Monday, November 30, 2009

Celluloid Bachelor #10: Blue Skies for Black Hearts "Siouxsie Please Come Home"

OK, I admit it: I'm a bit of a mean-spirited contrarian. I give a hard time to all those folks out there that want to move out of touch cities like Cleveland and to hip meccas like Portland, calling the place the Wal-Mart of cool. I mean, cool is wherever you want it to be - who needs to move across the country to have a ready-made scene created for you. Get all DIY on it and make that shit yourself, yo. Right?

Anyway, in my more honest/less confrontational moments, I'll admit it: these hipster Wal-Mart cities are popular for a reason. Just like people go to Wal-Mart because it has just about everything you need and the price is right (even if the consequences of shopping there, however indirect, are terrible), Portland has a lot going for it, too (though such moves contribute to nefarious outcomes like brain-drain and developmental decline). Portland seems to have it all - cool nature, cool beer, cool coffee, cool art, cool bands. Especially cool bands. There are so many bands to talk about from Portland, I almost hesitate to even start the conversation.

But I will, because I just got turned on to yet another cool Portland band. This time it is the retro indie popsters Blue Skies for Black Hearts. Think a little something like Elvis Costello meets Teenage Fanclub and you have a good idea of the sound and the sense of humor. Not so much quirk, though. For influences like those, they play it sorta straight. Which is cool. I can dig it. So will you. Check it out below.

Blue Skies for Black Hearts - Siouxsie Please Come Home from Kelly Simmons on Vimeo.

Proper Noun of the Week #19: Sean Bilovecky (Designer, Wrath Arcane)

If you know me, you'll know that ye olde Bachelor is decidedly not a fashion maven. I like a nice suit, sure, but I'm just as likely to pick one up at an out-of-town Target during a poorly-packed trip as I am to purchase anything tailored. My favorite shirt in the world and my beloved winter coat (as well as my new prize, a 3/4 length tan leather trench) are thrift store finds, and I'm pretty sure the shirt I'm wearing came from ebay.

That being said, the jeans I'm wearing and the blazer I chose for work are both about as haute as I'm likely to get, both scores from my favorite place to buy something nice for myself when I'm not feeling chintzy, Brigade. On such occasion, I try to keep it real by staying local, which designer Sean Bilovecky, this week's proper noun subject, makes pretty easy.

The man behind Wrath Arcane, the Cleveland-based clothing design firm that has been getting noticed all over the world lately, Bilovecky has a killer eye that combines classic, near-militaristic vibes with just the tiniest and most subtle flair. I'm not rolling in the dough, so I don't pick up entire collections - or anything remotely like that - but I have accumulated a few items over the last couple years and they are some of the best things I own. What I like best of all about them, though, isn't the aesthetic awesomeness. Rather, it is the Cleveland commitment the label shows. Check out Bilovecky's responses to my usual questions below, and you'll start to see what I mean.

1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

We're all originally from Ohio. The brand is almost 4 years old, and we've been based here the whole time. Starting in an extra bedroom in Ohio City, then in the back of Brian's store (the downtown location, before it moved to Coventry), and now in our studio downtown.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

Honestly, I think that "Under the Bridge" thing that happened a few months ago when the Detroit bridge was opened up and you could walk under it. There were so many people there. It didn't feel like cleveland.

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?

It kind of keeps us in check. We try and make everything that WRATH ARCANE does "wearable" for someone living in cleveland... which then translates into being wearable anywhere.

4) If it was your birthday and you decided to have a Cleveland-centric blow-out bash, how would you celebrate? That is, what would you do, where would you do it, etc.?

Um. Probably go to Sokolowski's and get perogies. Then go to Melt and have the Parmageddon, which is a grilled cheese with perogies on it. Then stop by the west side market and pick up some perogies for later. Then drink beer from Japan.

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

I always take people to Coventry or Tremont. People fall in love with Cleveland when they are here for 24 hours... it's the 48 hour threshold that becomes the problem. haha

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?
Public transportation from NYC or San Francisco.

7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commissioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

That they're economic development plans for downtown are falling short. That vacancies are not fixed by adding starbucks.

To check out Sean's work, stop by Brigade on Coventry and ask them to direct you to the Wrath pieces. (If you are lucky, they'll still have one of the limited number of laptop/messenger bags Sean produced this year. Snag one and you'll have something in common with CB!). If you are a non-Clevelander reading this, but Wrath Arcane seems like something pretty awesome to you, check out this link here for several more locations where you can see the firm's wares.

And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, Greg Ruffing, Mallorie Freeman, Dave Desimone, J.R. Bennett, Jeff & Mike from CLE Clothing Co, Paulius Nasvytis, Lawrence Daniel Caswell, Curtis Thompson, John Ewing, Shannon Okey, and John G.

Anti-Endorsement list, part deux

Here's another list of folks - this time largely filmmakers and writers - who I am no longer supporting. The reason why? This. Oh, and this.

You gotta stand for something folks. Maybe this isn't where you draw your line in the cultural sand - that's fine - but it is where I definitely do.

