Category: culture
#FannishCV — the playlist itself
chris. | 9 December 2014 | 7:17 pm | (culture) consuming | No comments

Oh.  Right.  If you’re on Spotify, you’re welcome to follow my #FannishCV playlist if you want (previous liner notes post):

And here is an embed code. What does it do?? LET’S FIND OUT:

Well.  Innerestin’.

#FannishCV playlist liner notes
chris. | 3 December 2014 | 6:26 pm | (culture) transforming | 2 Comments

Awhile back i started putting together a Spotify playlist of songs from fanvids i like. It might have been right after a WisCon when i wanted to keep the good vibes going. Or maybe it was the year we skipped WisCon. At any rate, listening to the playlist invariably perks me up and helps me power thru’ an afternoon.

When [personal profile] raanve recently asked me to share the playlist with her, i realized that Spotify lacked a marginalia feature. Herewith, the annotated companion to my #FannishCV playlist. This also gives me a good reason to hunt up all the vids i’ve loved and have failed to bookmark or download.

“I Was Here” | Toph & Teo (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”)

“White & Nerdy” (Because DUH.)

“Closer” | Kirk/Spock (“Star Trek” original series)

“Starships” | Multifandom (original by bironic; monochromatic remix by Jetpack Monkey)

“Tik Tok” | “Star Trek” original series

“Dancing With Myself” | Gene Kelly

“I’m A Believer” | Sakaki and yamamaia (“Azumanga Daioh”)

“Love Shack” | “Evil Dead” & “Army of Darkness”

“Just A Girl” | the women of “Doctor Who”

“Fever” | Holmes/Watson (“Sherlock Holmes” RDJ/Law)

“Going Down / Love In An Elevator” | Because i swear some day we’ll create the awesome filmed-at-WisCon fanvid tribute to the Concourse’s elevator lady. “Fourth Floor“.

“Mama Said Knock You Out” | Toph Bei Fong & Lin Bei Fong (“Avatar: The Last Airbender” & “Legend of Korra” season 1)

“Handlebars” | The Doctor (David Tennant/”Doctor Who”)

“Glory Of Love” | Sgt. Angel / Sgt. Butterman (“Hot Fuzz”)

“It’s Raining Men” | English lit period dramas

“Girlfriend” | House/Wilson (“House”)

“Space Oddity” | Troy/Abed (“Community”)

“Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor)” | J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek”

“Vogue” | “300″

“Roll A D6″ | (Again, DUH.)

“Who Needs Sleep” | “Elementary”

“Rockin’ The Suburbs” | Because of meeting Sumana at WisCon the other year and hearing her filk the following:
I’m judgin’ the Tiptree
Just like Tempest Bradford did
I’m judgin’ the Tiptree
Except she was talented.

“9 To 5″ | “Lego Star Wars”

“I’ve Been To A Marvellous Party” | English language period dramas

“Stayin’ Alive” | (a) Because of Moriarty’s ringtone in “Sherlock”; (b) That time a coworker shared a Rita Hayworth vid and tried to act like they knew something about vids.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” | J.J. Abram’s “Star Trek”  [Can't seem to find quite the right one online.]

“Bohemian Rhapsody” | “Legend of Zelda: Windwaker”

“Ballroom Blitz” | My tribute to wank everywhere.

my insightful film critique is not welcome
chris. | 19 February 2014 | 8:02 pm | (culture) consuming, (culture) transforming | 1 Comment

Talking with Mathew at his birthday party the other week.  He mentioned “Brian’s Song”.

me:  “Oh, yeah, hey i finally got around to watching that last autumn.  As the credits rolled at the end i thought to myself, ‘Oh, i see, it’s just “Kamikaze Girls“, but with boys, and with football instead of scooters.’

Mathew:  …  “Well, thanks, now i can never watch ‘Brian’s Song’ again.

