Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Moments

Amanda Palmer in Vienna; photo by Val PhoenixWhile I am still not keen on lists, I do have a few memories to share from 2010.

Favourite film: The Arbor. Clio Barnard's experimental documentary may have attracted attention for its miming technique, but what stuck with me was the raw emotion extracted from the audio interviews.

Favourite exhibit: Gender Check at MuMok, Vienna. So huge, so expansive, it was almost draining, but this survey exhibit of gender expression in Eastern European art was awesome to behold.

Favourite song: "Found Love in a Graveyard", by Veronica Falls. It came out at the start of the year, but kept coming back. And it still sounds great.

Favourite album: City Splits #1: Berlin. A slight cheat, as it presents two bands--Jasmina Maschina and Golden Diskó Ship--from one city on one record, but this was one of my favourite spins of the year. A delightful rainy Sunday afternoon record.

Favourite gig: Amanda Palmer at Arena, Vienna. One woman, one keyboard, one ukulele. Mind-blowing.

Favourite random moment: AGF singing "Bau Auf Bau Auf" to me over Skype.

And it only remains for me to wish all eine bessere Zukunft.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mounting frustration

Was hoping to wrap up the year with some work on my various unfinished film projects, which live on an external hard drive that I carry with me to various public access sites, as I don't own a Mac.

Alas, last week the hard drive disconnected itself from its partner and steadfastly refuses to show its face or mount, as it's known. Cue visits to the shadowy world of the internet forum to check on this phenomenon and discover it is, sadly, quite common for this particular brand of external hard drive. And the company is not actually that helpful, to boot.

I am not giving up on my external hard drive, yet, but as I do not actually own the requisite computer to connect it to, it will have to wait some weeks to make another visit and get, I hope, reacquainted. The tension mounts (or doesn't, yet).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Yvonne Rainer Project

Detail from After Many a Summer...; photo by Val PhoenixHopped on down to the Southbank Centre on Sunday to visit the ongoing Yvonne Rainer exhibit and specifically see some films that were only on show over the weekend. What I thought were her films turned out to be "Yvonne Rainer + artists' films". Hence, over an 80-minute period I only caught about 30 seconds of one of her films and it was one I'd seen before. Doh! Ah, well. Some of them were interesting, one was brilliant and quite a few were way too lo-o-ong. Ah, artists' films. Gotta love 'em. Sadly, can't really review them properly as most had no titles and I could not match up the films viewed to the descriptions in the programme. Ah, artists' films. Gotta love 'em x2.

So, to the ongoing exhibit. Well, there are three installations on view in the Gallery. Of these, I had a whale of a time at the circular work, After Many a Summer DIes the Swan: Hybrid, 2002. In this, a raised projector rotates 360 degrees, and the viewer follows the action by sitting in the centre. But, here's the fun part. The seat is a kind of Space hopper on wheels! Such fun. I was spinning all over the shop. If a group went, it would be like bumper cars. Awesome. The actual projections are quite enjoyable, as Rainer muses on the early 20th century avant-garde in Vienna.

The other two pieces in the Gallery were of less interest to me, being videos of some dance pieces she produced. Quite the multi-skiller is Ms. Rainer: filmmaker, choreographer, et al. I am not intimately familiar with her work, but her name crops up all over discussions of feminist cinema and art, and I found her role as the roller-skating artist in Madame X - an absolute ruler quite amusing.

Some of Rainer's own films, including Journeys from Berlin and The Man Who Envied Women, are on show at the BFI throughout December while an excerpt from Lives of Performers is on show in the Atrium.

The Yvonne Rainer Project continues at the Southbank Centre through 23 January 2011.
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

This Sunday: Growing Pains

Poster for Growing PainsLe Cinema des Femmes presents GROWING PAINS: a celebration of teenage angst, American-style.

Relive those high school memories of heartbreak, hormones, fitting in, and coming out… as we bring you two classic movies featuring implausibly white-toothed teens experiencing the
agony of adolescence:

A girl sent to a sexuality re-programming camp gains unexpected insights. Directed by Jamie Babbit.


An age-old tale of unrequited love, teenage longing and questionable outfits, directed by the late John Hughes.

Bring your steady squeeze and snuggle into the back row for some heavy petting!


And a very special DJ set from The Girls Are's Annette Barlow, who'll be spinning teen angst anthems til late.

Dress code: High school archetypes
(Think: freaks vs geeks, jocks vs goths, cheerleaders vs do-gooders)

£4 entry

Sunday 12th December - from 5pm
The Horatia
98-102 Holloway Road
London N7 8JE
(Nearest tubes: Highbury & Islington, Holloway Road)