Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Testing out a new blog for the AFI&I Project

Here is the new URL for my AFI blog on tumblr. It's a really cool, sleek look, and I'm not married to it, but I think it's a nice change.

http://afiandi.tumblr.com/

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Official.

I finally started my AFI blog project. The first film installment will be up sometime on Wednesday. Check it out at: www.allthesemovies.blogspot.com

You might even consider bookmarking that :)

Thanks again, for being really cool in the coolest of cool ways.

Cait

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Uh-oh.

So, I'll spare you the details, but my life has sort of drastically changed in the last two weeks. Unfortunately, these changes are drastic enough to take precedence over my ambitious little movie project. I just wanted to let you know, that the show must, and WILL go on. I am postponing the project until February, and I'm going to extend it into January of 2011. Still 12 months, still 100 movies, just a little off kilter.

Thank you for your continuing support, patience, and tolerance with my ridiculous life.

-Cait

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Forecast

Ah, it's that time of year again. Time for magazines to do their annual end-of-the-year editions including this year's huge "In Memoriam" section, along with other yearly highlights (Including "2009: A year in Kate Gosselin's hair DON'Ts.") Champagne and lobster tails are on sale at the grocery store, and 20-somethings across the nation are buying Pepto and Alka-seltzer in preparations for the inevitable aftermath of New Year's Eve (See: Hangover.) People are undoubtably saying "Gosh, I can't believe it's 2010 already," the same way they said "Gosh, I can't believe it's 1980 already," and while of course there is a general sentiment of starting over and new beginnings in the air, it's just the same old thing, isn't it?

But I guess it's only natural to go through with these rituals. Despite the fact that you are virtually the same person on December 31, 2009 as you are on January 1, 2010, there's no denying the feeling that everyone gets a clean state to start over. (I imagine the sales of diet foods and gym memberships skyrocket around this time of year.) And I'll also have to admit that there is something cathartic about reminiscing the past year as a whole. We rarely take this opportunity to harshly criticize the bad decisions of the year, but to instead promise to reconcile them for the next one. And, for our sanity, it's important to look at our accomplishments, however small they may seem.

As for my accomplishments? They were small, but to me, very important. And I refuse to list them on my blog (That seems a bit narcissistic, right? And by having a blog in the first place I'm a bit of a narcissist, so I'll draw the line there.) As for my mistakes, oh I've made plenty, but I'd like to think I've learned from them.

What I would like to share are my goals for next year. (I've found that when you share goals with your friends, you are more likely to see them through, so here goes.) I'm not going to bore you with the typical resolutions: eat healthy, work out more, spend less, read more, start an herb garden in the backyard, blah, blah, blah. This year, I'm actually excited about my resolution. It's more of a project, really. It's loosely inspired by The Julie and Julia Project, in which Julie Powell decided to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume I in a year. That goal was far loftier than mine ( In fact it was too lofty for Powell herself, seeing as she didn't finish on time, which the film version of the book glaringly left out.)

My 2010 project has nothing to do with cooking. It was sort of due to the fact that, as a cinema major, I have yet to see a lot of movies that you're "supposed" to see. Not that these movies are on a syllabus anywhere, but they're the movies that when you tell someone you haven't seen it they respond with some exaggerated hang gesture, perhaps slapping their hand on their forehead, and gasp "how have you NOT seen that?!" Often times having not seen a movie that someone else deems is a "must see" can be as offensive to this person as calling their mother a hairy-back-mary, or anything else equally off-putting. I know I am guilty of having these reactions too, but I think it's impossible to have seen every movie. Right? Maybe I'm being too defensive, because people tend to give me a hard time about this, but I mean, I am a busy girl with lots or important things and duties and responsibilities and how the hell am I supposed to see all of those movies?

Oh wait... Enter 2010 New Year's resolution...

(Drumroll please.)

I plan to watch all of AFI's top 100 films, and blog about them in one year. That's roughly 2 films a week, which may not seem like a huge commitment, but add that to a full course load, a part time job, a social life and the fact that I want to see all the Oscar nominated films too, and it's a pretty daunting task. But it's a task I'm excited about! I love film, and though I doubt I'll love every film on that list, I'm sure I'll appreciate them in one way or another. I'd also like to clarify something: I in no way think AFI is the end-all and be-all of film lists, but you'd be crazy to deny the fact that it is a pretty solid list.

Well, I hope 2009 has been good to you, and that 2010 is even better. Thanks for supporting this little blog of mine and well, I guess there's nothing left to say but, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Cait

Here is one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite movies. I always get a Nora Ephron/Rob Reiner hankering around New Year's...





