May 24, 2007

Just to Be Safe

I got a new musical toy today. A sticker below the table of contents in the manual indicated the following:
WARNING: This product contains chemicals, including lead, known to the State of California to cause [cancer, and] birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.
The square brackets are in the original. I know there are hazards in any line of work, but this one's news to me (yeah, yeah, I know about the Beethoven hair thing). As you might expect, I did some research on this. It turns out that the lead in question is not part of paint or any other cosmetic coating, but actually inside the device I purchased. California law, however, dictates that the warning be attached regardless. You know...

May 11, 2007

More Bujalski

Came across an interesting article by Andrew Bujalski on the economics of art-making. Random quote:
Paul Morrissey is a Leonardo DiCaprio fan. Stan Brakhage loved the South Park movie. There are people on the planet who only watch obscure experimental cinema, but they are few and far between, and they are not obscure experimental filmmakers. Filmmakers who would choose to work in direct opposition to the Hollywood/"indiewood" system have yet to effect its toppling. Nor have filmmakers attempting to "subvert" the system from within.

May 09, 2007

The End is Nigh!

Pile of Chairs

Yes, I'm still alive. No, I don't hate blogging. Being a graduating senior comes with certain responsibilities which I've been busy attending to (such as doing my work so I can graduate). After a final tomorrow morning for my analysis of rock class (at the very un-rock time of 8:30am), I'll be done with this college thing. By July, I'll have returned to the Boston area and entered into the "real world," of which I've heard many positive things.

One of the things coming with this transition that I'm not looking forward to is lack of ready access to a piano. I've already joked with my parents that while some people see their parents on weekends to do laundry, the piano will be their hook... Still, there's the question: what do you do as a composer/performer to both write (the piano is my preferred working tool) and play music regularly (need my fix!!)? Stories of composers who slave away on notating their grand visions with no expectation of performance are inspiring in an odd sort of way, but I'm too practical-minded to go in that direction. Anyway, there's something more inspiring to me about composers who write conjure up compelling music for sticks, flower pots, and the like. I think it says something to be able work within whatever confines a situation presents you with.

I've done some computer music before, though always reluctantly (for a variety of aesthetic reasons). I'm getting the feeling, however, that this path will be most rewarding for the work I'm immediately interested in. Thankfully, I'll have some time soon to investigate my options in that area, hopefully figuring out some "instrumentation" that I can be happy with.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some "research" for the project I'm gearing up on. I've had the chance to see a couple movies by Andrew Bujalski, Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation. Extremely impressive stuff about recent college grads bumbling around and establishing their adult identities (in Boston no less! am I really researching myself???). I came across an odd review of Funny Ha Ha. The reviewer had a lot of issues with the movie. He was really bothered by the fact that "nothing happens" in the movie, which he could only explain by saying it was some kind of critique of these empty, empty souls. To me, Bujalski seemed quite invested and devoted to his characters. The point to me was not that nothing happens, but how nothing happens. How does Marnie talk to her friends about Alex, how does Alex jerk Marnie around (what a great name). Bujalski really nails the rhythms and mannerisms of a certain group of people and paces his narrative along the personal tensions that they create.

The movie reminded me in a peculiar way of Portrait of a Lady. You know, young, independent-yet-not-quite woman who attracts all the men around her, [un]serendipitous encounters with friends ("Funny seeing you in Rome, er, at the supermarket!"), constant romantic tensions, relationships that will never align. There's no Madame Merle or Gilbert Osmond characters, but I think there's a (kind of) interpretative angle to take by looking at the movie as a neverending 19th century novel.