Daughter From Danang

In honor of Gail Dolgin, a powerhouse filmmaker and activist who passed away earlier this month after a decade-long battle with cancer, here’s Daughter From Danang:


Hat tip to Paige Lawrence.

Co-created by Dolgin with Vincente Franco, this acclaimed documentary features the deeply emotional and conflicted reunion of a Vietnamese mother, Mai Thi Kim, with her Amerasian daughter, Heidi Bub (birthname Mai Thi Hiep), 22 years after the war and Operation Babylift pulled them apart. “The 83-minute film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for best documentary in the 2003 Academy Awards. It lost to Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, but Dolgin and her collaborator, Vicente Franco, shared the stage with Moore until they were booed off amid Moore’s anti-war speech.”

Click here to read a compassionate and comprehensive Q&A by the filmmakers.

Badass “Les Cyclopes” Performance by E. Comparone

Elaine Comparone is the Tony Iommi of Baroque harpsichord, and you’re about to get your face rocked off, Rameau style.


Via Darla Teagarden, who says, “imagine running through a house of mirrors in Greece circa 1927 after smoking hashish while wearing tiny shoes.” (Perfect!)

Comparone claims Rameau’s shredding piece of music was inspired by Homer’s Polyphemus. Other scholars suggest that the French composer was representing the BRVTAL brothers Arges, Brontes, and Steropes –Cyclopean blacksmiths who forged lightning bolts for Zeus– and that the insanely manic percussive runs are meant represent the giants busy at work, hammering and forging thunderbolts. Either way? MMM\m/ETAL.

What’s Blubber Got to Do, Got to Do With It?

It’s Friday night. It’s time to get fancy.


Thanks for spreadin’ the love, Gooby.

“The fusion of man and whale is now possible with modern technology.” Or something. Yeah…

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Hammer Double Feature

It’s the week before Halloween people, so that means horror movies on the FAM. All horror from here to the witching hour (or twice, for those counting their Fridays). Today the FAM presents a double feature unabashedly ripped off from TCM’s programming schedule from the past month, comprised of two fine films from the classic Hammer Film Productions: The Devil’s Bride (or The Devil Rides Out in the UK) from 1968 and The Gorgon from 1964, both directed by Terence Fisher and both starring Christopher Lee, along with fellow Hammer superstar Peter Cushing in The Gorgon. Additionally, Devil’s Bride features a screenplay by Richard Matheson (author of I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come, among others, as well as a host of well-known Twilight Zone episodes) based on the novel The Devil Rides Out by Devil Dennis Wheatley.

Hammer is perhaps best known for their slightly more graphic takes on famous Universal monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy, as well as interpretations of The Phantom of the Opera, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Robin Hood, and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which featured a troupe of actors (most notably Lee and Cushing) and directors perhaps the most famous of whom was Fisher. The studio is also responsible for a great number of films without the benefit of well-known subjects and The Devil’s Bride and The Gorgon are two of the best examples of this.

The Devil’s Bride, for all it’s new-age influenced Satan-worshiping cheese is surprisingly effective, not only for Charles Gray’s turn as the villainous Mocata but for the quiet menace of the entity who he serves. Indeed, the best scenes feature mostly silent specters, such as the demon in the observatory. The Gorgon may be even more of a success, transplanting the traditional Greek myth of the Gorgon to turn-of-the-century Middle Europe and features some absolutely stunning work from cinematographer Michael Reed. And while the titular Gorgon may seem campy by today’s standards, she is incredibly effective in the brief glimpses leading up to her reveal.

Hammer’s horror films are some of the defining examples of the genre and, at the time, were shocking in their depictions of violence and sexuality. By the end of the 60s Hammer’s formula had lost most of its punch however, and the release of low-budget films like The Night of the Living Dead and Hollywood productions like The Wild Bunch made the studio’s offerings look downright tame. Still, the quality of the acting and production combined with an almost perfect level of camp makes these films a nessecity in any horror buff’s education.

Kill Your Co-Workers By Flying Lotus

I admit I know nothing about Flying Lotus but the video for their song “Kill Your Co-Workers” caught my eye. Featuring the digital madness of Mike Winkelmann, it depicts a joyful parade that goes horribly, horribly awry. Mr. Winkelmann has made the models open source and available for download for those with an artistic bent.

