Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I've been writing intensly so i haven't blogged much. We will soon resume fully. For now..some news:
  1. Oprah was nearly the Illinois Senator.
  2. John Updike died.
there's not much else. Blogging will resume soon. (I.E. more posting.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

is NOTHING not lip synched?


It was not precisely lip-synching, but pretty close

The somber, elegiac tones before President Obama’s oath of office at the inauguration on Tuesday came from the instruments of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two colleagues. But what the millions on the Mall and watching on television heard was in fact a recording, made two days earlier by the quartet and matched tone for tone by the musicians playing along.

The players and the inauguration organizing committee said the arrangement was necessary because of the extreme cold and wind during Tuesday’s ceremony. The conditions raised the possibility of broken piano strings, cracked instruments and wacky intonation minutes before the president’s swearing in (which had problems of its own).

“Truly, weather just made it impossible,” Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said on Thursday. “No one’s trying to fool anybody. This isn’t a matter of Milli Vanilli,” Ms. Florman added, referring to the pop band that was stripped of a 1989 Grammy because the duo did not sing on their album and lip-synched in concerts.

Ms. Florman said that the use of a recording was not disclosed beforehand but that the NBC producers handling the television pool were told of its likelihood the day before.

The network said it sent a note to pool members saying that the use of recordings in the musical numbers was possible. Inaugural musical performances are routinely recorded ahead of time for just such an eventuality, Ms. Florman said. The Marine Band and choruses, which performed throughout the ceremony, did not use a recording, she said.

“It’s not something we would announce, but it’s not something we would try to hide,” Ms. Florman said. “Frankly, it would never have occurred to me to announce it. The fact they were forced to perform to tape because of the weather did not seem relevant, nor would we want to draw attention away from what we believed the news is, that we were having a peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next.”

Anthony McGill, a principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera, and the pianist Gabriela Montero joined Mr. Ma and Mr. Perlman in “Air and Simple Gifts,” a piece written for the occasion by John Williams. While not all music critics agreed about the quality of the piece, some took note of the frigid circumstances for the performers. And the classical music world was heartened by the prominent place given to its field.

Mr. Perlman said the recording, which was made Sunday at the Marine Barracks in Washington, was used as a last resort.

“It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way,” he said Thursday in a telephone interview. “This occasion’s got to be perfect. You can’t have any slip-ups.”

The musicians wore earpieces to hear the playback.

Performing along to recordings of oneself is a venerable practice, and it is usually accompanied by a whiff of critical disapproval. Famous practitioners since the Milli Vanilli affair include Ashlee Simpson, caught doing it on “Saturday Night Live,” and Luciano Pavarotti, discovered lip-synching during a concert in Modena, Italy. More recently, Chinese organizers superimposed the voice of a sweeter-singing little girl on that of a 9-year-old performer featured at the opening ceremony of last summer’s Olympic Games.

In the case of the inauguration, the musicians argued that the magnitude of the occasion and the harsh weather made the dubbing necessary and that there was no shame in it.

“I really wanted to do something that was absolutely physically and emotionally and, timing-wise, genuine,” Mr. Ma said. “We also knew we couldn’t have any technical or instrumental malfunction on that occasion. A broken string was not an option. It was wicked cold.”

Along with admiration for the musicians’ yeoman work in the cold, questions had swirled in the classical music world about whether Mr. Ma and Mr. Perlman would use their valuable cello and violin in the subfreezing weather. Both used modern instruments. Mr. Ma said he had considered using a hardy carbon-fiber cello, but rejected the idea to avoid distracting viewers with its unorthodox appearance.

“What we were there for,” he said, “was to really serve the moment.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Academy Award Nominations 2009

I've actually seen some of the movies that are nominated. Here are the Nominations:


“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”


* Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
* Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
* Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
* Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)


* Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
* Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
* Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
* Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)


* Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
* Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Meryl Streep in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)


* Amy Adams in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
* Viola Davis in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)


* “Bolt” (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
* “Kung Fu Panda” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton


* “Changeling” (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
* “The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
* “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt


* “Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle


* “Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
* “The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
* “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky


* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle


* “The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
* “Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
* “The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
* “Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
* “Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal


* “The Conscience of Nhem En” A Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki
* “The Final Inch” A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
* “Smile Pinki” A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
* “The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306” A Rock Paper Scissors Production, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde


* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens


* “The Baader Meinhof Complex” A Constantin Film Production, Germany
* “The Class” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haut et Court Production, France
* “Departures” (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan
* “Revanche” (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
* “Waltz with Bashir” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel


* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
* “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz


* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.),Alexandre Desplat
* “Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman


* “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
* “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
* “O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam


* “La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
* “Lavatory - Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
* “Oktapodi” (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
* “Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
* “This Way Up”, A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes


* “Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
* “Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
* “New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
* “The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
* “Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank


* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
* “Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
* “Wanted” (Universal),Wylie Stateman


* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
* “Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt


* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
* “Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan


* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
* “Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy


* “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
* “Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
* “In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inaguration

This morning I was not in Washington (in fact I was at my school's screening room in Toronto) but in an odd way I was. Even in a place where only a few of us were literally American, the excitement in the room was fierce. We laughed with more passion then I have ever seen, many even started to have tears in their eyes, we stood up for the pledge of allegiance, we all stood up and cheered when Barrack Obama got named the president of the united states. Even in Canada, it was a truly passionate event.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh no!

