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JahSonic 2003 February Blog

This is where I post movies, books and cds I own or would like to own or point to a site.

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In Association with Amazon.com

2003, Mar 01; 22:09
  • On Love - Alain de Botton [1 book, Amazon US]
    A tour-de-force pleasure of a first novel that takes a conventional love story and textures it with philosophical ruminations, ironic subtitles, and various sorts of playfulness, including pencil drawings. The narrator, on a flight from Paris to London, meets Chloe in the first chapter, ``Romantic Fatalism'': ``The longing for a destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life.'' In each ironically titled chapter to follow (``Marxism,'' ``Beauty,'' Skepticism and Faith,'' etc.), the paragraphs are numbered, as de Botton develops his disquisition upon love and its limitations. Apothegms abound: ``If the fall into love happens so rapidly, it is perhaps because the wish to love has preceded the beloved....'' The narrator falls for Chloe, but even at the beginning, dishonesty enters the picture: ``What sides of myself should I release?'' The narrator, in fact, is a prevaricator, leaving the relationship to speculate upon various matters: ``Few things can be as antithetical to sex as thought.'' Soon enough, disillusionment sets in: Chloe, trying to read Cosmo, tells the narrator to turn down the ``yodeling.'' It's Bach. ``Understanding Chloe, I was like a doctor, passing hands over a body, trying to intuit the interior.'' Understandably, Chloe tires of such a creep, and the two practice ``romantic terrorism.'' (``Is there anything wrong?'' ``No, why, should there be?'') Chloe, unfaithful, leaves him to contemplate suicide--and ``The Jesus Complex''--before he finds Rachel and the whole thing starts again.... A dissertation/novel on romantic narcissism that's both intellectually stimulating and emotionally touching. A very promising debut. (First printing of 25,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates
    2003, Feb 28; 09:26
    've been dancing to house music since the beginning - over 15 years. One would think after all that time, all those long nights dancing, collecting this music, spinning house, living house, that one would eventually tire of it all. Become jaded. Bored. And move onto something else. But exactly the opposite has happened. I have grown more passionate about the house that Jack built with each passing year. -- Apollo http://livingart.com/raving/articles/housemusic101.htm
    2003, Feb 28; 09:17
  • Anatomy of Melancholy (1600s) - Robert Burton [1 book, Amazon US]
    One of the major documents of modern European civilization, Robert Burton’s astounding compendium, a survey of melancholy in all its myriad forms, has invited nothing but superlatives since its publication in the seventeenth century. Lewellyn Powys called it “the greatest work of prose of the greatest period of English prose-writing,” while the celebrated surgeon William Osler declared it the greatest of medical treatises. And Dr. Johnson, Boswell reports, said it was the only book that he rose early in the morning to read with pleasure. In this surprisingly compact and elegant new edition, Burton’s spectacular verbal labyrinth is sure to delight, instruct, and divert today’s readers as much as it has those of the past four centuries. --amazon.com
    2003, Feb 26; 21:29
  • Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web - David Weinberger [1 book, Amazon US]
    David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined does not merely celebrate the World Wide Web; it attempts to make a case that the institution has completely remodeled many of the world's self-perceptions. The book does so entertainingly, if not convincingly, and is a lively collection of epigrammatic phrases (the Web is "'place-ial' but not spatial"; "on the Web everyone will be famous to 15 people"), as well as illustrations of these changes. There are intriguing assertions: that the Web is "broken on purpose" and that its many pockets of erroneous information and its available forums for disputing, say, manufacturers' hyperbole, let people feel more comfortable with their own inherent imperfections. At other times the book seems stale: it declares that the Web has disrupted long-held axioms about time, space, and knowledge retrieval and that it has dramatically rearranged notions of community and individuality. Weinberger's analysis, though occasionally facile and too relentlessly optimistic and overstated, is surely destined to be the subject of furious debate in chat rooms the cyber-world over. --H. O'Billovich for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 26; 14:13
  • The Style Engine: Spectacle, Identity, Design, and Business: How the Fashion Industry Uses Style to Create Wealth - Giannino Malossi [1 book, Amazon US]
    "Why brilliant fashion designers, a notoriously non-analytic breed, sometimes succeed in anticipating the shape of things to come better than professional predictors, is one of the most obscure questions in history; and, for the historian of culture, one of the most central." Eric Hobsbawm The Style Engine is an unprecedented survey of the culture of fashion and the fashion industry -- from the products and objects themselves (clothes, accessories, etc.) to the immaterial, ephemeral, shifting meaning outside of the products (the interdependence between the fashion world and mass media, the cult of the fashion designer, symbolic story-telling as seen on the runway and in magazines). This sophisticated social and cultural study of fashion is splendidly illustrate with images by the most celebrated photographers and narrated by a multifaceted group of international experts -- cultural anthropologists, journalists, academics, designers --- examining the allure and mystery of fashion from different viewpoints. "Fashion and Entertainment, Image and Media" takes a look at mass media and shows how fashion has influenced pop music, movies, television, photography, and advertising. "Fashion, Identity, and Society" demonstrates how fashion is a social phenomenon and cultural industry comparable to the entertainment, news, and information industries. "Industry/Economics" explains the process itself, from threads to textiles to finished product. "The Methodology of Fashion Design" not only reveals the manufacturing and marketing of the designs (clothing), but also exposes the contexts in which these objects acquire value (fashion). Fashion is one of the truly international languages, speaking to individuals in every country of the world, and this fascinating book will speak to those legions of style-obsessed readers. --anonymous for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 25; 18:26
  • Doom Patrols: A Theoretical Fiction About Postmodernism - Steven Shaviro [1 book, Amazon US]
    Although suffering from paragraphs that are simply too long and an invisible bibliography, Shaviro's work is a wonderful read, albeit dense. A reading of Grant Morrison's "Doom Patrol" is highly recommended as each of the chapters in Shaviro's work draws from Morrison's complex superhero saga; cursory knowledge of some of the other sources may help too, as they are numerous and vital to understanding how gross Shaviro's effort truly is. Worth reading, if only for the discussions on language (memes showing their ugly face again), identity, the information age and perversity. Conspicuously absent are Frank Zappa, Pee Wee Herman and Greg Egan. But then one needs material for a sequel. -- Matthew Wolf-Meyer for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 25; 00:43
    I found an old log it covers 1996 to 1998. All internal links still function. The external links don't usually. I had just gotten into vinyl buying, especially flea markets and cheap second hand vinyl shops. I was starting to find out more about the early New York origins of the music I had just discovered here. It also features an old top ten (1996) here
    2003, Feb 25; 00:21
  • Krazy and Ignatz 1925-1926: "There is a Heppy Land Furfur A-waay" (Krazy Kat) - George Herriman [1 CD, Amazon US]
    In 1999, the Comics Journal named Herriman's Krazy Kat the greatest comic strip of the 20th century. It's never been too well known (in the course of its 30-year run, it often survived only because of William Randolph Hearst's support), but cartoonists more or less agree it's a masterpiece. The premise couldn't be simpler: Krazy Kat loves Ignatz Mouse, who rejects the Kat's affections by throwing a brick at him? her? Krazy is both and neither whereupon Offisa Pupp arrests Ignatz. This was the plot of nearly every episode, but the beauty was in the variations Herriman could work on it and in his delirious sense of style. The primal comedy played out in thousands of ways, drawn with an incomparable design sense against a gorgeously stylized backdrop of the American Southwest and delivered with Herriman's hilarious dialogue half invented, half quasi-Joycean wordplay ("Ooy-yooy-yooy wot a goldish oak finish like a swell mihoginny piyenna l'il dusky dahlink!!!"). This first in a new series of reprints (designed by Chris Ware and edited by Bill Blackbeard) picks up where the series published by Eclipse Books left off 10 years ago; it'll cover two years in each volume. This 1925-1926 collection shows how Herriman began to stretch out, opening up his layouts and experimenting with storytelling technique and the basic conventions of the comic strip itself. --2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
    2003, Feb 24; 17:46
  • Singin Some Soul - Joe Bataan [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. My Cloud 2. I'm No Stranger 3. Under the Street Lamp 4. I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today) 5. More Love 6. Unwed Mother 7. Young Gifted and Brown 8. Ordinary Guy 9. Cowboys to Girls 10. Crystal Blue Persuasion If ever an album deserved the title of "lost classic," here it is. Joe Bataan, an Afro-Filipino native of Spanish Harlem, became a star in the community when he and his young, rough-and-tumble band figured out the connection between Latin and African-American sounds and conquered the younger segment of the Latin market with a string of late 60s smashes including "Gypsy Woman," "Ordinary Guy," "What Good Is A Castle" and "Riot." Joe's technically-flawed but soulfully affecting Everyman vocals told tales of underclass strife and pride with some of New York's roughest neighborhoods as a backdrop. Even the love songs usually worked in references to poverty. By the time this record was recorded in 1970, Joe felt ready to try his hand at an album of pure R&B without any Latin rhythms and the result is sheer delight. Utilizing a mixture of Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago soul influences, yet still maintaining its essential New York-ness, "SSS" is a joyful if somewhat dated classic of its era, and it remains extremely infectious and appealing. The string and horn parts remind the listener of the demise of "arrangements" in popular music, and the vocals and songs ("Under The Street Lamp," "Young Gifted & Brown," "Unwed Mother") come literally straight from the heart. This album also contains the BEST version of "Crystal Blue Persuasion" ever recorded, as well as great covers of Smokey Robinson and Intruders songs. Truly beautiful, at once touching and uplifting, and yet another album that is long overdue for greater exposure and discovery. "SSS" is one of only two albums of its type in Joe's rich catalog. It's short, just about 30 minutes, but unlike most of today's albums, every second counts! Thanks, Joe! -- Greg C for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 24; 13:57
  • Easy Star All Stars: Dub Side of Moon - Various Artists [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Track Listings 1. Speak To Me/Breathe (In The Air) 2. On The Run 3. Time 4. The Great Gig In The Sky 5. Money 6. Us & Them 7. Any Colour You Like 8. Brain Damage 9. Eclipse 10. Time (Alternate version) 11. Great Dub In The Sky 12. Step It Pon The Rastaman Scene 13. Any Dub You Like
    Talk about a concept album that could have fallen flat on its face: Let's redo the legendary Dark Side of the Moon with a reggae beat! How bad it could have been is staggering... Instead, great studio artists and producers have created an excellent recording that not only shows a deep respect for the original album, but also for the great dub music of the 70's that have carried on into today's reggae and club music. This CD will delight traditionalist Pink Floyd fans as well as purist reggae dub lovers. And if you are a Massive Attack fan, this is the work of art that MS is striving to create. Enough rambling and expounding. Just get it!!! --brian_s_evans for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 24; 13:52
  • Wackies Sampler 1 (2003) - Various Artists [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Track Listings 1. All I Can Say [Edit] - Love Joys 2. Movie Show [Edit] - Junior Delahaye 3. You Rest on My Mind - Naggo Morris 4. You and I - Wayne Jarrett 5. Take It Easy [Edit] - The Meditations 6. Jah Light - Love Joys 7. Time Is Now - Stranger Cole 8. Youth Man [Edit] - Wayne Jarrett 9. African Roots Act 2 Dub - Wackies 10. Stay On Dub - Wackies 11. Wicked a Go Feel It - Sugar Minott 12. Musical Episode - Horace Andy 13. Gimme Back, Pt. 1 - Love Joys 14. Money Money - Horace Andy 15. Jah Natton Dub - Wackies 16. Dub Stew - Wackies 17. Love Is What You Want - Clive Field Marshall 18. This World [Edit] - Leroy Sibbles [...]
