Tag Archives: special blog

Day 153: [THEME WEEK!!] Sufjan Stevens (and his magical powers) “The Lakes Of Canada”

14 Nov

Hello there!

So, as I promised the last two days, I am starting a THEME WEEK!

What is this theme week about? Well, let me explain.

The last few weeks (aka month) have been very difficult. Due to school/family/computer/and health problems, I’ve been more than a little under the weather in health and spirit. While my friends have been there for me (and I appreciate all the love and help I’ve been receiving from them), I’ve still been down in the dumps.

But what has gotten me through to a week of stress-free thinking is the wonderful man with a banjo: Sufjan Stevens.

Fig. 1.1: Sufjan Stevens and his banjo.

With the release of his newest masterpiece “The Age Of Adz” (which is incredible… check it out if you can!), my interest in Sufjan spiked for the first time. Yes, I had heard him in the past, but it was more of that “second-glance-not-really-listening-but-saying-you-like-them” type of situations (In fact, in my mind, he was just a really cute guy who played banjo… see fig. 1.1). So I felt like a jackal when I picked up a copy of his “Illinois” album (more on that later in the week) and fell in love hard core.

Today’s song by him is incredible. It’s a cover of an already beautiful song, but somehow he has captured it in a way that I didn’t think was humanly possible. Just him and a banjo on a rooftop, singing to no one and everyone all at the same time.

Enjoy “The Lakes of Canada”, a cover by Sufjan Stevens.

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Day 105: Ode To Paste Magazine

2 Sep

The most recent issue of Paste

Hello there! If this is your first time on the site, be sure to check out the about page at the top for more info on my project! Also, sign the guestbook (also located in the top)!

Once more, a digression from my promise of pictures of California, but this is important.

As you probably know, I did a paste mag video week a few weeks ago (talking about videos given to me by Paste Magazine, aka my favorite magazine).

Well, some shockingly sad news was announced yesterday:

“Paste Media Group announces, with deepest sadness, the suspension of the Paste magazine print product. Struggles with mounting debt were made public last year when our readers responded with generosity to save the magazine. But the prolonged downturn of the ad market has forced a hiatus. All subscribers have access to the digital version of their magazines through the June/July issue on PasteMagazine.com. Paste, while considering strategic alternatives, is focusing on its digital assets, including PasteMagazine.com.”

Yes, my dear readers, my all time favorite magazine (and my dream job) is suspending print publications. I wanted to cry for my future, and also my year subscription.

But this is a website devoted to optimism, and for today’s blogpost, I’ve decided to write an Ode to Paste Magazine:

An Ode To Paste Magazine

Moving to the great northwest
Was hard enough
Without much of a knowledge
Of current music
But Paste was there.
With it’s influence in the indie music community
Featuring some artists
Like Fleet Foxes and Starlight Mints
That quickly became my favorite musicians.
With it’s countless free downloads of music and videos
Including an ice skater performing against the Shins
And a woman hiding in a bookcase in the snow.
With it’s witty writing
Keeping me interested in whatever I’m reading
Within it’s strangely calming pages.
With that weird smell
That’s strangely appealing
When you pick a copy up at a bookstore.
I will miss you Paste
And I will never forget you.
So Bon Voyage
Which means “Good Travel”
And not goodbye.

Day 58: Tree Bells

17 Jul

Hello there! If this is your first time on the site, be sure to check out the about page at the top for more info on my project! Also, sign the guestbook (also located in the top)!

Yesterday, I had a feature blog about Liz and Reed Fish and all of their artwork. If you didn’t get to check it out, you can either scroll down one post and check it out, or you can be lazy and click the link here!

Anyways, after talking to them about their 10 Second Moment projects, I decided to try my own! So today’s blogpost is a bit of a follow up and a piece of creativity I tried to do myself.

So check out my one and only 10 second moment! (and check out the Fishes 10 second moments here)

(this video was taken at the Seattle Center, next to the Seattle Repertory Theater. Taken from the flier:

” Windfall: Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, June 15th to September 15th, 2010. A temporary artwork celebrates the Theater Commons. More than 1,000 cast-iron wind chimes fill the Theater Commons, inviting you to slow down, enter and explore the space. Like the adjacent Donnelly Gardens, Windfall honors the contributions of late civic arts leader Peter Donnelly. Intended to heighten the perception of wind as an invisible force, this artwork acoustically tracks the changing spatial form and velocity of wind as it travels across the expanded site.”

If you live in Seattle, take a look at it. It’s gorgeous and sounds sweet.)

Day 57: [SPECIAL] Stop And Admire The Sizzler

16 Jul

Hello there! If this is your first time on the site, be sure to check out the about page at the top for more info on my project! Also, sign the guestbook (also located in the top)!