Here, i’ll make it up to you!  Have the song from the “Kamikaze Girls” end credits.  :D

Did you just assume i’ve never even HEARD of ‘Star Wars’??
chris. | 14 October 2013 | 4:58 pm | culture, diary | Comments closed

I went to a meeting in a coffee shop last night.  When i got to the counter i’d just pulled off my headphones and so still had them around my neck.  For reference purposes, here are my headphones:

luxe headphones (brown 'aviator' style)

They are luxe.  They give great sound and i love the retro-ish aviator style.

So.  I give my order to the person at the cashier, who hands it off to the barista.  As the barista begins my drink, he glances up and notices my headphones.  I usually love conversations about my headphones because people who comment on them tend to love music and so we often wind up chatting about whatever i’m listening to.  Uh, not this time.

barista:  Wow, great headphones!

Me (standard response):  Thanks!  They have great sound quality.

barista:  They remind me of “Star Wars”.

me:  [blank look]  [internally: Um, how?  Is he thinking of Leia's horrible braids in Episode IV???]

barista (interpreting my blank look in the worst possible way):  Y’know, “Star Wars”.  It’s a science fiction film?  Came out in 1977?

me (with “oh no you did NOT” eyebrow deployed & using the driest voice possible):  Yes, of course, i have seen “Star Wars” after all.

barista (warming to his subject):  Yeah, yeah!  So you know what i mean, then.  [I, in fact, do not.]  The tech in “Star Wars” is just … just …  Well, it’s so.  I mean, it’s not very … it’s, oh, what’s the word??  It’s not very…  But you know what i mean.

me:  The tech in “Star Wars” isn’t very futuristic and forward-looking, unlike the tech in “Star Trek”.  The “Star Wars” tech is more backward-looking, more retro/vintage-y.

barista (delighted):  Yeah!  Yeah, exactly!  So, yeah, your headphones are totally like “Star Wars”.

me:  [grabs hot chocolate and flees]

When i told Andy about this, he suggested i should have put the dude in his place by noting i could have seen “Star Wars” in the cinema when it was freaking released, junior.  I mean, i was FIVE, but still.  And i did see it in the cinema when it was re-released shortly before the release of “Empire Strikes Back”.

Of course the barista had no idea that even as we were speaking i was torrenting the de-specialized editions of the original trilogy1, but that fact made this exchange all the more bitter.

On the other hand, i’m kind of excited that this might constitute my 1st in-the-wild sighting of a fake geek boy.  :P

  1. Lord i hope “Star Wars” is done by the time i get home.  Curious to see how long it’s going to take to get Empire and Jedi.  These things are HUGE. []
‘Mahogany’ (Gordy, Berry. 1975.)
chris. | 7 October 2013 | 10:43 pm | (consuming) 2013 | Comments closed

 

“Mahogany” is about Tracy, who’s from Chicago’s South Side.  She works in a department store but dreams of becoming a fashion designer — she takes night classes and has a relative, who works in the garment industry, who makes her designs.  Brian’s also from South Side, used to be a lawyer, and now is running for alderman (pretty unsuccessfully) on a platform of trying to help people hold onto their homes.  Brian doesn’t respect Tracy’s aspirations of working in the fashion industry and Tracy doesn’t seem to much respect Brian’s political career and passion for keeping people in their homes.

Let’s pause right here for a minute.  I sure wish the conversations between Tracy and Brian about the changing face of the South Side and the tensions between the two of them vis-a-vis staying versus moving up/out weren’t some of the most wooden, painful bits of dialogue in this movie.  Because would i have watched a film about these 2 trying to work out their relationship while addressing the obvious class issues around them and the class tensions between them?  Hell yes, whose blog do you think this is?