    2003, Feb 24; 13:48
  • Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti (2002) [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Never has there been a more appropriate Red Hot tribute than this one dedicated to the music of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti, the Nigerian legend who died from AIDS-related complications in 1997. The artists and groups heard here, nearly 40 all told, cover the musical spectrum: hip-hop (Blackalicious, Roots), jazz (Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp); soul (Sade, D'Angelo), Afrobeat (Tony Allen, Femi Kuti), world music (Baaba Maal, Jorge Ben), electronic music (Mixmaster Mike, Money Mark) and rock (Nile Rodgers). They have come together to raise money for the 25 million Africans now infected with the AIDS/HIV virus. Red Hot efforts often pair different artists together on the same song, and this album features many once-in-a-lifetime collaborations. Fela's music has been refashioned and mixed together here according to the styles of the artists, rendering several of the 20 songs barely recognizable in comparison with the originals. But such is the strength of Fela's music that even such singular-sounding artists as Macy Gray and Dead Prez get into the Afrobeat spirit of things. --Tad Hendrickson for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 24; 10:09
  • The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939 (1992) - John Carey [1 book, Amazon US]
    The obscurities of modern art and literature, according to Carey (English/Oxford; John Donne, 1981), were devised by the intelligentsia to exclude the new reading public for whom they had contempt--a thesis that Carey applies here to, among others, George Gissing, H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, and Wyndham Lewis. Nietzsche, Yeats, Shaw, Flaubert, Ibsen, Ortega y Gasset, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce--indeed the entire modernist movement, says Carey, depicted the ``masses'' and the popular culture they generated with disdain. These writers, the author contends, worshiped the lofty, isolated, high-minded artist who produced an alienating art without human or narrative content to which the masses could relate. Followers of Freud, the intelligentsia feared crowds and condemned their suburban refuges as culturally impoverished ecological disasters. Gissing concluded that the masses were ineducable, while Wells considered them manifestations of a ``biological catastrophe.'' Meanwhile, Bennett, the ``hero'' of Carey's study, believed that the people could be redeemed through the study of literature, although Wyndham Lewis- -whom Carey compares to Hitler--felt that the democracy they believed in was effeminate. The author attempts to demonstrate how Mein Kampf was firmly rooted in the intelligentsia's orthodoxy--and how the incineration of Jews was an extension of it. Members of The intelligentsia, he says, believed that they formed a natural aristocracy united by an esoteric body of knowledge that protected them from the herd. Concluding with a chilling analogy, Carey suggests that the influence and style of the turn-of-the-century intelligentsia survives in the obfuscations of contemporary criticism. Provocative, courageous, certainly stimulating--and reflecting a profound understanding of the often invisible yet potentially insidious relationship between aesthetics and politics, as well as of how art can be used to camouflage the most repugnant ideas. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates [...]
    2003, Feb 24; 09:20
  • Short Cinema Journal 1:3 - Authority (1999) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Commentary by film historian David Shepard on Night and Fog
    Commentary by director Natasha Uppal on The Whites
    Commentary by director Sasha Wolf on Joe
    Commentary by the director and producer on Flying Over Mother
    Includes: A Girl's Own Story by Jane Campion, Performance McKean with Michael McKean, Night & Fog by Alain Resnais, The Whites, Dada, The Iron Giant/Joe by animator Piet Kroon, Flying Over Mother & Os Camarada
    Short 3: Authority, the Warner Bros.-revised reissue of PolyGram's digital magazine, is a tenuously linked but rich collection of classic and contemporary short films. Apart from Performance McKean, a slight little piece with Michael McKean doing a subdued Denis Leary-esque riff, nothing really anchors the theme of "authority," but Alain Resnais's powerful and moving 1955 documentary Night and Fog gives the collection both class and heft. It was the first film to confront the issues of the Holocaust, and the horrifying black-and-white archival footage has lost none of its terrifying power. Historian David Shepard provides illuminating background to the production and insight to Resnais's approach in a commentary track that runs for half of the program's 30 minutes. Jane Campion's A Girl's Own Story, an offbeat and unusually haunting remembrance of growing up in the '60s, is about a schoolgirl who lives for the Beatles and escapes into fantasy as her parents' marriage breaks up before her eyes. Other highlights include the frenetic animated piece Dada, a satire of the frustrations of a new father whose son doesn't meet social expectations, Sasha Wolf's Joe, the quietly observed story of a man holding on to his precarious sense of identity in a mental hospital, and the experimental comic piece The Whites, which uses stop-motion techniques to create a jittery parody of the everyday social rituals of a middle-class family. Each of these includes optional commentary by the filmmakers. The disc is rounded out by Flying Over Mother, a Russian-language but New Zealand-made piece about a cosmonaut reminiscing about his childhood, and the Brazilian Os Camaradas, a Kafka-esque satire about food, identity, and bureaucracy. --Sean Axmaker for amazon.com
    2003, Feb 23; 23:06
  • Cloud Nine (1969) - Temptations [1 CD, Amazon US]
    When this album was originally released in early '69, it was a gamble. Could the Temptations, known as smooth melodic crooners of love songs, successfully reinvent themselves as contemporaries of Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Parliament, and the Chambers Brothers, with their psychedelic rock and soul sounds? The answer was YES. CLOUD NINE, this masterpiece by produced by Norman Whitfield, the most soulful producer to ever come out of Motown, is one of my favorite CDs by the Temptations. --blackprincess for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 23; 12:03
  • Solaris (2002) - Cliff Martinez [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Went to see Solaris yesterday evening. The film sucks. The music is its only redeeming value. Soundtrack is by Cliff Martinez, who is an ex band-member (drummer, I believe) of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Cliff has been composing film music since the mid eigthies. Check him at imdb at http://us.imdb.com/Name?Martinez,+Cliff
    2003, Feb 23; 11:18
  • Surrealism: Desire Unbound - Jennifer Mundy, Vincent Gille, Dawn Ades [1 book, Amazon US]
    Chapter One: LETTERS OF DESIRE by Jennifer Mundy 
    Chapter Three: "PRIERE DE FROLER": THE TOUCH IN SURREALISM by Julia Kelly 
    Chapter Five: BOOKS OF LOVE--LOVE BOOKS by Vincent Gille 
    Chapter Six: LIVES AND LOVES by Vincent Gille 
    Chapter Seven: SURREALISM, MALE-FEMALE by Dawn Ades 
    Chapter Nine: HISTORY, PORNOGRAPHY AND THE SOCIAL BODY by Carolyn J. Dean 
    Chapter Eleven: STAGING DESIRE by Alyce Mahon 
    Chapter Twelve: DESIRE--A SURREALIST "INVENTION" by Annie Le Brun [...]

    2003, Feb 21; 13:25
  • Mediated Sex: Pornography and Postmodern Culture - Brian McNair [1 book, Amazon US]
    Mediated sex is about the proliferation of sexual discourse in all its variants, from pornography as narrowly defined to the "s/m chic" of advertising and the art of Jeff Koons and Madonna. It examines the place of these representations in late-20th century, post-HIV and AIDS culture, and in the context of the history of sexual representation from Greek antiquity onward. With extensive reference to examples drawn from the US and the UK, Mediated Sex attempts to make sense of and assess the many contradictory and conflicting claims made about the impact of sexual representation on individuals and societies. [...]
    2003, Feb 20; 13:59
  • Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (1991) - Donna J. Haraway [1 book, Amazon US]
    A collection of ten essays written mostly during the eighties. With a feminist perspective and the premise that nature is constructed, rather than discovered--and that truth is made, not found--Haraway provides an analysis of the popular and scientific struggles involved in the telling of evolutionary tales. The author is a historian of science at the U. of California, Santa Cruz. Some plates and illustrations. [...]
    2003, Feb 20; 13:47
  • Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction (1993) - Scott Bukatman [1 book, Amazon US]
    As dense as it is deep, Bukatman's work is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in science fiction, postmodern theory, or the relationship between technology and human culture. The glowing reviews by Bruce Sterling and Larry McCaffery were well-deserved, and this book will have a permanent place on my bookshelf (right next to Storming the Reality Studio). I had never heard of Scott Bukatman before finding this book, but I now look forward to reading anything he writes in the future. -- alone@waste.org for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 20; 12:11
  • What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) - Woody Allen, Senkichi Taniguchi [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    What better way for writer-star Woody Allen to cash in on the success of What's New Pussycat? than to write a quickie exploitation comedy that makes fun of quickie exploitation films? In some respects What's Up Tiger Lily? is a forerunner of Mystery Science Theater 3000, only instead of having actors sit back and make sarcastic comments about a cheapo movie, here they dub new dialog onto a ridiculous Japanese spy extravaganza. Allen's exquisite sense of the absurd is in fine form as espionage professionals pursue a top-secret recipe for egg salad. At one point during the planning of a break-in, a spy unfolds a map of their quarry's residence, explaining that the man "lives here." "He lives on that small piece of paper?" questions one of the henchmen. It's that silly. But it's often uproarious. Louise Lasser, Allen's former wife (and co-star of Bananas and future star of TV's Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) is among the voice actors. --Jim Emerson for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 19; 13:05
  • The Beast (La Bête) (1975) - Walerian Borowczyk [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This film is an great, but odd piece of French 70s sleaze-horror, from the maker of "Dr.Jekyll and his Women", and "Immoral Tales."
    It starts off in a castle where two horses are coupling. Once you've got over that (guys, don't feel inadequate; girls, don't go there!). A woman arrives to catch the tail end of this scene. She's come to marry. But the castle's family have a curse.
    She visits the curse in a dream where at first we see a 1700s rural scene, and a woman chased by a bear like creature that's got a very big, hard knob, with a very painful looking buldge on the end (how on earth it's going to fit in her?!)
    Then we go to more modern times where another woman, in another dream is chased by the monster. She gets it off with her feet before kissing it.
    I hope I've not offended anyone by this description. If I have, don't buy the film. Though the reverse may not be true. lecudedag for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 19; 12:28
  • Requiem for a Dream aka Last Exit to Brooklyn (1978) - Hubert Selby Jr. [1 book, Amazon US]
    Aronofsky made a lot of industry noise in 1998 with Pi, his critically praised low-budget indie hit and debut feature. For his second film, he collaborated with one of his literary gurus, Hubert Selby Jr., to adapt Selby's 1978 cult classic Last Exit to Brooklyn. Set on the scarred and bleak streets of Coney Island, Brooklyn, the story follows heroin addict and twentysomething Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), his smack-snack gorgeous girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly), and running buddy Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) as they conceive a way to score pure heroin. An illuminating interview with Aronofsky prefaces the script, which in the Faber & Faber vein, unlike the Newmarket "Shooting Script," has less detailed camera shots and reads more like a play. For more specialized cinematic collections. --Cahners Business Information, Inc. [...]
    2003, Feb 19; 11:19
  • Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience, Including Charlotte Bronte, Louisa May Alcott, Anais Nin, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, Nina Hagen, Carrie Fisher, and Others - Michael Horowitz & Cynthia Palmer [1 book, Amazon US]
    Let's get one thing straight right off the bat, Sisters of the Extreme is a "reissue" of 1982's Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady -- cut, streamlined and reformatted beyond all recognition. Evidently, the authors took the edge off their book for a more "conservative" era -- either that, or they assume their reader's minds have been so numbed by drugs that we NEED heavy edits and People Magazine-inspired "look" to hold our limited attention.
    Sure, there are a couple of new excerpts worth reading (the one from Mary Woronov's "The Mole People is revealing), but for the most part, Sisters of the Extreme seems to be pandering to old YUPPIES who need a little stimulation. I swear that if I read ANYTHING by Carrie Fisher ever again, it will be too soon -- enough of the "I went to rehab and got a bad haircut" trip. Get over it.
    In the introduction, the authors do say that they edited some excerpts for space and deleted others all together. When I got out the two editions and compared them almost line for line, I discovered a disturbing trend -- whereas Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady allowed one to take the writings at face value, Sisters of the Extreme has definite agenda. Sisters of the Extreme doesn't LIKE drugs. It doesn't want ME to like drugs. It wants me to be TITILATED by the writings. The difference is clear.
    Sisters of the Extreme is a product of the times. It's been dumbed down and punched up. Sure, the authors include a couple of writings on sex magick and a few counter culture cartoons, but the overall smell of political correctness is stupifying.
    The gist of my review is this: if don't already own a copy of Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady, go ahead and buy Sisters of the Extreme. Then, go on a quest for the Real Thing.
    In the meantime, the use bibliography in Sisters of the Extreme to find and read the original sourced writings. You'll be glad you did. --kayla_rigney for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 19; 11:19
  • A Brief History of Drugs: From the Stone Age to the Stoned Age - Antonio Escohotado [1 book, Amazon US]
    1 Remote Antiquity 
    2 The Greek World 
    3 The Roman World 
    4 The End of Paganism 
    5 Islam and Inebriation 
    6 Drugs, Lust, and Satan 
    7 The Resurgence of Medicine 
    8 The Discovery of America 
    9 The End of the Old Regime and the Opium Wars 
    10 The Nineteenth Century 
    11 The Antiliberal Reaction 
    12 The Beginnings of the Crusade 
    13 New Drugs 
    14 A Pharmacratic Peace 
    15 The Psychedelic Rebellion 
    16 Return of the Repressed 
    17 The Era of Substitutes 
    18 Some Aspects of the Problem 

    This wonderful new volume is a very readable and informative condensation of and expansion on Escohotado own previous publication, the lengthy three-volume 'Historia General de las Drogas'. Here, in a text finely balanced with history and science, he traces humanity's affair with drugs and intoxicants beginning with the third millenium B.C., and leading up to the modern hi-tech psycheledics. He traces some of the most popular drugs like caffeine and hemp back to their surprisingly early origins. Taking into account the involvement of drugs in early religious festivities, he offers an analysis how they've made an easy move from there to a more secular, pleasure-seeking culture, accompanied by the parallel villification of drugs by religion, the institution that played a leading role in their introduction to society. This concise book will make readers aware of the extent of the spread of drugs through history, and of the hopelessness of all attempts to make them disappear from future history as well. bibliomantic for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 19; 09:56
  • Naked Lunch (1959) - William S. Burroughs [1 book, Amazon US]
    "He was," as Salon's Gary Kamyia notes, "20th-century drug culture's Poe, its Artaud, its Baudelaire. He was the prophet of the literature of pure experience, a phenomenologist of dread.... Burroughs had the scary genius to turn the junk wasteland into a parallel universe, one as thoroughly and obsessively rendered as Blake's."
