Thursday, 29 November 2007

blood and bones

i just listened to SjMcArdles "new" songs (well, they're not so new, it's just i never listened to them earlier - shame on me) on his myspace page, and decided to promote him and his music a bit. it's been quite a few years now since his first album "lancelot", and even 2 years or even more since "year of the tiger", and now i'm eagerly waiting for his new album, which is a project being written and recorded in nashville. it's described as "futuristic roots music", think 16 horsepower, helldorado, irish folk, leonard cohen with some electronics. and sj's wonderful voice.
listen into "blood and bones" here!!


i just stumbled over a site on the net which i have to say i really like. i love making lists, and always have wanted to catalogue my books (and dvds and cds).

the site i found is called librarything, and you can get an account (for free) and, very easily, add books to your virtual catalogue. it's perfect! or, at least, almost. if your book is not to be found in any of the 99 online sources you can chose to search, you're just unlucky. or at least, i didn't find out any compensation yet. but probably i just didn't find it yet. and until then - i still got a whole bookshelf to add...

oh, and one other nice thing is that you can write reviews about books, and connect other users you know (or maybe don't..) and i don't know what other functions there are, but there is a whole world of books to explore.
for me, it's like my imdb-account (a catalogue of basically all the movies i ever saw up to now) or my account on that swedish site where you could put all your cds in a virtual catalogue. i have to admit, i didn't use that site very long or often, but imdb is something like a bible of movies, at least in combination with the swedish site filmtipset.
i love it. maybe i should have studied to become a librarian after all??

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

art and its market

i learned 2 things in class today:

a) if you, as a private person, want to sell a piece of art, you don't need to worry about taxes (in germany). you don't have to pay taxes for making money with arts, as long as you are a private person, meaning as long as you don't work within the arts-market or as long as you are not the painter of the picture you want to sell. good to know!!

b) if you want to sell a stolen picture, make sure it's not one of those overly well-known pieces of art (before you steal it, of course), because then, you won't even need a black market to sell it. if the picture is not famous, nobody will write about the theft in the press (or, even if, will remember after half a year), and so, most of the gallerists won't even notice if you sell them a stolen picture. nice, eh? good to know...

i guess i should see that nice movie again, the one with audrey hepburn and that guy.. "how to steal a million"...

oh, and about black markets, in case you need one: don't search north of bavaria. the more sun the more black market... the third thing i learned in class today =)

palazzo reale II, david lachapelle

this weekend, i finally hung up the poster i bought at the second exhibition i saw in milano at the palazzo reale, an exhibition with photographies by david lachapelle. i went to see the exhibition together with rana and some of her friends, but as everyone had his or her own pace, i basically saw most of it on my own anyway.
the exhibition was some kind of retrospective, it covered a huge part of lachapelles work from "lost" pictures from the 70s via star-portraits and musicvideos of the 90s till his most recent works. it was not sorted chronologically, but rather following different themes that come up in the course of his work as a photographer, with the result of a highly imaginative and to a certain extend complex show.

there were a lot of pictures which i liked for totally different reasons, some for the energy which was displayed, some for their sheer beauty, some others for the colours, and all of them for giving me a lot to think.
the most interesting, i thought, was a series in which he cited classic pieces of christian art, like the pieta in st.peter in rome, with courtney love as the maria, some young man looking like kurt cobain on her knees. there were other biblical themes to see as well, all of them in contemporary settings such as new york and in bright colours.
another series that fascinated me is called "awakened", a series of whole-body-portraits of people under water, fully dressed. the colours were bleak, which is a strong contrast to most of lachepelles other pictures, and it never seemed to be quite sure if these people were really alive.

the picture i bought as a poster for my room is, i think, part of a series called "small landmarks", a series with beautiful models with big hair in blonde and red in a park with miniature models of castles and other landmarks. it is called "collapse in a garden"...

Monday, 26 November 2007

peter grimes at staatsoper hannover

yesterday, i went on an excursion with around 40 other students from my university to the opera in hannover to see benjamin britten's "peter grimes" in an inscenation of Barrie Kosky. i didn't really know what to expect, even though i had read the wikipedia-article about it earlier in the day. i cannot really say that it will become my favourite opera of all times, but it made some impression, and it gave me a lot to think about.

