Friday, March 19, 2010

Wondering Aimlessly

My film is meant as a kind of walk through someone's mind while they are sleeping and dreaming.

I started off this video project doing a series of interviews with people, asking them about their dreams. After reviewing the 12 or so interviews that I conducted, I started thinking about how i could show those dreams in a film.

I introduce the film with some of the interviewees talking about how aware they are of the fact that they are dreaming. I did this in order to orient the viewer with the subject at hand, and I also thought it would be sweet for credits. The sleeping state in the film is symbolized by someone walking down a hallway and opening doors into different dream sequences.

video

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Radicant, part the Third.

Thus, we move along representations of the world; we practice translation and organize the discussions that will give rise to a new common intelligibility. This is all the more important today-- amid the constant unrest caused by economic globalization-- since reification has never wielded its power so complete nor with such diversity. Faced with the challenge it poses to culture and art, we must therefore set things in motion again --start a counter-movement-- by beginning a new exodus. (Bourriaud, 182)

Crap Art
Lowbrow (includes what James Danky was talking about)
"Youtube is a great way to show your art" ...???


Sunday, March 7, 2010

James Danky and Comix

James Danky recently visited Lawrence University to give a talk on what was advertised as underground comics. He spoke a lot about the "trinity" of sex, drugs, and rock and roll which all inspired the different art movements including comics in the 60s and 70s.

I related Danky's talk to John McKinnon's talk on Andy Warhol a few weeks ago. This is because of how he spoke about his goal of bring the comic art form into galleries, and moving up how it was viewed from low to high art form. The thing that really emphasized this comparison of low and high art form for me was the juxtaposition between pictures from graphic novels and pictures of famous paintings and statues that Danky included in his slide show. I never really thought of comics as drawing from higher art forms, but I was able to see the connection when he placed the works of art next to the excerpts from the comic books. Nowadays, comics are regarded more highly than they used to be, and it is not completely uncommon to see something that looks like a comic in a museum.

Roy Lichtenstein is an example of an artist whose work is exhibited in museums, and who drew his inspiration from comics. He started this style as a comic inspired painter when his young son challenged him when looking at a Mickey Mouse comic, saying "I bet you can't draw as good as that dad!" And here is a painting displayed in Tate Modern in London that shows where he has taken his art since that statement:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mass Market of Art

Nicholas Bourriaud talks in his book The Radicant about the rise in mass marketing in the 1990s. This was due mainly to the existence of the internet. In order to make up for this lack or original items based on quantity rather than quality, smaller shops like boutiques tried to emphasize an object's originality, "denying the existence of quantity, creating the illusion of scarcity, and playing on the obscure nostalgia for privation (Bourriaud, 105)." He adds the point that this all indicates that a product's uncommonness is more important that what it was made out of, or how it was really made.

This made me really think over what it is that we value in our culture and I believe that it is true that if something seems to be "original" people think it's cooler or more valuable even if it's technically not. This is also very relevant to contemporary art. Nowadays people seem to just be trying to do something rare, something that will shock people, something that hasn't been done before... and they aren't necessarily valuing anymore what the effort was, and the materials went into it.

Now I'm pretty sure that this video clip from Monty Python's Flying Circus is totally relevant. A lot of people loved this show, and a lot of people didn't understand it, or they didn't want to. It was something new and shocking at the time, yet it was fairly simple.

Beirut... the band!!

The other day I stumbled across a Beirut video on youtube, and I found myself completely entranced by it. I'm not sure exactly how to explain my current obsession, but it definitely has a lot to do with the creativity of both the music and the filming process. For example, not only is the following video set up in an unconventional way, but they are playing the music with random items like pool cues and ping pong paddles.



Each of the three full length albums evokes a different place. The first album found its inspiration when Zach Condon (Beirut started as his solo project) traveled around Europe after dropping out of high school. While he was there, he was exposed to Balkan folk music, which is definitely very evident in the music that he started playing after this. The second album has a heavy French feel because Condon was very into French chanson and the time. And the third album has a Mexican influence as Condon had just come back from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. He even got musicians from a small village outside of Oaxaca to play on this album.

