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Monthly Archives: August 2006

An Evening with Cat Power

An Evening with Cat Power

Seeing Cat Power is an experience. If for some reason you don’t know her, Cat Power is Chan Marshall, famously neurotic singer-songwriter behind some of the most soulful and beautiful Southern-gothic-flavored indie ballads of the past decade.

She played a long, spare solo set without a backing band or opening act, accompanying herself on guitar or piano or sometimes just singing a capella. She stopped in the middle of songs to complain about the sound or tell jokes or take cigarette breaks, she forgot the words to some of her own songs, and one time just walked off stage (she came back, though I’ve heard sometimes she doesn’t). Turns out when you can sing with such an achingly beautiful voice, people will put up with a lot of eccentricities.

Zombiegrinder 6000

Zombiegrinder-SnipYou’re a fat guy in zombieland with a shotgun and a grindcore soundtrack. And fire is bad for you.

the course of life

Cv-SnipThe literal translation of curriculum vitae is “course of life”.

I finally updated and reposted my own course of life and list of publications this morning. Not that I’m applying for anything, but I figure it’s best to keep these things up-to-date.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been using a graphical CV to visualize some of the things I’ve done. I figure this was useful, since the course of my life is less the road to success and more the spastic dotted lines left behind by Billy from The Family Circus. My educational and professional life has taken a few twists and turns since high school, from filmmaker, to amateur writer, to corporate programmer, to high-society gigolo, to grad student, to AI researcher, to helping build art gallery installations and a Yaletown Web 2.0 start-up.

Just think how much more impressive it would be if I had ever done any of these things well.

(Note to future potential employers reading this: just kidding! I do all these things really, really well! Except the gigolo thing. I might have made that one up.)

Twitch City finally coming to DVD

Twitch-CityHey, the 1998 CBC TV series Twitch City is finally coming out on DVD! I managed to find some poor-quality rips from VHS online, and showed them at my movie nights, but it’s always kind of frustrated me that I couldn’t get a decent-quality version anywhere.

I really like Twitch City, and not just because I have a longstanding crush on the freckly and always slightly-off-kilter Molly Parker (she’s played a rabbi, a prospector’s wife, a prostitute and a necrophile; not at the same time, but still, that’s pretty hot). The show came out in the late 90s, in the wake of the indie movie revolution, and it has a very strong indie-slacker aesthetic, thanks to Canadian indie auteurs Bruce Macdonald — who directed — and Don McKellar — who wrote and stars as Curtis. Curtis is an amusingly amoral TV-addicted slacker, who tries to hit on his roommate’s girlfriend (Parker) by offering her expired oysters and her boyfriend’s cognac. In the first episode, the roommate is arrested for accidentally killing a homeless man with a can of catfood, and the rest of the series is about Curtis rotating through a series of weirdo roommates while his old roommate goes through the Canadian legal system. Is that a brilliant concept or what? Combine that with wintery Toronto location shooting (in Kensington Market) and McKellar’s deadpan writing and line delivery, and supporting performances from Callum Keith Rennie, Valerie Buhagiar, two of the Kids in the Hall (playing the same character), and pretty much every other actor working in Canada at the time.

Actually, not to disparage the mother corp too much, but it kind of surprizes me that the CBC ever actually made and showed a series like this. How much cooler would they be if they had made more BBC/Channel4-style cultish sitcoms like Twitch City? A Guy Maddin show about a hockey-playing Icelandic-Canadian family in Winnipeg! A David Cronenberg version of MPD: Psycho! A headbanger sitcom by Michael Dowse!

  • Twitch City on (if you buy from this link, I get a kickback, but I don’t really mind if you support your local video store and rent it there instead)

Bring me the Head of Charlie Brown

Bmthocb-SnipNote to aspiring YouTube auteurs who would take existing characters and put them into “hilariously” violent situations: if what you are doing is not at least as clever as Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown, you’re wasting your time.

This includes you, Robot Chicken.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the director is Jim Reardon, who later became a director on The Simpsons. I first saw this as a crappy third-gen VHS bootleg back in my filmschool days. By the looks up it, they’re still using the same tape.