Friday, May 30, 2008


Manhattanhenge - a unique urban phenomenon in the world, comes on Thursday, May 29h this year, one of only two occasions when the Sun sets in exact alignment with the Manhattan street grid, fully illuminating every single cross-street for the last fifteen minutes of daylight. The other day is Saturday, July 12th.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Red Wave 2.0

When Soviet Union collapsed in late 80's, during Perestroika Western art market was flooded by Red Wave of contemporary art. It was considered next big thing, collectors swarmed to Eastern Bloc with purses full of escudo. Artists had their 15 minutes of fame, pigged out on caviar and champagne and shortly, vanished to oblivion. I have suspicion that present day fascination with Chinese Art will be short lived as well.

As proof I found good article in Vanity Fair of April 2008, Beijing's Olympic Makeover. Author, William Langewiesche most likely knows the subject well and has ground to have an opinion. Here is the quote, kind of rarely found in the media: "Much is made of Beijing’s rising arts scene and the existence of an unofficial counterculture here — as if such departures from uniformity amount to significant openings for personal expression and creativity. It’s nonsense. The arts are impotent by definition, the counterculture is pretend, and creativity is allowed to flourish only in measure of its irrelevance to power. Ultimately this will prove to be a huge problem for China — larger than pollution or quarrels with Taiwan. As it is today, no one turns to China to learn about anything but China itself."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss | Raising Sand

My favorite album of the year 2007. Unique and successful blend of distinct Led Zeppelin sound with Nashville's bluegrass sensibility. Every single song is beautiful and well crafted, no fillers. Recorded with love and care. Im sure it will claim it's own place in the music history.

Video version of song "Please Read the Letter"

Friday, May 09, 2008

Wristcutters: A Love Story

Everything I told about "My Blueberry Nights" is opposite when I talk about Croatian director's Goran Dukic first feature length film, "Wristcutters: A Love Story". Recent discovery, joy and fresh gulp of fun. Movie makes you pee to the pants from laugh. It's a true road movie set in "hot as balls" desert environment of parallel universe inhabited by victim's of suicide and accidental death. There no aggression and screaming here, no smiles either. Plenty of beer and gas probably for free. Superb music by Russian Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello from NY serves as the sonic background in the car of Eugene (Shea Whigham), character based on real life lead of this musical combo, Eugene Hütz. The passengers Zia (Patrick Fugit), Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) cuddly and lovable in search for something to make their lives have meaning again. Trio makes a pit stop at Kneller's (Tom Waits) Happy Campers community of retired corpses. Of course this a happy end story.

Blueberry? No, More Like a Bad Apple

I had suspicion that Wong Kar Wai's movie My Blueberry Nights will be disappointment, so it took a while to force myself and watch this Hong Kong based directors American debut. Haven't seen such a bad movie in a long time. Nothing works here. Stiff dead dialogs, bad acting and overacting, disconnected and lifeless music. Not a single character I would care or like. Cinematographer Darius Khondji obviously was trying to imitate Christopher Doyle's camera handling style instead of using his own visual language.
Hong Kong made movies which made Wong Kar Wai famous was lacking depth and lasting life, but at least they was something what was joy to watch. Like recent novelty Asian art type work what westerners like. They definitely had mood and feel of well rounded films and looked great thanks to daring and innovative cinematography of Christopher Doyle.
My Blueberry Nights was marketed as road movie, but it's more like smelly diner movie. Not sure what to blame here, dark Wong Kar Wai's shades, bloated american movie making system restrained by union rules or pop singer's attempt to act. Result is bad, uneatable piece of pie, not even a movie. It was a flop, and sunk to obscurity as soon it was released.