Friday, 17 August 2012

Underrated Vol.5

For those of you who like the pop outsiders such as Marina, Catcall, Jessie Ware or Jessie & The Toy Boys, I'd like to introduce you to the very underrated, yet fabulous, CocknBullKid.

I've been looking forward to hearing the album for such a long time. I discovered Anita Blay in 2008 with her promising debut song On My Own. However, it is nothing compared to the pop excellence she reached with her full length Adulthood released by Moshi Moshi/Island Records . The album is full of up tempo classy pop songs and her voice is so sweet. It's very british, very 80's and, like a lot of pop artists today, she manages to deliver a very sophisticated, yet popular, music.

CocknBullKid already collaborated with great artists like Hercules & Love Affair or Gonzales and she's currently working on a new album according to CocknBullKid's blog. Let's have a look at my favorite music video released for Adulthood and I hope you'll like it

This is just so nice to see humble and talented people like her. CocknBullKid, I wish you the best

See you readers!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Turn Me On, Dammit!

I've seen lots of teen movies in my early years but I begin to watch them with a different eye now I'm getting older. Turn Me On, Dammit! by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen (adapted from a novel by Olaug Nilssen) is definitely not your typical teen movie dealing with the first pangs of love and sexuality. It is a really surprisingly thoughtful story, with a deep analysis of the female sexuality and an accurate description of the teenage boredom and anxiety. The story is quite simple. Alma is a young and simple girl living in a very boring small town in Norway. Unfortunately she is not a Black Metal fan but anyway. She spends her time hanging out with her two girl friends trying to convince some guys to buy them beer. She also has an extra activity that is going to get her into trouble; she masturbates on the phone calling a sex service number and (dirty) talking with a guy that she begins to know well. She also fantasizes about a real guy called Artur. However, her first real life sexual contact with him is going to be fatal (I'm not going to reveal everything) and, in the end, she will be considered as an outcast.


Alma and her best friend Saralou (what a beautiful name) are pretty much fed up with living in a small town and working dead-end jobs in small grocery stores. The dream for both of them is to escape from this boring life. Alma's dream is to go to Oslo. Saralou's older sister study there and Alma is very much inspired by her. Saralou's dream is to go to Texas where she wants to fight against death penalty. You can see how different their aspirations are. However, even when they talk about the future and what they want to do with their lives, they also talk about boys and love. What's better than yelling "Fuck Society" throwing some potatoes on the floor and admitting that you are in love with a weird guy just after it? This scene is a really good description of what a teenager thinks about. Everything is mixed inside their minds, between small pleasures and great aspirations. This is what I call the passion of the teen years. Something between anger, despair and love.

Regarding the sexual aspect of the movie, I would say that it is very realistic and crude. Female sexuality is not mystified or put on a pedestal. Alma clearly admits that she is horny and talks about it freely. She uses the real words to talk about sex and it is not done in a funny way, it's just the way it is! The problem does not come from her. The problem is among the people around her. Firstly, her mother is totally freaked out because of the sexuality of her daughter. She is disgusted because she hears her daughter masturbating. I think this is very well done in the movie. We gradually understand that the "noise" is a crucial notion. The mother would love to have a normal and generic mother/daughter relationship with Alma. She does not want to "hear" what her daughter has to say. She wants her to remain silent about her desires and everything that comes up to her mind. This way, we see that female sexuality is still something that needs to remain blur and private. If you put words on it, especially crude words, it becomes very complicated. Unfortunately, Alma is a not a quiet girl and her relationship with her mother is going to be affected by this freedom of speech.  Secondly, the other pupils are getting together to harass Alma after she dares talking about sex during a party (a sentence about her first and unsuccessful sexual contact with Artur, her boy crush). This sentence is going to be repeated so many times by all the pupils during the whole movie. Once again, the "noise" created by this shameful sentence is going to be directed against Alma, the girl who takes a stand.

Alma is not only obsessed by sex. She is also in love and she wants to go out with Artur. What is interesting in this movie is that all the sexual scenes are mainly based on waking dreams. And all the romantic scenes seem to come from sentimental novels. Since Alma is invisible (at the beginning) or rejected (after the turning point with Artur), it seems like she cannot really live anything for real whether it is love or sex (or both at the same time!). She is not understood by her fellows and this complicates her self fulfilment in any way. Talking about love, the very cute scene when Alma dresses up to go to see Artur and buys a brand new dress (to look "hot") is very interesting. It is the perfect counter point to the introduction scene when she dirty talks with a stranger on the phone. I think this movie is really good at representing the whole panel of emotions and behaviors of Alma. This is essential to understand that you cannot reduce someone to love or sex. Every single human is complex and has different sides composing the personality.

The secondary (yet very good) role of Saralou is really interesting. She is torn between "what the others would say" and "what she wants to do" during the whole movie. This depicts in a very accurate way the eternal dilemma of young people looking for the approbation of the mass. She has that very strong felling that she needs to help people in the death row in the US. She writes letters to them but she never sends them. Once again, the words, the noise, are sources of fear. She waits until the end of the movie, once the words become easier to pronounce to finally send the letters. Somebody that also helps her in being more confident and free is the guy she dates. Not the sexiest guy in the school but a nice weirdo. After all, she breaks the conventions and opens new areas of blossoming in the movie. I really want to see a spin off of the movie involving Saralou and her boyfriend!

