Tuesday, November 21, 2006


This story just broke. I'm speechless.

One of my favorite directors of all time. Wow. I'll write more later...so, so sad...

Saturday, November 11, 2006


...is my favorite new band.

They're led by a tsunami named BECKY STARK, who's part opera singer, part Andy Kaufman-esque comedian, and the only lead singer I've seen who speaks in between songs, at length, with a straight face, about bringing peace to the world (okay, Bono does this too; but Becky Stark seems to have no ego, and she wears old dresses, and, well, it's just different, okay?).

Lavender Diamond has a wonderfully full sound, and sometimes reminds me of old L.A. shoe-gazer bands of the past (especially the various groups master-minded by Dave Roback, like Opal and Mazzy Star), except there's an ambition and scope that makes them rise above such comparisons, and at its best, Lavender Diamond has a cinematic quality that evokes a religious feeling, of vaudeville, or perhaps just of Dorothy singing her heart out, hoping to get back to Kansas.

So, thankfully some other folks dig Lavender Diamond as much as I do, and they'll soon be releasing an album on Matador Records (which, along with labels like Merge, Drag City, Sub Pop, K, E6, Saddle Creek, Orange Twin, and 4AD, has given an outlet to most of the vital American indie rock of the past 15 years).

It's also worth noting that Lavender Diamond reminds me a bit of my favorite band from Athens, Georgia--HOPE FOR AGOLDENSUMMER...not to mention one of my favorite Brooklyn bands, THE LAST TOWN CHORUS.

Each of these bands creates hand-made, haunted music that will stun you with its peculiar beauty and remind you of the months of July and August when you were eight years old. That sort of makes sense, right?


Check out LAVENDER DIAMOND on their website or at MYSPACE.


Check out the December issue.

"Off the Black" is included...

See these films ASAP!




I saw both "The Lives of Others" and "Pan's Labyrinth" at AFI Fest. They're both their respective country's (Germany and Mexico) contender for the Best foreign film Oscar.

If they don't get nominated, I'll eat my shoes (and socks).

They're both brilliant, and are better than any other film I've seen this year--foreign or otherwise. Both are terrifying and tremendously emotional, and manage to situate horrific, unimaginable stories within very real scenarios (one is about the East German Stasi, and the other is a fantasy that takes place while fascism was thriving in Spain).

I don't want to say much more, except that I can't urge you enough to see these films. They're important--and not just for the world of film. Both of these film challenge your notions of what is a "political" film.

They both open in the U.S. in December. Look for the producers/director of one of these films to be on the stage at the Academy Awards (though I still haven't seen "Volver," and Pedro Almodovar is always pretty brilliant).

Anyway. I'm rambling. I just haven't been this excited about new films in a while. If anyone wants to see either of these movies, I'll gladly see them again...


This issue has the holiday film preview.

"Off the Black" is included.

Check it out...


The best place to see stars in L.A.!

So, the one-of-a-kind GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY , which has been closed for renovations for the past four years, has finally reopened.

Even if you've never been to Griffith Observatory, you've probably seen it in countless films (from "Rebel Without A Cause" to "Charlie's Angels 2").

I went to the Observatory for the very first time last Saturday, and it's a stunning environment. Located high in the Los Feliz hills, Griffith Observatory has many fun displays (including the world's largest photograph of the galaxy, scales that show your weight on different planets, etc.). And yes, they've managed to adapt to Pluto's new non-planet status.

But, for me, the highlight of Griffith Observatory is the rooftop view of Los Angeles at night.

People go on and on about the architectural shortcomings of Los Angeles--L.A. is a city that people love to hate. But, if you want to see Los Angeles at its most beautiful, take a look at it during the night, up high, from a distance. The city becomes a pointillist abstraction of twinkling lights, and you can see it literally pulsing, as though it has a heartbeat. Los Angeles is called a city, but it's really a series of conjoined neighborhoods (each with its own history, ethnicities, and distinct personality). It can feel incredibly lonely and disjointed in L.A. It's no wonder that Los Angeles has fascinated artists and filmmakers from around the world, from David Hockney to David Lynch, Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog (who lives in Laurel Canyon). In a world of strange places, Los Angeles may very well be the most eccentric, schizophrenic, hard to understand.

Though I can also understand why Los Angeles might not appeal to everyone.

This all being said, if you want to attempt to suck up Los Angeles in one breath, check out Griffith Observatory. It's just reopened, and it's fantastic.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


So, I haven't posted anything to this blog in a while, and I apologize.

This will change.

"Off the Black" opens on December 8th, and from this moment forward, I'm going to be OCD about blogging. Hurray, right?

Okay, here we go...

If you read:





...you'll notice nice little blurbs about "Off the Black," with the release date (oh yes--the "NY Times" lists the release date as December 1st. That's incorrect--it's the 8th).

And the latest word is that "OFF THE BLACK" will be playing in New York City at the Regal Union Square 14 and the AMC Empire 25 (!). Wow, it's like we're a real movie or something...

More soon, I promise!