There are really two Kenneth Anger’s running around in the new millennium—three if you add in his current crusade as a certified pagan, supporter of the works of Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey, and advocate of Wicca. Many might know him from his famous show biz tell-alls, Hollywood Babylon and Hollywood Babylon II, terrific pre-tabloid tomes that exposed many of Tinsel Town’s tawdriest secrets. But for the chosen few who have followed the careers of such motion picture mavericks as John Waters and David Lynch, Anger is an idol, an experimental underground filmmaker who forged a specific celluloid identity out of his experience with old school studio films, a complicated childhood, and his emerging homosexuality. By the time the ‘80s rolled around, he had contributed more to the fringes of the full blown independent movie scene than any other artist from his time.
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Arrica Rose & the ...‘s release their third full-length, Let Alone Sea, August 22nd on pOprOck records and it’s chock full of the hook-filled folk-pop which is the group’s trademark. While sounding thoroughly contemporary, Arrica Rose’s sound is rooted in the classic pop of the ‘60s with nods to even earlier eras like the harmonies heard on ‘40s swing recordings. Her band, the …’s (“The Dot Dot Dots”). is meant to “describe the collaborative nature of her project which evolved from a four-piece guitar-driven band into an intricate sonic landscape including keys, mandolin, toy piano, omnichord and more.” Let Alone Sea contains 10 new tunes, but we have a special treat for you today… the premiere of “Lions & Tigers & Bears”, which doesn’t appear on the new album, but compliments the new work’s style perfectly.
New York has had it good concerning Shakespearean theater recently, given that The Merchant of Venice, which starred Al Pacino as Shylock, was successfully produced. This summer, New York is presently hosting a six-week residency from England’s prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, which the New York Times has called one of “the most famous classical theater companies in the world.” The R.S.C. will produce five plays in 45 performances, until 14 August. The plays are as follows: As You Like It,Julius Caesar,King Lear,Romeo and Juliet, and The Winter’s Tale. Don’t miss any one of them!
What defined Paul Thomas Anderson as a filmmaker early in his career was his ability and ambition at such a young age. Upon the release of Hard Eight in 1996, a 26-year-old Anderson was already preparing his breakthrough opus, Boogie Nights, a film that would see him immediately and often compared to his idols, Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese. Instead of flaming out like Orson Welles, Anderson has developed from a mere wunderkind to a singular voice playing in the sandbox big themes: love, self-destruction, family and death.
Perhaps most astounding is his recent creation of Daniel Plainview, a man who stands alone in There Will Be Blood but also in the larger context of Anderson’s oeuvre. His misanthropic use of Manifest Destiny ends up eating him alive. Plainview embodies the direct consequence of not finding an outlet for love, a vacant man left only to gasp, “I’m finished.” If Blood is any indication, Anderson is only at the beginning of a new phase in his career, exploring scope through the use of restraint.
Robert Altman’s strict Catholic upbringing and military service (he flew bombing missions in Asia during World War II) would have powerful and lasting influences over his life, and his art. Following the war, Altman dabbled in film, working on industrial documentaries and other such projects before stumbling into a feature film teensploitation picture in the mid-1950s. Eventually catching the attention of no less an authority than Alfred Hitchcock, Altman did some work on the old master’s television program in the early 1960s before heading back to Hollywood for a string of mostly forgettable pictures. It wasn’t until the tail end of the 1960s that Altman discovered his gift for subversion, and his unmistakable knack for capturing effortless, naturalistic dialogue.
Often referred to as a filmmaker’s filmmaker, Altman has frequently puzzled audiences and annoyed critics. But, his singular style and persistent attention to the paranoid American conscience marks him as among the most important voices of both his best periods in the 1970s and the 1990s.