All in all, this movie is much more than a teen movie. It is an ode to positive sexuality and also a very delicate movie about growing up in a static world. All the people surrounding Alma keep on repeating that "she's sick". It is like a leitmotiv. After all, we understand that they just represent the sheeps that Alma talks about at the beginning of the movie. It is a much overused image but still, it works. They are all together against Alma, the outcast, yelling the same rude comments and oppressing her. They are the blind people who cannot look forward because they are stuck in a single way of thinking. Alma, by breaking the rules of silence and refusing the politically correct norms, creates a fissure in her small close minded town. In that sense, I think this movie is utterly feminist in a sex positive way. Ok so I heard that this movie is not subversive enough, that it is not a surprise that young people think about sex... I understand this. However, I'd like to know how many teen movies you know directly involving a girl and not a boy putting his penis into a pie?! Not so many actually. So, I think it is a cool idea to watch it. It's only 1 hour and 10 minutes anyway :)

See you readers!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Todd Solondz 4ever

I have always been fascinated by Todd Solondz and his great expertise in human psychology. All his movies deal with crucial timeless issues with a totally mind-blowing accuracy. I guess his most viewed one must be the tumblr-famous Welcome to the Dollhouse but I do encourage everyone to watch his entire filmography.

 I recently found on the internet his very first movie called Fear, Anxiety and Depression. Apparently, Todd is very unsatisfied with this debut film. However, I think it's already very interested and, even though it is a bit all over the place, there are already some great and promising elements.

Movie available on stagevu.

By the way, if you like Todd movies, I'm pretty sure you would love Adrian Tomine's graphic novels. Somewhere between Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch. Again, one really clever man.

See you readers, and don't forget to watch the trailer of Todd's upcoming movie Dark Horse, xxx

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Natvres Mortes Illvstration ♥

I recently discovered Natvres Mortes Illvstration and I absolutely love his work. Here is a short interview to introduce him!

What are the different steps you go through working on a piece of art?
For a commissioned piece a dialogue is started between the band and myself about any concepts or themes they may have in mind already before I begin. Sometimes it gets really specific like reviewing lyrics. I procure a reference from the internet or a book. Sometimes I do a rough sketch to show, then once that's approved I outline most of it in pencil and begin inking. This sounds very boring.

All your artworks are in black and white. What are the emotions and meanings that you associate with these two colors? Have you ever been tempted to use other colors?
I like black and white or grey for its simplicity and graphic quality. The concept of lighter shapes looming out of the dark like in a Goya black painting, a Harry Clark or a Redon piece is also a big part of why I choose to work this way. The contrast created by black and grey is ideal for what I'm trying to accomplish, so I haven't been too tempted to incorporate other colors. I have drawn on colored paper before.

What was your first reaction when you saw one of your artwork tattooed on someone? Is tattoo art something that you would like to investigate?
Having my artwork tattooed on someone is the utmost compliment. There can be no question as to whether or not a work of art has impact when I see it permanently on someone's skin. More people than I ever thought have gotten my artwork tattooed and I greet it with excitement each time. Tattooing is something I'm currently undertaking. I'm learning how to tattoo right now, and my goal is to bring the Natvres Mortes aesthetic to the world of tattooing.

I saw that you collaborated with Rainbath Visual for a zine. Can you tell us a bit more about what kind of relationship you have with RV? Would you consider doing a zine yourself and what are your favorite ones (if any)?
Rainbath and I are very much kindred spirits. We worked together to put on an art show in Oakland in June and spent several weeks living and working together and became close. I'm a huge fan of his artwork and I can also come to him for advice. We have very similar aesthetics but work in totally different ways. The zine was made to commemorate our art show. I might make a zine again in the future but am concentrating on other things. 

Are you into comics or graphic novels? Which ones are your favorites?
Nope, I never really got into comics or graphic novels.

Who’s your last girl crush? Boy crush?
What an odd question, I'm assuming you mean not known to me personally. Girl crush: Zola Jesus. Boy crush: Jenks Miller.

I recently discovered
Hyuna Ji’s work and I think you would appreciate it. What do you think about the reinterpretation of the traditional nature/death/esoteric symbols?
I think it only makes sense that modern artists continue to incorporate ancient and symbolic imagery. I feel like as technology and civilization advanced, culture, mystery and magic was lost as a result. There's a thirst for something that can't be easily explained or found on the internet, and many of these symbols and imagery are very pleasing to the eye and connect with people on an unspoken level.

What did you listen to when you answered those questions?!
This took me a little bit of time to do, so throughout the course I listened to Chelsea Wolfe, Death In June and Bosse-de-Nage.

Anything special to add?
Thank you for conducting this interview and thank you to whoever reads it.

See you readers!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pop Corn Session Vol.2

I know it's summer and everybody's probably having fun at the beach (well, for the lucky ones!) but I also know that some of you might prefer staying at home watching movies... and I totally understand it! For those of you, see the images, click on the numbers.

1 2 3 4 5 6a 6b

If you like Hal Hartley, don't hesitate to discover his other movies. It's amazing *.*

See you readers and don't forget the new SWANS album, xxx