Olivia A. Bugnon, Michael A. Russ, Erika Abrams, Marguerite Aflallo, Fortunio Aflallo, Stéphane Agussol, Fatih Akin, Yves Alberty, Stephane Allagnon, Brice Allavoine, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Gianni Amelio, Greta Amend, Wess Anderson, Michel Andrieu, Roger Andrieux, Pascale Angelini, Yannick Angelloznicoud, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Bernard Anne, Tomas Arana, Frédéric Aranzueque-Arrieta, Alexandre Arcady, Fanny Ardant, Asia Argento, Judith Arlt, Marie-Hélène Arnau, Stéphane Arnoux, Darren Aronofsky, Stéphanie Arques-Voitoux, Olivier Assayas, Alexander Astruc, Simone Audissou, Gabriel Auer, Jennifer Augé, Zdzicho Augustyniak, Alexandre Babel, Vladimir Bagrianski, Jean-Yves Bainier, Hélène Bainier, Lubomila Bakardi, Fausto Nicolás Balbi, Eleonor Baldwin, Jean-François Balmer, Alberto Barbera Museo nazionale de Torino, Sylvie Bardet-Borel, Ruth Barensteiner, Luc Barnier, Christophe Barratier, Ernest Barteldes, Carmen Bartl, Pascal Batigne, Sylvette Baudrot, Anne Baudry, Henning Bauer, Tone Bay, Juan Antonio Bayona, Xavier Beauvois, Liria Begeja, Matthieu Béguelin, Gilles Behat, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Marco Bellochio, Yannick Bellon, Florence Bellone, Monica Bellucci, Véra Belmont, Jacqueline Belon, Jean-Marc Benguigui, Djamel Bennecib, Saïd Ben-Said, Luc Béraud, Jean-Pierre Berckmans, Jacob Berger, Christof Berger, Alain Berliner, Gael Garcia Bernal, Pascal Berney, Xavier Berry, Jean-Paul Bertin, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuseppe Bertolucci, Jean-Marie Besset, Nico Beyer, Marlène Bisson, Arnstein Bjørkly, Lucien Blacher, Jean-Marc Bloch, Léa Bloch, Marks Blond, Catherine Boissière, Anne-Sylvie Bonaud, Olivier Bonnet, Thierry Boscheron, Renata Bosco, Freddy Bossy, Claudia Bottino , Jacqueline Bouchard, Louise Anne Bouchard, Patrick Bouchitey, Cédric Bouchoucha, Paul Boujenah, Patrice Bourbon, Frédéric Bourboulon, Jérôme Bourgon, Etienne Boussac, Christine Bouthemy, Katia Boutin, Elizabeth Brach, Ian Brady, Jacques Bral, Sophie Bramly, Paulo Branco, Patrick Braoudé, Guila Braoudé, Edwin Brienen, Adrien Brody, Stéphane Brodzki, Isabelle Broué, Max Brun, Merima Bruncevic, Bastien Brunel, Caroline Brunner, Anne Burki, André Buytaers, Anthony Byrne, Come Caca, Marco Cacioppo, Gerald Calderon, Monica Cannizzaro, Peggy Carajopoulou-Vavali, John Carchietta, Christian Carion, Angela Carlin, Henning Carlsen, Jean-Michel Carré, Esteban Carvajal Alegria, Lionel Cassan, Bryan Cassiday, Pascale Castioni, Miss Catadler, Steve Catieau, Morgane Caux, Mathieu Celary, Pedro Celestino, Teco Celio, Muriel Cerf, Dabiel Chabannes, Thierry Chabert, Chagi, Jean-Yves Chalangeas, Daniel Champagnon, Christophe Champclaux, Georges Chappedelaine , Litseselidis Charalampos, Yann Charbonnier, David Charhon, Fabienne Chauveau, Claire Chazal, Valérie Chemarin, Patrice Chéreau, Hubert Chertier, Brigitte Chesneau, Marie-Christine Chesneau, Michel Chevalier, Franck Chevalier, Mishka Cheyko, Catherine Chiono, Catherine Chouchan, Elie Chouraqui, Alex Cichy, Souleymane Cissé, Jean- Pierre Clech, Henri Codenie, Robert Cohen, Olivier Cohen, Lilia Cohen Decerisy, Catherine Colassin, Suzanne Colonna, Jean-Paul Commin, Andrea Concato, Patrick Conrad, Anne Consigny, Alain Cophignon, Antony Cordier, Alain Corneau, Jérôme Cornuau, Bruno Coulais, Guy Courtecuisse, Miguel Courtois, Antoine Courtray, Christiane Courvoisier, Guillaume Cousin, Morgan Crestel, Rudyard Cretenet, Dominique Crevecoeur, Alfonso Cuaron, Estelle Cywje, Isabelle D. Philippe, Nicola D’Ugo, Frédéric Damien, Sophie Danon, Bill Darbyshire, Olivier Dard, Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Isabelle Dassonville, Sophie Davidas, Robin Davis, Bruno de Almeida, Marion de Blaÿ, Agnès de Kergorlay, François de Lamothe, Hervé de Luze, Artus de Penguern, Valérie de Saint-Do, Wim De Temmerman, Virginie De Wilde, Christel de Wit, Olivier Debert, Viviane Decuypere, Guillermo del Toro, Alain Delannoy, Benoît Delmas, Michel Deloore, Jonathan Demme, Nicolaine den Breejen, Ruud den Dryver, Louisa Dent, Caroline Deruas, Edwin Dervaux, Dante Desarthe, Romain Desbiens, Sophie Deschamps, Thomas Desjonquères, Alexandre Desplat, Chris Devi, Rosalinde et Michel Deville, Guillaume D'Ham, Christelle Didier, Dieter Diependaele, Anne-Sophie Dinant, Kathrin DiPaola, Claire Dixsaut, Julien Doger, Catherine Doire, Xavier Dolan, Fanny Dollé-Labbé, Helen Donlon, Ariel Dorfman, Kristen Doty, Jean Douchet, Thierry Drean, Fabrice du Welz, Marina Duarte Nunes Ferreira, Nicholas Dubreuil, Danièle Dubroux, Martine Dugowson, François Duhamel, Sissi Duparc, Jean Dusaussoy, Verlaine Eddy, Daniel Edinger, Arne Eickenberg, Yaniv Elani, Majka Elczewska, Benoît Eliot, Gerónimo Elortegui, Elrem, Sam Enoch, Peter Lucas Erixon, Ernest, Ann Eyckmans, Nicolas Fagard, Jacques Fansten, Joël Farges, Gianluca Farinelli (Cinémathèque de de Bologne), Etienne Faure, Pierre Antoine Faure, Guy Ferrandis, Maud et Romain Ferrari, Michel Ferry, Jean Teddy Filippe, Aurélie Fiorentino, Alan Fischer, Bob Fischer, Martine Fitoussi, Sebastian Fleischhacker, Joy Fleury., Michael Flynn, Hugues Fontenoy, Scott Foundas, Werner Fraai, Jean-Robert Franco, Stephen Frears, Patrick Frégonara, Marion Frelat, Thierry Frémaux, Christine Freret, Marc Freycon, Nadine Fruchard, Sam Gabarski, Dominique Gadoin, Jean Francois Gaillard, René Gainville, Sara Gandolfi, Fernand Garcia, Matteo Garone, Vincent Garreau, Philippe Garrel, Yves Gasser, Tony Gatlif, Catherine Gaudin-Montalto, Jean-Marc Gauthier, Costa Gavras, Christiane Gehl-Gabadou, Nathalie Geiser, Lizi Gelber, Isabelle Gély, Jean-Marc Ghanassia, Alain Gil, Véronique Gillet, Terry Gilliam, Christian Gion, Zbiggy Giovanos, Agata Giovanos, François Girault, Stéphane Gizard, Michaël Goldberg, Nelson Gonzalez, Carlos Miguel Bernardo González, Charles Andre Gordeaux, Christophe Goumand, Yann Gozlan, Michel Gras, Eric Gravereau, Martin Gregus, Dominique Greusard, Thierry Grizard, Serge Grünberg, Philippe Gruss, Geoffroy Guerrier, Florent Guézengar, Marc Guidoni, Laurence Guillat, Philippe Guillermo Bernd Günther, Marta Gutowska, Michele Hababou, Mikael Håfström, Lesly Hamilton, Catherine Hargreaves, Ronald Harwood, Dimitri Haulet, Geert Heirbaut, René Heitz, Buck Henry, Michèle Henx, Nicole Herbaut de Lamothe, Ingrid Herbert, Thoralf Herz, Siegfried Hettegger, David Heyman, Laurent Heynemann, Joshua Highfield , Patrick Hirigoyen, Fritz Erik Hoevels, Dominique Hollier, Isabelle Hontebeyrie, Frédéric Horiszny, Andreas Horvath, Robert Hossein, Igor Hrovatic-Hanover, Jean-Loup Hubert, Wendy Hudson, Allison Hull, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Luce Jaccard, Gilles Jacob, Eric et Veronique et Nicolas Jacquelin, Olivier Jacquet, Just Jaeckin, Thomas Jahn, Olivia Janik, Olivier Jansen, Nihad Christian Jarallah, Jean-Baptiste Jay, Anne Jeandet, Marie Jergan, Alain Jessua, Renate Jett, Sébastien Jimenez, Arthur Joffé, Pierre Jolivet, Kent Jones (World Cinema Foundation) , Erik Jørgensen, Emmanuelle Jossifort, Peter Josy, Florence Joutel, Rémy Jouvin Bessière, Alexandra Julen, Paola Jullian, Roger Kahane, Pierre Kalfon, Elisabeth Kalinowski, Michel Kammoun, Pascal Kané, Reena Kanji, Nelly Kaplan, Wong Kar Waï, Katylodola, Elisabeth Keplinger, Nicolas Kermel, Darius Khondji, Nathalie Kiener, Ladislas Kijno, Luc Kinsch, Muriel Kintziger, Richard Klebinder, Jonathan Klein, William Klein, Harmony Korinne, Jan Kounen, Andrzej Krakowski, Chantal Krakowski, Sylvia Kristel, Hanna Kudelski, Diane Kurys, Elzbieta Kusak-Majchrzak, Emir Kusturica, Irene Kuznetzova, Jean