September 29, 2004
viff at last

Nearly a week in, I'm finally going to my first festival film tonight, Tony Takitani. I'm going to it based soley on the fact that it's based on a short story by Haruki Murakami (not Murakami Haruki, as the viff guide would have it). I decided to watch the film before reading the story, which I hadn't realized was online until I was googling the film.

As for the viff, the best local site I've come across for recommendations is van ramblings; its proprietor seems to be able to watch more films than the half-dozen bloggers of festblog combined. (festblog link via Darren Barefoot)

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 05:48 PM
Ticket Price Insanity

I felt a little uncertain about spending $69 per for tickets to see Tom Waits at the Orpheum, but I ended up doing it because he tours so rarely and reportedly puts on a great show. Today I find out a second show is happening at the Commodore, and tickets are $115 (ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN DOLLARS! PLUS APPLICABLE CHARGES!). And dig how the sale is happening:

Tickets for the this show at the Commodore will go on sale Saturday October 2nd at 9:30 a.m. at the Commodore Box Office ONLY (868 Granville Street) . There wil be no phone, internet or ticketmaster outlets sales for this event. Tickets are limited to 2 per person Physical tickets will not be issued on October 2nd; ticket buyers will receive a reservation voucher which they will redeem for hard tickets on the night of the show. On October 2nd, Ticket buyers must show valid government identification (drivers license or passport) All ticket reservations are non-refundable and non-transferable - only the person making the original October 2nd reservation can claim the tickets night of show.

Yow. Now, this is also billed as a Commodore 75th Anniversary event, so maybe there's other stuff going on, but for that price it should include a nice bottle of whiskey.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 03:22 PM
Spaceballs 2

I know that certain members of my family will be very, very excited about this: Mel Brooks is writing Spaceballs 2.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 07:48 AM
September 23, 2004
Baghdad Year Zero

Naomi Klein: Baghdad Year Zero

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 10:32 PM
September 21, 2004
PJ Harvey @ the Vogue

Wishes do come true: PJ Harvey, October 30th at the Vogue.

Just as an aside, I bet the presale password for Ms. HARVEY is easy to guess.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 04:36 PM
September 17, 2004
On Wittgenstein

David Rees (of Get Your War On fame) waxes hilarious on Wittgenstein:

The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus reads like a calculator's weblog about C-3PO's honors thesis, or an instruction manual for meaning itself translated from the algebra by Data from Star Trek Voyager. The book's skeleton is a septet of underwhelming statements: "The world is all that is the case;" "A thought is a proposition with a sense." The intellectual savagery of this book lies in what spins out of these nodes, furious and brilliant. Each initial statement is broken out into sub-statements which are numbered according to Wittgenstein's secret taxonomy. For example, paragraph 3.33 ("In logical syntax the meaning of a sign should never play a role…") is elaborated by paragraph 3.331 ("From this observation we turn to Russell's 'theory of types'. It can be seen that Russell must be wrong." [Oh SNAP!!! How much did Bertrand Russell hate reading paragraph #3.331 in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus?])


Then, late one August night Wittgenstein awoke with the realization that he had not totally destroyed philosophy. A few wily questions had survived his armageddon. They had grown stronger during his hiatus. They had learned from their fellow questions' fatal errors. They steeled themselves to the Tractatus. And now they called out to Wittgenstein, taunting him. So our hero came out of retirement and starting swinging harder than ever. He returned to Cambridge University and began raging against the dying of the light. He raged so hard, he accidentally developed an entirely new philosophy of language, one that contradicted the Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus. This new philosophy was called "Language Games." The basic idea behind it was, "Just talk and have fun. It's all good. It's only language." This philosophy was a little more mellow and less strident than the pit bull paragraphs of Wittgenstein's earlier work. This later period of Wittgenstein's career is referred to as the "All Good Period."

From amazon's Writers Under the Influence essay series.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 09:42 AM
September 14, 2004
gmail invites

LATE BREAKING UPDATE: All gone. Thanks for playing.

