Dance movies — The Red Shoes and Pina

15 06 2013

Watched The Red Shoes (1948) last night and thought it was amazing. Just loved it. One of my new favourite films. And then, I watched Pina (2011) and thought… am I missing something? Or do I just not ”get” it? I mean, I know I may not understand modern dance, but it would’ve been helpful if I knew what the dance pieces meant– for the dancers, for Wenders, for Pina– so that the wonderfully staged dance sequences are more accessible to everyone, not simply dance fanatics.

So yeah. Check out The Red Shoes because it’s damn awesome.

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 21: A song that you listen to when you’re happy

30 04 2011

“If I’m having a good time and I’m happy and things are going really well, why would I want to stop what I’m doing to go and write at the piano?”

Fiona Apple said these words during an interview with Craig Ferguson about songwriting and I feel the same way about listening to music while I’m in a good mood.  Why would I listen to a song when I’m happy instead of doing whatever makes me happy?  I may listen to a song which might make me feel happy but I don’t generally listen to a song when I’m happy.  Anyway!

Gotta abide by the rules.  So I went through my CD collection and didn’t really find anything so I turned to my favourites on youtube and found Mika’s “Relax, Take It Easy” which is a good song.  I never really liked “Grace Kelly” but his other songs are actually pretty catchy, which reminds me — I should probably pick up his CDs sometime.  Hmm.

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 13: A song that is a guilty pleasure

22 04 2011

Just because I’m gay doesn’t automatically mean I like Cher.  Or Madonna.  Or Bette Midler.  Or any of those somehow-designated gay idol divas.  I remember when I used to work at Future Shop and we were looking for some CDs for callbacks.  My coworker Christine asked Marcus and I if we knew where a Bette Midler CD was and all he did was turn to look at me, as if I knew the exact location of the CD in the store just by being gay.  I glared at him in return.

And for a long time, I had been resisting one of the newer self-proclaimed gay idols, Lady Gaga, since the very beginning.  I didn’t find any of her songs particularly interesting and “Telephone” was the same way.  But ultimately, the catchiness of the tune got to me.  I don’t love the song but I will sing along to it if/when I hear it, and I do like it, and I like what Lady Gaga stands for so maybe that’s a part of my tolerance for the song.  Hmm.

I don’t see this trend continuing but who knows.

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 9: A song that you can dance to

18 04 2011

I’ve posted this one before I think, but there’s no such thing as overposting Scissor Sisters!  I don’t have much to say about this one since it’s fairly self-explanatory.  There was one night where I actually wanted to go out and — wait for it! — dance!  I don’t remember what happened earlier that day and if that had anything to do with my sudden crave for moving my body.  Eventually, I didn’t find anyone to go out with and ended up dancing to most of the songs on the Scissor Sisters’ Ta-Dah album with myself in my room with my stereo blaring, not caring in the world that I probably looked like a drunken fool having an epileptic seizure.

Good times.

“Swan Lake: Scene 1 — Lake in the Moonlight” – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

3 12 2010

While attempting to write an essay on the poetry of Wiliam Blake, prepare for a quiz on Frankenstein, write the first 30 pages of an original screenplay that I felt like I was bs-ing, and finish ten creative writing assignments for my dreaded Creative Writing Non-fiction class, I turned to my collection of “Classical” music to help me get me in the zone and forcefully keep me there hostage until I had completed everything.  Luckily, there was big old gay Tchaikovsky.

People think ballets are boring, and by modern standards, watching people leap around on stage may seem boring compared to be cramped in a claustrophobic, dingy, humid, suffocating space where people grind themselves on and around you, but hey — chacun son gout, n’est-ce pas?

Now, I haven’t seen Swan Lake (in fact, there are very few live performances of “Classical” music that I’ve really seen, most of which was at UBC, performed by the music groups there) so I don’t even know the story… but the music is fantastic!  Really!  And now with the release of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, the main theme in the recently released international trailer is played by a music box, which sounds really cool and will get everyone interested in not only Tchaikovsky’s other works but the whole variety and genre that is “Classical” music.