    Why has this homosexual ex-junkie, whose claim to fame rests entirely on one book--the hallucinogenic ravings of a heroine addict--so seized the collective imagination? Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in a Tangier, Morocco, hotel room between 1954 and 1957. Allen Ginsberg and his beatnik cronies burst onto the scene, rescued the manuscript from the food-encrusted floor, and introduced some order to the pages. It was published in Paris in 1959 by the notorious Olympia Press and in the U.S. in 1962; the landmark obscenity trial that ensued served to end literary censorship in America.
    Burroughs's literary experiment--the much-touted "cut-up" technique--mirrored the workings of a junkie's brain. But it was junk coupled with vision: Burroughs makes teeming amalgam of allegory, sci-fi, and non-linear narration, all wrapped in a blend of humor--slapstick, Swiftian, slang-infested humor. What is Naked Lunch about? People turn into blobs amidst the sort of evil that R. Crumb, in the decades to come, would inimitably flesh out with his dark and creepy cartoon images. Perhaps the most easily grasped part of Naked Lunch is its America-bashing, replete with slang and vitriol. Read it and see for yourself. [...]
    2003, Feb 19; 09:49
  • The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell (1954) - Aldous Huxley [1 book, Amazon US]
    Sometimes a writer has to revisit the classics, and here we find that "gonzo journalism"--gutsy first-person accounts wherein the author is part of the story--didn't originate with Hunter S. Thompson or Tom Wolfe. Aldous Huxley took some mescaline and wrote about it some 10 or 12 years earlier than those others. The book he came up with is part bemused essay and part mystical treatise--"suchness" is everywhere to be found while under the influence. This is a good example of essay writing, journal keeping, and the value of controversy--always--in one's work. --amazon editorial [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 23:48
  • Deathtripping: An Illustrated History of the Cinema of Transgression - Jack Sargeant [1 book, Amazon US]
    Deathtripping is an illustrated history, account and critique of the "Cinema of Transgression", providing a long-overdue and comprehensive documentation of this essential modern sub-cultural movement. Includes:
    * A brief history of underground/ trash cinema
    * Seminal influences such as Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, George and Mike Kuchar
    * Interviews with key film-makers, such as Richard Kern, Nick Zedd, Cassandra Start, Beth B, Tommy Turner, plus associates such as Joe Coleman, Lydia Lunch and Lung Leg.
    * Notes and essays on transgressive cinema, philosophy of transgression, manifestos.
    * Film index, bibliography
    Heavily illustrated with rare and sometimes disturbing photographs, Deathtripping is a unique guide to a style of film-making whose impact and influence can no longer be ignored. --amazon.com editorial [...] [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 22:28
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) - Oscar Wilde [1 book, Amazon US]
    A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden." As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: "All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment." --Amazon.com editorial
    2003, Feb 18; 22:13
  • Blood and Roses : Vampires in 19th Century Literature - Adele Olivia Gladwell [1 book, Amazon US]
    The definitive collection of 19th Century literature in which the vampire, or vampirism - both embodied and atmospheric - appears. Seventeen seminal texts by legendary European authors, covering the whole of that delirious period from Gothic and Romantic, through Symbolism and Decadence to proto-Surrealism and beyond, in a single volume charged with sex, blood and horror.
    Includes: Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Machen, Le Comte de Lautramont, Count Stenbock, J-K Huysmans, Jean Lorrain, Thophile Gautier, Charles Nodier, J Sheridan Le Fanu, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Oscar Wilde, Ivan Turgenev, Charlotte Bronte, J.M.Ryder --amazon editorial [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 12:10
  • Squaredancing in a Roundhouse (2002) - Derrick L Carter [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Boompty Boomp Theme 2. Hollow Clash of Marionettes 3. Do You Believe? 4. If I 5. Birthday Song 6. Cats Paws 7. Friends Talk 8. Where You at? 9. New Wave Punk Out 10. All Dreams Collide 11. While Corey Slept 12. Hope 13. Rhythm Machine 14. Legacy 15. Squaredancing in a Roundhouse
    For those who might not know, Derrick Carter is a true superstar DJ. He swans around the globe, jet-setting from five-star hotels to designer boutiques to the most exclusive clubs and parties to play records for the world's most beautiful people, all because his mixing skills are akin to Michael Jordan's basketball abilities at his prime. Stories of Carter slaying crowds with his Jedi-like DJ powers are legendary, with tales of impossibly long mixes being flawlessly executed passed around the underground like candy. Like the time in college when a friend dragged me out of a club to sit in his car and listen to a jaw-dropping mix of Plastikman's "Spastik" under Sheila E.'s "Glamorous Life" that Carter had just pulled off in Toronto. He's got it like that. Then he has the audacity, the unmitigated gall to be just as brutal in the recording studio, knocking out red-hot tracks and remixes like nobody's business. So unlike the legions of great producers who can't spin their laundry dry to strong DJs whose tracks, well, suck, Carter can do it both ways — and well. Perpetuating his signature juxtaposition of banging, bottom-heavy bass bounce with spacey effects and trippy vocals (and yes, the boy can sing, too), DJs get ugly like fashionistas at a Diesel half-off sale to get his wax in their bags. I still get misty at the memory of finding a mint copy of his remix for the Beloved's "Ease the Pressure" at a ridiculously low price at the store across the street from MTV's "Real World 11" pad in Chicago over on North Avenue. Sigh.
    But I digress. We're here to announce the arrival of the long-awaited debut artist outing from our hero, an album that's been in the making long enough for fans and critics alike to wonder if it would ever see the light of day. Now that it's here, everyone can exhale and let the celebrations begin: It's the bomb, kids.
    Opening with the disco dissertation "Boompty Boomp Theme," Squaredancing in a Roundhouse is the rare house long-player that actually lives up to the title of being an album, not just a collection of tracks (or even worse, a sleepy, sloppy mess of "experimentation"). Without betraying the dance floor (or your nerves), Carter exploits his panoramic range of influences, where Prince, Jamie Principle and Psychic TV all happily run rampant. He plays the BPMs like a stick shift in a tricked-out sports car, going from zero to "Oh shit!" in no time at all. Even seemingly simple dance tracks like "Do You Believe?" come loaded with extras, like chicken-picked guitar lines that should have those glittery cowboy hats flying all over the club. Yeee-ha! He makes Principle proud with lots of heartfelt and effective vocals, like on the existentially groovy "If I." By the time the raucous "Where You At?" rolls around, the party's definitely on, and there's still the sexy "All Dreams Collide" and a bumping "Rhythm Machine" on deck. Boompty boomp indeed. --Scott Sterling for m URB Magazine [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 12:10
  • Mushroom Jazz 4 (2002) - Mark Farina [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Little Soul, A - Pete Rock 2. Hot Bananas - Scienz Of Life 3. Suite For Beaver Part 1, The - People Under The Stairs Listen Listen 4. Truth In Position - Maspyke 5. Chicago Babe - Trankilou 6. Wiggle And Giggle - Joshua 7. Shoplif - Ripshop feat. Mr. Lif 8. Keep Your Head Up - Laurnea 9. Original Beats - DJ Slave 10. No - Fat Jon 11. Mellow Soul Fruit - Wick Wack 12. Listen - Benny Blanko 13. Phone Tap - Bernal Boogie 14. Irreconcilable - Sub-Conscious 15. Seems To Know - Juluis Papp & Dave Warrin 16. Find Yourself - Space Hopper 17. Dayz - DJ Spinna 18. Big Fish - Dubbie-D 19. Bath Music - Greyboy feat. Dave Pike & Elgin Park
    For the fourth release in his acclaimed Mushroom Jazz series, DJ Mark Farina lets the urban dance and hip-hop roll while staying true to the downtempo, rainy-day-jazz mode that inspired the series title. Farina has left a trail of devoted jazz-house fans in his wake, from Chicago to San Francisco. Some might not follow the path he walks on this record, which even more than Jazz 3 finds inspiration in the DJ flava of rappers like Mr. Lif and Fat Jon. Others will appreciate the easy, smooth vibe of the record, not to mention Farina's always dependable taste in selections and contrasts. Benny Blanko's "Listen" empties into the funky din of Bernal Boogie's "Phone Tap" with nary a ripple, while tracks from Scienz of Life and People Under the Stairs hypnotize and pleasantly disorient the listener with a sweaty serenity. By cradling rougher styles in smooth trip textures, Farina successfully expands his palette and keeps the series crispy fresh. --Matthew Cooke for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 11:45
  • For Those Who Like to Get Down (2002) - Marques Wyatt [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. For Those Who Like To Get Down Listen Listen 2. Change For Me - Osunlade Presents Erro Listen Listen 3. Green Tea - Slowsupreme Listen Listen 4. Feel Alive - Demetrios Project Listen Listen 5. Precious Lord - Paul Johnson Listen Listen 6. Love Vibe - Iz + Diz 7. Mind Magic - Majestika 8. Loot - Mafikizolo 9. Days Like This - Shaun Escoffery 10. Outta Space - Daniel Paul 11. Oda Oya - Ola Jagun And His Ancestral Rhythms 12. Caf=E9 De Flore - Doctor Rockit 13. Brooklyn (Where I Live - Kerri Chandler featuring E-Man 14. Rubbersong - The Rurals
    This is the real McCoy: Thumping bass, slick *ss mixes, a great groove for any party. This was my intro to Mr.Wyatt and I am not dissapointed. If you like Ben Watts, Arman Van Helden, Blaze, Timmy Regisford, Lazy Dog Vol I, you will love this CD--but only if you like to get down... Missy Gregory for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 11:33
  • Loveslapped by Julius Papp (2002) - Julius Papp [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Julius Papp A Flower Blossoms 2. Nick Santillan and Marc-Alan Gray Adore (Chris Brann Remix) 3. Satin Soul Azziza (Mauricio Aviles and Charles Spencer Remix) 4. Charles Spencer featuring Yshara Belle et Bjte (JPs Sweet Itiz Mix) 5. Mr. A.L.I. Rial 6. Shuffle Inc All I Do 7. Zap Mama This Crazy Life (Nostalgie Amoureuse) (Charles Spencer Remix) 8. Mike Huckaby and Charles Spencer Grace 9. Nick Santillan featuring Jackie Green How Can I? 10. Charles Spencer featuring Yshara Freed or Bound Driving Dub (Miss Spank and Jay-J Remix) 11. Julius Papp Release the Groove
    Like every musical genre these days, House is undergoing transformation. Internationally acclaimed producer and DJ, Julius Papp, leads this metamorphosis with his newest release, Loveslapped by Julius Papp. Julius presents three tracks, along side other Loveslap artists who believe House should be a musical journey containing all the emotions, feelings and elements of real life. Moving away from the common "colder" synth-based sounds long associated with the genre towards the integration of more live instruments and organic sounds, Julius purposefully tells a story with his song composition and selection.
    Building on his early musical influences from the 1970's when disco, soul and rock all coexisted on the same radio stations, Julius expanded his musical interests over the years to include everything from dance to old school funk to hip hop and jazz. With this eclectic culmination in mind, he developed a smoother edge, a deeply soulful soothing style of House that is captured in this new release.
    Over the past decade, Julius has played radio, maintained packed residencies, and toured throughout the world. For this exciting new mixed CD, Julius drew exclusively from the Loveslap catalog and family of artists to create his realization of how it feels to be Loveslapped by Julius Papp. --Amazon.com editorial [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 11:06
  • Somebody Else's Guy (1984) - Jocelyn Brown [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Somebody Else's Guy [Remix] 2. I Wish You Would 3. Hot Blood 4. I'm Caught up (In a One Night Love Affair) 5. Ain't No Mountain High Enough 6. Hot Natured Woman 7. Somebody Else's Guy [Original Version] 8. Somebody Else's Guy [Dub] 9. Somebody Else's Guy [Acapella] 10. I'm Somebody Else's Guy [Special Rap Version Featuring: Frederick "M.C. 11. Somebody Else's Guy [7" Version]) 12. You Got Me [...]