The way that Condon is inspired by his own experiences is very related to the project that I am working on now because it draws from the experiences of others (in the form of dreams), and my experiences with also play an important role in how I put it together. I'd really like to learn from the filming styles of Beirut's videos, because some of them are very dreamlike, and also because I would like to try to set up things in unconventional ways. I'm going to be posting some snippets of interviews that I have been working on some time in the next couple of days, as well as some excerpts from the storyboard that I'm working on.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jodi Sedlock and more progress reporting

After hearing Jodi Sedlock talk this past week about how she went from being an art student to a biology professor I got to thinking a lot about contingency. It seemed that a lot of the reasons that she got to the place that she is today (being a professor and studying bats in the Philippines) was a big part pure chance. By "chance" I don't just mean coincidence, but also that there were people around her who gave her the chance to do something that she might not otherwise have had an opportunity to do.

Speaking of contingency... here's a link for a book that is all about contingency, and its role in history, specifically World War I. The first time I really thought about the role contingency plays in life was in a Soviet history class last year where my professor stressed how important it was, and that nothing is really inevitable.

This all got me thinking more about my film project that I'm working on now. I'm about to start the stage of making my own film based off the interviews that I have been conducting, and I want to make sure that the process itself as well as the product don't come off as being forced. When I work on editing, I think that sometimes mistakes end up leading down the most interesting paths. That said, I want to make sure that I remain open minded while working on this film, and that I don't keep myself limited to one vision.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Progresssssss

Over reading period I was able to finish all of my interviews. I thing I have some pretty good material to work with. This week I am going to look at all of my footage and take notes on the themes that run between them all, and highlight on interesting parts that I can relate to, or bits that I think would be interesting to make into a film. I will also hopefully have time to cut the actual footage down so that I can post some snippets on here.

In the next couple of weeks, I will be creating my own film that combines my vision of dreams along with the visions expressed by those whom I have interviewed. The film that I will be making is extra important to me, as I will probably be using it to apply to film school next year. So it's time to buckle down!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Collaboration: Nomi, Warhol, and Progress Report

I've recently watched a documentary about the musician, Klaus Nomi, and heard a lecture about Andy Warhol. Collaboration is one of the most important things that we can learn from these two artists. Even though Nomi eventually sold out at the end of his career and got rid of his original band, the way in which everything started with him was a series of chance meetings and friends having fun and messing around. Warhol's factory was a place for artists to exchange ideas and just hang out, and some of his collaborations with other artists are among his most interesting pieces.

Even though a lot of the time it may seem hard to work with other people, and to cooperate, looking at what these two men have been able to accomplish with other people shows us just how important doing that can be. Maybe you have an idea that you think is pretty good but you don't know how to carry it out... bouncing ideas off of someone else is usually a pretty good way to get around your obstacle.

This has made me think a lot about what I'm doing in my project. I see it as a kind of collaboration because I am going to base my film off of what other people have told me about their dreams. I'm also always open to suggestions from other people. I really appreciate it when people give me ideas, because it usually adds something totally new that I would never have thought of. So, to all of you out there... any light bulbs? In the next week I will be posting a video of some clips of the interviews that I've been doing.

What a catchy song... good to dance to late at night with your roomie:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dream Journal #7

It seems that I remember my dreams better when I am woken up frequently. Last night I didn't sleep very well, but each time I woke up I seemed to remember my dream. The theme and people in my dream continued when I fell back asleep, but some things were different.

I was at the Co-Op House formal (which did happen last night), and there was an old man who someone said was a "class officer," who kept trying to get into the party, but we kept physically pushing him out. Then the main space in our house where we were having the party turned into my friend Kevin's room. He was dancing on his bed singing the Wilco song "Reservations." I went out driving with Kevin, my friend Celeste, and the class officer. Kevin, who was driving, fell out of the car and I had to stop it but I couldn't really reach the brake. I managed to stop it right on some woman's lawn, but she didn't really notice. We all went to a Beirut concert that was happening right outside of Hiett Hall. He was playing the song "Postcards from Italy," but I noticed that he was playing it differently than the album version. The class officer was checking IDs. Celeste didn't have her ID, so he made her stand behind a chalk line that he drew. My friend Annelie also didn't have her ID, but she tried to bribe him with a sandwich.


