Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Did you say you were on Mescaline?

I've spent the last hour or so devouring a five-part series by Matt Zoller Seitz in which Seitz exhaustively and intricately breaks down the influences of Wes Anderson. Part 1 is here and links to the other sections are contained within the heading. You can view each essay as videos or text, but trust me - the videos on the right side of the screen are the way to go.

Anderson’s scavenger-hunt aesthetic stands him in good company, alongside Quentin Tarantino, David Gordon Green, James Gray, and the other Anderson, P.T. But what makes Wes Anderson distinctive is the sheer range of art that has fed his imagination—not just recent American and foreign films, but films from 30, 50, even 70 years ago, plus newspaper comics, illustrations, and fiction. The spectrum of influence gives his work a diversity of tone that his imitators typically lack. It is a style of substance.

The details in these essays are bordeline obsessive in their spectrum, not only pointing out Anderson's well documented influences (Truffaut, Scorcese, Salinger, Peanuts) but also details you never even wondered about. I'm especially fascinated by Part 5 of the essay, with a shot-by-shot annotation of The Royal Tenenbaums' prologue. It will answer questions you never knew you had. I've never paid particular meaning to the fact that Margot is wearing a zebra costume, but as Seitz points out, there's a specific reason for everything in every Anderson shot. Of course the zebra means something.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Spike Jonze Double Feature

Like almost everyone else, I'm COMPLETELY pumped for this:

...but this looks like it's the shit too:

Get it? The shit? Ha!

Monday, April 06, 2009

An open letter to the management of the Music Mill

Dear new management of the Music Mill,

I'm pleased to hear that you're reopening the Music Mill. While I no longer live in Indianapolis, I still feel an attachment to music venues and the overall art culture in the city. To this day, I always feel a twinge of sadness when walking past the rotating name adorning the rotting corpse of the Patio, and when the Music Mill announced its closing in January, I was disappointed. While the venue's location is less than ideal, it was one of the best-sounding rooms in the city, and the fact that it was a non-smoking venue was an added bonus.

I'm sure that in deciding to reopen the venue, there has been no shortage of conversations centered on what can be done to help the Music Mill be more financially viable than it was when it originally shut it's doors. There are several factors to debate. Should there be an age restriction on concert admissions? 21 and over or 18 and over? Should the scheduling cater more toward national or local acts? Should we focus more on private parties and band events?

The answers to these questions don't matter nearly as much as following one credo.

Schedule new artists. Stop booking the same goddamn bands over and over.

Seriously. It's the worst. So many times when I'm coming back ton Indy to visit, I check and see if anyone remotely worthwhile might be playing. And do you know who I find rolling through time and time again? Guster. The Samples. The Reverend Horton Heat. Rusted Root. Cowboy Mouth. Cowboy Junkies. Other bands with "Cowboy" in their name. Enough! It's all I can do to not open fire upon hearing the name "BoDeans!" And it has to end! In my final three years living in Indianapolis, I had reason to go to the Music Mill exactly twice - once for The Hold Steady and once for Hairbanger's Ball. This is a problem.

Understand, this is not an argument against shitty music. That discussion can occur at another place and time. This is about the same shitty music showing up time and time again. That is not a sustainable business model, and I for one would like to see this business succeed. The Music Mill as a venue is unique enough that it can create a comfortable niche in the city. There are plenty of talented people in Indianapolis who routinely book different high-level shows at smaller venues (coughRADIORADIOcough). Expand on this method and please, no more Edwin McCain. Honestly, that fucking guy...