Labadie, Eliane Lacroux, Eric Lagesse, Michel Laigle, Stéphane Lam, John Landis, Claude Lanzmann, David Lanzmann, André Larquié, Pauline Larrieu, Jacques et Françoise Lassalle, Marc Latil, Carole Laure, Christine Laurent-Blixen, Pierre Laville, Emilien Lazaron, Junille Le Pesteur, Eric Le Roy, Pierre Le Scouarnec, Fábio Leal, Pawel Lech, Vinciane Lecocq, Eric Lecocq, Patrice Leconte, Linda Lefebvre, Béatrice Lefoulon, Catherine Legal, Delphine Legros, Claude Lelouch, Jean-louis Lemierre, Ann Lemonnier, Julieta Lencina, Alain Lenglet, Gérard Lenne, Claudine Lenoir, Julie Lerouxel, Les Nanaqui, Larry Levine, Charlotte Levy, Lorraine Lévy, Pierre et Renée Lhomme, Stephane Lioret, Katarzyna Lipinska, Marish Lippi, Jean-Marc Loiseau, Catherine Rachel Loiseau, Cynthia Long, Jean-Claude Irving Longin, Marisa Lorah, Marceline Loridan-Ivens, Nicole Lormeau, Joffrey Louis, Michael Louis Wells, Boris Loundine, Rachel Lowenstein, Catalina Lozano, Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski, Flore Luquet, Laurence Lustyk, David Lynch, Bania Madjbar, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Velipekka Makkonen, Laurent Malet, Tim Malieckal, Guy Malugani, Erling Mandelmann, Bertrand Mandico, Michael Mann, Alessandro Marcelli, Carlos Marciales, Yvon Marciano, François Margolin, Joseph Marin, Jean-Pierre Marois, Tonie Marshall, Alexandre Martelin, Alain Martin, Sandrine Martin, Danielle Martinetti, Florent Martinez, Didier Martiny, Mario Martone, Thierry Mathelin, Christine Mathis, Esmeralda Mattei, Nicolas Mauvernay, Yannick Mazet, Christopher, Spencer et Claire Mc Andrew, Natalie Mei, Michelle Géranium Melman-Gory, Guillermo Menaldi, Mathieu Mercier, Muriel Mercier, Frédéric Mermoud, Nicolas Mesdom, Laura Metaxa, Margot Meynier, Allison Michel, Radu Mihaileanu, Anna Mikropoulou, Jean-Louis Milesi, Claude Miller, Lionel Miniato, Eric Miot, Bernard Mirgain, Annie Misserey, Nelly Moaligou, Jean - Marc Modeste , Mario Monicelli, Maryline Monthieux, Miguel Morales, Jeanne Moreau, Frédéric Moreau, Sarah Moreau-Flament, Gael Morel, Christian Morel de Sarcus, Omayra Muñiz Fernández, Carmen Munoz, Stephanie Murat, Christian Mvogo Mbarga, Tim Myers, Anna N.Levine, Elisabeth Nègre, Charles Nemes, Florence Nicolas, Juliette Nicolas-Donnard, Sandra Nicolier, Edouard Niermans, Rachel Noël, Rui Nogueira, Olivier Nolin, Alejandra Norambuena Skira, Anna Nordahl, Fabrice Nordmann, Fabrice O. Joubert, Sigrid Obellianne, Lucien Obellianne, Marc Obéron, Michel Ocelot, David Ogando, Mariana Oliveira Santos, Szentgyörgyi Ottó, Martine Pagès, Eric Pape, Vincent Pappalardo, Jacques Paratte, Nadia Paschetto, Abner Pastoll, Alexander Payne, Guy Péchard, Nicola Pecorini, Richard Pena (Directeur Festival de NY), Lindsey Pence, Olivier Père, Suzana Peric, Vladimir Perisic, Patrick Perlman, Jacques Perrin, Laurent Petitgirard, Cesare Petrillo, Hervé Philippe, Thomas Pibarot, Andréa Picard, Michel Piccoli, Arnaud Pierrichon, Stéphane Pietri, Anne Pigeon Bormans, Samuel Pinon, Claude Pinoteau, Jean Piva, Guillaume Pixie, Gosia Plachta, Michele Placido, Sabrina Poidevin, Agnès Catherine Poirier, Emmanuel Pollaud-Dulian, Maud Pommier-Samaan, Jean-Yves Potel, Stéphane Pozderec, Harry Prenger, Jean et Marie Prévost, Gilbert Primet, Peter Priskil, Angélique Prokop, Stefanos Psaromiligas, Bozena Psztyk, Florence Quentin, Marie-Hélène Raby, Philippe Radault, Tristan Rain, Florence Raphaël, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Joseph Rassam, Rolandas Rastauskas, Brett Ratner, Raphael Rebibo, Redha, Ben Omar Redouan, Carol Reid, Dusan Reljin, Jo Reymen, Laurence Reymond, Catherine Reynier-Barateau, Yasmina Reza, Christiane Rhein, Jacques Richard, Dominique Robert, Margarita Robski, Pascale Rocard, Jean-Jacques Rochut, Christian Rogler, Yannick Rolandeau, Michèle Rollin, Paul Rondags, Avital Ronell, Frank Roozendaal, Graciela Rosato, michèle Rossi-Ducci, Elisabeth Roudinesco, Kontochristopoulou Roula, Laurence Roulet, Joshua Rout, Paolo Roversi, Didier Roy, Jacques Rozier, Charles Rubinstein, Isabelle Ruh, Martin Ruhe, Sonia Rykiel, Anita S. Chang, Esteban S. Goffin, Joaquin Sabina, Marc Saffar, Ludivine Sagnier, Gabriela Salazar Scherman, Thérèse Saliceti, Walter Salles, Jean-Paul Salomé, Jean-Frédéric Samie, Marc Sandberg, Emmanuel Sapin, Léo Scalpel, Jerry Schatzberg, Richard Schlesinger, Kirstin Schlotter, Daniel Schmidt, Georg Schmithüsen, Julian Schnabel, Pierre Schoendoerffer, Barbet Schroeder, J. Neil Schulman, Pierre Schumacher, Pierre-Alexandre Schwab, Ettore Scola, Luis Gustavo Sconza Zaratin Soares, Martin Scorsese, Carole Scotta, Steven Sedgwick, Andrea Sedlackova, Frank Segier, Michèle Seguin-Sirhugue, Guy Seligmann, Dominique Sels, Elis Semczuk, Christiane Semczuk, Lorenzo Semple Jr, Julien Seri, Joël Séria, Catherine Sermet, Olivier Séror, Henry-Jean Servat, Ken Seton-Vyhnal, Sophie Sharkov, Boris Shlafer, Nanan Sikki, Antoine Silber, Pierre Silvant, Charlotte Silvera, Noel Simsolo, Christophe Sirodeau, Philippe Sisbane, Abderrahmane Sissako, Beatrice Sisul , Grégoire Sivan, Petter Skavlan, Romain Slocombe, Jola Lech Slowianska, Marcin Sokolowski, Pierre Somers, Loïc Sorel, Paolo Sorrentino, Valérie Soulier, Arnaud Soulier, Vassilis Sourapas, Yannis Stavrou, Roch Stephanik, Karen Stetler, Denise Stieglitz, Guillaume Stirn, Bernard Stora, Stephan Streker, Gérard Stum, Jean-Marc Surcin, Tilda Swinton, Christian Szafraniak, Piotrek Szymanek, Jean-Charles Tacchella, Radovan Tadic, Mickael Tanguy, Danis Tanovic, Bertrand Tavernier, André Techiné, Katie Teece, Hutfer Teense, Cécile Telerman, Harold Alvarado Tenorio, Marie-Ange Terrier, Alain Terzian, Christian Texier, Jean-Paul Thaens, Valentine Theret, Virginie Thévenet, Alexandre Thiery, Pascal Thomas, Jeremy Thomas, Marc Thomas Charley, Balthasar Thomass, Cyril Thurston, Zelda Tinska, Frédérique Topin, Giuseppe Tornatore, Serge Tosca, Cali Tosca, Serge Toubiana, Walter Toubin, Jean-Luc Touillon, Maurizio Trani, Daniel Treichler, Guillemette Trimech, Nadine Trintignant, Claire Tromeur, Fernando Trueba, Julie Turcas, Mitja Tušek, Tom Tykwer, Alexandre Tylski, Stephen Ujlaki, Fritz Urschitz, José Antonio Valdés Peña, Kenny Valdisserri, Jaques Vallotton, Phil van der Linden, G.W. van der Meiden, Betrand van Effenterre, Leopold van Genechten, Pieter van Hees, Edith Van Her, Rudolf van Maanen, Christophe van Rompaey, Dorna van Rouveroy, Elbert van Strien, Vangelis, Alessio Vannetti, Jean-Pierre Vaucouloux, Lucília Verdelho da Costa, Christian Verdu, Jean-Pierre Vergne, Sarah Vermande, Elizabeth Verry, Maryana Vestic, Julien Veyret, Caroline Veyssière, Francesco Vezzoli, Régine Vial, Daniel Vigne, Vivien Villani, Marta Villarroya Estruch, Marc Villemain, Jean-François Villemer, Daria Vinault, Verde Visconti, Ivan Vislen, Didier Volckaert, Alain Vorimore, Thomas Vossart, Gilles Walusinski, Eric Watton, Lioba Wehinger, Monika Weibel, Florian Weigl, Dominique Welinski, Wim Wenders, Raphaël Wertheimer, Andy Whittaker, Cornélius Wiijgers, Dorothée Wiijgers, Agnès Wildenstein, Anaïse Wittmann, A Wolanin, Margot Wolfs, Peter Woltil, Arnaud Xainte, Steve Yeo, Likhem Young, Paule Zajdermann, Christian Zeender, Claudie Zehnacker, Ania Zenowicz, Fabrice Ziolkowski, Terry Zwigoff, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Salman Rushdie, Milan Kundera, Pascal Bruckner, Neil Jordan, Isabelle Adjani, Arielle Dombasle, Isabelle Huppert, William Shawcross, Yamina Benguigui, Mike Nichols, Danièle Thompson, Diane von Furstenberg, Claude Lanzmann, and Paul Auster.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CB's ANTI-Endorsement

