Apparently people are losing their shit over “District 9.” Deservedly so. I caught it last night and it’s got to be one of the best science fiction movies I’ve ever seen, and probably the best movie I’ve seen this year, too.
The big hype this weekend was for “Inglourious Basterds,” which was good (well-made, though rather questionable revenge pornography… like a big-screen version of “Wolfenstein 3D”), which I saw, and then decided to go see “District 9” the next day because it’s hot as hell in LA and why not. And oh my dear lord. You cannot be prepared for this movie. I won’t say too much about it?
Awesome Tim Westwood-produced UK documentary focusing on the 80s hip hop scene.
Bad Meaning Good appeared on the BBC back in 1987 and has gone on to become a seminal document of the fledgling London Hip Hop scene. Shown here in its entirety, it features Tim Westwood, as well as key figures in the scene at the time. Check out a baby faced Trevor Nelson!
Yes, Woodstock, but last week also saw the 40th anniversary of LA’s darkest campfire tale. You probably know the story by now (and if you don’t, you can read about it here, or here), but the shorthand goes like this…
On the night of August 8, 1969, Charles Manson disciples Susan Atkins, Charles “Tex” Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian stormed the rented home of Roman Polanski on 10050 Cielo Drive. Once behind its gates, they brutally and systematically took the lives of 5 people—including the life of Polanski’s eight-and-a-half months pregnant girlfriend, actress Sharon Tate. Tate was the last to die, knived by Watson while she was pinned down by Atkins, who then took some of Tate’s blood and used it to scrawl “PIG” on the porch wall. Manson had ordered her to leave behind a sign, “something witchy.”
The tragic events of that night, spilled into the following night and continued to ripple out through the decade(s) to come. Even today, the events of August ‘69 provided Pynchon with the darkly seismic backdrop to his new novel, Inherent Vice. The fallout was felt everywhere—even I had nightmares. Not about the events themselves (I was too young to remember those), but about Manson someday going free, and moving down the block.
After losing his wife and unborn child, Polanski was understandably devastated, and his life, eight years later, would go on to take another troubled turn. And Sharon Tate’s legacy? Beyond a still-loyal fanbase, all she left behind is a smattering of films and the promise of what might have been. And that promise, in my eyes, is at its most tangible in Tate’s American debut, Don’t Make Waves.
What’s it all about? Not much beyond The Byrds’ winning title track and Tony Curtis’ “Carlo Cofield” moving to Malibu and mixing it up with the town’s free-lovin’ oddballs. It was directed by Brit Alexander Mackendrick, a decade past his Sweet Smell of Success, and features one of my all-time favorite character actors, the criminally underappreciated Robert Webber. Curtis and Webber aside, though, it’s Tate who steals the show as the always-bikinied skydiver, “Malibu.” In fact, Tate made such a strong impression, she served as the inspiration for Mattel’s “Malibu Barbie.”
A physical copy of Waves is hard to come by. But you can still catch it for yourself, in its 10-part entirety, on YouTube. Part 1 starts right here. The trailer follows below.
Goddamn these are great! Sculptor Adam Beane says, “The excellent art directors I’ve worked with have been instrumental in my growth as a sculptor, a communicator and a businessman. They have frequently allowed me to push projects beyond expectations and as a result, I have become known for dynamic compositions, action poses, nuanced drapery work and my ability to capture likenesses with expressions.
Richard Metzger interviews Ondi Timoner, two time Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning director of DiG! and the new doc We Live in Public about Josh Harris, “the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of.” A dotcom millionaire known for throwing wild parties, Harris had a desire for ever more elaborate social engineering events, culminating in Quiet: We Live in Public, a month long party held in December of 1999. Quiet saw more than 100 artists and weirdos under one roof in lower Manhattan in a Japanese style capsule hotel and captured the results with over 100 cameras. Nothing was off limits, not showers, not the bathroom, not sex, nothing. The participants also had to submit to fascistic psychological interrogations. Fun! After this, Harris and his girlfriend did a similar experiment which saw them webcasting their lives 24/7, ending the relationship and resulting in Harris’ nervous breakdown. Shot at Mahalo Studios, special thanks to Jason Calacanis and Alex Miller. Cut live by Alex Miller. Edited by Bradley Novicoff. Produced by Bradley Novicoff and Tara McGinley.
While the world mourns the death of that champion of misfits, John Hughes, we should also note the passing of On The Waterfront scribe, Budd Schulberg. I say “note,” which should not at all be confused with “mourn.” Schulberg did after all, under HUAC pressure, squeal on Bertolt Brecht, prompting the playwright’s unwanted return to Europe. Shameful politics aside, though, Schulberg was responsible for such edgy-for-its-time fare as Ben Stiller’s pipe-dream project, What Makes Sammy Run, and the screenplay for A Face In The Crowd. Of that film, which Slate‘s Troy Patterson calls “The Best Movie About Television You’ve Never Seen,”
Andy Griffith played Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes, a garrulous Arkansas hick who becomes a star of radio and television by laying on the down-home charm. The Mayberry-type charisma curdles once he goes on up to New York City and becomes a demagogue, something of a hybrid of Will Rogers, Glenn Beck, and Sweet Smell of Success’ J.J. Hunsecker.
The above clip features one of Griffith’s more unhinged moments. In it, Lonesome Larry shills, rockabilly-style, for “Vitajex,” a stimulant for men whose sole aim, it seems, is to “fill your gal with ‘oooh,’ and ecstasy!”
The Beat Hotel, a new film by Documentary Arts, goes deep into the legacy of the American Beats in Paris during the heady years between 1957 and 1963, when Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso fled the obscenity trials in the United States surrounding the publication of Ginsbergs poem Howl. They took refuge in a cheap no-name hotel they had heard about at 9, Rue Git le Coeur and were soon joined by William Burroughs, Ian Somerville, Brion Gysin, and others from England and elsewhere in Europe, seeking out the freedom that the Latin Quarter of Paris might provide.
The Beat Hotel, as it came to be called, was a sanctuary of creativity, but was also, as British photographer Harold Chapman recalls, an entire community of complete oddballs, bizarre, strange people, poets, writers, artists, musicians, pimps, prostitutes, policemen, and everybody you could imagine. And in this environment, Burroughs finished his controversial book Naked Lunch; Ian Somerville and Brion Gysin invented the Dream Machine; Corso wrote some of his greatest poems; and Harold Norse, in his own cut-up experiments, wrote the novella, aptly called The Beat Hotel.
First shown on Channel 4 in the UK, Bombin’ chronicles the journey of NY artist Brim through the UK media, as well as meeting a young Goldie, who in turn travels to NYC to meet Afrika Baambaata. This was filmed at the times of the Birmingham riots and shows the parallels of life in the inner city on both sides of the Atlantic.