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Posts tagged with The Arts

Colony Collapse at the Natural History Museum

Anyone checking out the dinosaur bones at the Natural History Museum this afternoon was treated to a rock concert by local band Colony Collapse. Okay, so maybe my oldest son plugged his ears when we approached the music taking place in front of the animal dioramas, but, hey, the kid's a little sensitive to loud noises. Once we were safely by the fossils, he gave in to the sheer energy this rock and roll soundtrack provided to the afternoon's prehistoric journey and danced down the hallways chanting "dino bones" to the beat (well, sort of) with his younger brother in tow.This epic kind of instrumental rock reminded me of east coast band, Saxon Shore, the group that did my film score. So admittedly, I may be a bit biased for this kind of sound, but for myself and my brood, these Lawrence guys rocked the house today. Just hope they didn't collapse the colony upstairs.

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Rockin’ Movie Soundtracks

When it came time to do the soundtrack for my feature film, I wanted to try something a little different than a traditional score. Through the help of my cousin, I connected with an indie band called Saxon Shore. Well, now that we are almost done with the mix, I am amazed how much their music has made a cohesive & rockin' score. So, this got me thinking about the cinematic quality of rock and reflect on some unforgettable band/ solo musician soundtracks.1) I can't really start this list without mentioning The Graduate. Try imagining this film without Simon & Garfunkel. 'Nuff said.2) My recent fave- Darjeeling Limited. After seeing this Wes Anderson movie on DVD last month, I don't think I have started my itunes once without playing "This Time Tomorrow" & "Strangers" by the Kinks. Seriously. 3) Curious George, soundtrack by Jack Johnson. Yeah, I know it was a kid's flick, but it was good. 4) Dead Man, soundtrack by Neil Young. Minimalist and powerful music, just like Jarmusch himself.5) Superfly, music by Curtis Mayfield. The soundtrack for this Gordon Parks Jr. film is as funky as it gets.6) Dancer in the Dark, music by Bjork. The movie may have been a bit heavy handed for my sensibilities, I have to admit the music was deliciously ambitious.7) Unnamed Jack White soundtrack. Okay, so he hasn't done one yet, but his music is so cinematic I know it'd be killer. Who knows, maybe I'll get to him first!So, those are just a few off the top of my head, and not in any particular order. If you have any faves you don't see here, add 'em to the list!

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Remembering Sydney Pollack

I'm taking a moment from my the sound mix of my film here in Fredonia, New York to reflect on the loss of a great director. Sydney Pollack died today of cancer and iit makes me sad to think there won't be any new films of his to look forward to. I think HBO's recent "Recount" would have been much better if handled by his capable hands. When I think about Pollack, I think of mainstream films that are taken seriously instead of being merely pushed through the process. "Tootsie" could have been ridiculous if Pollack had not taken the characters and situations seriously as well as comically."They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is one of those films you see and wish you had made. "Three Days of the Condor" is one of the few films on the American Movie Classic channel's slate that deserves to be there, and it's hard to get "The Electric Horseman" out of my mind (Robert Redford turn as a burnt out Rodeo performer is a must see). And let's not forget his acting abilities. He's one of those guys that the minute he goes on screen you know he's believable. However small the part, it is always memorable. His scenes in "Tootsie" or "Eyes Wide Shut" come to first to my mind, but there are countless others.I could go on and on but I should get back to the mix, so I will leave the rest to you, Lawrence readers, to share your favorite Pollack moments.

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Could Lawrence be the next Austin?

Okay, so admittedly I am not the biggest Wilco fan but I think the idea of a downtown concert is pretty smashing. I went to South By Southwest four years ago and one of my first thoughts (after "hey, capitol cities don't have to suck") was "why couldn't Lawrence have this kind of event?" Just imagine cruising down Mass Street with a wristband that could get you into any club where you could sample a variety of music. You could check out The Danny Pound Band at the Replay Lounge and head over to the Bottleneck to see The Buzzcocks and maybe even catch The Hives back at the Granada (Those are just some of my favorite shows I've seen over the years, so feel free to fill in your own blanks). Now throw in some dude with a guitar in the back of Kief's Dowtown Music, a jazz trio at Signs of Life and serve burgers at Liberty Hall (ala Alamo Drafthouse) and we got ourselves a winner. Since moving here from Los Angeles, I have heard many incarnations of film festivals ideas for this town, so perhaps combining the two would just be the way to go. While we're at it, why not throw in the art walks at the local galleries during this time so they can get exposure as well? And if we want to get really crazy, throw the reading festival into the mix and it will be one all-inclusive art festival.Ambitious? Certainly, but didn't I read somewhere that this place was only as big as we think? Okay, I'm not sure I know what that means exactly, but it must be something about the sky being the limit. Kansans tend to be a bit self deprecating, and yeah, Jon's Stewart's assessment of this state being "flat and boring" might not have helped any, but in Lawrence we have a place here that defies the mold.There is a lot of talent in town and it's been my experience that visitors tend to fall in love with this unexpected beacon in Kansas. Instead of living in the shadow of Kansas City's inflated suburbs, Lawrence should capitalize on the artistic vibe of a cool college town. It has the potential to be the Austin of the Midwest with its own unique Kansas history. So, the big question is why hasn't this happened yet? Well, this kind of undertaking would take money, support from the community, corporate sponsorships and a founding organization with the connections and direction to make this happen: Any takers?

