Sunday, May 31, 2009

Animal Collective vs Grizzly Bear

I really wish I had an opportunity to write this blog earlier in the week when my thoughts were still fresh, but DOXA and life got in the way. So, here goes what is likely a watered down version, muddied by too many documentaries...

Went to see Animal Collective early last week. I had very, very high expectations for this concert (*danger Will Robinson, put those expectations aside*), as did the rest of the sold out Commodore crowd. The opener, Grouper, didn't have a great time of it. It is hard to grab the attention of a crowd wired to see the headliner with a one-woman band producing what I think was supposed to be a rather delicate ambient soundscape - hard to tell as it was totally lost in the chatter of the audience. I don't usually talk when a band is on stage, but even I gave up trying to listen and figure it out. Wrong venue, wrong gig for her.

As for Animal Collective - my thoughts have been all over the place on this one. They are a hard band to categorize (a good thing). My favorite album, Sung Tongs, is an inventive mix of samples, acoustic guitar, some afro-beat-ish drumming, and layered vocals. It grabs me in a similar way to the Books' Thought for Food does. The new album, Merriweather Post Pavillion, has more driving, beat-ridden tracks - also excellent, but in a pretty different way. So - what about the show? The energy was great, the lighting design was fun, but they just didn't quite soar to the levels I had hoped - and I was really hoping, and maybe my expectations were just too high. They just didn't seem tight enough on some tracks (Lion in a Coma really suffered), and you lost some of the beauty of their layered vocals, with Panda Bear's softer voice getting lost from time to time. That being said, I still really enjoyed it, and when they hit their stride they really did hit it well.I did take some videos, but my camera was having fits due to the flashing lights, poor thing.
Then came Grizzly Bear a couple of nights later. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I loved it so much I can't really write about it sensibly. Their new album Veckatimest is fantastic - they have moved away somewhat from the low key ambience of Yellow House to something that has stronger rhythms, lush vocals and (gasp) some pretty hooky choruses. And it all came across brilliantly live. The vocal harmonies, Dan Rossen's sharp, bright guitar sound - oh forget it, I'm just going to sound like (more of) an idiot if I go on. Definitely one of the live music highlights of my year so far. Unfortunately, the security guards caught me taping during "While you Wait for the Others", a track I was really hoping to get on film (currently my fave track on the album, partly because of the rediculously hooky chorus, partly due to the elegantly controlled anger of the lyrics), but here are a couple of others instead. The only thing that could have made this night better for me is if they were playing a seated venue - the ambient crowd noise at the Commodore was bugging me, as per usual.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

DOXA



DOXA: I'm finally getting to the end of the 10 days of docs at DOXA. We've had a phenomenal festival this year, it feels like we've really turned a corner. Attendance has been off the charts, press has been phenomenal - and most importantly, Jennifer Beals disposable camera is now about $50 shy of $8000.00 on eBay (WTF??!). All we are hoping is that the person bidding for is actually going to pay up. I have my eyes on a couple of the others, but I'm going to lay low until the final fantastic frenzy of bidding in a couple of days.

As for the films - a few of my faves:
  • Robinsons of Mantsinsaari - one of the most visually stunning films I have seen. Each frame is absolutely perfect. And I like the idea of the absolute stubbornness that these two old men harbour. I read an interview with the director, and he said he kept filming hoping for something to happen, some small drama, and nothing did. He tried to get the two men together to speak to eachother - they absolutely refused. Oh to have such resolve...
  • Nobody's Perfect - 12 people affected by thalidomide agree to pose nude for a photo shoot. An eye-opening and very funny look into the lives of twelve really unique, creative, strong characters. The trailer above is largely in German, but it gets the point across.
  • American Swing: About the rise and fall of Plato's Retreat, the 1970's swingers club. The interviews with the old attendees of Plato's are priceless. It all sounds like fun until they start describing the smell, the "damp", the crabs, and what the water in the swimming pool consists of (augh!). Shudder.
Such great stuff. If you didn't go, keep an eye open for DOXA next year. It just keeps getting better.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

BUG BUG BUG...


Sun Burnt
Originally uploaded by Matthew Burditt
...because I know she gets self conscious. And I know she will accuse me of stalking her because I have the uncanny ability to dig up photos that she doesn't even know are out there. But I looove this photo so I couldn't help myself.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Maybe getting older isn't so bad....

Yep, it's that time of year. Making it less traumatic:
1) adorable Shinzi Kato book from my pal L. in TO!


2) Present to myself: new fridge!


3) Present #2 to myself: new kitchen light! (you can tell it is the kitchen because of the holes in the ceiling). At first I was a bit disappointed in the shade - when I bought it I thought it was much simpler, without all the ridges (my own mistake - I relied on the simplified computerized images as I was "trying out" different shades on the Rejuvenation website) but I've got to say I really like it now - the ridges look very cute when the light is turned on! You should know I have lived with a bare bulb for the past three years. The new light is a BIG deal :)

Off to DOXA's opening night tonight! More on the festival in the days to come...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

That SOUND....

Yes, that sound...on film. Cute during the day, not cute at 2am.

Turn up your volume for the full experience.