    2003, Feb 18; 01:21
  • Love Will Find Its Way: The Best of Robert Owens (2002) - Robert Owens [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Disc: 1 1. River 2. Tell Me [Live Mix] 3. Teardrops 4. Tears 5. Changes 6. Visions 7. Love Will Find Its Way 8. Thing Called Love 9. In Love Forever 10. Can You Feel It 11. Bring Down the Walls 12. Never No More Lonely 13. Mine to Give [David Morales Happy Mix] Disc: 2 1. All Over 2. I'm Strong 3. Picking Up the Pieces 4. Darkman 5. You'll Never Know 6. After the Rain 7. All Night Long 8. Ordinary People [Roach in the Bassbin Mix] 9. I'll Be Your Friend [Original Def Mix] 10. Was I Here Before [The Farley Sound Mix] 11. My Heart Is Your Home [Live] 12. Best Friend
    'love Will Find Its Way' is the Essential Collection of Robert Owens. Spanning Two Decades, it Defines the Different Periods and Styles from 86's Seminal 'bring Down the Walls' Right Up to his 2001 Collaboration with Photek on the David Morales Mix of 'mine to Give'. This Album is the Quintessential Robert, Raw and Uncut! [...]
    2003, Feb 17; 23:05
  • Adrian Sherwood (2003) - Never Trust A Hippy [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Adrian Sherwood: "Never Trust A Hippy" - Following a remix session for Temple Of Sound at RealWorld studios the label asked him if he would be interested in doing an album of his own for them. He agreed and the result is NTAH - a dubby, downbeat affair based in Jamacian rhythms that lay the foundation for African and Asian inspired melodies. Sly & Robbie make guest appearances here, as do Sherwood's daughters who contribute backing vocals to two tracks. After close to 20 years of producing music for others, it's nice to see Adrian step into the spotlight with his own record. [...]
    2003, Feb 17; 13:20
  • Deep Blues Robert Palmer [1 book, Amazon US]
    There's no other way to put it, this is simply the best book out there on the blues both as a music form and as force in shaping American culture. At once simple and concise, yet broad and in depth enough to tell a very complete story, this one work should satisfy everyone from the novice to the experienced blues fan.
    Meticulously researched, Palmer uses Muddy Waters as a jumping off point to explore the history and evolution of the blues as music as well as the society and culture from which it sprang. He peppers his work with amazing anecdotes, from the story of Robert Johnson, the Band meeting a dying Sonny Boy Williamson, an aging Howlin' Wolf giving a phenominal concert that add color to his story and helps make his frequent forays into musicology more tolerable to the non-musician. Best of all is the sense of time and place the book evokes, from plantations and dark swamps in rural Mississippi, to the noisy, crowed streets of South Chicago at the peak of the Great Migration, to small clubs and long forgotten juke-joints.
    I read this book for the first time 10 years or so ago and have probably reread it 5 times since. I keep coming up with new things to admire about the book every time. That so much richness can be packed into such a short readable work is amazing. This book triumphs over everything else written on the subject and only leaves you wanting to explore further. --csikkeng@remc7.k12.mi.us for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 17; 12:50
  • Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One - Rickey Vincent[1 book, Amazon US]
    Funk, which with its sharp syncopation and improvisational freedom has had a lasting impact on all popular music, is finally the subject of a book-length study. Vincent provides substantial analysis of funk's musical elements, especially its unique harmonies and rhythms, and the social forces that shaped its development. He focuses on well-and lesser-known innovators since the 1960s and on how such diverse elements as jazz and African pop music fed into funk, and he concludes that rap and hip-hop have successfully continued to incorporate funk's beat and lyrical edge. His book is strongest when he argues for recognizing the cultural importance of George Clinton and the brigade of his Parliament-Funkadelic cohorts. Vincent shows that not only did Clinton establish a framework for the explosive talents of bassist Bootsy Collins, keyboardist Bernie Woffell, and others but "without polemics, militarism, or racially charged code words, Clinton's P-Funk placed the African-American sensibility at the center of the universe, and ultimately at the center of history." Aaron Cohen for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 17; 11:59
  • Coffy [SOUNDTRACK] (1973) - Roy Ayers [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Coffy Is the Color Listen Listen 2. Pricilla's Theme Listen Listen 3. King George Listen Listen 4. Aragon Listen Listen 5. Coffy Sauna Listen Listen 6. King's Last Ride 7. Coffy Baby 8. Brawling Broads 9. Escape 10. Shining Symbol 11. Exotic Dance 12. Making Love 13. Vittroni's Theme-King Is Dead 14. End of Sugarman
    The film that gave Pam Grier her first leading role and vaulted her to queen bee of the blaxploitation movement also inspired a soundtrack that is arguably Roy Ayers's most rewarding work. Grier plays a disgruntled nurse who goes "underground" to exact revenge on the pusher men who put the monkey on her junkie sister's back. Ayers matches her step for gun-totin' step with crisp, percolating drum lines; colorful ripples of electric piano; and his signature, lissome vibe work. Ayers' twin talents--the head-scratching virtuosity of his jazz runs and the ass-shaking grooves of his R&B rhythms--are in full flower on this recording. But Coffy is more than an acid-jazz archetype. The classically inspired solo harpsichord piece and the wack auxiliary percussion freak-out also included here hint at a deeper pool of inspiration that Ayers would rarely return to again. --Matt Hanks for amazon.com [...] [...] [...]
    2003, Feb 17; 11:23
  • Interpretation of Dreams (1900) - Sigmund Freud [1 book, Amazon US]
    Whether we love or hate Sigmund Freud, we all have to admit that he revolutionized the way we think about ourselves. Much of this revolution can be traced to The Interpretation of Dreams, the turn-of-the-century tour de force that outlined his theory of unconscious forces in the context of dream analysis. Introducing the id, the superego, and their problem child, the ego, Freud advanced scientific understanding of the mind immeasurably by exposing motivations normally invisible to our consciousness. While there's no question that his own biases and neuroses influenced his observations, the details are less important than the paradigm shift as a whole. After Freud, our interior lives became richer and vastly more mysterious. These mysteries clearly bothered him--he went to great (often absurd) lengths to explain dream imagery in terms of childhood sexual trauma, a component of his theory jettisoned mid-century, though now popular among recovered-memory therapists. His dispassionate analyses of his own dreams are excellent studies for cognitive scientists wishing to learn how to sacrifice their vanities for the cause of learning. Freud said of the work contained in The Interpretation of Dreams, "Insight such as this falls to one's lot but once in a lifetime." One would have to feel quite fortunate to shake the world even once. --Rob Lightner for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 17; 11:19
  • Leaving Las Vegas (1991) - John O'Brien [1 book, Amazon US]
    John O'Brien, the tormented author of the 1991 novel Leaving Las Vegas, which served as the basis for last year's film, did not live in the world of overachievers, nor did he view alcoholism as something to be overcome. O'Brien wrote fiction, but his tales of the bottle are intensely biographical. Like the washed-up screenwriter Ben in Leaving Las Vegas, he lost jobs because he couldn't stay sober. He too had intended to drink himself to death but in 1994, at age 33, committed suicide more expediently with a gun. For O'Brien and his characters, drinking is a way of life and death, an unextinguishable passion--beyond love and any trace of reason it accords--that must be succumbed to completely, perhaps even embraced. -- GINIA BELLAFANTE [...]
    2003, Feb 16; 20:33
    "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Pat Robertson, 1992 [...]
    2003, Feb 16; 17:53
  • Only Begotten Daughter (1990) by James Morrow [1 book, Amazon US]
    Much like Neal Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, Only Begotten Daughter left me nonplussed. The sense of humor (other than some assorted wordplay) didn't work for me, and what could have been a wry and subtle story about a divine young woman trying to find her purpose in life takes a horribly wrong turn when the devil himself shows up and proves to be working to use her for his own purposes. Morrow uses the set-up to poke some fun at Christianity, and is sometimes entertaining when he does so, but often the story is muddled.
    The first third of the book is best, with child-of-god Julie Katz growing up in New Jersey with her Jewish father, lesbian almost-stepmother, and best friend. Thing go downhill in the middle third, when the adult Julie tries to figure out how to help people, and gets caught up in a web spun by Satan to create a new church. Julie makes some decisions which I just didn't buy about her character, and spends the last third of the book trying to make sense of what her earlier actions created: A fairly standard religious dystopia.
    Though Morrow has clearly researched his source material deeply, he has trouble getting to the heart of his characters (Julie is, at best, something of a cipher), and his story isn't particularly effective. The strange "moral" of the story seems to be: If people are chastising you for not reaching your full potential, then lower your potential. Morrow doesn't seem to grasp the irony of this lesson, and the book ends up feeling profoundly unfulfilling. Michael Rawdon for amazon.com --Michael Rawdon for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 15; 19:21
  • Madonna (1983) - Madonna [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Lucky Star 2. Borderline 3. Burning Up 4. I Know It 5. Holiday 6. Think Of Me 7. Physical Attraction 8. Everybody 9. Burning Up (12in Version) 10. Lucky Star (New Mix) This is the album that launched her to the world and she has never looked back since. This album I orginally bought in late 1983 and again on cd in early 1987 and is one of my favorites because she isn't trying to be anything but a dance artist and the songs showcase a vibrant energy that most of her later work doesn't have. In 1982 the dance community got the first glance at her with the 12"s of "Everybody","Phyical Attraction" and "Burning Up". The came "Holiday" in 1983 and the rest is history. "Holiday " remains my favorite Madonna song of all time because she is at ease and happy and that energy in any form of music is very very rare . This new remastered cd features the 12" mixes of "Lucky Star"(7:15) and "Burning Up"(5:56) which were mixed by then boyfriend Jellybean Benitez. Classic Madonna from start to finish. --kenny eisenberger for amazon.com [...] [...]
    2003, Feb 14; 22:09
  • Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821) - Thomas De Quincey [1 book, Amazon US]
    Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) is a central figure of English Romanticism. CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM EATER, his best-known work, is an account of his early life and opium addiction. De Quincey lived his full three score years and ten. But few would have predicted it, for his father and numerous of his siblings were carried off by tuberculosis. He owed his survival to opium: its powers kept the disease at bay, but in trade it kept De Quincey its slave. When the physical life hangs by a thread, nature often compensates with another gift. With De Quincey, it was his intellect, from which came this offering which lives to this day. -- amazon editorial [...]
    2003, Feb 14; 21:46
  • Super Rare Disco, Vol. 2 (1997) - Various Artists [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Let's Start the Dance 2. Somebody's Gotta Go (Sho Ain't Me) - Mike & Bill 3. Overnight Sensation - Jerry Knight 4. If My Friends Could See Me Now - Linda Clifford 5. When the Fuel Runs Out - Executive Suite 6. Think Before You Stop - The Notations 7. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart - The Trammps 8. I Caught Your Act - Hues Corporation 9. Happiness Is Just Around the Bend - The Main Ingredient 10. Every Beat of My Heart - Crown Heights Affair 11. There'll Come a Time, There'll Come a Day - Basic Black 12. Smarty Pants - First Choice 13. This Will Be a Night to Remember - Eddie Holman 14. Down to Love Town - The Originals 15. Mainline - Black Ivory 16. Bottle - Brian Jackson 17. Ten Percent - Double Exposure 18. (Sending Out An) S.O.S. - Rhetta Young 19. Remote Control - The Reddings 20. Love Insurance [...]
    2003, Feb 14; 21:42
  • Super Rare Disco, Vol. 1 (1997) - Various Artists [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Tell Me What You Want - Jimmy Ruffin 2. Dreaming a Dream - Crown Heights Affair 3. Touch and Go - Ecstasy, Passion & Pain 4. Sugar Pie Guy - The Joneses 5. Footstompin' Music - Hamilton Bohannon 6. Free Man - South Shore Commission 7. My Baby's Got E.S.P. - Four Below Zero 8. You Little Trustmaker - The Tymes 9. Rock Me Again & Again [6 Times] 10. Let Me Lay My Funk on You - Poison 11. I'll Be Holding On - Al Downing 12. Dream World - Don Downing 13. To Each His Own 14. Makes You Blind - Glitter Band 15. Date With the Rain - Eddie Kendricks 16. It's Just Begun - The Jimmy Castor Bunch 17. Girls 18. Player - First Choice 19. Peace Pipe - B.T. Express 20. Hold Back the Night - The Trammps [This are not twelve inch versions, this is before the twelve inch era, or if they are, they are mixed, Touch and Go and My Babty's Got E.SP. and Player are stupendous] [...]