PS
Here is the AFI Top 100 list if you want to check it out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FINALS a.k.a. what has been ruling my life for the past three weeks.

Oh me, oh my!

I've been so busy and haven't been blogging. I had tons of ideas for fun posts, just not the time or energy to put them together. However, I have almost three weeks off of work and school starting tomorrow and I will surely make up for lost time. Don't give up on me just yet!

And believe me, 2010 has some interesting projects awaiting. Hope you have all survived finals and/or holiday madness!

...And do I ever post without accompaniment?

Here is easily one of the coolest holiday covers I've ever heard. It's Beck's side project "Record Club" featuring Feist, Wilco, among others covering Skip Spence's "Little Hands."

Enjoy and you'll be hearing more from me very soon :)

-Cait



Record Club: Skip Spence "Little Hands" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Music To My Ears

My brother,  Sean, always told me that music was most influential in his life during his college years. He specifically mentioned the Smashing Pumpkin's album Siamese Dream, which he happened to give me right before I myself flew the nest. (Sorry if that reference dates you, Bro.)

I've always loved music, and there were definitely moments in high school where I would listen to Sigur Ros alone in a car in the rain and begin to ask myself questions like "What does it all mean?!" So whether or not I was affected by music was never a question, but how I came across music, well that's different.

As of yet, my musical education has been predominately been courtesy of Sean. (Although Christine and Ryan have made their substantial contributions as well. Ry got me into Pandora and Chris introduced me to the band Keane, to name a few.)

But Sean has done a lot that has drastically shaped my musical inclinations. Before I started my freshman year in High School he made me a mix (one of many to come.) It had The Thrills, Bill Withers, Gomez, Modest Mouse, The White Stripes and the Pixies on it. I distinctly remember sitting in the passenger seat of his old explorer when he said "The Pixies are old school. If you walk in there on your first day knowing the Pixies, you'll impress some people." (The notion of pop-culture knowledge being of any importance is very big in my family and subsequently the friends I now surround myself with, and it might have something to do with the fact that I much prefer the pink triangles in Trivial Pursuit to the green ones, and that I write a pop-culture-obsessed blog.) When I got my first iPod he made a 7-disc mix for me. It had a little bit of everything. A musical starter kit, if you will. Through out the next four years I started developing my own tastes and continued taking recommendations from Sean, and later my best friend Lauren. The two of them encouraged me to play the guitar and explore singing, which added a whole new connection to music for me.

My junior and senior year of high school I looked forward to finding music that would impress my brother as much as it impressed me. His birthday gifts from me for the last few years have been mixes, that I can safely say have improved with each year as my ear for music has matured. Actually, if we're being honest, I wanted him to like the mixes, but also to stump him on the artists and/or find obscure tracks. I haven't been entirely successful there, but I get closer and closer every year, and his birthday is coming up so we'll see what happens in November!

Now that I'm on my own, I continue to take recommendation from friends, but I am a lot more proactive on the music front. I guess the internet as a whole plays an enormous part in that. Between Twitter's #musicmonday, Myspace Music, Imeem, Lastfm, Hype Machine, Pandora, and postings on other blogs and facebook, I feel like I have all the music I could ever want at my fingertips.

It's only now dawning on me that perhaps my time for influential music has come, considering the majority of my blog posts have been music related. And the fact that I am just about always listening to music when I'm at home.

So after reading all of that I suppose you might deserve a little multi-media goodness, no?

My newest music/blog obsession would have to be the take away shows from La Blogotheque. French filmmaker Vincent Moon started filming the take away shows back in 2006 and now has over 90 of them. They're single take guerrilla-filmmaking style live shows with indie artists. They're usually shot in public (on a train, in a cafe, in a park, etc) and have an element of improvisation to them.

I like this premise for so many reasons. I love live recordings and the authentic, gritty sound of these acoustic shows. You also get to see these artists form a different perspective. Not as the the super-produced, glorified rock stars, but as street musicians- traveling troubadours connecting with the people as they take their music up and down the street, in and out of cafes and corner markets, and finally to some scenic spot on a bench in a park.

I also really like watching the reactions of the onlookers. You'd think they'd be more confused or perhaps off-put by this artistic intrusion into their daily routine, but overwhelmingly these people are  pleased to partake in the shows. And more often than not, these people are not the artist's typical fan demographic, but it doesn't seem to matter. People can't help but be affected by music. I only wish I could have seen one of these live shows!

