Friday, October 27, 2006


Also, due, I have to admit: I love this "Rubber Band Bank" shit. Fuckin' brilliant.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dirty little whirlwind

My name is Chris Jay and I am a dirty little whirlwind caught up in the flesh of a boy.

Since the last time I posted:

1) A drunk guy at Conchita's birthday party unknowingly provided me with the perfect ending for "It All Adds Up," a 25-page short story that I have been writing for 5 years. This may sound insignificant to anyone who does not know me, but let me assure you: This is huge. I believe that, in forlorn futures, I may look back on my life in terms of before I finished "It All Adds Up" VS. after I finished it.

2) I have fallen in love with the films of "The Archers": Powell and Pressberger, the team of British filmmakers who made "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp." Want your life changed twice in one weekend? Netflix "Colonel Blimp" and "I KNow Where I'm Going!," and watch both back to back.

3) I worked 210 hours in three weeks. BAAALLLLLLINNNNNNNN. And I'm sorry, haters, but I loved every minute of it. Youtube video of KTBS 3 calling me a "very important man" to come, promise.

4) I somehow managed to fall more in love with the new TV On The Radio album.

5) I somehow managed to fall more in love with my girlfriend.

6) I met one of my favorite stand-up comics, Josh Blue, who asked me if I was the dude who starred in "Half Nelson." The timing of said wisecrack could not have been more perfect.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Iraq for Sale": More Preaching to the Converted

Most of my friends aren't aware of the extent of my political views. I keep them close to my vest because I know that they are extreme and that some are more than likely enhanced by my subjective desires for a world that has heroes and villains, polar opposites and obvious paths of right and wrong. Obviously, that's not a realistic description of the world in which we live, and I do tend to demonize political figures with whom I disagree. It gives me a flag to fly. It makes things more fun.

That being said, I'm not the type who enjoys the kind of event where lots of people who are obviously of the same mind come together, get exposed to a piece of information that reinforces their previously-held beliefs, and then go home. So seeing "Iraq for Sale" at David Nelson's tonight didn't really do it for me, as much as I did enjoy learning some details about the extent to which Blackwater and KBR are involved in the War in Iraq - it's far more extensive than I had imagined. I'm apalled by everything that I learned tonight (you can go here for the facts, I'm not about to cough them up), but at the same time, I have been in quite enough rooms full of people who guffaw every time Bush Jr. says something idiotic. The time for that is so far behind us. Now maybe if we could get this movie played in some places where the folks seeing it may be undecided about their feelings on the war, that might make a difference. That would be wonderful. Some eyes may actually be opened, a difference may actually be made.

And I've said it to more than a small handful of people: I'm not in the best place lately, obviously. If you know my personal and work life, you know there are a lot of problems right now and I'm kind of just barely keeping my act together, and I'm vulnerable as hell to depression. But the most depressing part of this kind of screening is when all of the counter-cultural types leave the theatre, grumbling about Bush (when numbers say that most of them could not be bothered to vote in 2004, leaving them no right at all to complain), and we all light our cigarettes (most of which are manufactured by R.J. Reynolds, who have contributed more than $12.2 million to Republican campaign war chests since 2000), and we repeat the same old tired rhetoric that we came in repeating.

This may be a shock to some of my friends, but I find most liberals to be as intolerant and stubborn as republicans. I'm way, way, way to the left, but having grown up in the deep south, I love a lot of right-wing assholes. I may hate their ideas, but by God, I have to listen to them all over again every time we carve a turkey or bury a great uncle. So I've learned to be patient to the best of my ability and be gentle when I make my case for the way we should perhaps go about effecting change in the world, politically. Making stickers that say "Fuck Bush" and slapping them up on stp signs within three blocks of your home isn't going to promote any dialogues. It's just propaganda, and it may be even worse than that - it may be something you're just doing to increase your chances of getting laid by the artsy chick in the apartment upstairs.

I dislike our president, his staff, and where he's taken our country these past 6 years. But I also prefer dialogue to diatribe, so I kind of regretted this use of two precious weekend hours.

"If we don't stop killing, we'll lose this war."

Last night I saw "Dawn of the Dead" for the first time, and it is now also among my all-time Top 5 (this has been a week full of changes for that Top 5, see "Colonel Blimp" review below). "Dawn" is one of the most poignant social commentaries I have ever seen, and it's funny and suspenseful as hell to boot. Early on in the film, a priest counsels two of the film's protagonists that, though they have been trained to defend their country with violence, "We've got to stop killing or we lose the war." That got me to thinking about the connection between the current situation in the Middle East and the basic problem faced by heros in zombie horror films: The more killing we do, the more enemies we create.

