adrian is rad


arts this week (IFFB, Archers of Loaf, Horse Feathers)

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:42 am

This past week and a half has been pretty busy, including seeing three movies, three bands and two baseball games. I won’t talk much about the games—you can find out what happened in the two games (Sunday’s 17 inning Red Sox loss and last Monday’s win vs Oakland)—but here’s what happened with the movies and bands.


  • Sleepwalk with Me was the opening night film for the Independent Film Festival Boston, where I saw all of these films. It’s Mike Birbiglia’s semi-fictionalized take on his life, sleepwalking, relationships and becoming a comedian. I liked his comedy for a while. And, really, what I mean by his comedy is his story telling style. I wasn’t disappointed. This is equal parts funny and thoughtful and I’d recommend it. My one fear with the film is that producer and cowriter Ira Glass will get a lot of the credit where most of the meat of the story come straight from Birbiglia’s comedy.
  • Knuckleball!: This is a documentary about the baseball pitch. Since about 1992, when I became fascinated with Tim Wakefield, I’ve liked the knuckleball and knuckleball pitchers. This game an interesting look at the history, some of the pitchers and the mechanics of the actual pitch. Most of the film, though, looked at the two pitchers who were still throwing it in 2011: RA Dickey and Tim Wakefield. (Wakefield has since retired.) I enjoyed it a lot, but I think it may only be for those who are interested in baseball.
  • Under African Skies is a documentary about Paul Simon’s Graceland with a large part of the film focusing on Simon’s first trip back to South Africa since the album was released. (He played in Zimbabwe in 1987, but not in South Africa itself.) He reunited with a lot of the original musicians and through and around them playing the album’s music together again, some of the story about how the album was made and the aftermath were told. I really thing Graceland is one of the best pop albums ever, so I wasn’t a hard sell on this movie, but I thought it was a really well-made film.


  • Archers of Loaf @ the Middle East: I’ve liked this band since I was 18; unfortunately they broke up when I was 17. Luckily they reunited last year and added a Boston stop to their tour dates this year. The show itself was great. It wasn’t just that they played all the old songs I loved, but that there were all these fans seeing the band they couldn’t see for all those years. It made for a fun atmosphere.
  • Horse Feathers @ Brighton Music Hall: I’d seen Horse Feathers before, in a small show in San Francisco almost four years ago. This time it was a Saturday night crowd in Boston and a sold out show. The band played well and from that aspect it was a great show. The crowd was very chatty, though, which distracted from the overall experience. I’ll never get why one would pay 15 dollars to see a band and then talk he whole time.
  • Feist @ House of Blues Boston: After all of the above Margaret and I were not exactly excited for another night out. Add to that that I’m always sceptical of large venues like House of Blues. Feist came out and started the hard, scattershot rhythm of “The Bad in Each Other” and we were won over. And, though it’s very big, House of Blues has good sound and decent sightlines.


“the actual kicking tee used by the player…”

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:48 am

I quite enjoyed Invictus, though it was a bit sentimental and sappy. I found the book better in the end.

The list of goofs in the movie is quite entertaining, though, particularly the level of detail of the errors noted.

  • Factual errors: The rugby balls used in the Springboks matches are the current generic Gilbert Barbarian match balls with dark blue and green oval trims. The actual match balls used in 1995 World Cup were in fact grass green and sky blue and they all had a Rugby World Cup logo and the year 1995 printed on them. Also the kicking tee used by the All Blacks goal kicker in the film was a Gilbert Blue Tee; the actual kicking tee used by the player Andrew Mehrtens in the 1995 final was a yellow Simpkin Kicking Tee.