Here are a few of my favorites, but there are many more on the site including Beirut, R.E.M, The Spinto Band, Lykke Li, Bon Iver, The Department of Eagles, Sufjan Stevens, Cold War Kids and Fleet Foxes among others.

Grizzly Bear "The Knife"

This a capella version is so fun to watch. It's drastically different to the recorded version and you get a real sense that the grizz guys, apart from being tremendously talented, are cool dudes. And they are walking through the streets of Paris, beers in hand, harmonizing. How could you not like them?

Delta Spirit "Trashcan" and "People C'mon"

Delta Spirit - Trashcan from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.
I love this because it is shot on the Powell-Market Cable Car here in SF! There is so much emotion in this guys voice. What I would have done to be on this trolley ride.

Bowerbirds "Bur Oak"

Sean introduced me to this band recently, and I was delighted to see that they had a take away show!! I love the interaction with the on-lookers at the end.

The Shins "Gone for Good" and "Turn on Me"

I love, love LOVE this one. These guys are amazing.

This was kind of an intense post, but I hope you made it out alright. Thanks for all the continued support. Now go do yourself a favor and listen to some of the amazing music this world has to offer!

Cait

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cover Girl

One of my Dad's favorite maxims was "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Generally, I agree, but when it comes to music, I think there are many opportunities to "fix" said unbroken things, or rather to cover an already great song. My one condition is that the cover is a fresh new take on an old favorite. I recently heard a cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" that knocked my socks off and it inspired me to compile a list of favorite covers.


1. "Single Ladies"
OG Artist: Beyonce
Cover Artist: Pomplamoose

This cover is so inventive! I love the clapping and harmonies. It's a darker take on it, and just wait for the bridge, it's priceless.
(If you like this check out their other songs. "Beat the Horse" and "Expiration Date" are really solid tunes.)


2."Too Little Too Late"
OG: Jojo
Cover: Grizzly Bear

This song is almost unrecognizable. It's such a departure from the original, in a good way. Jojo delivers a guilty pleasure caliber pop song, and the Grizzly guys turn it into a moody indie jam.


3. "Cry Me A River"
OG: Justin Timberlake
Cover: Glenn Hansard

I will forever love the original version of this song, but Hansards version is grittier and I almost always prefer acoustic to a highly produced track.


4."Be My Baby"
OG: The Ronnettes

Cover: Travis

This song is especially important to me because it was written by the late legend, and close family friend, Ellie Greenwich. Travis slowed it down, but it's original message is still very clear. I think Aunt Ellie, of all people, would appreciate the contemporary spin her beloved oldie. And you gotta love the wah peddle action.


5. "Boyz In Da Hood"
OG: Eazy-E
Cover: The Dynamite Hack

OK, so maybe I don't love the original, but the cover is just hysterical. It's a mellow acoustic cover of a very violent rap song. It might not be a song I listen to all the time, but it's fun every now and then to blast this in the car with the windows down... or on second thought, maybe those windows ought to stay rolled up. 


6. "Toxic"
OG: Britney Spears
Cover: Yael Naim

I totally loved this song when it first came out. It's fun to dance or work out to, but Yael Naim (a French-Israeli singer/songwriter most famously known in the US for her sweet song "New Soul") gives this an edgy, sultry flare. I didn't think a cover of this song could be that good, but this one is.


7."Naive Melody" (This Must Be The Place)
OG: Talking Heads
Cover: Arcade Fire

This is a perfect example of how a cover can not only be a reinvention of a great song, but an homage to the original artists. Bands like the Talking Heads helped pave the way for bands like Arcade Fire, and there is no better way to say thanks than this.


8. "I'm on Fire"
OG: Bruce Springsteen
Cover: Bat For Lashes

Talk about different ends of the musical spectrum! Both versions are fantastic and so different, as are the artist who sing them.


9. "Inside and Out"
OG: The Bee Gees

Cover: Feist

I love both of these, but my undying love for all things Feist might make me a little biased on this one. Instead of throwing away the 70s disco vibe of this song entirely, she makes it her own without losing the integrity of the original version.


10. "Crazy"
OG: Gnarls Barkley

Cover: Ray Lamontagne

I was obsessed with this song when it first came out. Then I heard Lamontagne's cover and immediately learned how to play it on the guitar, and proceeded to play it nonstop.


BONUS COVER:
"Don't Stop Believing"
OG: Journey
Cover Artists: The cast of "Glee"
If you aren't on the "Glee" bandwagon yet, hop the f on. Like now. It's so fun and all of the episodes can be found here. This cover is awesome. End of story.

Hope you enjoy!! Until next time...
-Cait