Interpretation:
I guess there is someone or something that wants to take away my guilt for violating some law, or norm, or because I haven't fulfilled some sort of responsibility. This makes me feel shamefull. I have reservations about some things, but maybe about other things I am certain. I have started to take charge of my life, but I am still reliant on and powerless with some people. Being able to make my own choices has been part of getting over an obstacle in my life. I'm starting to take pride in my personal capabilities, but other people think I'm overstepping my boundaries. I'm holding some things inside that really frustrate me and bring a lot of stress in my life. It's really hard for me to admit that I need someone's help because I want everyone to think that I can handle everything by myself.





Dream Journal #6

This dream journal is going to be very scattered, as I wrote it down in shorthand right after having the dream and then went back to sleep... so it's a wee bit foggy. But here it is:

Dream #1:
The Viking Room was kicking people out so we (a random group of friends and other people) all went into the old Underground Coffee House, and right outside of it. We were looking onto some tennis courts which became the ocean in the Caribbean. Some of us started kayaking in the beautiful blue water, and we could see straight to the bottom there were some rusty old kayaks sunk down to the ocean floor. A couple of my friends were sitting in lawn chairs and all of a sudden they flew up in them and hit the fence of the tennis courts. They were really high up. Then I went to a swimming pool. The girl I was with used to have a license to be a lifeguard, but it got taken away.

That night there was a party with a lot of disorderly drunk people. It looked kind of like a Co-Op house that I stayed at in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Some big guy with tattoos was taken away by the Residence Hall Director who was saying something like, "I can't believe you just WANT to scrape by in school and not learn anything." I went back to the VR where there was some strange orange powdery thing on the table. I just wanted to drink some orange juice, but some old man who was sitting at my table put acid in it. The next morning I went out to brunch with some people and saw the bar manager with his wife. Our waitress was giving away free hot chocolates on a tray and a head massage that made me feel really uncomfortable.

Interpretation:
I want approval for something but I need to be strong. I have started to accept who I am and see my own characteristics and attributes, but this makes other people think that I haven't thought through things enough and made rash decisions. They think that I need to take better care of myself, and this is holding me back and keeping me from expressing how I actually feel. I feel like people around me think that I am behaving in a reckless manner, but one person might be jealous of me or of something I have done. I feel like maybe I am not paying enough attention to school. At the same time I think about how I am young and invincible. I have to express my feelings or else I will be harming myself. People around me who are trying to help me but who I don't appreciate are telling me not to be so impulsive and to avoid giving in to temptations. I should be more trusting of those people.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dream Journal #5

Well this entry is not going to be very interesting. As I mentioned in my previous dream journal, most of my recent dreams have all been pretty much consisting of what my real life has been like recently. On Friday night I dreamt about trivia all night because it was going on downstairs in my house and I could feel and hear everything that was going on. Those only felt like partially asleep dreams. I've also been doing a lot of thinking about getting an off-campus job, most likely at a pub, sometime in the near future. In my dream last night I got a job working at the Viking Room (check out that badass old photo)... so I basically was just making drinks all night in my sleep. Apparently I can't even get a break from working in my dreams!

Here's to many interesting blog-worthy dreams in the next couple of days!

Cheers.

Abigail Disney- "Don't be a hero"


What stood out to me the most from Abigail Disney's convocation address at Lawrence University was her emphasis on the point that one should not try to be a hero, but rather should work together with others in order to really get things done. She said that in books and films, "the hero always ends up dying in the end." While I don't know that this is entirely true, I do agree that resolutions are best made when you find a group with similar interests and combine your forces.

It was really amazing hearing about the women in Liberia who were so dedicated to achieving peace who went to such great measures, always nonviolently. This got me thinking about the famous nonviolent movements that have gone on in the 20th century. It was refreshing to hear about these women in Liberia, because I tend to feel like people (at least in the United States) nowadays are so removed from the things that in the past would have caused an uproar. Things have definitely changed a lot, some for the better and some for the worse. I wish that people could be passionate enough about the things going on around them to be able to make a stand together and fight for something. It's true that some people do this, and I know that it might seem hypocritical me saying this but not really doing anything about it...

