04 June, 2013

Crowdfunding Campaigns to watch! (And get involved with.)

Ironing Board Sam's TENTH - A Music Documentary


This project honestly looks stellar, and I am so excited to have been able to crowdfund the tier where I can actually watch the movie when it is released. Get on board before you can't! It's got 7 days left, and the new goal is $10,000. To lift information directly from the page:

$10,000 will allow us to expand the scope of the movie. Reaching this goal will enable us to shoot additional scenes for the film. At the 10k goal, we'll be ab[l]e to submit TENTH into 5 additional festivals!
That's awesome. Plus, the film-maker has been partnered with the Music Maker Relief Foundation for years. This is a great project, and absolutely worth supporting (either monetarily, or via signal boosting - AKA Tweet it, link it, Facebook it).

Spark Shira E's New Album and Adventures!


I've been watching Shira E. and waiting for more musical releases since my first year of college, when I saw her perform with one of our a capella groups. She is stellar. Not only does she write poetry and perform like nobody's goddamn business, but she is also trying to keep her music within her own control while touring the U.S. This is no small fete. She's over halfway to her goal, and you can still snag a digital and physical (for all you music snobs) copy of her new album for just $25. Listen to her music on Bandcamp and IndieGoGo, and then think about this:

To tour this great country requires funding. There are endless expenses on the road from lodging to gas to renting necessary transportation. But just imagine: a $40 donation fills the gas tank from Cincinnati, OH to Ann Arbor, MI. (Check out the map above to see where your donation could send me!) You will be adding shows to my tour, putting wind in my sails & launching me for two brilliant months on the road.
 That's pretty epic, and you can get involved. Again, even if you can't contribute monetarily, you can absolutely signal boost this post! 

02 June, 2013

"Zebra" (Live at the Ottawa Geurilla Busk) by John Butler Trio

Jesse & Celine (Reprise of Romance)

I watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset in an unduly romantic double-feature fashion yesterday, while trying to escape some of this heat. It was most definitely a sweet escape, which ultimately surprised me. I had watched Before Sunrise back in 2010 with a good friend of mine, and we had found the story laughable and almost tragic. This gorgeous, intelligent woman seeming to ignore the imbecilic attempts at getting laid via pseudo-intellect from a greasy young man (young being the most important descriptor, I think). But I think we missed something on that first viewing – maybe having never experienced something like that night that ended in a true and non-predatory way. I mean, one time I met this attractive older Englishmen on a train, and he turned out to be a drunken philanderer who alternately showed me pictures of his two beautiful children and attempted to make out with me. Gross and disappointing.

What I'm trying to say is that I think sometimes you have to be able to step outside of your experience a bit to understand a movie. Maybe that is obvious. But even more so, with some great movies you just can't get them the way they ought to be understood until you've done a bit of growing yourself (or, a bit of strategic ungrowing). Before Sunrise might just be like those great books that you love upon first reading (around age 15, while innocence is still somewhat intact), find laughable upon second reading (in your early twenties, when you've dealt with some cads and feel the world is a bit more real and hard for you), but maybe love again when you've found yourself at a point where you can see how it could be true.

Part of why this movie resonates with me at this moment, is that I am in a great relationship where I wish we got more time to just wander around Vienna at night and talk. That would be more exciting and stimulating than most things I can think of, which alone brings some truth back to the romance depicted in Before Sunrise.

One interesting thing about this storyline is that it is perfectly placed in time. Jump ten years into the future and your two characters would have Facebook pages and internet trails, and even if they hadn't exchanged any information at the end of the movie, they most certainly would have crept on each others' internet imprints and possibly even drunkenly friended one another at a low point. This is the truth of this time: people are often cowardly about romance outside of a screen, and also bored enough for you to guess how they will be just as boring as everyone else. Jump ten years before the movie is set, and it would've been the mid-eighties. The pledges of undying love and early jumps into marriage and/or parenthood would have left the end of the movie sour with a stronger question about what these two characters gave up just to stay together physically. Instead, we have a linear time-capsule holding the promise and the disenchantment of the early nineties, followed by the semi-apocalyptic tendencies of the Bush era, and...what of the new movie – Before Midnight?

Despite the fact that it has been released (its trailer, combined with a Tavis Smiley interview I saw with Ethan Hawke prompted me to pick up the first two again), it is in limited release at the moment. I will most likely go to see it alone when it does come to my area. I just think that the relationship of Jesse and Celine is both one that deserves regular reprise and room to breathe in my own mind. I'm not going to guess about what the driving action of Before Midnight will be, as I am far more excited for the Linklater-esque filming of entire conversations between two close people. That seemingly untouched connection is what is so captivating about these films. The magic of two people meeting and really getting each other. I hope that is made only a bit sweeter, darker, and more complex by their aging together in Before Midnight.

Want a movie, album, etc. covered in my blog? Send me a DM on Twitter, or write in the comments below.

"Just In Time" (Live in Paris) by Nina Simone

01 June, 2013

Orchestra Technologica

So, I have a little bit of a Twitter presence, which showcases my split personality (equal parts coffee, gender studies, book recommendations, random quotations, and music videos). Somehow I caught the attention of chiptune artist, freelance sound engineer, and video game reviewer N8bit, who sent me a DM asking if I wanted to hear his music. I – quite honestly – have not really broken into the chiptune scene before, but I am always up to hear something new, so I subsequently listened to his whole EP (Pixelhate [edit: I had missed this title earlier, but I don't want my readers to be ill-informed]) on Bandcamp.

The EP consists of five songs, starting off with a doozy called "To The Brim," which genuinely sounds like a miniature orchestra walked into your GameBoy Advance and started playing originals over your old-school Pokémon soundtrack. I've always been a fan of the chiptune classics - Zelda, Mario, the Tetris theme: they are all among the soundtrack of my childhood, but I never figured I would get into the music outside of the game environment. What's cool about this EP is that it is immersive, leaving you little room but to let it take you on its own adventure. You can also jam to it. I found myself wishing that "Ice Pond" had some rapping action going on, because the beat is just so damn catchy. Hey N8bit, have you ever thought about pairing up with Aesop Rock for an album?

Anyway, this is definitely worth a listen and with a "pay what you want" format on Bandcamp, totally worth purchasing, if you love it. Even if you don't love it, I say share, share, share. This music is bound to make any #90skid feel like they just ate some warheads while sitting on a sunny lawn playing Harvest Moon.