Friday, June 13, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 06/13/08

Greetings from Vancouver, Washington.
The travels continue. Seeing sights, visiting my people, getting stuff done, and occasionally enjoying nice weather.

1. Last weekend's Seattle adventure included a trip to Little Red Studio for their monthly 'Psychedelic Show'.
(With an emphasis on 'trip')

I'd heard about the theater group from my cousin's tales of his time performing with the troupe, so it was good to put names with faces (and other body parts).

Picture a cabaret of the 'I know, let's put on a show!' variety, but replace Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney with a large revolving crew of aerialists, poets, dancers, musicians, extroverts, exhibitionists and other 'alternative' types.

Put them in a very comfy and intimate theater space in the shadow of Seattle's Space Needle, add some yummy desserts through the course of a casually lengthy evening, hang out and enjoy the fun (and the flesh, as it turns out).
A charming experience, and one you may wish to investigate sometime.

- - and don't tell anyone, but I kept that brush they handed me for the nude body-painting session as a souvenir.

2. Monday morning took me north across the border into Vancouver, B.C. for a coupla days of non-definitive happy running about in a truly beautiful and amazing city.

I didn't know about the cool show happening at the Vancouver Art Gallery ahead of time, but it was hard not to spot the ads everywhere on banners and buses, and it turned out to be walking distance from my hotel near the north end of the
Granville Bridge...

'KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art' is running now through
September 7, 2008 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

- From a post at PopCultureShock:

"One of the largest exhibitions ever organized by the Gallery, KRAZY! occupies two entire floors of gallery space.

"Divided into seven sections defined by medium, the exhibition takes viewers through ever-changing gallery environments, which include a mini-theatre for viewing animated cartoons and anime, immersive video spaces and innovative reading environments for visitors to experience a deluge of manga, graphic novels and comics.

"Built to ensure visitors are exposed to the full breath of the media, the exhibition comprises more than 600 artworks, including original sketches, concept drawings, sketchbooks, storyboards, production drawings, films, video games, animation cels, three dimensional models, sculptures, books, manga and much more."

Highlights for me included exhibits of work by artists and comics creators Harvey Kurtzman,
Linda Barry, Milt Gross, Raymond Pettibon, and Seth, original storyboard art from Disney's 'Dumbo' and UPA's 'Gerald McBoing Boing', and 'shadow puppets' from Lotte Reininger's 1926 animated feature film 'The Adventures of Prince Achmed'.

It was a wonderful and slightly odd experience to see the work of so many innovative folks given a proper museum treatment.

Harkening back to my childhood love of comics and animation, I felt a bit vindicated as I pictured the ghost of my mother rolling her eyes and scowling a bit.

See also:
- 'Cool World', an article at Galleries West.

3. On Wednesday they allowed me to return to the U.S., and en route back to Seattle I spent part of the foggy day in Bellingham, Washington, discovering among its many charms, within a few blocks of each other;

- A couple of top-notch used book stores
- A quite decent comic book shop and a fun antique store
- A massive new & used record store, with reasonable prices on some surprising vinyl scores
- The unlikely-sounding Tofu Reuben sandwich at The Old Town Cafe. Sounds a bit appaling and like it shouldn't work it all, but tastes great and hangs together perfectly!

Also in Bellingham, I stumbled happily upon the wondrous and delightful American Museum of Radio and Electricity.

Not only is it filled with beautiful old radios and phonographs and other vintage audio equipment, but much of their exhibits are hands-on and decidedly
The space reeks of 'labor of love' and is a treasure to behold if you have any love at all for this stuff or curiousity about the history of audio and electrical science.
Affiliated with and helping to support the project is a terrific radio station, housed in the same building.

What a boon to the community! I was very impressed.

Apart from travels in the real world this past week, some other happy discoveries...

4. Below, ▼ 'Alice' - - Pogo's YouTube clip is accompanied by his electronic music piece, 90% of which is derived from the audio track of Disney's animated 'Alice In Wonderland'. Hypnotic!

(Found via Hello Vegetables)

5. Some impending and notable DVD releases (US Region 1):

- Arriving in September, 'The Best of... What's Left of...Not Only... But Also' will present material from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's 1960's British TV comedy sketch show on a single disc.

Is this the first US DVD release for any of this material?
Maybe more will follow, fingers crossed...

- See also: The Establishment,
The Peter Cook Appreciation Society website.

- I've been wanting to see 'Ekusute' (or 'Exte-Hair Extensions') for a couple of years now, ever since catching the horrific and hysterical original Japanese movie trailer at YouTube.

Set to arrive at the end of July as 'Hair Extensions (EXTE): Special Edition', this tale of killer hair run amuck will be released on two discs in the U.S., presumably with an original Japanese version subtitled, and an
english-dubbed edit included.

- Also in July, one I've been waiting for such a long time:
Director John Sayles' 'Baby It's You', from 1983.

I saw it when it first came out, a couple of times I think.

I remember thinking it wasn't perfect, but it introduced Sayles to me, and it made me fall in love with
Rosanna Arquette for a time, so I'm very pleased with the notion of seeing it again.

I'd like to see how the angles of the dysfunctional
romance / 1960's odyssey strike me now...

- Lastly, if, like many others, you missed seeing the stellar performances of Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes in director / writer Martin McDonagh's completely BRILLIANT 'In Bruges' as it raced in and out of theaters like it was being chased by a bull, your opportunity to see this fine film is coming around again, beginning at the end of this month. Seize it.

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