Mr. Mankiewicz and Mr. Tarkovsky

Mon, 2007-09-17 22:45

Two more films from this list of directors.

I watched Stalker, by Andrei Tarkovsky. Extremely impressive visually, it looks like nothing else I've ever seen. A little like Eraserhead, kind of like a Joel Peter Witkin, but not so human. He does these long shots with the camera looking straight down into shallow water containing all kinds of interesting things. Very impressive to look at, but rather thin on content: some heavy philosophy, but philosophy we've all thought about before, and it's not as fun to think about it so slowly and quietly.

Definitely is not dated. I didn't realize it was made in 1979 - it feels very modern.

I wasn't terribly surprised to find out that the film actually was shot in a hazardous environment: several of those involved in the film (including Tarkovsky) died of the same cancer.

For My Adult Tappers...

Mon, 2007-09-17 22:24

Hi Adult Tappers!

As promised, here's some review from class tonight...

1.) Traveling time steps
Step shuffle bal-change bal-change hop shuffle step shuffle step

2.) Paddle 'n roll combo
starts with a heel on the left foot on 1, 4 single paddles Right Left Right Left, 2 double paddles Right Left (Emphasis on bottom heel drop on the beat!)

3.) Flap triple heels across the floor (front back front with the heels)

4.) Shim sham steps one and two (think about the emphasis on the first sound of the shuffle for the first step!)

Have a wonderful week; looking forward to seeing all of you next week!

Callback Kid

Fri, 2007-09-14 18:38

Hello All and Welcome!

Recently, my friends have been affectionately referring to me as the "Callback kid". Actually, I'm lying. I've been referring to myself as the "Callback kid" and it hasn't quite caught on...yet.

Why? Because this audition season in Seattle, I have been called back for three large productions. Did I mention all three are paying gigs? However, don't write me off yet as egocentric, because, due to large volumes of performers and a handful of paying shows (it makes me feel better to think about it that way), I have not been hired...yet.

But my faith is intact! I know that someday, I will walk into an audition and someone will say, "Hey! Dance 10 Voice 3, but lots of potential for growth and spunky as hell!"

You just never know. Stay tuned to follow the results of my audition season this year. Potential shows: Cabaret (5th Avenue), Mame (5th Avenue), and Black Nativity (Intiman Theatre).

Mr. Cassavetes and Mr. Pasolini

Thu, 2007-09-13 12:12

Two more films seen by directors on this list.

I watched A Child is Waiting by Cassavetes. It was very, very good. Curiously, it makes me feel especially the universal weakness of the human race - how fun!

Last night I watched Mamma Roma (bad, bad wikipedia article!). Quite a good film, Anna Magnani does a great job. Surprisingly abrupt ending.

Here are the directors left:

  • Tarkovsky
  • Visconti
  • von Stroheim
  • Mankiewicz
  • Marker
  • Dovzhenko
  • Flaherty
  • Rocha

I've got a Mankiewicz on Tivo, a Dovzhenko on VHS(!) from the library on the coffee table, and holds on a Tarkovsky, a Marker, and a Visconti. The list will soon be even shorter...

a photo with a statue

Mon, 2007-09-10 21:54

I visited Vancouver over the weekend for the first time, with Jenni and my parents. It was a quick trip, just got a first sense of the city. Not a bad town, it seems to me.

I often take a lot of pictures when I visit cities, and throw almost all of them away. I'm often impressed by "urban photography", and always hope that I'll get something good. This photo is the best of this trip. I like the double elbow, and the looks on the two faces are just great. (Click the image for a bigger version.)

no more "not verified"!

Mon, 2007-09-10 11:43

So, comments on this blog are either from me, or from "anonymous" users: I don't see any point to requiring (or allowing) users to create user accounts and "log in" here. It's just talking.

Anyway, the default practice with drupal seems to be to append "(not verified)" to every user's name in comments. This looks crappy, especially since the user can't fix this, and, in fact, I can't fix it: there is no way to "verify" a user, whatever that means.

So I looked around on the web, and found a nice little piece of code to add to the template.php file in the blog's theme's folder. It worked immediately - no problemo.

Interestingly, I found the code here, on Matt Farina's site, which is dedicated to "tech, faith, and life". How curious.


Wed, 2007-09-05 23:16

In my continuing project to see a film by every director on this list, I watched Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul tonight. It was fantastic. Amazing cinematography of simple settings, great acting, very human story. I loved it.

I also watched Hsiao-Hsien Hou's Cafe Lumiere, which was terribly empty. It had some nice city shots, but nothing else to recommend it.

I saw Kiarostami's A Taste of Cherry. A very simple film, good acting, but I wish it was just a little less minimal, and a touch of humor (even the slightest touch) would have helped.

I watched Max Ophul's Lola Montes, too. Just terrible, though I thought at first that the circus scenes were really going to make the movie work for me.

So, I've got 10 directors left:

  • Tarkovsky
  • Visconti
  • Cassavetes
  • Pasolini
  • von Stroheim
  • Mankiewicz
  • Marker
  • Dovzhenko
  • Flaherty
  • Rocha

The end of Beethoven

Tue, 2007-09-04 23:29

I always enjoy the last minute or so of Beethoven symphonies, so I made this piece: it's the last minute of Beethoven's 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th symphonies, all played at the same time, ending simultaneously. I recommend headphones, or a subwoofer.

Beethoven Ends 1

More sounds here!

Rome, Open City

Sat, 2007-09-01 00:09

I watched Rome, Open City by director Roberto Rossellini tonight. I thought it was very powerful, and sad, another reminder of mankind's cruelty: hooray!

I watched it as part of a little project I've set for myself to see at least one movie by all 100 top directors at the
They Shoot Picture's Don't They? site. When I started this project, I had 25 director's films to see; with Rossellini out of the way, I've got 14 left:

  • Tarkovsky
  • Ophuls
  • Visconti
  • Cassavetes
  • Kiarostami
  • Fassbinder
  • Pasolini
  • von Stroheim
  • Mankiewicz
  • Marker
  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou
  • Dovzhenko
  • Flaherty
  • Rocha

I've been putting holds on DVDs at the library - it's been very effective, and a nice way to spend part of my summer.

it begins

Thu, 2007-08-30 16:43

So, I'm starting a blog.

The natural question is, "Why?"

Well, one excuse is to try out Drupal. It's an open source, content management system, and I am using it to run this blog. I want to learn a bit about Drupal, as I am, supposedly, going to be setting up the Freedom Socialist Party's new website using Drupal. Their site currently,, is perhaps the oldest still functioning site on the web, and it is way overdue for a redesign. However, the redesign has been taking forever (over a year now, I think); I was expecting to spend this summer building the new site, but I haven't even started, so who knows when this will happen.

In the meantime, I'll learn a few things more about Drupal by messing around here. The appearance of the blog may change drastically as I mess with the style sheets and such, just for fun.

I see the primary feature of a blog, as opposed to just a website, is the ability to include comments, so please feel free to leave some. Note that previewing of comments is wonky at the moment, due to some color issues. Pay it no mind.