I guess I don't really have a solution right now (I don't think it's that easy though...) but the point of the rambly rant is that it makes me somewhat reassured to know that there are groups of people somewhere working together and actually making a change. These women were almost completely under the radar until Disney and her team made a film (Pray the Devil Back to Hellabout it, so it gives me hope that there are other people out there too who are achieving amazing things behind the scenes.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Failed Dream Journal #4 and progress

I haven't been keeping up with my dream journal recently for a couple of reasons. One is that I haven't been waking up before class early enough to have the time to write them down and so I end up forgetting them by the time I actually am able to stop for a moment and write them down. It's so strange how some dreams will stay with you so vividly for a long time, years even, and other dreams vanish almost instantly when you wake up. Sometimes I'll tell someone my dream soon after waking up but then I have to ask them about it later. For some reason, even if I say my dream out loud, I can still forget it. Weird.

The other reason I haven't been keeping my dream journal recently is that the kinds I dreams I do remember having just seem to be either replays of whatever I've been doing that week, or a preview of what my day is going to be like. As far as I can tell, nothing really out of the ordinary happens, except that I seem to be even more stressed out in my dream. So I guess what I've got to do is chill out a bit... get more sleep... and make sure there's time for recording dreams.

On to my project... I'm finishing up interviews right now and working to find the right video filters in final cut express. By this time next week I'd like to be done the interviews and moving on to writing the screenplay for my film based on these interviews. Originally I wasn't going to use the interviews in my film at all, but I think I've figured out a way to do it in a non-lame way. I'm going to use short clips of everyone I've interviewed in the credits for the film. I think it's going to be sweet.

Here's an example of the kind of filter that I'm looking at using. I'm still playing around with it, but here's glimpse into what it may look like.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Progress report

I started my interviews this weekend, and so far I have had 6 victims. I have had about 10-15 more people who said they will do it. Before I do anymore interviews, I am going to review my footage in the computer lab to make sure that everything looks and sounds alright. I think that there is one interview that I'm going to have to redo because there seemed to be some sort of light balance thing off in the camera. The first interview I did using the same exact lighting looked a lot better, as did the the ones that followed. Overall I think it's gone pretty well so far.

I'm going to use these interviews as my stepping stone toward making a fictional film. I am going to use the information that they have given me about their dreams in order to make a short dream-like film. Even with only 5 people so far I've gotten a lot to work with. I've definitely seen trends between the 5 of them, and I recognize those same trends within my own dreams.

And now for something completely different ...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster is a name that one cannot forget. I am surprised that I had never heard his name until recently when I saw a documentary about him. I think that his most important invention was the dome house. In a time where the population is rising tremendously and there is growing concern about an eventual decrease in resources, the dome house which didn't use up much space or resources seemed like just what the world might need. I'm wondering why they did not catch on more. A couple of days ago I overheard some of my friends discussing dome houses and how there are a decent amount here in good old Wisconsin because they keep in a decent amount of heat and things... but they didn't mention who it was who is famous for popularizing this design of house. I say "popularizing" because Fuller was not the absolute first person ever to have the idea to make a building in dome shape, but he was the one who made it famous. The fact that my friends didn't mention the inventor of the dome house got me thinking about whether or not it's important to know where the everyday items you use come from. Would we see things differently if we could attach a story to them? Would we take things for granted less if we actually thought about all of the work that went into creating them?



The fact that Fuller's dome houses are not everywhere also got me thinking about other inventions that seem like they would really help the world but that don't actually get lasting recognition. The example that I'm thinking about in particular is the electric car. Watching the film Who Killed The Electric Car? really infuriated me. The fact that this technology exists and is not being utilized is really frustrating.

