...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sweet Suite Sweded

As ET said: "ouch" (...he also said, "Elliot". Hmmmm.)

ON July 4th weekend (ok, on the 5th) we played a gig at the first (annual? Bi-annual? Monthly??) Juri Street Block party in SAN FRANCISCO. Andrew wasn't in town so we played with the lovely Chris McGrew--& it was a super-super fun. Great crowd, food, music ( if we say so ourselves), there was even mudwrestling and outdoor movies later on. NOW THAT's a PARTY!

***AND HEY!! Our regular drummer WILL be here soon! YES! At last! ANDREW WILL BE in CALIFORNIA THIS WEEK FOR OUR GIGS ON FRIDAY 7/25 in SF @ Dolores Park Cafe/ and Monday 7/28 @ Monterey Live in Monterey!!

And I for one can't wait, after a hellish trip down Stomach Flu Lane ( right after the block party as a matter of fact) with the added bonus of a throbbing neck-cramp-migraine-ish-head-throbbing business for two weeks+. WHOA--viruses sure don't hold back the way they bestow symptoms ever so abundantly.... Say it for me ET: "ouch."

Anyhoo, now I'm feeling much better, and I did get to catch up on some DVD watching...some highlights:
Vanity Fair-- loved it, though many liberties were taken with plot & character, esp that of Becky Sharp who becomes more of the sympathetic breed of heroine and less of that prototypical anti-hero that Thackeray so cleverly invented.

East Of Eden--w James Dean!! JD: whoa I never knew! James Franco's ( and Michael Pitt, River Phoenix, and and and) all sensitive, brooding-yet-ever-so-compelling boy-man roles got their start here. And the film is another based on a great writer's work (Steinbeck in this case). Super intense.

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers-- Holy Mother of Gender Identity! Wow! The 1950's were no doubt a crazy time for gender roles. It shows. Some insanely cool dancing and "Lonesome Polecat" is the awesome standout tune.

Singing in the Rain--Hilarious plot involving the advent of talkies creating challenges for an actress with a horrid voice and opportunities for the melliflous Debbie Reynolds chracter. And it has, of course, super-famous dances with Gene Kelly & cast. Mostly fun-- though it slows in the middle. But there's a particularly entertaining scene with audio gags as the film director-within-the-film gets a handle on producing a talkie.

Hair-- Hippies. Psychedelic drugs. Mild nudity. Vietnam looms. & If you wanna hear some kickass bass playing this is the place: the superstar rhythm-section of Wilbur Bascomb & Bernard Purdie funk up the 1979 Milos Forman version of the 1960's musical. There's no doubt the plot is pretty thin, but by the end there's not a dry eye on my face. It has the famous songs: "Age of Aquarious" & Let the Sun Shine In"--although my personal fave song is the show-stopping "Easy to Be Hard" sung by the spectacular Cheryl Barnes--WOW. I saw on das internet that the version in the movie was done in one take. LORDY GOD what a singer.


About a month ago Sarah & I watched Michael Condry's, "Be Kind Rewind". In case y'all haven't seen it here are some spoilers. It has the premise that two guys working in a video store ( Mos Def & Jack Black) accidentally erase the videos and must attempt to reshoot them. The new versions turn out to be immensely popular. The particular detail I found the most hilarious in this mildy diverting film: the way they inexplicably refer to their new homemade guerilla videos as the" sweded" versions of the original blockbusters. Well well well. Last night I just discovered a whole section of "sweded" films on youtube! You can watch Titanic, Aliens, Juraassic Park, Fellowship of the Rings, Back to the Future, WIlly Wonka, and yes, ET & more more more. Yes it has caught on! A whole sweet suite of sweded films . If you dare to watch some you'll see that they are quite international too--some Brits, some Aussies... maybe even some Swedes are sweding! I'd say it's viral.

& Viruses are abundant-- in this latter case, sweet!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Sci Fi Gene (or Help! That Dingo Got My Wall.E)

**Depending on your level of purism, it could be said there are spoilers here...**

There are mysteries sewn into the very fabric of existence and they cannot by any means be traced without unraveling the unravelable and thus causing further mystification. Mysteries like: where the hell did we really come from and to where do we really go after this plane of being, what is the seat of consciousness, why is time linear ( or is it?), will humans survive on this benighted planet, who will win Wimbledon and, why does science fiction leave some folks cold, while the rest of us, well, we others just can't get enough of sci fi. As to the latter question: I suppose that it's genetic perhaps--like curling your tongue, blue versus brown eyes, the weird way asparagus makes some pee-ers' urine aroma change, an affinity for disco versus country versus musical theatre versus metal, etcetera ( for examples), a taste for coconut, and so on and on.

And thus to those of who have the correct gene, Wall.E's character/ personhood is so DANG APPEALING! What is that? That whole R2D2-meets-Johnny 5-meets-ET-meets the Tinman, Chaplin, Pinnochio, Yoda, and a lovelorn puppy thing? Or is it his fetchingly melancholy binocular eyes? His jazz-patch of rust? His mellifluous voice? His killer dance moves? Hi badass crib? His wonderfully contradictory machiney humanity? His profound epic loneliness? His all-too-familiar frailties ( frailty thy name is Wall.E) ? Yes yes--all this and more, oh, that ineffable more, which causes our inner mother -ducks to imprint on this unlikely little metal duckling. When he gets repeatedly banged up in the course of robot events...OUCH! The tears! I had to remind myself that the film is after all G-rated and the protagonist has a great statistical advantage, as such, for survival. But it is nonetheless nerve shattering watching dingos making sport--as it were--with one's baby...

Ah. But I wax demented, nay?

Nonetheless, the larger question of the appeal of sci fi--in a word ( well, in five words), it makes one's head explode. But it's a dry explode. Sci Fi says to you: "Imagine this possible future, if you will." and when the setup & delivery & execution have that special blend of inevitability, novelty, and humanity you say " WHOA". For example Did y'all catch the latest cliffhanger (hmm, nebula hanger?) from Battlestar Galactica--OH LORDY! It doesn't start up again until 2009! DAMN! Anyway, it is clear with these two great universes--Wall.E & Battlestar--that science fiction is going through some fabulous peak phase.

And what a phase independent music is about to go through when our new CD comes out in the gleaming utopian future. It's true--not sci fi.