Friday, May 29, 2009


Modeselektor + Apparat = Moderat
A fusion of Modeselektor's glitchy, hip hop/electro beats and Apparat's evocative, emotive atmospherics and sensibilities, Moderat's self titled album is a strong and diverse collection. Infusing elements of dub and breakstep with hazy, almost shoegazy electronica, the album requires more than one listen to fully take shape. While the tracks featuring guest vocalists ('slow match' and 'sick with it') veer towards a more accessible pop sound, tracks like 'rusty nails' (featuring Apparat's Sascha Ring on vocals) and 'berlin' are quietly beautiful. The standout tracks for me are the opener 'a new error' and 'les grandes marches,' as they blend Modeselektor's beats with the emotional aspects of Apparat's work perfectly, creating music you not only want to move to but can also feel.
Check them out at:
I can't wait to see them live tonight at Circa.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

'Little Ashes'

Saw 'Little Ashes' today. It is a pretty good film about the fiery friendship/almost affair between Salvador Dali (Robert Pattinson) and Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca (Javier Beltran).
Pattinson turns in a complex and compelling performance as Dali, creating a character that is alluring and frustrating but one you ultimately empathize with. I think it redeems him from his current teen heartthrob status. Thankfully there were no squealing 'Twilight' fans in the theatre, squirming in their seats with excitement from catching a glimpse of the partially nude actor. His brief partial nudity shouldn't overshadow his good performance.
After a bit of a meandering first segment where the social and political climate of 1920s Spain is established, the film picks up and engages when it focuses on the relationship between the two artists. Aside from a cheesy moonlight kiss during a midnight swim, the attraction and chemistry between Dali and Lorca is palpable and organically revealed. Their unrequited desires come to an explosive breaking point in the most memorable and powerful scene of the film, a heart wrenching sex scene between Lorca and Margarita (Marina Gatell, who almost steals every scene she's in) as Dali looks on. Overall, things don't quite add up to make the film great, but it is good.
The struggle that Dali and Lorca face in coming to terms with their feelings for each other in a society that condemns and punishes them is timely in 2009 as even in California, hate is being upheld (with Prop 8).

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Marilyn Manson's - "Arma-God-Damn-Mother-Fuckin'-Geddon"

Back when he was making interesting videos with Floria Sigismondi and making good music with Trent Reznor, I used to like Marilyn Manson. Unfortunately, what I liked about him died a long time ago. For whatever reason, he is releasing a new album entitled 'The High End of Low.' Out of morbid curiosity, you can check out the bland new video for the first single "Arma-God-Damn-Mother-Fuckin'-Geddon" (yes, it is actually so desperately called that) below:

(embedding the video was disabled upon request)

Manson isn't just beating a dead horse at this point, he is a beating a dead horse with a one trick pony.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

The War Zone

I first saw Tim Roth's directorial debut 'The War Zone' upon its theatrical release in 2000. I was 15 at the time and the film had a profound effect on me. While rummaging through a bargain bin, I found it on VHS and recently rewatched it. Devastating, heartbreaking, and as darkly beautiful as it is difficult to watch, 'The War Zone' is a powerful, perfect and underrated film. Featuring subtle camera work, a haunting score and standout performances from the young leads who had no previous acting experience (the acne faced Freddie Cunliffe and the stunning Lara Belmont), the film unflinchingly portrays the destruction caused by incest and sexual violence. Roth refuses to shy away from the disturbing subject matter or provide resolution at the conclusion of the film, making it all the more raw and real.
At first I thought the film might have suffered slightly from a poorly chosen title- I wouldn't normally go see a film with a title like 'The War Zone,' thinking that it would be a shoot and blow 'em up action movie. But Roth is obviously making a statement about the severe, damaging effects of incest and sexual violence with the title (and the decision to stage some of the key scenes in an abandoned war bunker). War zones are not always relegated to battle fields. Sometimes our own homes can be personal war zones.
Random note- Colin Farrell (credited as Colin J. Farrell) makes one of his first film appearances in the small role of Nick.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009


On the verge of blowing up big time, Fritz Helder and the Phantoms staged an evening of performance and fundraising for ACT last night in celebration of the band signing on to Nelly Furtado's Nelstar Music.
Toronto's fashion and entertainment crowd crammed into the steamy Red Bull Space on Queen W, transformed for the night into a House of Helder Hedquarters plastered with images of the band from their monthly online magazine MODA CINQUE and featuring decked out dancers posing like mannequins in an art installation.
For the performance segment, a metal garage door was raised revealing Nelly Furtado who briefly but enthusiastically introduced the band before they segued into a set of remixed/tweaked versions of their "greatest hits" (songs they have been playing for years but yet still sound fresh and current). It was also fun to hear them throw in verses from songs that clearly show their influences (Madonna's "vouge," T.Rex's "20th century boy" and Grace Jones' "nightclubbing").
Descending a spiral staircase looking like a hot, S&M, Tranny Court Jester from the future sporting a Cher weave (circa 1965) that was treated with too much Rogaine, Fritz was in fine form- as glamorous and gracious as always. Though the band graduated from their days as Discount Divas a long time ago (they were outfitted by Greta Constantine for the show and are now backed by handlers and connections with the Canadian fashion elite), they remain grounded and humble. Unlike Lady Gaga who is praised for her unique, individual style and music but to me, feels forced and manufactured, Fritz Helder and the Phantoms are the real deal. I couldn't be more happy for them and look forward to watching their well deserved rise to stardom.
Check them out at: or in the new issue of Out Magazine.
I'll be posting pics from the night soon but here are a few older shots I have taken of the band.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chuck Palahniuk's 'Snuff'