But the film’s not going to do that for you.  No, “Mahogany” wants you to be content with a shoddily thrown together relationship and to somehow find it in your heart to root for these 2.  Now i’m on record as having enjoyed the cute, flirtatious chemistry between Ross/Williams in their other film together.  But that’s all Tracy and Brian have going for them.  Otherwise, i cannot see any reason why they enjoy each other’s company let alone want to be a romantic item.  Brian really doesn’t have any respect for Tracy’s career — doesn’t even seem to respect that she wants any career let alone a career in the fashion industry.  He just keeps trying to drag her into helping him with his political campaign.  Tracy seems genuinely bored with politics, and it’s understandable when she gets pissed off at Brian always demanding that she come to his events to play the part of the political wife even when she has other things she needs/wants to do.

Well, no wonder she runs off to Rome without saying good-bye to Brian the instant creepy ol’ Sean the fashion photographer summons her.  Now, at first i was intrigued that Anthony Perkins was cast as Sean because he wasn’t coming off as any creepier than you’d expect a fashion photographer to be.  But!  Brian eventually goes to Rome to see Tracy and Sean pulls a gun on Brian during a party.  When Tracy finally stumbles home from the party, she and Brian argue (again) about careers (again) and he flies back to the U.S.  After the party Tracy and Sean clearly can’t stand each other and become very combative, and it’s also increasingly obvious that Sean is … well … psycho.  He has no respect for Tracy’s desire to be a fashion designer either.  Eventually, he throws her into a car, goes speeding onto a highway, insists on trying to photograph her while still stepping on the gas, and ultimately kills himself and gravely injures Tracy.

But why did Sean summon Tracy to Rome?  Basically to be his next big model.  He nicknames her … Mahogany.  UGH.  She becomes a superstar, which Sean loves, but which eventually grates on Tracy because no one is taking her designs seriously.  She seems to find an ally with Carlotta, the woman who was the 1st person to book her as a model in Rome, and during a fashion show the 2 of them scheme to have Tracy wear one of her own designs instead of what the show assigned to her.  This goes quite horribly until an older man, Christian, bids an outrageous sum for it.  Probably you can see where this is going, but i’ll tell you anyway.  After the accident with Sean, she winds up living at Christian’s villa as she recuperates.  He also arranges, aided by Carlotta, to establish a fashion house to produce Tracy’s own designs.  This  culminates in a fashion show for Tracy’s designs — in fact, the scene the film opens on — which is a spectacular success.

Tracy seems to feel horribly empty during the show, however.  And once back at villa for the night, Christian makes clear that when he spent that outrageous sum on her 1st design he had also very clearly intended to buy her.  Fortunately, despite demanding that she have sex with him that night, he relents because she’s clearly miserable and instead arranges for her to fly back to Chicago in the morning.

Naturally, the film ends with a scene of Brian on an outdoor stage campaigning for his senate campaign (fail to get elected alderman, of course you should aim for senate next — i mean, you’re clearly on a roll), and in the middle of his speechifying you hear Tracy’s voice shouting/flirting at him with exactly the same script she did earlier in the film after their 1st breakup.  He freaks out (but tries to remain cool, because, y’know, campaigning) because it’s obviously Tracy but he can’t see her.  And eventually there’s a big romantic moment where they’re moving thru’ the crowd toward each other and blah blah, but he’s challenging her out loud in front of the entire crowd to use her talents toward his political campaign.  So of course they embrace and kiss and the credits roll.

The meet-cute for Tracy and Brian is this.  She comes home at 11pm after her night class to hear Brian shouting thru’ a bullhorn about housing.  I agree with Tracy that this is not proper 11pm etiquette.  So the next time she seems him, one afternoon several days later, shouting at people thru’ his bullhorn she takes the opportunity to prank him by pouring milk into the mouthpiece so when he picks it up to use it again he gets doused.  Naturally, he blames the nearby white construction workers and starts a fight.  He spends the night in jail and she bails him out with a bum $100 check.  Andy1 assures me getting into fistfights is how people know they can trust you as a Chicago politician.  Therefore i’m also assuming that getting someone thrown in jail overnight is standard South Side flirtation practice.

