Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Speaking in Silence: Still Walking

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Still Walking” is gorgeous cinematic fabric, with a Eugene O’Neill worthy storyline consisting of intricately woven layers. Within the context of a family reunion to mourn the loss fifteen years earlier of an eldest son every character inhabits his own separate world within the same scene; while Kore-eda’s camera delights in remaining on images unrelated to the clan’s emotionally distanced words. Indeed, one actor will often address another who lingers out of frame. And the characters themselves are never as stock as they first seem. Depth is slowly revealed through the director’s nuanced dialogue, like the mesmerizing Toshiko Yokoyama’s sweet little old lady with vengeance in her heart or sister Chinami – played by 80s singer You who resembles a Japanese Cyndi Lauper – her pop tart attitude masking the sorrow of a daughter forever seeking the “I love you” just out of reach. “Even when they die people never really go away,” a newly remarried widow tells her son. The unseen characters, the dead, are just as “visible” as those living and breathing onscreen. Absence is palpable presence for Kore-eda. If any summer flick passes the art film “test” of speaking volumes with silence “Still Walking” is it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Interview with Erotica Diva Emily Dubberley

For those who think, "Dog collars — they're not just for Fido anymore!" and prize Hitachi's Magic Wand over their microwaves, Emily Dubberley has been a household name in the U.K. for years. Since the prolific sex writer (eighteen books and counting) has been bouncing between print and the Internet with a shameless hussy ease for so long I could think of no better pervert to deliver the down and dirty on the part of the English sex industry that transforms words into wet dreams.

To read the interview visit Carnal San Francisco.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Willy Nilly: A Musical Exploitation of the Most Far-Out Cult Murders of the Psychedelic Era

By its title "Willy Nilly: A Musical Exploitation of the Most Far-Out Cult Murders of the Psychedelic Era" ("being tastefully presented to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the infamous Manson murders" as the program reads) would seem to be the perfect FringeNYC finger to give to the summer of the mainstream establishment's "Hair" on Broadway and "Taking Woodstock" onscreen. And to its credit this Piper McKenzie Production is some merry prankster-ish fun. With its enthusiastic cast sporting over-the-top hippie wear, colorful set that makes the most of minimalism with cardboard flowers and wooden stools, and rockin' musical numbers that allow the actors to fill in the design's visual gaps with exuberantly executed choreography, "Willy Nilly" moves as fast as its psycho guru lead does in assembling his Manson-like tribe. That is, "like a hotbed Brigham Young," according to the D.A. character played by the musical's playwright/lyricist/composer Trav S.D. who also notes that the Family's "names have been changed for the author's amusement."

To read the rest of my review visit Theater Online.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The beauty of watching live performance lies in bearing witness to art unfolding right before your eyes. And "Urbanopolis," Suspended Cirque's latest site-specific, aerial creation at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO delivers just that. The show is a low-budget indie Cirque du Soleil from its burlesque chick acrobats to its hula hoop skirts, to the shreds of newspaper dangling from a hoop descended from the ceiling, proving that heart and creativity trump dollars and glitz every time.

To read the rest of my review visit Theater Online.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sex and The Subject: Confessions of a Critic

As a freelancer who writes almost exclusively for online film publications I often find myself wearing more than one mismatched hat. Sometimes I'm a critic picking apart larger than life images, and sometimes I'm a reporter picking the brain of a real live filmmaker or random porn star. Interviewing the delightful Sasha Grey for SpoutBlog one week while trouncing the atrocious film that marks her mainstream debut, Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience," at The House Next Door the next, is just par for the modern day journo's course. As the walls have tumbled down in cyberspace, so have the boundaries that used to separate critic from subject. Or at least what were once sturdy facades.

To read the rest visit my Sex Beat column at Carnal San Francisco.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Not Being Paul Giamatti: Cold Souls

Sophie Barthes’ stunningly smart debut, “Cold Souls,” stars the always-impressive Paul Giamatti as the actor Paul Giamatti whose soul has become a burden during a production of “Uncle Vanya,” resulting in his inability to separate himself from the character. Anxious to alleviate the pain Paul seeks out a facility called Soul Storage—“conveniently located on Roosevelt Island” a soothing automated phone message explains—run by David Straithairn’s hilariously laidback Dr. Flintstein. While comparisons to Charlie Kaufman’s work, especially to “Being John Malkovich,” will inevitably be drawn (the meta lead roles, the soul storage warehouse in “New Jersey,” the gender-bending aspect of male souls taking up in female bodies and vice-versa), Barthes has distinguished herself from the Kaufman machine mainly through the help of her partner and cinematographer/producer Andrij Parekh. Parekh’s elegant lighting and fluid camerawork stand in stark contrast to the off-kilter hyperactive style of “Being John Malkovich”; “Cold Souls” is clearly not “A Spike Jonze Film.”

To read the rest visit The House Next Door.