Just finished Chuck Palahniuk's 'Snuff.'
Though not as intricate, funny or thought provoking as my fav of his books ('Invisible Monsters' and 'Choke'), 'Snuff' is an enjoyable, quick read. Punctuated with Palahniuk's trademark tidbits of trivia (this time about the bizzare beauty secrets of the stars and stories about actors injuring themselves while shooting films) and his sharp writing style, 'Snuff' moves at a brisk pace. Unfortunately I felt like I was always ahead of the story, calling the plot twists and surprises before they were revealed- at least up until a major one towards the end.
Overall, the book is fun but doesn't quite resonate with the same emotional intensity as some of his previous work.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Horrors- Primary Colours

When something is over hyped I usually run in the opposite direction. That is why I didn't pay much attention to The Horrors' debut album 'Strange House.' But when I read that their new album entitled 'Primary Colours' was going to be produced by Geoff Barrow (of Portishead, my fav band) and music vid director Chris Cunningham, I had to check it out.
Seething and grumbling with dark, punk and post punk/Joy Division-like noise and distorted vocals, the album is pretty good. You can definitely hear the Barrow influences in the atmospherics and the overall feel.
Check them out:
and check out the vid for "sea within a sea:"

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Andy Warhol's 'Bad'

Picked up and watched Andy Warhol's 'Bad' (1977) on VHS. I have been dying to see it and was not disappointed.
Directed by Jed Johnson (Warhol's former boyfriend who died in the TWA800 plane crash on July 17, 1996) and starring a slew of Factory faces like Geraldine Smith, Brigid Berlin, and Barbara Allen, 'Bad' is surprisingly not that bad. More accessible than some of the earlier Factory films (which I also love) due to somewhat of a narrative, the film has the same dark, campy sense of humor as John Waters' early work. Everyone is gleefully up to no good and throughout the film characters comically trash a diner, torch a movie theatre and a car, stab a dog, chop off a mechanic's finger and worst/best of all do this (bringing new meaning to the phrase, "don't throw out the baby with the bathwater"):

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Farewell Farrah

Enough with the Entertainment Tonight exclusives and made for quick cash documentaries.
People die of cancer every day. You aren't leaving a brave legacy, you are embarrassing yourself.
Perish in peace. There is no need for us to watch it on prime time.
It is time to say farewell Farrah.

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Hell High

Came across the rare slasher flick 'Hell High' (1989) in a bargain bin and had to pick it up.
It actually is not as cheesy or poorly made as I expected. It is kind of like a watered down, 'I Spit On Your Grave' for the teenage market- but with a sense of humor. Worth seeing for some suspense, good, cheap sounding 80s music and a few interesting deaths. One death involves a No.2 pencil to the head, shot in a 'Requiem For a Dream,' camera rig strapped to the actor way and another one involves a rock to the face that reminded me of the fire extinguisher to the face scene in 'Irreversible.'
Random (tragic) note- one of the lead actors who shows some promise in 'Hell High,' Christopher Stryker (sounds like a gay porn name), died of AIDS and never made another film.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

A tourist in my own city

I've been playing tourist in my own city for the past 2 days, wandering around alone.

Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to walk into an impromptu protest in support of the Tamil Tigers. They appeared to hijack 2 lanes of Yonge street, blocking traffic at the busy intersection across from Dundas square (outside an H&M, ha). I am all for people utilizing their right to free speech, but impeding the functions of a major city and putting people at risk is crossing a line. Enough already! The cops need to stand up and take some action. I wish I had some tear gas to spray into the crowd. The majority of protesters also seemed to be teenagers and I don't agree with kids jumping on the political protest bandwagon because it seems cool or because they might get on TV.
Here are some pics I took:

Today I finally ventured into the new Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and checked out the 'Surreal Things' exhibit. Overall, I was underwhelmed but there are a few nice pieces like:
- Meret Oppenheim's 'Table with Bird's Feet,' 1939

- Salvador Dali's 'Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach,' 1938

- and most impressive to me, a small collection of beautiful jewelery by Dali including this (who knew Dali was also a jeweler?):

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Friday, May 15, 2009


Though hesitant due to the 'Martin Scorsese Presents' stamp, I just got back from seeing the Cannes award winner 'Gommora.'
It is an unflinching, documentary style glimpse into the lives of Italians tainted by organized crime. Unfortunately, while weaving 5 story lines, the film never scrapes beneath the surface of the characters' lives, therefore never allowing the audience to emotionally engage with anyone. Instead, the film works like a portrait of a corrupt system built on and perpetuated by violence and greed. The performances are good and there are some stand out moments (the very last scene and a scene where a character finally takes a stand against the system), but at times I found my mind wandering. The violence in the film is very effective as it is played coldly and flatly, not theatrical or grandiose, and always catches you off guard, occurring at the most unexpected moments.
Random note- it is funny to hear 90s Enigma playing in a sleazy strip club.

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I got a tattoo:

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

M83 - "we own the sky"

Check out my entry for the M83 music video competition for their track "We own the sky":

Unfortunately I didn't win. But I was a runner up.

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Watching some TMZ got me thinking about the cult of celebrity and how we all fall into its trap, despite our best attempts at maintaining pride and dignity.
Though not an autograph hound, I have a few.
Here are some.

- Gaspar Noe, filmmaker

- Daniel Allex Cox, Writer

- David Cronenberg, filmmaker

- Bret Easton Ellis, writer

- Jared Leto, Actor/wannabe musician (apparently signs his name like Prince, just a symbol)

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