Ari Up (Goodbye, True Warrior)

One of the fiercest, strangest, coolest grand dames of punk rock has left us. Ari Up, free-spirited vocalist for the UK punk band, The Slits (as well as countless subsequent music projects), has died after a long, unspecified illness. She was 48 years old.

Anyone who ever had the privilege of seeing Ari perform –or even just to be in the same room with her and that huge, husky laugh– knows what a tremendous force of nature she was. Her ongoing mission: “to fight for musical expression, women, and cultural freedom.” Love you, Baby Ari. Madussa. True Warrior. The mission continues.

Glass Embossing By David A Smith

A fascinating look into the work of David A. Smith, who makes decidedly intricate embossed glass signs. It’s almost frighteningly meticulous work, and Smith makes it look easy in a way that only someone with years of experience and copious talent can. Simply beautiful.

Via Bioephemera (Welcome back, Jessica. We missed you.)

The Ultimate Bunny Calm

You may never experience anything more meditative and calming than this. The short clip below has the amazing ability to turn nervous, fidgety thoughts into a state of pure halcyon, and I’m not the only one who says so! Many people who viewed this irresistibly cute video told me they felt literally mesmerized by the Rabbit Which Did Nothing.

The title is almost perfect. Almost, because the rabbit breaks his zen routine and cleans his paws at about 0:51. Oh, and he disapproves, like rabbits usually do, too. Apart from that small departure from the rule, the rabbit is definitely doing nothing throughout the entire 2:46 minutes. A friend suggests that looping and extending the length of the clip would make it the perfect video to John Cage’s “4’33”.

The only question remaining is whether it’s the mysterious fluffy being in the foreground who is, in fact, the true Rabbit Which Did Nothing.

Goodbye, Megumi Satsu

Megumi Satsu, the mysterious chanteuse and hat enthusiast we covered almost exactly one year ago, died in Paris yesterday. She was sixty-two years old. It was also just last year that Megumi Satsu released her final album, eerily titled, Après Ma Mort [After My Death].

Megumi’s representatives have yet to release any details, but we needn’t dwell on them anyway. Instead, let’s wish her a fair journey and remember Madame Satsu as the offbeat, elusive diva and enigmatic muse to Prévert, Baudrillard, and Topor she was until the end. She’ll be sipping cocktails and talking fashion with Klaus Nomi and Isabella Blow in no time.


Photo by Philippe Fontaine

Revenge: A Dish Best Served Conservatively

Many words have been devoted to the act of vengeance, the best methods of acquiring it, how best to deliver it, the various flavors of it; all these aspects have been explored in great detail over the course of mankind’s history. Little more shall be written here. Instead we shall present a singular act of very public vengeance.

It should come as no surprise that this particular scenario took place within the realm of politics, that unsavory business which plays host to liars, thieves, and whores and which has shown itself to be a particularly fertile breeding ground for vengeance. Specifically, we are focusing on an event that took place during a discussion of conservative author Jonah Goldberg’s new book Proud To Be Right which was broadcast on CSPAN2.

(Yes, there is more than one CSPAN. There are three in fact. I know this is hard to believe, but it’s true. I blame David Forbes. Moving on.)

The event in question (embedded above, the full video of which can be found here) is a rant by one Todd Seavey regarding fellow panelist and essay contributor Helen Rittelmeyer (who went to Yale, just in case you didn’t know). It turns out that the two dated for two years; a relationship that one could describe as contentious. Seavey’s monologue is a withering indictment of what can only be described as a twisted, right-wing succubus whose only pleasure in life is making those around her suffer. This is, again, according to Mr. Seavey who, in his 2007 screed “Ten Rules for Dating Todd” opens with a questionnaire for potential suitors to determine if they are “sane” having “encountered some ‘mentally special’ women over the years”, something he wishes to avoid in the future. This seems to not have saved him from Miss Rittelmeyer.

The Daily Caller (for whom Rittelmeyer worked for at one time) has further skulduggery, emails, and back-and-forth for those who are interested. For my part, I’m perfectly content with this examination of how Obamacare is destroying this country, as surely as Rittelmeyer destroyed Seavey with her infidelity.

Update: Additional thoughts from Seavey on the episode here.