Keep dreaming, I know.  Tchaikovsky is no match for the likes of Justin Bieber.  Ughhhh.

Anyway, enough of my rambling.  Here it is in all it’s magnificence:

At the Ball

22 09 2010

Something else I wrote during Poetry class last term; it follows “Prince”.

At the Ball

Ceilings extend to infinity, arches are arms covering our heads.
Golden halls in this golden ball with a faint odor of Mr. Clean.
They watch as the Prince, an oversized penguin, reaches out a hand that says,
“Dance with me?”
Bowtie at 10 and 4, a lopsided grin on his face
That must have sent cholesterol to my arteries
as the only logical explanation for my heart’s erratic behavior
His hands are damp, moist like a car with two horny teenagers on a cold night.

Everyone in their Oscar gowns and suits, envious of our proud display
Of feet shuffling, dips and twirls, our accidental stomping on each other
Whispered apologies, trying to mask our pain with rambunctious laughter.
Shined shoes now boasting scuff marks
The ensemble commands us to waltz, and we bust out our moves.
Chins on each other’s shoulders, ears brushing ears
Bodies fitting perfectly with each other, a jigsaw puzzle completed
We are swaying subtly, glasses on a tablecloth blown by the wind.
I feel a warm ember beneath me and I burn with embarrassment
But suddenly something gently breaks and joins my fire, and he looks away too.
When our eyes meet, we smile, the shame extinguishes between us,
transformed into passion and boldness as we claim this moment as ours forever.
Melodies’ curtains close and people applaud our efforts,
crescendoing as I look at my Prince, bowtie at 11 and 5, lopsided grin tilting even further,
And I engrave a diamond memory with my lips to his.
Everything goes slow-mo as we bathe in our Hollywood screen-kiss
The orchestra keeps its promise to be our DJ, and people swish and swoop around me with joy.

If only I didn’t have to return to my wicked parents’ basement before midnight.

The alienation of my music

1 08 2010

[posted from my myspace blog page since I’m too lazy and uninspired to write anything new today]

This weekend is Pride in Vancouver.  I’m going to be helping out with some filming of queer events and performers for a documentary a friend of mine is putting together about local queer performers in the city.  Of course, interviewing bands and musicians who are playing shows when I myself am a queer musician and have a hard time even getting a show kinda makes me jealous.  But there’s something else that I’ve been thinking about as well.

When I think of “gay” coupled with “music”, I–and I think most people–tend to think of dance-y, trance-y, electronic stuff that simply makes people want to dance.  And who better dances than the gays?  (The correct answer is no one, in case you didn’t get that)  Then there are also bands that can put on a good show because well, frankly, they’re noisy and during a celebration like Pride, noise = good.

But then there’s me.  My music/style isn’t particularly upbeat, both in a tempo sense as well as an uplifting way, and it’s not really loud either.  I thought about it a lot over the last few days and I realized my music isn’t… very gay.  Not that that’s a bad thing or that I feel like I should change my sound.  No way.  But it’s just difficult sometimes to try and get people, especially the gay community, to listen and enjoy my music when I’m so much different than what they typically listen to.

My music can be brooding, pensive, and sad, and a lot of people don’t want to listen to that, which is fine, whatever.  But then to see other musicians making it because they’re more… accessible or have a more popular sound and have more fans is kind of disappointing, especially when I feel like my music and my songs are a lot more meaningful than stuff that’s already out there.

I sent an e-mail to the Pride organizers with a link to my music several months ago when I saw an ad for acts in the upcoming Pride.  I never got a response from them so I can only say that my music wasn’t what they were looking for.

It’s not that I don’t have any happy songs, but that I don’t feel the need to write happy songs when I’m happy because I’m out there being happy!  It’s only when I’m utterly depressed and unwilling to do anything else that I write.  And if that gets me fewer gigs, than what am I supposed to do?

Anyhoo, I’ll try not to be a downer for Pride.  Just a reminder that my short film, Stay, will be screening on August 16th at 9:30 at Tinseltown.  Happy Pride, tout le monde,