“It’s unbelievable.” The first words spoken in Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story sum up the horror about to unfold. Directed by Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim and released in 2006, the film tells a story that is alarming to this day. In 1977, 13-year-old Megumi was walking home from school in Nigata, Japan, and disappeared. Her mother, Megumi’s younger brother Tetsuya says, “Even though I was just a kid, I knew something big was happening.” Sakie, recalls worrying but not quite absorbing the profound loss before her. The camera hovers over the sidewalk where Megumi walked, looks up at tree branches that likely cast shadows over her. The sun sinks into a distant horizon, and a percussive soundtrack pulses, pushing forward, ever faster. The sea laps the shore, ominously.
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Best of Enemies is a fascinating film about brilliant people behaving stupidly. It would be reassuring in a way to think that in the distant past, there was a time when American intellectuals could duke it out on the public stage before a mass audience held rapt by the sight and sound of ideas being wrestled into coherent form. We know such things don’t happen anymore. How many Americans can even name two intellectuals to have such a debate?
Hot off a few gigs during Miami Music Week, the electronic trio Cash Cash stopped by the offices of their label Atlantic Records in New York to perform a couple of their hit songs. However, instead of playing percussive dance versions, the trio Jean Paul Makhlouf, Alex Makhlouf and Sam Frisch decided to strip down the music and go acoustic. They were joined by vocalist Maria Dontas and a string quartet to showcase the songs in front of label execs, media and other guests. The catchy songs were felt comparatively soaring to their electronic counterparts with the vibrant strings and live instrumentation. Cash Cash answered a few questions following their set, including the ever-challenging, ‘would you rather have a time machine that only goes backward in time or only forward?’ and to give a non-committal response to whether or not they prefer to play acoustic or electronic. You can decide yourself by checking out some video clips below, including the official NSFW “Surrender” video.
Neither the name nor the face of Wolf Colony were very familiar to me before his show on March 2nd, but the description on his Facebook page, “a new blend of electronic-pop, drawing influences from ‘80s synth-pop to indie rock, while slipping in subtle stylistic nuances inspired by various contemporary electronic artists. Rather than indulging in over-production, Wolf Colony adorns his songs with relatively bare arrangements, leaving ample room for his unique vocal presence and deeply personal lyricism”, had me intrigued.
Though Wolf Colony‘s performance to celebrate the release of his debut album Unmasked wasn’t more than 40 minutes long, it was enough time to bathe in the rich sonic palette, particularly the lovely “Beauty”. The audience, which included friends and well-wishers of the mastermind, genuinely howled, in addition to typical applause, to show their appreciation for the man behind the mask. Wolf Colony collaborators, including record producer Neal Sarin and a goggled dancer who was likely Storyboard P (who features in a remix for “The One” by Lucious Fox), were watching close by. Below you’ll find a stream of some music, some videos and photos of the performance including a few of opener Of the Beast, who mixed synths and electronics with a stringed duo.
“We were playing the roles,” Brandy Burre says. She’s talking about her marriage, but she speaks as well to the many roles anyone or everyone plays each day, the many ways we experience ourselves and others. In the film Actress, Burre goes on to reflect on her own “mom role” and her husband’s “breadwinner” role, and Robert Greene’s remarkable film goes on to work with her, to ponder, provoke, and pose questions about what it means to act, to perform parts and also to be authentic.