Tuesday, March 9
Rabbit Moon, or Rabbit's Moon is a film made by the remarkably talented, Kenneth Anger. It was originally filmed in 1950, with music added in 1971 to make the first version, and eventually was re-edited in 1979.
The first version is just under half an hour, and the second edit under ten minutes, with slight differences such as portrayal of the moon, music and the rhythm of the character's movements.
First of all, I found the film to be aesthetically absolutely enchanting. Even in the opening, the font of the credits suggest a search into cinema's past and a reconnection with silent film with quivering titles and dramatic font. Perhaps this is presumptuous of me, but I feel it fits in with the rest of the film.
It is filmed in black and white, tinted blue, giving an immediate other-worldly feel. The costumes and make-up are spectacularly theatrical. The set, is a work of art; dreamy trees around soft a snug-looking clearing in the made trees, the tangible craft of the creation not hidden from us.
The main character is Pierrot ("The Fool"), the stock mime character whose image will be familiar to many, even without knowledge of its origins the in the commedia dell'arte and in mime, perhaps from the painting "Gilles" by Watteau:
or perhaps because of its general iconic nature.
Pierrot is well-portrayed as naive and pitiable fool, who pursues without understanding both the moon and Columbina. He is easily wounded, frightened by the Harlequin and distraught again by Columbina.
I found the Harlequin character to be suitably charismatic and roguish, acting as a kind of rake-hero in the film; charming, attractive to the opposite sex, and playful at the expense of others.
THE 1950 / '71 VERSION:
Exotic female singing accompanies the opening titles , but brilliantly Anger subverts the expectation of the viewer by playing The Capris' "There's a Moon Out Tonight", a Doo-Wop song. The rest of the soundtrack is in a similar vein, including:
"Oh, What a Night" - The Dells
"Bye Bye Baby" - Mary Wells
"I Only Have Eyes for You" - The Flamingos
"Tears On My Pillow" - The El Dorados
All of which have quickly become personal favorites of mine.
One possible fallback of this version of Rabbit's Moon is that the shots of the moon in question will appear quite comical to a contemporary audience; using three pictures of the moon, shown in succession to give the impression of Pierrot's longing to obtain the moon, or simply a zoom into it. This is repeated through the film. Though it can't be argued that this is realistic, I cannot say that I believe this is ineffective or comical. Realism, in any case, is not something one might be concerned with after deciding to direct a film in the style of Kabuki theatre and mime. Certainly, I do personally find this poor moon has its own kind of charm akin to that of the landing scene in La Voyage Sur La Lune, but I also feel that something is lost in the re-edited version with its shot of the real-life moon. Firstly; the lack of zoom motion causes loss of clarity, and Pierrot's jumping and reaching could be seen as something disconnected from these shots of the moon. (Possibly!) Or if not, I still believe that emphasis or empathy is lost without seeing Pierrot come somewhat closer to the moon and falling back, a bitter subject to gravity.
Five stars for the '71 version!
THE '79 VERSION:
The relatively slight differences made in this version are few, including new music (one song, "It Came in The Night" by A Raincoat, which is repeated once), a great shortening in length (due to synchronizing the movements of the actors up with the music), and the Rabbit's Moon being being not represented by a man-made illustration, but being replaced by a shot of the actual moon.
Though the syncing up of the movement to the music is effectively charming, I feel as though it is too obvious or cheaply so. The element of subverting expectations the music had in the '71 version loses power, giving way to simply doubting the musical choice.
Another qualm I have with this version, is that there's simply less to look at, it being shorter. I'm not going to deny that this is gluttonous of me; as I simply want to look at it for longer, I found it to be so visually engaging.
Four stars for the '79
I'm including the youtube video of the second version of Rabbit's Moon, but unfortunately I couldn't find a good version of the first one. (There is one there but the quality is bad) Hopefully however you will enjoy this one a lot, and if you don't get a chance to see the longer version, I highly recommend you check out the music from it. (Particularly "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos).
Also for you enthusiasts of new and unusual kinds of music, I would like to share two new musical finds (genre-wise) which have resulted from my love of this film (Anger using fragements from both genres between songs)
Yours to some extent,
Wednesday, February 24
"Can you hear this?"