Here is a list of artists I no longer will support:

- Death Cab for Cutie
- Band of Skulls
- Thom Yorke
- Lykke Li
- The Killers
- Anya Marina
- Muse
- St Vincent
- Bon Iver
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
- Sea Wolf
- OK Go
- Grizzly Bear
- Editors
- Alexandre Desplat

What do they have in common?


Now before people want to rag on me, let me be clear: I understand that people have to get a paycheck. However, there are better ways to get it. I don't hate these artists as people - in fact, I've only ever met one of them and she went U2 (or the indie rock/entourage equivalent of that) a while ago. I'm just not gonna write about them anymore. So, enjoy that last Hurricane Bells post. I'm sticking with artists that keep their financial integrity.

Celluloid Bachelor #9: Hurricane Bells "This Year"

This post is one that, in a weird way, bums me out. More than that, it leaves me conflicted. The song you'll hear in the video below - "This Year" by Hurricane Bells - is a really good and smart one. You can hear a tiny bit of The National in Steve Schiltz's approach, but only a touch - the rest is the man's original approach.

The film itself is probably the best I've seen this year, perhaps because it features toys I had when I was a little one and probably haven't thought about in 25 years. (God it makes me feel old to say that!) I can't remember what the real name of the toys were - my family called them "people" toys.

Anyway, the film grows increasingly beautiful, particularly at the 3:30 mark, before you realize the horribly tragic aspect of it. Watch it. Twice.

And then get bummed out alongside me when you think about how the reason we know this dude's name is because another single from his recently released debut album, Tonight is Ghost, became a deep cut on the recent Twilight soundtrack.

Honestly, I'm less bothered by a relative no-name "selling out" than I am someone who is already making a decent living as an "indie" musician, but it still makes me reluctant to support the artist's work in the future. Dude's already on the soundtrack for a mega-blockbuster film. My work here is done - long before I even did it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Karma, Cleveland style

This week, I thought I'd really rung up some super karma points. I mean, I spent Tuesday night stuffing envelopes for a good cause, Thursday helping to serve meals for the homeless, and stood outside in the cold (and occasional rain) for five hours on Friday collecting gifts from gracious donors for the orphans and foster children of Cuyahoga County.

Trust me, a typical CB week doesn't look like this. Hell, a typical month doesn't look like this. (Or quarter. Or semester.) So I'm not trying to be all "who's the best person in Clevo" right now. I'm just saying, I think that this week I had some positive cosmic energy coming my way.

So what happens?

I stupidly decide to stop for a beer in Tremont to kill an hour between finishing my volunteer work (where, by the way, I stayed for two hours beyond my assigned time) and meeting up for a late Melt dinner with friends.

Tremont. Where karma apparently goes to die.

I type Tremont, you automatically think one thing, right? Yep, broken car windows. Well, two things. Broken car windows and cops that don't come when you call them.

That's what karma delivered to me. With a bow on top.

Actually, to be completely honest, my car window wasn't broken. The talented fellows who stole my stereo actually unzipped the back panel of my jeep to get in, rather than break the window as they did the other four cars in the street. To be honest, I can't quite think of why they didn't break it. Every scenario I turn around in my mind makes it more time-consuming and difficult for them to unzip rather than just break the window. So maybe that's my karma. I still get my stereo stolen, but I don't have to replace the window.

Whatever. Lesson learned. No more visits to Tremont. At least not in my own vehicle.

The week ahead: 11/29-12/5 (The enjoying weather still in the 40s edition)

Defying the upcoming wintry odds, things get a little more active this week than they were last week. I mean, we still don't have a billion different things to do each day like we do in the heart of the summer, but we have at least one awesome thing to look forward to this week.

So read onward. In the meantime, I'm gonna stop over and check out today's Genghis Con event at the Beachland. It goes until 6, if you are interested.

Sunday, 11/29 - If I could hand-pick the man to spin the records at my wedding/divorce/funeral/holiday party/inauguration/whatever, it'd be Lawrence Daniel Caswell. Fortunately, we don't have to wait for such auspicious (or not) occasions. Instead, Caswell (aka DJ Racecard) will be manning the wheels of steel this Sunday morning and afternoon at the world-famous Beachland Brunch. So come on over, hear some great old soul, and enjoy the meal. If you are a newcomer, I have some advice for you: if you are thinking sweet, go with the french toast; savory, consider the deep-fried scrambled eggs. The sauce that goes with the latter is out of this world.

Monday, 11/30
- Today is your last chance to catch Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax on the big screen in Cleveland. Please don't deny yourself this wonderful cinema experience, no matter how guilty you feel about ruining Thanksgiving ... again.

Tuesday, 12/1 - Alabama/New York Fat Possum recording artist AA Bondy hits Akron Musica for a show. My brothers over at Citizen Dick love this album, and given my respect for their taste, the hike down to Rubber City will be more than worth your time. Check out the video below for a taste...

Wednesday, 12/2 - After a night rocking in Akron, you'll probably want to keep things a little more restrained and local, right? Fortunately for you, I got just the ticket: art-world expert Amy Whitaker will be talking about her new book, Museum Legs, at The Lit (2570 Superior). My friend Suzanne at Mac's Backs pressed a copy of this book into my hands my last visit there, and I'm glad she did. Whitaker manages to combine a rare objective wisdom with moments of pithy hilariousness as she examines the plight of modern museums and galleries: fatigue (aka 'museum legs'). This should be a fun yet intellectually stimulating event that will serve to introduce you to a valuable Cleveland cultural institution (The Lit) that you may be under-aware of as well as change the way you walk through that next gallery stop.

Thursday, 12/3 - Today is a day I've been looking forward to since the last Cinematheque schedule came out. That's because the wonderful and bizarre Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation screens at the hallowed east side cinematic institution.

The project of two young adolescents in the 1980s, a pair of friends eventually created a backyard shot-for-shot remake of the Harrison Ford classic. They acted, built sets, sewed costumes, scrounged props, performed stunts, and risked physical injury. They started production when they were 12 years old and worked on it for the next seven years! Eventually, even Steven Spielberg himself signed on as a fan of the film. Since then, the film has gone on to receive international acclaim and awe. Tonight, Cleveland, for the first time since early 2007, is your chance to catch this brilliance on the big screen.

