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Monthly Archives: January 2010

dear animal collective,

the time for us to go our separate ways has come. in the early days of our relationship you seemed to work hard to surprise me and keep me entertained. i had high hopes that we would have a long and loving time together. then came last year’s merriweather post pavillion. mpp is soft and predictable, nary a scream or surprising blast of sound. lots of people loved your new direction, i found it rather boring.

now you’ve released an ep, fall be kind. i picked it up the other day, fairly certain it would disappoint me, yet still under your spell. i was hoping that since it’s an ep you would be a bit noisier, more risky. i was sadly mistaken. i would sometimes forget i was listening to it, and not realize  until i went to start something. everything is so watered down, i can’t tell the songs apart.  i’m glad you are growing and exploring new paths, your just gonna have to do it without me.

many regards
exit.

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that is,

i recently saw the stage musical version of the classic xanadu. all the posters of the broadway version are terrible so  i had to use one from the original.

like so many people i have fondness in my heart for the rollertopiasplotation xanadu. i was skeptical when i heard about a broadway version, yet still very intrigued. i used the national tour stop at the paramount in seattle as a good excuse to get me back up there for a weekend, plus i would be going with rachelle and audrey, a guaranteed good time.

for those who don’ t know, xanadu is the story of an artist, sonny, that wants to do something with his life. out of nowhere a greek muse arrives and inspires him to open a roller disco. the original movie is campy and fun, the stage version is another story. it had moments of greatness, but on the whole was kind of a mess. its  a pretty simple story to begin with, the musical makes it simpler, by omitting the artist’s back story altogether. that was a big mistake, i couldn’t really get behind sonny, i never got his motivation. because of terrible sound issues i couldn’t make out a lot of what was sung or said. the vocals just weren’t turned up enough. my last complaint is about the stage. someone thought it would be a great idea to only use about 40% of the stage. the set was a greek inspired roller rink. and around the rink sat audience members. sometimes this kind of set up can work, spring awakening pulled off a classroom and bleachers set, for xanadu it seemed so small. when they would wheel out props to insinuate other locations it just didn’t work. for the price of broadway musicals, you just expect a lot more. oh yeah, there wasn’t enough rollerskating.

what xanadu the musical does have going for it is that it is a real fun time. the songs are punchy and the numbers are done with zeal and a big toothy grin. by the time the disco balls are lowered you’re cheering, you come out pretty happy.

i think xanadu would work better converted to an opera and performed off broadway or in nightclubs. i still can’t pin down a solid feeling about xandu the musical, i would recommend it to a few specific people.

i finally got around to reading the amazing adventures of kavalier & clay. that and jonathan strange and dr norrel have been in my book pile for months,  mocking me, while i spent time with the sookie stackhouse series. kavalier & clay was just the sort of book to ween me off sookie.  i loved my trip into the world of joe kavaklier and sam clay, creative cousins that aspire to make a name for themselves in the world of 1940’s comic books. set largely in new york city and using world war two as another character michael chabon presents a dense and fully realized tale. every plot development surprised me. the story seemed so natural that i would swear that kavalier and clay were real. this is a book that will eventually be studied in high school, it’s a classic. now i have to muster up the strength for jonathan strange.

i saw beyond ipanema as part of the nw film center’s reel music festival. i’ve been a fan of brazilian music for sometime, it started with astrud gilberto and samba which i discovered in high thanks to a salvation army record purchase. a few years ago i was drawn to the tropicalistas thanks to a tom ze album i randomly got one day. thanks to diplo i found out about baile funk and the sounds of the favelas. over the years i’ve learned a good deal about brazilian music,  mainly i wanted to see this movie because i was hoping for footage of the greats.

beyond ipanema is a good starting point to learn about brazilian music but is a letdown in the information department. they had a lot a ground to cover, mainly i don’t think they used their time wisely. we saw the same montages a couple of times, and the talking heads (david byrne, arto lindsay, css, m.i.a., diplo, and a butch of record nerds) went on way too long at times. i will say i could have listened to tom ze talk for hours, he was interesting and funny. there wasn’t enough background information about how the sounds developed, they essentially just skimmed over the history by naming names. another unfortunate thing is that they must not have been able to get the rights to use a lot of the songs. instead we got so so covers or acid jazz remixes.

beyond ipanema, while far from being the encyclopedia of brazilian music i wanted it to be,  was still good to see. i did get frustrated by it at times (why spend so much time on nyc’s fredierick douglass academy?), and i didn’t really learn anything new, but i did get to see tom ze. i would still recommend it because of the range of talent it exposes, you’ll end up spending time reseaching the musicians.  i only hope one day that all the genres will get their own documentaries. if only i was a film maker.