(And extra points to anyone who can identify the band playing in the background ...)
video

Still struggling...









...with this blogging thing. So - here goes another dive into my random world:

  • after a day of delving into the unbelievably varied (and expensive) world of faucets ($800 for a faucet? REALLY??), I have decided to go Canadian with the Cheviot number pictured (fear not, it will be chrome not gold...). This will adorn the Porcher Stanza cabinet I currently have sitting in my dining room. Seemed to me like a good mix of traditional styling & clean lines
  • I have ordered yet another light fixture from Rejuvenation. I did look at some light fixtures here, but didn't see anything I love - and also realized that ordering online is a way of managing my tendency to OBSESS. So - almost all the "parts" are in place for the bathroom. Now I just have to will the contractor into calling me back...


  • and an update on Mr. Big Eyes from the last blog post. Little bugger was sitting by my head at about 2am this morning, purring. And his squishy face causes a particularly loud, snotty sounding purr....a sound punctuated every so often with a very loud swallow. As I lay there, pretending to be alseep, I wondered whether purring is in fact a voluntary action, and whether Thom is smart enough to use it as a weapon (in the middle of the night, his purr has all the subtlety of a lawnmower). Then he whapped me on the head with a paw, and I realized that yes, he knows how to use the arsenal of weapons at his disposal. So, don't be fooled by those big innocent eyes.
  • And finally, I am beyond excited by the line-up at this year's Vancouver Folk Festival. Great Lake Swimmers? Dan Mangan (who, in my fantasy world, will be on a workshop stage with Veda Hille, who is also in the lineup)? Rock Plaza Central? Iron & Wine? Geoff Berner? The Weakerthans?... catch me as I swoon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hellooooo dere....


Really, that's all he wants to say.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Kill/Marry/Shag


Back from Boston. It was a whirlwind trip to meet a vendor that we are assessing right now to provide us with a new Knowledge Management System...which, internally, means that the project is known as KMS (Kill/Marry/Shag). We have already killed two vendors, and had three days of "shagging" with the guys in Boston - they arranged a limo to pick me up from the airport, gave me a gorgeous vase full of flowers (pictured), put me up in the lovely Renaissance Waterfront for three nights, fed me some incredible beef at Grill 23... all the sort of stuff you do when you are courting. I was there with a couple of women from the British office of my company - we all agree that we would like to marry them, but there are a few minor flaws we need to decide if we can live with...because as we all know, things don't change for the better just because you are married.
Next on the shagging agenda are some vendors in Brighton England... will see how their courting style compares.

Didn't get much time in Boston that wasn't work related. Did get out for some good seafood at the Legal Test Kitchen, wandered around a bit, but that's about it. I really do like Boston - I haven't spent nearly enough time there. The people are unusually friendly, and the cobblestone and brick streets in the older areas are gorgeous. I have now put it on my list of holiday destinations. And who knows, if our relationship with the Bostonians increases, I may get back for some more shagging sooner than I think.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Has it really been a year?

That's long enough.

Come back. Please.

avoiding.

I'm off to Boston on Tuesday morning - work related stuff, fly back Friday. Weather sounds ... not ideal. High teens, showery, cloudy. Whee. Not that I mind Boston. I like Boston.

Whatever. What it comes down to is that I HATE packing. Particularly work-packing...which is what I am avoiding by writing this.

This is going to be another scattered post. I'm still not really in a good blogging head space for some reason, but I will do my best to work through it. So, here goes my scattered attempt.

House
Well, things are starting to move, ever so slowly, on the reno front. I finally decided on this vanity, ordered it, expected it to take 6 weeks and it took less than 2. It was a big purchase, sight unseen - and I unpacked it with a bit of worry. Thankfully I like it. It is now sitting (without the sink top) in the middle of my dining room (if you can call it a dining room), waiting for me to call the contractor and see when he can get started. I should mention I don't like the knobs it came with, so I am now obsessing as only I can about replacements. I will be going white ceramic, but which white ceramic remains to be seen - as you can see I've bought two different ones so far (actually I've bought three, but the third is a no). No doubt will be buying a whole bunch of random ceramic knobs trying to figure it out. I have also been obsessing about flooring - I am going for the black and white hex and dot shown above...really, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I hope it looks ok in the end. For some reason I can't quite understand it is all starting to remind me of a Vermeer. If only I could fit a harpsichord in beside the toilet...hmmm.

Cats have been enjoying the related boxes. Maggie spent a fair bit of today looking imperious from her perch on top of the one box I have yet to unpack.



And in other news, my mum and I installed my new kitchen light - love it. I did mention the big hole in the kitchen ceiling last post - well, here it is, in all it's grandeur. Sigh. Patience. Bathroom now, kitchen - later....

(And as an aside, I've got to figure out the html to get my text and photos to play more happily together. Argh.)

And finally - went to see Winnipeg's the Weakerthans, and the Constantines, at the Commodore Friday. Very good show - but I honestly don't feel like writing a review, except to say that the background chatter noise at the Commodore drives me MENTAL. Couple of videos attached - and a shout out to the Weakerthans for doing a DOXA celeb camera!