Laurie Anderson

I thought that it was very interesting what Anderson had to say about preserving her art. She talked a lot about how many of her performances were supposed to be "in the moment," and just effect the people who were there to witness it. There would be no record of the performance except in people's minds. The reason that she started documenting her performances had to do with people misinterpreting her art. Anderson got frustrated when people would talk about her performances and get her idea of what it was about wrong. This was something that I didn't particularly like about what she had to say. To me, a big part of all art forms is that they are open to interpretation. It might mean one thing to the artist and a completely different thing to someone else. In my opinion that is part of the beauty of art. The ability for one object, song, painting, etc. to have so many different possible meanings is so amazing to me. I think that the same piece of art can even mean different things to the same person depending on their mood or what is going on in their life at the time. This is my biggest beef with Anderson.

I had heard that Anderson did a project about dreams, and since I am doing my own dream related project I thought I would look into it. She had an exhibition called The Waters Reglitterized shown at a gallery in New York in 2005 where she recreated her dreams in art form. Click here to see a website about this exhibition. I think that looking into her project and how she interpreted her dreams will help me along with my project.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dream Journal #3

I can't stop thinking about the dream that I had last night. I had an 8:30 class this morning and I woke up naturally at 8:10... quite miraculously as I somehow forgot to set an alarm. I was very tempted to skip class so that I could sink back into my dream, but alas I did not. It wasn't that it was a particularly good dream, but for some reason parts of it were just very beautiful to me.

I was walking with a friend to a restaurant called the 10th Frame (the name of the bowling alley that we go to on Thursdays for free bowling). It had an amazing neon sign and it was surrounded by old buildings. It reminded me a lot of being in Dam Square in Amsterdam when there was a huge carnival going on-- the juxtaposition between the beautiful old buildings and the tacky, loud carnival. I was taking pictures of the neon sign and of the restaurant, but I stopped when the bouncer started questioning why on earth I would be interested in taking pictures of those silly things. We went inside of the restaurant with a group of people, and we had to walk down several flights of stairs and narrow hallways to get to the dining room. On the way I stopped to do some laundry, but I realized that I wouldn't be able to choose the items that I wanted to put in the dryer and which ones I wanted to air dry so they wouldn't shrink. It was very stressful at the time. The dining room was very familiar. I can see it so vividly in my mind, but at the same time I find it very hard to describe. I know there was a lot of deep red, it sort of seemed like it was on a boat, the ceiling wasn't very high, and it seemed somewhat cluttered but in an organized way.

It was night time when I went to the restaurant, but it was daylight as I was walking home. I lived on the beach in Scotland. It was beautiful. I've never seen anything so gorgeous in real life. The house was on a small cliff right on the beach, but instead of there being sand there were huge smooth rocks. I looked out over the water for a long time, several times throughout the dream. This is the part of the dream that I most wanted to revisit when I woke up. Even now, 3 hours later I can see the image so clearly in my mind as if I am still there.

I was standing out on the rocks with a friend (I wish I could remember who I was with) when I heard bagpipes. This is how I knew I was in Scotland. When I rounded a corner I saw a bunch of rugby or maybe soccer players. I think one team was British and the other was American. The American team had some really silly name and at the time, even though it wasn't really a dream where I was aware of the fact that I was asleep, I knew that that team didn't really exist. The traditional bagpipe music started morphing into something funkier and cool, but I remember being disappointed because I wanted to hear traditional music. The rugby/soccer players were having a sort of pep rally and they were about to do some sort of stunt with a lion.

I was transported from the beach to the Co-Op house where I live. The lion was inside too, but the rugby/soccer players were replaced by my friends. The lion was really scary to me, but not really to anyone else there it seemed. I thought that it was going to attack someone, but it was all a part of the stunt, and someone shot a tranquilizer dart at it, and it fell asleep on the stairs landing. I think that all of the people disappeared. I wanted to get out of the house before the lion woke up, and I also wanted to get outside to the beach again because it was so beautiful. I was having a lot of trouble finding my keys and finding clothes to wear. I can't remember if I ever found the keys, but I think that I did. I put on a pair of yellow cheerios socks. I don't even like cheerios. I was about to leave my house when I heard someone say "help me!" I think that it was the lion. He knew that he was waking up and that he might attack someone because it was in his nature, but he didn't want to, so he wanted me to give him a shot or something. I think the lion ended up running into the kitchen and disappearing. Then, I saw my friend Liam twitching on the ground. For some reason he was dying, or maybe someone had tranquilized him too. With his final breath he let out the word "home." Someone responded to this with "he misses his girlfriend."