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The Oscars Lack Luster

When I was in film school, I celebrated the Oscars with beer and friends. These days it's apple juice with the kids. And I don't think it's just my life that has gotten boring. Okay, so maybe my husband and I snuck in a few glasses of wine but this didn't make Jon Stewart any funnier. I guess you could say the writer's strike was to blame for the lack of any of the usual pageantry, but those of us working in film are used to doing things last minute. Creativity can be best when you're under pressure. So, what happened?I, for one, enjoyed watching "The Daily Show" (or "A Daily Show" as it was called) and "The Colbert Report" during the writer's strike. With talented comedians like Stewart and Stephen Colbert, a little improvisation can be a good thing. In addition to the freshness of spontaneity, you are spared a few groan inducing one liners. But whether it was the lack of prep time or the pressure of such a large viewing audience, one of my favorite political humorists failed to deliver last night.On the positive side, the film I wanted to win Best Picture, "No Country for Old Men," actually got the goods and Diablo Cody seemed genuinely moved when receiving her Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (proving us female bloggers can make good!). And of course the most moving moment of all was the In Memoriam montage of those who have permanently moved on from Hollywood. With both Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman in there this year, it further separates us from the greatness of cinematic past. Sure they were old as Methuselah, but it was just nice to be alive during the same time as them. It made cinematic history feel in the present, somehow.So, perhaps just like film industry it is meant to honor, our buddy the Oscar may be losing his magic: Next year, I'm hoping for Stephen Colbert!

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A Flat Boy In A Round World

My three year old son could not stop talking about last night's theatrical production of "Flat Stanley" at the Lied Center until he finally fell asleep at an hour so late I'm afraid to disclose it.It wasn't the vibrant performances of the side characters or the catchy musical numbers that kept running through his mind, but the talking bulletin board that flattened Stanley like a pancake.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Feb/20/Flat_Stanley.jpgSure, it's a bizarre premise, but most good children's books are. Whether it's sophisticated rabbit civilizations or magic closets, the realm of the imaginary holds a natural fascination over most kids. "Flat Stanley," by Jeff Brown and Scott Nash, was the first chapter book my preschooler could stomach and helped pave the way for our current delightful foray into "The Invention of Hugo Cabaret."The play combined several books from the Flat Stanley series in order to carry Stanley around the globe (via mailbox) in the space of an hour. The plot felt a bit rushed, but for the little ones in the audience, this may have been a good thing. I was hoping for a bit more visual imagination for the whole flat gimmick, as some of the more amusing parts of the main character's physicality were either ignored or summarized to avoid coming up with ways to translate them to the stage. But that may have just been the filmmaker side of me coming out to wreak havoc on my complete enjoyment of an experience that was otherwise delightful. At the play's end, Stanley encourages the audience to draw pictures of him and send him on further adventures. The "Flat Stanley" paperback we have at home also includes a cutout that you can take pictures of on your travels and mail on to your friends to do the same. I could not help but make the connection between Stanley and the Flat Daddies that families with fathers in Iraq can have made to fill in while they are away. "Flat Stanley" may not be that bizarre of a premise, after all.

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Roy Scheider: Not Just The Guy From “Jaws”

At the age of 75, film actor Roy Scheider passed away this weekend due to complications from cancer. Sure, he was most well known from his role opposite a certain shark known for terrorizing Amity Island, but he also appeared in dozens of memorable films that may not be blockbuster material, but are definitely worth checking out.The first one that comes to my mind is a lesser known William Friedkin film from 1977 called "Sorcerer." A remake of the French film "Le Salaire de la Peur" (The Wages of Fear), "Sorcerer" tells the tale of a couple of truckers in South America who are commissioned to drive shipments of nitroglycerin through some pretty rocky terrain. Both a character study and a thriller, the film allows Scheider to deliver an intense performance of a man risking his life for a chance at freedom.Other highlights from his career include a fun 70's cop drama called "The Seven-Ups," the Bob Fosse inspired "All That Jazz," a supporting role in "Klute," and let's not forget that role he had in the adaptation of William Burrough's "Naked Lunch."So, if you find yourself with a free moment, take a look at Roy Scheider's filmography on imdb. After you weed through a few missteps like "Daybreak" and "The Punisher," you just might find yourself with some decent Netflix rentals for this weekend. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001702/If you have any other Roy Scheider recommendations, feel free to post them here.

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Heath Ledger… Another Loss For My Generation

Let's face it, there aren't that many young actors in film these days that are genuinely good at their craft. So, it hurts to lose one of them.The 70's had DeNiro, Pacino, Nicholson... but what about our generation's leading men? Sure, there are some interesting guys out there like Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire, but they're a little soft. Can you really imagine either of them carrying a film like "Five Easy Pieces?"Heath Ledger was more than just a pretty face. The depth and subtlety he displayed in "Brokeback Mountain" was powerful stuff. His emotion was not felt just in dialogue but in his strong silence as well. I think he could have had one of those careers like Johnny Depp; balancing roles between thoughtful dramas and blockbusters while leaving a trail of memorable characters in his wake. Was it the Joker role that did it to him? The drugs? Depression? Who's to say? It's just another senseless death in an industry that could use more true talent like his. Guess we'll just have to give that "Five Easy Pieces" remake to Ryan Gosling.

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