the piece is, in short, about the fisherman peter grimes and his relationship to the villagers/townspeople of "the burrough", who despise him and make fun of him. the tenor who had his role seemed to be perfect to impersonate this man, he was both ugly and frightening, but still to be pitied in his lonelyness. peter grimes is a man with dreams about a better future for both himself and a teacher, ellen, whom he wants to marry as soon as he has made enough money so they can live well together and without being the subject of people's gossip. all the same, he is a brutal man, beating up his apprentice, never giving him a minute of rest from work and finally causing his death by sending him down the slippery cliff to get the boat ready for fishing.
earlier, he had already caused the death of an other apprentice of his, which was decided by the court to be accidental, but none of the villagers believe this and call him a murder. during the play, they form a mob to lynch him i the end, which doesn't happen because he sails out on the sea to sink himself with his ship (one of his two only friends advised him to do).

at some point during the story he is asked, why he won't move to another place, where people don't know him and won't gossip, to start a new life. his answer is, that he is rooted where he is and therefore cannot go. another answer implied by his actions is, that he hasn't given up on his dream to be able to change the villagers picture of him, a dream which is as impossible as to escape the gossip, which probably would follow him wherever he went (if he moved someplace else). it's a situation in which he can only lose.

both the stage-setting and the lighting, but also the singers' make-up reminded me a lot of roy andersson's movies "songs from the second floor" and "you, the living". the opera also contained some of those movies' hope- and helplessness. it was said that there were more than 500 wooden boxes on the stage, all in all, as background and part of the different locations. those boxes almost had a life of their own, haunting peter grimes together with the villagers, and in the same time being his home.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

palazzo reale I, vivienne westwood

when in milano, i saw (amongst a lot of other interesting things) two exhibitions at the palazzo reale, which lies next to the duomo.

the first one i saw (and went to see on my own) was about vivienne westwood, her life and, most important, her fashion. the exhibition gave the right amount of information about her life to understand her development within the fashion world, and especially the development of her style. it was interesting to see how her working-class background influenced her especially in the beginning of her carreer, when she and her first husband created the punk-look, and how her reading about fashion and its history gave her new ideas all the time.

it was amazing to follow the rooms of the exhibition, which was sorted chronologically, and to see how she picked ideas from pictures she saw and books she read during the time, and how she wasn't afraid of copying, thus creating her very own style. i think i only saw one or two dresses i could think of wearing myself, but that's not really the point. i guess her fashion is art, much more than that of any other designer i saw until now. her dresses seem more like sculptures to me, some are surrealistic, some others really baroque, while her shoes look really futuristic. she is so creative and so eccentric, i just have to admire her...

Saturday, 24 November 2007

the last unicorn

some time ago, i bought the dvd of the movie "the last unicorn". the film is one of my childhood-favourites (along with both the disney- and the 1938-Errol-Flynn-version of robin hood), but i always felt like i couldn't really remeber it. so, yesterday i took my time to watch it again after at least 15 years, and i have to say that it hasn't lost any of its magic at all.
the music feels - even though it is a bit kitschy - timeless (and, as i watched the movie in the original with german subtitles, i finally understood the lyrics of america's title-song...) and the voices (in the original) match the characters extremely well. Above all, i loved christopher lee as the evil king haggard (i just fall for dark voices..) and mia farrow as the unicorn, but alan arkin did a nice job as well.
the animations are said to be an hommage to the early disney-animations from before the 60s, but they seem, as a lot of asian (probably japanese) people were involved in the making, influenced by japanese arts, such as hokusai's "the great wave". the film has so much grace and lightness in it, i was just amazed.
i also read that there was to be a remake with real actors, but as i couldn't find any information about when or where or who, i guess it was just rumors...

Friday, 23 November 2007

just. start. writing. again.

well, after a real good long weekend in milano, i finally decided to finally start writing my blog. it's not as if i never blogged before, actually i do that quite frequently on, but i kind of never find the link to my page there and as well, i write in swedish, which is rather unpractical if i want other people to be able to read all the nonsense i got to say. so now, this is it. i hope everybody enjoys it.

i'm not quite sure what it is i'll be writing about. you know, some people write about their journey somewhere, others about food or film or whatever it is they are interested in. like maybe motorcykles or frogs or the daily weatherreportanalysis. first i thought, i'd write about different things withing culture, after all, i study culture, and you could press basically everything in that drawer. on the other hand i do know myself and i'm pretty sure the whole thing is going to be nothing more and nothing less than a more or less accurate, picky and not at all regular diary. still, it will include my thoughts about christmas (it's coming closer..), film, arts, theater, fashion, food and everything else i got an interest in.

for today, or at least, today around eleven in the morning, i'll content myself with this and the fact that i'm already late for my lunch with dagmar att the university. and i hate my computer for being so stupidly slow at times.