1 minute into the following recording Lou Reed asks the crowd that simple question. What those people heard that August 2, back in 1969 was one of the finest performance ever put on by any band.
Of course this wasn't just any band, these good folks came to see and experience New Yorks greatest gift to the music world, The Velvet Underground.
With Lou Reed on lead guitar & vocals, Sterling Morrison on guitar, Doug Yule on bass & organ and Maureen "Moe" Tucker on drums, they turn their music into a force that stopped any soul dead in it's tracks. Don't believe me, just listen to this sneak peek of what exactly you're about to get yourself into ....
I said it before and I'll say it again, only way this could be better is if I actually was there in person but since I still have not figured out a way to make that happen, this bootleg will do just fine.
1. I'm Waiting For The Man (7:20)
2. Run Run Run (10:35)
3. Pale Blue Eyes (6:04)
4. What Goes On (11:40)
5. Heroin (6:54)
6. Sister Ray (33:20)
Download The Velvet Underground - Ostrich/Hilltop bootleg HERE
Tracks 1 through 5 were recorded live at the Hilltop Rock Festival, Rindge, New Hampshire, August 2, 1969. Track 6 is from La Cave, Cleveland, Ohio, January 28, 1969.
This has been NotSoVelvet and in the words of Freddie Mercury "I'm just a musical prostitute, my dear."
Monday, February 22
In 1994 a study was conducted to examine the relationship between rap and heavy metal music and factors of adolescent turmoil including grade point average, suspension/expulsion, sexual activity, parental custody, crime and drug and alcohol abuse. During the time of publication, both rap music and heavy metal music were considered strongly socially disapproved forms of music, due to controversial subject matter in the lyrics. The conductors and authors of this study were Kevin J. Took and David S. Weiss. The experiment was conducted by administering a questionnaire to 88 sets (both adolescent and adult) to answer questions regarding psychosocial functioning, family demographics, and musical preferences.
The participants included individuals aged 12-18 (the mean age being 14.6), 41 males (47%), 38 females (44%), and 8 (9%) unknown due to omission of answering the gender question on the questionnaire. All participants were or had been either outpatients at a military medical center , child psychiatric clinic, or adolescent substance abuse clinic, so the level of social turmoil may be more prevalent when studying this group of people. The groups of participants were separated into heavy metal and rap listeners and “other music” listeners. The participants statistics were combined and will be referred to as the HM/R group.
The dependent variable of this study was the relationship between social turmoil in adolescents and the listening habits and preferences of the participants. The factors included disturbed family history such as abusive or unhealthy marital relationships in parents, difficulties in elementary school, below average grades, having a history of crime or substance abuse. There are two main hypotheses for this study. One, being that heavy metal and rap listeners will be in more adolescent turmoil than will non heavy metal/rap listeners. The other hypothesis is that listening to heavy metal or rap music is just another sign of adolescent turmoil.
The independent variables of the study for the adolescents questionnaire included below average grades (46 % Hm/R, 24% other), suspension or expulsion from junior or high school (44% Hm/R, 23% other), illicit drug use (23% HM/R, 8% other), sexually active ( 40% HM/R, 18% other) and counseling for drug and alcohol (38% HM/R, 15% other). For the parent’s questionnaire, was smilier, only they were asked about their children, so that the results were reliable on the topics. When asked about themselves, there were no major differences between the groups of HM/R and other group’s parents.
The results show that there is an association with rap and heavy metal music with adolescent turmoil, however, the majority of HM/R listeners were male, and it is suspected that these destructive, sexual active, and substance behaviors are more common in adolescent males. Another conclusion suggests that heavy metal and rap music is found by those with problems in school and low performance, as evidenced by Erikson’s “industry vs. inferiority” stage during adolescence. This type of music may encourage and empower adolescents and give them an identity to establish a more healthy self esteem and an image of power and the acceptance of tolerant peers.
Kevin J. Took, David S. Weiss. (1994, Fall) “THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEAVY METAL AND RAP MUSIC AND ADOLESCENT TURMOIL: REAL OR ARTIFACT?”. Adolescence, 35 (115) 613 Retrieved Web. October 14th 2009 from
Ebscohost Academic Premiere Database
Sunday, February 14
We thought we'd take the oppurtunity to share our personal favourite love songs with you, we'd like to hear yours too, just post a comment if you so wish!
