Friday, February 18, 2011

I lit the fireboats in a row for shanghai in our dreams waits part I: night in visions

destinations calling out
echoing tremors in my head
speak easy for this coma lends time to congregate
maybe we should pretend
maybe we should re-evaluate
shoot me an email
glazing eyes, checking stamina
systematic perfect crown
crushing down the crimson falling all around
the taste is bearable

state lines crossing in hoods like bandits
binding freedom with commercial dreams
we can't see the signal fires I thought I knew
on sleepless night stands, rolling pills into puddles
fixing alarm to go off over and over
and over and over

hide away the secret fabric
forget tragic
without you perhaps without me
perhaps
perhaps
close

In Circa: Cedar Rapids (2011) via themiddleaisle.tumblr.com


Cedar Rapids (2011)
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Sundance Selection 2011
Starring: Ed Helms, John C. Reily, and Anne Heche

Cedar Rapids is a coming of age tale for those who have already “come to age”. It is a look into a world of heartland values, small town business, and even smaller town life. And yet everything is not as it seems for our hero Tim Lippey, a fantastic first time leading man Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover), as he quickly sees everything stable in his life fall apart. Helms’ Tim is innocent, kiddish, lighthearted and uncomfortably stiff at times but manages to play his role as a man who holds true to a sense of right and wrong. He believes in his job and in what he believes people really need, which is what makes his loss of control in Cedar Rapids so hilarious to watch, as we feel sorry for him but never find him pathetic.
This is a farcical film about shooting for success where others might just see mediocrity, and about breaking down our own barriers to really let loose. As the fiery Joan Ostrowski-Fox (a sexy and equally bored Anne Heche) states, “What happens in Cedar Rapids, stays in Cedar Rapids!”  Helms is joined by the overbearingly crass Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly), a stuffy but well mannered man named Ronald (Isiah Witlock), and Joan as he attempts to win the prestigious two-diamond award for his insurance firm, after the firms star salesmen was found tragically deceased. The commodore among these actors becomes the heart and soul of the film, and in attempting to each stay neutral they find something of themselves in one another.
What makes Cedar Rapids so hilarious though is not the flurry of unfortunate events, but rather the characters themselves. It was quite refreshing to watch a comedy where you actually felt something for the people on screen, and it showed in the high applause and laughter in the theater around me. Director Miguel Artera (The Good Girl, Youth in Revolt) does a fantastic job of promoting a Parks and Recreation style of tense unrelenting humor with enough heart to really give the film a quality foundation of real character development.

Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Cedar Rapids is now playing at The Uptown Theater in Minneapolis.

Linkage: Radiohead "King of Limbs"

As many might have heard, Radiohead has just released the digital version of their newest independently released album, "The King of Limbs". I have posted the link to the first single's video, which you can also find at http://www.radiohead.com/deadairspace
You can also download the digital album because the physical copy won't be out for months if you wish, but also know that the physical copy is rumored to be extremely interesting... so just keep that in mind. (citation: TheCurrent.org... support NPR in its time of need by donating!)

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of the new sound, which seems to be piggybacking off of their resurgence album, "In Rainbows".



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Surface Vertigo vol.2: Corner Shops and Comic Books


Green Arrow Vol. 2 Issue #16

Surface Vertigo: Vol 2. Corner Shops and Comic Books
When I was a kid I recall never really having a lot of allowance to spend. I mean I remember having allowance, but I think most of the things that I actually remember from my childhood I received as gifts for birthdays or christmas. The only real use of my money was then centered around a love for comic books. Now back in the 1990s it was much more common than it is today to actually be collecting comics. It was literally a cultural norm for kids around my age to be into comic books, the ever changing face of video games, and the integrative summer blockbuster. When I say integrative I mean idea for movie + line of popular action figures + summer blockbuster= money in the bank. I think somewhere along the line, however, I decided that collecting comic books just wasn't that cool anymore and I started getting into things like girls, and music, and art. This became my high school years, and it literally wasn't until after I finished college that the spark of interest towards nostalgia began. I think now I look at comic books as reflections of cultural changes, and as literal "period pieces" of the ever changing art form. I would never come to that conclusion when I was younger because, well I didn't care that much. I think that Spiderman led my initial foray into comics because he was so relatable. You could really tell that this was a teenager/college kid who had to work hard to really make it through life and get the girl. I definitely related to that concept as a kid, and my view of comics found its roots in this reality. I also found the original Batman animated series to be so interesting because it took all of these elements of mystery and suspense and combined them with a very real sense of "pulp fiction". Now the draw is much different. Its as though now there has to be some reason behind whatever I buy... which as a kid would have been completely foreign. As a kid I would have wanted it if a) other kids had it b) I thought it looked/sounded cool and c) if it could somehow be something that boosted my sometimes fledging image of myself. These days I think the thing that really draws me in is a) art style b) the writing (no duh? right? hah) and c) the concept.

That leads me to today. As I was searching the local Half Price Books for interesting books to buy I randomly decided to check through the comics section. I wasn't finding anything that interesting until I stumbled across a collection of "sets", which are just collections of 10-15 issues in a "run" which just means the timeline of issues written and drawn by a team of artists. One group of "sets" caught my eye for a very particular reason, and that reason is that it reminded me of home.

Let me explain...
In the late 1980s an artist/writer named Mike Grell signed on to redirect The Green Arrow after a successful first volume run. Grell found that Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) had been essentially made into a campy sidekick for The Green Lantern (his 1970s/early 80s crimefighting partner), and felt that the character needed a serious modern revival. He responded with "Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters", which served as an initial introduction to the volume 2 run he was planning. Unbeknownst to comic readers however, the new run would strip away the DC Universe, the elements of fantasy/super heroism, and the gimmickery to make way for a realistic, gritty take on the character. What better place to take Oliver Queen from his home city of Star City to the Pacific Northwest!! The character was moved to Seattle, Washington with his love interest The Black Canary (Dinah), and given a new attire, new political motivations ( Green Arrow is one of the only Liberal superheroes on the market), new villains (mostly crooked cops and street gangs), and a new sense of down to earth realism that was not based upon anything previously encountered. I had heard about this run before, but until recently never thought that I would be able to obtain any of these issues as it is extremely difficult to find sets that are reasonably priced and in good condition. I managed to pick up issues #16-#45, which unfortunately does not complete Grell's set, but does give me a good start to a collection!

I know that this might sound like a little kid telling you about the cool new "toy" he just received, but maybe that is okay to do from time to time! I think that when you get older you are constantly pressured by society and by others to "act your age", but no one ever said that collecting comic books and delving into the rhetorical process wasn't just a little grown up. If it isn't well... maybe I like acting a bit immature from time to time.

Coolest element: The run mostly takes place in and around Seattle, even going up to Vancouver and San Juan Island! This is definitely the closest a comic book has been to where I grew up!

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