Friday, 12/4 - Ready for a Waterloo Road two-fer? Good, cause I got one for you. Come on down to my hood for a delightful gallery opening at Low Life (featuring the photography of Bridget Caswell and the installation work of Sunia Boneham), and stay for a night of good music and good deeds when the Beachland Ballroom hosts a Community Shares fundraiser. Do your part to support art and social justice while simultaneously hoisting a few and hearing some solid tunes.

Saturday, 12/5 - With all the hubbub of the coming weekend, I'm gonna keep it simple.


Other stuff to keep your eye on the following week:

- 12/9 - El Vez Christmas show at the Beachland
- 12/10 - Afternoon Naps at the Beachland
- 12/10 - Russian Circles/Young Widows at the Grog
- 12/10 - We Live In Public screening at CIA Cinematheque
- 12/11 - Asterisk holiday auction
- 12/11 - Beachland's Holiday Rockabilly Show
- 12/12 - Bazaar Bizarre on the west side

CB Q/A #26: Andrew Bujalski (Film Director/Actor/Screenwriter)

Andrew Bujalski is America's post-millenial Jean-Luc Godard.

Think on that for a moment.

Just like Godard was both a member and leader of a budding film movement in his time and day (French new wave cinema in Paris in the late 1950s and 1960s), Bujalski is a pioneer and continuuing collaborator in a continuing-to-grow and starting-to-thrive genre, American mumblecore. The parallels between the two movements are so uncanny it strikes me as preposterous that someone hasn't already written a critically acclaimed book about this idea. Check out the links above to see what I mean. And, hey, maybe you can be the author! If so, I want a footnote.

I've enjoyed Bujalski's work since first viewing Funny Ha Ha (2002) shortly after its dvd release, and my esteem for the 32-year-old filmmaker continued to grow after seeing his follow-up, Mutual Appreciation, in 2005. Compared to others in the genre, his output is slower, but also marked by such directorial finesse and wisdom that I'd rather have a few-year lag between productions than multiple iterations of something trivial.

As a result, you'll believe me when I say I'm super pumped that Bujalski's latest film, Beeswax, is coming to the CIA Cinematheque this weekend. I'm even more pumped that Bujalski agreed to do this interview with me. Not a bad month overall for CB, scoring thorough and thoughtful Q&As with his two most respected working filmmakers, Bujalski and fellow genre writer/actor/director Joe Swanberg. Not a band month at all.

1) Other than other films/filmmakers, where do you find your influences? I mean, is there a certain type of art or artist, idea, spirit, etc.

Oh gosh, sure, everywhere, all the time. Sometimes ideas come from a song or a book or a photograph but I think most often I get excited by real life interactions taking place in front of my face. It is probably not the healthiest of habits but at moments I have certainly been guilty of, while life goes on around me, thinking, "Ah! How would I write this, how would I shoot this?" But it usually spins off pretty quickly away from a documentary impulse into fantasy.

2) Your film deals with the rise and fall and occasional rebirth of relationships, and seems to have interesting interactions between people at every stage of that cycle. At the end of the day, what are you trying to communicate to your audience?

For better or worse I have been pretty resolute about leaving the "message" up to the audience to determine for themselves--and indeed there doesn't need to *be* a message if you're not looking for one. Our culture has grown addicted to closure in their stories--many people want to walk out of the theater & know in no uncertain terms what they just paid $10 for (e.g. "it was a testament to the human spirit")--whereas I've always been interested in stories that don't boil down easily. My ambition is that if the story's solid enough, and rich enough, then the experience of a couple hours with it (hours that at best continue to bounce around in your head & resonate after the lights come up) is more valuable than a summary to file away.

3) In one sense, the themes of your film are timeless, but in another sense the context is time-bound - a certain hipster community in a certain hipster place at an identifiable moment in the decade. Did you favor one end of this continuum (timeless versus timebound) as you executed this project?

Well, particularly in this film, I'd probably object a little bit to the "hipster" tag (but then that seems to be a curse of this generation, to always identify dread "hipsterism" in others & never in ourselves)...I assume every filmmaker aspires to creating a "timeless" work (except perhaps at the very big budget level where opening weekend is all that matters), but I don't think that's achieved by scrubbing all references to the present. Airplane! was initially conceived as a parody of Airport & other contemporary disaster films, which seems *very* specific to the moment at which it was made--could they ever have imagined when they were making it that their cheap parody would be remembered longer and more lovingly than the source material?

4) What is your favorite moment in the film?

I feel like I owe you an apology for being evasive on all my answers here, but this is another impossible question--I am still way too close to the film to pick favorites, I like the whole thing! (I feel like this is akin to the "What's your best film?" question, which it seems like most directors are also incapable of answering, unless they're very far along in their careers & ready to memorialize them.)

5) You've received a lot of attention the last several years from key critical corners, both as an individual auteur and as a member of a loose cohort whose work has been dubbed part of the "mumblecore" movement. Clearly there is a lot of collaboration and overlap between the individuals often identified as key figures in the movement, but at the same time a thoughtful viewer can discern the individual voice of each of the filmmakers. To what extent has being viewed as a member of such a community been a boon to your work and in what ways has it been limiting?

In the crassest commercial sense I think it probably helped sell a few tickets a couple years ago when the hype was at its peak. I'm glad for that, but I wouldn't be surprised if by now it's also kept as many people from buying tickets. It's a frustrating label because it seems designed almost as a shortcut for people to dismiss the films, not unlike "shoegazer rock" once was--you might love one band that got stuck with that label & be bored to tears by another, but if the only word you heard about both is "shoegazer," why would you want to investigate further?The problem with lumping these films together is that the commonalities tend to be the least interesting things about them. It's the differences that make some of those films really exciting & worthy of attention.

6) The city of Cleveland has made some noise recently about wanting to make this a more film-friendly city. In your opinion, what are the most important things a city can do to encourage that kind of industry attention?

I'm not the best guy to ask about attracting "industry attention"--I have been a half-hearted cultivator of it myself. If the question is, "How do we get Hollywood to bring productions here?" then I think the answer is "Give 'em tax incentives," right? (Is that the question?)

7) Last but not least, any previous Cleveland experiences worth sharing?

I've only been there once, on a road trip in 1997, and I'm embarrassed to say that the only thing I did was go to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. And I briefly dated a lovely girl from Cleveland, but it didn't last long enough for me to get invited back to Ohio.

To check out Bujalski's Beeswax, make plans to attend one of the two screenings the CIA Cinematheque will present this weekend. The first screening is TONIGHT at 9:30 PM, and if the notice on that is too late for you, the second is Monday at 6:30 PM. (On Monday, if you stick around afterward, you can also catch Fellini's astounding Juliet of the Spirits!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Proper Noun of the Week #18: John G.

As I type this, it happens to be Thanksgiving, a day usually reserved for showing lots of appreciation for things you dig, eating yourself into a turkey coma, and watching Texas A&M rumble against the arch-nemesis Longhorns. (Gig 'em, Ags!)

The Aggie part is still pending (though looking bleak, as we are down two touchdowns early in the third quarter) and the food is digesting, but I still have the warm and fuzzies when I think about all the wonderful people I've gotten to know this year. I could go on for hours about this particular list, and maybe I should (and not just on Thanksgiving Day), but for now, I'd like to highlight one of the folks on it.

John G. is an artist. I'd like to elaborate on that statement, but I don't know where to begin. I could say he's a poster artist or maybe a comic artist - the media he's known best for around town - but that seems unnecessarily and inaccurately limiting. So, I'll say he's an artist. He's also a cool dude. And he loves kitties. I may be a canine man myself, but I appreciate anyone who surrounds himself with pets.

John is also the dude who is gracious enough to design the posters for my new Show of the Month project. In other words, he's the guy who has to field my micromanaging emails about bands and dates and characters and such.

