Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reflection Pond #22

Metric - Fantasies (2009)

There are bands that come to define you. They represent a perfect image of who you were during that moment in your life. When you listen to the music it suddenly embodies every truth, every emotion that is churning beneath the surface. This type of identification is so amorphous and constantly changing that it's hard to pinpoint exactly when they became your favorite band and exactly when they were no longer so all-consuming, but there will always be a fondness lurking whenever you learn of anything regarding them. A couple of years ago, I found Emily Haines and her band Metric and for about eighteen months I devoured them. Sexy and cool, pop music with an edge, they consumed my being for awhile. Hailing from Canada and the Broken Social Scene collective, there is nothing mute about them, from a feminist pulse to shockwaves of a punk aftertaste. Fantasies is their fourth album and it spreads out along the warpath with a burning flare to guide the way. Crunchy guitars and Haines' sweet voice call for us to open our eyes and give up the shackles that bind us to our mundane culture. And even though I feel my life force beginning to wane from these fabulous musicians, that they don't exactly define who I am at this moment in my life, I still appreciate their energy and joie de vivre. They'll always have the taste of a sweet morsel once consumed. They'll always hold a special place in my heart.

Downtown 81 - Edo Bertoglio (1981)

What a strange movie! That's usually not necessarily a bad thing but this one was really out there. It seemed like the sole purpose of this film was to completely immerse you in the New York art scene during the late 70's, early 80's. Again, not a bad thing. I've watched a few films try and capture the time of Warhol, Schnabel and of course Basquiat. Some of them have been good in their own right but none seem to realistically dive into the strange and experimental madness of that time. Downtown 81 embodies the moment. It is New York in 1981 and Bertoglio was in the midst of it all. The movie follows Jean-Michel Basquiat as he wanders the city trying to sell a painting so that he can pay his rent and get back into his apartment, while he also chases after a beautiful woman that caught his eye when the film opened. Submerging within the art and music scene, we travel throughout a fantasy landscape that turned out to be the roots of popular culture that would come to define our generation. Once you get comfortable with the weird but oddly familiar scenes, it all starts to go down a bit easier. Plus I think I'm really at a point in my life where I don't need my films to make sense all the time. I want them to be different, to challenge the conventional ideas of art. Basquiat was like liquid when it came to that. Full of quirky confusion, he blasted the atmosphere of the living and didn't care if anyone understood any of it. The more I see stuff like this, the more I want to express my creative spirit. It's absolutely inspirational.

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