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by G. Christopher Williams

3 Dec 2009

The Godfather’s familiar emblem, the hand that holds the puppet strings, signals the clearest interests of what the films and this game explores: how individuals seek and attain power through manipulation and control, albeit largely at the distance afforded the puppeteer, not the puppet.

This series takes the idea of being a professional criminal seriously.  Wedding a meditation on control and the ugly nature of power to the play is a smart way for The Godfather to carve out a niche that truly belongs to itself in a genre known for caving in to conventionality.

by Katharine Wray

3 Dec 2009

A great present for a James Ellroy fan, obviously. But also a good gift idea for any fan of the political-noir genre. Centering on the unrest and upheaval of the late ‘60s, this book ties assassinations, racism, communism, gambling and drugs into a tale and corruption and retribution, and of course, good and evil (classic Ellroy). Bet in about three years you’ll catch the Hollywood version on the big screen, but nothing beats the book.

by Eleanore Catolico

3 Dec 2009

Doesn’t the Old English typeface say it all?  Loaded with pictures of pistols, Lickshot just screams bad ass. Lickshot, New-York based photographer Ben Watts’ photo scrapbook and travel diary, is an ideal stocking stuffer for the provocative-at-heart, not least your kid who just graduated from art school. Watts’ dynamic, renegade photography captures the primal in his subjects; a street theater of gang bangers, skate punks, metal heads, and entertainers including Heath Ledger, Benicio Del Toro, Guy Pearce, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg. The book also features an interview with Watts by Vanity Fair editor Ingrid Sischy that delves into Watts’ biography. These gun photos are in-your-face intense.

by Sean Murphy

2 Dec 2009

I’m so proud of my Pops.

Last night, quite out of the blue (or, out of the black, as the case may be), he said he had to ask me a “technical question.”

I braced myself, prepared to disappoint him. A “technical” question had to mean he was going to ask about computers, and I would have to remind him that, despite working closely with them for almost two decades, I probably know less about the inner workings and mechanics of these things than the average ten year old.

To my considerable relief, it was a question about music.

To my considerable delight, it was a question about Black Sabbath.

by Jason Gross

2 Dec 2009

Even if you’re like me and you don’t care for her music (can’t wait for all the hate mail about that), you have to admit that Susan Boyle is easily one of the biggest phenom’s in the music biz this year.  She didn’t do it by letting fans set their price for her album or trying new and innovative things through social media but just the ol’ fashion way- selling lots of records.  She even beat out Eminem for the best first-week sales of his year.

So how do you explain how she became such a huge star?  For one thing, there’s no denying that she has a great voice, even if you don’t care for what she’s singing.  But there’s lots of great singers out there who’ll never reach her level.  Here’s a few reasons why:

* Simon Cowell and his company deserve lots of credit for setting the whole thing up in the first place. Of course, not every singer he works with through his companies (i.e. American Idol) get to this level but having that platform in the first place was a huge boost for her.  Earlier this year, I talked about how Cowell set up the story about her in the first place.

* The Anti-model Factor. I haven’t seen any of the record buyers polled about this but I’d wager that since Boyle doesn’t look like your typical singing star, lots of people were rooting for her since they don’t have hot bods either (I sure as hell don’t).

* The story behind her. Again, I think this is another (non-musical) reason that many people were rooting for her. One day, she’s nondescript and unknown and then suddenly she becomes a star. And unlike many other instant stars who don’t deserve the fame, she actually does.

LATE THOUGHT: After Beyonce and Taylor Swift got all the Grammy nominations, it’ll be an interesting battle to see who wins next year and (at least temporarily) wears the diva crown but in the meantime, Boyle has them both beat in initial sales (Swift’s last album sold less than Boyle’s in first week sales, ditto Beyonce).

//Mixed media
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TIFF 2017: 'The Shape of Water'

// Notes from the Road

"The Shape of Water comes off as uninformed political correctness, which is more detrimental to its cause than it is progressive.

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