1.30.2013

goodbye, blue monday


I discovered this edition of Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions yesterday. It is not pleasant.

I have little information about the particular book, as I did not bother to look up the year and publisher inside the front cover. I assumed there would be some database on the internet that meticulously followed the number of Vonnegut novel covers throughout the years. It appears that I was wrong.

I thought it was a new edition, as I had also recently spotted what I thought to be new additions of Vonnegut's Galapagos and Sirens of Titan, but this was also wrong. However, that does not make the covers any better. The SF Masterworks edition of Sirens of Titan is bland compared to the book's long history of delightfully misleading sci-fi covers, and the Galapagos cover had too much going on to accurately represent Vonnegut. Nothing sums his work up better than simple and streamlined.

Perhaps the new(ish) Breakfast of Champions cover is just that. Unfortunately, it is also hideous. I have discovered that it belongs to the 'Vintage' series whose cover was made by Michael Salu. It might be from the U.K. Regardless, it represents nothing of what can be found inside and comes across as something akin to a goofy Chuck Klosterman read. Not that I have much against Mr. Klosterman, it just seems like an accurate observation. Not only that, but this edition's paper is cheap and flimsy. An insult to what used to be my favorite book, and still might be.

Oh well. So it goes.

That last line was a Vonnegut quote.

As for the best of all Vonnegut covers, the old paperbacks of Sirens of Titan and Mother Night are topped only by the wonderfully minimal Galapagos hardcover.

1.22.2013

death is a lonely business


I purchased a used copy of the 1985 1st edition hardcover of Ray Bradbury's Death is a Lonely Business. I made a mistake.

A detail in its description was overlooked, which was 'no dustjacket.' I did not realize my error until the book arrived in the mail. This will not do.

Another 1985 1st edition hardcover copy arrived today. Dustjacket intact.

There was probably no other novel that I checked out more often at the Marathon County Public Library than this. Despite the dustjacket, which freaked me out when I was younger and caused me to always set it front cover down on a surface when taking a break from reading.

Times change. I do not believe there is any more iconic book cover in my mind than this, the 1985 1st edition hardcover version. I'm still not quite sure what those eyeballs are doing there, but they certainly add to the glory.

Years ago, wanting a copy of my own to travel around with me, I purchased the 1999 paperback edition. In all of my years of ownership, I never read it once. The book is gone now, lost to some Half-Price Books, because it wasn't the same. There was no rollercoaster. There were no eyeballs.

Funny how nostalgia effects so many things such as this. Or the time I purchased Jaws on DVD to finally replace my VHS copy, but it didn't look right, so I sold it the next day. I still have that VHS.

Death is a Lonely Business is not one of Ray Bradbury's more popular books, despite him writing two sequels. It is my favorite of his works. The title and 1985 1st edition hardcover dustjacket help.

. . .

There are only two book covers that come to mind which are anywhere as close as memorable as this. They are the 1995 paperback cover of Haruki Murakami's Dance Dance Dance, my favorite of his works, and the 1979 paperback cover of V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic, which I have never read. I think the cover reminds me of the 1988 board game Shrieks & Creaks.

I am probably forgetting something.

1.14.2013

context


Goodbye, Uptown Theatre is my short film focusing on the last night of a run-down movie theater. I screened it yesterday at the Trylon Microcinema. I decided not to provide any sort of context when introducing the work, despite it being comprised of eight minutes of the 1971 film Omega Man playing on the screen, followed by Yao Lee's unsubtitled "Liu Lien" playing over a darkened Uptown sign which does nothing. This led to twelve minutes of awkward chair shifting.

So. Belatedly . . .

Omega Man was the first film I ever viewed at the Uptown Theatre on August 14, 2004. I had only lived in Minneapolis for two weeks. Nine days later, they hired me on staff due largely to the fact that I had named Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro as my all-time favorite film on my application.

While I no longer consider Kikujiro my absolute favorite, it still remains in my top ten.

The second film I ever viewed at the Uptown Theatre was another midnight, this time 1963's Zatoichi 5: On the Road. Anyway.

Goodbye Uptown Theatre is an homage to Tsai Ming-Liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn, which also focuses on the last night of a run-down movie theater. Like all of the director's work, the film is comprised of incredibly long takes and only features eleven lines of dialogue. "Liu Lien" plays as the theater shuts down and the movie comes to an end. As the Uptown shuts down and my movie comes to an end, it does the same.

Goodbye, Uptown Theatre was banned from YouTube due to copyright violations against Warner Brothers through the use of Omega Man's audio. The film will most likely never be screened again.

1.10.2013

mn unearthed showcase at the trylon


Two of my films - Goodbye, Uptown Theatre and the music video for Complexes' "Doublemint" - are screening at the Trylon Microcinema this Sunday, January 13 as part of the MN Unearthed Showcase, a one-off return of the film series that myself and Dan Schneidkraut curated at the Trylon two years ago. Shockingly, this event received some press.

City Pages . . .
This Sunday, MN Unearthed Film Series returns to showcase unusual award-winning films by local filmmakers. The evening, however, will open with a screening of two films penned by British scholar Neil Fox: the mourning-themed It's Natural to Be Afraid and the French new wave/noir style Clandestine (scored by Sigur Ros). Both pieces will serve as reference points, as his latest work, A Passing Place, will be screened tonight as well. The piece was directed by series curator Dan S. The Uptown Theater will also feature heavily during the event: Three showcased films — Ned Abdul Needs More Retail Space Or: How To Say Goodbye to an Old Friend; Goodbye, Uptown; and Double Mint, a music video for Complexes — were shot in the old theater before renovations began last summer. Finally, McKnight Fellow Stephen Gurewitz will screen his new film, Madison St., a documentary about a 76-year-old man who moves to Tucson, Arizona, leaving his older brother to live in their childhood home on the eponymous street. — By Jessica Armbruster

Vita.mn . . .
Something of a local edition of "New York, I Love You," the MN Unearthed short-film showcase offers some brief odes to Minneapolis by Twin Cities directors. Films include the New Yorker-praised Stephen Gurewitz's 30-minute documentary "Madison St.," which depicts the history of the Northeast street; Joseph Larsen's love/hate letter (NOTE: this is not true) "Goodbye, Uptown" and Daniel Schneidkraut's Uptown Theater documentary "Ned Abdul Needs More Retail Space or: How to Say Goodbye to an Old Friend." Judging by their titles, the films look to offer a bittersweet mix of affection and loss. - JAHNA PELOQUIN

L'Etoile Weekend What's What . . .
If you want a different movie experience but tire of the same old offerings of black and white classics and cult films, perhaps you should go for a tasting menu (so to speak) of local talent: MN Unearthed features short films, music videos, and documentaries. Local filmmakers Joe Larsen and Dan Schneidkraut created and curated the series in hopes of putting independent, low-budget films on a deserving screen. So let the cozy Trylon be your host for the evening and get ready for an eclectic mix-tape of films about local spaces, culture and music. -Chloe Nelson

Buy tickets HERE.