So is there anyone left that wants gmail but doesn't have it? If you happen to be one of these unfortunate souls, drop me a line at bill.stilwell at gmail dot com and I'll hook you up (provided I have invites left, natch).

LATE BREAKING UPDATE: All gone. Thanks for playing.

Wow, reading comprehension is hard, eh? Maybe closing comments will do the trick...

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 02:40 PM
September 10, 2004
Live, Baby, Live

After not seeing many concerts for a while (and being too cheap to pay $45 to see Sonic Youth), all of a sudden there's three shows I'm excited about:

and a potential 4th:

In other famous-people-visiting news, mega-hyped Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell author Susanna Clarke will be here for the Writer's Fest.

(browsing happens)

As will Neal Stephenson! (Pushing The System of the World) and Roddy Doyle! I am so here. Also here. Yeah, here too.

Plus of course there's the little filmfest happening soon too. All I need is lots of time and money, which are always easy to come by...

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 09:28 PM
September 07, 2004
Alex Ross Interview

Excellent interview with Alex Ross

People have been trained to think of classical music as something "dignified," "civilized," "serious." That attitude smothers the life force that originally brought the music into the world. And the social code around classical music is so stupidly superficial. People think that if they dress a certain way, if they keep quiet and purse their lips and look thoughtful, read the program notes and murmur, "Ah, Mozart," then they're having a serious experience. It's thinking from the outside in. It's just as much of a pose, no, more of a pose, than any punk with a sneer and a nose-ring and purple hair. The ultra-stuck-up behavior only really appeared toward the end of the 19th century, when commercial popular music came into existence and upper-class symphony-goers tried to set themselves from the vulgar crowd. It had nothing to do with music-it was reactive, defensive, _un_serious. The word "serious" should be expunged. Everyone who commits a life to music is serious. Basically, we in classical music are so full of ourselves--we have a peculiar kind of arrogance that's internalized, that comes off as impenetrable standoffishness.

Also a few recommendations:

If you like the white-noisy end of rock, then you'll almost certainly get off on Xenakis' Metastasis or Ligeti's Atmospheres and Requiem. Then you could move backward in time to Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra and the Rite of Spring. Then keep going back to Mahler and Strauss, the semi-dissonant late-Romantics. People who are deep into electronic, DJ, and experimental music, Warp and Rephlex Records stuff, the Eno seventies classics, etc., are already aware of Steve Reich, who kind of invented that whole thing. Music for Eighteen Musicians will take your breath away if you've never heard it. Stockhausen's Gesang der Jünglinge, Cage's Williams Mix, the pioneering electronic works are the next step. The OHM electronic compilation is an excellent introduction. From there you can climb on the same Ligeti-Schoenberg-Mahler bus as the Sonic Youth brigade, though if you fall in love with Reich you might also immediately understand the rapid hypnotic patterning of Vivaldi and Bach, or Dufay and Machaut. If you live for U2, Led Zeppelin, one of the grander rock bands, you could easily acquire a taste for Mahler, who once imagined his music being played in stadiums. The Resurrection Symphony is many people's starting point. Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra is in the same ballpark, and, of course, Wagner, the original hammer of the gods. Emo listeners might find a kindred spirit in, I don't know, Schubert's gorgeously self-pitying Die schöne Müllerin cycle, or John Dowland's Lachrimae, or John Adams' Harmonium. This is getting risky, though. There's so little rhyme or reason to the mechanics of taste. A Dillinger Escape Plan fan might suddenly get all tweaked out by Haydn's string quartets, who knows. Some music simply conquers all hearts. Schubert's String Quintet in C, for example. If that music doesn't bring you to the edge of tears, it's time to adjust your Wellbutrin. Ditto for Lorraine Hunt Lieberson singing Bach cantatas, or Jessye Norman singing Strauss' Four Last Songs.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 10:10 PM
September 01, 2004
Tricks of the Trade

If you enjoyed The Morning News' Tricks of the Trade article, you'll want to head on over to the Tricks of the Trade website.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 04:28 PM