    2003, Feb 14; 13:32
  • Maschera del demonio, La (aka Black Sundayà (aka The Mask of Satan) (1960) - Mario Bava [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    The reigning masterpiece of Italian horror cinema, Mario Bava's Black Sunday remains one of the most stylishly photographed of all horror films, ranking with any other black-and-white film of lasting repute. This was the master cameraman's official directorial debut, and his striking compositions are the work of a genuine artist in peak form. Loosely adapted from a story by Nikolai Gogol, this chilling vampire tale begins in 17th-century Moldavia, where the evil Princess Asa (Barbara Steele) is executed for witchcraft and vampirism, along with her brother Javutich (Arturo Dominici). Two centuries later, a pair of traveling doctors discover Asa's crypt and inadvertently revive the evil princess, whose scheme of vampiric revenge is aimed at her own identical descendant Princess Katia, an innocent beauty (also played by Steele) whose lifeblood will ensure Asa's immortality.
    Influenced by Universal's classic horror films of the '30s and British Hammer films of the late '50s, Black Sunday (released in Italy as The Mask of Satan) is a dark fairy tale, with horror queen Steele as the definitive embodiment of erotic horror. With shocking violence (tame by today's standards) and visual emphasis on tombs, secret passages, ominous castles, and unseen forces, the film offers a wealth of memorable imagery and inventive technique. Redubbed, rescored, and harshly edited for its American release in 1961, Black Sunday is presented on DVD in the original English-language director's cut of The Mask of Satan, never before available in the U.S. The perfect movie to watch on a dark and stormy night, this timeless classic is the Citizen Kane of horror films, entirely worthy of its lofty reputation. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 14; 10:01
  • Necronomicon: The Journal of Horror & Erotic Cinema (1996) Andy Black [1 book, Amazon US]
    Necronomicon: Book one continues the singular, thought-provoking exploration of transgressive cinema begun by the much-respected and acclaimed magazine of the same name. The transition to annual book format has allowed for even greater depth and diversity within the journal's trademarks of progressive critique and striking photographic content. Includes:
    * Jean Rollin: The surreal and the sapphic
    * Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Exploitation or modern fairytale?
    * Barbara Steele: Icon of S/M horror
    * Frightmare: Peter Walker's psycho-delirium classic
    * Marco Ferreri: Sadean cinema of excess
    * Deep Throat: Pornography as primitive spectacle
    * Dario Argento: Tortured looks and visual displeasure
    * Last Tango in Paris: Circles of sex and death
    * H P Lovecraft: Visions of crawling chaos
    * Witchfinder General: Michael Reeves' classic of visceral violence
    * Herschell G. Lewis: Compulsive tales and cannibal feasts
    * Evil Dead: From slapstick to splatshtick [...] [...]
    2003, Feb 14; 09:40
  • Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981) - Marco Ferreri [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    "Style is the answer to everything," intones skid row poet Charles Serking, played by the suitably grizzled and worn Ben Gazarra, to his somnambulistic audience. Serking is, of course, a not-at-all veiled stand-in for beat legend Charles Bukowksi, whose autobiographical short stories were the basis for this film. But Serking, in many ways, comes off more like a gin-soaked fantasy of a skid row Hemingway whose sports of choice are alcohol, women, and sex. Behind the salt-and-pepper beard and rummy eyes lies an actor too poised to allow himself to fully sink into the alcoholic sloppiness that Mickey Rourke so easily brought to the screen in the less pretentious and more concise Barfly, which Bukowski himself scripted. But if Italian-born director Marco Ferreri stumbles over the self-conscious dialogue, he's right at home capturing the seedy atmosphere of dim, run-down apartments and underlit bars in the real Hollywood Serking calls home. When Serking's fling with the stunning, self-mutilating Italian hooker Cass (Ornella Muti, who puts her oversized safety pin to some rather startling uses) becomes too emotional, he takes the anonymous safety of the streets--crashing in a flophouse, passing around a bottle with a listless knot of derelicts. Serking melds right in with the littered streets and lost souls, a real man of the people. Suddenly you see it: he's got style. --Sean Axmaker for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 13; 14:06
  • Un Chien Andalou (1928) - Luis Buñuel [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Without the Luis Bunuel/Salvador Dali collaboration UN CHIEN ANDALOU, there might well have been no PINK FLAMINGOS, no ERASERHEAD, no Pasolini or Godard or Polanski etc. etc. etc., at least not the way we know and love them. Bunuel was once called the "Alfred Hitchcock of the Avant-Garde". Although most of what critics say makes as much sense to me as stereo instructions might to a Mayan tribesman, I have to say that that's pretty accurate; no one delved so deeply into the subconscious on-camera so successfully and so gleefully. And this is the film that started it all. Infamous eyeball-slicing aside (if such a notion is plausible), there is alot to be marvelled and shocked by. Of course, this isn't going to cause a riot (as it most assuredly did when it premiered in Paris in 1928... everyone, I'm sure, knows the story about Bunuel presiding over the record player that would supply the film's soundtrack at the film's premiere, his pockets filled with rocks), but it still packs a surprising nihilistic wallop after more than 70 years. I'm not going to reveal any of what you will see. It should suffice though, to tell you, that after these 20 or so minutes are over, you'll realize you've seen probably the closest cinematic approximation to a dream EVER produced. EVER. Viva Bunuel!... Steve Proteus for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 23:45
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) - Robert Louis Stevenson [1 book, Amazon US]
    The young Robert Louis Stevenson suffered from repeated nightmares of living a double life, in which by day he worked as a respectable doctor and by night he roamed the back alleys of old-town Edinburgh. In three days of furious writing, he produced a story about his dream existence. His wife found it too gruesome, so he promptly burned the manuscript. In another three days, he wrote it again. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published as a "shilling shocker" in 1886, and became an instant classic. In the first six months, 40,000 copies were sold. Queen Victoria read it. Sermons and editorials were written about it. When Stevenson and his family visited America a year later, they were mobbed by reporters at the dock in New York City. Compulsively readable from its opening pages, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is still one of the best tales ever written about the divided self. --amazon editorial [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 23:37
  • Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus (1818) - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley [1 book, Amazon US]
    Frankenstein, loved by many decades of readers and praised by such eminent literary critics as Harold Bloom, seems hardly to need a recommendation. If you haven't read it recently, though, you may not remember the sweeping force of the prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multilayered doppelgänger themes of Mary Shelley's masterpiece. As fantasy writer Jane Yolen writes of this (the reviewer's favorite) edition, "The strong black and whites of the main text [illustrations] are dark and brooding, with unremitting shadows and stark contrasts. But the central conversation with the monster--who owes nothing to the overused movie image … but is rather the novel's charnel-house composite--is where [Barry] Moser's illustrations show their greatest power ... The viewer can all but smell the powerful stench of the monster's breath as its words spill out across the page. Strong book-making for one of the world's strongest and most remarkable books." Includes an illuminating afterword by Joyce Carol Oates. --amazon editorial review [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 20:15
  • Psycho (1960) - Alfred Hitchcock [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    The entire one hour and forty-seven minutes of the film is all here. Psycho (1960) is still the most eerie and terrifying thriller ever made of its kind. The DVD version is crystal-clear. In the "Bonus Features" is a one hour and thirty-seven minute documentary that includes all the secrets of making the film plus an entertaining and delightful interview with Janet Leigh. There is also a "Censored Shot" of Janet Leigh that never made it into the film that you can see here on DVD. The six-minute trailer of "Psycho" with Alfred Hitchcock giving you a tour of the outside sets and inside sets is on the DVD too. James P. McDonald for amazon.com [ This DVD includes never-seen-before "Censored Shot"., January 28, 2003 ... do it for the music [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 16:51
  • Baadasssss Cinema - A Bold Look at 70's Blaxploitation Films (2002) [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    What a great treat to find so many beloved icons in Isaac Julien's excellent documentary about blaxploitation cinema: actors Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, and Gloria Hendry, among others, as well as directors Gordon Parks and Melvin Van Peebles. Through their piercing perspectives, plus commentary by the likes of film critic Elvis Mitchell and (of course) cult aficionado and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Baadasssss Cinema makes a persuasive argument that 1970s blaxploitation was both an American achievement and a temporary fix for Hollywood's then-economic doldrums. Julien gracefully leads viewers on a tour of blaxploitation's aesthetic and social roots, including a desire by African American audiences to see black protagonists stand up to power. Baadasssss Cinema also explains the appeal of warhorse movie genres--gangster films, horror--to the blaxploitation industry, discusses African American ambivalence in the '70s toward the films' new racial stereotypes, and makes sense of blaxploitation's commercial burnout once Hollywood got hold of the formula. --Tom Keogh for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 16:04
  • Ost - Demonlover [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Move Away 2. Control Freak 3. Safe In Hell 4. Electric Noisefield 5. Slambient Desire 6. Melodikim 7. Teknikal Illprovisation 8. Superdead 9. Lovely Head 10. Dirge 11. Hedgehoppers (Film Version) 12. Back To The Primitive
    Experimental rock band composed 'Demonlover' between summer and autumn 2001. Features eight tracks composed by Sonic Youth along with four additional tracks by Goldfrapp, Death In Vegas, Sub Squad & Soulfly. The film screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. EMI Music France, 2002 [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 15:53
  • Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost - Burning Spear [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    1. Marcus Garvey 2. Slavery Days 3. Invasion 4. Live Good 5. Give Me 6. Old Marcus Garvey 7. Tradition 8. Jordan River 9. Red, Gold and Green 10. Resting Place 11. Ghost 12. I and I Survive 13. Black Wadada 14. John Burns Skank 15. Brain Food 16. Farther East of Jack 17. 2000 Years 18. Dread River 19. Workshop 20. Reggaelation
    This was where it all started for Burning Spear, in those days a vocal trio of Winston Rodney, Delroy Hines, and Rupert Milligton. And what a bomb to drop for a debut! It was heavier, and more militant, than anything that had ever been heard in reggae before, taking elements of the music and combining them in a new way. A concept album of sorts, it helped raise awareness of the black leader while still keeping a strong Rasta vibe to the sound, hypnotic and dread. Time has shown it to be one of the classic albums of reggae, charged and powerful. Chris Nickson for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 15:39
  • The American Experience - Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind (2001) - Stanley Nelson [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    The story of Marcus Garvey, a controversial African American leader of the early 20th century, is thoughtfully told in this documentary, an installment in the American Experience series on PBS. Garvey, who was born in Jamaica, learned the printer's trade as a teenager, and his ability to express himself in print helped him become an advocate for black rights in his homeland. He formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association, but a financial scandal forced him to flee to New York. Before long he organized the UNIA in America, and his organization began an amazing chapter in American race relations. Garvey, after choosing the unlikely role model of evangelist Billy Sunday, became a great orator and enlisted many thousands of African Americans in his movement. Elderly people recall attending Garvey's rallies and parades with their parents 80 years ago, providing touching and fascinating insights. Newsreel footage shows Garvey, who took to wearing grandiose costumes in public, as well as the fervent crowds who flocked to him. Before long the federal government was seeking to destroy Garvey, and an obscure young Justice Department attorney named J. Edgar Hoover was writing reports denouncing him as a "notorious Negro agitator." A mail fraud charge led to Garvey's imprisonment and eventual exile in England. This intelligent film shows how Garvey, though always a controversial figure, was an important precursor to the American civil rights movement. --Robert J. McNamara [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 15:04
  • The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France - Asti Hustvedt [1 book, Amazon US]
    In France at the end of the nineteenth century, progress and material prosperity coincided with widespread alarm about disease and decay. The obsessions of our own culture as the millennium comes to a close resonate strikingly with those of the last fin-de-siècle: crime, pollution, sexually transmitted disease, gender confusion, moral depravity, alcoholism, and tobacco and drug use were topics of popular discussion then as now. The Decadent Reader is a collection of novels and stories from fin-de-siècle France that celebrate decline, aestheticize decay, and take pleasure in perversity. By embracing the marginal, the unhealthy, and the deviant, the decadent writers attacked bourgeois life, which they perceived to be the chief enemy of art. Barbey d'Aurevilly, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Jean Lorrain, Guy de Maupassant, Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Catulle Mendès, Rachilde, Jean Moréas, Octave Mirbeau, Joséphin Péladan, and Remy de Gourmont looted the riches of their culture for their own purposes. In an age of medicine, they borrowed its occult mysteries rather than its positivism. From its social Darwinism, they found their monsters: sadists, murderers, transvestites, fetishists, prostitutes, nymphomaniacs, and hysterics. And they reveled in them, completely upending the conventions of romance and sentimentality. The Decadent Reader, which includes critical essays on all of the authors, many novels and stories that have never before appeared in English, and familiar works set in a new context, offers a compelling portrait of fin-de-siècle France. amazon.com editorial review [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 12:48
