in a constant recycling of roots and influences and recapturing of eras, »
- Peter Kimpton
Music and Sex: Scenes from a life - A novel in progress by Roman AkLeff (first installment can be read here; second here; third here).
The bar across Broadway between 113th and 114th Streets, the West End, was supposedly famous. Or at least the orientation materials had seemed to consider it an important part of Columbia history because it had been a hangout for literary figures, some of them Columbia men, though he had not yet read anything by any of them. Of more interest to Walter, there was jazz there. In passing by one Saturday afternoon on the way to Citibank, he'd seen a sign boasting that the Louis Armstrong All Stars were playing.
From finding new ways to shoot the most adrenaline-infused car chases to taking exhibition audio into new frontiers, this year’s recipients of the Academy Scientific & Technical Awards are pushing the limits of cinema in every way they can.
These awards are sometimes called the Sci-Tech Oscars, but most honorees are given plaques or certificates, as opposed to the fabled statuettes. Only two of the awards come with actual Oscars and those nods aren’t given every year, though this year both will be presented.
The highest Sci-Tech Award — and one that comes with an Oscar — is the Academy Award of Merit. The award is designed to single out game-changing technology. This year Larry Hornbeck will receive the citation for his digital micromirror technology that powers Dlp cinema projectors, now the standard throughout the industry. These micromirrors, 37 years in development, are used for “intelligently steering light” in order to help deliver bright, »
- Karen Idelson
Over the years, the Academy’s Scientific & Technical Awards banquet has been called many things: warm, intimate, classy and, at its best, emotional.
But one description that has never been associated with the Sci-Techs is “a hoot.”
For 2015 the Sci-Techs traded a smidgen of elegance for a few megawatts of electricity, much of it provided by Margot Robbie.
Robbie co-hosted the presentation with Miles Teller, and the pair bantered like a comedy team. Both had moments to shine and each got laughs, but it was Robbie who stole the show, bringing a loose charm and infectious energy to her hosting duties. She turned what could have been a laborious litany of technical jargon into a lively and sometimes uproarious evening.
Some 59 individuals were honored at the banquet. One of the early presentations showed why the Sci-Techs can be endearing: As honoree Steven Tiffen stepped up to accept an Award of Commendation, »
- David S. Cohen
16 items from 2015
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