Right now, John G. is also one of the folks behind the latest and greatest new event to make Cleveland its home, Genghis Con. Like other comic conventions, Genghis Con will feature opportunities to meet the artists and creators of some of your favorite comic work, but the focus here is on the edgy and often underground yet totally vital scene that has continued to thrive in the midwest and, especially, Cleveland. (Click here for more detailed info and here for a brief blurb about the event from the folks at Cleveland Scene.)

In a city where far too many people seem eager to leave and most of the ones who want to stay are content with patting themselves on the backs just for saying so, John G. and folks like him are vital cultural assets. John isn't flapping, he's doing, and I'm really impressed with the event he's had a hand in bringing to our shore. I'm also proud to call him my friend. Now check out what he has to say about Cleveland and all the rest.

1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

I was born at St. John's Hospital on Cleveland's West Side. I grew up in Lakewood for the most part. I've been out in Avon Lake for the past ten years, making things in The Cave.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

On September 12th, 2001, Federation X played Speak in Tongues. I had never heard them before and seeing them play was life altering. They were raw, heavy, and dirged out; filthier than I was (which, at the time was overly goddamned filthy). They sounded like exuberant thunder, and played on the floor in front of the stage. I sat towards the back and felt the world bend and warp around me. They were touring in support of their monumental American Folk Horror record. Everything was all up in the air in that moment, and these guys were grounded in the dirt and grit of the earth like nothing I had ever seen or heard. It made me feel stronger and better. I left there somewhat disoriented, but knowing everything was going to be okay.

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?

This is a question I think we could probably focus an entire interview all just to answer. I think my work and Cleveland are inextricably linked.

4) What would be your ideal Cleveland day?

I'd get up early and spend the morning hours reading comics and relaxing. To tie this to the city I guess I'd do this at a coffee shop like Gypsy at 65th or Arabica at 116th, both on Detroit. I don't do this nearly enough, just relaxing. Mostly, I'm chained to a drafting table or running around making things happen.

By 10:30 or 11:00 or so I'd be in The Monastery at the drafting table working on my own comics. I spend most of my time drawing posters. I love doing that, but I would block out a bunch of hours specifically for making comics. The comics I've been working on for the past few years have been Clevelyn Stories. They're my own weird take on the city, right now, in this prolonged moment. Clevelyn is an alternate version of Cleveland, populated by animal people and robots.

I'd break the chain and escape the work at some point in the evening. I'd be starving, so I'd call my people and arrange to get some food. I would assign numbers to Melt(1), Angelo's Pizza(2), Phnom Penh(3), Szechwan Garden(4), Nuevo Acapulco(5), and Crostata's Pizzeria(6). I would roll a die, and whatever the corresponding number lands, that would be the restaurant we would go to.

After that, let's say I would find myself in the throws of a serious dog walking with high quality peoples through a comfortable close knit neighborhood. Stretch out the evening. Spend some time talking about nothing and watching the world go by.

In the night, I'm pretty sure there would be at some form of musical performance happening somewhere that I would be inclined to witness. Most likely at Now That's Class.

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

I have some artist friends coming in this weekend for Genghis Con, and one of the things I'm definitely going to do is make sure we eat at Melt. Other than that, there's a lot going on, it being Thanksgiving weekend. I'm not sure if there's anything specifically Cleveland-ish we'll be doing. I'll probably take them to the studio (behind Front Room Gallery in Tyler Village) I'm working in now and we'll probably draw. I also want to check out the Capital Theater over on W. 65th at some point.

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?

Warm, moderate weather all year.

7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commisioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

I had this one plan to scoop up all the condemned and derelict vacant property, and blow it all up on the fourth of July, but that didn't pan out. Honestly, I wouldn't even know what to say to politicos. I think it's time to just face the fact that all the old systems are toast. Time for new systems.

To meet John, make plans to hit Genghis Con on Saturday 11/28 from noon to 6 PM at the Beachland Ballroom. Admission is a mere $5 and gets you, in return, a binding so that you can assemble your own custom-designed comic book from samples available from participating artists.

And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, Greg Ruffing, Mallorie Freeman, Dave Desimone, J.R. Bennett, Jeff & Mike from CLE Clothing Co, Paulius Nasvytis, Lawrence Daniel Caswell, Curtis Thompson, John Ewing, and Shannon Okey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Show Review: Evangelicals/Holiday Shores at Beachland Tavern, 11/21 (CB Show of the Month Recap)

Were you there? Were you at the Inaugural Cleveland Bachelor Show of the Month Evangelicals/Holiday Shores concert? Were you?

If you were, thank you. If you weren't ... well, I hope I'll see you at the Beachland when we promote the December show.

The show itself was a good one. Florida's Holiday Shores played a lot heavier than I expected, which is always welcome when the genre is indie pop. Something about indie pop with an angry guitar is just a perfect thing. The band didn't play terribly long though (and I missed the local opener's set as I was down screening my contribution to the weekly Saturday night Low Life Rank & File Film Series), so the live music portion of the night was pretty much dominated by the headliners, Evangelicals.

This didn't bother me in the slightest. Over the last couple of weeks, I'd immersed myself in their work and found myself becoming a bigger fan by the day. Unlike some bands, where repeat pre-concert listens have you tired out before the doors even open, the tide had yet to crest for me. Plus, frontman Josh Jones had been really cool when we chatted, about music stuff and non-music topics alike, so I was looking forward to seeing him play.

Once the show ended, and I made my way home, I reflected on it a bit. Musically, it was stellar. Visually, it was engaging, with smoke machine effects, strobe lights (controlled by a cool light switch addition to the bass player's instrument, and some crazy headless saran wrap mannequins posted on either side of the stage, lighting up and going dark on a timer like some fucked up holiday decoration.

It wasn't a perfect night, though. I heard everything I wanted to hear, but whenever I would pay attention to Jones, it would frequently seem like he was only half-trying. The moments when he was jamming were amazing, but those when he was tucked deep into his blue New York hoodie, sort of aimlessly wandering around the stage reciting almost listlessly the lyrics into the mic, I kept finding myself thinking how cool this would be if he was really trying. I mean, it sounded great, but you knew you weren't getting dude's best effort. Imagine if you were.

It also reminded me of something I'd heard a couple weeks back, at the Rock Hall's Janis Joplin tribute night. That event is a blog post in itself, as it marked Roky Erickson's first-ever performance in Cleveland, a blistering mini-set by a couple of the original dudes from Santana (who'd a thunk?), and several other really wonderful moments. Plus, the fact that I was there as a +1 to someone who managed to score private box seats. The only thing that could've made this night better is if the boxes at Playhouse Square were like the ones at Progressive Field, with free dogs and wings and beers, and an anticipated visit from the dessert cart. But I digress.

What the Evangelicals set reminded me of was a comment Joplin herself made in an interview with Dick Cavett. Cavett asked her if she ever had a rough night, found it hard to get excited, maybe because of a bum crowd. Janis looked shocked at the idea, and rushed to answer that such a thing never happened, that if there was ever a moment where she wasn't feeling it from the audience, all she had to do was turn to her bandmates and what they were doing and she would get absolutely turned on by the music, and the show would take care of itself.

I remembered that quote and wished something similar would have happened with Jones. He is a smart and talented guy, and clearly a hard-worker on his recordings and most of the time on the road. And even his lazier moments on stage are pretty damn good. But hell if it wouldn't be awesome if he killed it all the time. Then he'd be great.

Show Review: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros at The Kent Stage, 11/12

As I mentioned a while back, I took a quick road-trip jaunt down Kent-way with a pair of pals a couple weeks ago to catch the live act of one of my favorite new bands of 2009, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.

The whole night was a blast, from discovering Item #1 on my X-mas Wish List (hint: it has both sequins and the emblazoned image of Al Pacino in Scarface) to discovering a bottled water brand named after one of my fellow road-trippers.

And, of course, the show was grand. It was held at the Kent Stage, a venue I'd not been to before. Usually I don't dig the seated venues, but this one was kind of fun. Perhaps because the venue was only about half-full and thus there was plenty of room to stretch out. Perhaps because the crowd was full of slacker types, people who were just there to "folk" around, it being a featured event in the excellent annual Kent Folk Fest and all. Or perhaps it was just the giddy anticipation of the Edward Sharpe performance, the giddiness itself based on both the upbeat vibes of the band and their growing reputation for being one of the best indie live acts touring right now.