Today I bring you a special blogpost! So enjoy!

Stop And Admire The Sizzler by Alex Marga

The Real Reed Fish

“One of the things that we’re looking for is that we’re trying to bring out the beauty in everyday objects, the beauty of the Sizzler restaurant… And every Sizzler is beautiful in it’s own way.” It was evident after just one phone call that Reed Fish is no ordinary man. While he and his wife Liz may cook dinner, open bottles of wine, go to concerts, and walk down streets just like everyone else, they use creativity to show us the world in a unique way.

The Fishs have mastered it all: Reed’s movie I’m Reed Fish (2006), starring up-and-coming actor Jay Baruchel, is still receiving fans three years after its release; the photography he works on with his wife is giving people a different perspective of simple things (like Sizzlers and loaves of bread); and their 10 second moments, currently filmed each day for the year 2010, are providing a way to stay creative throughout the year. But for Reed and Liz, being artistic is just a way of life: “It sounds a little cheesy I think, but I’m an artist, whether I write or direct movies or make visual art, you know, build photography. It’s all part of the same thing for me.”

Their work focuses mainly on the perspective of the creator, often testing the audience to develop their own ideas of what the art should mean. As a personal goal from college, Reed and Liz are on a journey to take a photograph of every location of the Sizzler restaurant chain in the United States. Displaying the pictures on their website, “The Fishes Love You,”* allows anyone to see their project in progress. But one aesthetic detail had me wondering what its purpose is. When asked why all the photos are blurry, Reed replied, “We’re not giving you a location of where the Sizzler is… In America, whether you live in Seattle or you live in Los Angeles, or you live in New York or wherever, chances are you eat at the same restaurants… It could be anywhere.” This is not the only example of perspective working for a purpose.

In his movie I’m Reed Fish, the perspective starts off in the normal, traditional “movie” setting: the audience is watching a series of events happening to a group of people in a small town. But soon, the real perspective comes into play: what the viewer thought was a normal indie romantic comedy cuts into a first-person account of the main character making a movie of the events that transpired. By taking this non-traditional turn, the viewer is given a chance to see the creator’s perspective on his own life.

The Ten Second Moment project of 2010 has really stressed what the Fishs want to say about the world. “We’re really trying to take the opportunity to examine things that people don’t normally examine,” said Reed, “and to find the beauty in these moments and these things and these places that people don’t normally stop and see the beauty in.” Each ten second clip features a different aspect of normal life: day #68, also called “Breeze,” is ten seconds of a breeze through the trees; while day #122, also called “Bed-head,” features Reed with an extreme case of bed-head. “There’s beauty in your ceiling fan going around,” said Reed, “… you can’t spend your life looking at the ceiling fan, seeing how beautiful it is… We both think it’s really worth while to occasionally stop and notice these things and see how beautiful they are.”

While the Fishs are happy people in general, their projects are not afraid to take a look at the dark side. “We’re not going to shy away from the dark things in our work, but we titled our website ‘The Fishes Love You’ … We wanna put good feelings out there. And for us a lot of our work is about the beauty of the every day, where we have the little projects, like the boxes of tissue… every slice in a loaf of bread, and you know what? Those objects are beautiful too… If you give them, some attention, put some nice lighting on them, and you take the time to actually look at them, you can really see the beauty in them.”

Through their photography, movies, and ten-second moments, the Fishs are opening up the eyes of their audience to a world already around us. They are giving us the opportunity to see something beautiful. Like Reed said, “Life is… fast pace. If you don’t take the time to stop and… you know I don’t wanna say smell the roses, but stop and… admire the Sizzler…” we might miss it.

Here is the preview for his movie I’m Reed Fish

*The link seems to be experiencing difficulties. I’ll edit it as soon as it’s back up!

I’d like to thank Reed Fish for giving up some time to talk to me on a great Saturday afternoon. It means a lot to talk to someone cool like you!!

Day 56: A-Punk by Vampire Weekend

15 Jul

Hello there! If this is your first time on the site, be sure to check out the about page at the top for more info on my project! Also, sign the guestbook (also located in the top)!

Today, I unfortunately don’t have my special blog post, and as I’m crunched on time I have just a short post for you.

So one more thing, I apologize for my second blog post this week for the band Vampire Weekend!

Two days ago, I wrote about Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, featuring the band’s song “Ottoman”. Well, today I’m bringing you another song that I love by the band called “A-Punk”, which has the sweetest music video ever!

So enjoy the video! and look for that blogpost tomorrow!!!

Day 55: Reckoner by Radiohead

14 Jul

Hello there! If this is your first time on the site, be sure to check out the about page at the top for more info on my project! Also, sign the guestbook (also located in the top)!