    I’m sure many people were appalled by the latter inaccuracy.


    japanese weird+awesome: tarantino and vintage baseball cards

    Filed under: — adrian @ 12:03 pm

    This is really strange:

    I really like these vintage Japanese baseball cards.


    movies, steelers, draw party, a week and a half, etc

    Filed under: — adrian @ 11:57 am

    Movies are <$4 is my local art house cinema (about a 5 minute walk) so I go see films sometimes. It reminds me of when I went to movies in Germany lots on Tuesdays because it was 4 Euro movie night. Last week I saw Whatever Works, the latest Woody Allen film. It stars Larry David as a man who despises everyone and sees life in a very negative light. I laughed aloud a few times. Decent entertainment but not a great movie.

    Today I saw Zombieland, a buddy road trip/ zombie comedy. I’m not a fan of zombie movies (despite the Pittsburgh tie) but this is really funny. I liked it a lot.

    I’m following along the Steelers game online. I hope they stop their recent slide here.

    I watched last week’s game yesterday. They lost but I was pretty happy how our 3rd string QB played in his first start (and his first throw of the game was only his second NFL throw ever).

    K'naan and crowd

    There was a big party on Long St, about 10 minutes walk from my place, for the 2010 World Cup Draw which happened on Friday. It was packed but it was a good time.

    In the draw, USA got England, Slovenia and Algeria. Not an amazingly tough group but there’ll be a couple competitive games in there.

    I head back to the States in a week and a half. I’m excited to see friends and family. I’m excited for some hat-and-gloves-and-seeing-your-breath weather.

    I have a bunch of things to do before I head back, probably the biggest of which is trying to find a car. I’m renting a car right now and I’m returning it right before I leave.


    hold me close

    Filed under: — adrian @ 6:49 am

    I love this clip. Among other reasons why, it reminds me of how great it is to just open up and sing along with gusto.

    It should be noted that Mark Kozelek (of Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon and solo) is the first to start singing.


    the honorable member that asked the question needs to get his head checked

    Filed under: — adrian @ 10:26 am

    on my street earlier in the week

    I watched part of a debate in Parliament today. It was pretty interesting. Members of Parliament were asking ministers questions. The Ministers of Justice, Police, Correctional Services, Home Affairs and International Relations were all there and answered questions while I was there. There were some light-hearted moments, but there were also some contentious ones as well, particularly ones between the Minister of Justice and members of the DA, during which the above quote was said.

    I should note that I had to go through four metal detectors to get to the public gallery of the assembly, but my belt buckle made at least two of them go off; they waved me through all four.

    lonely chair
    in Salt River

    This week has been a bit all-over-the-place. Yesterday I went to the SA National Gallery. It was pretty good and it cost $2 to get in. What’s the last time you’ve been to a museum for $2? Even the Pez Museum in Burlingame is $3! My one complaint about the museum is that there’s too much British stuff–lots of old portraits of generals and things from the 18th and 19th century. Why have portraits of an army someone whooped? (Also, there’s plenty better art from that and other time periods.)

    On Sunday I went to the Long Street Baths (where I’ve been swimming) and went to their Turkish baths. I spent two hours in the sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, etc. Wow that’s so ridiculously relaxing.

    in Observatory

    Some family is in town, or at least in the area. I’m heading to Stellenbosch tomorrow to see my uncle from the UK and over the weekend I’m heading to Hermanus, where my cousin will be. He and his wife have a cottage there that they’ll be at briefly. I haven’t been to Stellenbosch or Hermanus since 2004, I believe, so it’ll be a nice time.

    I saw Welcome to the Sticks the other day. It’s one of those fascicle French films, with some really funny moments. Basically the main character attempts to land a transfer to the Riviera by pretending to be disabled. Instead he’s found out and is transfer to the dreaded North instead. Thinking she won’t be able to handle the depressing North, his wife stays behind. The main guy ends up enjoying it, but when he tries to tell his wife this, she doesn’t believe him, so he lies and says its horrible. This seems to make her happy. Everything’s fine, until she decides to visit. Apparently it’s the most successful French film of all time? It’s a bit strange to me that that’s the case.


    out of africa

    Filed under: — adrian @ 8:18 am

    In the waning evening light, teenage boys are doing calisthenics on the soccer field. I know it’s a soccer practice—they’re on the field and there’s a ball in the center—but right now it looks more like some sort of synchronized dance.