Whatever the reason, the night got started right with openers Unsparing Sea, who regular readers will already know is a band high on CB's list of favorites anywhere, but especially when we are talking about Northeast Ohio bands. Unsparing Sea did what they did and did it well, so well that it was a lot of fun to watch folks in the audience who were likely getting their first exposure to J.R. Bennett and company react in wonder and, later, abject greed as Bennett put stack after stack of Unsparing Sea samplers on the ledge for free consumption. (I'll tell you one thing about folk enthusiasts: they "folking" love free shit.)

(Photo Credit: Michael Diliberto)

The middle band was so aggravating I won't even mention them by name, but within seconds of taking the stage, Edward Sharpe pushed aside any lingering vibes of irritation and lameness. Front man Alex Ebert, previously best known as the leader of LA party band Ima Robot, immediately received a bouquet of flowers from an attendee and then scattered the petals along the floor in front of him. Dancing upon them as he sang for the remainder of the show, he noticed early on the effect of his trampling, remarking with heavy irony, "Destruction is beauty, man" - a tongue-in-cheek homage to the band's image as neo-hippies or, better yet, "hippie-sters."

(Photo Credit: Michael Diliberto)

The show was remarkable, though I'll confess to worrying that they wouldn't play their hit single "Home" since Ebert's partner on that song, Jade Castrinos, was not in attendance. All evening members of the crowd begged to hear it, and by the end of the show, Ebert relented ... somewhat. He said he still wouldn't perform it without Jade, but would try an experiment. At that, he invited a man and woman onstage, making them promise they knew the words. The woman, a fiery-haired drunken mess with an alley-cat howl, knew some of them, at least the first verse, which she repeated the whole song. The man, a pseudo-urban white frat dude going through the "wannabe club DJ" phase in his life (or, less generously, semester) knew the words pretty well, or at least was sober enough to take Ebert's subtle stage direction. The band jammed the song perfectly so that, despite the train wreck that was the vocal experimentation, when the lights came up after the song ended, we filtered out to the alley happy as clams, if a little embarrassed for the folks who'd just been onstage.

Proper Noun of the Week #17: Shannon Okey

How long did it take you to learn that Cleveland is a small world after all? It probably took me about a year, but it seems like that original lesson gets reinforced every single day. Take, for example, my initial email conversation with today's Proper Noun, Shannon Okey.

I sent Shannon an email to see if she'd like to participate in this series since she's the central organizer for the immensely popular annual event, Bazaar Bizarre. She replied that she would indeed be interested, and that she was already familiar with the series because her studiomate, Arabella Proffer, had already been featured.

Cleveland small world moment? Check.

In that studio, Okey busies herself with producing some of the most charming and clever fiber art you'll see around the city. She maintains a blog, knitgrrl, where she keeps the focus (generally) on the subject, but in a hip way that just about anyone interested in anything interesting would find intriguing.

Below you'll find the answers Shannon provided to the usual Cleveland-centric survey I send out. A true-blue (or would that be brown and orange?) Clevelander through and through, she's got as many good ideas in the tank as she's already putting in to action. So check her out - one of the good guys (er, gals) around town doing good work rather than just talking about it.

1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

I'm a lifelong Clevelander (with a few exceptions...I've lived in Boston, Prague and a few other places, but I always end up back here). Bazaar Bizarre, the indie craft show I organize, is an import from Boston! It's now in its 5th year in Cleveland.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

Going to the May Show and other shows at the Cleveland Museum of Art with my parents, who are also artists. That place is like a second home to me, particularly the older sections of the building. It's been a real adjustment learning the new floorplans...

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?

I'm inspired, as are many of the Bazaar Bizarre vendors, by creative reuse. I use a lot of recycled fiber and materials in my own artwork, and so do they! Even my studio is a recycled space -- it was once a screw factory. ( is the website of the Lake Erie Building at Templar Industrial Park, where dozens of artists, including me, have fantastic studio space in Lakewood). Cleveland has a vast industrial and artistic heritage we should be celebrating in our work...I have some plans for Cleveland architecture-inspired knits in my notebook right now.

4) What would be your ideal Cleveland day? Or, to put it another way, if it was your birthday and your nearest and dearest were all willing to do what you wanted, what would your day be like?

I guess coffee/knitting/watching Buffy DVDs is out? If I had to leave the house... I'd go shopping at the West Side market and Gallucci's, visit CMA, spend some time at my studio, have lunch at Phnom Penh or Melt and dinner at Lola, then go out on the jetty at Huntington to watch the sun set over the lake.

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

This happens a lot, actually. We usually go to one of the amazing locally-owned restaurants, check out some of the independent shops and boutiques in Lakewood or Cleveland Heights, then have coffee at Civilization in Tremont (or dinner at Sokolowski's), and maybe check out a movie at the Cedar Lee.

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?

Well, Bazaar Bizarre is a Boston-to-Cleveland import! But if I had to pick something else, I'd love to see a SXSW- or CMJ-style music conference really take hold here.

7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commissioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

Stop destroying all the historically significant architecture and landmarks already! The Hulett ore unloaders ( have long been part of the skyline and are a hell of a lot more interesting than another bland 'lifestyle center' (I'm sorry...MALL!) or the like. Even if people don't appreciate our amazing buildings now, they'll be sorry when they're gone -- what's NYC's Soho without its iron facades, or Chicago's Printing House Row District? We've got equally lovely buildings and no one appreciates them. (Can you tell this is a hot button topic for me?)

Be sure to check out Shannon Okey's work this year at Bazaar Bizarre. You can visit the east-side iteration THIS FRIDAY or the sequel to last year's west side event at the 78th Street Studios. Click here for more information.

And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, Greg Ruffing, Mallorie Freeman, Dave Desimone, J.R. Bennett, Jeff & Mike from CLE Clothing Co, Paulius Nasvytis, Lawrence Daniel Caswell, Curtis Thompson, and John Ewing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Celluloid Bachelor #8: Dragon Turtle's Island of Broken Glass

I used to find those crazy and implausible self-identified genre descriptions on indie band myspace pages endearing, or at least amusing. Now, when the latest indie songstress once again defines themselves as “zouk/concrete/death metal,” I tend to just roll my eyes. At least I do before trying to remind myself to get over my humorless self-seriousness.

Every so often, though, I’ll see a jumbled set of descriptors that make me wonder what such a band would sound like. Such was the case with the description recently provided me of Dragon Turtle: “ambient psych folk.” What? I didn’t know what to expect, but before even listening I knew I’d be writing something. Fortunately, the fellas in Dragon Turtle make it easy for me to write something nice.

Equal parts David Byrne, David Grisman, Akron/Family, and Rusted Root, Dragon Turtle indeed integrates the aforementioned descriptors and does so in a complex, challenging way. In other words, they sorta rule. One of the album’s stand-out tracks, “Island of Broken Glass” exemplifies this sort of complexity. A friend described it to me as sounding as if it could be the song playing over the end credits of a film, perhaps a non-lighthearted young romantic film that ended on a decidedly ambivalent note.

The video below is far less plot-centric, with the entirety of the film centered around burning objects. Stuff on fire is always cool, of course, but what makes this Celluloid Bachelor-worthy is what it is that is actually going the way of Jacques de Molay. What you see getting the Shadrach/Meshach/Abednego treatment are the bands prized organs, the ones they'd played while recording their new release, Almanac. Apparently the dudes were intent on some rebirth kind of action. I'm down.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The week ahead: 11/22-11/28 (Thanksgiving edition)

Even though the weather continues to (thankfully! happily!) elude my expectations, things are starting their inevitable winter-time slow down anyway. This week is a pretty good example of that (though perhaps the holiday plays a role in the dearth of cool going down the next 7 days, as well). I guess if we gotta look for a silver lining in this, it could be the fact that this post won't take you too long to read through.