I'm not really sure about the order of all of this, and it might have skipped around a bit. Also I know there was another bit where I was with a professor doing some research or something in a library. I think it might have been a real life job or something. I'm not really sure about that. This dream is going to be a bit harder to interpret, as there are so many elements to it... but I'll try to pick out the parts that seem most important.

Ocean/ beach: merging of conscious and subconscious; harmony; peace
Bagpipes: pleasant music means satisfaction and bad music means bad times are on the horizon
Soccer/rugby: mask your perspectives and beliefs regarding frightening sexual attitudes, watching a sports competition indicates that you are confronted with contradicting perspectives and rival thoughts.
Bowling: sexual triumph
Hallways:a sign of a changing aspect of your life
Stairs:implies a new beginning and development
Photography: a preoccupation to cherish and cling tightly to memorable images and events from the past
Laundry:You are conscious about how others perceive you and you wish to adjust to earn their approval
Restaurant: suggests a preference to seek emotional assistance from people outside your present social circle
Lion: you have many problems to solve
Keys: indicative of fearing the loss of seniority or rank in life, or even of losing self control
Death: you are missing certain traits that the person possesses
Home: It is a very special and private place to any person where one can be himself without any constraints

I was going to look for something similar to the beach that I saw in my dream on youtube, but as soon as I started looking, the image in my head faded a bit. I'm just going to try to hold on to that image for as long as I can. But here is a lovely clip of some good old bagpipe playing. And it just so happens that the setting of this clip is by the water. Woah, coincidence. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dream Journal #2

I had a very strange experience waking up this morning. I actually laughed myself awake. I confirmed with my roommate that I was actually laughing outloud, so I know that I didn't dream this. Before I woke myself up I was having a dream that took place in New York City, though it had elements of a lot of other cities and towns that I have been to including Appleton, Amsterdam, Appleton, and London. I was very aware of the fact that there was a subway system underground... I think that at times I may have been able to see it even though I was above ground the whole time. Somehow I learned of a sort of terrorist attack that was going to happen in the subway and I started trying to fly, or rather jump really long distances. I may have been trying to stop it or save people. I don't think I was just trying to run away. The next thing I remember is tying my shoes (sweet shoes that don't actually exist) with two of my friends hovering over my shoulders singing that silly Ting Tings song "That's Not My Name." For some reason this was hilarious to me and that is when I started laughing.



I had a lot more dreams last night, more than I usually remember having when I wake up, but this dream was the most vivid.

And now for the interpretation thanks to the internetz!!

City: community, closeness, a city in ruins means that you are afraid that a relationship is falling apart
terrorist attack: loss of control
subway: you are being impulsive
jumping: you need to take more risks
shoes: you are embarking on a journey to an unknown destination in your life

I think I'm getting better at paying attention to my dreams, so hopefully as the term goes on I will be able to remember my dreams even more clearly and have more control over them. I haven't had any lucid dreams that I remember in the past couple of nights... but I expect it to happen quite soon. We shall see!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dreams are neat!

I've always had an interest in dreams ever since I can remember. My first memory is actually a dream rather than something that really happened. When I was younger my mom and my friends at school would ask me almost everyday, "what did you dream about last night?" Sometimes I remember to keep a dream journal, but if I don't write about my dream right when I wake up I usually forget it. I've decided that now that I am a college senior that I should have some discipline, so I should be able to be dedicated and actually keep a dream journal for the next couple of months.

I'm going to look for trends in my dreams to see if certain themes, objects, or people show up multiple times. I'm also going to try to interpret them by doing some research. In addition, I'm going to see if I can influence my dreams. I read somewhere once that if you eat peanut butter before going to sleep that you are more likely to remember you dreams, or maybe they are more vivid when you do remember them. So... over a one or two week period sometime soon, I am going to eat a spoonful of peanut butter every night before going to sleep and see what happens. I'm going to do some research on other things I can do to influence my dreams or how well I remember them.

