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THE UPWARD ART OF ONEIDA

ONEIDA live at the Bronson Club, Ravenna, Italy (19th Match 2015)

ONEIDA - art but not arty

ONEIDA – art but not arty

The support slot for this midweek show belongs to People Of The North (POTN), a case of ‘meet the new band, same as the old band’ since the five members are the same as headliners Oneida (pronounced OH – NEED- ER).

POTN play a meandering 45 minute piece which I assume was improvized. There are noodling lulls here and there but things get interesting when surges of keyboard, drum and guitar interchanges build momentum;  like Krautrock played with New York attitude. View full article »

IL BEL PAESE – Italy from the Risorgimento to the First World War

(Museo d’Arte, Ravenna – 22nd February – 14th June 2015)

‘Fanciulla sulla roccia a Sorrento’ by Filippo Palizzi c.1871 – the painting chosen as the image for the Ravenna exhibition.

It is ironic that Italians still need reminding how beautiful their country is.

Constant political turmoil and endemic corruption can blind citizens to the fact that these ignoble events take place against a backdrop of natural splendour and architectural magnificence.

This excellent exhibition shows us why Italy still more than justifies being referred to as Il Bel Paese (“the beautiful country”), a term first coined in the Middle Ages by Dante and Petrarch. View full article »

ERASERHEAD directed by David Lynch (USA,1977)

Seeing Eraserhead in a small arts cinema in Birmingham soon after its UK release was a kind of epiphany. Everything I thought I knew about movies suddenly had to be reimagined.

Here were images that defied logic yet were recognisable as the world I had read in the stories of Franz Kafka or seen in the surrealistic paintings of Max Ernst.

The low-budget horror sequences were at once comical yet hideously grotesque. The creation of mood through Alan Splet’s extraordinary analogue sound design was like nothing I’d heard before.

Watching it again in a brilliantly restored DVD version is a different experience because now there are so many more points of reference. Body horror is a recognized sub-genre and we can refer to images as Lynchian to give a context which was entirely absent in 1977.

Yet even from this more knowing perspective, you will struggle to explain what connects a black planet in space, a man pulling levers in a shack, a singing lady in the radiator, worm-like fetuses or a severed head being turned into pencil erasers?

 With typical perversity David Lynch says Eraserhead is the most spiritual of all his films yet this is a secular, nightmarish world that, for all its absurdity, many will still find sick and horrifying.

It remains totally unique and stands as one of the most terrifying movies in the history of cinema.

emersonquoteI haven’t read the book that contains this quote but they are wise words and is something I need to practice more:

“Effective listening is more than simply avoiding the bad habit of interrupting others while they are speaking or finishing their sentences. It’s being content to listen to the entire thought of someone rather than waiting impatiently for your chance to respond.”

From ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff’ by Richard Carlson (1997)

Related : Frock Files blog on the same topic (this is also where I nicked the image from!)

HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR directed by Alain Resnais (France, 1959)

This is a movie about the fallibility of memory; an intense love story set against the backdrop of the bombing of Hiroshima in Japan.

On August 6th 1945, an atomic bomb killed around 200,000 people. The exact numbers will never be known since the victims and buildings were reduced to ash.

The film begins with graphic and disturbing images of people in the city receiving treatment for terrible injuries. These shots illustrate how it was originally conceived as a sombre yet poetic study in the same vein as Resnais’ Night And Fog (1955) about the Nazi concentration camps.

Perhaps Resnais recognised the limitations of the documentary form and realised that facts tell us relatively little about the human cost of such tragedies. However compassionate a filmmaker’s intentions may be, the risk is that the viewer’s role will be reduced to that of a passive witness to the horror. View full article »

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