First up, electronic sentiments from Datarock with 'The most beautiful girl'
Sonic Youth - Purr; New (Wave) Romantic? Whatever it is we like it!
The Velvet Underground - I'll be your mirror
What can we say? It's just ace.
James Shelton's classic has been performed by many including Elkie Brooks but Jeff Buckley's delicate vocals and gently ebbing guitar make for a hauntingly beautiful rendition, and we love it.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home
Nirvana's grunge classic Heart Shaped Box is about as raw and honest as it gets.
Bon Jovi - Always
Jefferson Airplane - Today
You know we wouldn't leave you without a classic from the fab four!
The Beatles - Something
Outkast - Dracula's Wedding
So what are your favourites?
Sunday, January 31
Street art, to be precise.
So what is this street art thing? It’s a far cry from graffiti anyway, though it can occasionally look similar. Street art is art in public spaces, where art was never intended to be. Its raisons d’étre are as varied as the artists who produce it, ranging from political satire, provocation, highlighting the coldness of urban society, to mitigating the sterile coldness bringin something unexpected and surprising into the day, and making people consider things differently, pushing them out of their coccoon of routine. The impromptu, unexpected and occassional illegality of most street art is what gives it much of its spontaneous, jolting energy. This subversiveness is probably also what draws most of the oddball geniuses of street art to it as a medium in the first place.
Street art can take place in any public space, and takes many forms. The most common is probably stenciling, using good old-fashioned spraypaint and some cleverly cut cardboard to create something special. (I particularly like this stencil, by American artist Above) Of course, freehand spraypainting is perfectly valid, even if just used to write words- everyone loves public poetry!
An even more intruiging and whimsical form of street art is yarn bombing; this is an ingenious push to make the world a cuddlier and brighter place, reclaiming sterile public areas.
So, here’re some artists to look out for:
Dublin’s own Maser has been decried as a poor man's Banksy, Maser actually operates in a very different way- whereas Banksy
highlights the grim realities of life, Maser seems to want to topple them, embracing the potential for better things in people, and tries to bring a little light into our lives with his all-pervading "Maser Loves U" campaign of stickers, stencils, and trademark luridly-coloured murals. It’s simple, it’s appealing, and it’s fun to see how many you can spot around town.
Edgar Müller’s 3D street art is a wonderful example of serious art being put to silly ends. Classicaly trained, he started out reproducing old masters; he now focuses on realism in his freehand paintings, and specialises in 3D pavement art that only makes sense when viewed from a particular point. He even created a mini Ice age in Dublin during '08's Festival of World Cultures! Check out his site.
In a similar vein to Müller is John Pugh, another 3D specialist favouring architectural marvels breaking out through the walls of buildings. He sees himself more as an artist and less of a social activist than a lot of the others featred in this article, but when you create astounding ultra-realistic illusory art as he does, all you can do is be damn thankful that he is such a fine artist!
Banksy is probably the world’s best known anonymous street artist, graduating from simple vandalism to stencils with true artistic merit and satirical political murals. He’s also notorious for his elaborate stunts, like breaking into London Zoo and painting “We’re sick of fish” on the wall of the penguin enclosure. He’s arguably the most political of the artists featured here, and though he’s been widely lauded in mainstream art circles he stays on the fringes, pursuing his ideological art goals.
Posterchild is a leading light in the Toronto street art scene,
creating stencils, installations, and some much more bizzarre other works. He's also a good friend of Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North, so it's not surprising his imagination is fuelled by late 80s videogames and skeleton astronauts; particularly worth checking out are his controversial Mario blocks and snowball darts. He describes himself thus: "Although subversion is not my primary goal, by its very nature my practice challenges the status quo. Authority over the visual landscapes of our cities has been placed out of reach to the very people who live in them. In my gentle way, I am simply connecting to my surroundings, and in this manner I also reclaim that which has been denied to me... I focus on thought-provoking works that uncomfortably straddle concepts of activism, advertising, graffiti, pranks, and vandalism."