A lot of the time I am aware of the fact that I am dreaming and I am able to control things and do whatever I want to a certain extent though there are some limitations. The name for being aware of the fact that you are not awake in the real world is lucid dreaming. I've been doing some research about lucid dreaming and there are some exercises you can do to increase your ability to have lucid dreams. I'm going to do these exercises and see if I can get to the point where almost all of my dreams are ones that I can control.

I'm also going to be making some short films inspired by dreams that I will be including here. Here's an example of a film I made about dreams a couple of years ago.



And now for my first entry into my dream journal!!! This is a pretty short one because I can't remember much of my dream... if I had been able to wake up enough after the dream to write it down it would be way more detailed. All I can remember is the following:
I was in a slightly familiar house, it may have been my grandmothers, and everything was pretty light colored. I was looking through flowy light blue curtains outside at a really large black and red squirrel. Its colors were really beautiful. I watched the squirrel give birth to a small sheep like creature, but when I was telling people about it they told me that it was a pig.

And now for the interpretation: (I used this website http://www.dreamforth.com/search.php?query=black+and+red&type=dreams&page=1)
-blue: wanting to escape the pressures of your life
-window: considering an important decision and that I may need guidance on
-squirrel: collecting or accumulating something
-red: danger particularly in sex. A nudge for you to rethink your actions and avoid being impulsive.
-black: disapproval in a person or situation.
-birth: new start, anticipated occurrence
-pig: filthiness, stubbornness
-sheep:afraid to embark on innovative endeavors and experience new adventures.

When I combine all of this it's actually pretty relevant to what's going on in my life right now. Wow, so even if dreams seem super crazy and irrelevant, they can actually be applicable to one's life! Crazy stuff.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Thank you God for Les Paul"



The documentary film Les Paul: Changing Sound portrays a different kind of musician than the artists who belong to Fat Possum Records. This film about Les Paul shows a musician who enjoys and does almost anything to be able to be in the limelight. Les Paul started as a small time musician in small town Wisconsin, but he changed his style several times in order to fit the bill for what was needed.

Even though the film built up Les Paul tremendously and made him look like a jolly old man who made some of the most important innovations of the century, I thought that it was a little bit over the top. While the film continuously praised Les Paul's work, it also made it seem as if he never really knew what he was doing and that everything kind of just fell in to place for him at times. A lot of his successes seemed to be based upon luck. I also wish that they had gone more into depth about his actual inventions and how they came about.

I thought a lot of his songs were really silly, and the way that the older songs with Mary Ford were shot just served to reinforce gender stereotypes. The key example that I am thinking of was when Mary Ford was shown cooking in the kitchen while recording music. However, it was really nice to see an older man still enjoying what he was doing. Even though he seemed to be somewhat of a sellout at times, it seems that no matter what he loved making music, even if it was for a particular audience. This is something that is very refreshing to see.



Oh Les, you're so clever.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Forced Fame?



I recently watched the Film You See Me Laughin', a documentary about the label Fat Possum Records started by Matthew Johnson, with the most famous artist being R.L. Burnside. The film addresses several issues, most relating to culture and socioeconomic status.

While there are obvious differences portrayed in the film between the musicians and Matthew Johnson, the difference that struck me the most was the different values placed on fame and the importance of circulating music. This delves into a major issue in the art world: creating art for yourself versus creating art for an audience. The musicians in this documentary would be placed in the category where the music that they made was for themselves, because they loved what they did, and not because they wanted any sort of recognition for doing it. However, for some of the musicians, their values and morals were altered once money became an issue. For example, there was a remix done of RL Burnside's songs, which Burnside strongly disliked... that is until the money came rolling in. Even though it seems like Burnside and some of the other musicians may have compromised their values because of money, none of their lifestyles have seemed to really change since they started making money for doing what they love.

The question that this film made me ponder was whether or not it really matters if their music was released as soon as possible, or even at all, if its release didn't really seem to effect the musicians in any way. Johnson was very concerned with getting the artists' records into circulation during their lifetime so that they could get recognized before their deaths. The music of these artists would have been lost without Matthew Johnson, but do we need to know about it? Their art form was a new take on and an imitation of a pre-existing style that was fairly well known. So, would the musical world be very different if their music was never taken out of their hometown, and would they be happier? I guess we'll never know.