So to continue this week’s accidental movie theme, I have a great movie to feature today… but first, some notes!

In the past week, I have seen 2 other movies (other than I Am Love): Despicable Me and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The first of the two is adorable and happy… a great family comedy and a fun time for all (plus some of the most random tid bits that made me laugh so hard I was crying)! The second of the two, albeit incredibly cheesy, was super fun to watch. Maybe it’s my love for Jay Baruchel, and my secret love for watching Nic Cage being Nic Cage, but it’s incredibly silly and totally a joy to watch. Go see both! They’re wonderful!

ANYWAYS, on to the actual movie!

The movie I want to feature on my blog today is called Choke (2008). Now, before I go into the actual blogpost, I’d like to warn you guys that this movie is rated R for a very good reason. So let me stress that this movie is 100% NSFW, and the preview is a little bit risque, so be forwarned.

The story is based on the book “Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk, and sticks pretty close to the plot: Victor Mancini (played by Sam Rockwell) is a sex addict who works at a memorial ground as “the backbone of colonial America.” But, he is not only supporting himself but his mother with dementia (played by Anjelica Huston). So, to grab some extra cash, he forces himself to choke on food in restaurants to get rich men and women to care for him forever. But when he meets a new nurse (played by Kelly MacDonald) at his mother’s hospital and he comes to terms with his past life, he begins a journey of self realization and acceptance in an otherwise messed up society.

Sure, it’s a bit crazy and a lot sexual, but it stresses a very interesting point: being hung up on the past can only mess you up in the end. Looking forward to tomorrow is more important than looking back at your issues.

Here’s the preview (remember, pieces are slightly NSFW):

The moment in this movie that just sticks with me, however, is the last 3 minutes of the movie. As the movie comes to a close, things are resolved. Not everything is perfect, but there is understanding between the audience and the main character. However, there is one piece of the puzzle missing… as Victor narrates what his new found knowledge of life in general, he sits on a plane and waits for the opportune moment to step up to the plate. Without giving anything away, the last few seconds of the movie leaves a slightly open ending, while tying together the last missing piece everyone was hoping for. But the best part of this whole thing is the song they use for this ending.

“Reckoner” by Radiohead is quite possibly my all time favorite song. It is gorgeous, calming, slightly sad, and all out amazing. Every time I hear it, I have to drop everything I’m doing and just listen. So when the movie ends, and the song comes on in the background, I fell absolutely in love. It was the perfect way to end an imperfect tale. Honestly, I’m still lost in words.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the ending clip, but mostly because it’s something that you need to experience for yourself. You’re welcome to spoil the movie for yourself, but for now I leave you with “Reckoner” by Radiohead. Enjoy!

P.S. Tomorrow brings my special blogpost! Look for it!!

P.S.S. 1000 hits!!!!! Thanks for all the support!!!

Day 54: Ottoman by Vampire Weekend

13 Jul

Hello there! If this is your first time on the site, be sure to check out the about page at the top for more info on my project! Also, sign the guestbook (also located in the top)!

For the last two days, I’ve been talking about some really great movies I love. So today, I want to continue what I’ve started and talk about another really great movie: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Nick, an awkward straight guy in a gay band (played by Michael Cera), is trying to get over his ex-girlfriend that he was a little too attached to. Norah, a sort-of-outgoing chick with a crazy best friend (played by Kat Dennings), is trying to keep her friend from making horrible decisions as a result of drinking. When Nick sees his ex at one of his concerts, he decides to find a fake girlfriend, and when Norah, who is friends with Nick’s ex, is tested for being “lame,” she goes the limits and kisses Nick on a whim. Thus begins the night of their lives, full of missing friends, a crappy Yugo, great music, a hidden concert, a douchy boyfriend (played by Jay Baruchel), and love without realizing it.

This movie is one of those cheesy movies that are aimed towards teenagers, but ever since I saw it for the first time, I’ve been a huge fan.

Here’s the preview:

My favorite part of the movie, however, is the music. A few months after the movie came out, I bought the soundtrack and brought it with me to a work-out session. By the end of the 40 minutes, I was incredibly impressed and totally in love with the music of the movie. Every song brought out something in me… a story. Yeah, sure, the songs were featured in the movie, and I can imagine Nick and Norah in the Yugo, listening to “Our Swords” by Band Of Horses. But when I hear the song, I can see something completely different in my head.

But my most favorite song on the whole CD is “Ottoman” by Vampire Weekend. The song begins the credits at the end of the movie, and whenever it pops up on my ipod, I can’t help but play it over and over and over again. It is a handsome song, and I can’t do without it in my life!

So enjoy, “Ottoman” by Vampire Weekend, from Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

P.S. tune in tomorrow or thursday for the special blog post!!