Sunday, 11/22 - hmm.

Monday, 11/23 - uhhh.

Tuesday, 11/24 - well...

Wednesday, 11/25
- Finally! Night before Thanksgiving, things are always getting down. Take your pick between catching Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (who, criminally, are only openers in this show, for Californian Brett Dennen) at House of Blues OR (and this is where I'll be) head Waterloo-way as the Beachland celebrates the fourth anniversary of that awesome little vintage and record boutique nestled in the venue's basement, This Way Out.

Not familiar? That's crazy - get familiar. Those of you that are familiar certainly have warm rememberances of that rare 12-inch you found or the killer vintage shirt that was just right for that lucky first date (or bang, depending how caught up you are in bourgeois social conventions). Over the years, I've scored my favorite summertime button-up, a stylin' aquamarine blazer emblazoned with a 1970s era Cleveland Athletic Club logo, and a smashing 3/4 length tan leather jacket with belt and lapels that I'm gonna pick up this morning when I finish this up and walk down to the Beachland to catch its awesome weekly Sunday brunch.

This year, the celebration includes performances by killer newcomers Founding Fathers, Lakewood stalwarts Dreadful Yawns, Prisoners, and The Alarm Clocks. All for $4! (Get it - 4th Anniversary, $4 at the door? Clever, eh?) Doors open at 7, show starts at 7:30.

Thursday, 11/26 - Thanksgiving! I'll be volunteering. What about you? If you find yourself feeling guilty about all the good food while lonely CB is serving lunch to the homeless, feel free to pack a plate and deliver it latter. To me. Not the homeless. They already got served lunch.

Friday, 11/27 - Black Friday. I'll tell you what I won't be doing: shopping at the mall. Or anything remotely like a mall. If I do go shopping anywhere, it'd be the one-day Bazaar Bizarre in Larchmere. (Don't worry - this isn't the big, west-side event you loved so much last year. That one goes down December 12-13 at the 78th Street Studios.

Actually, on Black Friday, I'll be doing some more volunteer work. No, I didn't get pinched for something silly and get assigned community service - I really do have a heart this big. Why don't you? I mean, do something nice for somebody. Like me, for instance. I mean, shit, I'm doing all this great stuff this week - shouldn't I be scoring some big-time karma points?

Saturday, 11/28 - Ahh. The highlight of the week: Genghis Con. My boy John G. and a number of other intrepid supporters and practitioners of the indie comic/small press trade are gathering at the Beachland to hold a convention from noon to 6 pm. Even if this isn't quite your bag, stop in and see what some of the most interesting folks in Cleveland have been up to in their cave-like studios while you've been out doing your thing.

Later that night, Lakewood gallery The Pop Shop opens their True Value Vintage show, the Schwartz Brothers make a return to the Beachland stage, and mumblecore prince Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax screens at the CIA Cinematheque. Me, I'll be playing Lazer Tag to celebrate a pal's 150th birthday. I win.

Other stuff to keep your eye on the following week:
- 11/29 - CB Fave DJ Racecard (aka Mr. Lawrence Daniel Caswell) takes over the wheels of steel for today's Beachland Brunch
- 11/30 - Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax screens at CIA Cinematheque
- 12/1 - AA Bondy @ Akron Musica
- 12/2 - Amy Whitaker lecture @ The Lit (2570 Superior, Cleveland)
- 12/3 - El Vez @ Beachland
- 12/3 - Raiders of the Lost Ark Adaptation @ CIA Cinematheque
- 12/4 - Bridget Caswell/Sunia Boneham opening @ Low Life Gallery
- 12/4 - Community Shares benefit @ Beachland
- 12/5 - Holiday Art Bomb opens @ Shoparooni
- 12/5 - Liverpool screens @ CIA Cinematheque

Celluloid Bachelor #7: Ramona Falls "Fever"

Woah. This video makes me sound like Joey Lawrence, but so what. How amazing!

And, of course, it doesn't hurt that the music it is meant to visually represent comes from one of the most brilliant indie rock composers of our day, Brent Knopf, and his "solo+" work as Ramona Falls. I've been enamored with Knopf's work as part of the band Menomena for quite some time, and was even more blown away by his solo record this year. He played a live show in Cleveland this summer which was quite good (though still proved how difficult, if not impossible, it will be for any stripped down live performance of the staggeringly complex Intuit record to be an adequate composite), before which I did one of my more enjoyable and well-received CB Q/As.

If you've come to this blog since all that, you may be unaware of my serious respect for this artist and album. So, to bring yourself up to speed, check out the video below.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Celluloid Bachelor #6: Jonesin' "Rollerskates"

I don't think I'll be surprising very many of you by admitting there is a very special place in my heart for bubblegum pop. Sure, I prefer my guitar loud and fuzzy, but I'll just as easily take it jangly - as long as there is a side of keyboard and some cute vocals served on the side.

San Francisco's Jonesin' does it just right for me, goofy and hook-laden. Check out the video for one of the tracks from the duo's debut, Hi, We're Jonesin'.

Check it out - and keep a look out for their next national tour, some time in 2010. By that time, bandmates Matt and Jenny will also have added "husband and wife" to their one-sheet.


Jonesin’ | MySpace Music Videos

Tonight in Cleveland (11/21): Evangelicals and Holiday Shores at Beachland Tavern

I've been pimping this show for days. By now, you've read interviews with the respective band frontmen (Josh Jones of Evangelicals and Nathan Pemberton of Holiday Shores), a creepy acoustic video of "Stoned Again" by Evangelicals, a trippy, Indiana Jones-style jungle escape video of "Phones Don't Feud" by Holiday Shores, a fuzzed-out grindhouse take on "Midnight Vignette," a cryptic sneak preview video mysteriously preparing you for next year's upcoming Evangelicals release.

Now all that's left is for you to hit the show. Scope John G's official poster for the vent below for the details. See you, Tavern-side.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tonight in Cleveland (11/20): Dinosaur Jr at Grog Shop

This band need no further elaboration. And if you are clueless, don't even bother trying to check them out - the Grog's been sold out for weeks. Keep your eyes and ears open next time. The only reason I'm even posting this is so I have an excuse to share John G's killer poster for the event. Dig it.

Celluloid Bachelor #5: Danielson's Moment Soakers

On the list of things to ridicule, very few things are as unanimously mocked as Christian rock. Yet everyone also seems to have their own guilty pleasure Christian artist they like listening too. For example, my friend Leia is nuts about Page France, while plenty of people got a thing for the Dave Eggers of rock and roll, Sufjan Stevens.

Me? My choice is Daniel Smith, best known as the genius behind Danielson (or, depending on the album, Brother Danielson or Danielson Famile). I absolutely love his work, especially the monumental Ships. If you are looking for a nice intro, indie label extraordinaire Secretly Canadian released a solid retrospective last year titled Trying Hartz.

Recently, Danielson released a new 7", Moment Soakers, which continues the line of great music put out by Daniel Smith and company while also using the band's cult status (how ironic for a Christian band to enjoy cult status, right?) to do some good in the world. A portion of all proceeds from sales of the release will be going straight to the Weathervane Music Organization, a newly formed non-profit headed by the band's go-to sound engineer (Brian McTear), that "represents a profound commitment to the idea that at all stages of the process, community must be part and parcel of what it is to make and share music, from recording to presentation, from funding and resource allocation to promotion and arts advocacy."

Sounds good to me! What's more, the song sounds even better. The track is more deliberate and restained than what long-time listeners are used to (though still wilder and more creative than most of what you'll hear this year), and is quite compelling in moments of complexity as well in the quiet parts where Smith takes his famously squeaky wheel falsetto to new and interesting places. The animated film that complements the song is charming and wholesome, though not without intensity. For the simplistic sequences and story, there are harrowing points, including a barely escaped attack from shark-like fireplace bellows. Sound strange? I guess it probably should. You'll have to check out the video below to peep what I mean.