  • Maldoror & the Complete Works of the Comte De Lautreamont - Lautreamont [1 book, Amazon US]
    "Maldoror" is one of the most intriguing, weird little books I've ever read. every surrealism fiend (like myself) should buy numerous copies of this book. Lautreamont advances on every form of authority and convention with an aggressiveness and deadly seriousness that would have made Jim Morrison shudder, and we find ourselves shivering during parts of this dark but beautiful pearl of a book. Maldoror, the outcast monster, is perhaps every alienated person we have scorned and ostracized because of their individuality or uniqueness. He is a furious and vicious being of total revolt, and by the end of this strangely dreamlike, automatic text, we have seen every barrier of civilization and every moral that lays the foundation of society trampled and spat upon. look especially for the scene where Maldoror guns down some swimmers in the ocean and then proceeds to have sex with a whale. (I wonder if he wrapped it up!) when Andre Breton said this book seemed to exceed the limits of human capacity, he wasn't joking. If you're a misanthrope and a disaffected weirdo like myself, you simply cannot miss this. a sometimes startling yet essential celebration of ultimate freedom and absolute rebellion. --J from NY for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 12:34
  • Antheil: Ballet Mecanique (1924) - George Antheil [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Ballet Macanique 2. Serenade For String Orchestra, No. 1: Allegro 3. Serenade For String Orchestra, No. 1: Andante molto 4. Serenade For String Orchestra, No. 1: Vivo 5. Symphony For Five Instruments: Allegro 6. Symphony For Five Instruments: Lento 7. Symphony For Five Instruments: Presto 8. Concert For Chamber Orchestra
    George Antheil's reputation as the Bad Boy of Music (the title of his fascinating autobiography) was earned largely with his Ballet Mécanique, written to accompany an abstract silent film by the artist Fernand Leger. It was composed for player pianos and percussion, with harsh, driving rhythms, and it caused the kind of riots in Paris that were useful to a composer's reputation. Today, that reputation may keep Antheil from being taken seriously. But when you hear the Ballet (as rescored in 1953 for an early mono recording) today, it's a substantial and exciting piece of music, formally tight and not at all hard on 21st century ears. The remainder of this program shows more of Antheil's range. The Serenade is a lovely piece of Americana, with a particularly touching slow movement. The Symphony and Concert owe much to Stravinsky's "neoclassical" style; both hold up very well. Spalding drives the Ballet hard, and it sounds more frenetic than that old mono recording, but the music can take the heat. This and the remaining performances are splendidly played by the excellent chamber orchestra, and the recording is clear, well-balanced, and realistic in sound. Another Naxos winner. --Leslie Gerber for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 10:52
  • A Brief History of Everything - Ken Wilber[1 book, Amazon US]
    This account of men and women's place in a universe of sex and gender, self and society, spirit and soul is written in question-and-answer format, making it both readable and accessible. Wilber offers a series of original views on many topics of current controversy, including the gender wars, multiculturalism, modern liberation movements, and the conflict between various approaches to spirituality. - amazon.com editorial [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 10:45
  • World of Yesterday - Stefan Zweig [1 book, Amazon US]
    Zweig was one of of the most widely read authors of the interwar period, and an Austrian Jew from Vienna, who describes the period from 1895 onwards to 1942, the date at which he committed suicide in exile in Brazil. At the end of the nineteenth century, Europe was thriving: apart from the small Franco-Prussian war of the seventies, it had known uninterrupted peace for many decades, the bourgeois class was easily making money, and though workers had tough material conditions, their struggles and the overall progress of the economy was making them better all the time. Thus it was a time of optimism and general belief in Progress. The cultural elite freely travelled from capital to capital, without the need for visas and passports and the coming of a united Europe seemed a natural thing to them. Then, as the new century starts to proceed, things start to unravel, and unexpectedly, total war breaks out in 1914, with the masses turning to nationalist hysteria, until the mass killing demoralises the whole population, rich and poor alike. But after the war, an unjust peace that punishes Germany leads to permanent chaos, with nationalist, communist and fascist militias everywhere, severe economic crises such as the great German inflation and 1929 which culminates in a Second World War which destroys everything he loves, destroying his family in the process. This book is thus not dry history but infused with the humanist feelings and tragedy of a human life destroyed by forces beyond the control of an individual. Must reading to understand what once was and had been lost for a long while. --Michel Bauwens [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 0:46
  • Back to Mine - Orb [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Polynominal-C - Aphex Twin 2. Be No One - Charles Webster 3. Nitrogen Pt. 1 - Juno Reactor 4. Interim - B12 5. Ow Much! - Creature 6. Have You Seen Her - The Chi-Lites 7. I Wanna Be A Fishy - Thomas Fehlmann 8. Falling - Julee Cruise 9. The Land Of Green Ginger - The Orb 10. Blue Calx - Aphex Twin 11. Barbie Girl (TF Long Version) - Electric Chairs 12. You Don’t Fool Me - Joachim Spieth 13. Hempire - F.F.W.D 14. The Light 3000 - Schneider TM vs. KPT. michi.gan [...]
    2003, Feb 12; 00:44
  • Analog Days : The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer - Frank Trocco, Trevor Pinch, Robert Moog [1 book, Amazon US]
    In Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer (Harvard University Press; October 30, 2002; $29.95), Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco tell the story of the invention of the Moog electronic synthesizer, the people who created it, and its impact upon music and popular culture. The book focuses on what Pinch and Trocco call the "analog days"--the early years of the synthesizer, between 1964 and the mid-1970s, before the technology went digital. The authors trace the development of the Moog synthesizer from its first conception as a huge modular instrument for studio use though to the Minimoog--the first portable keyboard instrument typical of today's synthesizers. As they relate the history, Pinch and Trocco show how electronic sounds, once considered marginal or weird, entered our mainstream culture, producing a revolution in the way that music is produced and consumed. Harvard Press pressrelease [...]
    2003, Feb 11; 23:00
  • 1959-1969 Early Electronic Music (2002)- Sonology Institute [Amazon UK]
    officially was founded on September 1, 1960, at the instigation of several people representing cultural institutions, the institute for sonology, had already taken initiatives in the field of electroacoustic music since 1954. A large complex of studios (initially under the name STEM = STudio voor Electronische Muziek) was set up under the patronage of Utrecht university in an old house on Plompetorengracht in Utrecht; and the instruments and tapes (among them, that of Varèse's "Electronic Poem") of Philips laboratories' (important to remember the mythic Philips Pavillion in the Brussels's fair in 1958!) This Cd features the works of dick raaymakers, frits weiland, ton bruynel, konrad boehmer, gottfried michael koenig and rainer riehn. [...]
    2003, Feb 11; 11:36
  • L'Ennui aka Noia aka Boredom (1960) - Alberto Moravia [1 book, Amazon US]
    The novels that the great Italian writer Al berto Moravia produced in the years following the World War II represent an extraordinary survey of the range of human behavior in a fragmented modern society. Boredom, the story of a failed artist and pampered son of a rich family who becomes dangerously attached to a young model, examines the complex relations between money, sex, an d imperiled masculinity. This powerful and disturbing study in the pathology of mode rn life is one of the ... Amazon editorial [this was released as a movie in 1998] [...]
    2003, Feb 10; 17:31
  • S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. (2002) - Out Hud [1 CD, Amazon US]
    S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. is a joyous celebration of the place where rock and dance subcultures meet. Like Stereolab and Labradford before them, this Brooklyn-via-San-Francisco group has the good sense to steal from relatively obscure sources (so that the young ones who don't know any better will think they're "original"). More important, they take those influences--ESG, Liquid Liquid, and Pell Mell among them--and do interesting, inventive stuff with what they've found (so that geezer hipsters are pleased). Out Hud is the very best of a wave of acts that spent 2002 partying like it was 1981. They take a Mudd Club-like cross-cultural approach, weaving funk, disco, and new wave with a harder, more experimental post-punk vibe. It's New Order meets Durutti Column, and you're even more liable to like it if that reference means nothing to you. --Mike McGonigal for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 10; 13:59
  • The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass - Peter Shapiro [1 book, Amazon US]
    The Rough Guide to Drum 'n' Bass Music covers the breakbeat and its circulation through the world in genres such as Jungle, Hardcore Techno, Trip-Hop, and Big Beat. This pocket-sized but encyclopedic tome traces the innovators and apprentices, with hundreds of reviews and recommendations. Drum 'n' Bass is divided into two sections--one focusing on Jungle/Drum 'n' Bass/Hardcore and the other focusing on Trip-Hop and Big Beat--and comprises 200 entries organized in A-Z fashion. [...]
    2003, Feb 10; 11:31
  • Studio 54, Volume 1 (1998) - Various Artists [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Studio 54 - Fifty Four All-Stars 2. Keep on Dancin' - Gary's Gang 3. Boss - Diana Ross 4. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) - Chic 5. Vertigo/Relight My Fire - Dan Hartman 6. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) - Sylvester 7. Move on Up - Destination 8. Love Machine, Pt. 1 - The Miracles 9. Contact - Edwin Starr 10. Knock on Wood - Mary Griffin 11. Let's Start the Dance - Bohannon 12. I Got My Mind Made Up - Instant Funk 13. Young Hearts Run Free - Candi Staton 14. Native New Yorker - Odyssey 15. Que Sera Mi Vida - The Gibson Brothers 16. Wishing on a Star - Rose Royce
    As if the genre didn't have enough stigmas to transcend, countless nostalgic compilations have done disco additional disservice by reducing the canon to a handful of obvious tunes trotted out endlessly. Fortunately, by including lesser-known gems like the Gibson Brothers' "Que Sera Mi Vida" next to classics by Sylvester, Dan Hartman, and Chic, the music supervisors of 54 have assembled irrefutable proof that the late '70s weren't the musical wasteland those idiots who torched their Donna Summer LPs claimed. However, the producers apparently weren't entirely immune to the commercial leanings that undermined disco via overexposure; program your CD player to skip the annoying cut-and-paste medley "Studio 54" and Mary Griffin's updated "Knock on Wood," which pales next to Amii Stewart's chart-topping 1979 reading. --Kurt B. Reighley for amazon.com [for completists only, the Studio 54 was blahzay] [...]
    2003, Feb 10; 00:29
  • Looking for St. Tropez (1978) - Telex [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Track Listings 1. Moskow Diskow 2. Pakmoväst 3. Café de la Jungle 4. Ça Plane Pour Moi 5. Someday-Un Jour 6. Something to Say 7. Rock Around the Clock 8. Victime de la Société #2 9. Twist À St. Tropez 10. Maxi Moskow Diskow 11. Fond de l'Air Est Rouge 12. Victime de la Société #1 13. Quelque Chose À Dire 14. Ave Fifi
    I grew up a big Telex fax while living in Belgium and seeing the original albums reissued with obvious immense care is very satisfying. Marc Moulin (a one-time jazz panist and then part-time DJ on Radio Cite), co-synthesist Dan Lacksman and singer (and one-time architect, if my memory serves me right) Michel Moers create synthesized disco (remember, their first album "Looking for St. Tropez" came out in 1979) dance tunes and other electronic wizzardry. Think a mix of Kraftwerk/Gary Numan with a sense of humor. This reissue contains the 9 originals tracks (including the "hits" Twist a St. Tropez, Moscow Discow, and Rock around the Clock--yes, the Bill Haley tune!) and 5 bonus tracks, including some obscure B sides and the last track Avec Fifi, an instrumental, which must be heard to be believed (I won't spoil the surprise here). In the US, Telex achieved brief notoriety with the underground club version of Moscos Discow, which since then has been imitated often, but never equalized. This reissue includes both the "regular" and the "12 inch underground club" version of the song. If you like good synthesizer dance music, you cannot go wrong with "Looking for St. Tropez". Paul Allaer for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 09; 22:39
  • Risque (1979) - Chic [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Track Listings 1. Good Times 2. Warm Summer Night 3. My Feet Keep Dancing 4. My Forbidden Lover 5. Can't Stand to Love You 6. Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song) 7. What About Me
    Risque is disco for the dance crowd and musicians alike. So many were influenced by this album, and it is evident by all the bands that called on the production of the Chic rhythm section. Of course, everyone knows Rapper's Delight was founded on a sample of the song Good Times, but not so well known were the many collaborations: Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran (Notorious), Power Station, Missing Persons... the list goes on and on, and all of the work turned to gold in record sales and radio play. Nile Rogers also did solo work that was quite different from what he did with Chic... Land Of The Good Groove, B Movie Matinee, and a trio he put together called Outloud. Nile was very much into experimenting with all the new music technology that was so prevalent in the 80's. I think this was a turn-off for for Bernard and Tony, but it did allow Nile to go off on his own without the need for a real bass and drum player. All I can say is do a little research and seek out the work of all the players on the Chic albums. Lot's of great stuff to be heard. Robert Henning for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 09; 21:14
    The site made into the hardcopy version of Wire magazine. Thanks guys! [...]