I read this on
Toronto institution David Mirvish Books is shutting its doors next month for the final time.

The Markham Street bookstore -- just across the street for Honest Ed's -- will close its doors on February 28.

DM Books opened in 1974, and carved out its niche by focusing on books on art.

With its lofty, white walls, massive Frank Stella painting and temple-like reverence for high art," wrote Toronto Life, "this Mirvish Village favourite is more civilized than Honest Ed’s (its neighbour), but it has the same flair for bargains."

From the store's website:

In 1974 David Mirvish opened an art bookstore as an outgrowth of the David Mirvish Gallery. The gallery exhibited abstract artists and colour field painters and sculptors. Some of the artists exhibited included Milton Avery, Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Robert, Motherwell, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons and Frank Stella. David Mirvish Books is now in the building designed by Australian architect John Andrews for the gallery in 1970. Installed on the back wall of the bookstore is Frank Stella’s 1970 “Damascus Gate, Stretch Variation”. The fifty foot long painting from Stella's protractor series overlooks the main room above an equally long shelf of books on artist’s monographs.

Here's an article from Blog T.O.

These are bad days for Markham Street. Ballenford Books on Architecture closed last year. At least there's still The Beguiling.

More info to come.

[David Mirvish. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National Post
Such a shame. It's a really nice store. I was there the other day and enjoyed browsing. It will be missed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

golden globes winners list with commentary


Cecil B. DeMille Award: Steven Spielberg

Deserved I guess. Didn't see his speech so I don't know how boring it was.
Best Motion Picture - Drama: Slumdog Millionaire
I liked it. It was one of the better movies this year.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road
Still haven't seen it.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
haven't seen it. it looked okay.
Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
looked good but I haven't seen it.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky
She won this on my blog's best of 2008 list so (obviously) deserved. Speech went on a bit.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy: Colin Farrell – In Bruges
know nothing about this movie.
Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Kate Winslet – The Reader
She made her holocaust movie.
Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
How could they not give it to him. It was a good performance but more then that it was legend with the sad appendix of his death.
Best Animated Feature Film: Wall-E
haven't seen this and (honestly) don't want to.
Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz With Bashir (Israel) haven't seen this

Best Director - Motion Picture:
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
very deserved. the movie is very well directed...
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Slumdog Millionaire, Written by Simon Beaufoy
well scripted...
Best Original Score - Motion Picture: Slumdog Millionaire, Composed by A. R. Rahman
and well scored
Best Original Song - Motion Picture: "The Wrestler" – The Wrestler. Music & Lyrics By: Bruce Springsteen

haven't heard it.


Best Television Series - Drama: Mad Men

haven't seen it.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Drama: Anna Paquin – True Blood

haven't seen it. I recall her being good in X-Men though.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Drama: Gabriel Byrne – In Treatment

sounded like an interesting show

Best Television Series - Musical Or Comedy: 30 Rock

30 rock is entertaining.
Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy: Tina Fey – 30 Rock
she's pretty funny.
Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy: Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock
he's quite good in the show
Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television: John Adams
sounded good. I haven't seen it
Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
- Laura Linney – John Adams

she's usually very good.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Paul Giamatti – John Adams
so's he
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Laura Dern – Recount

this was a good performance. very deserved. I clapped when I saw that they gave the award to what deserved it.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Tom Wilkinson – John Adams

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pen For Men Vintage Ads

this is the funniest thing ever & it actually existed.
NOTE: will try to post high quality scan (pictures here just from the google.)

the blank page

currently in a desperate struggle to write.
postnote: struggle won

Four Ex Presidents (and the president elect) Walk into the Oval Office..

....and talk about the rug

Picture from:


drawn by Moi on the computer

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

RIP: Eartha Kitt

I was very sad to hear Eartha Kitt had passed away. So sad that I turned on my record player, put on the record New Faces of 1952 and marveled at her wonderful singing in two great numbers in which she sings in wonderfully versed French. I'm quite sorry I never got to see her preform on stage. I just missed her in Nine. Well, now I am off to listen to her appearance in The Wild Party soundtrack and remember the great talent that was Eartha Kitt.