Could this be art's future? A rebirth of art in public spaces, embracing spontaneity? I hope so- with art moving out of museums and galleries, it can become more than food for the soul; it can be a critique on our lives, a commentary, or a definig moment in our way of thinking. Having seen the amazing things these artists and others can do, I sincerely hope this movement is here to stay.
Coming up: a discussion on what I (rather groundlessly) like to call womb music. Shoegaze, drone, noise, and all their happy little friends. stay tuned!
Sunday, January 24
I have so much to owe to her. I remember being in awe of how cool she was. She was so much older than me. A vegetarian who seemed to know all there was to know about music. She flung recommendations to me and my brothers, introducing us to Pearl Jam and Velvet Underground. Informing us of the beat generation. Upon leaving she gave us a book of beat poetry and an audio tape of a reading.
A few years ago, after a few years of no contact, we got in touch and she posted me a mix. Much I recognised and loved well; The Jam, Jeff Buckley, My Bloody Valentine, Belle and Sebastian, The Smiths, Lou Reed. But many of which were new and exciting discoveries for me; such as Broadcast, Stereolab, Transam and Tahiti 80.
I always meant to send her a mix back, but I guess my nerves of competing with that threw me for a while. However, I recently did a portrait for her, of her baby girl, and I decided to make two mixes, one for each of them, to send along with it.
I've been fretting over it for a while, but here is the final drafts ( I think):
Catch - Throwing Muses
The Hill - The House of Love
St. Louis Blues - Django Reinhardt [note: jazz guitarist, who died a hundred years ago today. Also a new and incredible discovery for me]
My Place - Yellow Yesterday
It Ain't You - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Coffee Shop Devil - Soho Riots
Love in a Trashcan - The Raveonettes
If You Kisses Can't Hold The Man You Love - Rasputina
Lust - The Raveonettes
Fine Artiste - R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Seranaders
Sorted for E's and Whizz - Pulp
Je m'ennuie - Marlene Dietrich
Le Rendez-Vous - Manu Chao
La Vie en Rose - Louis Armstrong
Cosmic Green - Joiejoiejoie
Mushroom - Jesus and Mary Chain
Who Do You Love? - Jesus and Mary Chain
Eternal Life (Live at L'Olympia) - Jeff Buckley
A Saint-Germain-des-pres - Henri Salvador
Naa Hone Denghe - Gumnaam Soundtrack
That's Not Really Funny - Eels
Come Over To Our Side, Softly, Softly - Death in Vegas
Huffer - The Breeders
I Want To Be With You - Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Dark Night Blues - Blind Willie Mc Tell
Dance This Mess Around - The B52's
Now, to elaborate a little: I didn't want too many things on this to be too obvious. See, I know she has wonderful taste, and that she's well clued up on those influential and important artists, so if I was including something familiar I tried to add a twist; because I want to be introducing her to something new.
A lot of the stuff I added she wouldn't be likely to have heard. (Particularly as I've included a few artists from the wonderful net label Poni Republic, which I wholeheartedly recommend you check out.) Also a song from the fantastic Bollywood Film "Gumnaam"
Also, I have a few covers, such as Jesus and Mary Chain's cover of CAN's 'Mushroom', Louis Armstrong's English version of Edith Piaf's iconic 'La Vie En Rose', and Marlene Dietrich's version of 'Je m'ennuie', later sang more famously by Piaf. Also; Jeff Buckley's wildly superior live version of 'Eternal Life'.
I also included a song by Underground Comix artist R. Crumb, who designed an album cover for her father. This being it:
I didn't know if she'd be familiar with the music Crumb actually played, so I figured she'd be interested in hearing it.
*COMING SOON*: Making a mix for a child!
Saturday, January 23
In the original group/forum/whatever you want to call it, groups are called 'cults' on VF, unsavoury I know, we were limited in the type of features we could have so as well as still having the general album reviews etc we are also hoping to include flash playlists to listen to on site, rather than links to youtube players, video reviews, free downloads and much more. If you have any suggestions for future enhancements we'd be delighted to receive them, just leave a comment below.
Click here to go to the Vampirefreaks group.