    The field is of the red dirt, clay really, that’s common in this part of the world and the the goals are each three thin logs nailed together, two sides and the top. I can see a woman walking along a dirt path with a water bucket balanced on her head. There’s something very Out of Africa about this. Except I’m not falling in love with someone that’s not my husband. Am I thinking of the right movie?

    And aside from the fact that this is quite rural, I’m not blazing any trails. Others have come before me. I don’t have a rifle at my side to fend off wild beasts; I have to worry more about my laptop being stolen than a lion charging me.

    It’s so still. Besides an occasional car on the one paved road to Ingwavuma, there’s just crickets, rustling leaves and voices of people in houses and huts down the hill and across the valley.

    Of course I’ll get antsy—I get antsy in big cities too—but I think this will be good for me: the stillness, the simplicity.

    It gets dark early here. The boys must not be playing any soccer today; it’s nearly dark and they’re doing sit-ups in a circle; someone’s counting them off in Zulu it sounds like.


    movies: gran torino, milk, kenny

    Filed under: — adrian @ 7:33 pm

    I saw a few movies in the last few weeks.

    Gran Torino I’m a big fan of later-era Clint Eastwood films, especially Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, and Unforgiven. They tend to have these great conflicted characters. Gran Torino is no different. Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a retired auto worker and a Vietnam veteran living in a Detroit neighborhood that is becoming a Hmong neighborhood. Kowalski is set in his ways and doesn’t like his new neighbors. Hilarity ensues! Not really–but what unfolds as he gradually becomes involved in their lives (and they in his) is a pretty great story. It has still got me thinking.

    Milk I’ve done my civic duty as a citizen of San Francisco and seen this movie. Sean Penn is good (of course) as Harvey Milk in this biopic. Gus Van Sant tells the story well. What stuck with me is that I didn’t know that Milk reluctantly got into politics and it was fairly late in life–he was already into his 40s.

    Kenny This is an Australian movie about a guy who rents and services portable toilets. I got it because they had the following quote on the back of the box: “The Citizen Kane of romantic comedies about sewage.” Everyone puts hyperbolic quotes on the back of movie boxes but I thought I’d want to see a film whose makers were willing to put that quote on the back of the box. It was hilarious. Besides being laugh-out-loud funny for much of the film, the characters were also pretty endearing.

    Here’s the trailer:


    Man on a Wire

    Filed under: — adrian @ 10:20 pm

    I saw Man on a Wire last night. In short it’s a documentary about Philippe Petit’s illegal tightrope walking between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.

    Can a 94 minute movie really fill those 94 minutes sufficiently? Yes. The answer is yes.

    There are so many elements to this movie: it’s a thriller and a caper and an inspirational documentary all in one. Philippe is a fascinating individual. I was enthralled and I’d recommend it.


    this looks funny

    Filed under: — adrian @ 10:53 pm

    Watch out! Bad language!


    Morgan Freeman

    Filed under: — adrian @ 8:56 pm

    just should narrate everything ever.


    taipei golden horse; Interview

    Filed under: — adrian @ 7:41 pm

    I learned on Friday about the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. Pretty much immediately after I found that some of the movies I most wanted to see (“Darjeeling Limited”, I’m Not There, Persepolis) were either sold out or at times that I couldn’t go to. Doh!

    Another one that I was psyched to see (Ki-Duk Kim made the amazing “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring”) is only showing in Korean with Chinese subtitles.

    However! Not all is lost. I did go to see Steve Buscemi’s Interview last night and I bought a ticket for the Sigur Ros movie. I’m still undecided about whether to see This is England or not.

    I wasn’t actually expecting a ton from Interview, as it seemed like a pretentious indie two-person character piece, but it turned out to be alright. It was pretty engaging and well-written and the ending wasn’t quite what I expected.

    I also found out that Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is showing in at least one regular theater here (not as part of the film festival, that is) so maybe I’ll go see that in the next few weeks.

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