It’s easy to throw around the phrase “godfather of independent cinema,” but actor-turned-director John Cassavetes earned it with his sweat and blood. His move out of the Hollywood system is the stuff of film history legend, and he set a powerful example, showing just how much a rogue, impassioned filmmaker could accomplish. Between Faces in 1968 and his death from cirrhosis in 1989, Cassavetes directly a series of visceral, highly personal dramas that still feel caustic, and fresh. Forged through sacrifice and suffering, his films contain some of the greatest performances you’re likely to see.
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The Forms released an EP called Derealization back in February, which provides a fresh look at earlier material by the Brooklyn band with remixes and new vocalists. Their song, “Fire to the Ground”, is now helmed by the distinctive baritone of the National’s Matt Berninger. A video treatment was filmed recently on quaint Minetta Lane in New York City, yet it skewers the notion of a cheerful group dance with dizziness-inducing direction by Chunwoo Kae and Ryan Demier of Neue Films. The clean lines of choreography by Lily Baldwin (who has worked with David Byrne among others) belie the underpinning of danger inherent in the music. It all makes for compelling viewing while listening to this haunting tune. And FYI a new release, Choas of Forms, is due out August 16.
Applause all around for the sheer hipsterism of Nokia’s marketing department, where the boardroom might look more like Vice Magazine than Samsung. Nokia has been using indie rock to hype it’s N8 smartphone with a series of Live Sessions filmed entirely with the phone. The lineup so far includes Cults, Transfer, Portugal the Man, he Vaccines, Mona and Ben Howard.
Released through 502 Recordings, homebase of the excellent DJ Oneman, this collaboration between Desto, Clouds & Jimi Tenor is tenaciously caught inbetween the dancefloor and the chillout room. The familiar jazz flute sounds that have traversed sampledelic music for 20 years now appear, but juxtaposed against fat synthetic bass lurching along an ominous beat. The video takes the song’s name quite literally, showing dancing “birds” (or women, as some us call them) of the silent era moving in synch with the modern sounds.
PopMatters’ Kerrie Mills recently reviewed Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?, a book by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont that looks at the food, TV shows, toys, and other pop cultural milestones that kids grew up with from the 1960’s to 1992.
It sounds like a great idea, but why did they stop at 1992? A brand new generation has sprung up since then, with an emerging sense of nostalgia. Look at the success of Toy Story 3, the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys tour, or Nickelodeon’s heavily hyped decision to add reruns of ‘90s series like All That and Clarissa Explains It All to their late-night schedule.
It’s enough to make you wonder what future generations will look back on wistfully, and how this will influence Hollywood and/or manufactures to make a profit out of it. So here’s a look at a few things that have only recently disappeared from the spotlight, and their cultural impact.