    2003, Feb 09; 21:13
  • Chic (1977) - Chic [1 CD, Amazon US]
    1. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) 2. São Paulo 3. You Can Get By 4. Everybody Dance 5. Est-Ce Que C'Est Chic 6. Falling in Love With You 7. Strike up the Band The eponymous album from Chic is not an especially strong lp, nor does it contain any must-have tracks (although the sensuous and sexy warm weather instrumental "Sao Paulo" comes close). It has two fairly good dance tracks, the singles "Dance Dance Dance" and "Everybody Dance." It is the only Chic album in which a third producer was involved with Rodgers and Edwards. It also appears to have been a fairly hasty affair, cobbled together after the surprise success of "Dance Dance Dance." It is worthwhile, however, from the point of view that it represents in chrysalis stage the talents of one of the most incredible bands in popular music since the big band era. The first single showed them showcasing the bassline in ways that didn't electronically alter it, as had been the practice in pop music. The second single, written by just the duo of Rodgers and Edwards, showed a leap forward in arrangement and songwriting. It represents the springboard into their stronger subsequent work, first with departing vocalist Norma Jean Wright on her self titled album, and then on the classic C'est Chic and Sister Sledge albums. --disco75 for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 04; 12:38
  • The Torture Garden - Octave Mirbeau [1 book, Amazon US]
    The 1899 classic back in print in an illustrated version featuring the photography of Bobby Neel Adams. Currently on back order. An alternate version is available here from Hippocrene Books. [...] [...]
    2003, Feb 02; 11:59
  • The Album - Masters At Work (1993) [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Track Listings 1. Give It to Me [Featuring Screechie Dan] 2. Donde Lo Conseguiste [Featuring Gringo] 3. Buddah Chant 4. Too Smooth 5. Get Up 6. Blood Vibes 7. Can't Stop the Rhythm [Featuring Jocelyn Brown] 8. When You Touch Me [Featuring India] 9. All That 10. I Can't Get No Sleep [Featuring India] 11. Buff Dance 12. It's the Way to Live
    [...] And then [MAW joined forces in 1990], descending from the Puerto Rican quarters of Brooklyn and the Bronx, came Gonzalez and Vega , whose names will forever be associated with the nomadic nineties. [...]
    2003, Feb 02; 11:43
  • What's the 411? - Mary J. Blige [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Tracklisting: 1. Leave a Message - Tony Dofat 2. Reminisce 3. Real Love 4. You Remind Me 5. Intro Talk - Tony Dofat 6. Sweet Thing - Tony Dofat 7. Love No Limit 8. I Don't Want to Do Anything 9. Slow Down 10. My Love 11. Changes I've Been Going Through 12. What's the 411? Mary J. Blige's debut album, What's the 411?, was a revolution in disguise. Like her new jack predecessors, Blige combined R&B with hip-hop, but unlike Guy and Bobby Brown, her music was more seductive and sly. More importantly, she sounds grittier and more real than most new jack swingers or female R&B vocalists. Blige can slip between singing and rapping with ease, which is partially the reason why What's the 411? is so successful. It doesn't hurt that her collaborators, from Grand Puba to Sean "Puffy" Combs, help construct backing tracks that are both melodic, relentlessly funky, and sexy. With producers Dave Hall, Mark Morales, and Mark Rooney, and the stylish touches that they added to Blige's unique vocal style created a stunning album that bridged the gap between R&B and rap in a way that no female singer had before. "Your Remind Me," "Reminisce," "Love No Limit," and the huge hit "Real Love," and the Rufus/Chaka Khan cover "Sweet Thing," make What's The 411 a for sure '90s classic. Cazual90222 for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 23:10
  • Drugstore Cowboy (1989) - Gus Van Sant [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Gus Van Sant made his name with this offbeat story of a small group of drug addicts who heist pharmacies to feed their habit. Matt Dillon completely broke with his juvenile persona as Bob, the grungy ringleader and jittery mastermind of a junkie crew. With his frustrated wife Dianne (Kelly Lynch), his loyal partner, the easygoing Rick (James Le Gros), and Rick's juvenile girlfriend Nadine (Heather Graham in an early role), Bob plots ingenious heists and spends the rest of his days sitting around the house getting high. When the heat becomes too intense in Portland, the quartet hits the road for small-town drug stores and hospitals, but when their luck runs out it does so in grand fashion. Set in the Pacific Northwest of 1971, Van Sant so effortlessly re-creates the period that you'd think the film was a time capsule--except for the attitude. Van Sant refuses to moralize and lines his sympathies behind his characters. They're no heroes, but Van Sant can't cast them as villains either. His low-key direction concentrates on the flavor of day-to-day life for a crew of junkies living from fix to fix. Even his drug imagery is inventively placid, a dreamy set of floating visions that suggests their own disembodied states. James Remar costars as the dogged police detective Gentry and cult author William S. Burroughs makes a memorable appearance as the aging junkie Tom the Priest. --Sean Axmaker for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 23:03
  • Exotica (1995) - Atom Egoyan [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    In spite of its atrociously misleading packaging, Exotica is a beguiling mystery by enigmatic Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, in which people and their relationships are not what they seem. What at first appear to be disparate stories of a tormented tax auditor, a lonely pet-shop owner, and a sensitive stripper and her coworkers gradually merge to reveal a larger, interconnected portrait. The sequences involving Mia Kirshner's schoolgirl stripper are particularly engrossing because of her character's intelligence and the scenes' deeper subtext. Indeed, Exotica is less about stripping than about fragile human relationships, and it is not until the truly revelatory final scene that we are able to fully absorb the film's deeper meaning. --Bryan Reesman for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:52:
  • Groundhog Day (1993) - Harold Ramis [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Bill Murray does warmth in his most consistently effective post-Stripes comedy, a romantic fantasy about a wacky weatherman forced to relive one strange day over and over again, until he gets it right. Snowed in during a road-trip expedition to watch the famous groundhog encounter his shadow, Murray falls into a time warp that is never explained but pays off so richly that it doesn't need to be. The elaborate loop-the-loop plot structure cooked up by screenwriter Danny Rubin is crystal-clear every step of the way, but it's Murray's world-class reactive timing that makes the jokes explode, and we end up looking forward to each new variation. He squeezes all the available juice out of every scene. Without forcing the issue, he makes us understand why this fly-away personality responds so intensely to the radiant sanity of the TV producer played by Andie MacDowell. The blissfully clueless Chris Elliott (Cabin Boy) is Murray's nudnik cameraman. --David Chute for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:47:
  • Fargo (1996) - Joel Coen, Ethan Coen [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Leave it to the wildly inventive Coen brothers (Joel directs, Ethan produces, they both write) to concoct a fiendishly clever kidnap caper that's simultaneously a comedy of errors, a Midwestern satire, a taut suspense thriller, and a violent tale of criminal misfortune. It all begins when a hapless car salesman (played to perfection by William H. Macy) ineptly orchestrates the kidnapping of his own wife. The plan goes horribly awry in the hands of bumbling bad guys Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare (one of them being described by a local girl as "kinda funny lookin'" and "not circumcised"), and the pregnant sheriff of Brainerd, Minnesota, (played exquisitely by Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning role) is suddenly faced with a case of multiple murders. Her investigation is laced with offbeat observations about life in the rural hinterland of Minnesota and North Dakota, and Fargo embraces its local yokels with affectionate humor. At times shocking and hilarious, Fargo is utterly unique and distinctly American, bearing the unmistakable stamp of its inspired creators. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:32:
  • 2001 - A Space Odyssey (1968) - Stanley Kubrick [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    When Stanley Kubrick recruited Arthur C. Clarke to collaborate on "the proverbial intelligent science fiction film," it's a safe bet neither the maverick auteur nor the great science fiction writer knew they would virtually redefine the parameters of the cinema experience. A daring experiment in unconventional narrative inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel," 2001 is a visual tone poem (barely 40 minutes of dialogue in a 139-minute film) that charts a phenomenal history of human evolution. From the dawn-of-man discovery of crude but deadly tools in the film's opening sequence to the journey of the spaceship Discovery and metaphysical birth of the "star child" at film's end, Kubrick's vision is meticulous and precise. In keeping with the director's underlying theme of dehumanization by technology, the notorious, seemingly omniscient computer HAL 9000 has more warmth and personality than the human astronauts it supposedly is serving. (The director also leaves the meaning of the black, rectangular alien monoliths open for discussion.) This theme, in part, is what makes 2001 a film like no other, though dated now that its postmillennial space exploration has proven optimistic compared to reality. Still, the film is timelessly provocative in its pioneering exploration of inner- and outer-space consciousness. With spectacular, painstakingly authentic special effects that have stood the test of time, Kubrick's film is nothing less than a cinematic milestone--puzzling, provocative, and perfect. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:28:
  • Zardoz (1974) - John Boorman [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A bewigged Sean Connery is Zed, a savage "exterminator" commanded by the mysterious god Zardoz to eliminate Brutals, survivors of an unspecified worldwide catastrophe. Zed stows away inside Zardoz's enormous idol (a flying stone head) and is taken to the pastoral land of the Eternals, a matriarchal, quasi-medieval society that has achieved psychic abilities as well as immortality. Zed finds as much hope as disgust with the Eternals; their advancements have also robbed them of physical passion, turning their existence into a living death. Zed becomes the Eternals' unlikely messiah, but in order to save them--and himself--he must confront the truth behind Zardoz and his own identity inside the Tabernacle, the Eternals' omnipresent master computer.
