Monday, January 25, 2010


In Paris was lucky enough to have ticks to the premiere of Igor and Coco, a docu-movie about the brief love affair between Stravinsky and Chanel. Honestly, I was dragged to it. Historical romance. Not my thing.

What I didn't realize was that the movie was a very non-romantic look at two immensely talented, creative people and how that creativity affected the way they lived their lives. The first long scene - a recreation of the riot caused by the Rite of Spring - is simply extraordinary. I think most amazing since the director managed to capture how the event might have actually felt.. inspiring and scary... I'm working on a new piece and I've been watching it again for that reason..

I put the trailer for it here (though honestly it makes it look like an overly dramatic chic flic)

and the St. Petersburg Mariinsky's recreation of the dance

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Room

Nice article on Cabaret in Art News - discusses an issue I always find difficult to explain - i.e. just what the hell is Cabaret anyway. Naked Girls in Feathers? Guys in Tuxedo and Whiteface? An unconnected set of skits? Provocation? Entertainment?

I think he's still defining it against that mainstay of US Cabaret - the aging singer hacking their way through a bunch of broadway songs in a wood paneled hotel bar - an entertainment form in which I have less than zero interest - but it's got some nice points...

"Main Entry: cab·a·ret
Pronunciation: \ˌka-bə-ˈrā, ˈka-bə-ˌ\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Middle French dial. (Picard or Walloon), from Middle Dutch, alteration of cambret, cameret, from Middle French dial. (Picard) camberete small room, ultimately from Late Latin camera -- more at chamber
Date: 1655
1 archaic : a shop selling wines and liquors
2 a : a restaurant serving liquor and providing entertainment (as by singers or dancers) : nightclub b : the show provided at a cabaret

There's only a small scene here in San Francisco. Mostly it's based out of a venue called The Rzazz Room, a low-ceilinged nook in a corner of the Hotel Nikko downtown. But other venues host cabaret-like events such as Yoshi's, Bimbo's, The Exit Theatre, The Eureka Theatre and the Marine's Memorial Theatre.

It's really a very amorphous artform that seems to feed on the outer edges of other more well-defined genres such as musical theatre, jazz and singer-songwriting. Few artists these days can be said to be truly indigenous to cabaret. I suppose that's not surprising when the word itself means a container for art -- the walls between which it exists -- than the art itself."

here's more of the article

Monday, January 11, 2010

Longer than a minute

A while ago I was cutting down some footage from Whiskey Bars and I showed it to a friend. He saw that it was three minutes long (cut from an hour long show). He shook his head and said, 'No one will ever watch this. It's too long. Get it down to below a minute." I took his advice, for better or worse, but lately it's been nagging me. When did our concentration level get to the point where more than a minute of focus seems like an effort. I recently watching the opera Les Troyens - all five and a half hours of it - and I can't say I really got into it until the second hour.

Anyway... enough ranting. I write that just because I'm putting up a new video for a song from the new album, 'The Sky Was Blue', and its four and a half minutes long. Quite a stretch for the new age. An homage to The Talking Heads, and the songwriting skills of David Byrne. Heaven.

filmed in the Yukon in Dawson City, and at the best bar in Canada, the Pit, at the Westminster Hotel.