The most obvious and poignant social commentary offered up by the film is on consumerism. The heros barricade themselves inside of a mall (even though it's filled with zombies), just because it is a kind of candyland for them. There are jewelry stores, appliance stores, food stores, and gun stores. At one point while gathering things for the "home" they create inside the mall, the usually-wise leader of the group shouts: "Just get things we absolutely need! I'm gonna get a TV!"
These kinds of lines, delivered with a straight face, make the movie wonderful, as do any number of scenes of zombies riding escalators, zombies sitting in wishing wells, zombie maintenance men sitting at their desks, unsure of what to do. One of the heros asks the other why the zombies seem drawn to the mall, and if he believes that the zombies can smell them inside. The other hero answers no, he just believes that some faint glimmer inside the zombies' brains recognizes the mall as a place that brings happiness and fulfillment. Seriously, I wanted to stand up and clap when this movie ended. It was wonderful.

Now I'm wanting to see the European cut of the film, which was apparently edited by none other than Dario Argento (pardon any spelling errors, I write these entries w/o Googling). A member of The Wrists, Daniel, came by last night while I was watching the U.S. Theatrical cut and recommended the European version due to its "more bleak" ending.

I live in Shreveport, LA, so I'm not sure "more bleak" is always a good idea when it comes to what I put into my head. But in this case, I'll make an exception. And I highly recommend "Dawn of the Dead," even to non-horror fans, and especially to the more political-minded fans of satire.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I got with a sick ass click and went all-out!

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

This past week, I Netflixed "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp," an incredible British film about war, human nature, and growing old (yeah, it tackles some kinda big subjects) from the legendary team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger. The film is easily one of the most compassionate films I have ever seen. It follows four decades in the life of General Clive "Sugar" Candy, who starts out a low-ranking officer and climbs the ranks by being classy and brave (in that order). Clive is the kind of military officer who will engage in a duel with a foreign officer, injure the other officer badly, and then spend months playing bridge with the fellow while they both heal up. He fights wars to win them, convinced that right will always prevail, and abhors the idea of mistreating prisoners. In Sugar Candy's army, prisoners of war are treated to symphonies and tennis matches and POW camps look more like resorts.

That is, until about halfway through the film. Following World War I, and the rise of Nazism, Candy starts to see something changing in his fellow officers. Men who he knew and trusted to be kind to foreign POWs are becoming brutal, employing the tactics used by their enemies. Candy's friends in the armed forces say that this is a new kind of war, and that right and wrong are no longer clearly distinguishable. When Candy stands up against this idea, he faces a fight unlike the ones that he is accustomed to: a fight for decency, even when employing decency may mean losing the war. It's a goddamned great film about the birth of modern warfare, and the evolution of the "Us VS. Them" mentality that makes things like Gitmo possible.

But the real emotional heart of the film is the love story that runs alongside the war story. It's maybe one of the most poignant little vignettes about what happens when you don't follow your heart that I have ever seen in my life. I can honestly say that when this film ended after nearly three hours, I felt that wonderful, lightheaded feeling you get when someone you love and trust gives you a little piece of advice that, in the moment it takes to be dispensed, changes the way you see everything. This is one of my favorite films now. Hell, it may just be my favorite film ever made. Do yourself a favor. Seriously.

Some links:
The IMDB page.
Roger Ebert's review, where he rightly calls the film "full of miracles."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"I am literally the Socrates of french fries right now."

Friday, October 06, 2006

99% of this video is dumb. 1% is pure goddamn genius.

Jay-Z Flowing over "Forward Riddim" in London

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The greatest live band in rock n roll.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lee Marvin Walks Into A Bar

Lee Marvin VS. Gene Hackman. That alone is enough to get the average 1970's film fetishist foaming at the mouth. But, for all of the gunfire, pitchfork-tossing, and knuckle-dusting in "Prime Cut," I can't help but wonder if its major point of departure is not the feminist movement. Throughout the film, bulky white men treat women like cattle, going so far as to keep them in pens full of hay. Gene Hackman's character, Mary Ann, justifies this action by stating: "I know this country. What I'm sellin', they're buyin'." And what's he selling? Hogflesh, cowflesh, and woman flesh. My favorite moment is towards the end: Gentle, Mantovani-esque music plays as Lee Marvin stalks a gang of overall-clad hitmen in a field full of sunflowers. It's Tarantino meets Anne Geddes, and it's fucking truly inspired.

It's also worth noting that this weird-ass, banana-clip-loading tour de force also features Sissy Spacek at her most beautiful. If you love technicolor film stock, Gene Hackman circa 1974, and Lee Marvin's tough-as-nails deadpan gaze, what are you thinking? Stop reading this blog and go rent PRIME CUT.