Tuesday, December 16, 2014

OPTIK: BEST NYC MOVIES



* THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971,  William Friedkin)

* THE SENTINEL (1977,  Michael Winner)

* CRUISING (1980,  William Friedkin)

* ALL THAT JAZZ (1979,  Bob Fosse)

* EMPIRE (1966, Andy Warhol)

* LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN (1989,  Uli Edel)

* BAD LIEUTENANT (1992,  Abel Ferrara)

* NIGHT ON EARTH (1991,  Jim Jarmusch)

* YOU KILLED ME FIRST (1985,  Richard Kern)

* PARIS IS BURNING (1991,  Jennie Livingston)

* MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969,  John Schlesinger)

* MARATHON MAN (1976, John Schlesinger)

* Q: THE WINGED SERPENT (1982,  Larry Cohen)

* CHELSEA GIRLS (1966, Andy Warhol)

* ANDY WARHOL'S TRASH (1970, Paul Morrissey)

* ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968, Roman Polanski)

* DO THE RIGHT THING (1989, Spike Lee)

* GOD TOLD ME TO (1976, Larry Cohen)

* AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000,  Mary Harron)

* TAXI DRIVER (1976, Martin Scorsese)

Monday, December 15, 2014

THIS IS HOW WE DEFORM: RED PANDA "PARTICLE" GRANULAR DELAY & PITCH SHIFTER


Awash in pedals of dubious value and expectations of aural armageddon it's easy to forget that noise should be pursued for its subtleties not merely a headache. Most are used by guitarists searching for some version of six-string nirvana,  leaving those involved in modular synthesis scratching their heads and fumbling with patch cables. Red Panda's PARTICLE pedal rewards subtle tweaking of incoming signals from my Serge M-Class,  and in doing so makes for a cost effective addition to any system without delay,  pitch shifting possibilities,  or a granular chopping block.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CIBO: SPAGHETTI AGLIO E OLIO CON CAVOLFIORE


Spaghetti with garlic,  oil,  shallots,  and orange cauliflower (which has 25 times more vitamin A than other varieties).

Monday, December 1, 2014

NEVER EXPECT ART #4: ANDY WARHOL'S "OXIDATION" PAINTINGS


Done between 1977 and 1978,  Warhol's OXIDATION or PISS paintings somehow managed to push the artist into the field of abstraction while returning to the seriality of his earlier works and forging a more expansive and dare I say, transgressive technique (water sports,  anyone?). The series was produced when Andy instructed others to urinate on surfaces prepared with wet metallic paint which would cause splattering oxidation of the surface.  His "technique" seemingly obliterated the self-importance and heroic romanticism forged by critics (thanks Clement Greenberg) and a generation of Abstract Expressionists. The idea of the "artist's touch" was hijacked,  yet almost no viewer could react unfavorably to their inherent beauty until one smelled the traces of the "brush".

Sunday, November 23, 2014

SOMEONE SOMEWHERE IN BROOKLYN


Actually it's artists Roe Enny and ether^ra at the Kellogg's Diner on Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburg.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NEVER EXPECT ART #3: MARS


You may assume that noise is generally a domain populated by folks scraping scrap metal and twiddling knobs,  and yes you'd be right,  but guitars,  drums,  and electricity can result in similar cochlear distress. And those that thought three chords were a kind of minimalist mantra,  think again. Rising from the mired filth  and hopelessness of downtown NY during the late Seventies,  NO WAVE was about artists seeking a voice by picking up guitars, and like art-making in general,  caution,  technique,  and meaning were orphaned or reduced to ruins much like Alphabet City itself. Arguably the "band" that went the furthest in its desire to say NO in the most psychotically immediate way was Mars (Sumner Crane: guitar/voice,  Mark Cunningham: bass/voice,  China Berg: guitar/voice,  Nancy Arlen: drums). Much of their work seemed beyond language and the mathematics of song structure,  and relied on a painter's concern for contrast,  texture,  rhythmic bursts and repetition.  The songs were often explosions of bodily expression much like Andy Warhol's OXIDATION series, those paintings that found life in the act of pissing while both undermining and expanding the process of painting.  Mars sought a similar expansion through a violent primitivism even as a track like "The Immediate Stages of the Erotic (from THE MARS EP 1978) found its original inspiration from a literary source (Kirkegaard's "Diary of a Seducer" from EITHER/OR). The track's abundant physicality presents its voyeuristic and sensual possibilities in sonic terms rather than a known language. That its intensity put off many listeners was of little concern to the band. NO WAVE was a short burst,  but one that still reverberates loudly today.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

OPTIK: THE INNOCENTS (1961)


THE INNOCENTS may seem a bit old-fashioned by current standards of film horror (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY... yawn),  but viewed by anyone with even scant sensitivity to light and dark,  troubled sounds,  and thoroughly believable performances by all involved will be deeply moved,  intrigued,  and perhaps even frightened. Based on Henry James' novella THE TURN OF THE SCREW,  and directed by Jack Clayton,  THE INNOCENTS thrives on ambiguity and the shrouding of evil in its near depiction of the ephemeral. Cinematographer Freddie Francis' black and white photography (you should remember his marvelous work in David Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN) is one of the many attractions here,  bringing a deep sense of claustrophobic dread to the proceedings. Also notice that Francis' use of superimposition of multiple images and dissolves shows up in Lynch's first film ERASERHEAD to great effect. And without giving anything away one should be prepared for one of film's creepiest kisses,  that between governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) and her young  male charge Miles (Martin Stephens). Truman Capote's script is filled with suggestions of neurosis,  repressed sexuality, violence, and yes,  perversion. This tale of possession by the deceased should be required viewing for both its restraint and beauty,  qualities not regularly seen in current movies of any kind.