    A box office failure, John Boorman's Zardoz has developed a cult following among science fiction fans whose tastes run toward more cerebral fare, such as The Andromeda Strain and Phase IV. An entrancing if overly ambitious (by Boorman's own admission) film, Zardoz offers pointed commentary on class structure and religion inside its complex plot and head-movie visuals; its healthy doses of sex and violence will involve viewers even if the story machinations escape them. Beautifully photographed near Boorman's home in Ireland's Wicklow Mountains by Geoffrey Unsworth (2001), its production design is courtesy of longtime Boorman associate Anthony Pratt, who creates a believable society within the film's million-dollar budget. The letterboxed DVD presentation includes engaging commentary by Boorman, who discusses the special effects (all created in-camera) as well as working with a post-Bond Connery. --Paul Gaita for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:18:
  • Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios aka Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) - Pedro Almodóvar [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Pedro Almodovar broke into the art-house mainstream with this wild, manic comedy about a gaggle of women and their various problems with men, be they married lovers, cheating husbands, fiancés, or terrorists. Almodovar's long-time leading lady, Carmen Maura, stars as an actress (famed for her laundry detergent commercial as the mother of a sloppy serial killer) who's just been dumped by her married lover. In the midst of trying to track him down for a face-to-face confrontation, she crosses paths with her lover's son (Antonio Banderas), his unbalanced wife (Julieta Serrano), and his new girlfriend (Kiti Manver). Adding more fuel to the fire is the hapless friend (Maria Barranco) who got involved with a Shiite terrorist and is now being hunted by the police. Almodovar, a master of farcical screwball comedy, manages to keep all these balls in the air in dizzy, hilarious style without once losing his momentum. Chock full of the director's over-the-top stylization, in terms of both story and sets, the film is a hilarious yet heartfelt marriage of kitsch and drama, verging on parody but never going entirely over the top. Maura is absolutely breathtaking as the unhinged lover, dispensing wise advice to others while trying to keep a semblance of sanity, and the supporting cast is quintessential Almodovar, including a brief but memorable turn by Banderas in what could have been a bland, go-nowhere role. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1989. --Mark Englehart for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:18:
  • Used Cars (1980) - Robert Zemeckis [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    This 1980 film by director Robert Zemeckis gives no indication of things to come in his career (Contact, Forrest Gump), but it is representative of a certain cynical humor he shared early on with writer-partner Bob Gale. Kurt Russell and Jack Warden star in a sketchy comedy about competing used-car salesmen who resort to outrageous tactics to lure customers away from each other. The jokes, like the characters, are intentionally recycled, self-conscious comic fodder from a baby-boomer's lifetime (such as Gale's or Zemeckis's) of immersion in pop culture. That makes Used Cars more pastiche than original (the film's title itself suggests that), but as such it has some good, if vaguely familiar, laughs in it. Russell, particularly, is very funny as a practiced con man. --Tom Keogh for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:11:
  • Tron (1982) - Steven Lisberger [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    The surprising truth about Disney's 1982 computer-game fantasy is that it's still visually impressive (though technologically quaint by later high-definition standards) and a lot of fun. It's about a computer wizard named Flynn (Jeff Bridges) who is digitally broken down into a data stream by a villainous software pirate (David Warner) and reconstituted into the internal, 3-D graphical world of computers. It is there, in the blazingly colorful, geometrically intense landscapes of cyberspace, that Flynn joins forces with Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) to outmaneuver the Master Control program that holds them captive in the equivalent of a gigantic, infinitely challenging computer game. Disney's wizards used a variety of cinematic techniques and early-'80s state-of-the-art computer-generated graphics to accomplish their dynamic visual goals, and the result was a milestone in cyberentertainment, catering to technogeeks while providing a dazzling adventure for hackers and nonhackers alike. Appearing just in time to celebrate the nascent cyberpunk movement in science fiction, Tron received a decidedly mixed reaction when originally released, but has since become a high-tech favorite and a landmark in special effects, with a loyal following of fans. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 22:00:
  • Targets (1968) - Peter Bogdanovich [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    The story of how this film was made is almost as interesting as the film itself. Bogondavich was assigned a ridiculously short period of time by Roger Corman and a very small budget to come up with a contractual-obligation last film quickie for Karloff, with the only condition being that he had to incorporate scenes from the last two AIP Karloff films, flops that the studio was hoping to reawaken interest in. In just a few days, working on a shoestring, first-timer Bogdonavich comes up with this great, self-reflexive, funny, and disturbing film about an aging horror film star who wants to retire, because he feels his old gentle style of scaring people can't compete with modern horrors such as serial killers. This means that the "showdown" at the end of the film, where the sniper fires FROM BEHIND THE SCREEN, is not only great plotting, but thematically relevant; throughout the film, we're asked to consider our desire to watch horror movies in the first place. Anyone who really likes THINKING about cinema should love this -- it belongs on the shelf with PEEPING TOM and REAR WINDOW. It also has one of the funniest things I've seen in cinema -- a scene where Karloff catches his reflection in the mirror in an off-moment and, associating the image with years of monster movies, jumps in fear, before realizing it is only himself he's looking at... A great little movie. Allan MacInnis for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 21:43:
  • Marusa no onna aka A Taxing Woman (1987) - Juzo Itami [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    A Taxing Woman is the subtly hilarious tale of Ryoko, Tokyo's hardest working female tax inspector. The ruthless diligence of this innocent looking heroine is matched only by the intricate deceptions of Gondo, tax cheat extraordinaire. When Ryoko chances on one of Tokyo's busiest "love hotels," owned by Gondo, she realizes what a goldmine she has stumbled upon. Ryoko's attempt to audit Gondo is thwarted by his hilarious evasive maneuvers. Against a backdrop of stake-outs, searches and a spectacular raid, the two adversaries act out a madcap game of cat and mouse. The taxing woman and her clever prey test their respective skills of detection and deception in a scenario playfully complicated by stirring of mutual sexual attraction. The internationally acclaimed team of Nobuko Miyamoto and Tsutomu Yamazaki (stars of Tampopo and The Funeral) give performances in the best tradition of romantic farce, reminiscent of vintage Tracy and Hepburn. - From the Back Cover [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 21:37:
  • Ridicule (1996) - Patrice Leconte [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    In Patrice Leconte's cool, precise moral comedy Ridicule, the corrupt, sycophantic court of King Louis XVI is invaded by a provincial nobleman, Ponceludon de Malavoy (Charles Berling), who with the help of his own sharp tongue, the coaching of the retired courtier Marquis de Bellegarde (Jean Rochefort), and the love of the Marquis's beautiful, nature-loving daughter (Judith Godrèche) hopes to win funds for his project to drain the fever-infested swamps of his homeland. But first he has to get by the cunning, sexually manipulative Madame de Blayac (Fanny Ardant, imperious and superb) and her waspish, priestly ally, the Abbot de Vilecourt (Bernard Giraudeau). As shaped by screenwriter Rémi Waterhouse, Ridicule is a kind of dashing verbal swashbuckler in which duels aren't fought with swords, but with the equally fatal weapon of words--rapier wit in its most literal sense. Laconte directs with an appealing elegance and a scathing sobriety as he unfolds a fable that could just as easily take place in a Wall Street boardroom, a Park Avenue executive suite, or a Hollywood commissary. --Dave Kehr for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 21:30:
  • Girl on the Bridge, La Fille Sur le Pont (1999) - Patrice Leconte [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Adelle grew up believing sex is what life is all about, and so she never learned how to say "no" to any man or boy. Daniel Auteuil (Gabor) is an over 40 year old, tall, dark, contemplative knife throwing artiste who never smiles and has haunting eyes. After Adelle opens the film with a wryly amusing monologue on the failure of her life, an early scene places her perched in the middle of a bridge over the River Seine on a wintry night. Just as she is about to jump into the icy water, Gabor's voice comes out of the dark, "you don't really want to make this mistake." Adelle is annoyed at this intrusion, and she argues with Gabor about her intentions and his meddling. Gabor is a knife thower, he informs Adelle, and bridges are where he finds the best women candidates to serve as his targets for his dangerous art form. Adelle shrugs this off, accusing Gabor of trying to take sexual advantage of a desperate girl on a bridge. He indignantly dismisses her charge saying that he NEVER sleeps with his targets. "That's YOUR problem!" retorts Adelle. And so begins their relationship. [...] F. Sweet for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 21:17:
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) - Amy Heckerling [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" is essential viewing for anyone that thought "American Pie" was funny. An excellent cast included the late Ray Walston as the concerned American History teacher Mr. Hand. His famous line "What are you people - on dope?" later was used in the 1991 dance song "Total Confusion" by A Homeboy, A Hippi, & A Funki Dred. Sean Penn is hilarious whenever on screen, either via facial expressions or quotes. Phoebe Cates gorgeous as the supposed sexually experienced Linda Barrett ("if I didn't have a fiance in Chicago I'd go for it") although Jennifer Jason Leigh as her naive friend was the one who actually had the sex. Being 32, I really like some 80's movies even today, and can watch "Risky Business", "Revenge Of The Nerds" and "Fast Times..." over and over again. This movie is funny one moment and depressing the next. (Who hasn't winced when Mark Ratner, initally, blows it with Stacey Hamilton?) A movie that deserves all plaudits - gets better with repeated viewings. Initially, I'd reviewed the VHS version - the DVD version finally was released in Australia this week (June 20th, 2002)- and it's worth buying. You get the film, the film again in it's entirety with Amy Heckerling and Cameron Crowe talking - anyone seriously into the film will love this - they discuss add-libbed dialogue, song choices, locations, etc. A documentary "Reliving Our Fast Times..." which is great, interviews with several cast members including the late Ray Walston. Also includes trailer, cast bios, etc. Matthew Thomas for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 21:06:
  • Tightrope (1984) - Richard Tuggle [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Audiences were a little unprepared for this version of Clint Eastwood when Tightrope, a little ahead of its time, was released in 1984, but today, in the wake of movies like 8mm, it almost seems tame. Eastwood plays a New Orleans cop who likes his loving a little on the rough side, and when a serial killer starts murdering a series of prostitutes whom he has hired for his dalliances in the past, he must confront the fruits of what his dark side begets. Geneviève Bujold costars as a rape-crisis counselor who titillatingly badgers and teases Eastwood where he's most vulnerable. The finale devolves into standard-issue psycho-revenge and woman-in-peril fodder, but the psychological exploration of Eastwood's character is compelling--the quease factor is elevated as he balances his shadow life with his public life as a man with two innocent young daughters. Eastwood isn't afraid to stretch his persona to its limits--when asked why he doesn't try boys as partners, he cryptically replies, "Maybe I have." --David Kronke for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 11:42:
  • The Servant (1963) - Joseph Losey [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Winner of three British Academy Awards including Best Actor to Dirk Bogarde. In this landmark drama of class struggle and moral decay, a pampered playboy (James Fox) acquires an elegant townhouse complete with a dedicated man servant (Dirk Bogarde). But when the young man's fiancée (Wendy Craig) becomes suspicious of the servant's intentions, he and his "sister" (Sarah Miles) thrust the household into a sinister game where seduction is corruption and power becomes the most shocking desire of all. The Servant marked the first of three brilliant film collaborations between director Joseph Losey and playwright Harold Pinter, and was nominated for eight British Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay. From The Back Cover [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 11:38:
  • Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Roman Polanski [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Psychological terrorism and supernatural horror have rarely been dramatized as effectively as in this classic 1968 thriller, masterfully adapted and directed by Roman Polanski from the chilling novel by Ira Levin. Rosemary (Mia Farrow) is a young, trusting housewife in New York whose actor husband (John Cassavetes), unbeknownst to her, has literally made a deal with the devil. In the thrall of a witches' coven headquartered in their apartment building, the young husband arranges to have his wife impregnated by Satan in exchange for success in a Broadway play. To Rosemary, the pregnancy seems like a normal and happy one--that is, until she grows increasingly suspicious of her neighbors' evil influence. Polanski establishes this seemingly benevolent situation and then introduces each fiendish little detail with such unsettling subtlety that the film escalates to a palpable level of dread and paranoia. By the time Rosemary discovers that her infant son "has his father's eyes" ... well, let's just say the urge to scream along with her is unbearably intense! One of the few modern horror films that can claim to be genuinely terrifying, Rosemary's Baby is an unforgettable movie experience, guaranteed to send chills up your spine. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 11:31:
  • Rabid (1977) - David Cronenberg [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Cronenberg's tale of a viral driven apocalypse pulls the viewer into a world of death and contagion. RABID, along with other early Cronenberg films, deals with the horror from within our own bodies. The story centers on the birth of a disease, which eventually spreads to a large city and causes social breakdown. With its odd storyline, dreary landscapes and creepy music, RABID stands out from other horror films of the 70's in that it has Cronenberg's "body conscious horror" philosophy behind it. Originally released on Warner home video in the 80's and on a hard to find import laserdisc from Japan, this DVD of RABID is the best the film has ever looked. The image exhibits little grain, the colors are strong (for early Cronenberg), and the sound is clear. It is presented here in full screen (1:33:1), which is possibly what the film was shot in. Also included on the disc is the full-length theatrical trailer. If you're a fan of 70's horror, Rabid is required viewing. - Bob B Wray for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 11:19:
  • Playtime (1967) - Jacques Tati [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Jacques Tati's farewell to Monsieur Hulot is also a deep, insightful, sad and funny reflection on the modern age. The old Paris that Hulot loved in Holiday and moved in and out of in Mon Oncle -- the Paris we think of when we long to visit -- is completely gone here. (The closing scene in Mon Oncle, where Hulot drives past an anonymous airport, presages the modernity that has overwhelmed Paris in Playtime.) Hulot's Paris of the 1950s is all steel, glass, and consumerism. Human contact seems impossible at first. But as the day passes into night (and then into day again), individuality replaces structure, and Hulot's humanity ultimately conquers modern sterility. This wonderfully compassionate story is also remarkably funny, though these are smiling long-lasting laughs, not belly laughs.
    Ignore the negative comments about the picture quality of the VHS from the first two reviewers. The DVD is soooo much better than the VHS -- it is impossible to describe the improvement. As for the 2.35:1 vs. 1.85:1 issue, all I can say is that I loved the film as presented by Criterion. I have no idea if I would love it more in its full aspect. - Deborah S Dranove for amazon.com [...]
    2003, Feb 01; 11:00:
  • The Center of the World (2001) Wayne Wang[1 DVD, Amazon US]
    The titular center of the world is a matter of perspective in Wayne Wang's (The Joy Luck Club, Smoke) notorious, explicit drama of emotional isolation and sexual commerce in the modern world. According to rich, apathetic cyber-geek Peter Sarsgaard (Boys Don't Cry), it's his home computer. Amateur rock & roll drummer and part-time stripper Molly Parker (Wonderland) deems it an erotic part of the female anatomy. Their "date" is merely a sexual contract that takes them to Las Vegas, a place as phony and impersonal as their so-called romance. "You know it's just an act, right?" she reminds him between her slinky bump-and-grind striptease shows and their sweaty sexual gymnastics. The Internet makes a great metaphor for modern social alienation, with its impersonal communication and virtual sex, but there's not much else new in this familiar story other than the erotic content. Shot on dimly lit, high-definition video, the gray, washed palette sucks the glamour and titillation right out of the spectacle, turning it into an empty, soulless exercise in physical sensation and self delusion--appropriate to this story of lonely souls unable to break through their own isolation. --Sean Axmaker [...]
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