Saturday, October 25, 2008

Europe's Electronic Madness

Last night (or I suppose early this morning) I saw a fantastic show at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza. It was CMJ's Music Marathon's Insiders Electronic Music Showcase and I was really blown away by the cutting edge music coming out of Europe. The show was hosted by BBC Radio 1's Peter Tong and featured: The Whip, Luciano, Late of the Pier, Rob da Bank, 2 Many DJs, James Lavelle, and Soulwax.

I had never heard of Manchester band The Whip but I was floored immediately. The were amazing and made such an impression that I found myself downloading tracks when I arrived home at 5am this morning. Italian dj Luciano was also pretty awesome with his laid back mixes of junglesque sounds and tradition Indian albums. One of the other big highlights was a band that I just recently interviewed for Short and Sweet NYC, Late of the Pier. I really love their weird mix of 80's synth with hardcore rock and everything in between. I'll post the full show review and the interview on Short and Sweet soon but now I need some sleep.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Film Review: The Wrestler

In the world of celebrity it’s said the bigger you are the harder you fall and in the early 80’s there was no one bigger than professional wrestlers. This sentiment is the basis for Darren Aronofsky’s new film The Wrestler which focuses on the story of fictional powerhouse pro wrestler Randy "Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) twenty years or so after his prime. The film follows the Ram as he tries to pull his life together while working poorly promoted local matches, VFW autograph signings, and a part time job at the local supermarket. The Ram develops a relationship with a stripper, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), who is also past her prime and finds herself at a turning point in her life. Part of the magic of the movie is the clever juxtaposition of the world of exotic dancing and professional wrestling, both which glorify a false sense of glamour. The performances by Rourke and Tomei are truly remarkable and the depth and subtlety of the characters make the story relatable to nearly any audience. The film works ultimately because of the strength of these two main characters and the plot becomes almost secondary at times. There are some issues with the film such as the Ram’s underdeveloped relationship with Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood), the daughter he deserted years ago and tries to win back but they are minor. The film does a superb job in illuminating the nature of performing and the painful real world of professional wrestling with all its inner workings. With all of it’s unflinching realism and the caliber of the performances I’d be surprised not to see a few Oscar nominations here even if it doesn’t play to wide audiences.

Illustration Friday: Broken Robot

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Music: Dear Science On The Wrong Side Of The Magnetic Death

I've been reviewing a ton of albums lately and there's a few that have really impressed me. The 3 standouts are from Metallica, TV on the Radio, and Kristoffer Ragnstam. Alright so first off- I have eclectic tastes obviously because these groups couldn't be more different but I'm a music lover so I dont care.

Metallica’s new album, Death Magnetic, is like a greatest hits album but all the songs are new. In the first track, “That was just your life,” one can hear that the band is back and hasn’t lost a thing. The signature Hammett guitar solos have returned and the songs have a sense of energy that has been absent for a decade. The album has some flaws but it's a gift to all the old school fans who should reach deep into their dresser drawers and pull out some classic Kill ‘Em All t-shirts because Metallica is back.

I never understood the hype about TV on the Radio but when I first heard their new album Dear Science it all started to make sense. Their last album Return To Cookie Mountain showed potential but now it has turned kinetic with a great textural bend of orchestration and improved sense of lyricism. The New York based band has really come into their own and in the process they’ve created one of the most interesting and original albums of the year. Dear Science is a welcome surprise and the album reveals its intelligence and complexity more and more with each listen.

Finally- Kristoffer Ragnstam’s new album Wrong Side Of The Room is a relevant and modern rock album that should turn a few heads. The songs have a wry intelligence and the sound is a terrific blend of classic rock, electronica, and modern indie. Kris proves himself as an important up and coming artist with a number of excellent tracks such as the funky “Disco Fiasco”, “2008”, and “Swing That Tambourine”, which is a hit song waiting to happen. It’s just a matter of time until some big company grabs one of these songs for a big commercial and everyone begins to notice it.

If you want to read any of the full album reviews check out the blog Short and Sweet NYC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Firewire drive

This week my firewire drive with all my images from the last 2 years broke after a 4 foot fall- devistating...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Illustration Friday: Late (that's how I like to sleep)

Teaching art and film is fantastic but there's nothing worse than having to wake up early every day that's why my weekends are dedicated to sleeping late whenever I can.

Wednesday at the Presidential Debate and the Pulse Magazine Party

I spent most of Wednesday night photographing the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Nassau County in addition to attending the Pulse Magazine party at the Carlyle in Bethpage Black golf course. The craziness outside the campus was pretty interesting with protesters screaming at each others next to people trying to sell merchandise with the secret service and loads of police watching.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Illustration Friday: String

I took this one literally and drew with string- my cats loved it, they're still drawing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Barroom Heroes Art Show Saturday

I'll be participating in a charity art show for a young boy with leukemia this Saturday at the new Velvet Lounge space in Lake Grove. There's some live music and an auction of artwork from local artists.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Illustration in November's Pulse Magazine

I illustrated a futuristic short story about the nature of our government titled Nix Six in this month's Pulse Magazine. It's pretty timely with the upcoming election- you can get a free copy of the magazine at the Smith Haven Mall or request on online on the Pulse's website (of course you can also buy one at Barnes and Noble or Borders).