Month: September 2015

What the F@ck Is It?: Rothko and Abstract Art

I was recently at the Toledo Art Museum with my always willing mother when we encountered this artifact. We stared at it for a few moments–what my mom was thinking I’ll never know–when it struck me. I exclaimed out loud that it was the tip of a paint brush. This got a good chuckle. It was a great moment not because we were laughing at the absurdity of what our brains perceived to be nonsense, but rather how abstraction forces the brain to rewire itself. it’s the same as trying to see animal shapes in clouds or the Catholic cross in a cheeto. We’re programmed to make recognitions from what we see in reality. When confronted with strokes of paint arranged in vertical fashions, our brain scrambles to make sense of what it sees. It can’t accept that it’s just strokes of paint. I’ll admit that sometimes when I see a piece of abstract art, I throw my hands up and and admit defeat. I just don’t get what I’m supposed to take away from …

Kind of Blue (Music, 1959)

Band: Miles Davis Miles Davis Without a doubt Jazz is America’s best gift to the world as far as music is concerned, with blues a close second. Both came out of the African American community at a time when Jim Crow Laws existed and civil rights was just a dream. Out of this despair came the two genres that would eventually help knock down racial barriers and fill a young generation with hope. They would also help to usher in an equally radical rock n’ roll. My biggest problem with jazz is that I have trouble listening to recordings of the genre. Jazz is meant to be heard and seen live. Imagination and showmanship is a staple of the form, and it must be witnessed to be truly appreciated. Just seeing the pianist’s fingers dance on the keys or the drummer erupt into a frenzied solo, without the time restrictions of vinyl and CD, can’t be replicated. I can’t help but feel a longing when I hear recorded jazz. And then there was Miles Davis’s …

Cancelling my Netflix Subscription and the Futility of Trying to Watch Every Film

So for anyone new to this blog you might have noticed a few movie reviews and an article and might be thinking I’ve kept up this blog regularly. I haven’t. In fact, I’ve written exactly two (maybe three) articles for this website and the rest were published from my old website over at positivereviewsonly.wordpress.com. The reason for my lack of output hasn’t been from laziness but from a new commitment. I started a new eBay business under the used id boardsnsuch and have spent the last two weeks solely dedicated to this enterprise. Much to my dismay I haven’t watched a single film during this timespan nor read any books. While I’ve been excited with making money and staying busy–something I hardly do being disability and all–I’m a little drained and frankly upset that I haven’t made more time for this blog. All this isn’t to say I’m giving up on this site. On the contrary, it has increased my desire to write about art and film and pursue my passion for this even more. …

Apologize (music video, 2007)

  Band: One Republic Dir. ? One area of pop art that often goes uncritiqued is the music video, a genre that champions style and eschews narrative. Essentially, it’s video art combined with sound, often having very little in common with each other (although not enough is said about the symbiotic relationship between the two that can indeed exist when thought is put behind the execution). People may sit on their high horse and declare music videos are not art–which is foolish in that anything created is art–but I dare them to watch OneRepublic’s official music video for the original album track and much superior version of their breakthrough hit “Apologize”. First let’s address the complications about this song’s various music videos. From what I can tell, there’s three versions out there (I swear I’ve seen a fourth but apparently it has moved on to the hidden depths of YouTube.). They all have their small flourishes that set them apart, and I’m actually confused why the band enlisted a hip hop producer and chamber orchestration to cut two remixes when …

Falling Down (Film, 1993)

Dir. Joel Schumacher / Wri. Ebbe Roe Smith On its surface, Falling Down is a hard look at two characters dealing with pressures that can only be described as white men problems. It wants to be a serious character study so badly that I only wish I could admire it the same way many others do. But to do so I would have to ignore the film’s misguided injections of satire as well confused intention. Namely, are we supposed to side with the unnamed man played by Michael Douglas or pity him? The film seems to straddle this line, not quite sure where it allegiance lies. The upside to all of this is that the film is entertaining as hell. At its core this is a dark tale about a guy who’s had a psychotic break. Joel Schumacher, the director, and Ebbe Roe Smith, the screenwriter, have essentially made a part satire, part revenge fantasy that easily makes this film relatable and watchable. It plays on the urban fears of the middle class that might rouse …

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Film, 1992)

Dir. Fran Rubel Kuzui / Wri. Joss Whedon Before there was the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there was the eponymous movie. Written by the show’s creator Joss Whedon, the film was a modest hit but received lukewarm reviews, or so Wikipedia says. Good luck trying to find a review from that time period on Rotten Tomatoes. It long since has been shadowed by its TV counterpart. For the record, I’m not here to try and dispute that the show was far more successful, nor that it was far more entertaining for the vast majority of people who’ve seen both incarnations–just google the show for proof. What I can say is that while I have a soft spot for the TV show, its the film that I remember the most, with it even making my top ten list of my favorite films (feel free to make fun of me). While the show is darker and hits far more meaningful and literary notes, it’s the film that is wildly more fun and humorous, being both crass and …

The Work of Werner Pfeiffer

My hometown doesn’t always get a good rap. John Denver once put it succinctly: “There ain’t nothing to do in Toledo on a Saturday night.” Talk about a bummer of a quote. But this isn’t entirely true. Toledo, OH boasts a minor league baseball and hockey team, one of the best libraries in the USA, and a nationally recognized zoo. But more impressive is its art museum. Founded by Toledo glassmaker Edward Drummond Libbey in 1901, the museum contains among its many treasures two Van Gogh paintings as well as an Egyptian mummy. It’s one of my favorite places to visit. Part of the joy in making the trip to this free admission museum is eating at their fabulous cafe (you must try the Poached Salmon BLT), but even more so, visiting their featured exhibits. These temporary showcases have in the past featured such collections as the art of Star Wars, the art of comic books, and the hidden art of Da Vinci. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see what’s there. During my latest visit …