In conclusion, not even Diana Ross’s great hair can save this movie.  I do think Ross and Williams had nice, flirty chemistry between them and am sorry they didn’t have a better film to explore it in.

  1. His grandparents are from the South Side. []
‘Lady Sings the Blues’ (Furie, Sidney J. 1972.)
chris. | 4 October 2013 | 11:17 pm | (consuming) 2013 | 2 Comments

There are 2 things that bothered me about “Lady Sings the Blues”.  First, if the Wikipedia article on Billie Holiday is in any way accurate (and i generally estimate bios on Wikipedia to be at least 50% accurate), then the film only gives the barest outline of her life.  For one thing, Billie was married at least once before Louis McKay.  Second, as good as Diana Ross is, i was never once fooled into seeing her as Billie Holiday.  There is just not sufficient resemblance for Ross to carry it off.

If you look at “Lady Sings the Blues” as a piece of fiction that just happens to be about someone who’s also named Billie Holiday and aspires to be a jazz singer in New York clubs, then it’s a perfectly fine film.  And what they’ve done by including Louis McKay from the very beginning of Billie’s career is turn their relationship into a nice love story.

What i especially enjoyed about the film:

Richard Pryor plays Piano Man.  Damn.  As a child of the ’80s, my impression of Pryor was mostly (unfortunately!) limited to a vague awareness of “the freebasing incident”.  I deeply regret this now because he was absolutely the standout for me in this movie.

The chemistry between Diana Ross/Billie Holiday and Billy Dee Williams/Louis McKay.  If you skip ahead to 39.20 (and you can watch the whole film via YouTube if you want1) you’ll get to see the 1st time Billie and Louis go out together.  The way she keeps him sassed and on his toes and he gets all flustered is just heart-meltingly adorable2:

Also, goddamn can Billy Dee Williams wear the hell out of a vintage 3-piece pinstripe suit.  He also looks fine in the scene where he is out of his 3-piece suit — ahem.

The deleted scenes on the DVD were also fascinating3.  There’s a scene where Louis confronts and punches the bandmember who’s been sharing drugs with Billie, which is something i really kept hoping would happen.  There’s a really delightful scene between Billie’s mother (who’s otherwise barely in the film) and Piano Man, which i found very sweet.  There’s a scene with Billie going back to her mother after Louis kicks her out, which showed Billie’s mother being very sick and would have helped to make more sense of Billie’s mother’s death (which otherwise seemed to come pretty abruptly).  And there’s also a decent scene which, admittedly, was a bit overlong and talky where Billie and Louis discuss the offer she’s received to tour with Reg’s band and Louis pretty much talks her into it because he knows it will be good for her career (which would have made clear the line later on when Louis tries to take her off the tour, saying “I’m the one who sent you out here and now i’m taking you home”).

I’d mostly recommend this film for the chemistry between Ross and Williams.  Otherwise, as mentioned, it’s only loosely about Billie Holiday.

And there’s also much to not recommend it.  I mean, it’s about Billie Holiday, so there need to be trigger warnings for rape, lynching, a KKK assault, drug use, and the violent assault and death of Piano Man.

I did appreciate that the film tried to end on a not-too-somber note.  The last scene is Billie triumphant at her Carnegie Hall performance, overlaid with newspaper headlines detailing how she failed to get her cabaret license back (and thus could not legally perform in New York clubs), was arrested (again) for drugs, and finally died at age 44.  The film had already run my heart thru’ the ringer so i was grateful it didn’t give me one final sucker punch on the way out.

  1. The person who uploaded the film has the most charming and utterly wrong idea of how copyright law works that i have ever seen. []
  2. Not that their relationship starts on the best of notes, since he tries to imply that he deserves to spend the night with her because he tipped her as she was singing and he knows she worked as a prostitute. []
  3. Which is unusual.  I enjoy looking at deleted scenes, but usually it’s pretty obvious why they were deleted. []